Springfield Armory

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by Robert E. McLeod, May 2, 2019.

  1. Robert E. McLeod

    Robert E. McLeod Member

    10
    Feb 9, 2019
    This pistol and I have quite a history together, it all started out about 15 years ago, this is the first gun that I worked on for someone else. I’d already done some work to my first project gun, a Colt Series 70 re-issue. I’d only performed the basics, a beavertail grip safety, extended thumb safety, trigger job and reliability work. My friend Mark asked me if I’d do the same work to his Springfield. I was happy to oblige, I was even happier that he trusted me to work on his pistol.

    Fast forward a few years and I had completed Larry Vickers’ 1911 Pistolsmithing class and again, Mark asked me if I’d be interested in hard fitting a Kart barrel and checkering the frontstrap of this pistol. Again, I was grateful for the opportunity to do the work, as during the class, Larry suggested that we build 10 guns for friends for the cost of the parts just to get the methodologies completely down. I also wanted to use this opportunity to update the trigger job and reliability work that I had performed prior to Larry’s class.

    I had checkered four frontstraps at this point and was pretty confident in my abilities. So, at the conclusion of a very long stressful shift, I thought the total concentration required to checker might be the perfect therapy to take my mind off a bad situation. Well, that proved to be a very bad mistake on my part. I made an irreversible error, after telling my friend what had happened I told him that I’d pay to have a new checkered insert installed on the frame.

    The only smith I was able to find at the time to perform the services was Jim Milks and when I contacted him, he told me he wasn’t able to get any new inserts to weld into the frame for the time being. So, I ended up buying this pistol from my friend and told myself that I’d do something with it someday. When that day was, I didn’t know.

    Fast forward to last fall, I had transitioned out of law enforcement, this meant that my life was no longer subject to come to a screeching halt at the whim of a phone call of a SWAT callout, I didn’t have to worry about attending training or court on my days off. Consequently, I had some more time on my hands and as I was going through some boxes in my gunroom, I came across the box of Springfield parts. I contact Jim Milks again and he said he did have the inserts and he had some openings in his schedule to do the work. I thought while he had it, I’d also have him weld up the frame rails and mill them to the slide dimensions to get a better frame to slide fit.

    While I continued organizing and going through my gunroom, I found the July/August 2001 issue of American Handgunner magazine. The article in that magazine titled “Vickers Gun” was my introduction to Larry Vickers. I had no idea when I read that article for the first time that I would not only meet Larry, but I would also train with him a few times, to include the 1911 pistolsmithing class. As I looked at the pistol on the cover of the magazine, a Springfield Mil-Spec, I realized this was my opportunity to pay homage to the gun that sent me on this quest of building 1911s. It would be far from a clone, but enough of a reminder for me.

    So I received the frame and the slide back from Jim Milks and I have to say, I was very impressed with his repair of the frontstrap and with a couple drops of oil, the slide reciprocated back and forth on the frame with no assistance, other than gravity and felt like it was on ball bearings. My first order of business was hard fitting the Kart barrel. I fit the bushing so it could still be removed by hand in the field if need be, to strip down the pistol. I ordered an un-drilled Smith & Alexander magwell and fit it to the frame, to include beveling the interior. I rounded off the but and re-cut and pointed the factory cast checkering. After this, I went through the rest of the pistol and revamped some of my prior work and brought everything up to my current standards. I took it out and test fired it and everything worked 100%

    After everything was completed, I had the pistol re-finished in KG Gunknote SOCOM black and couldn’t be happier with the results. I only tested for accuracy out to 15 yards as it was raining outside at the time, however, I was happy with these results as well. Definitely accurate enough for the intended use of this pistol.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this entire post and checking out the pictures!

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  2. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    Nice one . . . . .
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.

  3. Bloodhound

    Bloodhound Well-Known Member

    828
    Apr 12, 2018
    Great looking Springer! Are those original Simonich Gunner grips?
     
    simonp and Robert E. McLeod like this.
  4. JoeDice

    JoeDice Active Member

    92
    Dec 1, 2017
    A very nice looking 1911 . With my 71 year old eyes I would have to replace the front sight. You should be proud of how it turned out.
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.
  5. DR_Diesel

    DR_Diesel Well-Known Member

    172
    Mar 11, 2019
  6. SparkyAZ

    SparkyAZ It is a dry heat, right... Supporting Addict

    Sep 11, 2012
    Very nice. Good to see a Springer getting some attention!
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.
  7. Old Sea Dragon

    Old Sea Dragon Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2018
    That, my friend, is a great looking pistol. Congratulations on retirement. There is life after law enforcement I assure you. Enjoy
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.
  8. Robert E. McLeod

    Robert E. McLeod Member

    10
    Feb 9, 2019
    Great eye! They are an original set of Simonich Gunner grips.
     
    simonp likes this.
  9. Robert E. McLeod

    Robert E. McLeod Member

    10
    Feb 9, 2019
    Thank you for the compliment. I didn't quite make it to retirement. There are days I miss it like crazy and there are days I'm very thankful to be out.
     
    Old Sea Dragon likes this.
  10. razorbacker

    razorbacker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 2, 2011
    Nice story, very nice final result.
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.
  11. Gimpster

    Gimpster Kevin G Supporting Addict

    Apr 6, 2017
    Nice work! Looks great!
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.
  12. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    Looks great! great story / journey
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.
  13. BigSkyGuy

    BigSkyGuy Well-Known Member

    919
    Dec 25, 2018
    Wow! Can I be one of the 10 that Larry told you do?!?:grin:
     
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  14. Robert E. McLeod

    Robert E. McLeod Member

    10
    Feb 9, 2019
    Well, I've already been through the first ten. However, now that I've got the time, I've considered jumping in and taking on new 1911 projects at very discounted rates to get back into after a hiatus. If you're really interested, message me.
     
    BigSkyGuy likes this.
  15. BigSkyGuy

    BigSkyGuy Well-Known Member

    919
    Dec 25, 2018
  16. 45ACP_ray

    45ACP_ray Well-Known Member

    146
    Feb 11, 2015
    Great looking build, has the straight down to business look to it.
     
    Robert E. McLeod likes this.
  17. Johnny Johnston

    Johnny Johnston New Member

    13
    Feb 3, 2018

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