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Old 02-19-2010, 03:58   #1
itsgottabeapit
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Top 20 1911 gunsmiths

This is turning into a 1911 gunsmith directory, I love it, please sticky

I don't know if this has been done before but I thought it would be neat to put together a list of the top "x" number of 1911 gunsmiths. I thought 10 wouldn't be enough and 100 would be too many so 20 it is. It would be nice if you give a gunsmiths name that you also leave some kind of contact for that smith (website, e-mail address, phone number, etc)

I'd like to nominate

Chuck Rogers http://www.rogersprecision.com/

His guns are the best looking I've seen. Who else should be on the list Baer? Brown? Do tell. Maybe this will be something to sticky later?

This list so far. Of course this is just opinions, but it's fun. Obviously there is no real way to rate the top "x" number of gunsmiths, so there are no wrong answers. There are some beautiful guns to look at if you follow the links. Alphabetical order by first names..

* ADDED, as it has been mentioned by PlasticGuy, I want it to be known that some of the top gunsmiths on this list actually have other worldclass topshelf gunsmiths that work for them and I'd like to give them all credit for the excellent work that they do that is sometimes not thought about when you think of the manufacturers.

Top 1911 Pistol gunsmiths
> Alex Hamilton, no contact info..made some interesting blackpowder guns with 1911 frames..
> Bill Laughridge http://www.cylinder-slide.com/adventurer.shtml
> Bill Wilson http://www.wilsoncombat.com/handgun-index.asp
> Bob Hunter http://www.huntercustoms.com/
> Bob Londrigan http://www.brazoscustom.com/
> Bob Marvel http://bobmarvelcustomguns.com/
> Bob Miller http://www.millercustom.com/photo.htm
> Bob Rodgers http://www.rodgerspistolsmithing.com/
> Chuck Rogers http://www.rogersprecision.com/
> Chuck Warner http://www.warnerpistols.com/index.html
> Claudio Salassa http://www.briley.com/
> C.T. Brian http://www.ctbrian.com/
> Dane Burns http://www.burnscustom.com/
> Dave Dawson http://www.dawsonprecision.com/
> Dave Erickson http://www.conditionone.us/Gallery/index.php
> Dave Helton http://www.dvsmallarms.com/
> Dave Sams http://www.samscustomgunworksusa.com/
> Dave Severns www.severnscustom.com
> Dave Williams www.Springfield-Armory.com
> Don Williams http://www.theactionworks.com/
> Drake Oldham http://www.drakesgunworks.com/
> Ed Brown http://www.edbrown.com/
> Hilton Yam - Contact Info?
> Jim Garthwaite http://www.garthwaite.com/
> Jim Hoag, no contact info
> Jim Stroh http://www.alphaprecisioninc.com/
> John Harrison http://www.harrisoncustom.com/Home.aspx
> John Nowlin http://www.nowlinguns.com/merchant2/
> Ken Crawley http://www.crawleycustom.com/
> Larry Vickers http://vickerstactical.com/
> Les Baer http://www.lesbaer.com/
> Luke Volkman http://www.volkmanncustom.com/
> Marc Morganti http://www.geminicustoms.com/
> Marianne Carniak http://carniakcustom.com/
> Mark Morris http://www.morriscustompistols.com/
> Matt Davis http://www.mdcustommachine.com/
> Matt Gish http://www.professionalgunsmithing.com/ website currently not working.
> Ned Christiansen http://www.m-guns.com/
> Neil Keller http://kustom-ballistics.com/
> Paul Liebenberg http://www.pistoldynamics.com/
> Pete Single, I had no luck finding a website, but read his checkering is some of the best.
> Rich Dettelhouser http://www.canyoncreekcustom.com/
> Richard Heinie http://www.heinie.com/index.php
> Ron Philips http://www.phillips1911.com/
> Ross Carter, Carter Custom Weaponry, website seems to have been taken over by someone else
> Scott Mulkerin http://www.sdmfabricating.com/
> Stan Chen http://www.chencustoms.com/
> Steve Morrison http://marsguns.com/Home.htm
> Steve Nastoff, May not be gunsmithing any longer. No contact info.
> Ted Yost http://www.heirloomprecision.com/
> Teddy Jacobsen http://www.actionsbyt.com/pricing-semiauto.htm
> Victor Tibbets http://www.wilsoncombat.com/about_us.htm#Victor_Tibbets

Top 1911 accessory manufacturers
> Virgil Tripp http://www.trippresearch.com/ Magazines
> John VanZyck http://www.vzgrips.com/ Grips

Conclusion. It takes years of gunsmithing experience to be considered one of the best. A background in machining and tool and dye really turns out top notch smiths. It takes fine attention to detail, anyone can put all the pieces together. It takes a top notch smith to fit them and fit them right. Details like flushing the the slide lock pin with the frame, filling the cavitiy in the beavertail to get rid of that hammer play, etc. You really get an idea of who's the best by the ammount of work they have on back order and or have to turn down. The smiths that innovate new things that improve the original design in fit and function are in a class of their own and I think truely deserve to be at the top of the list. We are truely blessed to have such a large list of talented gunsmiths.
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Last edited by itsgottabeapit; 02-28-2010 at 09:22.. Reason: Added gunsmiths..
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:13   #2
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Liebenberg for sure.

http://www.pistoldynamics.com/
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:14   #3
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Ted Yost


http://www.heirloomprecision.com/
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:02   #4
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I've got a pistol being worked over by Dave Severns right now

www.severnscustom.com
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:34   #5
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John Harrison.

http://www.harrisoncustom.com/Home.aspx
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:37   #6
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I nominate Virgil Tripp.

His mags. alone, put him in this category.

http://www.trippresearch.com/
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:45   #7
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Bill Wilson
http://www.wilsoncombat.com/handgun-index.asp
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:45   #8
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Dane Burns
http://www.burnscustom.com/
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:19   #9
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many to choose from http://www.americanpistol.com/psoty/past.php

how about Marc Morganti http://www.geminicustoms.com/
Dave Williams - www.Springfield-Armory.com
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:25   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quack View Post
Does Dave actually build anymore? I've read a few claims that he runs the show at the CS but doesn't do anything beyond final inspection.

Anyway, I vote

Ned Christiansen - http://www.m-guns.com/gallery.php
Bob Miller - http://www.millercustom.com/photo.htm
Dave Erickson http://www.conditionone.us/Gallery/index.php
Hilton Yam is another worthy mention. http://www.10-8forums.com/ubbthreads...0&page=0#89349

Yam's may not be pretty but I have no doubt about its function.

Last edited by GJ1981; 02-19-2010 at 10:55.. Reason: Adding..very forgetful today
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:53   #11
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No vote for Larry Vickers or Mark Morris yet?

The fact is that limiting this to 20 severely snubs about 200. There are a lot of highly talented 1911 smiths in the country right now. We really have it good.
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticGuy View Post
No vote for Larry Vickers or Mark Morris yet?

The fact is that limiting this to 20 severely snubs about 200. There are a lot of highly talented 1911 smiths in the country right now. We really have it good.
The 20 is flexible, I really just wanted to get a contact list of sorts together. And not only that I really enjoy looking at all of the links that are being posted. There's no numeric order or anything. Just something to use as reference.
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:18   #13
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Both Richard Heinie and Stan Chen should be in the top five.



http://www.heinie.com/index.php




http://www.chencustoms.com/
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:26   #14
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From the links threat @ the top of the forum

In alphabetical order:


GUNSMITHS

http://www.actionsbyt.com/
http://www.theactionworks.com/Default.htm
http://www.apwcogan.com/
http://www.berryhillguns.com/
http://www.burwellgunsmithing.com/
http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/
http://www.ctbrian.com/
http://www.cylinder-slide.com/
http://www.egw-guns.com/
http://www.fletchercustompistols.com/
http://www.geminicustoms.com/
http://www.heinie.com/
http://www.jardinescustom.com/
http://www.kingsgunworks.com/
http://www.m-guns.com/
http://www.novaksights.com/
http://www.precision-gunworks.com/Home.aspx
http://www.robarguns.com/DesktopDefault.aspx
http://www.rodgerspistolsmithing.com/
http://www.rogersprecision.com/
http://www.signaturegrade.com/sg/index.html
http://www.trippresearch.com/
http://www.tusseycustom.com/
http://www.yost-bonitz.com/
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:29   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsgottabeapit View Post
The 20 is flexible, I really just wanted to get a contact list of sorts together. And not only that I really enjoy looking at all of the links that are being posted. There's no numeric order or anything. Just something to use as reference.
I'm sorry if you took my post as a stab at your question. That wasn't my intention, and this thread is a fun thought experiment (which is probably exactly what you intended). My point was just that we have such a wealth of talented 1911 smiths out there right now that we are truly spoiled.

Also, there is something that many of us don't think about. All of those custom shops like NightHawk, Wilson, Baer, Brown, Robar, C&S, Springfield, and all the others I didn't mention have more than one smith, and we generally don't talk about them by name. The guys who build Wilson SuperGrade 1911's might be worthy of mention, but most of us don't know their names.
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:39   #16
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Originally Posted by GJ1981 View Post
Does Dave actually build anymore? I've read a few claims that he runs the show at the CS but doesn't do anything beyond final inspection.
dunno, but the work from the Custom Shop is up there.
I'm sure he can still build great 1911.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticGuy View Post
Also, there is something that many of us don't think about. All of those custom shops like NightHawk, Wilson, Baer, Brown, Robar, C&S, Springfield, and all the others I didn't mention have more than one smith, and we generally don't talk about them by name. The guys who build Wilson SuperGrade 1911's might be worthy of mention, but most of us don't know their names.
+1

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Old 02-19-2010, 11:44   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticGuy View Post
The guys who build Wilson SuperGrade 1911's might be worthy of mention, but most of us don't know their names.


Vic Tibbets is Wilsons top smith I believe.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:02   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticGuy View Post
I'm sorry if you took my post as a stab at your question. That wasn't my intention, and this thread is a fun thought experiment (which is probably exactly what you intended). My point was just that we have such a wealth of talented 1911 smiths out there right now that we are truly spoiled.

Also, there is something that many of us don't think about. All of those custom shops like NightHawk, Wilson, Baer, Brown, Robar, C&S, Springfield, and all the others I didn't mention have more than one smith, and we generally don't talk about them by name. The guys who build Wilson SuperGrade 1911's might be worthy of mention, but most of us don't know their names.
No apology necessary. I just wanted to make sure everyone understood this list is not the definative on the best "x" number of 1911 gunsmiths. I just wanted to get contact info and names of the best of the best. If it ends up being 200 that's fine.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:18   #20
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I think the Lawson brothers at Rock River make a nice 1911, even though they have stopped production and concentrate on ARs.

Edit: I actually had Chuck work on a Baer I bought used. He took off the Bomars and re cut the slide and fitted Novaks, then cleaned up the trigger and re blued it.
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