Friday, March 27, 2009

What Are You Going To Do To It?

...That's what Caleb asked about my new Sistema Colt. He and I have a very different take on what to do with a 1911 but I simply answered, "Clean it and shoot it," without considering that a serious competition shooty-guy would naturally view a bone-stock 1911 as the raw material you took to the 'smith to have turned into a gun.

I am not a total purist:

The chipped edge of the sear probably contributes to an unreasonably heavy trigger, which I will have an Actual Gunsmith correct.

The lovely wide-spur hammer bites me, unlike my .38 Super 1911's only slightly more modest hammer. Correcting that calls for one of two changes and here I do get a little picky: the fix cannot require changes to the frame and has to be reversible. So I need either a little "beavertail" grip safety of the drop-in variety, which is tactically doubleplus uncool 'cos that kind interferes with the proper high grip or a spurless hammer like the Cylinder & Slide Warp Speed, which I'm pretty sure would have to be professionally fitted, especially since I want to be able to put the original hammer back in. I prefer the second option but I'm still thinkin'.

Sights. Ow. The original sights are not bad; unlike my .38SA, nobody's polished the corners off the front sight. Still, nice three-dots would work better for me. If I have modern sights installed, that'll be irreversible.

What I'm after is to make changes that will make the gun nicer to shoot without losing the classic feel and look of the gun. I like 'em simple but not ugly.


Tango Juliet said...

I think you're on the right track. Isn't the front sight staked in? And the rear sight in a dovetail?

Brownell's lists Trijicon Colt sight sets but makes no mention of Sistemas. Is the rear sight dovetail on a Sistema the same as a commercial Colt? I dunno.

The front sight is the standard wide/narrow tenon option.

Ed Rasimus said...

Sounds to me like you've got a plan. Since you've determined that the gun is a "shooter" not a collectible, I'd do what you feel is necessary to make it a reliable, comfortable shooter.

The business of preservation for collector's value is good to know, but for most folks it inhibits the joy of owning and using the gun.

I've been actively doing some revisions to my collection recently and swapping or selling to get what I want. I had no trouble moving a pair of nice O/U shotguns, cared for and 90-95% condition, but definitely shooters. Did a comfortable trade of a Super Grade Win Mod. 70 .338 which I'd never shoot again for an AR-clone which I will shoot a lot.

But my "collectible" Browning 1886 Montana Commemorative NIB (never shot, never levered) languished on the dealer's rack for three months before I reclaimed it. Beautiful, but priced itself out of the market.

So, bottom line, from this corner is make it your gun, shoot it and enjoy it.

Mr. Fixit said...

I know how you feel, although I did modify the frame of mine for a beaver tail. A couple thoughts;

Sights- Nowlin makes a 2 piece rear sight for those of us who don't want to do permanent damage to a slide. It has a piece that fits the dovetail and then the sight is set over it and secured via set-screw. Then a new higher front sight can be staked on. If you ever want to go back original, just replace the rear sight and stake on a front. No alterations to the slide. You have to find it at Nowlins website, they're called Lowrider sights.

On the hammer, Brownells carries the same C&S Warp speed hammer in a complete trigger pull kit. You could have the hammer you like, along with a pre-fitted sear and disconnector. They claim a 3 pound pull. I put a similar kit in my Sistema and it was great, and was in fact pre-fitted and drop in. It's Brownells part Number 206-038-100 .

Mr Fixit

Anonymous said...

you can also modify the beavertail to suit the frame.

Tam said...

Were it me, I'd put the same sight on the Sistema that you put on the .38 Super.

2 guns; 1 sight picture. (I'd also make sure that they had the same triggers and grip panels...)

Anonymous said...

As long as the gun runs, trigger and sights are all that are important to me.

I then beat the gun with a 22 ounce framing hammer just so I won't worry about how the gun looks.

Shootin' Buddy

Frank W. James said...

If the sear is bad and you don't like the hammer its best you changed them out with a 'matched' set. C&S unit probably is a good choice.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

skipelec said...

Shootin' Bud,
I hope your not talkin' waffle head.
Nasty hammer.....see.. lookit my thumb.

Roberta X said...

Tam and I have been discussing this. I'm still unsure. I want the gun to work but I don't want to hack it all up. --And no framing-hammer work, either! (With all due respect to Shootin' Buddy, I see no reason not to enjoy my guns are nifty artifacts as well as usin' 'em; I do not agonize over the wear and tear that comes with use). "Preservation" here means not doing irreversible things to the changing the sights.

Consistency with my other 1911 would call for simple Trijicons and a non-biting hammer. I think a drop-in hammer, sear and disconnector would do the trick. My advisors tell me to get the sear fixed and replace grip safety but that makes the two guns different and I am not sure about the Sistema's hammer spur clearing even a drop-in beavertail grip safety.

Caleb said...

Oh my lordgetthewarpspeedhammergetitgetitgetitgetit

Seriously though, Cylinder & Slide makes some absolutely bitchin toys.