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I've just been bitten by the bug to Snake-slap another 1911 or two together. Got a couple spare slides sitting around, don't you hate when that happens. Near as I can tell Essex is OOB, and Fed Ord has been TU for some time. Who's making/selling 1911 frames these days?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You can't sell gun frames on ePay. Those listings are for Cerrakoting (or some such) your gun.

I see SARCO is selling Rock Island (Philippines-made) 1911 frames for around $120. I'm hearing good things about those ARMSCOR guns, especially for the money. Might have to check that out.
 

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Did you try Essex's phone number? Caspian was going to be my next suggestion too.

Of course, you COULD always look for a so-called "80% PCR" (legally not yet a receiver, thus no FFL involved) and do the last 20% of machining to make your own...
 

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The guy who was running Dan Wesson before CZ bought them out, does he still sell parts? I think you will be pretty happy with the ARMSCOR frames though, their Twin Pines outfit is good enough for STI.
 

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Snake the question of who makes what in 1911s is tough because there are more than a few who buy from vendors and if they buy enough you too could get your name on one.

If you look on Brownells and Midway's site they have several. I also have heard good things about Armscor but have no personal experience.

I have built several guns with Caspian frames and have no gripes but they do require a good bit of fitting. But if I was starting from scratch that's what I'd get/

I haven't seen an Essex frame in years but I'm pretty sure they were cast by Pinetree anyhow.
 

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Sarco does have Rock Island frames

Essex has a post saying they are moving and will be up in 2011...now they refer people to Iver Johnson.

Unless you have a milling machine and blueprints 80% is not a good idea.
 

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The Les Baer frames are very good, but if you're looking for cheap, they ain't.

Springfield was getting their frames from Brazil, supposedly very good.

I've also heard good things about those Rock Island/Armscor products.

Back in the day, I saw a lot of frames by various makers (Essex, Caspian, Bubbas Gun Works & Outboard Service, etc) , finally quit accepting them unless the customer was will to pay machine time to make them right. At one time I had a couple specialized cutters to correct known habitual defects-wonder where they went?

I got burned enough by Century to never buy anything from them ever again. They did refund my money, but if I want to gamble I'll go someplace where the drinks are free.
 

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Unless they've changed Springfield still gets stuff from Brazil. The GI and lower end stuff comes in as finished guns, but they also get unfinished (80%?) frames which they complete in house and use for custom and high end.

I've built several guns from their GI guns and they've been fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I'm looking for cheap.

I've built four guns on Essex frames and five on Fed Ord Rangers and they all work fine. I figger anything available today has GOT to be of higher quality, having another 20 years of tech to get everything worked out.

Kinda thinking of building up one in .38 Super. I've never had one of those. Anyone making .38 Super slides? Could I build a gun that can switch between .38 Super and 9mm with just a barrel and mag change, in other words, the slide and ejector would be good for both? I can't think of any reason why such a thing shouldn't be do-able. (Swapping the extractor between the two shouldn't be too big of a hassle if that's necessary.)
 

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I think Caspian makes a lot of parts designed so the same pieces can go into a 9mm or .38 Super iron... at least they used to back when I started looking into BYO ten years ago.
 

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CNC machines do make for more better parts if they're programed right and the tooling is changed regularly. There's always an unfortunate tendency to try to sell the scrap parts if they're not too terribly/visually bad. Baer makes .38 Super slides, I expect Springfield does too. There's always Numrich.

I built several multi-caliber guns. As near as I could determine from Colt parts, the only difference in 9mm/.38 Super slides was the roll stamp*. No measureable difference in ejector. The 9/38 ejector is wider than a .45 ejector though and the cut in the slide is also. At least one gent put his smaller bore slide assembly on a .45 frame and it ran fine.

Can't swear as to extractor, believe Colt did list different parts, but I'm not where I can get to my parts books. I'd expect the 9mm extractor to work on both.

*As noted above, I'm not where I can reference my own working drawings/notes etc. While there may be a difference in case head dimensions between the two, it didn't appear (IIRC) that manufacturing tolerances made any breech face differences obvious. It could be that Colts different extractors took care of any differences.

Checking SAAMI drawings, case heads for .38 Super are 0.406- 0.010 in/ 9mm are 0.394-0.010 in. So, you're looking at a nominal 0.008 in difference in case head size (0.022 in a worst case scenario), which is why I think there's no difference in breechfaces. I guess go for .38 Super and expect the extractor to pick up the difference. Or, if you find a 9mm slide, try a handfull of .38 Super cases and make sure they slide up the breechface cleanly.

Charlie, do you have any dimensions to tell one way or t' other?
 

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To ALL,

I wonder how much interest that there is in "rolling your own" 1911 any more????
(We have a small Northeast TX company that can make them in small quantity, like 200-300 at a time & their work is NICE.)

Don't tell a soul, as it's a "deep-dark secret" BUT I'm currently considering having them make me 200 BHP clones "to assemble & peddle" here in TX.
(CHUCKLE)

yours, sw
 

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SW, given that I still intend to scratchbuild myself a matched, handed pair of Longslides someday... the problem is, very few make lefty slides, receivers and parts, especially with my thoughts about how the stock 1911 design is a mix of left- and right-hand features requiring some breaking new ground.
 

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I don't have a Colt 9mm to compare but both Kimber and Springfield are roughly 0.010" narrower at the hood than a Colt Super... But I doubt it would be a big deal problem
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks to the clue, I found out Caspian makes a .38/9mm slide. Costs $230. Good heavens, I don't have that much in most of the 1911s I built, the entire guns! :shock: Well that has been a couple years ago now. I don't see too many $25 GI slides laying around these days either.
 

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Snake - You can always give Gun Parts Corporation a call. They have a contact link at their page here -

Firearm Parts & Accessories | Military Surplus | Numrich Gun Parts

They might have what you're looking for lying in a drawer or box somewhere. They probably have tons of stuff that doesn't make it into the catalog.

http://www.gunpartscorp.com/ContactUs.htm

Phone: 866.NUMRICH (866.686.7424)
Fax: 877.486.7278

Mailing Address:
226 Williams Ln
Kingston, NY 12401

Sales and Order Line:
M-F 8:00am-4:30pm EST
866.686.7424
845.679.2417

Customer Service:
M-F 8:00am-4:30pm EST
845.679.4867
 

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Yeah, I'm looking for cheap.

I've built four guns on Essex frames and five on Fed Ord Rangers and they all work fine. I figger anything available today has GOT to be of higher quality, having another 20 years of tech to get everything worked out.

Kinda thinking of building up one in .38 Super. I've never had one of those. Anyone making .38 Super slides? Could I build a gun that can switch between .38 Super and 9mm with just a barrel and mag change, in other words, the slide and ejector would be good for both? I can't think of any reason why such a thing shouldn't be do-able. (Swapping the extractor between the two shouldn't be too big of a hassle if that's necessary.)
The RIA frames are cast, but they are damn good. If you want cheap, that is THE way to go. But give SARCO a call, they're most often out of those frames...be patient and you'll get one.

The Caspian frames are very good, but I've found they take a bit more work than other makers. The last two I built had the inside cut for the safety under-cut meaning the tab on the safety that holds it inside the frame when installed needed to be radically filed to get them to fit. I thought this was pretty bad, that's not something you should have to do when fitting a safety.

Rails were oversized, and probably more oversized than they needed to be, but that's not that big of a deal, I expect that. I got one with 30lpi checkering and it looked like it was cast in, so I had to do a lot of cleanup on the checkering...was still worth it, that's easier than hand filing checkering.

I built one RIA frame 1911 from an RIA frame a friend had, so I don't know if this was off a gun, or a frame ordered from SARCO. But it went together easy-peasy.

One gripe I have with the RIA's and many other makers is the front strap isn't properly radiused, so there's a big gap between the front strap and the grip panels. This is because they use the same cutter they use on the dust cover radius to save machining time. If you do checkering, that radius has to be cleaned up first for it to look right.

For Frame, Slide, and Barrel I'm very impressed with the quality of RIA. They are HARD, that's for sure. They are not always the prettiest, but they seriously have it where it counts.

I've never seen 9/.38 Super frames for sale from RIA. But if you open up the frame for a ramped barrel, it just doesn't matter.

Kevin
 
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