Tuner,Dave S,Fuff;Questions from a 1911 rookie


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J.BELLINO
November 29, 2004, 09:43 AM
As I approach retirement age I figured I would need some projects to fill some of my time so after carrying wheel guns and Glocks I purchased my first 1911 this weekend. I got one hell of a deal on a new S&W LTW Commander, and now have a few questions that I'm confidant you gentelmen can help me out with.
1. I am digitally challenged(stubby fingers) and would like to purchase and install a short trigger....what make / brand would you recomend. I did order a cat. from Brownells,Wilson,CMC etc. I am capable of changing out the trigger but would like to know how much fitting is involved. Note...I don't want or need to do a trigger job as trigger is not too bad out of the box and this will be a carry gun.
2. This pistol has a FLGR and I agree it's not necessary and would like to replace it with a mil spec spring guide and plug in SS and again any preferance as to make?
3. Tuner ya got me paranoid...pistol came with two ACT 8 round mags with metal followers but they dont have dimples! I would like to purchase some extra mags(7 rounders a la JMB) and would like your recomendation on what brand to buy.
4. I bought an AGI video and learned the bare basics of function and detail strip but would like to know of any books or videos that that might be of value.
Looking foward to your replies as I highly respect all you gentelmens opinions.

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1911Tuner
November 29, 2004, 10:34 AM
Howdy Bellino,

About all the aftermarket triggers that I know of are oversized and require fitting. Usually the height of the trigger, but sometimes the bows are a little too wide or narrow. Not a big job...just a little time-consuming for the first-timer. Maybe a 2-hour job on the first crack at it....maybe less. By the time you've done 3 or 4, you can knock one out in 30 minutes flat.

Your best bet might be to give Springfield a call to see if they'll send a trigger
for the GI Mil-Spec model. There are two Mil-Specs...so you'll have to specify
GI Mil-Spec to get a short one. Pretty sure that all the standard Mil-Specs came in with long triggers....at least all that I've seen have. Those should be a drop-in for any 1911 pattern pistol that's in-spec. Since their firing pin safety doesn't work off the trigger, there won't be any possible timing issues with a trigger swap. A set of thin grips/stocks will help get your hand around the gun better too. They require shorter grip screw bushings, or modification of your existing ones...probably including shortening the screws, but that's not a huge task either. I'll walk ya through it if you need help.

Jerry Kuhnhausen's two shop manuals are excellent for reference or just general knowledge of the gun's function and specs/dimensions. I finally got the set last year, and I'm still readin'em over coffee about three times a week.
Both available from Brownells for about 30 bucks a copy.

For magazines, order a few from Springfield for their GI Mil-Spec and get Wolff
springs for'em. 11-pound springs are for 7-round magazines. Plus 5% are for
8-round mags...but the Plus 5% will work in 7-round sticks and make a good compromise while providing ample tension to get the last round up in time.
I use those for carry, and the 11-pounders for range beaters to stretch the service life out a little longer...for 5-inch guns. For Commanders I use 11-pound springs across the board because of the cycle speed of the short pistols. The Plus 5's will work in my Commanders...but I like a little extra insurance.

Good luck! Hope ya get a keeper!

J.BELLINO
November 29, 2004, 11:49 AM
Thanks Tuner.....yep I think it's a keeper...it's my first BUT I have the feeling it's the start of a bad habit. I am considering slim grips also and am familiar enough with the screws and bushings to be able to handle that myself but thanks anyhow. I'm sure I will have many more questions to come but if I buy Jerry K's books I should be able to answer most of my own questions.

Dave Sample
November 29, 2004, 02:56 PM
I had the impression that this was a Smith and Wesson Commander size 1911. I am not familiar with these clones and have never even seen one, much less handle one. Any short Colt trigger should drop in and do what needs to be done. I would think that Brownell's would be a good place to look around. They also have an excellent Tech staff on deck that can help you pick the right one for your gun. Tuner is right about the time frame for fitting match triggers but my advice is to drop in astock trigger and see how it works. The slim grip idea is a good one and Brownell's sells a screwdriver tip that will help you get the old bushings out and the new bushings in.

Dave Sample
November 29, 2004, 02:58 PM
I had the impression that this was a Smith and Wesson Commander size 1911. I am not familiar with these clones and have never even seen one, much less handle one. Any short Colt trigger should drop in and do what needs to be done. I would think that Brownell's would be a good place to look around. They also have an excellent Tech staff on deck that can help you pick the right one for your gun. Tuner is right about the time frame for fitting match triggers but my advice is to drop in a stock trigger and see how it works. The slim grip idea is a good one and Brownell's sells a screwdriver tip that will help you get the old bushings out and the new bushings in.

J.BELLINO
November 29, 2004, 03:13 PM
Dave,
Yep , it is commander size and I do not want to mess with a match trigger so I will try to find a stock short trigger when I get Brownells cat. I just didn't know if I should by or stay away from any certain brand. Thanks for the reply.

Dave Sample
November 29, 2004, 03:31 PM
Hey Jay! Those two groups are the ones I belong to. I am not a life memeber of either, and some years it's very hard to write the Check for the NRA. I always do, though and enjoy my membership in the LEAA very much. Good luck and let me know if I can do you any small service. Cave Creek is very close to Ben Avery!

J.BELLINO
November 29, 2004, 03:43 PM
Hey Dave,
Yep....right close to Ben Avery...thank god with the price of gasoline being what it is now. LEAA is a great organization. Will give you a yell with 1911 questions if I need help. A good way to spend some of my time after I retire in 18 months.

Old Fuff
November 29, 2004, 04:13 PM
Colt used to make a good all-steel/drop-in/short trigger with a serrated face and no set screw. I much prefer these over the aftermarket stuff with aluminum or plastic fingerpieces, and they also have heavier bows that are less likely to bend or warp. If you attend gun shows they will often be found on tables featuring gun parts because many of them were switched out by owners that wanted "match triggers" in their guns for a cool look.

I suspect you could buy one from the Gun Parts Corporation in West Hurley, NY. (Go to www.e-gunparts.com). Brownell's might have them in the Colt parts section. I would also check the Colt Company itself. Be aware that over time Colt offered these triggers in high carbon steel - blued, satin nickel and bright nickel, as well as stainless steel. Therefore you should be able to get a finish that matches your gun.

The only disadvantage of these triggers that I know of is that they are a bit heavy for those who insist on trigger pulls below 4 pounds. I don't.

I second Tuner's advice about magazines and springs. Do get a copy of the manual Tuner recommended. The same publisher also offers videos that are helpful. (Go to www.gunbooks.com)

Your other questions and concerns have been covered. Come back if you need more information.

Dave Sample
November 29, 2004, 08:23 PM
Kudos to O.F. I like these triggers too, but none of my clients did. They made a nice one in the first 1911's during WWI when I was an amorer back then. The ones I like are checkered crossways on the trigger face and I am going to install a gold plated one in the Roy Rogers 45 1911 I am building for Happy Trails Children's Foundation. I have given all but that one away and Bill/space/Z installed one in the retro that he built for his dad. Did you see that gun at the Shot Show last years, O.F? It was in the Caspian Booth right next to Terry Tussy's retro.

Jammer Six
November 29, 2004, 08:31 PM
They made a nice one in the first 1911's during WWI when I was an amorer back then.

You were an armorer in WW I? :what:

J.BELLINO
November 30, 2004, 08:19 AM
Old Fuff,
That Colt short trigger sounds just like I'm looking for....nope, I'm not looking for a lighter trigger pull...been used to a DA revolver pull most of my life so 5-6 lbs. would be fine in a 1911 carry piece. I'm going to the Crossroads Gun Show in Phx. this coming weekend and will look for it there...would it be marked Colt?....people could sell me anything there as I'm just not familiar with 1911 parts yet......do you think I could also find a milspec spring guide and plug at the show to replace the FLGR that came with the pistol? Any particular vendors there that you cold recomend? Thanks for the rest of the info. you provided.

1911Tuner
November 30, 2004, 08:38 AM
>>They made a nice one in the first 1911's during WWI when I was an amorer back then.<<
_______________

All the WW1 era pistols had long triggers...not short. They were milled from one block of steel...bow and all...and they had smooth faces. When the 1911A1 modifications came along, the triggers were shortened and some were still milled from one block of steel. This was later changed to two-piece triggers with the fingerpiece crimped/staked onto the bow, and some were pinned. (late '41 or early '42? Help me out historians) Checkered faces were the norm, and the serrations came later.

There are doubtless some transition models where things overlapped, and I'm
not boned up well enough to provide specifics on these pistols.

Old Fuff
November 30, 2004, 01:23 PM
>> I'm not boned up well enough to provide specifics on these pistols. <<

Sure ... Ya hardly know nut'ton ... :neener: :evil: :D

The Colt triggers in question are not marked, but they are easy to identify. Look for the following points:

The fingerpiece will be short, made out of steel (not aluminum or plastic) and serrated (grooved) on the front and not smooth or checkered.

The back of the fingerpiece will have a slot in it, and the bow will be pressed into it and then silver-brazed. (Current aftermarket triggers usually have the bow cross-pined to the fingerpiece).

They will be found with different finishes depending on what Colt pistol they came out of. Most are bright blued, but you will find them in bright nickel, satin chrome, matt blue and stainless steel on occasion.

Undoubtedly some Series 70 or earlier Colt's will be on display. When you see them pay attention to what the trigger looks like. This is an easy way to get a free education (or at least I hope it will be free - you never know what the knowledge will lead to). :neener:

Even earlier Colt 1911-A1 Government Model pistols from the pre-World War Two period had short triggers made from one block of steel and a checkered fingerpiece. They are almost always blued or Parkerized. If you find one don't let Tuner find out because he might mug you to get it ... :uhoh: :D

If he doesn't I likely will ... :neener:

World War Two era triggers have a steel fingerpiece that was stamped and then rolled to form it. The front is rounded and (sort of) checkered. The bow was staked to the fingerpiece, although some were silver brazed. A few might be satin blued but the the most common finish is Parkerizing. These are fully functional but don't look as nice as the others.

When you get to the show make a point to look at the different .45 pistols. and the triggers within them. You will quickly learn what to look for. Keep an eye out for "junk boxes" on a table filled with old or "take-off" parts. You should be able to find almost anything you want, but you may have trouble finding exterior parts that have a finish that will match your gun. This won't make any difference so far as function is concerned, but you may not like how the pistol looks after the new parts are installed. This makes little difference to me, but it might to you.

While you are looking around also keep an eye out for attractively priced books and videos on the .45 pistol. There is a lot more at gun shows besides guns ... :D

Good luck on your hunt.

J.BELLINO
December 1, 2004, 09:04 AM
Fuff,
Thanks for the detailed description of triggers...I now think I'll be able to identify what I need. I'm going to to go purchase a set of slim grips today at lunch time...The Wilderness Tacticle Supply down on Hatcher has some el-cheapo's for twenty bucks that are supposed to work with stock screws and bushings..I'll see how much that improves my trigger reach and go from there.

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