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I put a lot of stock in making sure my barrel lugs have full contact and that contact needs to wrap around the slide stop. I mean, what other area of barrel fit has that much affect on making sure the barrel returns to the same position every time? I would argue the lower lugs do that. Some could say the sides of the hood might do that but side hood clearance is clearance. If it’s totally clear of the slide by .001, it shouldn’t matter if it is clearanced by .005. Clearance is clearance. Some could argue that the barrel twists due to the forces at work when the round is fired but I’m talking about what makes the barrel return to the same position during recoil. I believe the lower lugs have a lot to do with it.

Some could argue that upper lug contact at 3 and 9 has a lot to do with it but not every slide and every barrel will have a 3 and 9 position contact. Sometimes that barrel and slide combo will let you get full contact around the radius. When I’m fitting a barrel to a slide, I don’t fight what that barrel and slide wants. I do either or. If I get the right amount of engagement with 3 and 9 contact I stop. If I have to get full contact around the radius to get the right amount of engagement, that’s what I’ll do.

One thing I can do the same every time is make sure the barrel feet have solid contact and make sure that contact wraps around the slide stop. Train tracks on the slide stop is good, getting rabbit ears around it without barrel bump is better. This one had a hint of bump on the left ear and more on the right so the transition was dressed back again to address it. I fricking hate barrel bump.

View attachment 771268

Which reminds me, I think it’s time to buy a .198 lug cutter from Joe. The one I have is finally getting dull after 5 years of use. 😀
Excellent post.

For barrel fitting most semi-custom houses seem to rely now on high-precision CNC-ing and a little hand finishing; much if any lower lug contact with the slide stop does not appear part of their approach. Yet they tend to be highly accurate, reliable and well-timed, if not to bullseye standards.

Have those shops found a different working solution to barrel fit that performs but keeps to particular price point, or have they opted for half-measures? What do you think of the barrel fit you're seeing out of them?
 

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The Tinker
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As he (EA) said, it doesn't require full contact to make a well functioning pistol that is accurate for most types of shooting other than bullseye. With my latest 10mm build, I've put a full magazine on a 6" round plate at 100 yds. on more than one occasion. Two hand hold, hands resting on my gun bag. That's plenty good enough for me, but maybe not good enough for others.

I've listened to, and read about, all kinds of claims from smiths over the years. Some make sense. Some don't.

But as long as the claims sell product, it's all good. :)
 

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As he (EA) said, it doesn't require full contact to make a well functioning pistol that is accurate for most types of shooting other than bullseye.
I said this? I don’t build bullseye guns but I would bet one of my guns would do very well at Camp Perry with the right load and shooter. I almost guarantee the same could be said about everyone else who doesn’t wear the badge of “bullseye” smith.
Barrels are just that good now. Ammo is just that good now.

I wish this outdated notion that guys who build super high end guns that look great don’t focus on accuracy would just die already. 🤣

Lou Biondo said it best and I’m sorry if I’m misquoting him but he said something like “at that level, everything matters equally.” You HAVE TO have a gun that looks good. You HAVE TO have a gun that groups. You HAVE TO have a gun that runs. There’s no picking one or the other anymore or only getting 2 out of 3.
 

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As he (EA) said, it doesn't require full contact to make a well functioning pistol that is accurate for most types of shooting other than bullseye...
I don't recall EA saying that, but I'm pretty sure I've read Joe and Rob say something similar: full contact's nice, but Camp Perry's been won with 50% contact guns, easy.

In the semi-customs there's a lot of zero contact. So much so that it seems deliberate. Have those shops decided that it's unnecessary for good performance, or just too much work to bother?
 

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I don't recall EA saying that, but I'm pretty sure I've read Joe and Rob say something similar: full contact's nice, but Camp Perry's been won with 50% contact guns, easy.

In the semi-customs there's a lot of zero contact. So much so that it seems deliberate. Have those shops decided that it's unnecessary for good performance, or just too much work to bother?
Define good performance for a 3-6k gun.
 

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The Tinker
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I said this? I don’t build bullseye guns but I would bet one of my guns would do very well at Camp Perry with the right load and shooter. I almost guarantee the same could be said about everyone else who doesn’t wear the badge of “bullseye” smith.
Barrels are just that good now. Ammo is just that good now.

I wish this outdated notion that guys who build super high end guns that look great don’t focus on accuracy would just die already. 🤣

Lou Biondo said it best and I’m sorry if I’m misquoting him but he said something like “at that level, everything matters equally.” You HAVE TO have a gun that looks good. You HAVE TO have a gun that groups. You HAVE TO have a gun that runs. There’s no picking one or the other anymore or only getting 2 out of 3.
No Sir, you didn't. I misspoke. Got a couple of threads/comments mixed up in my head.

Apologies, my bad.
 

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The Tinker
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In the semi-customs there's a lot of zero contact. So much so that it seems deliberate. Have those shops decided that it's unnecessary for good performance, or just too much work to bother?
Just a guess on my part, but semi-customs may be being built with as little hand work as possible, in order to keep costs down. CNC time is probably a lot cheaper than a skilled assembler at a bench.

People paying big bucks for a gun have to have something they believe is worth paying for. Some folks pay big bucks for pretty guns. Some pay for guns that shoot well. Some want both. Maybe it's more important to just own a well built pistol? I'm not in that camp that can afford to pay someone big bucks for a pistol, so I'm just guessing here.

On the other hand, I suspect that people looking at semi-customs may be paying more attention to price than all out performance and or pretties? Just a guess on my part.

I personally don't think some of this stuff is as critical as some would have you believe. But that's just my opinion. I've said this before, but I've actually worked on old rattle trap bullseye pistols that guys have won with. One, for example, had contact between the SS pin and only one of the lower barrel lugs. And it was a tack driver according to the guy who competed with it.
 

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Including my first post in this thread, we’ve been getting away from the OP. Who doesn’t love a good Addicts derail though. I’m of the belief that a lot of the semi custom builders are relying on selling their guns to people who will use em as adult trading cards and for flexing either on or offline to their friends. The small percentage that do end up in the hands of folks who shoot a lot and very well (not me, I shoot a lot but I’m not very good), are an opportunity to build (or not) a stellar CS reputation. Most of these guns get a couple hundred rounds through em per year at most. This isn’t necessarily true once you step up to the one man shops geared towards shooters. The paraphrased Lou comment is spot on at that level, but I would bet the price of a Yost that Ted has built more guns with under 1k rounds through em than over.
 

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Ted may have customers who shoot less than 100 rounds a year but you can bet that isn’t factored into how he builds a gun.

Look at a Burton gun. He might fall into that same category. High dollar gun, low volume shooter. But if you look at his shop thread you’ll see just how much effort he puts into barrel fit.

So again, this notion that visually stunning guns don’t have to group needs to die. The owner might not live up to the potential but that doesn’t mean the builder gets to skimp.
 

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Hi,
Off the top of my head, but I believe one of the US ARMY Tests for the 1911 was to take 3or 4 pistols apart...

Mix up the parts, then put the pistols back together and see if they ran.

They did, also if you have seen a Colt, put together at the factory...

About the only thing "hand fitted" is the thumb safety lug to the sear!

Just sayin, not a lot of "hand fitting" on commercial pistols to my mind, but the pistol works as designed.
 

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Hi,
Off the top of my head, but I believe one of the US ARMY Tests for the 1911 was to take 3or 4 pistols apart...

Mix up the parts, then put the pistols back together and see if they ran.

They did, also if you have seen a Colt, put together at the factory...

About the only thing "hand fitted" is the thumb safety lug to the sear!

Just sayin, not a lot of "hand fitting" on commercial pistols to my mind, but the pistol works as designed.
My understanding is this was correct during the war effort -- WWII. Several different manufacturers were enlisted to produce 1911s and specs were deliberately such that parts from any manufacturer -- Colt, Remington Rand, Union Switch & Signal, Singer -- could be mixed and matched and the gun would function.

In this respect, the 1911 was the Glock of its day: user serviceable with swappable parts, easily field stripped with no special tools, sloppy fit for reliability, so-so heavier trigger and minute-of-bad guy accuracy at 25 yards.

No one builds them like that anymore, for better and for worse.
 

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Ted may have customers who shoot less than 100 rounds a year but you can bet that isn’t factored into how he builds a gun.

Look at a Burton gun. He might fall into that same category. High dollar gun, low volume shooter. But if you look at his shop thread you’ll see just how much effort he puts into barrel fit.

So again, this notion that visually stunning guns don’t have to group needs to die. The owner might not live up to the potential but that doesn’t mean the builder gets to skimp.
I apologize if I came off as suggesting that Ted skimps or cuts corners. That wasn’t my intention. I just meant that many folks who buy semi custom guns (and even customs) just stick em in the safe and as a result, some larger volume shops don’t always put out a product that is inline with their adds or what the fan bois claim.
 

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I apologize if I came off as suggesting that Ted skimps or cuts corners. That wasn’t my intention. I just meant that many folks who buy semi custom guns (and even customs) just stick em in the safe and as a result, some larger volume shops don’t always put out a product that is inline with their adds or what the fan bois claim.

Based on the for sale ads on this forum I would say the likelihood of a semi-custom being bought and shot once and put up are a lot higher than someone's dream gun they paid 2.5X as much for and waited 3X as long for. There is no end to the "shot once" semi-custom ads here.
 

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Ted may have customers who shoot less than 100 rounds a year but you can bet that isn’t factored into how he builds a gun.

Look at a Burton gun. He might fall into that same category. High dollar gun, low volume shooter. But if you look at his shop thread you’ll see just how much effort he puts into barrel fit.

So again, this notion that visually stunning guns don’t have to group needs to die. The owner might not live up to the potential but that doesn’t mean the builder gets to skimp.
As anyone done an in depth review on their guns, and seen how the fitting looks? Or is this just an assumption?
If you look at Nighthawk Custom’s Instagram, you get the impression that everything is meticulously fitted. Which in my case (and others) that isn’t what happened.
That was one of the interesting items of the barrel fit challenge, there were some high dollar builds, that had people take a closer look at what they got. Where most other threads are just oh and Awwws at the looks.
 

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I see this whole fitting thing as market positioning. You've got $1,000 1911s (think Colt), $2,000 (think Dan Wesson), $3,000 (think Wilson Combat), $4000 (think Nighthawk), $5,000 (think Wilson Combat Supergrade), and $6,000+ (think Joe Chambers).

Something has to differentiate the guns and once you get to all machined parts, you move to customizations and individual fitting, up to totally hand fit and totally customizable. The buyer can pick along that spectrum based on what he wants and what he can afford.
 

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As anyone done an in depth review on their guns, and seen how the fitting looks? Or is this just an assumption?
If you look at Nighthawk Custom’s Instagram, you get the impression that everything is meticulously fitted. Which in my case (and others) that isn’t what happened.
That was one of the interesting items of the barrel fit challenge, there were some high dollar builds, that had people take a closer look at what they got. Where most other threads are just oh and Awwws at the looks.
One could say Jason does an in depth review of himself every week if you look at his shop pics thread.

You see him taking very precise measurements, machining the barrel lug radius to closely match the slide, machine cut lower lugs, etc. I have no doubt his guns group just from him “popping the hood”.

Ted doesn’t post much of the technical aspects of what he does online but you don’t stay in this business for 30 years and crank out 50-80 finished pieces of work a year at 64 years old without picking up a thing or 2. But to be fair, this definitely could be considered an assumption.
 
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