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Building bullseye 1911's from budget 1911's

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javaduke
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Post by troystaten 1/27/2024, 5:32 am

Here in CA we are limited to what we can buy for building bullseye guns.  I have a Springfield Armory Milspec set up as a wadcutter gun with a tube dot sight and am happy with it. I would like to have a 1911 set up for bullseye that has iron sights.  SA no longer has the range officer and TISA's are not available in CA.  I see that Rock Island has a 1911 with iron sights and what looks like a steel frame and was thinking that might be a good starting point.  I know that a lot of good gunsmiths don't like the RA products and I was wondering why?  Is it because the frames are investment cast or is there another reason.  I see that Les Bear also has some CA legal 1911's with adjustable sights but the reviews on this sight are mixed for a gun of that price point. 

thanks

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Post by Rush223 1/27/2024, 7:38 am

Look at the Springfield Armory Loaded Target. 
Rush

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Post by NukeMMC 1/27/2024, 12:09 pm

SA Garrison is essentially the Range Officer with a Novak rear and have someone install the Nomar sight conversion:
https://www.bunkerarms.com/product-page/nomar-conversion-complete-sight
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Post by RoyDean 1/27/2024, 2:39 pm

So, please excuse my going slightly off-topic, but I am confused by the CA Compliant situation. Naive I guess, but I would have thought that a 1911, is a 1911, is a 1911? It seems that Maker/Brand makes a difference. I googled and found a dealer in CA who was offering a variety of 45ACP guns - even weird looking long barreled devices with shoulder stocks. And yet, the OP states that TISAS 1911's are not available? Whilst I've attended matches in CA and have driven through the State many times (usually with a trunk full of guns - CA compliant? No idea! - but always in locked cases).

As to OP's questions. IMHO, if the "Les Baer Price Point" is acceptable to OP, I would suggest looking at Rock River Arms - and yes, they do offer CA Compliant products. Otherwise, as best that I can judge, there are vendors on GunBroker offering new TISAS's and plenty of SA models, new and used, don't see any remarks about "not for CA". I guess that an experienced local FFL can advise OP on what can/can't get through the background check. Obviously I am naive about this, so feel free to tell me I'm a numpty!

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Post by PMcfall 1/27/2024, 2:45 pm

Well, here's a Rock Island Armory Pro Match Ultra straight of the box ransom rested at 50 yds.  Two groups with Federal Gold medal Match and one with my load.
Phil 

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Post by JHHolliday 1/27/2024, 3:46 pm

RoyDean wrote:As to OP's questions. IMHO, if the "Les Baer Price Point" is acceptable to OP, I would suggest looking at Rock River Arms - and yes, they do offer CA Compliant products. 
FWIW I don't see any CA-compliant pistols on RRA site:  https://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=24
If you enter "California" (at your own risk, haha) in their search bar it returns a couple of AR-ish rifles and a grip

As understood custom 1911 makers would have to install a magazine disconnect safety, loaded round indicator, and submit to extensive / expensive testing.  Understandably not many are willing (or can afford) to!

https://www.guns.com/news/what-makes-a-handgun-california-compliant

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Post by RoyDean 1/27/2024, 4:10 pm

Yes, re RRA, Mr. Holliday may be right. But it might be worth a call to RRA if their product is of interest.

I was intrigued by what/how stuff gets on the Compliant List. When searched for Springfield Armory these notes came up in red at the top of the model list.

A "CA" designation at the end of Springfield product codes indicates the model has the integral locking system (ILS) and is the same handgun model as the one that was tested per California standards. The "CA" will not appear on the handgun.

A ‘P’ designation at the end of Springfield product codes indicates there is a package included with the handgun. The package may include an extra magazine, a holster, etc. The handgun model is the same as the one that was tested per California standards.

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Post by samtoast 1/27/2024, 7:01 pm

PMcfall wrote:Well, here's a Rock Island Armory Pro Match Ultra straight of the box ransom rested at 50 yds.  Two groups with Federal Gold medal Match and one with my load.
Phil 
That is impressive!
Which specific model is it? How long is the barrel? Are these typical results for this gun?

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Post by PMcfall 1/27/2024, 8:00 pm

From their website:  "The PRO Match Ultra 5 is a target grade pistol ready for competition right out of the box. It’s built by the master gunsmiths in the Rock Island Armory Medallion shop with a mission to deliver best priced match grade 1911 available."


A couple local friends bought these also and they shot about identical to mine.  I see them offered at less than $600 at Buds gunshop.

Phil
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Post by JRV 1/27/2024, 9:56 pm

I built a ballgun off an RIA GI model. Didn’t even rebarrel it. Just needed a new bushing, sights, and trigger work.

Building bullseye 1911's from budget 1911's Bf94f910

Building bullseye 1911's from budget 1911's Img_3713

Shoots my Clays load pretty well off bags at 25 yards.

It was not, however, cheaper than buying a better gun (like a used Range Officer or Loaded Target). When in doubt, buy the best used gun at the top of your budget—if you resell it, it will hold value better than something like a used, modified Rock Island.

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Post by javaduke 1/27/2024, 11:40 pm

I remember back in early 2000s Stan Huey in Nor Cal used to build ball and wad guns on RIA and he was very happy with them. I've personally built a couple of wad guns on RIA GI base, they both turned out pretty good. Unfortunately in both cases I had to rebarrel them, the lower lugs on the factory barrels were cut way too high, that was in addition to replacing all internals with quality parts. I also refinished both guns, but that was purely my preference. At the end of the day the cost of the build was pretty much the same as if I was starting from bare Caspian frame and slide. Yes, I do understand this is not an option in CA, you guys have to make do with what's available. Maybe you can get some $$ back by selling the factory parts.

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Post by troystaten 1/28/2024, 12:16 am

Hey Javaduke funny that you mentioned Stan Huey, he re-did my Salyer built wad gun (milspec SA) and it is a really nice shooter. I remember that Stan used RIA's for a lot of his builds including 38 special conversions.  Unfortunately Stan passed away last August so we lost a great gunsmith.  

Take care.

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Post by Froneck 1/31/2024, 7:44 pm

Being an engineer then starting a machine shop I started working on my bullseye guns. What most don't realize is a budget frame may be from good metal but it may be a frame that was rejected by a quality name 1911 builder. The problem is the location of holes and size of critical dimensions. Tolerance is the allowed deviation from dimensions on a print. Those dimensions have been determined to be needed to have the gun function as best as possible. But making large quantity of components perfect is not possible so tolerance or allowable deviation is noted on a drawing. Tighter the tolerance the higher the cost! In addition the tolerance of one part determines the allowable tolerance of another. For example if a plate were made to cover an opening the tolerance of the dimensions for the screw holes for the screws needed to attach the cover will determine the size of the holes! Tolerance will then increase the hole size. That will allow to plate to move quite a bit on some assemblies.
 In the 1911 location of sear and hammer pin holes is critical, hole size also. when trying to accurize a budget gun the larger pins may not be available or sears with the needed hole sizes so they have to be altered increasing the cost to make a bullseye gun from a budget frame. Likewise other dimensions have the same problem. In addition when the builder is using budget components it will determine how long the upgrade will last. May be great when tested as received but 1000 rounds later not good. That will require rework by the smith and again cost money. That no only applies to guns but other items as well!

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Post by Centerline 1/31/2024, 11:56 pm

Both my cf guns are RIA; one in .45 and one in .38 super. I've been happy with them. Did a bit of bushing and trigger work. The fs ultra .45 is a 1" gun on ransom. The .38 was a gi gun and if I had to do it again I'd get the fs ultra model because it comes with goodies like beaver tail, adjustable sights, etc. But the sights are Novak so it's hard to go with better target sights from there. Only problem I had was a grip bushing cross threaded so I oversized it. Great for an entry gun. $500 is better than $3k to start.

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Post by Froneck 2/1/2024, 12:57 am

You started with q $500 gun, did a trigger job, fixed a stripped grip bushing and I assume did something to the barrel bushing, maybe replacing it? What would it have cost if you had it done by a gunsmith? You claim the gun will shoot 1" group at what yardage? 50 yards? Trigger jobs are not easy, a good jig is needed though many are not good! You have iron sights yet a bullseye gun implies NRA type bullseye not service pistol.
Again tolerance could add to make a good shooter yet the opposite can happen, make a bad shooter! 
 If all the needed tools/parts were purchased and time that is needed (what a gun smith charges for) is added plus the knowledge needed to preform the work is considered the gun would cost more than $500!  Youtube videos are bad! Plus some of the best gunsmiths will have a hard time getting a 1911 to group 1" at 50 yards!

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Post by troystaten 2/1/2024, 1:48 am

Sorry for the delay in responding to Roy.  For CA there is what the state calls a "Roster" and for a handgun to be legally sold in the state it has to be on the roster.  To be on the roster it has to pass a "drop test" and who knows what other requirements.  If a manufacture makes a handgun and it passes the tests it can go on the roster but if the same gun is made with a different barrel length, material or finish then it does not qualify for the roster unless that exact model is "tested"  I think but am not positive that the manufacturer has to supply 10 handguns for the test.  Also once a handgun passes their is a time limit for how long it can remain on the roster without re-testing.  Interestingly enough there is an Olympic pistol list for pistols that are exempt from this and the S&W models 41 and 52 are on that list as well as a host of other euro 22's as well as a few Mahurin revolvers.  Also C&R's might be exempt as well as inner family transfers.  Since I am not an attorney or in law enforcement or work for the state please don't take what I am talking about as gospel .

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Post by Froneck 2/1/2024, 3:26 am

I'm sure most 1911s will pass the test. The design was approved by the military that has a very tough test. Most 1911 from the factory have heavy trigger pulls added to the grip safety and half-cock the 1911 should pass. What do they say about after purchase? Can the triggers be worked on, pull weight lowered? I also think that most bullseye guns will pass the drop test but then again it depends on how high it's dropped.

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Post by troystaten 2/1/2024, 4:52 am

For Froneck regarding CA, I am sure there are multiple reasons pistols don't make the roster in CA besides the drop test Without getting political the DOJ in CA does not want to make it easy to sell any handguns in the state I know the latest blued Colt pythons are not on the roster but the stainless steel ones are.  No Colt 1911's are on the roster, which might be related to the whole series 80 vs 70 difference.  Anyway the roster issue is one of the reasons I asked the question.  Fun stuff.

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Post by Froneck 2/2/2024, 4:22 pm

Yes I know it's political! Testing firearms from reputable companies is a waste of time! I think the reason why most pistols made in the USA have little trigger adjustment, they don't want to be sued. Having to disassemble the gun and do some modifications eliminates legal issues though I think a few lawyers will try!

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Post by Centerline 2/2/2024, 8:49 pm

Froneck wrote:You started with q $500 gun, did a trigger job, fixed a stripped grip bushing and I assume did something to the barrel bushing, maybe replacing it? What would it have cost if you had it done by a gunsmith? You claim the gun will shoot 1" group at what yardage? 50 yards? Trigger jobs are not easy, a good jig is needed though many are not good! You have iron sights yet a bullseye gun implies NRA type bullseye not service pistol.
Again tolerance could add to make a good shooter yet the opposite can happen, make a bad shooter! 
 If all the needed tools/parts were purchased and time that is needed (what a gun smith charges for) is added plus the knowledge needed to preform the work is considered the gun would cost more than $500!  Youtube videos are bad! Plus some of the best gunsmiths will have a hard time getting a 1911 to group 1" at 50 yards!
The point is, I didn't think the quality was poor and they have been serviceable guns for bullseye on a budget, so I would recommend for that; my personal experience has been good. Yes about 1.25" on a ransom rest at 50 yds. Sorry, I lied about the 1".  A bird was probably flying through the area. I don't think the trigger job was really that necessary, although adjusting springs always is. I suppose we all have a different tolerance for gunsmithing.

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Post by tovaert 2/8/2024, 2:21 pm

Wouldn't be surprised if this one was pretty accurate out of the box:

https://fusionfirearms.com/gotm-special-freedom-series-government-gi-free-black-shield-melanite

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