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Discussion Starter #1
OK, it's been a year now (almost)since I brought home my XSE. I just picked up a Kimber Compact for a carry/glovebox 1911, so I'm going to keep my XSE for a target gun. Aside from trying to lighten my trigger pull a little, what else could I do to make a nice target gun out of it? It already has a beveled mag well, but I really like the look of an extended mag well. Any suggestions here? Also, I noticed that my Kimber has a much tighter fitting beavertail, it's also higher. Anyone make one I could drop in that would "fill in the gaps"? I've gotta have an extended mag release and maybe an extended slide release too. Where else could I dump money at this endless well to make it better? I even keep thinking about a bright polish job, but then it would'nt look like a Colt XSE?
 

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If you're planning on keeping the Series 80 parts in place and want to smooth up the trigger some, Cylinder & Slide makes a kit that contains all of the Series 80 parts that have been polished and TiN coated. Supposed to lighten the trigger pull by one pound in most cases. Look toward S&A for your mag funnel (I don't care for them personally). As far as bright polish goes, be careful around the serial number. It's just dot matrix and needs to be protected from the buffer wheel at all costs.

The Beavertail is probably gonna be the trickiest part because of the fitting. If you go with an Ed Brown be sure to get his dandy little fitting jig. You will be able to cut your frame PRECISELY to fit the new 'tail. Definately worth the extra bucks. I don't care for extended slide releases and have no idea what to recommend for that.

Hope this helps!
 

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There's mechanical accuracy and shooter ccuracy. For the mechanical accuracy I wouldn't do much more than add a NM barrel bushing. It's amazing how this will improve accuracy, especially if the old bushing is loose.

For shooter accuracy I'd get better sights. For a better trigger, I'd get a trigger job rather than the C&S drop-in polished parts. I polished all my series 80 parts to a mirror finish and still didn't get a 1 lb reduction. Wilson makes a drop-in B/T that's supposed to fit without cutting into the frame. I use an S&A magwell on all my 1911s. It's fast for clumsy people like me.
 

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QUOTE: Mechanical vs. shooter accuracy. END QUOTE

Good points! Better sights than the Hartford crap should be a priority for shooter accuracy. Also the trigger job vs drop-in C&S parts is a good point. You're saying that polishing your Series 80 parts didn't decrease pull weight? Not even a little? It has been my experience that Colts have semi-decent triggers from the factory, only a little sear polishing is necessary to make them REAL nice. But I would have figured that polishing your S80 parts would have resulted in a LITTLE smoothness....

Yes, a NM bushing is a great recommendation. When properly fitted, they're usually just what the doctor ordered for surgical accuracy. One more thing... The Wilson "drop-in" beavertail is okay but if one is after a truly seamless "custom" look the Ed Brown (properly fitted with the jig) is mandatory. Any kind of drop-in 'tail, even the Wilson, would be a crapshoot for proper fit. All frames are not created equal.

It all depends what the owner is after. Fit, function, accuracy, or reliability. I have no doubt that he's after all of the above. In that case, he's got a long and pleasurable road ahead. A project gun is never truly finished. There's always something to be done. Be sure to take plenty of before, during, and after pics!

Regards,
Callahan
 

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I tried my S80 Colt with the bits in and with the bits out, and couldn't tell the difference as far as pull weight was concerned. There was a little more creep, but no more weight. I cleaned the bits up a little and applied Brownells teflon/moly bake-on finish, thinking I'd get a poor-man's version of the TiN-coated parts. It actually did make things a little smoother, but still no lighter. The nice thing about the wilson drop-in beavertail is that you can probably get it to fit very well without removing any (visible) material from the frame. To get one in my Delta, I had to open the rear of the frame a little, but the filed areas are not visible. It doesn't look as good as the fitted variety, but it cost only the price of the part and a little elbow grease. Bo-Mars are the way to go for a "target" gun, as far as sights are concerned. When you say "target" gun, do you mean competition? If you are going to use the gun just for punching holes, you don't need the stuff that makes the gun faster to handle, just those that make it more accurate and easier to shoot accurately. I don't fancy extended slide stops but if you do get one, you should probably get the same company's safety, as the two will probably match each other in appearance to a greater extent than if you mix brands.
 

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I like the Wilson & King's drop in's. They might leave a slight gap, but are easy. The Kimber is machined to accomadate their grip safety. You could have a fitted beavertail installed, which would loook great, but it'd cost more.

I like the Briley bushing, just measure your barrel outer diameter and pick one a little bigger (.001 minimum, but you'd probably want a little more for easier disassembly)

Sights are always a good option, there are some that would drop in, but you'd be better off getting it machined and getting BoMar or Wilson's adjustables.

I don't like extended slide locks, and they're mostly all the same.

Magazine release, I like the slightly extended "tactical" from Ed Brown, while you're at it, get a hex-head mag catch lock to match your grip screws.
 

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Before you get out your grinder, files, saws, remember that todays 80 series Colt is the 70 series of tomorrow..Collectors sure do like box stock guns.......
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Gunny6.. That's the little devil and angel setting on my shoulder right now. I want something different, but will the XES's be collectors items one day? As of yet, I have not heard of any custom XSE's out there. So maybe there will be an over abundance on originals to make them anything of a collectors piece.
 

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Once you cut into the frame or slide there's no way to replace material. If you're 100% certain that you'll keep the gun forever, it doesn't matter what you do. If you decide later to sell it, permanent frame or slide modifications could hurt the resale value. A lot of buyers, including myself, are leery of upgrades unless they were done by a smith they heard of. I only do modifications that can be undone and I never permanently alter the frame or slide. I can't count the number of guns I swore I'd never sell but ended up selling anyway. Tastes and needs change.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Howardk, True, but I am planning on handing this one down to one of my kids one day. Something about a Colt being passed down. That's why I'm thinking about trading my Kimber towards a Colt. Ask anyone that's not familiar with guns what a Kimber is and they'll think your talking about tissue paper or something along those lines, but ask just about anyone what a colt is, and they'll know it's either a gun or a horse.
 

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To Colonel Colt: I direct you to the following quote by Scott. Enjoy!

Ask anyone that's not familiar with guns what a Kimber is and they'll think your talking about tissue paper or something along those lines, but ask just about anyone what a colt is, and they'll know it's either a gun or a horse.

Figured you'd like that...

Callahan

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"I would like to see a restoration of a Constitutional Republic, with the federal government defanged, muzzled, shackled and cast back into its constitutional prison." - Noumenon (From FreeRepublic.com)
 

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Scott:

That quote would make an excellent, albeit controversial, signature line. I believe you've nailed it.

Callahan
 

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Scott, if your planning to pass this Colt along to your childern, than for sure LEAVE IT ALONE !!!! are you old enough too remember all of the GI 45`s floating around in the early 60`s ??? $17.50 through the DCM,, where are they at now ?????????
 

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Discussion Starter #14
DAMN IT ALL, GUNNY! That's exactly what the angel on my shoulder keeps saying. Now I guess I'm back to looking into a Norinco or a Systema to have some piddlin' fun with. Oh, and no, in the early '60's I was too busy soiling diapers to read ads for Colts.
And as far as my quote, hehe, I asked my Wife last night what product came to her mind when I mentioned Kimber, and her first response;" A vacuume cleaner?"I then mentioned Colt. "A damned gun, now where's this conversation going?" She thought I bought another gun yesterday. Told her,"Naa, I did that on Friday"

[This message has been edited by ScottsGT (edited 09-20-2001).]
 

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Best pay attention to that angle buddy..market is full of "CUSTOM" Colts. If you want to play with something look for an early gvmt. model Springfield, early pre loaded model, forged frame and slide, make you a good project gun...
 

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Thanks for the heads up, Inspector Callahan! There is a little more to my affection for Colts - like over 160 YEARS of AMERICAN FIGHTING HERITAGE - but it does speak to the relative public perceptions of the two brands.

The clones are commodities - like flour and gasoline and Hondas - use them up and throw them away, and no one will ever care. A "collectible" Kimber or Springfield? Are you kidding? There is no "Heritage" or "Legend" to build on.

But to alter a new XSE is a reasonable question. I would say that as long as top notch parts and work are involved, and "race gun" mods like too light triggers and overtightening of the mechanism is avoided - go for it. My goal is to one day pass my weapons down - and so upgrading the mainspring housing to stainless, the extractor to a Cylinder and Slide Spring Steel unit, adding tool steel internals and improving the sights are all things that I would WANT my decendents to have the benefit of. And if I really care, they will get spares of all critical internal parts, multiple spring sets, and the books and manuals to explain it all if I'm not around. A few hundred rounds of factory ammo in sealed storage should be in the deal, too.

You will, however, have to make sure that the values THEY GOT FROM YOU make passing the weapon on a reasonable expectation. If they end up politically correct wimps due to lack of parential attention now, they'll merely turn it in for the bounty money in some future gun buyback. Teach Values and Morality and a Disdain for mental or moral weakness - and then there will be a reason beyond nostalgia to "pass the torch".

Thoughtfully, Col. Colt

"Beware of Counterfeits & Patent Infringements"
 

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Personally, I believe that as long as the work done to the gun is done by a high-end gunsmith you are probably adding value... I've NEVER seen a WELL-customized Colt sold at bargain-basement prices by any stretch.

My suggestions for customizing an XSE (strictly personal opinion) would be:

1. Extended thumb safety & beavertail. IMHO they improve the ergonomics of the 1911 a great deal, but handle some so modified to see if they are an improvement for YOU.

2. Have a top-end gunsmith do the trigger job. The results will make you very happy and the cost isn't prohibitive. My Delta Elite has a solid Videcki trigger BCP put in @ 4.5lbs that is like a dream come true. Figure around $200 for a trigger work-over that basically replaces the whole shebang at 3.5-5lbs depending on what you ask for.

3. Sights. If it is going to be for target shooting I'd say go with Bo-Mar adjustables and a narrower front sight. For looks, I think Novaks are best.

4. Anything else. If it feels good and has a good trigger, about 80-90% of the 1911 equation is taken care of. If you want super-duper accuracy, a Bar-Sto or Kart barrel fitted to your gun will give you all you could ask for and then some. IMHO slide-to-frame fit is about the lowest priority going.

5. Looks-wise, the XSE is pretty darn good. With an extended thumb safety, beavertail, Videcki trigger and good sights it will be double-extra slick. Since it is stainless steel, I'd probalby have the rounds given a "finer" bead-blasted finish; as it comes from Colt it is OK but kind of coarse. The brushed stainless with those great rollmarks is really nice IMHO but would look good polished too.

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