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  #1  
Old 07-06-2012, 01:25 AM
Minx Boy Minx Boy is offline
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Full house custom vs Semi-custom




I know that there have been many threads on this but I had one question that I could not really find an answer to. If a full house custom would be me getting lets say a mil spec and completely changing everything out and making it my own, and a semi-custom would be getting a custom carry from SACS and then adding to it, why do people say full house custom guns are usually more accurate, reliable, and just are much more prestigious? It makes sense to me that the semi-custom would be better because you are starting with a better frame and slide, an over-sized national match one, and having it hand fit. Would then the semi-custom be better fit, more accurate and reliable, then a mil spec that has been re-welded to have a perfect fit? Wouldnt the gun that started out as hand fit be better? Or am I missing something about semi-custom versus custom? Wouldn't a person want a semi-custom gun anyway from SACS and then just have them do the same thing they would to a mil spec rather than starting with a production gun and building it up? Any help would be greatly appreciated! And sorry if this has been talked about before, I just couldnt find a definitive answer.
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  #2  
Old 07-06-2012, 02:13 AM
Rock185 Rock185 is offline
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Hello Minx, If "custom" means: made to order, then I guess I've never owned one. I have owned Heinie, Baer, Wilson, Rock River, Clark, etc. Most all of these never ever malfunctioned, even once. So, not sure how a custom/made to order gun would be more reliable than 100% reliable. Some of my regular old "non-custom" 1911s had/have test targets showing 10-shot groups of 2", or just under, at 50 yards. Baer offers a 1.5" guarantee with some of his apparently non-custom guns. I guess maybe a person could have a gun made to order capable of 1" groups at 50 yards. So I guess a made to order gun be more accurate to a small degree.

I have an old Clark .45 accurized back in the '60s by the weld, squeeze and peen method. I have a Springfield that started off as a Standard model manufactured in 1991, now greatly modified. Both are very accurate, 100% reliable with any quality ball or hollow point ammo, etc. I would still prefer to start off with something like a Les Baer, that starts off with a precision oversized frame, slide and barrel that require no welding/squeezing/peening,etc.

If I felt the desire, or need,etc, I can afford, and would order, a super duper full custom gun from a top builder built to my very own special personal, and brilliantly thought out, specifications. But for me, it would just be something to show off to others, hoping they would appreciate the wonderfullness of it ;-)...ymmv
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2012, 03:49 AM
Capt. Methane Capt. Methane is offline
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That's an interesting question because I've agonized over the same type of thing...and I think that part of the answer would depend on who did the work. Sure, you could order all the parts and the technical resources and probably build yourself a full custom 1911 that would function for less. It wouldn't have the custom shop brand name behind it but it could be made reliable with the proper attention to detail...

You could buy a Mil-Spec and send it to SACS or Alchemy and turn it into whatever your heart desires (or your wallet can take) or you could go broke trying to fix something horribly botched up by someone with more ambition than skill. Either way it's still a modified Mil-Spec and the value added would only be realized by you-the resale value wouldn't be there as if you had bought a Pro or TRP or TGO from the start.

You could call Wilson Combat and fill out one of their worksheets and spec something out for the appropriate amount of money and it would at least carry the name and resale value-much like one of the SACS guns.

You could get a Kimber and recite their semi-custom advertising hype...yeah, I'm entitled to that remark because I have a CDP that I do concealed carry with and it's a great Officer's sized gun now that I've got it feeding Ball ammo 100%. In fact I've got it up to feeding 13 out of 14 of my LSWC reloads-that's up from about one in two or three when I first got it! I guess it really is getting to be a semi-custom...

My personal choice would be to go to Bob Rodgers Roll Your Own...the benefits of that are manifest to anyone who really wants to know not only that they have the best a 1911 can offer but what makes it that way!

Or you could do what I'm doing now-

Living with the personally perceived "shortcomings" of a SA Loaded that is better than I'll ever be and spend the other money on reloading components and shooting more and daydreaming about custom 1911's that are the way I think they should be...that's three or four thousand dollars worth of reloads.

Maybe by then I'll be good enough to really appreciate a custom gun...
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Last edited by Capt. Methane; 07-06-2012 at 04:09 AM.
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  #4  
Old 07-06-2012, 04:13 AM
skidemn skidemn is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minx Boy View Post
I know that there have been many threads on this but I had one question that I could not really find an answer to. If a full house custom would be me getting lets say a mil spec and completely changing everything out and making it my own, and a semi-custom would be getting a custom carry from SACS and then adding to it, why do people say full house custom guns are usually more accurate, reliable, and just are much more prestigious? It makes sense to me that the semi-custom would be better because you are starting with a better frame and slide, an over-sized national match one, and having it hand fit. Would then the semi-custom be better fit, more accurate and reliable, then a mil spec that has been re-welded to have a perfect fit?
A full house custom generally refers to a gun that has been custom built and hand fit from the ground up, not merely replacing some parts. Usually includes action/trigger job, accurizing, reliability enhancements, etc. Ordering a Custom Carry from SACS can easily become a full house custom depending on the work done. If I am not mistaken, you can spec every part of the Custom Carry if you desire, but there is a base set of parameters you can work from.

Whether it's oversized rails lapped to fit, or a standard frame with the rails welded up and then fit, that is a custom fit- the slide and frame become a matched set so the end result is the same perfect fit. Accuracy actually has less to do with the slide to frame fit and more to do with the barrel to slide fit and barrel to bushing fit. Accuracy relies on the barrel returning to the exact same position after firing, and a poorly fit barrel or bushing will allow the barrel to return to a slightly different position each time it is fired causing a variance in the point of impact of each consecutive shot. So to answer your question, a semi custom may or may not be more accurate than a built up Mil-Spec depending on the quality of the barrel/bushing and how they are fit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minx Boy View Post
Wouldnt the gun that started out as hand fit be better? Or am I missing something about semi-custom versus custom? Wouldn't a person want a semi-custom gun anyway from SACS and then just have them do the same thing they would to a mil spec rather than starting with a production gun and building it up?
A full custom mil-spec will have every component hand fit too, so comparing it to your personalized Custom Carry build both would be equal as far as hand fitting goes. Starting from a GI or Mil-Spec vs starting with a personally spec'd Custom Carry is simply a matter of preference. It may cost less to start with a Custom Carry depending on what you want done since the base price bundles certain things like custom fitting the grip safety, barrel fitting, etc. as opposed to paying for each service a la cart. You can probably reach the same end result with either method.
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  #5  
Old 07-06-2012, 04:22 AM
skidemn skidemn is online now
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Originally Posted by Capt. Methane View Post
Maybe by then I'll be good enough to really appreciate a custom gun...
You don't have to be good to appreciate a custom gun, much like you don't have to be a NASCAR or Indy driver to appreciate a Ferrari. The fit, feel and finish is just better and easily noticed. I have taken out several people who have never shot a 1911 and let them shoot a bone stock Series 70 Colt, then let them shoot one of my customs afterwards. Without me saying anything, everyone immediately tells me how much better the customs feel, and they are ALWAYS more accurate with the customs.
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  #6  
Old 07-06-2012, 06:55 AM
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The "full custom" bit is a little misleading.

From someone who's gone down this route, you are not typically as "free" with your options/selections as many believe.

For example, I had a pair of consecutive serial number Colt Special Carry Combats that I wanted to have a match set made up by one of the best shops out there. They turned down the work because they didnt want to use them as a base gun, citing the beavertail, ejection port flare, and Novak sight cut. Perfectly valid reasons, don't get me wrong. However, they still turned it away.
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  #7  
Old 07-06-2012, 07:50 AM
AlchemyCustom AlchemyCustom is online now
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Full Custom Pistol-(Noun) A weapon that is built to the exacting specifications of the buyer. Every part, shape, and finish are selected solely by the end user. Often times the builder will make suggestions to guide the customer through the process, all the while keeping the buyer involved in the process.




Quote:
Originally Posted by blr View Post
The "full custom" bit is a little misleading.

From someone who's gone down this route, you are not typically as "free" with your options/selections as many believe.

For example, I had a pair of consecutive serial number Colt Special Carry Combats that I wanted to have a match set made up by one of the best shops out there. They turned down the work because they didnt want to use them as a base gun, citing the beavertail, ejection port flare, and Novak sight cut. Perfectly valid reasons, don't get me wrong. However, they still turned it away.
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  #8  
Old 07-06-2012, 08:24 AM
MTSCMike MTSCMike is offline
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I used to think the cost of a full custom gun was rediculous...not any more. I've owned factory 1911's that were "customized", Wilson Combat Customs, Les Baer's, etc...they all needed a little something to make them just right. I even built some of my own from "gunsmith fit" parts like Caspian, Nowlin, Ed Brown and so on. They were the best I had owned until I decided to work with a Master Gunsmith and have one built just for me. I specified the parts, he made some suggestions, we agreed on the final product and he built it. It is the only gun I've ever owned that needed absolutely nothing done to it after it was delivered.

That said, I don't know that I could have specified what I wanted without having first gone through the steps I took to get there. Like building a house, you don't really know what you want until you've lived in a few and looked at a lot of them first.

Anybody who loves the 1911 should try to have at least one full house custom done for them in their lifetime if they can afford it. Pick your smith and your parts carefully.
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  #9  
Old 07-06-2012, 08:30 AM
polizei1 polizei1 is offline
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A full house custom is talking to someone like Brandon from SVI, John Harrison, Chuck Rogers, Heirloom Precision, etc. and spec'ing out every single part of the build, often even with hand made stocks, specifically desired and fit for that specific gun.

With semi-customs, you can generally choose a lot of add-ons or options, but IIRC, most semi-customs are built in more of an assembly line-type of environment, and are built by many people. Full house customs are generally only built by one person from the ground up, with certain exceptions of course. I believe Wilson uses more than one to build the Supergrades (arguably a "full house custom"), and of course there are joint-builds by some of the top 1911 smiths as well.

The point is, full house custom builds are often times held to a much higher standard, usually by individual well known gunsmiths, and you're also paying for their reputation. For 1911's, there is nothing higher than the big name builds, and they command a premium in the form of a waiting period, and a price. For most people, it's far shorter and cheaper to go semi-custom.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:57 AM
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R0CKETMAN R0CKETMAN is offline
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If you go SACS you will not be speaking / working directly with the smith who lays hands on your pistol.


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Originally Posted by AlchemyCustom View Post
Full Custom Pistol-(Noun) A weapon that is built to the exacting specifications of the buyer. Every part, shape, and finish are selected solely by the end user. Often times the builder will make suggestions to guide the customer through the process, all the while keeping the buyer involved in the process.
Yep
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2012, 10:48 AM
Minx Boy Minx Boy is offline
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Thanks everyone for all the input. I was going to have Alchemy have a go at my mil spec and I was just wondering if when he finishes with it, would it be considered a full house custom, because I have picked every single part I want on the gun.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:03 PM
ehparis ehparis is offline
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Originally Posted by Rock185 View Post
I guess maybe a person could have a gun made to order capable of 1" groups at 50 yards. So I guess a made to order gun be more accurate to a small degree.
I wouldn't count on it. 1" at 25 yards or 2" at 50 is about as good as it gets.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:35 PM
polizei1 polizei1 is offline
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Apparently you don't know of Mr. Chambers work ehparis. Look him up, you'll be amazed.

http://www.1911addicts.com/showthrea...Xtreame...Pics!

That for example, is able to shoot 10 rounds at 50 yards, at 1.080".

Here another at 1.205"

http://www.1911addicts.com/showthrea...for-One...Pics!

And another at 1.275"

http://www.1911addicts.com/showthrea...ustom-Wad-Guns

He even states, "All of the groups you see posted with these guns are shot at 50 yards and are 10 shots per group. The groups are measured from center to center of the two farthest apart holes. Over the past four years the average has been 1.350"."

I think that's enough for now.
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Last edited by polizei1; 07-06-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2012, 03:57 PM
Minx Boy Minx Boy is offline
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Originally Posted by polizei1 View Post
Apparently you don't know of Mr. Chambers work ehparis. Look him up, you'll be amazed.

http://www.1911addicts.com/showthrea...Xtreame...Pics!

That for example, is able to shoot 10 rounds at 50 yards, at 1.080".
Well is he better than Alchemy Custom? The prices are better for me to go with ACW, I mean I can always get a Harrison Custom or even let Ted Yost touch it, but those places have much higher prices usually and have a few years wait times. Plus I already have gotten in touch with ACW and made a list for what I want done. But like I said before, would it be considered a full house custom for what I am doing?
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:15 PM
AlchemyCustom AlchemyCustom is online now
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To answer the burning question, yes it would be a full house custom. If we are really only retaining the frame and slide and working from there. I'm sure Chuck Rogers considers his work full house custom. The majority of his builds are done off Springfield GI models from what I have seen.

Accuracy will be an exercise in hair splitting at best. If we do a full house custom where we tighten frame to slide, and hard fit a match grade barrel and bushing...and it doesn't hold 1.5" or better at 50 yards, we did something wrong.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Minx Boy View Post
Well is he better than Alchemy Custom? The prices are better for me to go with ACW, I mean I can always get a Harrison Custom or even let Ted Yost touch it, but those places have much higher prices usually and have a few years wait times. Plus I already have gotten in touch with ACW and made a list for what I want done. But like I said before, would it be considered a full house custom for what I am doing?
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:39 PM
Minx Boy Minx Boy is offline
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Originally Posted by AlchemyCustom View Post
To answer the burning question, yes it would be a full house custom. If we are really only retaining the frame and slide and working from there. I'm sure Chuck Rogers considers his work full house custom. The majority of his builds are done off Springfield GI models from what I have seen.

Accuracy will be an exercise in hair splitting at best. If we do a full house custom where we tighten frame to slide, and hard fit a match grade barrel and bushing...and it doesn't hold 1.5" or better at 50 yards, we did something wrong.
That is exactly what I was wondering. Thanks again ACW, and I'll let you know when we can begin our journey!
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Old 07-07-2012, 02:44 PM
polizei1 polizei1 is offline
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No, from what I've seen and heard, Alchemy is top notch and you'll be more than fine in their hands!

As for the "big shops" like Chambers, Harrison, Heirloom, Rogers, etc. yes, last I've heard they all have 4+ year wait lists, and their full house customs will costs you substantially more. To give you an example, I believe Harrison is probably the cheapest, and his Peerless starts at $3,810 plus the base gun. Some of the other builders start at $5k.

Can't go wrong going with Alchemy though!

I love my Harrison BTW, even if it isn't a full house custom, it's still a Harrison!
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:22 PM
DubfromGa DubfromGa is offline
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Just wondering how this unfolded, Minx Boy.


Did you get that custom gun done?
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  #19  
Old 04-15-2013, 10:28 PM
JoeOU1 JoeOU1 is online now
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To heck with all this crazy money being spent for these "custom" builds. I'll stick with the best deal out there...Kimber Custom Shop! Plus, they stamp it right on the side, so you can show all your buddies your "real" custom gun.













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Old 04-16-2013, 08:59 PM
DubfromGa DubfromGa is offline
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To heck with all this crazy money being spent for these "custom" builds. I'll stick with the best deal out there...Kimber Custom Shop! Plus, they stamp it right on the side, so you can show all your buddies your "real" custom gun.

















I've had less than stellar results from Kimber, too. never again, though.
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  #21  
Old 04-16-2013, 10:05 PM
JEG247 JEG247 is offline
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Wow..thus full house customs are stunning. But the fact is I'll sick with simi-custom and regular production. I just can't justify a one inch or even a half inch difference at 25 yards in a shot group. That difference in group tightness is often 1,500 to 2000 dollars in price in the 1911 platform..and 1) I just don't shoot that good, 2) most of my practice is combat type shoots on steel, 3) not a long range Bulls Eye competitor (and if you are your most likely using a Hamerelli/SIG .22 or a S&W .22). But they are great examples of a gun smiths art.
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  #22  
Old 04-17-2013, 10:48 AM
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The accuracy guaranty you get is only a very small portion of what you get for the $$.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:16 AM
bartwatkins bartwatkins is offline
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The accuracy guaranty you get is only a very small portion of what you get for the $$.
Exactly....

I have had a Springer loaded for a few years now. I have approx. 3500 rounds down the pipe. I have always known that I would have custom work done on it. I struggled a year or so back with doing that work then or getting a semi-custom. At that time went the semi route - Ed Brown Kobra. I added several things to the build and it took them 6 months. My reasoning was that both options would have time associated with them. If I went the semi-custom route then I would still have my Loaded to shoot during the 6 month build time.

Fast forward to now, have the funds for the custom work on the Loaded and, as of today, have shipped it to Rob at Alchemy. I have a pretty long list of things that I want done - from hard fitting a Kart barrel and bushing and Action Job (these will effect accuracy) - to front strap checkering, rear of slide and top of slide serrations (these are really just for looks - except maybe the front strap) - to other things as well...

Bottom line is that it will cost me (and it has taken me a while to come up with the funds) but this is what I want and what I have always wanted and envisioned for this pistol. It is already a very accurate gun - I doubt that I will really notice a shattering accuracy difference. If I do, that is just icing on the cake. It's not really about that for me.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:39 PM
DubfromGa DubfromGa is offline
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I was sorta toying with the semi or full custom route for a while.

I picked up a couple of right off the rack, bone stock 1911 .45 acp that have my full interest at the moment. They shoot way better than I ever will and I'm really happy for now. No need for further "enhancements".


I guess I'm lucky in that the fire has been put out.........for now, at least.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:51 PM
JoeOU1 JoeOU1 is online now
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I've had less than stellar results from Kimber, too. never again, though.
Actually, most of my Kimbers have ended up at Chuck Rogers' shop and another was built from the ground up by John Vincent at Halstom Custom, who specializes in NRA Bullseye competition guns. So, I've never had any "Kimber issues". All of my 9 or 10 Kimber's have been stellar. And I never had any issues before they were customized. But I do think it's funny that they waste their time stamping that "custom shop" crap on the slide. Besides, I prefer a naked slide anyway. Kimber makes a great base gun. Personally I think Kimber makes a better base than SA or Colt.
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