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Discussion Starter #1
Last month I bought a new stainless Colt Combat Commander. With tax it was over $900.00. I just spent close to $500.00 for the following modifications, and I still want to put 30 LPI stripling on the front grip.

1. Novak night sites
2. Ed Brown grip safety with memory grove
3. Extended thumb safety
4. Minor refinishing
5. Shock buffers

Considering I already have $1,400.00 wrapped up in my Commander, maybe I'll just buy a Wilson next time. But then I wouldn't have a Colt. Or maybe my Smith robbed me! Did I pay to much?

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Hero45
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[This message has been edited by Hero45 (edited 11-06-2001).]
 

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Originally posted by Hero45:


1. Novak night sites
2. Ed Brown grip safety with memory grove
3. Extended thumb safety
4. Minor refinishing
5. Shock buffers

Did I pay to much?

I dunno. I can tell you that I am having Novaks with Trijicon night sights installed on my gun right now.

$125.00 for the Novaks
$ 99.00 for the Trijicon
$ 25.00 for some machining

So we are all ready at $250.00. I don't think you were ripped off.
 

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Hero 45,
Did you pay too much? That depends on how well the new parts are fitted to your gun. If all is perfect, it seems like a reasonable price.

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Get a Wilson. Other than the nostalgia of owning a Colt, they just don't compare to the Wilsons. Unfortunately, I got back into the 1911 thing by getting a Wilson. Just spoiled me for anything less. Try one, you'll love it.
 

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Prices sound pretty normal to me, and you should have one nice Colt right now. Did you research prior to buying you're Colt and having the modifications done? Sounds like you're surprised that it all cost so much.
 

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Or you could have looked at the Springfield 'Loaded' series. Doesn't have the 'name' factor of Colt or Wilson, but still an excellent value IMHO. Just bought a Compact (alloy officers size frame, commander slide, Novac night sights, 'bumped' grip safety, ramped barrel) for under $700. Good finish, accurate gun, EXCELLENT trigger.. to me, a better value
 

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From the description of what was done the price sounds high. But, I don't know if the frame or slide had to be cut and the gun refinished. If that's the case, the price was probably okay.

Anyway, don't feel bad. A lot of us have fallen into the same trap. A $600 Colt, Springfield or Kimber gets worked on and suddenly turns into a $1,400 (or in my case a $2,000) gun. In the end, you have a production gun that you will never get your money out of. If you're not concerned about resale, it probably doesn't matter.

The lesson I've learned is to leave well enough alone and do only minor work that I can do myself. I don't buy into the fiction that a 1911 is never ready out of the box. My philosophy is simple: if the gun needs to go to a smith to get what I want then it's the wrong gun for me in the first place. BTW, buying a Wilson doesn't ensure that you still won't have costly work done.
 

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Next time get an Ed Brown.
 

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That's an intersting and valid post, Howard. Sometimes, reading the various forums, I tend to get the feeling that it's almost mandatory to have this or that done to your gun before it's deemed "ready to go."

But, you know, I guess the same can be said of those whose hobbies lie in cars, boats, bikes, whatever. To each their own.
 

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Most of the brand name 1911's are ready to go right out of the box. However, I don't think you can put a price on making a gun "just right" for you. There isn't a single out of the box production handgun that I don't want to have something adjusted or changed.

Don't feel bad. As long as you enjoy your gun. Just remember though that Wilson does not make a Commander size gun. The closest you'll get with Wilson is a gun with a Officer's ACP length grip mated to a Commander length slide, which would make it more similar to a Colt CCO.
 

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I'll tell you one thing I know for sure: find the gun with what you want and buy it all at once. Paying to have guns re-worked is expensive. If you go to places like STI, you can get hand made 1911 guns that need no work for $900 -$1300 and they shoot perfectly when you get them. Sorry if you got reamed, but as I tell my boss: it's always easier to do it right the first time than do it over later (he doesn't believe me though).
 

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Sounds like you have a very nice 1911 Hero....Don't beat yourself if you think you paid too much...Next time will be a better deal because you now have something of value to relate it to...

It's a done deal now...Look at it this way...A Staineless Genuine Colt Commander with Novak's and a Brown beavertail...I love Commanders...I bet it is a beautiful gun! Go on and put the checkered front strap on it...I hope it shoots as good as it looks....I would guess that the smith did a reliability tune up to it...if not thats worth another 75....Go ahead and make it exactly what you want and shoot the hell out of it and don't look back....
 

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I think that was an okay price on the parts and fitting. Most likely he had to cut the frame for that beavertail and then reblue the slide and frame to match. (unless they were stainless and he just had to bead blast the parts to match)

I would suggest getting an SVI single stack next time. Check them out at http://www.sviguns.com
If your going to spend around 2K, you can't go wrong with the SVI.


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Matt Burkett
http://www.mattburkett.
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480-949-1553
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I picked up my Commander today and it is nice. OK everyone, tell me how to post a picture so that I can show you.

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Hero45
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I'm kind of new to 1911's and have a Kimber Classic Custom that I paid $565 for. It is more accurate than I am and has been flawless in operation since day one. I'm just curious, how much better is a Wilson, Les Baer, Ed Brown, etc. and why? My trigger has a little "hitch" to it but I'm sure I could get that taken care of pretty cheaply if it really bothered my shooting. I have confidence in the MMI parts and could probably change them all out for less than $100. But the gun is great. So what's the deal?
 

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im glad you like how your commander turned out.
i actually am taking an opposite approach.
having owned a baer pII and wilson 2 tone protector, i just recently bought a kimber and sent it away to SDM fabricating. or well i stopped by his house and droped it off.

i cant wait to get it back, and this was my philosophy: i can either spend money on a semi-custom weapon that was put together by a bunch of guys in an assembly line fassion,or i could get a kimber(same slide and frame as wilson mind you,) have one excellent gunsmith work on it and put the premium parts I want in it. and in the end it costs about the same. just have to wait a little longer.


take a basic colt or springfield for $500. maybe less.
send it to a repitable smith, these are Dane Burns rates:

$300 install bar-sto barrel
$300 install heinie night sights
$200 trigger job with new trigger, hammer, and sear.
$150 install brown safety
$200 reliability
$100 Brown thumb safety
$50 bevel mag well.

so thats about $1800 for a basic yet great fighting gun.
I like the idea of that over a les baer or wilson. but thats just me.
wilson makes a great gun, but theres just something extra in the hands of a capable, single smith.

this is one of the things that makes 1911s great. it can be your gun, and do almost anything you want to it.

i would reccomend what one of the guys said about getting it done right the first time.
id have all the important stuff done at the same time.
stuff like checkering and serrating the top of the slide is not such a big deal. im thinking the functioning parts of the weapon, for synergy's sake.

have fun with the weapon.
k.s.
 

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KShaft, clarification please?

Is this a fact, that Kimber & WC slides/frames are from the same source?

Could you (or anyone) give me a short primer on who manufactures 1911 frames/slides? I thought that each mfr. did it themselves?

Thanks,

/TCP
 

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Both Kimber and Wilson get their frames and slides from Jericho (owned by Kimber), which are machined from forgings that come from Smith and Wesson. Apparently the specs on the WC frame and slides are held to tighter tolerances than Kimber.

One of the main strengths of the 1911 is to each his own. If KShaft wants a custom gun worked on by a smith that's great. If someone else wants a semi-production Wilson or Baer that's fine, too. In the end, all that matters is whether the gun is mechanically reliable (# 1), is reasonably accurate, and is comfortable to shoot. BTW, IMHO accuracy in most current production 1911s is determined more by the simple stuff (grips, sights, and trigger) than by mechanical accuracy items such as aftermarket barrels and redoing the slide to frame fit.
 

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Originally posted by HadEmAll:
I'm kind of new to 1911's and have a Kimber Classic Custom that I paid $565 for. It is more accurate than I am and has been flawless in operation since day one. I'm just curious, how much better is a Wilson, Les Baer, Ed Brown, etc. and why? My trigger has a little "hitch" to it but I'm sure I could get that taken care of pretty cheaply if it really bothered my shooting. I have confidence in the MMI parts and could probably change them all out for less than $100. But the gun is great. So what's the deal?

I used to ask myself the same questions until I owned my first Baer and had a chance to handle a few Wilson Combats. How much better? IMO much better and also a much better buy in terms of dollar to gun value. Kimber puts out a very nice pistol for an extremely good price but they still lack the attention to detail and care in manufacturing that even the most inexpensive Wilsons, Baers, etc. are given. That's the reason Kimber can make their product and sell it for around $650. That's not Kimber bashing, I own 3 that have been reliable, accurate, wonderful pistols and would not hesitate to own another. MIM, good or bad, helps Kimber keep manufacturing costs down by producing parts that need little or no fitting out of the mould. Which in turn keeps labor costs down by not requiring all of Kimbers employees that work the assembly line to be actual gunsmiths. All of that also accelerates the manufacturing process enabling Kimber to build allot of guns in a short amount of time. Allot depends on whether or not you're willing to pay $400-$500 more for a gun with no MIM parts that was built individually by a gunsmith. As far as being able to replace all of the MIM parts for less than $100.... doubtful. A tool steel hammer and sear will run you about $65-$70 by them selves.
 

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If the shock buffs are the kind that slip onto the recoil spring guide, take it off and throw it away. Those blasted things compromise the relability of your gun. I will not let any of my Officers who carry 1911s use shock buffs in their duty weapons. I have seen to many malfuctions on the range in 1911s with them. I also have a stainless Series 80 Colt Combat Commander that I use for a Police duty weapon and mine has been an outstanding weapon. The only thing that I did to mine was to add night sights and a Wilson long trigger, which I prefer.


7th

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