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Old 02-22-2004, 04:36 PM   #1
dms
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who are the top custom 1911 makers?

I am looking to collect feedback on options in the custom 1911 market. I own 2 Wilson's and think they are awesome. I am deligent in collecting information and was wondering who can shed some light on who the custom guys are, links to their websites, feedback, and options. Looking to establish cost structure and lead time in getting one in my hand, and some finer points to look out for when it comes to the custom market. I am hoping I can find links to some sample pics of some custom work.
Thanks
PS: "I feel the need to blast!"
 
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Old 02-22-2004, 06:39 PM   #2
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You are asking a very difficult question. You can use the search function here to view various pictures. I would not hesitate to buy any of the guns built by the smiths who are members here. You need to look around at the various styles and see what you like. Cost is relative to how much "custom" you want. A full house gun is going to cost you. But if that is the only thing that scratches your itch then you are probably going to pay it now or at sometime in the future.
 
Old 02-22-2004, 07:36 PM   #3
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Of the original AH list of top 10, two are dead, (Swenson and Kelsy), one works less than part time (Vickers), and two don't build for the public any longer. (Nastoff, Krebs) That is if you agree with that list.

That leaves 5 working.

Any list of masters at their craft would start with adding Ned Christianson, who has equaled and surpassed any on the original AH list.

Then giving credit where it is due add Jardine, Morris, Mulkerin, Dawson, Single, Tibbets and CT Brian as the cream of the current crop, actually producing custom pistols.

Take a look around and the list is rather short actually. Ted Yost, Capone's @ Kings, Cladio @ Briley, Novak's, EGW, Terry Tussey, C&S, Dave Luack @ D&L, Ten Ring. There are others, but not many if you are talking 1911 specific and doing exceptional work, full time. I am sure I have forgotten someone, but not many I suspect. Take a look at the APG list and filter out the gun writers, revolver guys, grip makers, finish folks and the list gets really short.

Until the forums I had not heard of Mulkerin, Tibbits, Wild Bill, and others who are here on the forums and by the looks of it building very nice guns. It pays to look around before you decide on who you want building for you.

Taking the bull by the horns here is my list of the best 911 smiths. Of course it is what I called it...my list of most desired 1911 guns by good makers. It has changed over time after seeing the maker's work. In no particular order and I am sure I missed a couple in addition to the ones I mentioned above.

Hoag
Garthwaite
Mulkerin
Christianson
C.T. Brian
Vic Tibbets
Chuck Rogers
Claudio @ Briley
Dave Dawson
Liebenberg
Capone @ King's
Tussey
Ross Carter
Pete Single
 
Old 02-22-2004, 08:18 PM   #4
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Just from my personal standpoint, I would add:

Don Williams from the Action Works
Pete Carber from Custom Arms Co.
Karl Sokol from Chestnut Mountain Sports

All have turned out grade A products for me....
 
Old 02-22-2004, 09:40 PM   #5
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dont forget tom globebenski or something like that, Bob Londrigan

both cater to the uspsa,ipsc shooting community
 
Old 02-23-2004, 03:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane Burns
Take a look around and the list is rather short actually. Ted Yost, Capone's @ Kings, Cladio @ Briley, Novak's, EGW, Terry Tussey, C&S, Dave Luack @ D&L, Ten Ring. There are others, but not many if you are talking 1911 specific and doing exceptional work, full time. It has changed over time after seeing the maker's work. In no particular order and I am sure I missed a couple besides the one mentioned previously.

Hoag
Garthwaite
Mulkerin
Christianson
C.T. Brian
Vic Tibbets
Chuck Rogers
Claudio @ Briley
Dave Dawson
Liebenberg
Capone @ King's
Tussey
Ross Carter
Pete Single
Yup, in my humble opinion Ted Yost was overlooked. He should be on the top of the list. The ones he has built for me were nothing short of works of art and done in half the time most smiths take.
 
Old 02-23-2004, 03:58 AM   #7
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Based on firsthand experience I've got to rate both Dane and Ted very highly. Over on 1911forum.com you will hear alot of raves about Chuck Rogers and Don Williams from folks who had guns done by them, too.
 
Old 02-23-2004, 05:43 AM   #8
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"Best of the Best"

This is interesting. I've watched and participated on Pistolsmith for a couple of years now. Whenever the topic of "the best of the best" comes up Dick Heinie is nearly always mentioned. Has he suddenly fallen out of favor? Has the quality of his work suddenly diminished? I'm not trying to start an argument here (truely) but sometimes I think these lists are based as much on politics as anything else. Just my two cents.
 
Old 02-23-2004, 05:44 AM   #9
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Everyone has an opinion. Mine is:

Any list without the names Dane Burns, Ned Christiansen, Ted Yost, John Jardine and Benny Hill left off don't interest me much.

You really need to know what YOU need before a list makes much sense though. There are many 'smiths out there that don't get the fancy write-ups and the pictorials, more, I presume, because they don't kiss ass real well than for any other reason. If that is not the case, then gunsmithing is different from the professions I am familiar with.
 
Old 02-23-2004, 05:48 AM   #10
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matt.45 wrote:

Quote:
This is interesting. I've watched and participated on Pistolsmith for a couple of years now. Whenever the topic of "the best of the best" comes up Dick Heinie is nearly always mentioned. Has he suddenly fallen out of favor? Has the quality of his work suddenly diminished? I'm not trying to start an argument here (truely) but sometimes I think these lists are based as much on politics as anything else. Just my two cents.
Matt, you are a smart guy. Any list talking about custom 1911's and their builders would certainly include Dick Heinie. What typically gets overlooked is the smith's talent behind the machines. Mr. Heinie is a very good machinist as are some of the others.
 
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