Colt Good Shop for Reliability Work and Small Things

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by GeorgiaRedfish, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. GeorgiaRedfish

    GeorgiaRedfish Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    I haven’t been on the site in a while. My Colt Combat Commander needs some love. I want to send it off for a reliability package. Lower and flare ejection port, new extractor, new springs, etc. also may want a new trigger and grip safety installed. What’s a good shop for doing non full build work? Maybe quick turn around and not crazy expensive. Any suggestions?
  2. WC145

    WC145 Every day is Saturday and every night's a party!

    Jan 1, 2013
    I believe John Harrison still does small jobs that include using his parts. Turn around is very reasonable, as are his prices, and his work is as good you'll find. Worth giving him a call to check.

    Also, Jojo's in CT does excellent work on small jobs. And a lot of our members have used Nighthawk for smallish jobs.

  3. azguy1911

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

    Oct 22, 2015
  4. GeorgiaRedfish

    GeorgiaRedfish Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Ya I was thinking Harrison but I’ve always heard he stays booked I’ll look at Nighthawk and Evolution thanks!
    Integrity Arms likes this.
  5. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
    Integrity- Steve’s a good man , knows his stuff. !
    OldCuz, FWoo45, Havoc35 and 4 others like this.
  6. GeorgiaRedfish

    GeorgiaRedfish Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
  7. WC145

    WC145 Every day is Saturday and every night's a party!

    Jan 1, 2013
    Yeah, John's books are closed for full builds and have been for some time. He did some repair work and a couple minor upgrades on my '48 Colt a couple of years ago and at that time told me that he takes small jobs that include using his parts. In fact, I need to check with him about putting some sights on my Delta slide.
    FWoo45, rmac and Uncle Bob like this.
  8. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    keep in mind if you do any cutting, like lower and flare ejection port, and the grip safety it's going to require some refinish work as well. That is going to increase the expense. On top of that you have shipping both ways. Depending on what you mean by not crazy expensive you might find there is a bit more work there than you think.. Almost always sounds simple when it's just 4-5 items but, often times without thinking all the way through items are missed that have to be addressed.
    OldCuz, Trashy, Mike Meints and 7 others like this.
  9. 1911mechanik

    1911mechanik Christ is my front sight.

    Apr 29, 2016

    Dustin at HS Customs is great too! Check out some of his work here on the site. Top notch!
    FWoo45 and Integrity Arms like this.
  10. GeorgiaRedfish

    GeorgiaRedfish Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Ya I’m definitely aware it will need to be reblued but thanks for looking out
    Integrity Arms likes this.
  11. Xringchaser

    Xringchaser Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Feb 2, 2019
    Integrity Arms gets my vote. Steve does top notch work and you can talk to him throughout the process.
    OldCuz, FWoo45 and Integrity Arms like this.
  12. wrmiller

    wrmiller The Tinker

    Oct 29, 2016
    Seems like there might be a market for a 'smith to do repairs and modifications/enhancements instead of just doing full builds. Not sure how large (or small) that market might be though.
    AGENT P and Integrity Arms like this.
  13. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Pretty much all of us will take in this kind of work to a degree just depends on how busy and how much work it is. I won't bump a full build to do small repairs, but will do them as fill in work. But too small doesn't pay for the smith or the client. By the time you pay shipping, do the work, set up return shipping etc... there is a point of no (return on your time invested) this is why many shops including mine has a minimum.

    EDIT: I will edit this to say, previous and current clients do get preferential treatment, I've been known to bend a little for a loyal client, and or a previous client, returning for more work.. Makes good business sense to keep a good client happy and help them out whenever ya can.. Besides I have become friends with a lot of these folks as well. There are limits. But, you don't bite the hand that feeds ya.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
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  14. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Sep 22, 2017
    Harrison said the only work he'll do has to involve his parts.
    Might look into other finishes, especially if it's going to get seriously used. Blowing just isn't the most enduring of finishes. DLC stands up better.
  15. GeorgiaRedfish

    GeorgiaRedfish Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011

    I have other firearms I carry and use hard. This was my grandfathers gun and I plan to keep it blued, as this will be a “heirloom”

    I may hold off on messing with the ejection port but keep the rest. A nice beavertail safety and new silver trigger will make it shoot and look great, plus should keep the classic look to it. It has updated sights already.
  16. wrmiller

    wrmiller The Tinker

    Oct 29, 2016
    I don't claim to understand the gunsmithing market today, by any stretch.

    My mentor once told me that he made more money doing piece work instead of full builds. But that was 35 years ago or so, and the full builds he was doing were mostly race guns for the local USPSA open class shooters. Apples and oranges compared to what you and the other smiths on the forum here do. :)
    Integrity Arms likes this.
  17. mlea5150

    mlea5150 Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2016
    Check with Dave Laubert of Defensive Creations.
  18. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    If one were taking jobs off the street that would be a different thing altogether. Walk ins and such, but by the time you ship guns, log them, bench inspection detail strip and change a set of sights, clean and reassemble, repackage for shipping, record out of your log book heck you got 4-6 hours depending, and nobody wants to pay $200 for a sight install and then $150-$175 for the sights then $100 or more in shipping charges.. Heck I told a guy $100 to swap out sights one time + shipping and I thought he was going to $hit himself lol..
    This is just an example I mean sights you can just ship slide of course, but you know what I'm saying.. Little stuff ain't do little unless your not the one doing it.. Like setting up to drill an Ejector pin for example.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  19. wrmiller

    wrmiller The Tinker

    Oct 29, 2016
    Yea, most of our work walked in the front door. :)
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  20. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Sep 22, 2017
    Suggestion: leave it alone. It's more of an heirloom as it is, i.e. classic Colt. You put on a beaver tail, you've modified the frame. Sights on a classic Colt aren't great by any standards from the 1970s onward, so that's a thought. If you're going to modify it, decide all the work beforehand and not end up piece meal work for a Smith plus all the additional charges from any shipping and handling.

    When we did the series 70s back in the 70s and early 80s, the work list usually was:

    Replace collet bushing, they're junk.

    Replace sights, dovetail these days, front sight was silver soldered back in the day. A fair amount of the folks went BoMar rear sights, rest if us used fixed high visability.

    Election port lowered and flared

    Ramp fix, we never used hardball.

    Checkering front and back strap, also the trigger guard

    Bevel mag well, no add ons in those days and I still don't bother with anything but a beveled mag well.

    Swenson safeties

    Hard chrome finish. But that was back in the day where everyone in SoCal used to use the same shop for it (long gone).

    Most important, trigger job. These days go after Market, Colt parts wear out and a trigger job that died gets real tricky.

    And no, I never used a beaver tail.

    Go hard core, BarSto barrels but only in Irv Sr. Days.. not Junior these days.

    This was for IPSC and some of us had our duty sidearms modified for more reliability. Your choice for what you decide to do, but do it all at once after you decide.
    wrmiller and Integrity Arms like this.

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