1911Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,576 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is it possible to build a stainless custom 1911 for $1500? I did some preliminary shopping and it looks like I can get a stainless Caspian frame and slide along with the internal parts for approximately $1000. How much do the services of a smith usually cost? I am not thinking of anything fancy, just a simple 1911 with beavertail (and possibly a serrated front strap).

Any up and coming smiths I should keep in mind? I know about the big names, but their waiting lists are usually years long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,459 Posts
Not to change the subject, but for $1500 you can get a pretty decent Colt Special Combat in hard chrome or a Baer P2. (Or at least somewhere near $1500).

I don't think you're going to get what you want finished for that $$$ range. Tracy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,576 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I already have a Concept II though. So how much should the budget be? $2000? $2500?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,459 Posts
Never built anything yet, but I would check with the 'smith you're going to use and see what time frame and $$$$ range they will give you. I'd call Bob at Fusion or EGW for what you're doing. There's a lot of great smiths out there and you'll get a lot of suggestions. Most that will be recommended are stand up guys, but you have to decide on the time frame you accept. Tracy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,006 Posts
Is it possible to build a stainless custom 1911 for $1500? I did some preliminary shopping and it looks like I can get a stainless Caspian frame and slide along with the internal parts for approximately $1000. How much do the services of a smith usually cost? I am not thinking of anything fancy, just a simple 1911 with beavertail (and possibly a serrated front strap).

Any up and coming smiths I should keep in mind? I know about the big names, but their waiting lists are usually years long.
I hate to burst your bubble but you are looking at at least another $1000 of work from there, and even then all you will end up with a pretty plain looking gun that is a accurate and reliable. That isn't a bad thing. If you care about the looks of the gun then it gets prohibitively expensive quickly.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,049 Posts
Is it possible to build a stainless custom 1911 for $1500? I did some preliminary shopping and it looks like I can get a stainless Caspian frame and slide along with the internal parts for approximately $1000. How much do the services of a smith usually cost? I am not thinking of anything fancy, just a simple 1911 with beavertail (and possibly a serrated front strap).

Any up and coming smiths I should keep in mind? I know about the big names, but their waiting lists are usually years long.
Check out http://www.fusionfirearms.com/
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,496 Posts
Let's say a cutom builder gets $50 an hour for labor (which is a fair price)

Do the math...what can you build in 10 hours?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
923 Posts
I built my pistol for around $1500 but I did all the machining and fitting myself and bought tools and jigs.. unless you are a machinist and have access to equipment, you might come up short..:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,130 Posts
Interesting concept.

IF you were to purchase the slide with the front and rear sight cuts and slide to frame fit done. Use a Kart ez fit barrel. Caspian perhaps checker the frame too.

50.00 an hr is fair for a Custom Gunsmith?
Not sure what a ride in your time machine costs, would like to try it for investment purposes, but last I checked Craftsman that have skills get well over 150% of that. Most would not be recognized on a national level. Wile I am sure there are Very good Plumbers, Mechanics, Welders in our attendance they are probably not billed out at under 75.00 per hr.

I have seen this before here and I am sure there are many that will come and say more but the skill set that the Known Smith's have is of at least at VERY least equil to other trades. Most get more.

back to the 1500.00 bullet launcher.
Slide, frame, barrel, fit slide frame and sight cuts.
pretty good start I presume.
500.00 to get to the finish line? not sure.

geo

www.egw-guns.com
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,062 Posts
50.00 an hr is fair for a Custom Gunsmith?
Not sure what a ride in your time machine costs, would like to try it for investment purposes, but last I checked Craftsman that have skills get well over 150% of that. Most would not be recognized on a national level. Wile I am sure there are Very good Plumbers, Mechanics, Welders in our attendance they are probably not billed out at under 75.00 per hr.
www.egw-guns.com
For comparison, I'm a mechanic at a GM (Saturn) dealership. The store charges $89 an hour for repair work. Our maintenance labor rate is less to keep competitive. I think it's around $52 an hour, but not sure.

I can say for certain that good gunsmiths do much more crafting, artistry and specialty operations than I or anybody in my shop do on any kind of regular basis.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,496 Posts
Good points, Gentlemen. Sorry I mentioned such a low price. The company in which I'm employed gets $85 an hour for CNC machine work, and we thrive on doing the work in less time than quoted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,740 Posts
I'd start with a Springfield Mil-spec stainless, for example, and add about $800 worth of "custom" stuff...or use a Colt.

Might be the best way for that kind of money.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,866 Posts
For comparison, I'm a mechanic at a GM (Saturn) dealership. The store charges $89 an hour for repair work. Our maintenance labor rate is less to keep competitive. I think it's around $52 an hour, but not sure.

I can say for certain that good gunsmiths do much more crafting, artistry and specialty operations than I or anybody in my shop do on any kind of regular basis.
And out of that $89 or $52, what does the employee actually doing the work see? About a third? I'm not sure that would be the comparison I would want to make. The high (even overly high) prices dealerships charge just open up a whole new market for independent shops. Some are just as good as the dealerships and some, are not.

A better comparison to a really good gunsmith would be a body and paint guy at a dealership. They do a lot of crafting, artistry and specialty operations along the lines of what a really good gunsmith would do? Usually body shops charge an even lower hourly rate than service at a dealership, so I can assure you a skilled body and paint guy isn't even making anywhere near $75 x 150% per hour. With the number of skilled craft Plumbers, Mechanics, Welders, and others out of work, I think, given the choice, they will bill out below $75/hour. Let's be real, none of use are calling our plumbers and asking them to mod our water pipes. Or are we?

For what the OP is looking for, "nothing fancy, just a simple 1911 with beavertail (and possibly a serrated front strap)", Caspian could be an excellent starting point. Order the frame with the features you want and beavertail prep. Order the slide with the sight cuts and other features you want. Pay Caspian $50 to fit the slide and frame. Find a local smith that is capable of doing the final fitting of a barrel, the sights and the beavertail, get a drop in trigger kit and $1500, seems pretty doable.

Or, a "mil-spec" complete gun for ~$500 might be an alternative starting point that leaves a cool grand for new sight cuts/install ($250), beavertail install ($150), and maybe a new properly fit barrel bushing (~$50) and some trigger work ($100 and up for a drop in, or $200 or more for new parts and tuning).

I guess it all depends on what qualifies as a "custom 1911". Start adding more "artistic" touches and I think the sky is really the limit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,576 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the help all.

As you can probably tell I am quite ignorant when it comes to the subject of custom 1911s. I really have no idea of what goes into crafting these masterpieces, that's why I came here first.

On the Caspian webpage they sell both receivers and frames. Caspian is willing to customize them for the customer, for a fee of course. With sight cuts, serrated front strap, serrated round top, beveled magwell, beavertail cut, and the handfit option the price for these items is $742.54. I still need to buy the internals of course. How much should I expect to pay for quality stainless steel parts?

When I mentioned $1500 I was just thinking out loud. I was merely wondering if it was possible to build a no-frills custom pistol for that amount of money, I am willing to increase my budget. How much do you think a smith would charge to put a pistol together if I did the legwork and provided all the parts? I won't be asking him to do any extra metal work.

I am aware of the alternative of building up a Colt or Springfield. I prefer to start with the best frame possible though. Another nice thing about Caspian frames is that Caspian gives the option of having a customized serial number. I'm turning 35 in a couple of years and this would be a nice gift to myself. I was thinking of having Caspian give me the serial number XXXXXX 2011. This would be very meaningful as the serial number would have my last name and the year I turned 35. 2011 is also the centenial of the venerable 1911 design. Very cool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,319 Posts
cool fer sure

My Caspian frame's serial number is "GRAY AREA 1".

Increase your budget to $2500 or so and discuss it with Mr. Smith and crew at EGW.

Caspian offers excellent small parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
there is a company "Mile high Armory" that can build a Caspian gun for around
$1500-1600.Do a Google search for them,should come right up.You pick your own pieces from a Menu system,looks like a pretty neat deal.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,866 Posts
I'm turning 35 in a couple of years and this would be a nice gift to myself. I was thinking of having Caspian give me the serial number XXXXXX 2011. This would be very meaningful as the serial number would have my last name and the year I turned 35. 2011 is also the centenial of the venerable 1911 design. Very cool.

With these tid bits of key information, I would highly suggest upping your budget to $2,000-2,500 and having everything done by an established smith. If you're lucky and start now, it may even be done in time for your birthday in 2011.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,607 Posts
The first thing to ask yourself is why do you want/need a custom gun. If it is for competition like IDPA or IPSC then a "Plain Jane" Kimber will more than meet your needs. 99.99% of the shooters I have been around are less accurate than the guns they shoot.
If it is to be a gun that you occasionally shoot and most of the time fondle then a high $$$ gun is for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,981 Posts
Not knowing what you want a gun to look like, but John Harrison charges $1575 for a "Custom Carry Package" on your gun. IPSC Limited match guns are commonly $1500 - $1800 on your receiver.

At this stage of the game I would estimate the labor to equal the parts, plus a contingency allowance. In other words, $2500.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top