Friday, February 25, 2011

Custom Damascus 1911 The Saga Part 2

  I started out last time talking about the manner in which I decided to try building a custom 1911. The decision to build something that would fit my likes and be something other than the norm came while I was deployed to Iraq. If you have been or know someone that has deployed in the past you know there really is not a whole lot to do. There are many long days with nothing to do after work and on days off. I spend a lot of my time reading magazines my wife, family and friends sent me as well as those I was able to get from the BX/PX on the FOB (forward operating base). Articles written about guns customized specifically for what the author wanted stood out the most and were far more entertaining than those written about normal run of the mill straight from the factory guns. When I realized this I decided I needed to join the masses (or few) and build a custom gun. After all you aren’t a real gun nut till you start having them build for you right? 
  The internet is a great horrid beast. Not the best place to get information from but if you are discerning you can find a great deal of useful knowledge. My first suggestion would be to verify anything you find with a reliable source such as a gun smith before making your decisions. I on the other had did not do this. I was in Iraq, that’s my excuse not that I need one. I already had a base knowledge on 1911s having and currently owning several. So I decided to take what I knew and what I could find and jump right into the wood chipper.
  I have always been a fan of Wilson Combat as far as high end manufacturers goes and currently use one as my EDC (every day carry). Knowing and liking Wilson Combat I decided to go through them to acquire most of the small parts for the build. They also provide a military discount and I am always a fan of discounts. There are several other manufactures such as Les Baer, Ed Brown, EGW, Caspian and more that all provide quality parts. The more people you talk to the more answers you will get on what parts you should use, most are quality. Just remember, if it is cheap it’s probably not worth buying.

  Like the title hints I contacted Caspian Arms for the slide and receiver. This process can take a while due to all the options you can choose directly from Caspian. I placed my order over the phone while in Iraq, after talking over each other for a little while due to the delay we got the whole say a little wait then talk again system worked out. The people at Caspian are great and their customer service is way up on my list. They sent me a confirmation email with a copy of the work order, everything was correct even with the bad phone connection. Six months later my order is ready to be shipped. My order took longer because the damascus they use comes from spain and has to be imported. If you order standard stainless or carbon steel it will only take a month or two. 

  I already addressed most of the small parts the slide and receiver. The last parts I ordered where the barrel and action components. These I ordered directly from Nowlin. This is the part I might have done differently. A lot of gunsmiths recommend using Kart barrels they are cheaper than Nowlin products but I don’t really know how much better they are. I should not have any problems with accuracy and reliability as long as everything is installed correctly. I believe it will be as I have great faith in Neil. 
  I have included pictures of my parts order forms. You will notice I did not buy a barrel bushing, barrel link, or grip and screws. I somehow skipped the barrel bushing in my initial order and just decided to let Neil provide one. You don’t really know what barrel link is needed until installing the barrel so I leave that to the professionals. Lastly I have yet to find the grips I really want for the gun. I will probably order a set of cocobolo grips to use temporarily till the time that I find what I am looking for. 

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