Wilson Combat To cut or not to cut...

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by zChambers, May 2, 2019.

  1. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    Jan 21, 2015
    I’ve been debating in my head about what base gun to use for a build. One option is a Wilson.

    Among other things, I want to have a Stan Chen gen 1 magwell installed, along with a Dawson light rail. These modifications are outside of what the Wilson shop is willing to do.

    I can send the gun and parts off to an independent smith who would be more than happy and capable of doing the work. My main concern is that having another smith cut up the Wilson will void any warranty and Wilson will probably be unwilling to do any further work or service in the future. I’m capable of doing most fitting, troubleshooting, maintenance so the only thing I would not be able to handle on my own would be catastrophic like a crack in the frame or slide.

    Thought or opinions? Am I overthinking this? Should I just go ahead and have an independent do the work that I want?

    I have another gun in the inventory that could serve the same purpose but that one has a little more sentimental value and I would rather keep it for different build.
    simonp likes this.
  2. azguy1911

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

    Oct 22, 2015
    Buy a Dan Wesson for the project
    boatdoc, Fred_G and Steve Owens like this.

  3. Whiskey Sour

    Whiskey Sour Blossoming Addict

    Apr 13, 2017
    If you want to use a Wilson as a base gun I would go for it, especially if your other option has more sentimental value. I think it would be pretty cool to have a build like that, certainly something you don’t see often if ever.
    zChambers, simonp and Mike Meints like this.
  4. mikegalway

    mikegalway CEO of DILLIGAF industries Supporting Addict

    Feb 23, 2014
    I would never cut up a Wilson . JMO . There are too many other guns out there that make fine base guns for a whole lot less money .
  5. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    I would assume the cost associated with the base gun plus the changes would make that WC skyrocket in money spent, but with very little value to anyone but yourself should you ever decide to part with it. However, that is of little concern when it's what you want to do with your pistol.
    If the WC is an older version that just sits around collecting dust, sure, go for it.
    Now, that said, what would I do?
    I'd sell the Wilson and have a gun built to the specs you want from WC, NHC or GCI. With what you get from the WC and what you put into buying a new one, you're probably going to break even if not come out on top a bit.
    Guncrafter has a picture of a build they did with a Stan Chen magwell that is just tits and believe it went to Cajun Concealed @Cajun Concealed (correct, Tyler?). It's a non-railed model, but they could easily build you a railed version. I really like it. I don't know NHC or WC's willingness to use parts outside of what they create themselves, but worth a shot to ask them.
  6. Mike Meints

    Mike Meints Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2017
    I think it's a matter of personal opinion . If you have a Wilson and want a Wilson with a Chan magwell , well , why not ? I think it would be cool too ! Let us know what you decide ……. maybe I'll do the same thing ! :)
  7. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    I'd do it in a heartbeat, why not? The better gun you start with as a base gun, the less work that has to be done to fix problems. If you have a perfect Wilson except for 2 things you want or need on the gun, why the hell not change the gun so that it gives you everything you want and /or need?
  8. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    Jan 21, 2015
    Thanks for all the responses so far. My original question had nothing to do with whether or not I should buy a new gun. I can maintain and fix most common issues so I was more concerned with whether or not I was being to precious or neurotic in wanting to keep the Wilson warranty in-tact.

    The Wilson is already in the inventory and its use is somewhat redundant to if it doesn't end up getting chopped, it will likely sit around doing nothing. I'm more of a shooter than a collector and I personally don't like having multiple guns that do the same thing.

    Back story is that I've been collecting small parts here and there for a long time with the intent to use them in different builds. Eventually they got set aside and never used. I've finally kind of got fed up with letting them sit so the point of this build is to make a hard use 1911 with all these parts that I've been collecting but have never put together.

    I considered getting a custom build from scratch but I also want to do some of the filing work myself. Since cutting these things up is a hobby that I enjoy, so getting to work on the peace is more important to me than the cost factor.

    I also contacted Wilson and they flat out refuse to work with with the Chen mag well. The instant a file outside of WC touches the firearm, the warranty is void. So its either bite the bullet and go all the way with the conversion, or don't do it at all.

    I didn't think about contacting NHC but I'll reach out tomorrow and see what they have to say. They have been very accommodating to me in the past when it comes to selling me weird parts and somewhat one-off stuff. There is also definitely some humor in having NCH chop up a WC to meet a customer's vision.

    Concur will all above who said it would be something you don't see every day. Also part of the reason this idea appeals to me.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
    TexasBB, Mike Meints and simonp like this.
  9. Babboonbobo

    Babboonbobo Avatar is back to my favorite things!

    Nov 18, 2014
    Build it if you want to, I mean what really are the chances of something happening you can’t take care of. I’m sure it’s possible but very unlikely that anything catastrophic happens where you would need the warranty.
    I built on an ATI so no different than doing a build a gun worth less than a high point;) just to the other extreme:geek:
    cgff and zChambers like this.
  10. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    That was really my point. If you're concerned about the warranty that would be negated by smithing it, my advice would be to sell it and get the gun you want- railed and magwell installation. It's not about the effect of buying a new gun, but more so about cost and headache.
    Like Bob Villa said- if it costs the same to do it yourself as it does to get a contractor... get a contractor.
    Then, you have the warranty associated with the new gun since nothing was done to it outside of the OEM.
    I ran into this exact scenario with a BCM rifle I had that I wanted to spiff up. By the time I was said and done with it, changing out trigger; rail; MD; and a host of other items, I could have purchased a KAC and everything I was wanting would have come standard straight out of the box. Had I sold the BCM, used that to help pay for the KAC, I actually would have come out on top with a brand new gun and the associated warranty of it being 'stock' from the manufacturer.
  11. theJanitor

    theJanitor Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2014
    If the Wilson is vetted, there's nothing that will need true warranty work. Springs, tritium, barrel rifling, don't count.

    So cut it and make it into a pistol you want to use. I've used wilsons and such for project guns without remorse. Heck people thought I was crazy to cut up a Pre-70 NM, but when it was done, no one did anything but compliment it

    ETA: I have a colt getting the rail installed right now, too ;) Needless to say, I don't think you'll see another like it
    Badabing11, AJP, Mike Meints and 2 others like this.

    HOTCHKIS NRA Life Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    My profile picture was built by Ed Brown
  13. samuse

    samuse Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2013
    I say to Hell with the warranty.

    Have it chopped up how like it.

    There's 'smiths on this site who can do a better job of fixing anything that goes wrong, if it ever does.
    OldCuz, Badabing11, FWoo45 and 4 others like this.
  14. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    Jan 21, 2015
    Decided to bite the bullet and go with an independent smith to get the final result that I want. Just waiting on some Yost gold line front sight blanks to get finished up, and this project can get shipped off.

    I plan on doing some filing and more precise blending of parts before shipping everything out. Here is a list of the work, if anybody is interested. Nothing to drastic. Mostly focused on functionality and the use of specific parts:

    * Cut/weld/install Stan Chen Gen 1 magwell
    * Cut grip panels to fit magwell
    * 30 LPI checkering Chen mainspring housing
    * Undercut Trigger Guard
    * Install rear sight (more on this sight later)
    * Install, blend, pin Yost front sight
    * Install Dawson light rail
    * Stake light rail screws
    * Flush cut barrel, countersink/reverse crown barrel
    * Chamfer Slide
    * Horizontal Serrations on rear on slide, two extractors, ejector. 40 LPI
    * Re-finish (Parkerize)

    I got lucky in some conversations with a manufacturer and they are getting me some early production runs of a yet-to-be-announced sight. The rear sight is something I'm personally excited about since it solves some issues that I would have had to compromise on. More to follow on the sight in a separate thread or in a "build complete" posting.
  15. TxTrail80

    TxTrail80 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 24, 2018
    I’m in it to chew the bubblegum.
  16. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    Jan 21, 2015
    so I got the OK to talk about the Heinie sights I'm going to use for this build. I think they plan on releasing them or talking about them more publicly in a week or two.

    Long story short, I was lamenting the fact that I have some slides with Novack rear dovetails and I wanted the look of the Heinie Classic sights, without having to weld and re-cut metal.... I think I have an irrational fear about welding and re-cutting sight channels. Anyhoo, I happened to ask the right person the right question at the right time and I ended up with a few of these sights.

    Its basically a sight that has the same appearance of the classic style, fit for a Novack dovetail, and requires very little extra machining to install. I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out. The other set has been selected to go on different Wilson modification project.

    Pics from Heine:

    View attachment 268481
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  17. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
  18. mlea5150

    mlea5150 Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2016
    Are you at liberty to tell us what 'smith you chose for the project? I love following the progress of custom projects.
    simonp likes this.
  19. simonp

    simonp Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2016
    Indeed curious to know who you picked, why and what the build sheet entails so far ;)

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
  20. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    IMO the Stan Chen Gen1 magwell suite is a great addition to any pistol. I understand the warranty issue, but lets face it, there is more than one person or one company that can fix your pistol if something happens that you can't. I have now fit the Gen 1 and the Gen II and much prefer the over all appearance, fit and the skill set it takes to fit the Gen 1.. And I much prefer the over all outcome. Good Luck and enjoy the ride.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    rmac, Whiten, 41 Charlie and 2 others like this.

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