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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When it comes to building a 1911 the four things that are the most important for the end user IMO are frame, slide, sights and beavertail.

The frame and slide will determine just how good your gun will be in the long term....long term meaning what kind of gun your kids will inherit.

The sights are a milling operation generally and will not easily be changed if you decide something else is better for your eyes. Finally and the most personal decision IMO is the beavertail. This little guy again takes some milling and is not easily changed. What looks good to your eye may not be what works for you. I am a perfect example. Included are photos of a number of beavertail designs, many one of a kind hand made but that started as a production piece.









<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-07-07 15:43 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
From the top..Wilson, Hoag, Brown, Custom Hoag, Colt, CMC, Colt, Colt, CMC, S&A, CMC, CMC, Wilson, CMC, Brown, Garthwaite, Auto Shop/Pachmeyr, Colt, Yaneck/Wilson?, Hoag, Heinie/Brown?, Kimber.

The point to all of this is that the beavertail is where you connect to the gun. Long before the sights come into view you have to feel where the gun is pointed. The beavertail is a large part of that feel. I like the looks of a modified Hoag. Problem is I can't shoot one easily. My hand gets hung up on the hammer and beavertail and becomes painful if done poorly. I like the feel of a Wilson cut way down almost to a Brown because it sits slightly lower and for my large hand that is better than the exceptionally hight grip off a Brown. Takes forever to cut them down well though. The CMC is better in this feel than the Brown IMO and with my large hand. But it pays to shop around and feel as many styles as possible.

For the effort involved I am using a Brown cut done currently. But then I pin my grip safety which isn't something I suggest you do. Size of hand, shooting style and skill will determine what beavertail is best for you....choose wisely. Redoing it will SUCK! :grin:


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-07-07 16:34 ]</font>
 

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Hey Dane, Whats comparable to a Kimber GS? I like it much better than the Wilson and others I've tried. Are the ones in the first few pics that are flat looking pinned or just superbly fitted? I think I'll end up going the pinned route If I can't find one that my hand deactivates with my grip style...I have to adjust my grip to engage the Wilson but love the Kimber version.

Also while I'm at it do the Heinie sights sight picture resemble the McCormics on the Kimber..I like that about the Kimber also over the wilson. I need to decide what I want on my Springfield 9mm to 9x23 conversion but want to do it right the first time. buying the Wilson was a learning experience and now that I have the Kimber I think I really know what works best for me.

Thanks,
 

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Super post Dane! This is the first time I have been able to visually compare the different styles and adaptations of "tails".

What are the pros and cons of the beavertail extending just underneath the hammer (Hoag), to the beavertail extending out far enough to capture the hammer (Brown), to the high ride and full extension past the hammer (CMC).

I noticed that the degree of extension on the lower half of the beavertail out from the backstrap of the gun is quite different as well. How does this, if any, impact the operation of each gun?

With such a far range of hand sizes in all shooters, which beavertails would you recommend for small, medium or large hands?

I also noticed a large difference in the space between the bottom of the thumb safety in the up position and the upper portion of the beavertail,(underneath the safety), as it is blended into the frame. How much of an effect, if any, does this have on gripping the gun as high as possible?

Thanks for your response in advance. Let me know what the class time costs are for today and I'll send you a check!

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My mistake here. I should have and will post some pictures of the standard configurations of the beavertails. All the Browns, the S&A, and most of the CMCs shwon are custom cut beavertails.

Let me get something up for comparison.

The Heinie's are similar to the Kimber sight system. In fact I would venture to say Kimber is a close copy of Heinie's original design...except it not close enough to be a threat. Heine's give a far better sight picture.

Best beavertail in general? IMO, CMC HG. Best grip for a small hand? Brown, no question IMO. The real delima IMO is the large hand. Lot more going on there than some might realise. Brian Enos was the first to point that ouit to me. He and Leatham both have large hands and don't favor an incredibly high grip, last I heard, because it puts the hand so high that the trigger finger bends down....which is a BAD thing for dexterity and speed.
 

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On 2001-07-07 17:12, Dane Burns wrote:
~snip~

Brian Enos was the first to point that ouit to me. He and Leatham both have large hands and don't favor an incredibly high grip, last I heard, because it puts the hand so high that the trigger finger bends down....which is a BAD thing for dexterity and speed.
Thats almost exactly my problem. I hold the gun so that when I use one with a "bump" in the GS or a high cut(which the wilson has both) the trigger finger is either bent or I have to adjust my grip so that a pocket in my palm doesn't form allowing the GS to not engage fully. The Kimber seems to work very well in both areas for me.
 

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Dane:
My John Yanek gun, pictured in one of your posts, uses a stock cut Wilson beavertail on the Caspian frame. This gun has a really good feel that I can't duplicate on other guns. I actually think it's b/c of the higher front strap cut on the Caspian frame -- very subtle difference in feel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The Wilson is not what I consider a high cut. Only the S&A is a lower grip than the Wilson. The Brown and CMC are much higher cut.

The Kimber is lower than the CMC and higher than the Wilson. Its "bump" is very similar to Garthwaite's beavertail in that it is gradual, which is a priority for me, so I don't lever the grip safety UP. Garthwaite's actual tail is very Brown like. Kimber's is very blocky which I don't like.

But you are begining to see what a tiny bit of difference makes in elevation on the beavertail.

Jack...are you whining :grin:

With three in the pipeline a good maker would be bending over backward to give you the very best;) Worry about getting them back from ME!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What are the pros and cons of the beavertail extending just underneath the hammer (Hoag), to the beavertail extending out far enough to capture the hammer (Brown), to the high ride and full extension past the hammer (CMC).
In general the more coverage on the hammer the easier it is to draw at speed. While the Hoag looks awesome I think in almost all versions presentations can be a bit iffy with one at any sort of draw speed. I suspect after working on a couple late into the night and changing out my own, Pachmeyr's came from a built up (by welding) Hoag to solve the presentation problems.

I noticed that the degree of extension on the lower half of the beavertail out from the backstrap of the gun is quite different as well. How does this, if any, impact the operation of each gun?
Operation? It doesn't. Unless you get so small that the hammer bites you. That is dependant on how fleshy your hand is and how big, in addition to the grip you use. How the gun prints in CCW it does to some extent. The more rounded, the shorter it is, the less it'll print.

I also noticed a large difference in the space between the bottom of the thumb safety in the up position and the upper portion of the beavertail,(underneath the safety), as it is blended into the frame. How much of an effect, if any, does this have on gripping the gun as high as possible?
This is defined by how much you cut off the frame to blend the grip and beavertail and how ergonomic you want the gun to be. The infamous "hole" comes from this blending and matching to the thumb safety of choice.

It is what defines the grip on the gun. Less metal, the higher the grip...to the point of a BIG "hole". Garthwaite's gun is a good example. High grip, big hole. A much a problem of the thumb saftey used as the grip safety blend.

Any of the good makers blend to perfection with the grip safety in the down and deactivated position. Some of my shop's guns allow the beavertail to extend out farther in a engaged safety position so they look like they aren't blended to the frame. They are rest assured...perfectly so, at least in my eyes :smile:

Some of the guns pictured have the extension built in, others are the normal "stock" position, while the "perfect" blends are obviously pinned GSs.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-07-07 18:38 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My John Yanek gun, pictured in one of your posts, uses a stock cut Wilson beavertail on the Caspian frame......very subtle difference in feel.
Hilton, the easy way to tell is drop a stock Wilson into the frame of your Yanek gun and see if it has been blended at all. The degree is subtle and not readily noticable to the eye. I have done Wilsons that look like Browns but no question the "feel" is a Wilson. Your point is well made about high griping the front strap. It is another thing over done in many serious students, of the 1911, eyes....too high (front or back) is a bad thing for everyone but a small hand. Trigger finger alignment is what you are looking for here...your trigger finger in a straight line, pulling back IN A STRAIGHT LINE on the trigger.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-07-07 18:46 ]</font>
 

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Dane, thanks for the responses.

The point on your trigger finger in a straight line is well observed and I have not heard that echoed quite often. I'll be paying close attention to this next time at the range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Springfield 9x23, originally 9x23 Mil spec gun with ramped barrel, CMC grip safety....what else ya want to know :grin:
 
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