Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Little Custom Work

Last spring, I restored a 1944 Remington Rand 1911A1 to its former glory as a warrior's pistol.

This got me to thinking about maybe tackling something a little more complex. Well, last month I got a Colt Delta Elite in 10mm. One thing I don't like about standard Colt 1911s is the grip safety. The way it's configured doesn't lend itself to my shooting style, which is to get as high as a grip as I can and then some. I tried this grip style on my RR 1911 only once, and I've got the scar on the web of my left hand for the effort.

Obligatory before pic
This is what led me to make my first attempt at customizing a 1911. I got the parts from Ed Brown (no paid advertising or anything here FCC) last week and set out today to make my project come to life.

What I got from Ed Brown was:

Beavertail grip safety w/memory pad
Commander-style hammer
Sear and disconnector
Flat checkered main spring housing w/mag well
Ambidextrous safety
Main spring

The trigger is from STI and is polymer. It required a little bit of custom fitting to make sure it cleared everything. This was the very first thing I did when I started. I figured I'd start easy and work my way up from there.

The one part I was most worried about was the beavertail grip safety, as this required firing up the old Craftsman bench grinder. I took me a couple of minutes to make up my mind if this was what I really wanted to do. It was, and I did.

Roughing in the grip safety

Following the instructions included with the jig I bought, I got the grip safety roughed in, then spent the next hour working with various jewelers flat files to get everything to fit right. The one thing that guided me in this part was the fact I didn't want to take too much material off and ruin my project before it ever got off the ground. In fact, I was downright paranoid about it.

Then I spent the next couple of hours (ok, more like 4 or 5) getting everything to fit right. The only thing I really had any problems with was getting the new ambidextrous manual safety to fit. I think I disassembled and reassembled the guts of the Delta Elite about 35 or 40 times checking fit and cussing when things wouldn't go back together the way they were supposed to.

The finished product
After all that, I finally got everything finished, put back together and function checked. Man, I'm good. This turned out way better than I had any right to expect. I look at her and I almost don't want to shoot her. But shoot her I will, probably tomorrow. I can't wait to check out that STI trigger. Just dry firing a couple of times for function, it's wayyyyy better than the stock job. I can't wait.

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