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Discussion Starter #1
Just curious if any of the 'smiths have noticed a loss of business/decrease in revenue now that everyone and his brother seems to sell 1911 parts. I'm not a gunsmith, but there aren't too many things that I have not been able to do/fix/change on my guns due, in part, to the massive availability of big parts houses (ie, Brownells.)

Has your trade been reduced to re-bluing, checkering and barrel fitting because of the impact of "drop-in" aftermarket parts?
 

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I buy from Brownell's because they offer incredible customer service and support.

The majority of drop in parts aren't


If anything the quality parts (Brownell's, Wilson's ect) and better guns (Kimber, Nowlin, Springfield) have made my job easier because there are more guns in service and more quality parts available to build from.

In the early 80's you had few choices for parts and had to know how to do your own work or modify a Colt or King's part. Before that time it was even worse. Colt or your own manufacture were the options.

I started building full time in 1983. Haven't stayed in the busienss full time but always built several guns a year even while doing something else. From my perspective we are living in a time when not only the best grade guns are being built but the best guns EVERare being built. The reason? Some amazing talent doing the work across the board and some even more amazing parts are easily available for the 1911.

[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 03-11-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Originally posted by Dane Burns:
If anything the quality parts (Brownell's, Wilson's ect) and better guns (Kimber, Nowlin, Springfield) have made my job easier because there are more guns in service and more quality parts available to build from.

Interesting perspective. I would have guessed that you guys would hate Kimber and Springfield because of the "loaded" features that these guns come standard with (features that were once the sole territory of the gunsmith).
 

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There is doubt that the new lines of 1911's from Kimber and springfield cut into the custom market some, but remember these are still production pieces quality will vary for example look at the fit of a beavetail or sight cuts they're not that great ,also in event the you do want one those pistols customized you become some what limited on your options. Ocg1911

[This message has been edited by OCG1911 (edited 03-11-2001).]
 

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shane45-1911

Let me add this as far as the beavertails, mainspring housings, dehorn, checkering, and etc. on the production guns.

Yes, the production guns are serviceable and good buys for the money but when placed side by side next to the Wilson, Brown and Baer I sure sell the high end guns without any more question. Then we play which is the best custom gun "game"

My best sale piece for this example is custom Kimber stainless covert (Limited Edition Custom Shop Gun) I have in stock. There are obvious milling marks in the dehorn. The fit of the beavertail is very loose. The beaver tail is a very porous finish stainless steel and the mainspring housing is checkered plastic, just to name some obvious differences. It sells plenty of the high end guns. It cannot match the fit and finish never will equal or exceed. Again Yes it is very serviceable.

Be safe and keep the brass flying

Terry Peters
http://www.pt-partners.com
 

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shane-45

I need to add one more thing to the post. With the increased number of 1911's whether Kimber, Springfield or Colt out there. I along was you was very surprised at the number of folks buying and changing parts.

The "factory" improvements on the Kimber and Springfield have made the part buyers pay more attention to detail if anything and has made the 1911 buyer a winner in the retail game by offering so much more in the production package.

Follow this line of reasoning. If there is a blemish, fault, or whatever there is so much more out there to choose from.

Remember the first maker of the so called "production" custom gun out of the shop back in the early 1990's. I think it was 1992 or 1993. Les Baer. All in one gun on demand and ready long before the 1, 2, and 3 year wait from the one man shop.

Then the 1911 market went to follow.

Now with the Kimber out there with the same/similar idea in a production package with about 100,000 guns on the street the competition is incredible and the winner is the buyer or consumer.

American Handgunner has an article on this or the so called "1911 Wars" and the impact of increased standards and competition.

Be safe and keep the brass flying

Terry Peters
http://www.pt-partners.com
 

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Not a gunsmith, but have bought more than my share of 1911's, here is my take on it...based just on my buying and my buddies.

A pistol from one of the good smiths is much more than a combination of parts. My experience has been that these good customs almost seem to have been birthed...as is. There doesn't appear to be "add-on" parts on the gun, they are just seamless and *right*. The other thing you get when you buy a custom is the ear of the maker. I had a question on one of the Burns' pistols I have, 1 call got the answer. Try that at Kimber, Colt, Springfield or Baer [trust me, I have btdt, didn't get answers after more than 1 call].

For the 1911 fan, we live in a wonderful period of time. Competition between 'smiths is strong, parts are good, and there are some real artists working in the custom pistol field. We are blessed
 

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You can get a perfectly serviceable 1911 from the manufacturers now. You can get a functional work of art from the smiths. That's why the smiths will always be here.

This really is a good time to be alive.
 

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Hi Everyone, I did see these "factory custom pistols" crimp the custom pistol smiths's business, but I think I've seen this stuff balance out in a short time, these 1911's are like Harley's, a lot of people like customizing them and making them personal, pistols like Kimbers, a good gun, good price, some people buy them cuz there a sucker for a good deal (like me!) And they would not of bought one unless they got a good deal, now we have a lot of new customers with 1911's, they shoot'em, stuff breaks, need trigger job, paint job, etc...........and I'm seeing the business pick-up with them, I think it will all keep in balance cuz there will always be a need for a talented custom smith that give's personal custom service. MetalSmith
 

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Well, I read this thread, and felt I had to give my 2 cents too....so here we go.
Yes, factories are getting more innovative in design and manufacturing technologies, but there's a few logical things that we need to keep reminding ourselves....
1) These pistol designs have come from the great minds they have always come from
2) These great minds are also great Gunsmiths
3) Obviously these guys can't assemble 50,000 guns a year
4) Introduction of mass production
This is the reason that the Gunsmith will never be obsolete. These factories turn out exceptional quality products, but they're made in mass. That alone reduces the chance of getting a pistol that's been "reared" by caring parents that have spent countless hours moulding and educating their "children" on how to function and last a long time.
If you're a person who's looking for a "workhorse" that's house broken, go to a gunsmith. If you're looking for a "workhorse" that'll do the job day after day, but you don't want to spend the big bucks on some a little more "personable", then buy a factory assembled. The fact that gunsmiths themselves say that they are using factory frames, slides, and barrels and merely "tweaking" them says a lot for factory quality.
I hope I made some sense.....LOL
Have a great weekend!!!!


------------------
Really interesting....Don't ya think??
 

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Unless a gun is "custom," it's coming off an assembly line, so it just makes sense to send it to a smith who can optimize or tweak the gun to get the most out of it.
 

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Discussing project guns with a Kimber excutive he mentioned this to me. "Kimber builds the platform, smiths work on that platform".

Point well taken. There is no factory gun, be it Wilson, Brown or Les Baer that can't be made better by a competent smith. Where do you think that leaves guns from Kimber, Colt or Springfield?

I saw a BIG increase in business from day one of the Kimbers. Why? Because I quickly saw the potential in the platform.

One of the clearest presentations of that was a dealer in Spokane Wa. who sold Morris custom pistols over the counter. He had a $3700 Morris gun framed by two early Oregon Kimbers at $449. Smart retailer. How many Kimbers do you think he sold from that display


(let's see now, one custom Colt or 2 Kimbers and a used 4x4
No decision in Spokane or Michigan, I suspect)

There will always be a 100 Kimber sales to one of every $3700 custom gun.
 
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