There's something especially rewarding about taking a complete basket case of a firearm, and making it into something useful again.
At a shop I used to work at, we received a Turkish Mauser that had pretty much reached the end of the trail. Not one of Ankara's better re-arsenaling efforts to begin with, the gun was pitted, the bore looked like a mineshaft in coal country, the stock had more dings than the lunar surface, and, to top it all off, it didn't even remotely headspace. I was about to condemn it to life as a tomato stake, when I realized that I just couldn't pass up a chance at a good Oberndorf-made Mauser 98 action for only $35. With the addition of a Lilja barrel, Timney trigger, Boyd's stock, Leupold bases & rings, a Millett illuminated reticle scope, a few other odds and sods, and lots and lots of expert work by Shannon Jennings, the old Turk became a slick new sporter in .300 Whisper, complete with threaded muzzle, just waiting on me to spring for a suppressor. Although the gun you see in the picture below is still in the white, it has since been matte blued.
Making my rounds of area gun shops once upon a time, I stumbled across a real find: a pre-Series 70 Colt that was mechanically sound but cosmetically trashed by some guy's kitchen-table customization job, and therefore available cheap. Oh, well, you can't un-ring a bell, as they say...
Both Shannon Jennings and my friend Kaylee turned wrenches on this project, while I assisted with fretting, nagging, and making unreasonable demands. The replacement parts list is as follows:
Slide stop: Wilson Bulletproof. (Not pictured.)
Thumb safety: Chip McCormick.
Grip safety: Ed Brown.
Mainspring housing: Smith & Alexander.
Sear & Disconnector: Ed Brown.
Teflon finish: Predator Custom.
The Springfield cocobolo stocks in the picture have since been replaced by a set of cordia wood stocks from Ahrends.
The result is a fine, unique pistol, that fits my hand and my needs like no other, and comes with a certain pride of ownership that "off the rack" just doesn't provide.