View Full Version : 1911 gunsmithing tools
16th November 2010, 22:52
I'm new to 1911's and VERY new to gunsmithing. I'm not looking to do anything drastic but I've got a beater that I can mess around with and try my hand at installing/fitting high quality parts. What tools will I need to get started?
17th November 2010, 02:40
A set of punches, a set of jeweler files, some emery clothes, I guess you can start with those. Brownells is your best friend.
17th November 2010, 02:45
I know there are a lot of tools one could purchase, but after looking thru my tools there are a few that I use every time. John hit on those, but I added two more; a bench block and double headed hammer;
17th November 2010, 06:50
I'd add a couple of stones, and I like the hammer to have a brass head on one side and plastic on the other, or two hammers.
not just flat head punches either, cupped tip also so you don't mess up the heads on the pins.
17th November 2010, 09:20
plus the bench block Wichaka mentioned, and a few small files like John mentioned will get you off to a good start and cover almost everything. The only other thing I would add is the small punch, 1/16-inch I think, that is called out in the Colt Armorer's manual. It's used for the mainspring cap retaining pin, and the pin on the ejector.
17th November 2010, 11:52
These devices should be useful, too (click me) (http://10-8performance.com/1911_Armorer.html)
17th November 2010, 16:00
After acquiring the tools mentioned by these fine folks there will come a time when you'll wonder "How big is this thing supposed to be?" and "How big is it?"
• The only dimensions available to the public are contained in the Army Ordnance blueprints for the 1911's parts. Your three sources for these are the set available in our Tech Issues section, the set from Nicolaus Associates http://www.nicolausassociates.com/ and those contained in Vol II of J. Kuhnhausen's book on the 1911.
• Here's a list of some of the measuring tools you may need/want, sort of in the order of their importance:
-- 6" flexible machinists's rule with 16R graduations
-- 0-1" micrometer caliper (aka, micrometer) (analog, mechanical digital or electronic digital)
-- 6" slide caliper (vernier, dial, or electronic digital)
-- Small beam protractor
-- Set of small hole gages, split ball with flat balls
-- Set of feeler gages with ¼" wide tips
-- 4 Diopter magnifying hood with auxiliary magnifier
17th November 2010, 16:04
If you want to do any trigger work a jig of some kind will let you work on the sear. I use this one and like it: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=17780/Product/SEMI_AUTO_SEAR_JIGS
Also, I haven't seen anyone mention a vice, but I use a cheap drill press vise all the time. A quality machinist's vice would be better.
19th November 2010, 10:06
May I suggest this thread be made a sticky?
"What's the 1911 starter took kit?" is probably one of the first questions a 1911 gunsmith novice may have.
19th November 2010, 11:11
Don't forget good screw-drivers
19th November 2010, 13:43
Tom, you are right, screwdrivers, how did I forget?!!?
Some years ago, I purchased a Chapman "Gun Screwdrivers Kit". Best thing you can get (if you can still get it) for your gunsmithing endeavors.
Stones too. I have a Larsky knife sharpening kit and these stones have proved useful on more than one occasion. There are of course special stones for gunsmithing, but these are what I have and use.
A bench block too, it's one of those things you do not appreciate, until the first time you use it.
One of those desk lamps with the illuminated magnifying glass. Especially if your eyes are no longer what they used to be.
Feeler gauges indispensable too.
Finally, an AR-15 firing pin, or if you want something more elaborate Wilson Versa Tool.
19th November 2010, 20:09
In addition to files & stones to shape things, make them smaller and polish them, there's also the coated abrasives (aka, sandpaper). John mentioned emery cloth and it comes in coarse, medium & fine grits - and fine emery is still quite coarse. I also use 3M or Norton wet-or-dry silicon carbide sheets in grits from 80 down to 2000. Auto body supply stores have the real fine stuff as well as Crocus cloth - which is good for polishing certain metals.
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