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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently took delivery of a fully customized Colt series 70.
One of the things I noticed was that
when the safety is engaged, the safety
hole is visible...the safety only covers part of
it. The safety on my Kimber Gold Match covers
the entire hole, and looks much more "finished".
I've looked at several of the pictures posted here
and notice, in some, the hole is visible; in some
it is not. Even the vaunted Vicker's custom gun
featured in this issue of American Handgunner has
a safety that exposes a portion of the hole when it
is engaged.

Is anyone following this?

I realize this is a matter of cosmetics, but if one can
install a safety which covers the hole, why not do it?

I asked my gunsmith and he said it is a matter of how
"high" the safety latch is engaged in the slide that
determines whether a portion of the hole is exposed or not.

I realize this might be nit-picking, but, to me, it is about
detail. If one is spending thousands on a custom gun,
shouldn't one expect every detail to be addressed?


What say you?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Sport on 2001-05-30 16:22 ]</font>
 

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Sport,
It's normally not sloppy or careless workmanship that causes what you describe; quite the opposite.

The main reason for this hole to be seen when the safety is flipped up, is from fitting a beavertail grip safety. When the B/T safety is fitted, you do a lot of blending to the largest radius on the frame, where the B/T joins it. Quite often, the thumb safety's flat shield will have to be blended as well to avoid it overhanging the new edge of the frame. This effectively shortens the shield causing the hole to be exposed when you flip the safety up. The more effort your 'smith goes to in making the B/T to frame radius comfortable in your hand the more likely that you'll have some exposure of the "hole". Hope this explains why you see this.
Best Regards,
John Harrison
Precision Gunworks
Canton, GA

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Harrison on 2001-06-01 17:53 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Harrison on 2001-06-01 17:53 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks John,

In fact, my gunsmith had to silver solder
the back of the frame to fit the Brown beavertail
because an earlier smith had gotten overzealous
with his Dremel tool when fitting an earlier beavertail.
Your response makes clear what happened.

Wonder why gun parts manufacturers don't offer a gunsmith
version of the thumb safety with an oversized plate so it
can be fitted to the specific frame?
 

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Sport,

Glad to see I am not the only one who is driven crazy by this. I just finished discussing this with a friend at length before he realized exactly what I was talking about. I just think it looks like a missed detail that should not have slipped by. He suggested I post a question here but you have beat me to it.

I would prefer to give up the micron of an inch in the radical bevertail blend and keep that safety hole covered. It just looks better. I wonder if there are some frames or safetys that are more susceptable to this happening? I know the highest beavertail will make this more likely.

In my case I know it is something that I just don't like and if I were to have work done to my 1911 I would make sure to discuss this with the gunsmith up front.

Chris

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: chrisinmo on 2001-06-02 14:40 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Are Chris and I the only
ones who feel the exposed
thumb safety hole on a custom
1911,or any 1911 for that matter,
is objectionable?
From my limited experience, the factory
1911s all have the hole covered.
If one is paying big bucks for a custom
job, why not insist that the 'smith go
to the trouble too..whatever it takes?
I understand John's point in his post, but
we're talking rarefied-(read expensive)- guns
here.

Come on, you 'smiths....justify the hole.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Sport on 2001-06-03 12:11 ]</font>
 

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I like to see that hole welded up as well....it seems like a
trivial thing, but I think it's the mark of a perfectionist,
the type of person that you are giving your hard earned money
to...
 

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The "hole" is caused by a combination of things, but the grip safety fit is the culprit in most cases because you have to blend the thumb safety to it. I agree it should not be there. Again you are completely correct it is an attention to detail that the maker can address as he is building and do so easily if he knows what he is looking for.

So I disagree with my friend John here. I do think it is a detail that should be addressed correctly on a expensive custom gun. Many of the smiths have allowed the "hole" to become common place because of the parts that are available and required by many of our customers.

The fact is you start off with a stock gun with no hole showing and CUT material from the gun which then exposes the hole in the thumb safety slot.

There are different combos of grip safety and thumb safety that will eliminate that effect and still give the grip you want.
 

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Dane,

Once the beavertail is done and the hole is visible, how involved is the work required to cover the thing back up? IIRC the gun I sent to you to fix has this unwanted "feature." :sad:

Sean
 

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Dane

I know the ED Brown bevertail requires a lot of material to be removed and would contribute to the likelyhood of this happening. In a situatin where you knew teh customer did not want this to occurr what bevertail/thumb safety combo would you suggest to give a good grip without reqiiring so much material to be removed and exposing this hole in teh frame?

Any other Gunsmiths have ideas about what parts they would prefer to minimize the chances of this?
 

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Typically with a little for thought a Wilson grip safety and Brown thumb safety will not leave a hole. I have had good luck with a CMC grip safety and a CMC thumb safety combos also.

Do a hard enough melt on any combination with no attention to the safety in an engaged position and you'll end up with a hole on all of them. The Brown as you mentioned, to be fit correctly, will be the most promblematic. The Wilson the least.

To be fair the "shooter' smiths, guys who actually use the guns they build will be the most likely to leave a hole until they start adding the attenion to detail needed to eliminate the hole. Takes some little extra work to get a good feeling gun and still cover the hole. Go through my pictures on the "teaser" thread and you will see many with a hole and a few without. Over time and with experience you eliminate the flaws and pay attention to the details.
 

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On 2001-06-03 16:00, Dane Burns wrote:
Sean,
You can be screwed or a simple parts change and reblend might fix it. Don't know without looking but my quess is you're screwed :grin:
Dane,

Well, when you put it that way... all righty. :grin:

That hole is a pretty low priority in my book anyway. As long as you can get my Delta Elite to run right you'll be The Man in my book. Otherwise I'll have to give in to the dark side and build a little pagan shrine to my Glock 20C, and *nobody* wants that... :wink:

Sean

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: CastleBravo on 2001-06-03 21:53 ]</font>
 

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It’s amazing that I’ve gotten as far down the custom 1911 road as I have and never ran across the issue of an exposed safety hole before now. If anyone has ever mentioned it before, I just can’t remember it. It just proves that everybody sees the same thing in a slightly different light. Guess (for me) that it might be a “can’t see the forest for all these d*#n trees” kinda thing. :grin: I agree that cosmetics is an important consideration when spending your money for a custom pistol. But to me, it is not the most important one.

There are several fundamental elements that every custom ‘smith has to work through and prioritize, when building a custom gun.

Function and reliability
Accuracy
Ergonomics
Styling and cosmetics

The above are at least the most important of the considerations, but possibly not all. While no custom ‘smith worthy of the name should compromise in attention to detail, he will have to assign a priority to the above-mentioned fundamentals. Should building a beautiful “show-piece” pistol be more important than building a reliable one that functions with great accuracy? That doesn’t seem to be what my customers want. It also doesn’t mean that the pistol should be built with little regard to appearance.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make here is that I have assigned the above listed order of priority to the essential elements of my work. Pistols that I build have to function reliably first, be accurate second, have the best “feel” in handling that can be achieved (with the components that the customer spec’s) third and have my best effort in styling and cosmetics fourth. This philosophy results in sacrificing the exposure of the safety lug hole for getting a better feel to the grip safety and thumb safety. It does not however, give me license to leave file marks, tool marks, sharp edges & corners, lines filed crooked, checkering dull, or machine work over cut. Not at all. Not even for a minute.

Ed Brown grip safeties, if blended with the frame to cover the hole, leave the large radius corners a little too sharp to suit me. This is one point where I believe that ergonomics is more important that styling. As far as style and cosmetics pertaining to these parts go, I believe it is more attractive to have the bevel on the thumb safety shield match the radius on the frame & grip safety joint than to work the parts to cover the hole with the safety up. Should a customer request that the hole be covered, I would be happy to oblige, if his choice of parts allow it. Feel is a subjective thing & my personal preferences are just those – personal. I don’t intend to force my personal preferences on my customer’s guns.

Not to be a smart a*#, but have you guys that object to the exposed hole ever looked at the small radius of the grip safety to frame joint when the pistol is assembled and the grip safety is “on safe”? The grip safety and frame lines do not line up (but they do when the safety is depressed). Why don’t gunsmiths blend this radius to line up when the grip safety is “on safe”? Because, it would be uncomfortable in your hand, when holding the gun. But it would sure be prettier! I certainly intend no offense in saying this. But it does get you to thinking doesn’t it?

So on that point, I end this way too wordy post. I have not written this reply in a contentious spirit, but one of showing there is more than one way to look at a situation (I think this is where I started. :grin: :grin:

Thank you for your time and consideration!
John Harrison



This pistol is not a finished product! It is far enough along to test fire, but has to be detailed yet. I enclose it here to give an example of what we are discussing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
John,

Since I started this thread,
allow me to respond to your
most recent post.
It was two months after I had
taken delivery of my custom Colt
before I noticed the thumb safety
hole was exposed withthe safety engaged. It was this forum that
prompted me to critically analyze
what I had spent a major part of my
discretionary funds on.

I credit the exchange here for giving me
a road map regarding custom versus production
1911s.

As I said before, your points are understood
and accepted. Compared to you, and others here,
I am a novice. My money, however, is hard earned.
It is my opinion that cosmetics ARE important
when considering a fully bespoke gun. The rifle
and shotgun makers achieve it. No excuses given
or asked; and their guns are expected to fire every
time the trigger is pulled too.
 

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This whole thumb safety hole issue is interesting, but the answer seems really quite simple. There are certain combinations of parts and levels of blending that will create the "hole problem." If you don't want the hole, either use parts that are not as prone to the hole (Wilson BT safety?), or settle for a reduced level of blending/fit. What you can't do is require certain parts (Brown BT safety) and a very high level of blending to the BT/frame fit and insist on no hole. These seem to be mutually exclusive events.

I am having John build me a gun. The hole problem was something that we discussed at length before he started working on the gun. One of the many reasons that I chose John to build the gun was the fit of his BT safety. I don't have the experience to say that it is "The Best," but it is the best that I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot). I was perfectly will to trade having the hole so that I could have the fit/feel of the BT.
 
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