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Discussion Starter #1
I have a friend who is thinking of building an M1911 for himself. He mentioned he may want to do the same for his sons and grandsons. I know assmebling an M1911 isn't all that hard, if you are handy with tools. (I built several many years ago). My question is how many can you assemble without a license?
 

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Depends on what he means on "building" a 1911. You can buy a frame that is only ~80% finish and has no serial number. If I understand it correctly you cannot give or bequeath to anyone.
 

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Depends on what he means on "building" a 1911. You can buy a frame that is only ~80% finish and has no serial number. If I understand it correctly you cannot give or bequeath to anyone.

He will want finished frames. He can't just have one as all the kids and grandkids will want one of his.
 

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Having done this within the last couple of years I have found it is cheaper to buy an inexpensive gun like an ATI and trick it out. I bought a slide and sites off the Ruger forum and found a Springfield Armory frame on GB. Bought an Ed Brown barrel/bushing set from Brownells and a few other items. The gun shot great, wasnt much to look at, but I had around $800 +/- in it.
 
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Having done this within the last couple of years I have found it is cheaper to buy an inexpensive gun like an ATI and trick it out. I bought a slide and sites off the Ruger forum and found a Springfield Armory frame on GB. Bought an Ed Brown barrel/bushing set from Brownells and a few other items. The gun shot great, wasnt much to look at, but I had around $800 +/- in it.
Glad I did this about 30 years ago. I could buy a new Caspian Frame for $75.00, I picked up some used Series 70 Colt Slides for about the same. Barrels were about $50.00. IIRC I could get most of the rest of the parts for less than $100.00.
 

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Glad I did this about 30 years ago. I could buy a new Caspian Frame for $75.00, I picked up some used Series 70 Colt Slides for about the same. Barrels were about $50.00. IIRC I could get most of the rest of the parts for less than $100.00.
Even then it wasn't really cost effective compared to buying a whole pistol. A homemade 1911 isn't worth the price of the parts once you're finished, but on the other hand you can put together what you want and if you keep it is your baby.

I put together a nice target pistol using the Essex enhanced frame and slide but was forced to sell it.

Now I did put my Colt Conversion Unit on top of a Caspian frame and this worked out quite well.

These frames were recommended by Frank Glenn in a thread in the Colt Smithing Forum:
Welcome to JEM GUNS LLC - Redefining Match Grade
 

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Yeah I made a bet with a buddy of mine that I could build a gun for under a grand that would shoot as good as his Wilson's. It did. Didnt look as nice but dang it shot.
 
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Even then it wasn't really cost effective compared to buying a whole pistol. A homemade 1911 isn't worth the price of the parts once you're finished, but on the other hand you can put together what you want and if you keep it is your baby.

I put together a nice target pistol using the Essex enhanced frame and slide but was forced to sell it.

Now I did put my Colt Conversion Unit on top of a Caspian frame and this worked out quite well.

These frames were recommended by Frank Glenn in a thread in the Colt Smithing Forum:
Welcome to JEM GUNS LLC - Redefining Match Grade
Back in the Day of building my own, I was actually buying Colt Series 70 Government Models in Nickle for $200.00 from the local PD in Calif. They had made a deal with the local dealer to replace their Series 70's with Series 80's. He was giving them a $200.00 trade in credit on them. However, the officers were allowed to buy their guns and give me the cash for them. I bought about 15 of them.

I used a couple of Essex Frames back then, but prefered Colt or Caspian Frames.
 

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Yeah I made a bet with a buddy of mine that I could build a gun for under a grand that would shoot as good as his Wilson's. It did. Didnt look as nice but dang it shot.
It can be done. It is not as hard as the custom gunsmith's would have the average buyer believe.
 

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I hadn't seen an Essex frame for sale at a show in years but bought two at the last OGCA show. They cost a bit more now.

I like assembling 1911A1 vintage parts into shootable clones of the collectibles I won't shoot. The small sights don't bother me. If I'm careful on my purchased parts I can usually be under $750 but the cheap WW2 slides/barrels and small parts are nonexistent.
Doesn't make financial sense but it's fun and I enjoy shooting them.
20181122_144243_1578105380357.jpg 20191124_213343_1578105474123.jpg
 

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35 yards from a rest 5 rounds




Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
 
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While there would be a certain charm to having a gun put together by Dad/Grandpa, a factory Colt (new or not new) would not only be a memento from Dad/Grandpa, but an appreciating asset. A pistol assembled with purchased parts always will be just a "Frankengun."
 

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While there would be a certain charm to having a gun put together by Dad/Grandpa, a factory Colt (new or not new) would not only be a memento from Dad/Grandpa, but an appreciating asset. A pistol assembled with purchased parts always will be just a "Frankengun."
I agree but if you enjoy the labor and don't bury in too deep then what's the harm?

Anyone can write a check for another safe paperweight.
Making parts work together is a challenge. Plus original vintage parts do have value seperately.
 

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I agree but if you enjoy the labor and don't bury in too deep then what's the harm?

Anyone can write a check for another safe paperweight.
Making parts work together is a challenge. Plus original vintage parts do have value seperately.

Like I wrote, I made some M1911's years ago. When my Daughter and my Son-In-Law (a Deputy Sheriff) were married they asked me for a wedding present. They wanted a pistol that I had made. I offered to give them my Colt Gold Cup National Match Series 70. No, they wanted one I had assembled and fitted myself. It meant more to them, than a Colt, S&W or whatever manufacturer's factory made gun. They have been married 24 years and still have the gun. To them it is an heirloom.
 

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Being a mechanic, I can appreciate the feeling of taking a pile of parts and making them work as intended.
That being said, after working on trucks all week, I like having someone else do the work, then I can enjoy just shooting on the weekend.:)
 

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I just remembered one parts gun project that would have worked out nicely if I had pursued it through. Years ago me and some coworkers went to a local gun show in Ft Lauderdale that was at the local National Guard Armory. for a smaller gun show this one was one of the better ones I've attended. So I got there first and I'm walking through and I see a Colt nickel GM frame for sale. Private sale $40 iirc. My friend was mad at me because I got a deal with that one. Someone used the parts to build a double stack with the Para-Ordnance frame kits that came out some years ago.

I had a Colt military slide with the part number on the side and had a gun in no time. Bought a new Series 70 Barrel. My plan was to get the correct slide from Numrich which had them back then but I had to part with some guns and this was one of them.
 

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I have a friend who is thinking of building an M1911 for himself. He mentioned he may want to do the same for his sons and grandsons. I know assmebling an M1911 isn't all that hard, if you are handy with tools. (I built several many years ago). My question is how many can you assemble without a license?
Manufacturing a gun for one's own personal use is legal, even if the gun is not serial numbered and the maker is not federally licensed. Manufacturing a gun for another person, family member included and even if the gun is serial numbered, is prohibited by federal law. OTOH, were an unlicensed individual to make a gun for himself and then decide he no longer appreciated the gun, it can be serialized and transferred.

Am I Required to Apply a Serial Number to a Homemade Firearm?
 
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