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I've been shooting for a while, and am decent at basic field stripping, minor repairs, that kind of thing. I really want to try my hand at "customizing" a 1911.

I picked up an old, but decent condition, Argentine Colt from my brother for next to nothing. I took it out this week-end to make sure it was still functional. It is. The first thing that jumped out at me was, WOW, wicked hammer bite.

So, I've decided to make this pistol my guinea pig. I've asked the wife for the Kuhnhausen Vol 1 book for Christmas. i've read that its a must for 1911 folks.

I think i want to try to tackle the beaver tail, hammer issue first on this pistol. I'm thinking of going with a drop in beaver tail, even though i know there is probably better choices, I'm going for easy the first time out. I also want to change out the hammer.

I would very much appreciate recommendations on a beaver tail/hammer combo that would be easy to work with. I would also appreciate any other insights on parts I might look at replacing while I'm inside doing this work. Any tips would also help.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Here is a great site that has lots of info on what you are trying to do.


Roderus Custom

Click Progress on the left, and then click on Sistema project.

The forums also have lots of Garage Gunsmiths that do this stuff all the time.

Warning: It's addictive, and can lead to lots of expensive machines and tooling being purchased!
 

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and this one:

http://www.blindhogg.com/gunsmithing.html


I'd skip the drop in beavertail, it really won't help you learn anything. It would be more of a part swap than anything. Don't be afraid of filing/grinding just go at it very slow. Get yourself a good file set and the correct radius tool for the beavertail install and you should have more fun than headaches:D . You could possibly replace just the hammer since the sear and disconnector are probably quality parts if they're original but chances are you will need a gunsmith to do some action work/fitting to make sure it is safe. You may be better off buying one of the "drop in" action kits which include the hammer, sear, disconnector, sear spring and mainspring. another simpler/cheaper option would be to just radius and bob the spur hammer slightly till you don't notice it biting you. good luck, fz4vgq
 

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I don't know about ignoring the beavertail. If you are getting some hammer bite, then change it out. I think you will learn quite a bit about the nuances of grinding, filing, and polishing the metal to make a "drop in" beavertail look good. As FZ4 said, just make sure you have the right tools and go very slow.....watch the desire to break out the dremel!!!! Be very very careful if the Dremel bug bites you. Good tool, but its probably led to the demise of more 1911s than any other one cause. As for the hammer issue, I have found it good practice to always keep hammers and sears together. If you want a new hammer, get a new sear to go with it. These are critical parts that you want to "mate" together at a very fine level. I have had some issues when I build up a gun with an older sear and a newer hammer, whereas I have no issues when I just plug in a quality new hammer and sear. I have always used Ed Brown internals on my guns and have always loved their hammer and sears. No issues, and a great trigger pull. Best of luck!!

Gunslinger
 

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I must appologize, the way I wrote my above reply made it sound like I was saying skip the whole beavertail safety part and just bob the hammer. I meant I would pass on the "drop in" style beavertails as they usually look and fit terrible. Fitting a beavertail such as a Brown Memory Groove, S&A , etc is actually a fairly easy job and a good one for the first time modification as you don't need any complex tools or machinery, just patience. As Gunslinger45 said above, resist the temptation to breakout the dremel tool, they have a bad habit of getting out of control right when you're almost finished with the job and screwing it up beyond repair! good luck
 

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dremels don't ruin 1911's people ruin 1911's. Great tool if used properly, use it for the rough fit, when you get close(measure often) switch to files and emery.
 
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