Build No. 1: Part 2

The first objective of the research I did into selecting parts for this build was to find a solid base for the pistol: the slide, frame, and barrel.

I knew I wanted a forged carbon steel slide and frame from a reputable maker. Without the equipment to do machine work, the frame and slide I picked would have to be close to fitting together but leave enough material to get the tight “custom” fit of a first-class 1911.

Following some solid advice from Steve Owens, of Integrity Arms, I picked Caspian Arms for the slide and JEM Guns for the frame. I ordered the slide with Novak dovetail cuts, a ball cut at the front, and no logos. The frame is pretty standard with 25LPI front strap checkering and no rail.

Kart Gunsmith Fit Barrel
Kart Gunsmith Fit Barrel

At first, I was pretty sure I wanted a Wilson Combat barrel. But I found that many custom gunsmiths used Kart, so I looked at them more closely. The Kart X-ACT fit barrel seemed like a good place to start for a first build and I had settled on it until I watched a Mosin Virus video about barrel fitting. It convinced me that I could fit the bottom lugs (the X-ACT fit barrel comes with bottom lugs, link, and pin already machined) so I ordered a Kart gunsmith fit barrel.

I will match the barrel up with an EGW Angle-Bore Thick-Flange Barrel Bushing, but I won’t be able to order that until I have the slide. EGW will bore their bushing to fit the barrel outside diameter (0.580", in my case) that you provide and offer a number of different outside diameters to match the inside diameter of the slide.

A significant expense in building a 1911 is the special tooling required; I hope to build another pistol, or two, so getting the tools now doesn’t hurt quite as bad. Coming recommended by Joe Chambers, of Chambers Custom Pistols, the Everglades Ammo Frame Rail Sanding or Stoning Tool was a necessary purchase for making the frame fit the slide properly. It is used to reduce the width of the frame rail where it rides in the slide groove.

Barrel Fitting Tools
Barrel Fitting Tools

To fit the barrel, I have the Brownells’ Barrel Lug Fitting Kit, Locking Lug File, and Barrel Alignment Block. Finishing the chamber requires a Chamber Reamer by Clymers.

There may not be much more for me to say about this build for a little while because my frame and slide are about four weeks from delivery. I thought the frame might have been in stock, but it is not. If there’s something I discover or need to point out about the other parts I already have, I’ll write about it.

For those considering building a 1911, the gunsmithing forums at 1911Forum and 1911Addicts should be considered must-reads. I got a bunch of excellent advice from several DMs and posts in the two threads I started: here and here.

If you’ve started partway into this series, you can find the beginning here. Or you can continue with Part 3.

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