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Here are my thoughts:

$1000 -- STI Trojan. It can be had for less than this, and there is a lot of hand fitting and "custom" features that you won't find on similarly priced models from Kimber, Springfield or Colt.

$1500 -- Probably Wilson Combat Millenium Protector. The customer service from Wilson makes the price a great value.

$2000 and up -- has to be a hand-built piece by a good one-man pistolsmith shop. Les Baer, Ed Brown, etc. DO NOT fit the bill. Nor does a high-priced factory gun like the Springfield Bureau model. IMHO, you can get a much better gun in this price range from a one man shop like Burns, Garthwaite, Vickers, Morris, Heinie, etc. etc. It will be a much better value. And for my money, that means buying a slide and frame, specifying all componenets and building from the ground up. No buying a Kimber or a 1991A1 and then "customizing". IMHO, a full-house gun means starting from a bare frame and slide.
 

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Ditto on the Trojan in any caliber you want.

Actually, if you want a custom made just for you gun you might seek out someone who does just that. Then you are limited only by your own wants, imagination and wallet. In the north Dallas area look up Williams Gun Repair but he's not in the book. You get him through my e-mail addy. Custom 1911s no problem.

Genie
 

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I have to add this to the above. There is no best gun out there.

After too many years of retail and too many folks with "best" stories (good information along with misinformation).

This is the basic guideline I recommend to my buyers.

If the gun you are looking at has the features you want, fits your individual hand and feels good (not to mention price range). That is the best gun for the money for that individual which is why the selection is so great. Every gun let alone product out there has specific advantages as well as disadvantages.

Alway, and I repeat always check out the details. No one reads the fine print anymore and that is what causes the returns.

In similar priced guns you will find in all price ranges differences such as.

On manufacturer uses stainless match barrels, the other carbon steel, one uses 30 LPI checkering on the mainspring housing the other uses 20 LPI serrations, uses 400 grit finish the other dehorns and bead blasts. One uses plastic mainspring housings and one uses aluminum, One uses a two piece guide rod and the other uses one piece. One uses a name brand sight and the other uses a "knock off," One uses a match grade hand fitted bushing and the other uses a standard grade bushing, One will say what ammo to use and works the best in there product, one does not. One backs customer service and the other states it backs customer service. One production gun, (I said pure production gun, like 20 to 30 thousand guns a year, here so do not misunderstand) has a great customer service policy and responds immediately because it has to. The company plans on a small percentage of breakage to meet the costs of production and there by gives themselves a great reputation for customer service.

The details is where it is at.

The costs are in the details.

I play the "Ford vs Chevy" routine on every gun and brand out there. There are two retail perspectives and they are: I can sell you what makes me the most money or I can sell you what you need.

Being in the retail business I will see or get most if not all back because something just wasn't they way the buyer/shooter wanted it, he read something somewhere else, a good buddy told him some story or whatever.

Do your research but you get what you pay for front end or back end.

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Terry, this IS research!!!

I ask these questions for my own sake. There is a wealth of educated opinions out there and I want to know who has the best reputation/track record.

I can't tell you how many guns I've paid retail or close to it for and sold at a loss trying to find the pistol that suits my tastes.

Sadly in my area there aren't many stocking dealers of custom or semi custom guns.

Yeah, I can look at the Kimbers and maybe a coupl'a Wilson Combat's if I'm interested in a CQB (the best selling product) or a Millenium (the lowest single stack on the totem pole) but I can't see a Les Baer, STI/SVI, etc. because the market is so small.

I don't know a local dealer that could afford to be a stocking dealer for every high end line. So I come to my friends here and ask what they know.

Anyway thanks for telling me the obvious.

By the way, what's your favorite gun for under $1000.00, $1500 or 2grand and up?

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I don't want special treatment and I ain't giving you any either!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Gonzo308 on 2001-07-30 10:34 ]</font>
 

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In 1911's?

Sub-$1,000: A base Kimber with several hundred bucks in tune-up and replacement parts.

$1,000-$1,500: Seem like many good 1911's in this range, from Wilson to Valtro. My choice would still be a base Kimber with even more work done, match barrel, Heinie night sights, etc.

$2,000+? A custom from Dane Burns. Yes, many fine custom shops out there, but for customer service and knowledge of what makes a great carry 1911, my money will go to Burns every time. He doesn't trash his guns up with gizmos, or things you don't need...and hey, they work every time. To me, that is the only reason to spend $2,000+ on any pistol not meant for the collector's safe.
 

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Consider this, all prices from BCP site:

Videcki Trigger & Complete carry trigger job: $200
Ed Brown thumb safety: $100
Ed Brown grip safety: $150
Heinie Slant-Pro sights: $200
Bar-Sto match barrel fitted: $300

Figure $550 for the base gun, and...

Grand total: $1,500 :smile:
 

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I think you should also factor time into the equation. I.e., all other things being equal, a $1500 pistol that you can take home today is worth more than a $1500 pistol that you have to wait 6-60 months to get.

Isn't that the main advantage of "semi-custom" pistols over the one man shops?
 

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Patience, grasshopper Matt, patience :smile:

The custom and semi-customs I have are long haul pistols. If you consider owning them for 30 years, then handing them to your kids, 6 months waiting on the front side is forgotten. The key to it is deciding, then doing. My first 1911 I fooled around for a year or more wondering *exactly* which one I wanted...when I got it I changed everything on it :grin:
 

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On 2001-07-30 13:48, CastleBravo wrote:
Consider this, all prices from BCP site:

Videcki Trigger & Complete carry trigger job: $200
Ed Brown thumb safety: $100
Ed Brown grip safety: $150
Heinie Slant-Pro sights: $200
Bar-Sto match barrel fitted: $300

Figure $550 for the base gun, and...

Grand total: $1,500 :smile:
I think CB got it right, this is the best way to look at it.

I can't wait to get my Springfield in Dane's hands for the 9x23 conversion. But I''m also getting my Kimber done up too, currently getting "The wave" deal and a reliability job, soon to get the full package "FED" or something similar. I think it's the best way to go.
Although I am an impatient cuss, so sometimes an impulse buy at my fav shop or at a gunshow is in order. :smile: :grin:
 

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Bruce, I can understand the benefits of patience, but sometimes you just gotta have a good, working pistol ASAP so you have something to shoot while waiting for that expertly-crafted, made to order, heirloom quality, custom masterpiece.

For instance, if you're a competitive shooter, you don't want to be twiddling your thumbs waiting or handicapping yourself with a stock pistol. You want to be out training and shooting matches to build your skills. What drove me to purchase a semi-custom pistol was frustration with a used pistol I'd bought that shot well enough to put me in a position to win matches but then killed me (figuratively speaking :smile: ) with stoppages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ok, ok already is any body besides Bruce gonna answer the Blankety blanking questions? or is this the "off topic" topic?

Asume for this instance that you have the money and are going to make purchase. Everything is in stock no matter what you want. Even the custom one offs that you might have built to your specs. You are making a thoughful decision.

By the way I don't consider $1500.00 spent tonight as equal to $1500.00 spent for a gun I have to wait for. There are a lot of $1500.00 guns I don't want but are available right now. I'd rather have the right gun for me not just the gun that's in stock. Please give me your opinion assuming everything is in stock.

This isn't just a thread to fill space. This will help me spend the most money I've ever spent on a handgun.

I don't want to limit you with choices I've already considered. Let me know what you would do. I will either accept or decline opinions and will let everyone know what I've decided.
 

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$1000 - Gunsite GSP2000
$1500 - Try to find a Les Baer TR
$2000 - I'd send an SA milspec or Colt 1991A1 to a smith (Dane, Vickers, Heinie...etc).

I personally wouldn't pay more than $1600 for a gun that's not built to my specs for the most part. It'd cost a good deal more if I build from the ground up, but would be a little cheaper if I supply a base gun.

I'm not saying that the semi-customs that are over $1500 are not worth it. But if I'm shelling out that much cash, I'd like to have a little more input into how my gun is built.
 

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Here's my pick for 45 cal. guns:
For $1,000.00, I'd go for the Gunsite GSP2000.
For $1,500.00, the Thunder Ranch Special. I bought mine six months ago for the asking price of $1,495.00, but that was a lucky find.
For $2,000.00, I'd get a Wilson CQB.
Over $2,000 bucks, have a totally custom gun built for you using a Caspian frame/slide or a Wilson frame/slide and every other part specified just the way you want it.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Robe on 2001-07-31 18:19 ]</font>
 

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My possible choices:

Under $1000 (or up to $1200 roughly): either an STI, or a base Kimber/Springfield worked by any number of people >> Dane, Randy Lee at Apex Tactical (www.apextactical.com), SDM Fabricating, etc. Vickers/Heinie would be good, of course, but more $$.

$1200-1500 (roughly): either a Valtro (which I admit I haven't seen yet, but have heard outstanding things about), or a Krebs Pointman (www.krebscustom.com), or maybe a Nowlin. I'd skip the Kimber Custom Shop guns, and all the production "custom" guns except Wilson's, imho.

$1500 (roughly) & up: Either a Wilson CQB if you don't want a fully handmade gun, OR (my choice) a full-house package or gun by Krebs, Vickers, Heinie, Garthwaite, Tim Bacus, or any number of other top smiths (known and less well known) I haven't listed due to time/ignorance :wink:. You can find out about them here and at 1911forum.com

IMHO

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Mall Ninja: aka Covert Mission (aka Patrick Downs)



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mall Ninja on 2001-08-04 15:52 ]</font>
 

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I would offer an observation about the STI Trojan. I have one that does shoot <1.5inch groups at 25yards.

However, the fit and finish leaves a lot to be desired. The gun has been back to STI twice now. We are currently discussion the disposition of the gun. There were significant issue with the fit and finish that need to be resolved. I will say that the customer service process is excellent. I will report on the results of our discussions.

I would reserve my opinion on whether the STI Trojan is the best value for under $1,000.
 

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I want to add 2 more price points, ok? $500 and $750. $500 splits out the cheapest factory and import from the rest. $750 splits base factory from a more deluxe factory.

$500 - Maybe you could get an SA Mil spec for this.

$750 - SA Loaded 2001. It seems to have better ergonomics and features than the Kimber to me. My money will go to SA. The Colt seems more like an overpriced $500 gun, but what do I know.

$1000 - Not sure.

$1500 - Pointman or customized $750 gun.

At $1500 and above, I don't think you could talk me anything that didn't stop at Dave Burns or another top gunsmiths shop for some tuning. I include the Pointman because it is built by someone who I consider to be a top smith.

Can someone explain to me why I would not want any $1500 plus gun to come from a top smith. It just seems that an SA loaded for $650 + $850 worth of work from Dane Burns or Jim Garthwaite is a hell of a gun.
 

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Nathan:

The SA Mil-Spec can be had for under $450. Lew Horton usually has decent prices on it, as does Zanders, although both are wholesale houses [you will need a ffl]. I have seen a couple of Loaded models for just a little over $400, which is a very good price.

On your question...I have owned the best Kimber makes, top-tier Springfields, a Wilson or 3, and for $1,500 my money is always going to Burns or Wickmann [on Browning HP's]. In fact, guns tweaked by Burns are the only 45's I own now. I enjoyed all the others, but the BCP stuff is better, in my opinion.

For those who need a gun while waiting on a custom shop to re-work one, find a good used Kimber and shoot it while you wait. When you custom is finished, either keep the stock pistol or sell it, you can move them quickly.
 
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