|About my Custom 1911 pistols
Assembling a 1911 production pistol isn't terribly hard, mass production occurs everyday. However, building a high-precision custom 1911 pistols is a combination of skill and art. I build pistols for those that know and appreciate the large differences between production and custom-built 1911 pistols.
Please read the paragraphs to the right. At the end of most sections are photo illustrations to go with the information we provide. Just click the magnifying glass to view illustrations provided.
Harp Custom Pistols
33301 Osawatomie Rd
Osawatomie, KS 66064
1. Know the product you're describing
The Colt 1911 style pistol is inarguably the most prominent pistol over the last 100 years. How can you argue with a century of success in and out of the military and popularity ever growing today among civilians and law-enforcement? It's designer John Moses Browning had a vision to build a highly capable pistol for the military with a few goals in mind. I think three main things that stand out in the 1911 government model pistol are stopping power, reliability and asthetics.
On March 29th, 1911, the Browning-designed, Colt-produced .45 Automatic pistol, was selected as the official sidearm of the Armed Forces of U.S.A., and named Model 1911. It remains today more popular than ever among police and civilians carrying concealed. As a custom leather holster maker the 1911 pistol in some version is the most common handgun I build holsters for.
John Moses Browning is most remembered as designer of the 1911 .45 ACP pistol and Browning High Power, however, he also designed the Winchester 30-30, Winchester Pump Shotgun, Browning Auto-5 Shotgun (know as Remington Model 11), the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle, WW II) and the Browning .50 caliber Machine Gun, also many of the .30 cal and .50 cal machine guns produced by Colt and used in WW II.
His resume consist of 128 gun patents, and roughly fifty million sports and military weapons were manufactured from those patents, during forty-seven years working as an inventor. I believe we owe a debt of gratitude for his works.
2. Understanding the parts involved
I will not endanger lives using inferior parts or less than precise gunsmith machining and fitting.
I select and use only Cylinder & Slide brand fire-control components for good reason. For the Cylinder & Slide hammer I choose an EGW Titanium hammer strut for quicker hammer strike. The hammer is heat treated tool steel and the hooks are precisely re-machined on a Bridgeport milling machine. I use a special custom ground end mill for cutting very precise hammer-hooks at a height of .022" thousands and machine an angle less than 90 degrees that measures precisely 89.5°'s, essentially 1/2 degree under square. I understand many gunsmiths will use a stone or file to acheive a 90° angle for the hammer hooks with hooks that are much less than .022" thousands to work up a trigger pull. I know this is popular but despite others I choose a much more precise and labor intesive way of cutting the hooks, a milling machine. A pistol built for service or self-defense, the hooks should not ever be less than .021" thousands ,period... Shortening or squaring the hooks was a practice that was originally done by match armorers for competition. John M. Brownings original hammer-hooks on the 1911 were about .030" thousands tall and slightly less than square. Although that is unec
Machining the hammer hooks, on a mill, to a height of .022" thousands will result in a very safe and long life trigger. After machining the hammer-hooks, the sear nose is precisely stoned to an agreeing angle to the newly machined hammer-hooks using a professional jig-fixture. I then radius the egde of the sear called the "breakaway angle" to ensure a crisp let off when the trigger is pressed. My trigger pulls are never less than 4.25lbs., usually measuring at 4.5lbs; however, the trigger breaks like the proverbial "glass rod" and does not feel like 4.5lbs. Trigger creep is not noticeable and over-travel is at a minimum. You will get a very safe, highly reliable, professional trigger pull. Click here to see photos and videos of these operations.
I use top quality match barrels such as Kart or Storm Lake. The barrels I use are the "gunsmith fit" barrels and require extensive fitting (hence the name). The barrels come oversized in areas that are neccesary for a custom fit in a pistol. Some of these areas include the hood, lugs, feet, link, link pin, muzzle/crown, chamber, throat and ramp.
Attention to these areas is the same in every pistol I build. I do not have a different quality of fit based on the price of the 1911 pistol. Simply put, each pistol - regardless of price - inherits the same machining steps and hand fitting. All pistols will come with an illustrated booklet complete with ordnance drawings of the individual parts and the dimensions those parts are fitted to. Click here to see photos and videos of these operations.
Critical Slide parts...
> I fit the barrel to an oversized barrel bushing. The barrel crown is precisely turned on a lathe and will vary in length/shape as desired by the customer.
> I use EGW brand tool steel slide stop pins that come oversized and are fitted by hand. Tool steel is selected because of the stress involved during firing.
> I use Cylinder & Slide Mil-Spec recoil plugs and spring guides.
> I use a Cylinder & Slide firing pin and sear and disconnect and hammer.
> I use EGW oversized firing pin stops and hand fit.
> I use Wolff brand springs.
Critical Frame parts...
> I use EGW oversized ejectors and machine fit to the proper length and 3 angles for proper ejection of a spent ejected case or live round.
> I use Wilson Combat barstock tool steel plunger tubes.
> I use heat-treated tool steel pins throughout.
> I use an EGW HD magazine release lock.
> I use Cylinder & Slide, Harrison Extreme, Infinity and Dlask assortment of triggers based on customer choice. The trigger is oversized and I machine to fit the frame with no extra vertical slop.