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What are some of the more quality slides to work with?

420 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Infidel4life11
Lots of talk about best frames out there (STI, JEM, Colt, Fusion…) but not as much discussion about slides.

And shouldn’t it be considered when selecting components as not only does the slide comprise 50% of the fit, but it would seem more difficult to correct if not perfectly parallel for the typical home builder (who lacks advanced measuring or machine tools) that is fitting with just some a calipers, files, stones, and compound… ? Frame rails, being 100% exterior, would appear to be WAY easier to work on than potentially sloppy internal slide rail surfaces.

A question for the guys who do this professionally… who makes some of the consistently best-to-fit slides out there? Who makes slides that might be more challenging for an amateur or someone with limited tools & experience to work with? Any slides out there that just are going to give most builders headaches and should be avoided?
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And the inspiration for this whole thread…

I found a cheap new-old-stock STI blank slide. Before I commit to buying it I tried searching and didn’t find much about “STI Slides”. But its like 1/2 the price of buying a similarly featureless Caspian or JEM slide.

Are STI slides pretty consistent and true for worry free fitting?
First off, I'm more a tinkerer over the last 40+ years and back in the day I had a few Caspian slides and all had hard service, all held up well. Last year I dreamed up a custom commander sized project in .357 Sig and immediately went to Caspian for a custom build. Their prices are (IMO) reasonable and I like their build a slide options.

Anyway as far as my Sig build went, the Caspian slide was everything I expected of them. In the big picture it was a minor annoyance but every edge / angle needed de-horning, because the edges were nearly razor sharp. As expected the slide to frame fit was tight enough to require only lapping.

I have a bit of experience with other OTC or ready made slides, and RIA, and Fusion are the main ones I have used. RIA are pretty utilitarian looking and at worst the slide frame fit for a tyro may be needed, as some frame mating may need a bit of lapping, but Fusion slides may be better suited to someone needing more of a drop in solution. I have also used Remington R1 slides, most went on pretty smoothly, some with only lapping. For true drop in I found Colt and Springfield to be best. To some the finished slide to frame fit may be too loose but when I'm using with them I don't expect a tight fit.

I no longer put high mileage on my pistols, 400+/- rounds a month at the most so long term I can't comment on any builds I've done. Anyway, so you know I use diamond lapping / polishing paste thinned with Marvel's Mystery Oil to fit slides, it works for me.
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GYI: Those guys are on ebay and I had excellent service with them and the slides worked fine.
I wonder if an old “STI” slide is just an un branded Caspian?

I only have experience with a few Caspian slides. All have worked well for my needs. The Commander slide I used for my 2011 build was very straight and true. I had Jason Burton map out the measurements on my Caspian slide and JEM frame as he has a much greater understanding then I do as well as more money in measuring tools then my entire fire arms collections. The slide ways were parallel to the bottom of the slide and had a slight widening in the width as the approached the muzzle. Not a big deal and in my opinion adds to out of battery function.
RemSport slides are my go to
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