Gun Digest

The Custom 1911s of Scott Mulkerin

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A Scott Mulkerin custom 1911, with gold bead front sight.

Scott Mulkerin/SDM Fabricating

I’ve known Scott for some twenty years now, as he was a heavy hitter at the Second Chance bowling pin matches. Scott does classic “ala carte” gunsmithing. That is, you can go down the list of goodies and compose what you want, and leave off what you don’t. And for that, I have to tip my hat to him.

Scott marks his work on the slide, with his SDM Fabricating etching.

I did much the same thing when I was getting started as a gunsmith (that was pretty much what we all did back then) and I can tell you it is a pain in the neck for a gunsmith to do it that way. One has to carefully calculate the individual labor time and materials for each task, and then correctly price it on the worksheet, else you’ll find you are doing work that you don’t earn a living on.

Scott also offers his own sights, both a low-profile Tactical Target rear for the 1911, and gold-bead front blades. Now, a gold bead front sight is a combination of the fiber optic and the all-steel. It offers a hi-vis dot, but one of much greater durability than fiber optic.

you are going to have Scott install sights, I would suggest that you make every effort to send in your 1911 already zeroed. That is, shoot it, and make sure the sights are dead-on because a gold-got front sight can’t be filed or machined to adjust point of impact. It is what it is, and if you don’t make sure your 1911 is “on” before you send it to Scott, he can’t be sure the gold bead front is “on” when it goes back to you. This holds for all other gunsmiths, too, not just Scott.

Coming from a competition background, Scott makes big magazine well funnels. If you want one smaller, just ask.

Scott also makes some essential tools. One is his firing pin retaining plate remover. A tight plate means a securely-fitted extractor that won’t “clock” or rotate slightly. The problem with a tight plate is that it is hard to remove to clean the firing pin tunnel. The SDM tool solves that problem.

Another tool is his spring tester. With it, you can measure the spring tension or “life” left in your springs. People who do a lot of shooting find that regular spring replacement makes a difference in reliable function and ensures a long service life. With it, you can measure both the resting and fully-compressed force of your springs. Where I find it particularly useful is with the BHP. You’ll have to make some extra parts to fit the Hi-Power springs into the scale, but once you do, you’ll be stylin’. You see, the BHP, more so than the 1911, needs a really up-to-spec spring to ensure a long life. And the spring really takes a hammering.

I once had a chance to measure a pair of Browning “T” series Hi-Powers, guns that were used in daily carry. A standard recoil spring is 17.5 pounds, and I generally run mine with 18.5 pound springs in them. These two T Brownings had springs that measured 9 and 11 pounds. Ouch.

So, you can have a custom gun, light, al a carte or package, up to a competition-ready gun, done on your 1911. And, Scott also does S&W revolver work, for carry or competition.

This article is an excerpt from 1911: The First 100 Years, by Patrick Sweeney. Click here to get your copy.

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Gun Digest 2011

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