I’ve been fortunate enough to take two 1911 build classes here at our home with Bill Laughridge, guru of all-things 1911 and El Jeffe Grande at the Cylinder & Slide shop. What it’s taught me is a better appreciation of just what goes into a custom or well-fitted 1911. Gunsmith Joe Chambers has graced our cover recently with a 2-gun set of matched righty/lefty 1911s (March/April 2012), and Joe gets it too. His constant striving for excellence shows in the fit, finish and performance of his custom guns. Some of Joe’s 1911s will shoot 1″ at 50 yards, and there are reasons for that. Virtually everything on a 1911 is built around the relationship of the slide stop cross-pin and the barrel lug/link joint. All critical dimensions on a 1911 are taken from that point. So that fit is critical, and contributes significantly to accuracy in a well-fitted gun.
Joe told me he was frustrated with the performance of existing barrel lug cutters for 1911s and felt they left a rough finish and could over-cut the lugs. After researching, and brainpower from friends like Bob Marvel, Jerry Keefer, Fred Totts and “John,” Joe’s cutter maker, Joe is now offering what he considers to be a solid design in lug cutters. Made of carbide, with modern cutter design, the two cutters (sized .186″ and .195″) also come with a guide pilot to stabilize the opposite end of the cutter. The pair in this photo have been used by me about 10 times now (sharing with other students) and the final cut is still mirror-bright. Combined with a few other hand tools, it allows an experienced ’smith to fit a barrel faster and more accurately.
At $159 shipped, if you’re a hardcore hobby pistolsmith and understand what’s going on here, you can’t buy anything better. I highly recommend them. For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/chambers-custom, (402) 209-5043
By Roy Huntington