M-1911 "Shok Buffer" question


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Bwana John
April 12, 2005, 06:09 PM
I have a new Kimber Custom II. I put in a Wilson Shok Buffer and now after the slide stop has been enguaged I cant drop the slide by pulling the slide all the way to the rear. It works without the buffer, but with the buffer installed the slide wont go far enough back to push the slide stop out of the notch. This is my 5th M-1911 style pistol, (1943 US Army Colt, 2 70's Series Combat Commanders, and one 80's Series Goverment Model) and I dont remember having this problem with any of them.
Has anyone else experanced this problem?

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Vern Humphrey
April 12, 2005, 06:11 PM
The instructions which came with my Kimber (a Custom Classic bought about 10 years ago) said not to use shock buffers. In several M1911s that I have tried them in, shock buffers have proven rather iffy -- in some guns, they work fine. In other guns they hurt reliability and function.

Bwana John
April 12, 2005, 06:22 PM
Instructions!!! Are you questioning my masculinity? (Now where did I put that stuff)

Vern Humphrey
April 12, 2005, 06:42 PM
Sorry -- it's just that in a moment of weakness, I actually READ the instructions that came with my Kimber. (I'm so ashamed.) :o

Jim Watson
April 12, 2005, 06:47 PM
A rubber buffer shortens the slide travel by its thickness. On many guns it is enough that the slide will not travel back far enough for the front corner of the slide stop notch to cam down the slide stop lever... so no "slingshot", you have to depress the lever.

akviper
April 12, 2005, 06:58 PM
Don't need it. Pitch it.

Bwana John
April 12, 2005, 07:32 PM
I couldnt find the instructions so I called Kimber on their 800 number, A real nice guy answered on the second ring. He said "Kimber dosent like buffers, and they dont recomend the use of them".

I found out you DO need to sling shot if you accedently hit the slide release with your left thumb at the start of a string of shots, but think you have a jam, so you tap the mag to make sure its seated, rack the slide, still nothing so now you are convinced of a jam, so you make a mag change, still trying to sling shot with nothing happening, so you try yet another mag change and still nothing, when a spectator says SLIDE RELEASE! and you finally chamber a round and start shooting again, adding a extra 10 seconds to your time, and 3 loaded mags in the dirt.

Marko Kloos
April 12, 2005, 07:37 PM
In my experience, Shok Buffers are bad juju. They wear out after a while, and their bits can tie up the gun if they come apart. Additionally, some tight guns do not take kindly to having an extra bit inserted that tightens tolerances even further.

GaryP
April 13, 2005, 03:24 AM
couldnt find the instructions so I called Kimber on their 800 number, A real nice guy answered on the second ring. He said "Kimber dosent like buffers, and they dont recomend the use of them".

Isn't that what Vern told ya! :what:

Vern you hit the nail on the head, they do work in some pistols others not! I have a 70 series Colt Combat Commander that does not, all my other Colts including a 80 series Stainless Combat Commander function fine with them. On the subject of Shok Buff wear, of course they wear out after awhile, that is why you check them every time you clean your weapon - We do clean our weapons regularly don't we? I clean my weapons after every range session - Forty years ago my Drill Instructor made a point about clean weapons and he made it every day for the entire time I attended "The University of Paris Island". :D

In a given pistol Shok Buff wear depends on load fired and recoil spring strength. I get around 800 rounds per Wilson Shok Buff in my full size 1911's with 17.5 lb variable rate Wolff recoil springs and 830 fps hardball, but the 80 series CC needs the Shok Buff replaced around 500 rounds with the same ammo and a 19 lb variable rate wolff recoil spring. Reducing the recoil spring or shooting hotter loads will shorten Shok Buf life. Now the $64,000 question, are they necessary? I do not believe they are absolutely necessary but I do think they save wear and tear on the frame. I would not put a Shok Buff in a pistol while carrying same for CCW. :scrutiny:



:evil:

BluesBear
April 13, 2005, 07:26 AM
Shok Buffs WORK well in ALL guns. They buffer the shock of the slide's rearward travel.
However, some guns do not FUNCTION well with Shok Buffs installed.

There IS a difference.

IF you still want the advantage of using Shok Buffs in your pistol simply place a piece of 200 grit sand paper on a piece of glass or other smooth surface and sand it thinner. Of course it will wear out sooner but hey're cheap and designed to wear out eventually.

I do this with ALL on my alloy framed Commanders for PRACTICE so as to not batter the frame excessively. I practice with the buff in place and then remove it when cleaning before returning it to carry use. (Of course only after previously determining that it will run properly without it.)

Zach S
April 13, 2005, 09:00 PM
We do clean our weapons regularly don't we? Could every 1500-2000 rounds be counted as regularly?

shep854
April 13, 2005, 11:24 PM
Zach, it's obvious that you did not attend "Uncle Sugar's Boarding School for Misguided Children's" East Coast campus. :D

Vern Humphrey
April 14, 2005, 12:29 AM
All kidding aside, more guns have been worn out by cleaning than by shooting -- and that's doubly true for military weapons.

shep854
April 14, 2005, 08:55 AM
Vern, I'm glad you mentioned that. I have wondered also how much wear military-style cleaning caused in firearms. Of course, back in the days of black poweder and corrosive components, such cleaning was essential for weapon longevity.

Regarding the Buffs, I finally had to replace one in my Commander. The recoil spring had nearly cut all the way through it. that Buff had been in the pistol for several years, but I had not shot much for a while, either. Both the Commander and my AO "GI" pistol run perfectly with them.

Zach S
April 14, 2005, 09:04 AM
It would appear that my post has drifted the thread a little, sorry John...

shep854
April 14, 2005, 09:13 AM
Apologies to Zach as well, for runaway fingers... :)

I, for one, am a confirmed fan of Shok-Buffs. While I can't give measurements of their effectiveness, I understand the idea, and I believe in babying my guns as much as possible.

Bwana John
April 14, 2005, 11:39 AM
We do clean our weapons regularly don't we?
Depends on the firearm, M-1a:yes, FAL:no, Deer hunting rifle:sometimes, Ruger MK-II .22 pistol:never.

Thanks everybody for responding, I have use buffers to baby my guns for a while and have never had a problem, this is the first time that a gun has not worked as it is susposed to because of one.
I will probley take this one out of the M-1911, but the M-1a and FAL will keep theirs.

richyoung
April 14, 2005, 12:36 PM
It seems to my amateur mind that there are three issues to resolve in the use of shock-buffs in 1911 pistols:
1. The installation of a buffer reduces the lenght of travel of the slide by slightly less than the uninstalled width of the buffer. That is to say, the slide will stop around .08" short of fully retracted, because it simply can't go back any further due to the recoil system being fully compressed earlier due to the buffer's width. This could be an issue, I suppose, with extended extractors and rounds with a very long over-all length - it amy also effect slide stop operation in some cases.
2. Slide velocity returning to battery will be lower. This is because the collision between parts has been made more 'elastic" than the previous nearly 'inelastic" calnging of parts - or to look at it another way, some of the energy that otherwise would 'bounce" the slide back into battery is now lost compressing the shock buff.
3. The possibility of disabling a carry piece with fragments of a disintegrated buff. Myself, I will have a buff in my carry piece - I tear mine down often enough that I don't think the risk is that great,

Keeping these three issues in mind - if one wants to run a shock buff, (ESPECIALLY in a carry piece), why NOT do the following mods?

1. Modify the guide rod by chucking in a lathe and facing off enough material from the recoil spring face and the other face to account for the thickness of the buff. If the full thickness can't be so accounted for, a modest trimming of the recoil spring itself should restore full travel to the slide without a noticible change in function - I should think at most one coil would have to be cut, (depending on wire size...)
2. Run a heavier recoil spring, to assist the return to battery issue. This might require going to the larger radius on the bottom of the firing pin stop on those guns that have the small radius.
3. Run a buff thats on the harder side, closer to nylon, rather than the soft gel kind - this will help both with the slide velocity and the fragment issue.

4. Lastly, and most important - why doesn't someone make a shock buff with the plastic inside a buff-shaped mild steel or brass cup, with a soft metal plate bonded to the other side? That way the buffer material is conpletley captive, and with modern adhesives, it should not only last longer, resist gun oils and solvents better, AND pose no risk of tieing up the action even if it fails - it wouldjust become an inert "shim" in the recoil system. You could call it the "Carry Buff" - and market it with the modified guide rod.

Thoughts?

Archangel
April 14, 2005, 12:48 PM
1. Modify the guide rod by chucking in a lathe and facing off enough material from the recoil spring face and the other face to account for the thickness of the buff. If the full thickness can't be so accounted for, a modest trimming of the recoil spring itself should restore full travel to the slide without a noticible change in function - I should think at most one coil would have to be cut, (depending on wire size...)

Actually, the slide stops when the recoil spring tunnel part of the slide hits the base of the recoild spring guide rod, or the buff if it's there instead. The spring should never be bottoming out, buff or no. If it is, it's too long.

BluesBear
April 15, 2005, 05:35 AM
If your gun doesn't work well with the decreased slide travel then simply thin the buffer and be prepared to change it more often. I have never encountered a Government sized pistol that wouldn't run with a buffer. I've encountered a Commander sized pistol that could not be made to run with a buffer.

Trimming the guide rod would be bad. If you subsequently ran the pistol without the buffer the slide would be traveling further rearward, possibly causing the barrel bushing to encounter the barrel lug area.

The recoil spring is actually precompressed slightly by the thickness of the buffer. It's weight is then effectively increased.
The slide does not "bounce" back into battery. If you've ever fired a 1911 pattern pistol without a recoil spring you'll have noticed the slide remains fully rearward.


You can actually run a lighter recoil spring with a buffer since you are not attempting to use the spring to slow the recoil velocity. This is especially beneficial if you use a smaller radius firing pin stop with a normal strength mainspring.

The buffer protects the frame from slide battering. The lighter recoil spring prevents lug battering. The mainspring and firing pin stop prevent battering the buffer to death. (This is good if you had to thin the buffer.)

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