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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:56 pm
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Location: Mesa, AZ
People will often hear me say how lucky I feel to do the work I do, and it’s true even more so than I can explain. When I first began down this career path in 2005 my goal was the same as it is now; build the best gun I can nothing less. The learning, however, takes time and the “what” work to do and the “how” to do it require some deeper thought than I had expected. Figuring out what things you want to do to the gun takes time. Figuring out how you want to do things on the gun takes time. Developing technique and deriving at the best manner to do things takes time. What this has shown me is that one’s best actually becomes a constantly evolving standard provided the work, effort, and devotion to learning are constants. More on this a bit later...

Eventually you figure out the “what” and “how” to do the work you want and if you’re lucky every once and again a project will come along that helps you test (in a good way) the “what” and “how”. For me this was just such a project.

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The gun is the second I have done for this client and during our many conversations over the last few years it is always clear to me that he has a vision for what he wants. This is a very cool thing because he understands the totality of a project, what parts to choose to make just the right the combination, and why to choose them. He also loves guns built on a Colt and likewise the tradition of building on a classic Colt still holds the most allure for me. Building boutique guns one at a time presents the most fulfilling balance of challenge and reward, a balance that was even more evident with this commission considering the three major components; the frame, slide, and barrel.

Frame and slide...

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The only way to describe the frame and slide is as a one-off set. These parts were commissioned through Colt to have the Pre-War National Match era correct markings on both the slide and the frame. Note the script on the right side of the frame... been a while since Colt did anything like that. These parts gave the look needed for the project with the benefits of modern materials, machining, and proper hardness. So these parts not only presented a cool starting point but also one with little room for error. A bit of a gut check.

The barrel...
No doubt that there are many good barrels available now; I routinely use Kart or Bar-Sto both with excellent results. This project required something a bit different and the owner had a vision for the barrel too. A 1:14 twist Douglas blank was sourced and then sent to Jarvis to be machined oversized to match the spec’s we had decided on. As I recall the blank itself was sourced from the estate of the late Jerry Keefer with the idea that the rate of twist would be ideal for 185gr bullets. Once the barrel was machined and back in my hands I checked to insure it was oversized to allow for my fitting as well as the proper hardness. The barrel itself is excellent! It allowed me to achieve just the fit I wanted and shot everything well, the target shown below is 5 shots from standing at 25 yards.

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Credit where it’s due...
Jump back and read that first paragraph again. There is no doubt I have benefitted from the knowledge of many, the longer I do this the more I want to be constantly learning. To that end, I want to give a big thank you to the guy that helped me reimagine barrel fitting concepts and techniques (as well as a host of other machining) Pete Single. I’ve known Pete for many years but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I had a unique opportunity in my business to rethink how I was doing things. Pete has always been beyond gracious when it comes to discussing ideas and better ways for me to do things and he has no doubt taught me more about barrel fitting than any other single person. Thanks Pete!

The details...
Much of what I do can be described as one-of-a-kind, after all no two guns are truly identical. However, to start with a base gun such as this, one that is comprised of a truly one-off frame and slide set, raises the level from one-of-a-kind to what can only be described as singularly unique. Probably more than any project before the end result is a showcase of collaboration with the client and the details of the gun and package show this as well.

In addition to the frame, slide, and barrel some of the spec’s are noteworthy. The front sight; the slide top was kept round (vs. flattened and serrated) and the flat faced gold bead is made from gold wire and installed in the front sight only after a proper zero has been confirmed. The trigger; the gun was actually fit with two medium length triggers. One of the triggers with an aluminum shoe and the one you see here using a carbon steel trigger shoe that was internally lightened. The trigger was polished and blued to match the rest of the gun and contribute to the overall theme. The grip safety hump was removed to give the part a more retro appearance and the thumb safety is one I do quite often; it’s teardrop shape mimics the Colt Commercial part while being a bit more useable. The stocks; two sets of stocks were provided by the owner with both sets being left slightly wide so I could insure they align with the 25lpi front strap checkering.

Finally, to accompany the pistol the owner supplied an era correct box and documentation as well as a quantity of magazines that I re-finished in the two-tone theme. What did I tell ya’, this guy knows details! To have the opportunity to take a frame and slide such as this and craft it into the end result is the work I have wanted to do my entire career.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 8:43 pm
Posts: 290
Location: Metro Detroit Michigan
That is simply beautiful!
Thanks for sharing it with us!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:15 pm
Posts: 539
Location: MI
Oh my.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2004 7:15 pm
Posts: 362
If that's not a Grail Gun then I don't know what is!

Superb in every respect. Kudos to you and the owner for such good taste and an exceptional collaborative effort.

I've always loved the older roll marks. Wonder what kind of arm twisting it took to get Colt to do that special run frame and slide...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 2:53 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Fate, Texas
Thats an amazing pistol, one I am sure you are proud to have your name on and one the owner will cherish.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:30 pm
Posts: 4043
Location: MI
Among the finest of the fine from Jason! I also love the unique origins of the frame, slide and barrel.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2004 4:32 pm
Posts: 415
Location: Casper, Wyoming
Great story and even better pistol! Amazing work.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:56 pm
Posts: 1373
Location: Mesa, AZ
Thanks guys!

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