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Info wanted on unfinished frames.

1093 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  carlosg
There is a company that sells 80% finished frames for 1911,s. Has anybody had any expierence with these,good or bad?
Looking at buying one and can't stop thinking about the horrors of the other 20%.
Any info would be helpful .
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Unless you're a gunsmith, you're looking at more money to have the frame "finished," so that the rest of the parts, including the slide will fit in the frame.

For example, I bought a "race ready" frame recently, but found that the mainspring housing was so solidly stuck in the frame that only a smith could remove it. Then he had to work on the frame and housing so it could be removed normally. Slide rail thickness, pin holes, finishing on the metal all may need attention from a gunsmith.

In short, once you get all the parts together, you're still looking at expenses for gunsmithing.
Thanks for the reply mate.Do you know of anyone that has purchased one of these frames
and ever got it running? I'd like to get some ideas on any machine work that may need doing.
I was just looking at my 1918 ERFURT frame,
wouldnt like to tackle that one!
I don't know of anybody that finished an 80% frame, but I do know some folks that build a shooter from Essex frames. The Essex company says that their frames are mil-spec, and ready for parts.

However, if you visit their web site, or talk to them, you'll find that they advise that some fitting will have to be done, and should be done by a gunsmith.

My experience with Essex was discussed earlier on this thread (it may be in the archives), and the experiences I had with the Essex product have been repeated with another make of frame.

One man I talked to said that when he tried to assemble a working gun from his Essex frame, he had to go through a pile of parts, selecting and rejecting each one until he found one that would fit. He said (after a lot of hemming and hawing) that he had to hand fit all the parts in the frame this way before he had a shooter. I suppose this wouldn't be much of a problem if you had a dozen or so hammers, sears, sear pins, triggers, mainspring housings, and so on, which he had, but if you don't have the inventory of a parts dealer, you will likely find yourself hand fitting some parts, or paying a 'smith to do it.

Now, this is with frames that are advertised as ready for parts installation...in other words, 100% frames. Simple logic suggests that an 80% frame will present these problems, and more.

To answer your question directly, he claimed that he got the one he bought working, and used it for casual competition, then got another one for his son, and repeated the whole experience. He did say that he got both of them working well enough to use in local competition.

I didn't see any trophies in his office, though.

The most common machine work I think you'll need to have done is reducing slide rail thickness, pin hole reaming, mag catch hole enlargement, and maybe mainspring housing area enlargement, or MS housing rail thickness reduction.

The frame I bought a few weeks ago will need slide rail work, MS housing rail work, and some material removed from the walls of the MS housing area in the frame.

Hope this helps somewhat.
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You can check here:

William is the owner, and he does most of the casting himself, check his website, he also produces receivers for AR rifles.
I most mention here that a great deal of experience and tools are necessary to accomplish what you are thinking about...good luck.

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