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Starting with a Colt Rail Gun certainly would have been a straighter path, then you'd have the rail, and the Colt small parts that the M45 has.
 
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Why are some pics of a high cap frame?
I'm currently doing two 80% frames at the same time. One is high capacity RIA frame and the other a normal frame except I'm trying to make it an M45A1 clone.
So a few things, like filing down the rear of the frame for grip safeties, I have done both at the same time, but only took pictures of one of the frames while doing it.
I did note that its not the actual frame for this thread, but the other I'm doing at the same time and happen to have pictures of and since its the same procedure.....
 

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thank you for the response. I thought it might be that but I rethread but missed there was a concurrent build going on. Keep it up…good work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Starting with a Colt Rail Gun certainly would have been a straighter path, then you'd have the rail, and the Colt small parts that the M45 has.
If I could get a Colt Rail Gun, or Colt Rail Gun frame, I would have done that.....
After several months of waiting and no estimate till when they would be available again, and always wanting to do an 80% frame, I decided to go this route....

I've seen multiple times that the M45A1 and Colt Rail Gun are not the same. I have seen pictures of earlier rail guns that the rail clearly is much smaller than the M45A1, but later Colt Rail Guns the rail/frame looks identical to the M45A1. Which would make sense, why make two frames when one frame can serve both purposes.

If you look at the 1913 Mil-Spec, very few, if any pistols, have rails that meet the mil-spec. That is why the M45A1 rail is much larger than other pistols. Since Colt has to make the M45A1 frame to fulfill the contract, logically they would switch the Colt Rail Gun over to that frame and only make one frame instead of two... ....True, I'm just guessing, but the pictures I see certainly look that way....
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
You may have noticed, I am doing an M45A1 clone build, but I selected a basic 1911 frame with bare dust cover as the foundation. The M45A1 has a very prominent Rail Block on the frame. In fact so prominent, it is unlike any other brand's rail and no 80% or 100% are available with something like it. BTW, if you look up the 1913 Mil-Spec for the Picatinny Rail, you'd realize why it looks so different and is larger than all the others. And the M45A1 was built under contract for the Marines, which would have demanded the rail met mil-spec.

So how do I remedy this? Look what arrived from the company "Xometry" today.....
Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Flooring

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Flooring Floor


These were 3d Printed using the Metal Binder Jet Method and cost me about $75 a unit. I had to order two, because they had a minimum order amount. I also have a thread open for a 1911A2 Double Stack (RIA frame) I'm doing as well. Unless I break/ruin one, the 2nd will be going on it. It is 316 Stainless Steel, bound with binder material during the 3d print process, then infused with bronze in a furnace to replace the binder material. So its a mix of SS and Bronze.

These were made from a CAD drawing I made using free CAD software I downloaded. I used the drawings/blueprints of the 1911 and the 1913 Mil-Spec and had to eye-ball a guess for a few other measurements based off photos of the M45A1.

To have these CNC machined would have cost nearly 10 times as much. But likely they would perfect and ready to fit out of the box.
To have these 3D Print with Direct Laser Sintering process would have cost nearly 5 times as much. But there would be less shrinkage and smoother surfaces, not as smooth as CNC, but it would still have to have supports and bolsters added to the structure to support proper printing, and those would have to be removed later.

When I decided on going with the 3D Metal Binder Jet process, I read the design guide and all the advice on how to get a design successfully printed and I had to go back to my CAD model and add bolsters/supports, thicken, beef up walls to meet all the requirements to get a successful print. It can also suffer shrinkage and warpage, as well the surface will rough and grainy. So I plus up the measurements a few thousands to file/sand down to smooth.

Wood Gas Trigger Gun accessory Composite material

Line Gun accessory Gun barrel Trigger Electric blue


The reason why I only have it 3/4th's of the way on, is because of those bolsters/supports that have to be added. I haven't filed/sanded those out of the shape yet, and they hit before it gets fully on the frame.

And it did suffer a little shrinkage and warpage on the thin walls that go over the dust cover, it took 15 minutes with a file to fit it a bit just to slip it on to this point.

So, I have a 2nd and I am also working on a Double Stack Project (the Warhawk project on another thread) with a bare dust cover. So, unless I ruin/break one of these, my double stack project might get a fat rail block on the dust cover as well.
 

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I can’t say I would have gone about this the same way, but it’s interesting as hell and a cool use of new technology. If it’s worth it to you, then more power to you. Keep us updated on progress pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
There are no Colt M45A1, CCB, Rail Guns available, haven't been for months and no knows when they will be available again. I can't find any colt parts, I have never seen a new Colt Frame for sale, let alone one of the Rail Guns/M45A1.

So my options are, wait, maybe up to a year or build my own with a frame with a rail on it, which not a single frame (80% or 100%) being sold is even close to the M45A1 rail, or build my own. I've been itching to do an 80% build, so I went that route. The best I can do for slide and ambi thumb safety are going to have to be close proximities, can't get the original nor find anything identical.

Did some fitting tonight, about 98% there....
Material property Wood Gun accessory Electric blue Metal


After I afix it, I will blend it and smooth out the surfaces. Filed flat, the 316i takes on a weird color, depending on the angle, it can look silver, brass, copper or bronze....
Which a fresh bronze surface can look brass and copper color with how the light reflects (it is an alloy of copper, which brass is also), 316i is stainless steel particles infused with bronze, so I guess some angles and light the SS shines through.

How to afix it?
Screws, a challenge to do and not be visible, the dust cover doesn't have much depth to give the threads purchase.
Silver Solder, I'd have to use a cheap torch I have, and even the low temp silver solder is still hot enough to reach the temperatures to anneal SS.
Regular Solder, 316i is suppose to take solder really well, since there is a lot of copper in it, but stainless steel is notorious for being difficult to solder.
Epoxy, I just read up on the latest JB Metal Weld epoxy, its stronger than solder, withstands higher temps than solder and chemical resistant, I'm thinking that is the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thanks for the suggestions, but I have looked at all of them, available frames and attachable rails, none come close. I want to build a M45A1 clone. I do NOT want to build a standard 1911 with a typical rail on it and then claim it looks like a M45A1, when it clearly does not.

The Caspian rail, while I'm sure it is a great solution for those with a 1911 that want to add a rail, it would not look anything like a M45A1. True, I doubt I could find an accessory that I could mount on a pistol that needs a truly M1913 Mil-Spec rail to fit, but that is what the M45A1 has. There are many 80% and 100% frames that have a rail available, none of the Colt frames with the M45A1 rail are available, so again I would have a frame that is no-doubt not even close to an M45A1. In fact I have never seen a new Colt frame being sold by a retailer, it is hard enough to find Colt small parts, let alone their major parts.

The M1913 Mil-Spec requires a stand-off distance from the bottom of the rail to the firearm, that leaves a narrowed down neck. That is why the M45A1 has such a tall cut/groove. That cut is so tall to make neck and stand off, which means the rail is lower as well. True, most pistols have just a narrow cut/groove and it will work with just about all, if not all, accessories that would work on a pistol, but they are not mil-spec and would never look like a M45A1.
 

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you are very talented!
 

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I mean there's an M45A1 on Gunbroker right now, at a not super horribly unreasonable price...I guess it becomes a question of, do you want to wait for one to show up, vs spending how much time and money to make a replica that still won't say Colt on it at all, and probably won't fool anyone who comes within 10 feet of it?

Good on you for undertaking the project, but the phrase "tilting at windmills" really comes to mind..
 

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I have been there, done that with having an obtainable acquisition desire. No matter how you slice it and dice it, the itch is only scratched with the real deal.

I like Pontiacs of yore. GM corporate Chevy powered Pontiacs are not the same. There is the hint of flavor cooked into the car…but it’s still hamburger disguised as a steak.
 
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I have been there, done that with having an obtainable acquisition desire. No matter how you slice it and dice it, the itch is only scratched with the real deal.

I like Pontiacs of yore. GM corporate Chevy powered Pontiacs are not the same. There is the hint of flavor cooked into the car…but it’s still hamburger disguised as a steak.
There is some truth to that, but sometimes one has to be satisfied with 'close enough.' I glanced at some of the M45A1s on Gunbroker just to see what they're running for and that's well outside my price range. But slapping together a pistol that looks close enough? That's tangible.

It's a relatable position. Sometimes if you can't find what you're after, you gotta build what you want. That's what drove my first 1911 build. Couldn't find one built as I wanted so...down the rabbit hole I went.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 · (Edited)
There is some truth to that, but sometimes one has to be satisfied with 'close enough.' I glanced at some of the M45A1s on Gunbroker just to see what they're running for and that's well outside my price range. But slapping together a pistol that looks close enough? That's tangible.

It's a relatable position. Sometimes if you can't find what you're after, you gotta build what you want. That's what drove my first 1911 build. Couldn't find one built as I wanted so...down the rabbit hole I went.
The going price for an M45A1 if they were in stock, was about $1,500-$1,600, which is at least the starting bid for one on GunBroker, if not at least $2,200. But it does appear if you're patient and don't mind the newer zinc brown ion bond coating, you could pick up a used in good shape M45A1 for less than 2 grand.

Throw in the cost of the tools, coating and laser engraving, I doubt I will be saving any money.

And being a beginner using cheap tools, I am under no illusions as too the precision and reliability of my product. I just finished my first slide on my double stack project and the fit of the slide turned out looser than I had hoped. But at the same time, no more loose, in fact a little tighter, than the slide fit on any of my production pistols.

I'd say my desires are more to kill two birds with one stone. I want to do an 80% frame build and I want a M45A1.

I look at it as a challenge to replicate the actual M45A1 as much as possible.

My biggest challenge now is the Thumb Safety, which the actual Colt Safety is NOT available. I just got an EGW ambi safety that is darn close but larger than the Colt, so I will be filing the EGW down. Only Colt has serrations on the bottom of the thumb pad, or at least, anything close to the Colt shape does not have serrations on the underside like the Colt.

I have found a guy that will Laser Engrave Colt on a slide, understanding it would not be for resale or commercial use. (Yes, I'm sure someone is going to go off about copyrights, etc).

I'm about to post about selecting a slide, but it complicates things further with authentic it will look with a slide with an Optics cut.
 
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