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  #1  
Old 12-01-2010, 08:12 PM
GeorgeD GeorgeD is offline
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Essex Frames




I was im my favorite local shop the other day and spotted a 1911 in the case for $295.

Its an Essex frame with a colt slide, dont know about the internals, not to worried about it either.
I've been looking for a 1911 to 'work on' without jumping into a high dollar full custom biuld. But I'm sure that day will come.

My questions is are these frames good? So so? Or just straight up bad? Their has to be a reason its only 300 bucks.

Thanks,
George
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2010, 11:27 PM
bdavis385 bdavis385 is offline
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I have never seen a serious build on an Essex frame (there maybe some but I've not seen them). You want to play, be sure that everything on/in the frame is in full spec. I would highly recommend Caspian (Foster, the parent company sells over runs and seconds), this would be a good way to get quality and start a project. There is little as frustrating as trying to learn on "junk" and never quite getting it to work right -- you are never really sure if it is your lack of ability, understanding or the materials.
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  #3  
Old 12-02-2010, 12:17 AM
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dsk dsk is offline
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I'd rate Essex frames as "so-so". They can be made to work, and lots of folks have built fine guns out of them, but they are cheap investment cast frames that often have issues with being in-spec. I bought a new Essex frame two years ago to hang my .22 conversion kit on. I had to file the top of the frame to get the slide to go on, and some of the small parts didn't mate very well to the frame. However in the end everything worked, and it's a fine .22 pistol now that I didn't spend a lot of money on. For a truck gun or similar an Essex is okay, but I would never use one in a high end build nor would most anybody else. $295 sounds tempting for a cheap .45 if the dealer will guarantee it works, but don't get any big ideas with it.
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  #4  
Old 12-02-2010, 08:00 AM
GeorgeD GeorgeD is offline
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Thanks for the info guys. This is not a gun that i would do a full custom build on, I know you get what you pay for.

Just thinking about picking it up to learn how to fit some parts without worring about ruining my Colts. Also, I dont have the time or the funds to build a caspian right now.

A .22 sounds perfect, and if it turns out bad at least i'll have some spare parts.


Thanks,
George
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2010, 10:02 AM
bubbadoc bubbadoc is offline
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It is low end, but... at that price take a look at it. Take a long look at the current fit and take the slide off if they will let you and look/ feel etc.

I have an old Clark Heavy slide from the 1970's that is on an Essex frame and it works fairly well
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2010, 06:19 PM
brooklynny brooklynny is offline
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essex frame

hey George i have one one under a colt frame and i love it. try to put a recoil buffer in it if you are worried about the frame holding up. you also might try polishing the feeder ramp because it does have its hic-ups once and a while.

but for that price its a nice tinker to mess with, good luck buddy and have fun

this is the one i have.any questions let me know ill get back to you as soon as i can
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:28 PM
brooklynny brooklynny is offline
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sorry

i meant to say colt slide on essex frame.but by the way, you will only really have problems with hollow points (at least i did )but good luck any way
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:43 PM
GeorgeD GeorgeD is offline
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I'm going back tomorrow to take a look at it again. Maybe it will come home with me.

Thanks for the info.


George
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2010, 01:05 PM
zcarp2 zcarp2 is offline
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Essex Build

I made the mistake of buying a cobbled together Essex. Essex frame with a no name (Essex?) slick slide. For $200, I figured it would be a good toy. 1983 production from the number. Makes me sick. It outshoots both my Colts and AMT. I had to tighten down my taper crimp die since the barrel had a tighter chamber than the other three "production" guns.

Rear sight is a 1/4" JB welded into a 3/8" dovetail. Mag release was filed down until you can see the spring in it - regular spec won't work.

Feeds everything now with the tighter taper crimp. Someone knew what they were doing. Great truck gun!
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2010, 07:04 PM
HeadHunter_66 HeadHunter_66 is offline
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Essex Frames

I have built two Commander and one Government sized 1911A1s on Essex frames. The first was about 20 years ago and the latest last year. The last a Government in 9MM has both an Essex frame and slide. All work fine. Much better than the Federal Ordnance frame used in my first build. If you find a 1911 with a Federal Ordnance frame run away!
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  #11  
Old 12-09-2010, 09:42 AM
faol faol is offline
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I've built two using Essex frames; one in 45, one in 38 Super. I've gone up against alot of the "big name" pistols and mine have shot just as accurate and just as reliably; if not better in some occasions. Mine have Colt Slides and all other parts are from Wilson Combat. It may not have the big resale value, but I have no intent on selling it either. To me, it's not just the frame or name that makes the gun; it's how well all of the parts fit and work together! My boss liked it so much he offered to trade is TRP for it! I'll never be ashamed to carry it!
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2010, 06:06 PM
Brian48 Brian48 is offline
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My first gun was built on an Essex frame and slide. It was not as pretty as anything put out by Colt, but it worked great and was very solid. Wish I still had that gun. When I sold it, it was pretty much built up the way I wanted it. Bar-Sto barrrel, Bo-Mar sights, etc..
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2010, 03:54 PM
Magnumite Magnumite is offline
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I built two 45's one Essex frames, the second was a screamer of a stock class steel gun. I purchased two new oversized frames, but the VIS and rails are both machined .020" off. I have one up and running but it required a good selection of parts for the right fit go be achieved. When they get up and running again they said they would warranty the frames.
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  #14  
Old 12-16-2010, 07:59 PM
sfvet sfvet is offline
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Essex

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeD View Post
Thanks for the info guys. This is not a gun that i would do a full custom build on, I know you get what you pay for.

Just thinking about picking it up to learn how to fit some parts without worring about ruining my Colts. Also, I dont have the time or the funds to build a caspian right now.

A .22 sounds perfect, and if it turns out bad at least i'll have some spare parts.


Thanks,
George
I have built a few guns with the Essex frames and have had no trouble with them and made nice guns with them However, you are thinking of buying a frame that someone else has worked on and you have no idea what they might have done with it. If you are building a pistol, start with new parts, that way you know hwere all the mistakes are.

sfvet
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2010, 10:06 AM
phil in calif. phil in calif. is offline
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I have an Essex frame with a Colt slide. I had Jim Hoag build it for me. Oddly it works great . Like some of the others have said the frames can be hit or miss. Jim would not commit to build it untill he saw the frame.
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  #16  
Old 01-21-2011, 12:45 PM
Ivymike Ivymike is offline
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It looks like the new Iver Johnson 1911's are built with Essex frames and slides.
http://www.essexarms.com

Doesn't look like Essex is back in full production but they are supplying at the wholesale level.

Last edited by Ivymike; 01-21-2011 at 12:48 PM.
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  #17  
Old 01-21-2011, 05:04 PM
MotorSeven MotorSeven is offline
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$295 ?? Unless it's beat to heck that is a no brainer. I built a Rem-Rand slide on an Essex frame 15 or so years ago. Like DSK said some things can be out of spec..it was the ramp on the frame for mine. Once I filed the ramp to the proper angle the dang thing fed everything, even various gun show re-loads/hp's etc. I had several no name cheap mags..no problem.

If I saw one in a shop for that price I would buy it, even though I don't need another 1911 at the moment

Beat 'em up on the price a little more then go shoot!

RD
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  #18  
Old 01-21-2011, 05:51 PM
Robsauto Robsauto is offline
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My RR/Essex. I wish that I could get another one.
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  #19  
Old 02-20-2011, 09:47 PM
man2112 man2112 is offline
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I just picked up a 1911 today with an essex frame and colt slide. Paid $250 for it. I haven't shot it yet; but whoever owned it before had bo-mar competition sights on it, and had a nice trigger job done to it. It also came with 4 mags and a magazine pouch. Looks promising.
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