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· Sincere as a $5 funeral
1,636 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just scored a custom "Mastergrade" Colt Commander built by Jim Hoag in 1978 :D

To put that in perspective, the "first generation" of Custom 1911 'smiths were named (in order of appearance) Swenson, Hoag, and Pachmayr. Arnold "Al" Capone is sometimes wedged in between Swenson and Hoag, but there is some question about whether Hoag did the work credited to Capone.

Custom work done on a Mastergrade:

Profiled and checkered front strap
Profiled and checkered MSH
Squared and checkered trigger guard
Frame reshaped for cosmetic match with new trigger guard
Profiled and checkered rear of slide (and extractor)
Extreme low mount Bomar sight
Hammer reshaped and recut to clear Bomar sight and grip safety
Frame tangs welded up and shaped for cosmetics and super high hold
Hoag custom grip safety - Made from 3 pieces - ears brazed to Colt safety
Swenson SS thumb safety fitted to slide cut
Customized Hoag slide release
Pachmayr combat grips with front strap section removed
Colt GCNM trigger - wide trigger required frame opening work
Bar-Sto barrel - Slide and barrel fitted at hood for zero play - A Hoag only option
SS custom bushing
Slide fitted to frame and otherwise modified for enhanced lockup
Frame and Slide flats mirror polished
Top of slide matted and grooved
All internal parts hand fitted
Critical frame areas welded up and recut
Pins and frame holes squared and fitted
Frame and slide reblued

That work ran around $600 in 1978

Care to guess what that would cost TODAY?

The mirror-like finish is not apparent in the photo. I swapped back the Colt slide-stop and thumb safety for range use:


· Sincere as a $5 funeral
1,636 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
A work of art!
Wait 'til I get some pics up that show the finish properly. Hoag was a true artist. I'll be visiting him later today.
Compare the lines on that frame to any frame you have. See the difference?

I can't wait to wring it out.

UPDATE: Just got back from seeing the gun. It really is a work of art. Then I went to visit Jim Hoag - What a great guy! He loves to talk about his work. I found out that my gun was Commander Mastergrade #3, made in 1978, and that it does indeed have every option that existed in 1978. He worked at King's in Glendale from 1961-1974, when he set up on his own in Canoga Park. He was THE 1911 gunsmith at King's. All the early King's 1911's were done by him. He said he didn't start doing full-house guns until he left King's.

American Handgunner issue with article about Jim Hoag guns:


And some quotes:

I have a Hoag Longslide built on a Gold Cup and it is very nice.
I would rate Hoag's checkering above Swenson any day. Jim Hoag
was a big influence on my 1911 work. Anyone who says he wasn't a
big name, just hasn't been around very long.
Oh by the way my longslide functions very well. - Richard Heinie

Back in the late '70s and early '80s, I apprenticed with Mr. James Hoag,
a custom pistolsmith of some renown, still in business in suburban
Los Angeles. In those days the only ballgame in town was Colt. And
business was good because although the quality of steel in the
early-to-mid production of the Series 70 Government Model was terrific,
the internal machining of the slide was not... - David Tong


· Sincere as a $5 funeral
1,636 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A particularly nice Hoag Longslide:


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