Sunday, April 1, 2012

Latest Custom 1911 Build Back From Ion Bond

A couple years ago, I started building on a Colt Series 70 Reproduction I had purchased through the Colt Armorer's Program nearly 10 years prior. I managed to get a hold of a rare IMI Match barrel which I thought would be perfect for this project. Springfield Custom did a beautiful job with the machine checkering of the front strap and welding of the Legacy Custom magazine well, which adds no net length to the frame yet nearly doubles the margin for error for a magazine change. The front is relieved so that stuck magazines can be yanked out by the toe of the magazine. It works great with the 10-8 Performance base pads.

Other parts include an EGW HD Hammer, Sear and Disconnector, 10-8 flat trigger, 10-8 rear sight, 10-8 fiber optic front, 10-8 mag catch, 10-8 grip screws, 10-8 slide stop, 10-8 recoil spring plug, an aggressively recontoured Wilson Combat ambi-safety, CMC grip safety, and STI hammer strut.
Thanks to Monty at Centurion Arms for his help with the recessed barrel crown and flush cut slide stop pin. Having him help me with the machine work for these operations sure beats doing it by hand.

After a comprehensive test fire, I used the pistol in the white at the LAV/Hackathorn 1911 Centennial Class in Chino, CA. It ran perfectly, so I got it ready for refinishing. I sent it off to Springer Precision in Bend, OR, one of the big resellers of Ion Bond's Diamondblack finish. I normally do all my own surface prep, but Ion Bond requires very specific preparation which includes no glass in the abrasive media and no oil on the gun. I did the initial prep, but had Springer Precision do the final blast with glass free media.

It isn't cheap, but DiamondBLACK offers some of the best abrasion resistance of any coating on the market. it is applied via Particle Vapor Deposition and adds very little thickness (only a few microns) to the surface, which is handy for painstakingly fitted parts such as the slide/frame fit. While it does not have great inherent corrosion resistance, the surface readily absorbs lubricants and will release it over time.

Due to the many hours of hard work invested, I am always hesitant to send away work for refinishing, but I bit the bullet and sent it off. Seven weeks later, I received the pistol and I must say it looks great. The satin black finish is even and attractive. The price tag was kinda steep, but if it holds up as well as I have heard from trusted sources, it will have been worth it.

I heavily recontoured the Wilson wide ambi-safety which came out real nice

Using the dreaded Dremel, I lowered the ejection port and cut the scallop by hand

Monty from Centurion Arms helped with the recessed crown, a custom touch I've always liked.

Note the detailed dehorning of areas typically ignored. If I can see it or touch it, it will be addressed.


  1. Love that crown job on the barrel. The satin finish really makes that crown pop and the EGW hammer too. That hammer is very cool looking.

  2. Nice! I've been wondering how to refinish an old Caspian custom I picked up a few years ago. This looks great. What's the prep. you do before sending off? Complete tear down?