Seecamp and AD Swenson custom?

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by CallmeIsh, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. CallmeIsh

    CallmeIsh Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2016
    Hey addicts!

    A buddy of mine lucked into something I think is unique and pretty badass. He picked it up at an estate sale. We’re trying to figure out what it is and get an idea of what it’s worth. Our knowledge of old customs is very limited. It appears to be a Louis Seecamp DA conversion that was later worked on by Armand Swenson.

    It is commander length, has the Swenson Ambi Safety, Smith and Wesson K frame sights, stippled slide and other possible Swenson touches. I’ll try to upload as many pictures as possible. Does this look like AD Swenson Work? What is it worth?


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    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
    GoetzTalon and Mike Meints like this.

  2. gaijin

    gaijin Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2015
    Looks like an old Safari Arms frame/Colt slide.
    Other folks than Swenson used the K frame rear sight in the day.
    I am no expert, but the quality of work does not appear to be a Swenson gun, or project.
    Jimhoag and CallmeIsh like this.
  3. WC145

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

    Jan 1, 2013
    The frame looks like Austin Behlert's work, he did some Seecamp conversions and the front strap and trigger guard treatments look like his work, along with the stippling on the front strap. The MSH/mag well was likely added on later since it looks stainless and the rest of the frame has been hard chromed and Behlert would have stippled it to match the front. The Swenson ambi safety was common at the time since they worked and he sold them, it doesn't mean he worked on the gun. The extended slide stop looks like something that was added later, the design is newer than the other work and I don't recall Behlert using extended slide stops.

    The slide work is definitely not Swenson's. He used a file and would beat it with a hammer to stipple his slides, that stippling was done with a punch or a nail or something, he also serrated the rear of the slide, didn't stipple it, he pinned his S&W sights in addition to using a retaining screw, and he filled the original sight dove tail with a piece that matched the contour of the slide and would serrate it.

    I would say that the slide work wasn't done by Behlert either. I've never seen a Behlert gun with a stippled slide and his stippling work was much tighter than that. Also, he would fill the original dovetail and smooth it over so you couldn't see where it had been. The rear sight on the gun pictured is off center on the frame and Behlert's front sights (that I have seen) were shorter and he used a longer insert that fit. The work on the slide is pretty crude by comparison to either Swenson's or Behlert's work.

    I don't know about the barrel. I can't recall ever seeing a Swenson with a compensator. I've never seen a 1911 with a Seecamp conversion with a comp either. I had a Behlert pin gun that had a comp but it was fitted to the gun and blued. The one pictured looks much newer than the time when the work on the frame would have been done.

    My best guess on that gun is that it has an Austin Behlert built frame (which, by the way, dates to very late 1975, probably December) that has had some parts replaced but the slide is likely not original and was stippled to try and "match" the frame. It looks like someone tried to build a race/pin gun using a Behlert/Seecamp frame as the foundation, which I find odd because the Seecamp double action pull was heavy and there is no reason to give up a clean single action trigger on a competition gun. It would be neat to take the frame and find another slide assembly and put the gun back to some semblance of what it would have been when it left Behlert's shop, any example of his work and engineering has value and his Seecamp conversions are rare, but as the gun is set up I don't know what you'd do with it. It's an interesting example for sure, a weird mix of styles, I'd love to know how it shoots!!
  4. GoetzTalon

    GoetzTalon Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2011
    Pretty cool whoever built it! Might want to take the slide off and look at the disco track for Swenson's mark. Also look under the grip panels.
    CallmeIsh likes this.
  5. Jason Burton

    Jason Burton Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2012
    The frame/front strap certainly has 'shades' of Behlert's style but I'm certain nothing there is Swenson's work.
  6. CallmeIsh

    CallmeIsh Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2016
    Thank you for taking the time to write this up. It was educational and I enjoyed reading it. I actually read it multiple times. I shared the link with my friend, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it as well. Thanks to all who chimed in. That’s why I love this forum. I’m 29 and love older guns. I have a nice collection of older Smth and Wesson revolvers but now I’ll be looking for Austin Behlert and AD Swensen guns. I’m particularly fond of the Belhert snubbies. Thanks again.
  7. CallmeIsh

    CallmeIsh Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2016
    Yes sir we’ll be checking but I’m fairly certain the concensus here is correct.
    GoetzTalon likes this.
  8. WC145

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

    Jan 1, 2013
    Happy to help. I've never had the pleasure of owning a Swenson gun but I've had several examples of Behlert's work. They've all gone on to new homes but through the miracle of the digital world I still have pics to tease you with.;)

    Since you like Behlert snubbies, here's one of his chopped S&W 25-2s, it was a beautiful example, finished in Armoloy hard chrome-

    This is another one of his chopped guns, a Bob-Cat Colt Government Model, the slide and barrel were cut to 4" and the grip frame cut and rewelded between the length of a Detonics CombatMaster and a Colt Officers ACP, it was the original CCO. Of course, he was making these before either Detonics or Colt came out with their small 1911s. This one was a terrific example of his engineering prowess and had many mods on top of the chop - HP cuts, S&W K frame sights, his screw-in barrel bushing, the finger grip trigger guard, and more. I should have kept this one.

    This one is a chopped and comp'd pin gun. What a shooter it was!!!
    gaijin and GoetzTalon like this.

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