A Tale of Three Magwells . . . . .

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by ZoidMeister, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    I'm not a fan or reposting, but with the discussions of late on the Stan Chen SI magwell, I thought a few folks who don't frequent other quadrants of the internet would appreciate this.

    I don't do "review" threads often, but with my affinity for adding magwells to many of my full-size guns, I thought I would detail a bit of my journey.

    I began by picking up a few Smith & Alexander one-piece magwells. They filled three of my early priorities - they offer them with arched mainspring housings, they are largely "drop-in", and they cost less than $100.

    The next version I played with was the Ed Brown two-piece. While they do not offer an arched version, they are largely drop-in, are close to my preferred price of $100 or less but do offer my preferred texture - skip line checkering.

    The latest is a new introduction by Stan Chen. The Stan Chen SI magwell.

    Left to right - S&A, EB, Stan Chen SI.



    Below are photos of all three varieties installed in ZOIDS1911. My thoughts follow:

    The S&A is pretty straight forward. The versions I have are MIM I believe. Better than plastic, but not machined. They have all been “drop-in” fitting.




    Next, the Ed Brown: I was first introduced to the Ed Brown two-piece on the Executive Elite II I bought. I liked the skip-line checkering a lot, even though it wasn’t an arched mainspring. I bought one of these for my ZOIDS build. It too was “drop-in” fitting.




    Both the S&A and EB have straight cut, no frills beveled magazine openings. They do their job. I haven’t blended any of the frames I have these installed into, but these guns are not positioned to be full-custom build dressed either.


    joerockhead, JNW, ORShooter and 3 others like this.
  2. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    The latest is the new Stan Chen SI magwell. It is one-piece design, but what is intriguing to me is the round butt treatment on the bottom of this one. I am a huge fan of arched, bobtail, round butt grips. The Stan Chen offers a bit of refined elegance over the other two. I got it at the introductory price, so it was on par cost wise with the Ed Brown. What I really like about the Stan Chen is the contoured magwell opening. The sides of the “funnel” follow the bottom of the frame closer to the center of the front strap.




    To me, this is elegant. Looking up into the frame, this magwell is begging to be blended.


    I have only tried to fit the Stan Chen onto one of my guns thus far – the ZOIDS build. I have noted two areas of concern. First is the mainspring pin location seems to be ever so slightly off. I cannot get the pin inserted fully into the gun. It will go about halfway with quite a bit of “coaxing”, but that’s all. I will try installing this on a different frame. Probably try a Springfield mil-spec to see if the alignment is the same.

    The second area of concern is less important. Magazines with wide base plates like the one seen in the photos below will not seat fully due to the contour at the front. Standard Wilson magazines seat with no problems.



    That’s all I have to report for today. Sorry for the crappy photos (and rust on the EB).

    villdetwink, ZArugby, BBP and 8 others like this.

  3. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014

    So I tried the Stan Chen SI magwell on a Springfield 1911-A1. It previously had an S&A magwell installed. This time, this gun, no problems.

    I guess I need to go back to the ZOIDS1911 build to see what I was doing wrong, or what was preventing the Stan Chen from seating properly.

    For now, I am totally content on letting the Stan Chen live on this Springfield.






    The other nice thing I found, is the magazine wide base plate issue is limited to the ACT-MAG 8 rounders that I have. I tried a couple of Ruger branded 8-round wide base plate magazines and they fit just fine. The issue with the ACT-MAG is the taper on the base prevents the magazine from being inserted far enough for the mag catch to click and lock it in place. The Ruger branded 8-round magazines do not have this upward taper.




  4. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    Thanks for time and effort put out for us to read Zoid.
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  5. ORShooter

    ORShooter Just outsided the realm of Crazy!

    Nov 28, 2018
    Yes, great thread!
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  6. BennyAdeline

    BennyAdeline Official Hi-Point Brand Representative

    Nov 26, 2018
    Great write up Z. Thank you!
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  7. JNW

    JNW Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    Nice write up and thanks for the effort. I have a few S&A magwells and I really like them. They fill my hand, fit my guns really well, guide my magazines into the gun and were all drop in with zero fitting. I guess I’m not too excited about the Stan Chen magwells. I’m sure they’re nice, and they say Chen on them, but I don’t feel the need to spend $175 on a magwell. If you want to treat yourself to a little luxury then these magwells will certainly do that, but they’re not going to function any better and I doubt they make they gun feel different in your hand. I know this is heretical on 1911 site, but there it is.
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  8. walleyemonster

    walleyemonster Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2017
    I love me a round butt... err magwell! I have a commander that needs a magwell.
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  9. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    I like round butts and I cannot lie . . .
    TheCollector likes this.
  10. azguy1911

    azguy1911 I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now

    Oct 22, 2015
  11. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    We've had this discussion before............ hence the pic re-post!!

    round butt.jpg
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  12. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014

    faint2.gif drool.gif faint2.gif drool.gif faint2.gif drool.gif faint2.gif drool.gif faint2.gif drool.gif
    TheCollector likes this.
  13. Yoemen66

    Yoemen66 Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2017
    Thanks for the review Zoid! I have 5 guns with S/A magwells and love how they look when blended and polished to the frame. They are graceful and elegant and add a little bit of heft to a 1911 that I feel balances them better.

    I had looked at and researched trying a nighthawk on my delta build but after speaking with Dave didn't really see an advantage to it vs. the cost.

    I'll have a Stan Chen 2 on my EVO when Dave gets done with it so I am excited to see how it compares.
    ZoidMeister likes this.

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