Base Gun

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by retrieverman, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. retrieverman

    retrieverman Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2013
    From reading on here, it appears most people use Colts as base guns for a custom build, but is there any disadvantages to using a Springfield or Rock Island or Dan Wesson or Norinco as a base gun?
     
  2. Dangerous Brian

    Dangerous Brian Pigtails and butter please...

    Dec 9, 2013
    Springfield and Norinco are fine, you would just be losing pedigree and resale Vs Colt.

    DW is probably not plain vanilla enough for a real custom build (too much already done).

    Rock Island, meh.
     
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  3. gun_fan111

    gun_fan111 Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2014
    I would rather buy a customized Springfield or Dan Wesson than a Colt, but I may very well be in minority on this

    RIA, no thanks
     
  4. Combat Weapon Systems

    Combat Weapon Systems Gunsmith

    115
    Mar 31, 2019
    A Colt or Springfield make fine base guns to customize. Dan Wesson is a pretty high dollar gun because they are kinda semi custom as they come with a lot of the common custom features in a production gun. The RIA and Norinco I dont think a whole lot of smiths would work with them for a custom build. They can have quality issues. And most smiths that build high end custom guns wouldn't want to take a chance on something that you cant be sure of its quality. You have to start with a good base to build upon. In saying that if you are going to have a full custom built the majority of parts in your production gun are going to get tossed for better made higher quality parts. So it would be more cost effective to just buy a frame and slide set like a Caspian , Jem etc to build upon. You will get a good frame to slide fit out of the gate as the frame rails are oversized to be fit to your slide so you get a match grade fit. Most production guns would require some work to get them anywhere near that type of fit. Several different ways to do that such as welding, peening, swaging, squeezing the slide etc. Those things are labor intensive and cost a decent amount of money to have done. Just some things to consider.
     
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  5. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    Colt is probably the best base gun in terms of aesthetics and potential resale value. Springfield comes in second as their frames and slides are generally considered to well made / good tolerances.

    I wouldn’t personally touch a ria or norinco for a build, too much to be done to them, no resale value, poor aesthetics to me, hard to find a smith willing to work on them.

    Nothing wrong, in my opinion, in using a Wesson, Wilson or Baer as a base gun - less aesthetics and resale potentially than a Colt but on the other hand the gun is already built at a level that your Smith will have less to fix for you and just has to improve some things and tailor the gun to your specific desires.

    No slam against Wesson, Wilson and Baer but they are semi custom and can’t match a gun being worked on by one smith at high level.


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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
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  6. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    And then, there is Kimber . . . . .
     
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  7. texasnurse

    texasnurse Well-Known Member

    702
    Aug 6, 2016
    Too many colts have asymmetrical holes in the frame, and other idiosyncrasies.

    I vote Springfield Armory; be sure to have to bow tie relief cut made.


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  8. retrieverman

    retrieverman Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2013
    Interesting! I hadn’t thought about Kimber as a base gun. From the ones I see for sale on the used market, Kimber would be an expensive base kind of like DW.

    As I say that though, most of the older 70 series Colts I’ve see lately have had asking prices from a grand up to $1500. I only paid $1600 for not even broken in Baer TRS last year.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  9. lsbbigdog

    lsbbigdog Smiffin' ain't easy Sponsor

    Aug 21, 2011
    If you already have a base gun or in a state with a roster list then I guess a base for a build is the best option.

    Me personally ..I prefer to build from scratch... I start with high quality oversized parts .No curve balls or additional cost to the client and the biggest plus is consistency.. I plan to stop taking base guns at some point soon and just focus on building full BEC gats only.
     
  10. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    I need to get my base gun to you quick then or move to a free state lol


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  11. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    I like Kimber as a base gun based upon my experience with them that being said it should be a gun you plan to keep. If you’re likely to sell it you’ll lose money on a Kimber build unfortunately just because of the rap they get/have.


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  12. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    Me too.
     
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  13. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    Ref: you need to find a base gun.

    @FWoo45...... I have a perfect base gun for you!!!!! Its a near virgin 1976 Colt .38 super Combat Commander. I just picked it up in a really good deal and can let it go for TWICE what its worth. :grin::grin: :cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry:
     
  14. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    If it was a 1967 model you might have some luck unfortunately the only way a Colt is legally shipped to an FFL in Kalifornia is if it’s a C&R


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  15. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    Could I use a large black sharpie and make it a Taurus?
     
  16. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    If that works I’ll take 2, one in 9 and one in .38 super!


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  17. fallenangelhim

    fallenangelhim chicken wings

    Jan 18, 2018
    Funny this thread popped up. I was looking to send my DW to get some parts fitted tighter than it was. Was wondering if a DW would be a worthwhile endeavor or to start from scratch.
     
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  18. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    If it was a 1967 as @simonp said, he and I would probably be in a bidding war that would get it well over twice what you paid. ;)
     
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  19. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    I can get the guy that sold it to me say it is a 1967!
     
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  20. BigSkyGuy

    BigSkyGuy Well-Known Member

    919
    Dec 25, 2018

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