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Custom Pistolsmith
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713 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Armand Swenson was the 1970's gunsmith who either innovated or popularized many of the custom features for 1911 is that decade, some have lasted to the present. This gun was part of "The Decades Project" One gun build for each decade of 1911 production, built in the popular style of that decade. Swenson was THE iconic builder of the 70's. A lot goes into his style. The SW revolver sight, forged square trigger guard. Slide texturing and more. I started with a 1970's carbon Colt( All the guns in the project are Colt. 45) Tooling had to be custom made for the rear sight cuts. The trigger guard had to be heated and stretched to square then hand checkered. The top of the slide treatment was the hardest detail to duplicate. Wayne Novak did most of them when he worked with Swenson but was a little reluctant to give all the detail of the process so over a year I found the right tools and process experimenting on a number of test slides. I studied about 20 Swenson guns in hand and with photos to choose the features for this project. One thing I found was that no two were really alike. They also were not perfect, it was more about function than style for him. I do see the elegance in his work though, everything works together. The finish is a soft matte hard chrome, fitted with period Colt "fruitwood" grips. I had a bit of help in the research from some great smiths- Wayne Novak, Ted Yost, Jason Burton, Pete Single , Mike Curtis and John Harrison who all provided insight into Swenson's work. One more left in this series the 1930's. You can find others in the series on my FB page (Derr Precision) of here in past postings. Enjoy!










 

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I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now
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6,042 Posts
Is there anything prettier than a stainless 1911 with wood grips, NOPE, as God and Mr. Browning intended
 

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I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now
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6,042 Posts

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Custom Pistolsmith
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713 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Updated. Share your Swenson if you have one or share your Swenson stories.
 

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Every day is Saturday and every night's a party!
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6,604 Posts
That's outstanding, love it. Did you consider going with a S&W revolver front sight?
 

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Double Secret Banned
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2,138 Posts
Outstanding work!
 

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243 Posts
Mr. Derr,

I already shared this in the regular photo thread but thought you might enjoy it.

This pistol belonged to my grandfather, he was not the person that commissioned the work, he bought it used in a local shop. In the early 90's he was planning on selling it and my father, not wanting to see it go, sold multiple other firearms including another colt in order to buy it from my grandfather. He has since graciously passed it on to me.

I should dig out the original paperwork and post is as well.


 

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Just me
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263 Posts
The slide top looks almost like leather has to be one of the coolest treatments , also must have been a b*tch to pull off. Awesome build sir.
 
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