Saturday, August 12, 2006


Sorry, its not what you think. An SF buddy of mine showed me how to detail strip a 1911, by helping me tear mine down to the bare frame and slide. Its a handy thing, having an SF Weapons Sergeant around. He knows a couple things.

My baby was built, oh, almost a decade ago by a very talented gunsmith named Lance Martini. He's apparently out of the gunsmithing business and works for a Sheriff's crime lab somewhere; more's the pity. It started life as a near-bone stock Springfield Armory 1911-A1 Lightweight. The difference between near-bone and totally-bone is that it had high profile fixed sights and a lowered ejection port. If the slide hadn't been lowered, I'd have had it done. If you're going to reload, you don't have a choice; it'll save your brass.
The pistol has some great parts in it. Here's the rundown, because I haven't used the list feature yet:
  • Springfield Armory 1911-A1 Lightweight; aluminum frame and steel slide
  • Novak fixed rear sight fitted by me. Someday its gonna be replaced with a milled in Novak night sight.
  • Factory front sight, grip screw bushings, mainspring, sear, hammer, extractor, spring guide, firing pin, recoil spring cap, detents and detent springs. All else has been replaced.
  • Wilson firing pin return spring and Wolff recoil spring
  • Bar Sto barrel, hard fit to the slide
  • King's trigger, thumb safety, slide stop
  • Wilson's grip safety
  • Wilson's stainless hex head grip screws. Ya gotta get ya some of these or yer not a real 1911 shooter! ;)
  • Pachmayr Presentation grips with wrap around front strap, and not thumb rests. I needed something to increase grip on the front strap because of the light weight of the pistol
  • Reliability polishing job

This gun has shot like a champ almost from day one. The Bar Sto barrel had to be opened up to commercial specs from a match chamber because it wouldn't feed reloads reliably. It feeds rocks now. The best thing about Bar Sto barrels is that in addition to being very accurate barrels, they simply don't rust. Most folks I know replace the Rustmaster barrels in their Kimbers with Bar Sto's so they never have to see corrosion again. For a couple hundred bucks, they're a heck of an investment. If you can shoot, you'll see a marked difference if your gun is of average accuracy.
But after all these years, the gun had never been more than field stripped, mostly because I didn't know how to detail strip it. Sometimes detail stripping is like black magic voodoo to shooters. We just don't want to get involved in it in case we mess something up. I have some nice accurate guns that I don't want to be the cause of them forgetting how to do so!
This particular pistol has had thousands of rounds through it. It's been my primary match gun and shooting class gun since it got built. I've carried it daily at work for the two years I've been in Kentucky. It still gets carried from time to time, getting a day off from time to time when I've got my Grock 30 with me.
Detail stripping is something I really wish I'd done before. I can't believe how much dust, dirt, carbon, powder residue, funk, junk, and other stuff that was in that gun. No tumbleweeds, but that probably wouldn't have surprised me. Doing all this cleaning made me a believer in the beauty of the Dunk-It. I didn't have one to use for this gig, but its clear how much easier that would have made the job. The M4 Guru said he's used it quite frequently and swears by it.
If you don't know how to do this, by all means, find out. There are videos available, and you probably know somebody who already knows how to do this. If you don't trust that guy to change a battery in a flashlight, though, don't let him at your guns! Some people give off a bad vibe regarding mechanical things. That's not the guy to allow near your expensive bet-your-life-on-it blaster! My rule has always been, "Only let the best available touch your guns". In my case, I have both an 11C and a cop that's been through the Colt's Armorer's Course at my disposal. If you don't have that, get an education in how to work on your firearms. I'd hate to hear that the guy wasn't qualified when it was too late! "Oops" is something you don't want to hear from your doctor, your dentist, or your "gunsmith".
One last thing. You may notice a wierd two tone effect in the finish of the frame of my gun. That's where I've worn the finish off the frame by shooting the hell out of it. All gun refinishing needs to be started in this manner. Yes, I'll refinish the gun, but when people see the gun, they know its got miles on it. That kind of character cannot be bought.

No comments: