1911 Firearm Addicts banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning Ladies and Gents!
I have an unfortunate addiction to the 1911/2011 platform, and I also have an unfortunate habit of liking to tinker and improve things. In the last 5 years, I have grown as a shooter, but also to understand the internal work and craftsmanship in these systems. Beyond "pull trigger, gun go bang" and into learning about how every piece and edge impacts the overall function and feel. It has been a joy to really see some of the quality work that many smiths have done, and I would love to replicate that.

I would love to hear some suggestions and stories from other gunsmiths who's focus was/is the 1911/2011 system. I'm a young guy, avid shooter and learner, and I would love to start actually working on these one day. For some side cash, certainly, but also out of a passion and respect for those who have done amazing work on these systems.

My big question is: Where would you suggest someone start? How did you get your start? Knowing what you do now, what would you do different or keep the same?

Disclaimer:
I have a MIL/LE and sales background in firearms, still work in the industry, pretty good mechanical knowledge, and good access to tools. I am by no means rich, or have the ability to quit work and go to school full time, but I do believe I could cover school costs, depending on how much. I would definitely be interested in hearing some opinions on where to learn and get certified through.

Thank you so much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,649 Posts
There's no second chance at a first impression. Don't post any pictures of your work until you think they can stand up to the scrutiny of the Addicts. I'm still in awe of some of the subtle things that people can pick up on in posted pics. It's probably best to start with your own guns and be prepared to scrap some parts and spend some money. It's a rare person that can stick with it long enough to build a reputation good enough to command decent money. Read every post you can from the Masters of the biz and scrutinize every pic you can find. It doesn't appear to be an easy or quickly traveled road.

Good Luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There's no second chance at a first impression. Don't post any pictures of your work until you think they can stand up to the scrutiny of the Addicts. I'm still in awe of some of the subtle things that people can pick up on in posted pics. It's probably best to start with your own guns and be prepared to scrap some parts and spend some money. It's a rare person that can stick with it long enough to build a reputation good enough to command decent money. Read every post you can from the Masters of the biz and scrutinize every pic you can find. It doesn't appear to be an easy or quickly traveled road.

Good Luck!
There's no second chance at a first impression. Don't post any pictures of your work until you think they can stand up to the scrutiny of the Addicts. I'm still in awe of some of the subtle things that people can pick up on in posted pics. It's probably best to start with your own guns and be prepared to scrap some parts and spend some money. It's a rare person that can stick with it long enough to build a reputation good enough to command decent money. Read every post you can from the Masters of the biz and scrutinize every pic you can find. It doesn't appear to be an easy or quickly traveled road.

Good Luck!
Ain't that the truth! Its definilty a long road, so the sooner I can start the better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

·
Dremel jockey
Joined
·
5,652 Posts
My advice:

Get the Kuhnhausen books.

Get a 'cheap' 1911.......RIA, Tisas.

Find a local guy that will let you look over his shoulder when he is working on your gun.

Or just pay him for an hour of his time to acquaint you with some of the finer points.

Find a local 'action pistol' club, participate and learn from those more experienced.

Do some basic work to your pistol.......thumb safety, grip safety, trigger, etc.
 

·
Fictional Western Sage
Joined
·
2,844 Posts
Since I live as far out in the sticks as one can be, I had to learn how to repair my own stuff. At one point in another life, I worked for a muzzleloading gunsmith for quite awhile so some of that knowledge/skill was transferable.

Bought the Kunhausen books.

Obtained basic tools, stones, gauges, files, jigs, etc

Commenced working on my own pistols. Now I am comfortable changing out sights, installing triggers, doing trigger jobs, replacing and tensioning extractors, replacing plunger tubes/grip bushings, installing thumb safeties/ejectors, firing pin stops, sensitizing grip safeties, basic repair/replacement stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
My advice:

Get the Kuhnhausen books.

Get a 'cheap' 1911.......RIA, Tisas.

Find a local guy that will let you look over his shoulder when he is working on your gun.

Or just pay him for an hour of his time to acquaint you with some of the finer points.

Find a local 'action pistol' club, participate and learn from those more experienced.

Do some basic work to your pistol.......thumb safety, grip safety, trigger, etc.
Kuhnhausen first edition is on order! Excellent points! Good call on the local smith, we have a few nearby (Central Ohio) that I could probably get some time with.
I actually had an RIA a while back that I learned to do a trigger job, grip safety fit and tune and a couple other parts fitting work on, I ended up selling it for a profit for a used STI 1911. One of my friends shot it after I worked on it, and said it was his favorite 1911. I guess I need to go back and get another or something comparable and start over, totally forgot about that until you mentioned them!

I need to get some time in a shooting sport of some type, unfortunatly nothing nearby, but I can find some things a few hours away, would be worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Since I live as far out in the sticks as one can be, I had to learn how to repair my own stuff. At one point in another life, I worked for a muzzleloading gunsmith for quite awhile so some of that knowledge/skill was transferable.

Bought the Kunhausen books.

Obtained basic tools, stones, gauges, files, jigs, etc

Commenced working on my own pistols. Now I am comfortable changing out sights, installing triggers, doing trigger jobs, replacing and tensioning extractors, replacing plunger tubes/grip bushings, installing thumb safeties/ejectors, firing pin stops, sensitizing grip safeties, basic repair/replacement stuff.
Solid! Its interesting to me how common the Kunhausen books are apparently, seems like everyone has one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi,
Just Vol.2, it shows building a 1911 from ground up!

I think Vol.1 is just an Owners Manual, so to speak!

Kuhnhausen's Vol.2 is also good as it gives all the specs on parts!

Hilton Yam Duty Tune is good also! (DVD)

View attachment 1089663
Awesome! Thank you! I will get rolling with them. I have been following Hilton for a while, I used his material to work on and maintain a couple I have already! I think I should take some of his classes when time permits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Pal-- my advice is:
1. Don't figure on making a lot of money, at least not right away. Sometimes it seems like these guns are going for a lot but I think a part of it is that the market has been somewhat manipulated with regard to what a custom 1911 is worth. Also, you may find that there is a lot more work into doing every...stinking... little thing right than you thought. I predict this price spike will cycle out but..... on the other hand..... truly superlative work in any field will bring more money. If you start it part time and don't depend on it for a living, you will have more freedom to try things and develop your own style.

2. Do develop your own style. Don't try and make yourself a reputation on being a really good imitator. It doesn't have to be right away overnight. I know sometimes it seems like there are only so many ways to skin a 1911 but if you can sprinkle in some originality, it'll be to your advantage.

3. Combo'd, related things here. Don't push too hard on the reputation part. Make your reputation by letting your work make it for you. Don't make it by beating your chest or trying to create a mystique about yourself.... although..... I must confess, I see it working pretty well sometimes :). 3a, Scruples. If you make a booboo, eat it, or fix it, but don't try to deny it or BS it away. Sometimes that will cost you money you don't have but you'll be banking credibility. Most customers care about that.

4. Living and breathing the 1911 doesn't hurt. Carry one if legal, all that you can, especially of you're doing carry guns. If competition guns, you'd better compete-- it's OK, you don't have to win everything! Best if you can do at least some of both.

5. I see some guys that want to build guns and others that want to build fame / notoriety. You can have both but the guns, good service, and honesty come first. A little humility is of value if you're in it for reasons other than ego.

6. Ego: I love seeing the guys that are willing to work, and make mistakes, and ask advice / opinions, discuss mistakes and pitfalls, in their quest to be known for quality. Just real guys wanting to get good.

7. Have a wife or family who supports what you do...... and I'm not not talking about money. Re read that carefully, I say again, I am not not talking about money. Translation, it helps to have a gainfully employed woman to even out the finacial bumps :) or a rich Old Man. I did not get that kind of help but to those that had it or can get it, I won't hold it against ya.... :)

....and best o' luck!
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top