1911 Quality

Baldwin

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I'm new to the forum and new to 1911s. This will be the first of my newbie questions. I will call myself a discriminating consumer. In making a significant purchase, I believe in paying as much as I can afford to get the highest quality possible. I consider a handgun purchase to be significant. Almost a year ago I purchased a Dan Wesson for my first 1911. I looked at a lot of guns and felt a DW was as good as it gets in a production gun. I plan for my next 1911 to be a higher end, semi custom gun. To the question - in reference to 1911 quality, I've read a lot of experienced 1911 owners talking about things like fit/finish, slide/frame fit, blending and other characteristics. I would like to know from the 1911 "experts" what specifically do you look at when evaluating a 1911? Do you try and wiggle a slide when checking slide/frame fit? Is fit/finish the absence of gaps between certain parts? I not sure I know what blending is. What other things do you consider? Thanks in advance for any input and I apologize for my ignorance.
 

Baldwin

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Mar 25, 2019
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And what is "lock up"? I assume it's how well the barrel and slide fit? How do you check it?
 

DRD

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Jan 3, 2019
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I'll let the real pro's answer your detailed questions, but for me it's simple. When you but a $3000+ new semi-custom, there's not much you should worry about in fit, finish, etc. I have pistols from Wilson, Ed Brown, GI and Volkmann (true custom here). I have shot them all and trust them all. maybe I'm being too simple, but any gun you spend big bucks on must have a great trigger and eye appeal. Seems everyone on this forum has their favorite, so look around. There's lots of good info on this site.
 

gun_fan111

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Dec 10, 2018
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And what is "lock up"? I assume it's how well the barrel and slide fit? How do you check it?

Here is what I do:

Rack the slide a couple of times, then with gun in battery hold it by the slide and check if you can wiggle the front tip of the barrel. If it wiggles, you have a loose lock-up in the front.

Rack the slide a couple of more times, then with gun in battery hold it by the frame and push down on the barrel hood. If it moves up and down, you have a loose lock-up in the back.

I do cock the hammer back and wiggle slide and frame as well. Some guns have zero movement. Some have a small amount which is fine with me.

Have fun picking your first semi-custom
 
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Babboonbobo

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Jun 8, 2018
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Congratulations and welcome to the forum! Nice first choice and you can not go wrong picking from any of the big semi custom builders. For refinement I like Nighthawk, for raw toughness I like Guncrafter or Les Baer and for overall finesse I like my Wilson. I have not had an Ed Brown but have fondled a few. This choice will be personal and only you can choose. You ask 50 people you’ll get 50 diffetent opinions! I truly believe there ya no wrong choice here!
 

Mike Galway

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Starting out with a Dan Wesson is excellent . You've set the bar kind of high for stepping up . Looking over a gun is a lot like looking over a car . Look at the gaps , look at how the extractor is blended into the slide , look at how the frame , slide , and grip safety all blend together . Finally keep an eye on classifieds for good used high end semi-customs like Wilson , Night Hawk , Gun Crafter .etc.
 

Baldwin

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Mar 25, 2019
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I really appreciate the input. I'm an older guy so I like traditional stuff. The DW I have is a PM9 (stainless, 9mm). So the next one has to be a full size .45ACP with a black, preferably blued finish and wood grips. No ambi-safety. I like serrated slides but do not want them on this gun. Not a lot of bling. I like the DW A2, but right now the Alchemy Prime has my full attention.
 

corsokid

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Jun 11, 2018
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Congrats on your first choice. The PM9 is to my thinking one of the best bangs for the buck on the 1911 market. To your question My advise is to move from semi custom guns all of which are fine to buying a solid base gun and then sending it to one of the highly though of gunsmiths for custom work. Not only do you get to make some decisions about what you want done but you get to pick the color. Lol. I’ve done two and now the third with Steve Owens at Integrity Arms . Give him a call. Very easy to talk with.
 

Vin

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Jan 30, 2019
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7
I'm new to the forum and new to 1911s. This will be the first of my newbie questions. I will call myself a discriminating consumer. In making a significant purchase, I believe in paying as much as I can afford to get the highest quality possible. I consider a handgun purchase to be significant. Almost a year ago I purchased a Dan Wesson for my first 1911. I looked at a lot of guns and felt a DW was as good as it gets in a production gun. I plan for my next 1911 to be a higher end, semi custom gun. To the question - in reference to 1911 quality, I've read a lot of experienced 1911 owners talking about things like fit/finish, slide/frame fit, blending and other characteristics. I would like to know from the 1911 "experts" what specifically do you look at when evaluating a 1911? Do you try and wiggle a slide when checking slide/frame fit? Is fit/finish the absence of gaps between certain parts? I not sure I know what blending is. What other things do you consider? Thanks in advance for any input and I apologize for my ignorance.
I happen to like the milspec ones , a little wiggle for me is fine. One of my old Colt’s was milspec and never jammed, I also like the series 70’s.
But if money is no object check out
Jesse James .
 

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45 Ralph

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Jan 29, 2019
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You picked a nice one. DW makes a very nice production 1911. Have a friend that shoots a DW PM45 in USPSA. Loves it.

For me. I like nice trigger. A tight barrel slide. Melted slide, reliability job,and it has to be a series 70.

I also like 2011s.
 

Babboonbobo

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Jun 8, 2018
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NW Ohio
I happen to like the milspec ones , a little wiggle for me is fine. One of my old Colt’s was milspec and never jammed, I also like the series 70’s.
But if money is no object check out
Jesse James .
First person I’ve ever seen recommend Jesse James!

As mentioned earlier Steve at Integrity Arms is great! He does awesome work and is a good guy to talk to.
 

OldGunner_43

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Jun 8, 2018
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Location
Williamsburg, VA
I'll second that on Steve Owens. He's working on a DW Guardian for me now. You can be sure that he'll stay in touch with you to make sure he's doing what you want to have done.
 

Mike D

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Nov 13, 2018
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203
Location
Greenwood, Indiana
Welcome! As is the consensus above, you made a great choice in starting with DW! I have three of them, and If I'd gotten there sooner, I could have saved a lot of $$. I put them above my others, Kimber,Colt,Remington,Sig, but that's just me. I am waiting on my first Wilson, and from what everyone has told me, I won't be disappointed. You can always do some horse trading on the way up in price, I did, a little safe cleaning along the way can't hurt. Good luck with your choice, and don't forget to check on any discounts they may offer along the way.
 

Oltruckie

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Nov 4, 2018
Messages
44
Location
Tidewater area VA
Great choice on your DW. Pointman,
Another plug here for an Alchemy Prime.
Yes I put inexpensive plain grips on it, but it’s a shooter
And the grips work for me, lol

4494
 

Baldwin

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Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
20
Great choice on your DW. Pointman,
Another plug here for an Alchemy Prime.
Yes I put inexpensive plain grips on it, but it’s a shooter
And the grips work for me, lol

View attachment 4494

Beautiful gun! I actually ordered a Prime Elite on Monday. Won't see it until late July probably. Long wait but I'm sure it's worth it. So, I had sold a couple of Sigs last week and I used the coin to buy a CZ Shadow 2 from Gunbroker last night. Yes, I'm a sicko,
 

Pajax6

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Apr 8, 2019
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1
At first look an easy answer. Buy a pre-80 series Colt Goldcup and stop. On the other hand, these companies are making better and better 1911s. If you were wanting to get a custom gun and start from scratch I would start with a 1911 with a forged frame. I don't know of any reputable smith that will use anything but a forged frame as a starting point. That slims the field down real quick. Colt, Caspian and Springfield Armory. Make life easy on yourself and just buy a pre 80 Goldcup and call it a day. My smith build IPSC gun is a Brazilian Colt Slide and an Essex lower. I have used it since 1979. The other parts on it are military surplus parts that have been reworked.
 

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