Building 1911s on 80% frames - Share yours, ask questions

Hello everyone. Seems we don’t have a Smiffin’ section in this forum, so I decided to start a thread on some of the 80% 1911 builds I have done.

The reason I used 80% frames was not to “hide” my pistols from the gov, but because CA laws prevent people from buying frames.

For many of these pistols below (in multiple posts I will be making) I have build videos for on YouTube and will bring them over to Full30 when I am allowed to upload.

So… starting with…
Build 4 “Mellow Night”

The 80% frame was finished (rails cut) using the Matrix Precision Rail Cutting Jig.
As you can probably tell, the cutters are placed on both sides and the jig can be run by hand operated crank handle or using a power drill to move the frame through the cutters.

I converted the standard frame into a frame that accepts rampped barrels (Clark/Para ramps) using a dremel and files.

After fitting all the parts together…

I decided to try beveling the bottom of the slide and also dehorning the slide completely.

Then I recessed the slide stop hole on the right, flush cut the slide stop pin, and dehorned the frame.

Oviously the bushing and the plug were also dehorned, barrel was flush cut and reverse crowned.

Round-ish butt was cut on the Smith and Alexander Magguide/magwell MSH. Parts were bead blasted.

And finally a nitride finish (melonite) was applied

It shoots pretty well (I am not a great shot)


Build 5 “Bob”

On this one, I went with a Schuemann HyComp Barrel. Yes, it has an integral comp with baffles.
I cut the slot in the slide using a hacksaw and dremel.

Then I flush cut the face and decided to put on a slight Bobnose on it.

And then a Bobtail. See why it is named “Bob”?

The fit was pretty good on this one:

And then everything was deburred and the gun was parkerized

Oh and I cut the front sight notch into the barrel rib using a file.


These look amazing. What’s it cost for you all in on one of these?

Next up, Build 6 “RaMmeR”

On this one I tried to do a few new things (as usual).

Tried to go for a seamless fit of the beavertail

Erased the MSH checkering

Changed how I do a trigger guard undercut

Hand Checkered the front strap. Using a new method where I use the Checkering File all throughout the checkering. Not using single point V files anymore.

Hand Checkered the rear strap and onto the memory bump of the beavertail

Blended the Magwell

Did a Chuck Rogers kind of Bobnose using EGW Monogram bushing and plug set.

Dehorned and bead blasted

The Trijicon mount with integrated rear and tall front co-witness with the RMR Sight


On average, and when not using optics, these run me about $1200, but that is because I try to go for higher quality parts.

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Ouch. Beyond any sort of price range for me. :frowning:

Prepare yourselves… Here comes “The Exfoliator”

Trying to see if I can do 10 Line Per Inch (LPI) Checkering using what I have - a 20 LPI checkering file and single point V files (90 degree ones, not 60 degree).


As you can see, the frame was thick enough and because the single point V file was 90 degrees there is plenty of “meat” left.

Prepare yourselves again. Soldering (for the first time) a Stan Chen Magwell Gen 1 (for the first time) onto this frame.
The Stan Chen Magwell Gen 1 and Gen 2 don’t extend the length of the grip. Instead, the frame is cut down to be replaced by the magwell.

The cut was made using a hacksaw and filed to dimension.

The MSH hole is re-drilled (using an endmill bit)

Rear of the frame was cut down to allow the MSH to seat and the remove those corners

Magwell was blended and a Round Butt cut was introduced. Using a 2011 MSH pin (since it is longer).

Prepare yourselves once more…


Prepare yourselves yet again…

The government (full size) frame was converted to Commander size by moving the recoil shoulder back to commander spec. I did this using a countersink cutter with a pilot, a sleeve bearing, and using a power drill.

Another Chuck Rogers type Bobnose (I just like them a lot). and flush cut and reverse crown.

The dust cover was shortened and then the gun was Parerized at home (also for the first time)


It all depends on the parts. Some guys end up spending $400 total. They go to gun shows, etc and find parts very cheap.

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That’s closer to what I would be able to do if I get the green light to be able to buy more guns by the wife. Haha. I want an inexpensive 1911 that I can convert to .460 Rowland.

Sounds fun… I hope you reload.

Yup, the initial investment in tools only makes sense if you build multiple.

Build 9 was a full length dust cover build.
And is likely going to be the pistol that gets a match weight at the front.

This is also the build that I used my mini mill for (got one for free from a friend/co-worker)
The rails on this one were cut using the Mini Mill from Harbor Freight.

I had to work on the spring plug (reverse one, collar type), to make it fit all the way into the slide.
Obviously couldn’t leave it like this.

Chucked it up onto one of the sanding drum bases on my dremel and moved the front shoulder of the collar down a bit.

Guide rod head also didn’t fit into the frame.

Much better

Slide was overhanging by quite a bit after the barrel lower lug was cut.


Beavertail fit and blended

Ramp was protruding far into the frame


Started to checker after the trigger guard was undercut (One of my favorite mods, btw)

My checkering method is to cut all the horizontal lines deep first and then move onto the verticals as this works the file more efficiently

Then started blending the front. Remember how the slide was overhanging off the back? At the front the frame was sticking out.

All done.

Checkered the rear

Put together for a test fire… Oh, forgot to mention that I dehorned the front area of the frame at the trigger guard.

Used the mini mill to bevel the magwell more

And parkerized the lower half (slide is stainless)


I now give you Bond, Ion Bond.

Ever since building the RaMmeR, I wanted to build a 9mm, but wanted to make my own mount for the RMR. And now since I had a mini mill I could finally realize this project.

So…lets start at the beginning

4140 steel and the discounted (since Type 2 came out) RMR06

Using very cheap HSS end mill I milled the surface down leaving the pegs.

Then made the pegs round using a file

Here is where the pegs go on the sight

Cleaned up

Milled out the body leaving sides to protrude more forward than the sight.

Milled out the slide

Holes and attaching to slide


Used the Bolt Pattern Calculation to cut the front of the slide slot the same radius as the front of the RMR

Shaped the front edges/corners of the mount, tri-topped the slide and cut Ball Cuts over the Stirrups, and lowered the mount on the slide.

Cut carry cuts on the slide, but went too far back

Addressed the mistake by cutting a corresponding area on the frame

Chamfered the front of the slide

Using the new Stan Chen Magwell Gen 2. This one has a huge throat and doesn’t require soldering. The frame is still cut down by the height of the magwell.

Frame is positioned in the mill vise using the Magwell to reference off of.

The cut is made, and then the rear wall of the frame is cut lower to allow the magwell to seat completely

The grips are installed and cut to the same level as the bottom of the frame

A new MSH hole is drilled. The MSH is now using the Officers MSH components

Status update

Checkering done

Magwell blended

Round butt


In the above pictures you can see the lightening cuts I did on the slide RMR mount slot as well. My goal was to make the slide weigh less with my mount, rmr sight and battery than it did originally. And I did it.

When I got it back from Evolution Gun Works (authorized IonBond FFL dealer), here is what we had.


Thank you. It was pretty cool and I think I will actually send it out for Hard Chrome finish.

It obviously gives a lot more freedom to do what you want to do. The Matrix Rail Cutting Jig is the best jig out there for rail cutting, but it only does one thing.


Last one I want to share with you is the “Softy”

9mm Commander build.

I like how I did the frame dust cover to slide blending on this one

You can also see my new logo on the slide.
Can you see the letters M and V? (this is a slide from RaMmeR)


These are all beautiful. @Robert said he needs more tools. I lack, the tools, talent and patience to do anything like this.

You mention you’re into these roughly $1200. What might the sales price be? Mind you mounds of cash is yet another thing I lack.

Looking at your list, you dont need a drilling jig if you are getting a decking jig with drill inserts. Buy you may need to get the drill bits if it doesn’t come with them

Also, depending on the frame in the kit you may not need a barrel seat cutter or the decking jig. Usually it is one or the other. See what is listed as steps/actions to complete the frame. Some frames come with in spec decks but need barrel seats, others come with barrel seats cut but need to be decked.

Thank you. I can’t sell them. I am not licensed to make these for other people. I hope to move to a more gun friendly county soon and apply for one.

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No, I currently live in Los Angeles County that has very strict zoning rules and anti-gun regulations that would make getting a new homebased FFL impossible.

As a gun owner you can send your gun to FFL directly, for handguns you have to use overnight FedEx or UPS service, for long guns USPS is ok. Or you could have an FFL send it to the Finisher FFL.