After half a year of reloading, I’ve came to realize a few things that probably all novice shooters eventually learn:
- accuracy is a potential, without the right ammo, a great gun still shoots like crap
- accuracy is the consistency of the barrel’s position and tension in relation to all its surrounding parts whenever the gun is in battery
- the only way to achieve great consistency is to ensure that every moving part has tolerances that would not allow any slack
It’s not that I NEED the most accurate gun, but the pursuit of one is where the adventure is. 🙂
I got a taste of what a great shooting gun can be like when I got the PM9, and I was set to buy the Les Baer Premier II with the 1.5″ guarantee as my next step up, but the road to accuracy shouldn’t be this this quick and easy now, should it? 🙂
For two months I’ve been learning everything there is to know about the 1911, and the time had finally came for me to put one together, with an 80% frame.
Why an 80% frame? Because I live in California, and there’s no such thing as buying a handgun lower in this neck of the woods.
First, a bit of financial breakdown on building your own 1911, the cost is actually quite attractive:
Other parts – $300 (don’t want to skimp on some parts such as the slide stop)
If I can build a gun that rivals a $1800 gun for $680, then that would be fantastic. Although all the gun smithing parts come to more than a thousand dollars already, and let’s not factor in the cost of my CNC mill and lathe… at the end, none of the cost analysis matters because I just want to get my hands greasy. 🙂
Putting together a 1911 is actually very straight forward. The difficulty all lies in getting the parts to fit *just right*.
First was cutting the slide – It’s easy to cut to the right dimensions, but after that comes hours of hand-fitting to get everything just right.
Second most time consuming part was fitting the barrel. I thought 90% of the work was fitting the barrel hood, but turns out the lock grooves were not fitting perfectly (of course) and that took more hours to discover and fine tune.
After that, the rest was a cake walk. Polishing the hammer and sear were a joy, while smoothing out the trigger is kind of a pain just because how hard it is to reach inside the receiver at times.
All in all, the experience taught me a lot, and the results were quite rewarding.
Two guns were built – one with the slide from my RIA 9mm TACT2, and the other is a 45 caliber with a slide from Blackthrone Products.
Admittedly I messed up on the barrel to slide fit on the 9mm build, so I don’t expect great accuracy with that gun, while my second gun, the 45ACP, holds less mistakes and a tight barrel fit.
Range report – day 1
I couldn’t wait to shoot my 45ACP 1911. It was late in the day when I finished so I rushed to the indoor range to see what it can do:
The left are the groups by the 45, right are from the 1911. These are shot standing, with factory ammo, so I was pretty excited with the promise that the 45 caliber 1911 holds.
Range report – day 2
Hand loaded 50 rounds with N320 and Nosler 185gr bullets. Though it was raining, the range was still open, so I went and did some bench shooting.
The big disappointment today was that all my hand load sucked. The recommended load on the Nosler website didn’t work for me at all! I thought the day was over, but then I remembered the good results I have with the Magtech factory ammo…
On a bench with a 6x scope, I could get groups as tight as 0.7″. That’s a relief!
The 9mm cycles perfectly (probably because the barrel is ramped) but the 45ACP would jam 10% of the time, but that can be troubleshot and fixed. Hoping that one day I’ll get even better results with hand loads!
Where to buy 1911 80% frames?
- Tactical Machining (http://www.tacticalmachining.com/)
- Stealth Arms (http://www.stealtharms.net/shop/1911-series.html/) (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/stealth-arms-80-1911-lower-receiver?a=1747831)
- 1911 Builders (http://1911builders.com/collections/all)
- Maverick Arms (http://www.maverickarms.org/#!1911-frames/c102o)
- Vytamen Co (http://www.ar15upperreceiverparts.com/1911framesandparts.aspx)
- M16 Parts (http://www.m-16parts.com/contents/en-us/d130.html)
- Coats Carbine (http://coatscarbine.com/?wpsc_product_category=billet-frames) *aluminum
- Ares Armor (http://aresarmor.com/store/Item/rudius1911) * polymer + steel
- TDS Arms (http://rocklin.tdsguns.com/store/product/13566/1911-Builders-80%25-Kit/)