A friend of mine ordered one before the article came out and said it was a 3 year wait. Vickers posted a 'fair warning' that prices would go up after the article due to higher demand or such. My guess is that 3 years would be the minimum then.
Hi t.heck, Maybe I can offer a little insight on Larry's work, waiting list, you'll have to ask him, go to the guild's americanpistol.com for more info on him.
I have known Larry for more than a few years now and feel qualified to speak on his behave. The article in A/H is a good one and I’d say it is 99.9% accurate. Yes, many of the general 1911 shooting public never heard of him as apposed to some of the bigger names in the business but his talent is well known in the small professional community. In my business I get the opportunity to examine many manufactures and pistol smith’s work. It ranges from butchered to excellent. Larry’s workmanship is at the top of its class; the worst thing I can say about his pistols is that they are very nice. I believe him when he said he builds every pistol as if it were his own. If I were to go into combat I would not hesitate to use any of his pistols, and I’d be right BEHIND Larry going in.
Are pistols from high priced one-man shops worth their money? Well that depends if you want the Master to build your custom gun or the guy that sweeps up the chips. One reason custom work from a one man shop seems very pricey is you pay the Master the full mechanic hourly rate to build your entire gun and sweep up the chips. But when all said and done and the hourly rate is figured most smith are working for a fraction of their worth. For example: when my machines run I try to bid my work at $60.00 an hour (it would be nice to make that all the time but it always don’t pan-out that way), if I have to stop and clean your gun its 60 bux an hour or I’m losing money. How many people would pay 60 bux to clean their pistol? Well I know a few that wish they would have after they get their pistol back and it looks like the guy used a ball peen hammer and a cut nail to take it apart and re-assemble, not to mention stripped screw heads and screw driver gouge down the side plate, then the butcher denies they did it. It seems always the hired help did it. Bottom line is if you’re the kind of guy that wants the job done right the first time and to talk to the guy that’s going to build your gun and be responsible for the end product you may have to pay the full mechanic rate.
Larry’s work also may have a little collectors value added on to it, which means you should never lose a penny on that pistol, never sell it for less than what you paid for it, with that in mind I do believe your getting what you pay for. If this is not important to you keep in mind we have many pistol smith right here on the Forum that do fine work for a very reasonable price, there pistols are a excellent value.
There is a little more to pistolsmithing than just tweaking, swapping, mixing and matching parts, If the gun is built to spec everything goes pretty smooth, it’s when the parts are out of spec that really throws a wrench in the fan. Its best to have a smith that has the knowledge to identify, gauge and measure your parts to insure they are correct. Larry is one such smith.
Awhile-back Larry had some parts from a CNC manufacturer that where out of tolerance, some were skeptical of his claims. Well I know better, I’ve ran and maintained production machinery for the last 17 years and know what it is to hold tolerances to 2/10th of a thousandth (.0002) or 5/10th’s, which some of them claim. There is a big difference between building parts to .0005 and building parts to plus minus .002, like the temperature there measured in. When your running production and something runs-amuck, such as a shim pack loosen up and fall out of a fixture plate, coolant nozzle move and not exhaust the chip and bind the cutters, drills or cutters break or wear etc… a whole lot of bad parts can be made fast and go down the line. Yes I have no doubts their machinery will hold these tolerances but there not going to build a pistol to .0005 throughout for 500 bux.
I have opinions like everyone else on these parts BUT THE ONLY THING I KNOW FOR SURE IS WHAT I MEASURE and I’ve measured parts from a few of these CNC manufactures and found gross run-out and miss-alignment, bolt faces, locking lugs, mag-wells, extractor holes etc…, some out by as much as .020, it is not common but there are some lemons out there. Some critical dimensions can’t be corrected by just tweaking some parts.
At any rate I rambled on long enough, bottom line is pays your money and take your pick.
Hope this enlightened some on Larry’s or another smith’s custom work, MetalSmith