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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own quite a number of guns but recently I've been thinking about building one myself, to really customize it the way I want it. I've looked at several 2011 80% frames including the Black Mountains one. With the jigs available that cut the slide and barrel ramp I'm wondering how difficult it is to finish a 2011 build? I've seen a Polymer80 build and it's rather fairly easy, but I've never seem a 2011 or 1911 buold made so I'm wondering compared to a Polymer80 how difficult is it?
 

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Check out a YouTuber called MosinVirus. He did a 2011 build along with several 1911 builds. He shows how to do a lot of fitting on the gun for issues you wouldn't think you'd run into.

From what I understand, and am probably about to go through myself, 1911s are a lot more involved than the 80% polymer builds, requiring fitting of the barrel, grip safety/beavertail, sear, and other components. It's a good idea to do some research before you start to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Check out a YouTuber called MosinVirus. He did a 2011 build along with several 1911 builds. He shows how to do a lot of fitting on the gun for issues you wouldn't think you'd run into.

From what I understand, and am probably about to go through myself, 1911s are a lot more involved than the 80% polymer builds, requiring fitting of the barrel, grip safety/beavertail, sear, and other components. It's a good idea to do some research before you start to buy.
Are you going to build a 1911 yourself? Keep me posted. I want to see just how much fitting and for what you really need to do.
 

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+1 Mosinvirus videos
Before I had a mill I used the Matrix Jig, cuts stainless, carbon steel and cutters last. Very precise adjustments. The other one is for aluminum only, will do steel but multiple cutters required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
About how many hours does it take to build an 80% 2011 from start to finish? And do you really have to fit every single part, or it's not really necessary? Will everything just drop-in if you don't mind a less than stellar build, or it won't function at all without fitting each little thing?
 

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About how many hours does it take to build an 80% 2011 from start to finish? And do you really have to fit every single part, or it's not really necessary? Will everything just drop-in if you don't mind a less than stellar build, or it won't function at all without fitting each little thing?
I can tell you from experience I have building 1911’s your first one will take awhile as you’re going to need some special tools if you start with and 80% or 100% frame just pliers and screwdrivers won’t do much. You need to watch some videos to give you guidances.
 

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Having built guns on both 80% and 100% receivers, I recommend going the 100% route. It is just as satisfying, you are ensured that all holes are in their appointed places and you don’t have to get extra tooling. You’ll save money and time in the long run and be just as satisfied.

… X


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how many hours does it take to build an 80% 2011 from start to finish
Only have done 1911s, but I'm sure I spend 20 to 60 hrs each, depending on build.
A Sarco 1911 maybe 20 hrs plus finish, parkerizing is something easy enough to do.
Fully fitted and blended closer to 60 or more. Cerakote or other coating another couple days. I work full time so my 10mm took about 3 months, ported, slide cuts, cerakote. RIA commander maybe 30, no blending, but did cut the slots for the bushing. 40 hrs for a commander in SS, some blending.
You don't save money and you don't save time.
BUT Nothing like the satisfaction of a good shooter you build yourself.
Last thing, 2011s have some spendy components, maybe start with an 80% 1911 frame off gun broken. If you catch the bug, then jump into your 2011 frame
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Only have done 1911s, but I'm sure I spend 20 to 60 hrs each, depending on build.
A Sarco 1911 maybe 20 hrs plus finish, parkerizing is something easy enough to do.
Fully fitted and blended closer to 60 or more. Cerakote or other coating another couple days. I work full time so my 10mm took about 3 months, ported, slide cuts, cerakote. RIA commander maybe 30, no blending, but did cut the slots for the bushing. 40 hrs for a commander in SS, some blending.
You don't save money and you don't save time.
BUT Nothing like the satisfaction of a good shooter you build yourself.
Last thing, 2011s have some spendy components, maybe start with an 80% 1911 frame off gun broken. If you catch the bug, then jump into your 2011 frame
Thanks for the time consumption information and the tip. Yeah, it's not about cost, it's about building what you want. But now I'm a bit hesitant, I don't think I would be patient enough to spend weeks doing a build. I'm looking at the Black Hills 2011, most likely the already ceratoked aluminum frame. From start to finish, since you've done 1911s before, around how many labot hours do you estimate it would take?
 

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No, I'm building a few Para Ordnance double stack guns. Not quite a 1911 but most of the parts are interchangeable. The difficulty level is a bit higher for me and I have only a handful of tools to work with at the moment. My builds are still over a year away because I still have parts and tools to get.

Reading the thread, it seems that you don't want to invest too much time. If that's the case, I'd suggest going 100% route. You may still need to do some fitting, but you'll save a bunch of time.
Are you going to build a 1911 yourself? Keep me posted. I want to see just how much fitting and for what you really need to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, I'm building a few Para Ordnance double stack guns. Not quite a 1911 but most of the parts are interchangeable. The difficulty level is a bit higher for me and I have only a handful of tools to work with at the moment. My builds are still over a year away because I still have parts and tools to get.

Reading the thread, it seems that you don't want to invest too much time. If that's the case, I'd suggest going 100% route. You may still need to do some fitting, but you'll save a bunch of time.
Yeah, anything over maybe like 4 or 6 hours would probably be too much for me. With the jigs I think I can complete an 80% in about 20 or 30 minutes, it's fitting the slide, barrel, trigger housing, beavertail, all the lower parts that has me second guessing if I should proceed with my build.
 

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I think the term "building" is misused in the gun world. People will talk about "building" a M4 when all they're doing adding accessories. A 1911/2011 is NOT like drilling a couple holes in a plastic frame and "building" a Glock.

I do NOT have the patience or attention to detail to properly/legitimately build a 1911; sounds like you might not either.

My smith who's built a couple guns for me said that from a box o' parts to a safe/reliable 2011 takes a very solid 40 hours.
 

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Thanks for the time consumption information and the tip. Yeah, it's not about cost, it's about building what you want. But now I'm a bit hesitant, I don't think I would be patient enough to spend weeks doing a build. I'm looking at the Black Hills 2011, most likely the already ceratoked aluminum frame. From start to finish, since you've done 1911s before, around how many labot hours do you estimate it would take?
Probably take an easy weekend, with some shout outs to the experts here on the forum. As noted above, not really plug and play, takes patience even when starting 100%. Another option would be to buy a baseline shooter and then upgrade a few things, one at a time, get the hang of the whole "Some fitting may be required" thing...
 

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Agreed, there's a lot of ways to turn a $150-$300 receiver into a piece of scrap in seconds with these. The actual labor itself isn't too bad, you'll spend far more time measuring than fitting. That's how it goes for me anyway. You'll need a lot of specialty tools that aren't in the common toolbox.

I would say labor alone, 40hrs is pretty spot on. I researched and studied the 1911 platform for years before I began to build my own. I still learn things with every new build.

In regards to the Black Mountain aluminum frame, they are nice, but your going to be limited with an aluminum frame if your looking to build a race gun, etc. I have one but I plan to use it as a guinea pig for a steel rail insert I designed. If you would happen to get one, I would try to not get one already anodized.

The frame I have was already anodized. The problem is when you cut the rails and drill the pin holes is your losing that hard anodized surface in those areas. The frame rails are an especially high wear area. Any aluminum frames I get in the future will be raw. That way I make my cuts and then anodize the entire piece. With this one I have, I have to strip the old anodizing and then anodize the entire piece all over again. Masking would be too much of a pain.

Anyway, if you choose to do one feel free to hit me up. I've been through several brands and materials. I'll try to help steer you the best I can away from the mistakes I made. If it were me, I would go with Carbon Steel. It's my hands down favorite material with frames and slides. That may sound backwards but you'll have better luck and better longevity with Carbon Steel, i.e. 4140, 4150, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Agreed, there's a lot of ways to turn a $150-$300 receiver into a piece of scrap in seconds with these. The actual labor itself isn't too bad, you'll spend far more time measuring than fitting. That's how it goes for me anyway. You'll need a lot of specialty tools that aren't in the common toolbox.

I would say labor alone, 40hrs is pretty spot on. I researched and studied the 1911 platform for years before I began to build my own. I still learn things with every new build.

In regards to the Black Mountain aluminum frame, they are nice, but your going to be limited with an aluminum frame if your looking to build a race gun, etc. I have one but I plan to use it as a guinea pig for a steel rail insert I designed. If you would happen to get one, I would try to not get one already anodized.

The frame I have was already anodized. The problem is when you cut the rails and drill the pin holes is your losing that hard anodized surface in those areas. The frame rails are an especially high wear area. Any aluminum frames I get in the future will be raw. That way I make my cuts and then anodize the entire piece. With this one I have, I have to strip the old anodizing and then anodize the entire piece all over again. Masking would be too much of a pain.

Anyway, if you choose to do one feel free to hit me up. I've been through several brands and materials. I'll try to help steer you the best I can away from the mistakes I made. If it were me, I would go with Carbon Steel. It's my hands down favorite material with frames and slides. That may sound backwards but you'll have better luck and better longevity with Carbon Steel, i.e. 4140, 4150, etc...
Thanks Lowlander, I appreciate your post and tips. Wow, 40 hours is quite some time. Since you mentioned that a lot of thise 40 would be spent measuring, about how many will be spent fitting? I'm just hesitant now because I've heard you basically have to hand-fit every single thing as nearly all of the parts come oversized for hand-fitting.
 

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Yep, check out Mosin Virus' videos on Youtube. He has done step by step videos on multiple 1911 and 2011 builds.

I think I'd agree on the 100% frame to start. If you think about the precision needed for the pin holes to make the sear and hammer mate perfectly, it's hard for me to believe that doing it at home on a drill press or with a hand drill could yield precise results.
 

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Thanks Lowlander, I appreciate your post and tips. Wow, 40 hours is quite some time. Since you mentioned that a lot of thise 40 would be spent measuring, about how many will be spent fitting? I'm just hesitant now because I've heard you basically have to hand-fit every single thing as nearly all of the parts come oversized for hand-fitting.
The only measurements I remember taking were slide to frame so I would know how much to cut, and dimensions for the barrel. I would say getting the slide to frame fit tight and cycling smooth was the largest bulk of time spent. After that was fitting the beavertail and making sure it was blended satisfactorily. Slicking up the hammer, sear, and diconnector might have taken an hour or so, I was surprised how fast that went.

A lot of it really depends though. My Rock Island barrel fit right into the frame without a fuss and required only taking off a bare minimum amount of metal to get it to lock in place. Putting a Bar-Sto 10mm barrel into that same frame was several evenings of careful filing, and a lot of in & out for test fitting and hand cycling. And of course bending the sear/disco/grip safety springs so that all have adequate tension meant a lot of in & out of that spring as well. That alone was probably an evening of work, but I was being finnicky about how all of that felt.

And then there were inevitable surprises. Like finding the channel for the trigger wasn't milled to perfection, so that needed to be carefully filed and polished. Or the discovery that cerakote is actually not as straight forward as it looks, and actually doing it is far more complicated than appearances would lead one to believe. And of course ruined or misfit parts that are inevitable when someone new to a process gets their hands into it. My count so far is one ruined frame, 2 barrels, and probably some other miscellaneous things I'm forgetting.

Point blank, if you don't have a lot of spare time or patience for careful hand filing, polishing, and fitting, it's probably not something you'd want to undertake. I spent a good 50 hours or so on mine. With a 1911 it's not just the frame that's %80. Think of every piece as it's own %80 to %90 item that needs adjustment to work right. And if you half ass it your end product will be a brick at best and a liability at worst, not a safe and reliable gun.

If you want fast or easy, buy a GI 1911 and start switching parts one by one.
 

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Another option would be to take one of those classes a couple of the top smiths still do. You show up with a box of stuff and they are right there with you while you build it. I think they still do those..? Would be a safe/efficient way to learn stuff.
 
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