1911 Viewpoint


May 28, 2003, 09:30 AM
Here's a new old view of the M-1911 pistol. have patience...I post this on every forum that I am involved with, mainly to get the "Custom" questions addressed.

I don't build high-end custom guns. I feel that it's best left to the artists, and because it's just not the way that I look at a 1911 pistol. It's been rumored that I don't do it because I can't do it well. Of course I can. I'm a toolmaker. I've worked with tolerances of less than .00005 inch, and made tooling worth 3,000 dollars that you can literally carry around in a shirt pocket. The tolerances in even a perfectly-fitted 1911 are a football field by comparison.

I don't do it because I don't look at the gun as a toy, even though there are lines of custom-built guns that are aimed at the serious pistolero. The 1911 was never intended to be a target arm, nor a pistol to use for playing IDPA, IPSC, or other games of "Let's Pretend." It was...and is, a pure killing machine with nothing incidental or that doesn't lend itself to that task. Even the lanyard ring is multi-purposed. Much too sturdy to be used simply for tying the pistol to the cavalryman, it's also a skull pommel, and it makes for a nifty bottle opener too.

It was never intended to have a crisp, light trigger, nor 50-yard accuracy. It didn't need these things. It was designed for close-quarters fighting, and as something that was handed to troops whose MOS didn't call for the issuance of a rifle. Officers, mortar crews, tank crews, and bomber and fighter pilots are examples. Lastly, it was an emergency, last-ditch-effort tool to use to extract a man from the swamp if he suddenly found himself up to his...er...hip pockets in alligators.

I don't consider the issue of the slide locking open on the last round to have much impact on the real-world use of the pistol. That is nothing more than a stoppage, even though it's an engineered stoppage. It's much like surgery... which is essentially engineered, controlled trauma. If you are reduced to having nothing but a pistol to fight for your life with, you're in a pretty bad fix , and a stoppage of any type is not the desideratum. Take advantage of the fact that it can be reloaded with the slide in battery on a hot chamber. The fraction of a second that it takes you to react to a surprise slidelock could
very well determine the outcome of the confrontation...and then there's the fumble-factor involved in hitting that little release pad while your antagonist is lining up his sights on your chest.

In this light, I don't entertain misplaced notions of bullseye accuracy...points of impact that are an inch or so off center at 25 yards, and triggers that break like a glass rod with half of the original pull weight. I don't do triggers that fall under 4 and a half pounds, and I'm happier with 5. Even 6 doesn't bother me
as long as it breaks fairly cleanly without grittiness. A little creep isn't an issue for me. There is a very good reason for that 6-pound-on-average pull and the small amount of take-up and creep in the trigger typically found in GI-spec guns.

The pistol isn't a toy, and it's not your friend. It's as dangerous as a rattlesnake and should be viewed as hostile at all times. Once, when a wheelgun shooter saw me do an overhand live-round ejection, he commented that it didn't look very safe.
My answer: "Safe? It's NOT safe. It's a gun." Please bear that simple statement in mind.


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George Hill
May 28, 2003, 10:03 AM
"I post this on every forum that I am involved with, mainly to get the "Custom" questions addressed."

Well... we feel special now.

May 28, 2003, 10:13 AM
Well...I guess I need to justify it...I didn't throw it out there to
provoke anyone or to give the impression that I have any
inside information on anything. Only because I find that I
get requests for custom building techniques or instructions
on How to Lighten my Trigger in 3 easy steps, and that
a blanket statement is faster than explaining it to each individual
who asks...Plus it defines my personal stance on modifications
and unnecessary affectations that get hung on the gun in
hopes of making it better somehow.

Didn't mean to push anyone's buttons here.


May 28, 2003, 10:25 AM

Nice, concise statement on the realities of the 1911. If you take it for what it was designed for it is one heckuva weapon.

May 28, 2003, 10:29 AM
Seems to me that the type of 1911 that you advocate is the same as an out-of-the box, over-the-counter "new rollmarked" Colt Government Model. And there are probably Springfield and Kimber equivilents. Same as JMB designed the gun for the US Cavalry.

May 28, 2003, 10:47 AM
Thanks Hawkman. Just tryin' to get back to the basics.

Ron...not exactly. Out of box Colts or Springfields or Kimbers,
etc. aren't really true-blue clones of the original. My main point
was that the pistol has been around for so long that many
have lost sight of what it's original intent was, and
the trend for the last 25-odd years has been to try to make something out it besides what it is. Nothing
against the custom guns. I've seen some beautiful work,
and marvel at the skill and patience that went into them.
I've even built a couple. The owners have them in the vault
beside the Rolex Watches and the silver bullion while they
wind up carrying the old GI pistols or the beaters. Just too
pretty to carry or shoot...


May 28, 2003, 10:57 AM
Thanks for the intro, 1911Tuner! :D

I like standard Colt Gold Cups and Government Models and learned to operate them as recieved. My first was a GI Rem Rand 1911A1 that I sold in a foolish moment. It took a few years to sink in but I bought my first commercial Colt, then another, etc. Never been without one since that first lapse of sanity. :o

May 28, 2003, 11:12 AM
Howdy Big G...I've got a Rand and a Union Switch that I'll
likely be buried with. The Rand is original, correct, and
does regular range duty. It's like that Energizer Rabbit.

On that Gold Cup...I HATE that little pre-load spring. If you've
ever had it down to the frame, you know what I mean.:cuss: :banghead:

When I heard that Colt had started using a lighter trigger and
did away with the spring and clip, I was turnin' cartwheels...
figuratively speakin' of course. One real one would land me
in bed for 3 days.:(

Thanks for the postive response. Didn't mean for anybody to
take it the wrong way.


May 29, 2003, 12:28 AM
1911tuner, Not flaming you or anything but your post sounds pretty elitist to me. You have every right to your opinion, you are a business man and what work you choose to accept or not is up to you. I am not questioning your skills or your abilities either.

A long time ago an economics professor explained the market place requirements for machinery to me. I had made the stupid statement "planned obsolescence" in his hearing.

Engineers are not simply given a free hand to design a machine best suited to a particular task, they have a host of costraints, not the least of which is that the machine must be marketable.

John Browning designed the 1911 to meet the criteria of a government contract so that he could sell it to the military. He added the grip safety at the request of the military. Did the grip safety serve a purpose in better suiting the task you state, that of killing? I would say no. It is however a testament to Browning's genius that the 1911 can be modified, rather easily, to do many other things quite well, better than almost any other pistol. Else, it would not be the pistol of choice for so many different types of competition.

I don't do it because I don't look at the gun as a toy, This would indicate to me that you consider any modification beyond the basic design of the pistol to transform it from a killing machine to a toy. So my adding a beavertail, thin grips, disabling the grip safety and fitting a flat mainspring housing transforms it from a killing machine to a toy. I do these modifications so that it better fits my hands.

You continue on poo-pooing various other modifications. It seems to me the ideal "killing machine" is one that can be shot quickly, accurately and has sufficient power. Oops, the motto of IPSC.

May 29, 2003, 01:58 AM
If there is one current fad with 1911s that I think is a bad idea, it's this fetish for tight slides and frames and super-tight barrel lockup. I know many people sneer at Colts because the slides aren't always as tight as a Kimber or Springfield. Listen guys, the 1911 was originally designed with certain clearances for a reason. A tight 1911 might still be reliable for you, but since it equates to a non-existent gain in practical accuracy at combat ranges what's the point? Buy a nice, tight 1911 for your collection or for gaming if you like, but leave your defense gun a little loose.

May 29, 2003, 02:08 AM
Even the lanyard ring is multi-purposed. Much too sturdy to be used simply for tying the pistol to the cavalryman, it's also a skull pommel, and it makes for a nifty bottle opener too.

Not by design. The lanyard loop on GI guns is made of fairly soft steel and bends easily. However, the Argentinians must agree with you as most of the Hartford Colts and Sistemas coming into this country all seem to have bent-over lanyard loops. :rolleyes:

May 29, 2003, 02:15 AM
That is one man's opinion. Thank you for sharing it. I would like to compliment you on actually explaining your reasoning.

I personally don't agree with it.

The first guys that put together what is now called a computer never envisioned the majority of people having one in their home. They never designed the computer to be a toy. They never designed it to provide mass communication to the common man. Doing things like watching DVDs or viewing personal photos, or playing games, or having conversations about firearms was the furthest thing from their mind at the time. But guess what ? The basic design has evolved into what it is today, and I for one would not like to go back to the days that it was a dedicated business tool.

May 29, 2003, 02:17 AM
I have to wonder how much of that legendary "looseness" is because most folks have never seen a military 1911 in brand-new condition? I reckon you'd be the person to ask; were they, say, commercial-Colt-tight when new?

I do think that having a slide squeezed to get that "tight" feeling is silly and asking for trouble, but Les Baers (f'rinstance) are made to quite tight tolerances and aren't considered unreliable at all.

May 29, 2003, 02:23 AM
Half a tenth tolerance (+/- ?) is fine work indeed. Even consistent measurement requires controlled temp room. Maybe less so with ceramics. Liked other posting about springing. What do you look for before cutting coils? Is it a length thing or a measurement under load?

May 29, 2003, 02:44 AM
I do think that having a slide squeezed to get that "tight" feeling is silly and asking for trouble, but Les Baers (f'rinstance) are made to quite tight tolerances and aren't considered unreliable at all.

Give em the mud test then.....bet they wont pass...

I sort of dont like really tight pistols. Give me that shaky feeling, sort of like dropping a PSP in the mud and prayin it cocks.


May 29, 2003, 03:39 AM
I understand an aversion to race guns, but not usable modifications.
Not to flame, but what do you do to guns? You listed what you wouldn't do.
The original 1911 did not have sights you could quickly use. Modern doctrine uses sights in close combat, sights that are quickly and easily aquired seem best. As you say, the original purpose of the 1911 was close quarters combat.
Some people get gashed by the slide or hammer. A beavertail safety keeps that from happening. It seems like cutting the webbing of your hand would be distracting, possibly fatally so in combat.
I like a usable safety. I really don't want to miss that switch when I need it.
Thin and smooth grips help me carry concealed. Not really part of its original design, but the design seems to lend itself to carry.
Why wouldn't I want an accurate gun? It can be done to a reasonable degree and still be reliable.
The 1911 was not designed for hollow points, and from what I have read, early 1911's needed modification to properly and reliably feed hollow points. For self defense (since I am not in the military) I would definitely prefer hollowpoints.
Just because it was not designed for certain things, why is it bad to modify it?
Gunpowder was invented as a means to immortality. Those fireworks sure look pretty, and we all seem to like our guns. At best, it extends our life to its natural end, yet you don't object to the modification in purpose.
People are bipeds, but our anatomy is not well designed for it. Our structures came from quadrapeds, and it shows. You go back first.
Horses originally lived in trees. They look silly and awkward there now, but look magnificent running across a field.
Guns can be toys. Dangerous toys. Just because somebody thinks something is a game or toy doesn't mean they take it frivolously. I have seen people who are more disciplined and conscientious with their games than with the rest of their lives.

May 29, 2003, 04:35 AM
I can see what Tuner is saying. But I also see nothing wrong with the high dollar custom pistols. I was in the market for a 1911 type and put a new Colt 1991A1 on layaway. I know it is not the "original", or a Wilson, Baer or such. If I wanted one of them I would have just saved a little longer. As far as "squeezing" a slide to make a tighter fit, I don't really like that idea. From what I have read, when you do that, the slide is no longer parallel. I plan on keeping my new Colt as simple as possible. If I don't get hammer bite, I won't be changing the hammer or the grip safety. The only thing that may get changed are the sites.

May 29, 2003, 06:00 AM
Lemme try to get all this covered in one response...:uhoh:

I'm not in business, and I'm surely not an elitist. I'm a
realist. The 1911 has been around for so long, that many don't
consider what, and for whom, it was designed. "Engineered
Obsolescence"? I don't think so...That's something that has
come as a result of the dawning of the age of the fee-grabber.
The old craftsmen didn't put their John Henry on anything
that wasn't their best effort...Honor and posterity was
no doubt the key. Look closely at a Westly Richards
Best Grade double rifle, and you'll see what I mean.
Moreover, if the 1911 had any built in obsolesence, it
would have fallen by the wayside long ago. The 1916
Steyr and M-96 mauser are just two examples. The
M-98 mauser is an example of,"Ya can't beat this, bubba."

Yep...half a tenth is close work. So close that a fingerprint
will change the finished dimension, and brought into spec
on a grinder...The rule of thumb on such an operation was:
"If you see the wheel strike a spark, you've probably killed the

Moving on...dsk said a mouthful, and I've had the opportunity to
closely examine a commercial model 1911 that was built in 1921,
whose owner had died, and whose widow simply wrapped the gun up and put it away. It stayed in her attic for 62 years, in
condition one, and worked perfectly when i got my coveting
little mitts on it...and it had a little "rattle" in it.

The lanyard ring may have been soft, like the rest of the
pistol was, except in key areas, (Note the discoloration
on places on GI slides) where it was hardened and drawn...
bu the skull pommel part was used fairly often in the trenches
of WW1...at least according to my grandfather. The feature
had been pointed out to the conscripts who found themselves
caught up in the maelstrom. That may not have been its intent,
but if you think about it, it IS a bit sturdy for use simply as
a lanyard ring...

Finally, I never said that there's anything wrong with a high-grade
custom gun. I marvel at the finished product, and at the skill
and patience that went into the effort, but at that point, the gun
takes on a different persona...meant to be admired rather than
actually pressed into hard service. Would YOU pay 3500 dollars
for a pistol and carry it every day? Shoot it 25,000 times a year?
A millionaire might...A local neurosurgeon that I know has
several such pistols...and carries none of them. His carry gun
is a 1991 A1 Commander with upgraded internals, and a
relatively stock trigger...and quite a bit of rattle. He's rich,
but he's also a realist.

Me...an elitist?:D I'm much closer to "Bubba the Redneck"
by most standards.

Hope this clears up a few points,

May 29, 2003, 06:15 AM
I've just always heard the emphasis stressed between "fitted right vs fitted tight "

dsk, I too am curious.

May 29, 2003, 07:05 AM
Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore your questions. Too early,
not enough coffee...yet.

What do I do to a 1911? My reliability tune-up:

I upgrade any MIM or investment cast small parts that I find,
including the sear on Colts, but notably the extractor on all of the
rank and file ordnance-spec guns...which most of them are.
The grip safety is the exception, as they are generally up to
the task.

I get both hammer hooks bearing evenly on the sear, and cut the hooks to a length of .025, unless they are shorter, and then
I leave them alone. I refuse to cut hammer hooks shorter than
.022 inch ...If they are less to begin with, I re-cut them on a mill.

I check for proper barrel throat gap at the top of the feed ramp, and adjust as needed, and polish the throat and ramp lightly
with a piece of 600-grit wet or dry paper. Dremels are
used very carefully and sparingly. I also check headspace
with a gauge.

I install new springs throughout the gun...Factory springs
are supplied by the lowest bidder. I check for proper link length.
You'd be surprised at the number of guns that come in wrong here. If the link pin comes out too easily for my tastes, I
press in a larger pin. .156 usually does it. Again, you'd
be surprised how many come in wrong.

I tune the recoil spring rate to the gun...They vary as to what they
run best with. This is observed by test-firing and examining the
brass for dings and burrs on the edges of the rim. If the burrs
are there, the gun is oversprung...but first I tweak the magazines
and springs for a .535 inch dimension across the top of the
magazine, just under the lips. The springs are treated to an "extra power" tweak. It's easy to do, but takes a while to describe, so that can be done on another thread if there's
a desire.

I perform a gravity test on the gun. With the recoil system removed, and the mainspring housing removed to nullify the
influenceof the disconnect. If I can tilt the gun to 45 degtrees and
have the slide come out of battery, and return when reverse-tilted, the gun is good...If not, I make it so with a slurry made
from CLP or other good grade oil and J&B bore cleaner coated
on the rails, upper and lower lugs, link and slidestop crosspin,
barrel chamber area, and bushing. Two hundred hand-cycles
generally does it on most guns unless they are far too tight to
begin with. Hint: If the slide won't rattle, the gun will fail
the gravity test about 90% of the time.

The sights on most modern production 1911's are big enough,
and if you try it for a while, you wll discover that you can do
quite well with a front sight only, unless you intend to try for a
ragged, one hole group at an unrealistic distance. None of
my practice guns have rear sights, as I find that they slow me down on a timed, reaction drill.

That's about the best that I can explain it in a limited space.
The devil's in the details, and most are a "feel" or "experienced eye" issue...not generally vital, but I tend to be anal over any
reliability issue on a carry gun.

Hope this clears up the questions a little better,
Take care, and shoot straight!

May 29, 2003, 08:02 AM
The single worst decision I ever made in my life (well, besides taking up with THAT brunette) was to let my ex-wife take the 1943 Remington-Rand 1911A1 in the divorce settlement. Why I ever did that, other than to get everything over with, will forever haunt me. Especially when I see the prices they are going for now.


Sean Smith
May 29, 2003, 08:16 AM
I do think that having a slide squeezed to get that "tight" feeling is silly and asking for trouble, but Les Baers (f'rinstance) are made to quite tight tolerances and aren't considered unreliable at all.

Not exactly a correction, but some of the newer Baers don't work reliably out of the box without a considerable break-in due to... you guessed it... the comically tight slide-to-frame fit.

May 29, 2003, 08:46 AM
I'll top that Mr. Price...My cousin's wife got wigged over not
getting what she wanted for her birthday and took his
Rand out and sold it in a gun show parking lot for 50 bucks.

If ever there was a case for justifiable homicide...:cuss:


May 29, 2003, 10:23 AM
or be interpeting things a bit wrong, but a little background may explain 1911 Tuner's thread a bit more...

On other forum good guy Tuner (or nice web personality at least, don't know him personally) answered tons of questions, helped people get their 1911's working. Couple of "Names" notable by by their rudeness and hysterical arrogance come by and attack any 1911 not made by themselves as refuse not fit for a trash can. Although everybody (including Tuner) tried to sooth their ego's that suggesting a 1911 could work well without them or much custom work at all was not a personal affront to them, it turned ugly.

I took the post as simply a clarification of Tuner stating what he was and was not, and what he considered a "perfect" 1911 to be as compared to others, to avoid any of this nonsense in the future.

May 29, 2003, 11:27 AM
I thank you, sir..and stick your nose in any time that it
helps to put out some fires before they get started.

Allow me to give you a little background on the hysterical
arrogance of the other two guys, lest they be judged too

Dave Sample, aka Captain Eagle, was, and is a very skilled
and gifted professional. He is most noteworthy in his continued
dedication to the Roy Rogers Foundation and his sponsorship
of the Happy Trails Kids...orphans who would not fare well
without the foundation. Dave can be a crusty old curmudgeon
at times, but has heart as big as Texas...well..at least as
big as the Dallas/Ft.Worth Airport...and a heart that is
slowly failing. Pain and medication have no doubt contributed
heavily to his recent personality quirks. We hope that the
surgery will lay these issues to rest, so that he can crank out
a few more of his beautiful pistols.

Teddy Jacobson is also a highly respected smith, and is probably
one of the three most gifted trigger men in the business.
He, like Dave and other men of advanced age, don't take
easily to change or to anyone suggesting that their way isn't
the best way. Having had a father like that, I can attest to
how difficult it is to make them understand that some people
just don't do things their way. Again, pain and failing health
temper his sometime insulting manner. If you have a
"Trigger by Teddy"..you have one of the best that can be had.

Ted Yost is the one who did a lot to set the record straight
over there, and in case anyone doesn't know the name, Ted
was probably THE instrumental influence in teaching the
apprentice and the experienced alike on how to set up
a fighting pistol at the Gunsite Gunsmithy. Jeff Cooper has
sung his praises on many occasions. Ted is also a gentleman,
and an all around nice guy. Good for us and bad for Gunsite,
Ted is no longer with them. As a free agent, he can build
as he pleases, and what pleases him is getting as close to
perfection that a man can manage. he is expensive...and he takes his time, but the wait will be worth it.

Me? I'm the guy that fixes your pistol when it chokes. My
efforts are geared toward making it run without your having to
take out a second mortgage to pay for what should have been
done from the go light. For serious custom work, I defer to, and
refer those requests to the ones more qualified to do the work.

Glad that someone took the time to research my instruction and
my agenda. It's not aimed at making anyone mad...just trying
to help some folks make a more informed decision as to an
instrument that may be called upon to save their lives...

Cheers all!

May 29, 2003, 11:40 AM
Heck, 1911Tuner, you seemed like jus plain good people to me. I'm glad when somebody obviously knowing that of which they speak shares their knowledge. We had Gale MacMillan and Brain Bilby do just as you've done and I for one learned a bunch. Thanks for being a part of THR! :cool:

May 29, 2003, 11:41 AM
Tamara and others:

I have in my posession several genuine USGI pistols in like-new (or close to) condition. What I can tell you is that they are certainly not as loose as popular legend makes one believe. The slide to frame fit is typically just loose enough that you can detect a small amount of play. It's noticeable when the guns are dry, but when lubed you almost can't tell. The barrel lockup is usually good, but you can still press down a little on the barrel hood and detect movement. The barrel bushings on mine range anywhere from a slip-in fit with slight play, to extremely loose. In the latter case it's a 1911 made in the peak production period during WW1 when Colt was belting out nearly 2200 guns a day (reference: EJ Hoffschmidt). Naturally that one is quite loose in many areas, but it certainly is more an exception than the rule. None of my WW2 examples are anywhere near as loose.

The reason why so many folks talk about loose military 1911's is because the last ones were made in 1945. No new ones were ordered by the government after WW2, just spare parts only. By the time most folks here were issued one that pistol may have been issued to your dad, or even grandpa. Just because it may have "looked" new didn't matter either, as unit-level weapons refinishing was commonplace. Not too many unit commanders wanted their men carrying ratty-looking equipment.

What I'm getting at is that any tighter than this isn't necessary, unless your bushing is so loose you can actually rock it back and forth in the slide in which case a tighter one might be in order. However, the ones that are so tight you need a foot-long bushing wrench are IMO ridiculous. Also, the slide/frame fit and barrel lockup should never be so tight that you can feel resistance when working the action or letting the slide down slowly. Again, for a target weapon or game gun none of that matters, as poor reliability is simply another excuse for why you didn't win. But for defense you want a weapon that won't jam because it's too dirty or dry, or because you limp-wristed it. To avoid that leave the tolerances a little loose, like the original guns were.

Just my .02 cents.

May 29, 2003, 12:13 PM
May thanks BigG...I try to be. I'll invite you over, put on the
coffee, and sit down and work on your pistol, usually for
nothin'...If it takes too long, you can stay for supper. You'll
stay for Kelie's steaks if you get a whiff. The girl just has a touch,

My three passions are 1911 pistols, Collies and a good guitar,
none indulged in for profit. What I make won't usually pay the
light bill in the workshop, but I won't give up on a pistol until
you do.

Tuner------->out! (nap time)

May 29, 2003, 10:32 PM
1911tuner, I wish to apologize. I used the wrong term when I used "elitist". I went back and looked it up in the dictionary and that is the wrong term. What I was questioning was your apparent assertion that modifying it from it's basic configuration changed it from what it was designed to be, a killing machine, into a toy.

I didn't intend to imply that the 1911 had "planned obsolescence", but rather that once the professor explained how machines were built to sell in the marketplace I understood that there was no such thing as "planned obsolescence". That was many years ago and I have never used that term since.

My assertion was intended to be that the 1911 was not in fact designed to be a "killing machine", rather it was designed to fit a set of specifications in a government contract and it is a tribute to John Browning's genius that it did fit those specifications and still did an excellent job of being a killing maching.

Personally, if there were no constraints as to size, concealability, etc, I would prefer a full-race gun to defend my life with. I can think of no other pistol that will shoot as fast, accurately and with sufficient power as an IPSC full race 1911. To any IPSC competitor reliability is the number 1 factor. In the higher IPSC classes one jam or a gun breaking will cost them the match which equates quite well to losing your life in a gunfight. Granted, to gain a competitive advantage they are always testing for that modification that will give them even the slightest edge and because they are testing new parts reliability suffers. But, before they will accept a new part or modification it must prove 100% reliable.

Lastly, machines are designed to fit the "average" person using them. How many people actually fit that "average"? I know I don't. Over the years of using 1911s I have developed a basic set of modifications which makes the 1911 better fit me, thus enhancing it's effectiveness as a killing machine for me. My initial reading of your post was that you would not consider doing these modifications because any change from the original design lessened the 1911s effectiveness as a "killing machine".

BTW, thank you for not taking my post the wrong way. I quit visiting that other forum for the very reasons mentioned above.

May 29, 2003, 10:51 PM
Despite a ''useful'' size guns collection I still admit freely to being a near total novice with 1911's ....... that said, I will chip in to reiterate my appreciation of Tuner's input.

So often when a guy ''in the business'' lays out his thoughts and approach ... he can get flamed for it ... as far as I'm concerned, no probs .. it is presented ''as is'' without any (to me) show of egotism or ''know-it-all-ness'' ....... purely one guy's thinking on a weapon class ... based on his experience and opinion ....... I take this as just that ''opinion'' ... and for one I appreciate that.

It is for me and others to take or leave ..... I choose to take and throw into my own personal ''melting pot'' of info ...... all is useful. So I would say again as i did elsewhere ... i consider this guy is a valuable asset. Thank you Sir.:)

May 29, 2003, 11:00 PM
Tamara wrote: but Les Baers (f'rinstance) are made to quite tight tolerances and aren't considered unreliable at all. I am friends/acquaintences with several custom 1911 guys... most of these guys have multiple custom and/or semi-custom 1911s in the safe. They get them out to clean or oogle over and take to the range from time to time. Most carry a lightly customized 1911 or a Glock. Or nothing at all.

Of these, I honestly don't think I know a single one that has one of the higher-end Baers that didn't have to go back at least once to reliable feed. Some will say to feed 500 rounds through the gun before considering returning it but when you have to hand cycle 1 out of 3, 500 is a big number.

Not to be a Baer-knocking as I respect their work and would buy a Concept VII for the right price. I just think that for some reason, Baer more than any other semi-custom builder takes the tight fitting to the extreme.

May 30, 2003, 12:55 AM
Hrmm. My Concept III has been 100% reliable with Aguila 117gr IQ's, Georgia Arms 200gr plated SWC's (my preferred load in the gun, which is exclusively used as a range toy), CCI 200gr Gold Dots, CCI 230gr Gold Dots, 185gr +P Golden Sabers, 230gr Golden Sabers, and (of course) various brands of 230gr FMJ, from round #1 with no break-in required. So has my Springfield Pro. (Well, it did choke on one softball 200gr SWC after I did this (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=167277) to it. :uhoh: )

Personally, I put "feed reliability" and "abuse tolerance" in separate categories. My Professional has held up under worse abuse than anything that I could reasonably expect to encounter in a CCW situation: there aren't many malarial swamps at the mall, there are no talc-fine sand dunes in the local fern bar parking lot, and the gun has already proven it can take a stomping in the local red clay. If I need a gun to low-crawl through the alluvial silt of the Mekong Delta on my next commando raid, I'll skip over the 1911's and take one of my Glocks (because who cares if an alligator swallows one of those? ;) )

May 30, 2003, 05:23 AM
Howdy again NapAttack,

First off, you are a class act. For a man to apologize on a
public forum takes character. Evidently you had good parents
who taught you the meaning of responsibility , honor, and
general good manners.

I will agree that the pistol was designed to meet certain criteria,
but again, it was assumed that the gun would eventually be carried in harm's way, not as a symbol of rank, but as a weapon.
In this light, it was very much in the same class as the M1 Garand.

One point of contention is that blowing a match and getting killed
isn't even on the same page. You can drop a match stage
and go home to tweak your gun...The other consequence of
a stoppage is permanent. I developed a certain amount of
anal retentiveness over weapon reliability after having seen
Marines wounded and killed with a jammed M-16 in their hands.
The A-1's were much better, but still a bit crud sensitive. The
1911 was not.

As to the question of Feed Reliability and Abuse Tolerance,
Sometimes there is precious little time to pamper a weapon
in a war zone. Maintenence is dictated by circumstances that are often beyond our control....and in my case, it was often necessary to dive into mud or a rice paddy as an attack began. If the weapon won't tolerate a certain amount of abuse and neglect
and still remain functional, it can get you killed.

Thanks to all who have jumped into the fray on this one.
I don't mind the flames, because those often open the opportunity to clarify a statement through clear, logical
debate, and insults don't bother me. I've been insulted
by the best...Marine Drill Sargeants. Compared to them,
even the most acid-tongued seem to be running in slow


May 30, 2003, 07:21 AM
:uhoh: [any IPSC competitor knows] ...one jam or a gun breaking will cost them the match which equates quite well to losing your life in a gunfight.

This is the game mentality that figures a gunfight takes place in a sterile environment and takes 24 shots, 3 mag changes, and 6 seconds to take place. Pure imagination and about as realistic as a Hollywood movie.

the 1911 was not in fact designed to be a "killing machine",

If the miltry spec was not for a "killing machine," what was it for? :scrutiny:

Personally, if there were no constraints... I would go around naked and not work. Life is not a game. We are all constrained in all situations.

My feeling is that you spoiled your nice apology by trying to rationalize what you said earlier. Sometimes less is more and two wrongs don't make a right. JMTS

May 30, 2003, 07:43 AM
Big G...you've pretty much nailed the question down.

Deadly confrontations are generally fast, dirty and ugly,
and the outcome is determined in just a few seconds.
Even firefights in a military conflict generally boil down to
several mano-e-mano affairs, all going on at the same time, separate from the unit/teamwork theory. As one who has seen it... far more frequently than I care to remember...I can
vouch for the Hollywood vs Reality issue.

The gamesman strives for a string of perfect X scores
within the time constraints of the stage.
The realist hits what he must, hopefully in time to save his life.
An "8" in one second beats an "X" that comes too late...
every time.

As John Wayne pointed out in the Shootist:

"It's not always being fast or accurate that counts. It's being
willing. Most men will hesitate before they shoot...I won't."

Now...as for that "runnin' around nekkid" thing...It's WAAAY
to early for that visual...
:D :D :D

Kudos G...You've pointed out a few things here, and your
theory is sound, sir.


May 30, 2003, 02:12 PM
I'm not in business, and I'm surely not an elitist. I'm a realist. The 1911 has been around for so long, that many don't consider what, and for whom, it was designed. "Engineered Obsolescence"? I don't think so...That's something that has come as a result of the dawning of the age of the fee-grabber. The old craftsmen didn't put their John Henry on anything that wasn't their best effort...Honor and posterity was no doubt the key.

Ok, then explain to me why JMB made other guns if this was the case? The only explanation that would follow your logic would be that he got better at his craft, and produced a superior design. Which would make the 1911 obsolete anyway.

The one thing I can guarantee is that most things aren't doable only one way, and that it isn't a new phenomenon.

Andrew Wyatt
May 30, 2003, 02:33 PM
he made other guns so he could keep food on the table.

the BHP is a good design, but for some it is not as good as a 1911.

May 30, 2003, 02:40 PM
Browning SOLD his rights to all of his designs prior to the Automatic Shotgun, where he parted ways with Winchester. He had to produce new designs to put food on the table just like Andrew Wyatt said. He also had to avoid infringing his own patents that he had sold to Colt, Winchester, FN and others.

May 30, 2003, 05:26 PM
Would YOU pay 3500 dollars
for a pistol and carry it every day? Shoot it 25,000 times a year?
A millionaire might...A local neurosurgeon that I know has
several such pistols...and carries none of them. His carry gun
is a 1991 A1 Commander with upgraded internals, and a
relatively stock trigger...and quite a bit of rattle. He's rich,
but he's also a realist.

I do not make the fourth part of a neuro surgeons salary.

I bought a $1600 Semi Custom (Valtro - and that price is after a couple minor changes).

If I had a CCW, I would carry it. Its a beautiful, extremely well fitted (read: tight!), accurate and utterly reliable weapon.

I have a real problem with the idea that a "nice" gun should not be carried or kept for serious use. How much is your life worth? Do you own the gun, or does the gun own you?

I bought my Valtro because of the workmanship and reliability - because I want a personal weapon that I can have confidence in. Jardine showed me how well it was fit compared to my Colt and it was just sad. A well fit 1911 will last longer, run better and have way fewer problems than a "loose" gun. That was the problem with my Colt - it was all nice and loose like most people say they like, but It was unpredictable.

I have heard several people say their Valtro will feed empty casings - I have not tried myself - but it does feed SWC and even Truncated Cone and big old flying ashtray style JHPs

Is it just like the original 1911? No. I think it is actually a lot better. I do not ride around on a horse. I sit at a desk and I drive a Honda. I need a thin, smooth, reliable gun. I got one and I would use it for gun games as well as CCW.

I dont care if I scratch it or the blueing gets worn or whatever - thats not important. If I want something pretty to put in my safe, I will buy jewelry. I would never own a gun I was afraid to carry or use - never.

May 30, 2003, 05:32 PM
A well fit 1911 will last longer, run better and have way fewer problems than a "loose" gun.

Boy, I'd like to see some data on this one. Could be, but it really comes off as an assertion with no particular basis. Especially since a tight gun works under a higher total level of friction when it cycles.

May 30, 2003, 05:34 PM
Ok, then explain to me why JMB made other guns if this was the case? The only explanation that would follow your logic would be that he got better at his craft, and produced a superior design. Which would make the 1911 obsolete anyway.

As long as guns are used for shooting people, the 1911 will not be obsolete.

Computers become obsolete because our expectations of what they can be used for is constantly advancing.

I would imagine that people in 1915 needed to shoot people about the same as they do now days. About the only thing different is that you may encounter Kevlar now but if Sigs and Glocks are not obsolete, neither is the 1911 because they use the same ammo...

May 30, 2003, 05:45 PM

Depending on how you define terms of course - a 1911 with poorly fitted lugs will batter and round off the lugs either on the slide or the barrel.

Sloppily fitted parts may tend to batter and create stresses that the gun was not intended to take. This could cause pre mature breakage or degradation - resulting in a change in the performance of the gun.

My Valtro is extremely tight and extremely well fitted. the slide stop pin has zero play in the barrel pivot thingy (?) and every lug engages an equal ammount and the gun goes bang every single time. The one in San Rafael has over 100k rounds through it and is still tight and accurate.

My Colt Defender on the other hand was "loose" but Jardine showed me how the gun was slowly self destructing because of te poor fit. He described what would continue to happen over time unless the problems could be corrected.

My Kareen MkIII (Israeli BHP) had a lose slide to frame fit and you could not keep the rounds on a pie plate at 7 yards. The gun rattled when you wiggled it - when I was young and naieve and bought it, they said it was like that because of the sandy conditions it was used in. The gun was actually not that bad when I got it, but over a few thousand rounds, it slowly beat its self into a worthless, unreliable state.

Tightness may create additional friction, but that is over come with good materiels and good lubrication. 4340 Molly steel with good lube will last your lifetime if all it does is slide together.

Ask people who make engines and watches if slop is better for long term reliability.

Andrew Wyatt
May 30, 2003, 06:33 PM
there's a difference between properly fit and tight.

a well fit 1911 has reasonably loose slide to frame fit, and reasonably tight barrel to bushing fit and barrel to lugs fit

May 30, 2003, 06:46 PM
Okay...A loose 1911 doesn't mean sloppy. It means that the
ordnance-spec tolerances have been maintained. A hard
fit on moving parts just decreases these tolerances to the
minimum clearances allowable as to the blueprint specs,
and certain areas are treated to a slight interference fit
for reasons of enhanced accuracy. There is also a difference
between fitted tight and fitted right...as has been observed here.

On another point, even a sloppy fitted gun, as in the case of worn nearly out...will still work well enough for the task at hand.
Only when the pistol comes undre heavy use do the lugs and
recesses get battered and sheared...but so will a mechaincal
timing problem, even in a hand built pistol, and it won't take
nearly as long to bring on the destruction.

On the question about Browning's later designs...notably the
High-Power...it was likely because he never stopped designing or thinking about the next one, and the next one, etc. Never being
interested in actually selling guns, he lived to design. Hoping,
I suppose, to achieve perfection at some point. The High-Power
an improvement? In some aspects, sure...A better overall
pistol? Highly debateable. It was designed with a completely different purpose in mind, and aimed more toward the civilian
and law enforcement segments of the market...and the European
market. Hence the reason that it was designed around the
9mmParabellum round.

A better question might be...If you came up with one sucessful design...would you stop with that one?


May 30, 2003, 07:49 PM
Tuner, here's a question for you.

If I wanted to buy a new 1911-design pistol and was primarily concerned about reliability (must feed 100% for self-defense) at a reasonable cost, what exactly would you recommend? And would it have to be 'tuned' by somone before I should put into life-saving service?

I have a Series 70 that has seen a lot of use (over a decade by me). It was throated by an unknown smith before I got it and has always been fussy about what I feed it, regardless of the magazine (latest was a Wilson 8-shot loaded with 7). Works fine with certain factory ball. Forget about anything not completely round at the tip. I have debated "improving" this pistol or selling it and starting with something of newer design (I admit I don't like that it can be inertially fired from a drop). I also admit some sentiment for the fact that it is the real deal and have reluctance to perform surgery on it (like modifying the ejection port).

May 30, 2003, 08:12 PM
Tuner, could we hear some more about the slurry you make? I have CLP and JB bore paste. How much do you cut the JB and exactly where and how much do you apply? 200 laps may be just the ticket for my TRS.

May 30, 2003, 09:34 PM
I greatly admire well-fitted 1911s... one of my favorite things in the world. My comment certainly wasn't meant as a slight against them just relaying my second-hand experience about Baers in particular.

That pic of you stepping on the Pro... well... I might not think of you exactly the same any more, Tamara.

Just kidding ! :neener:

May 30, 2003, 10:49 PM
1911tuner, thank you for taking my difference of opinion in the spirit it was given.

BigG, This is the game mentality that figures a gunfight takes place in a sterile environment and takes 24 shots, 3 mag changes, and 6 seconds to take place. Pure imagination and about as realistic as a Hollywood movie. Not at all. I agree that there are gamers who will take any advantage they can but most competitors realize their firearms must perform to the same standards as in self defense. ie, fire every time the trigger is pulled. A competitor realizes that if he has too many problems he will lose the match and possibly his livelihood but not his life. I continue to contend that the demands on the firearms are the same. The pistol must fire every time, accurately for the competitor to win the match just as if it had been used to defend his life. If the miltry spec was not for a "killing machine," what was it for? Setting aside the point for a moment that most military contracts are political, (why else the adoption of the Beretta?) I would say as a PDW. For the REMF and officers whose main job was not to kill the enemy but something else. The grunt's job was to kill the enemy, thus he used a killing machine, M1, M14, M16, etc, but not a 1911 as his primary weapon for his primary function. My feeling is that you spoiled your nice apology by trying to rationalize what you said earlier. Sometimes less is more and two wrongs don't make a right. JMTS I realized from 1911tuner's response that I had not made some of my points clearly and was attempting to clear some confusion. If you choose to confuse rationalization with explanation that is your choice. You have a right to your feelings and opinions just as I do. So, you contend that by disagreeing with 1911tuner and stating my opinion that I was wrong and then by trying to clear some confusion that was a second wrong. Okay, whatever floats your boat.

May 31, 2003, 03:45 AM
Howdy penforhire,

Since I don't know if the throat job on your pistol was performed by a good smith or a hack, it's hard to diagnose the feed issues.
A little more information would be a help. I am going to
assume for the present, that the throat is good.

Does the round enter the chamber at all? Or does it hit
the ramp just at the barrel throat and stop? If it gets
into the chamber and stops...can you get it into battery
by pushing or lightly bumping the back of the slide?
Or does it take a hard jolt?

As to suggestions on a carry gun, especially one that will be
"drop safe"...The Colt 1991A1 serise 80 pistols have much to
offer. I would avoid the chopped versions...Officer's Model
and Defender pistols...The shorter the slide gets, the more
likely that you are to have reliability issues out of the box.
The 5-inch guns are your best bet, with the Commanders
showing good reliability about 80% of the time. Maintain
it and change the recoil spring about every 2,000,3,000

Good luck,

May 31, 2003, 04:08 AM
The weapon vs symbol of rank issue on the 1911 has long been
debated, and while it IS true that the pistol was most often
issued to troops who weren't normally in the thick of things,
in the beginning it wasn't so. Remember not only why the gun
was born..but the era that spawned it.

Prior to WW1, trench warfare was pretty much the order of
the day, and small-unit night-raids...planned and impromptu...
were often employed to disrupt the enemy's sleep, do some
tactical damage to his artillery batteries, and generally
destroy morale. In these actions, the pistol, knife, and
bludgeon were much more useful than long, bolt-action
rifles of the era. WW1 was a much different arena than
WW2 and beyond. Again, I have only my grandfather and
his brother as witnesses to what went on in the trenches.

Add to that the fact that, even though a soldier or Marine
rifleman weren't issued the pistol, most of them scrounged
for one at the first opportunity. I did, and so did many
others that I encountered during my tour of duty. In
two instances, if I had not had the pistol at hand, I wouldn't
be here to write this.

As for the tight vs loose debate...Compare the P-08
Luger vs vs the ordnance-spec 1911. The Luger was
precisely fitted as compared to the 1911, and it had a
reputation for choking when it wasn't kept clean. The
Luger was a symbol of rank...The 1911 was a weapon from
first sketch to to battlefield.

While it's true that a sloppy pistol will "self-destruct" if used
hard enough, the chopped pistol that was so described was
never meant for hard use. Those little guns are singluar
purpose, and strictly business. That there are people who
misunderstand the intent, and try to use them for hard range
duty, remember one thing: You can use your passenger car to
make some fast laps at the Brickyard, but if you do it much,
something will break. Your car is a tool...A racecar is a toy.

This is getting lengthy, so I will use another thread for the
conclusion of this side of the debate. Ain't this fun?


May 31, 2003, 04:31 AM
I was asked: What is your life worth?

I've said that I have no issues with a high-end custom gun,
and I don't. My main point is that most of them are too tight,
even the ones meant for duty. This has been my experience in
examining some examples, all the way down to gutting them
and taking measurements...but on to the counterpoint.

I just got through with two project pistols...Commander-size.
One was built for me while my ex-stepson watched and learned,
the other for him while I watched and guided. Both are
very plain...not "pretty" by custom standards, but very handsome
in a strictly utilitarian sense.

Both are nicely fitted, and even a little tight for my tastes, but
we built them for hard use on the range, and for carry. The
criteria were decent accuracy, durability, and absolute
reliability. One has exceeded my expectations, while the
other remains untested. This will be addressed in the
nest few days, as his schedule permits.

The first one will keep all its shots in a 3-inch circle at 25 yards
from a solid rest...It won't draw blood or blisters, even on
a 1,000-round torture test...and it has gone 2500 rounds
without a malfunction...without cleaning. In the interest of
not abusing it, I allow it to cool off every 150 or so rounds, and
allow a drop of oil to run down the rails while the pistol is
locked back during the 5-minute cooling process.

It has the top-grade small parts, all new...A new slide, frame,
and barrel...It took less than 15 hours to build, and the total
cost was less than 600 dollars. If I were to be contracted to
build a carbon-copy, my fee would be about 150 bucks.

You can go spend upwards of 3,000 dollars for a good, reliable
pistol if you wish...or you can cut through some of the frills
and have one that will serve its purpose for far less. I've
proved that on more than one occasion over several years.

Since I'm no longer a practicing smith, I can't contract to copy
these pistols. I can, however, provide details, parts lists, and
some instruction for those who have some experience and wish
to take a shot at building one for themselves.

Hope that this clears up some misconceptions over my theories and contentions.

Cheers all,

May 31, 2003, 04:42 AM
The slurry that I call "Magic Goop" is simple to make, and it
will make your pistol feel like it's running on buttered glass.

Pour about two teaspoons of CLP or other good oil into
a small mixing cup. (You will get better results with CLP)
start adding J&B Bore cleaner to the oil, mixing thoroughly
as you go, until the mix will just barely sag off the end of
a screwdriver, but not drip off.

Coat the upper and lower lugs, and lug recesses in the frame,
the link..inside the hole too...the slidestop pin...the sides of
the barrel in the area of the chamber...the inside of the bushing...
the frame rails, and the disconnector rail.

With the recoil system out of the pistol...guide rod and all...
hand cycle the gun about 200 times, or more if the gun is
tight or newly built. The two project pistols described in
a previous post were cycled 500 times...Remove the
slurry thoroughly, lightly oil the gun and reassemble.
Feel the difference.

This also works well in the lockwork of a double-action revolver,
and I have been chided by some custom smiths on a forum
for giving away "trade secrets"

Take care,

May 31, 2003, 05:11 AM
...lest anyone feels that I am here trolling for business.
I'm not, and wouldn't take it if it was offered. I'm retired...
read that as "Too-Tired"...althought I'm only fiftysomething...

Much too busy since I've been unofficially designated
range armorer for the IDPA and IPSC matches at my
club. I spend most of my time there stopping hammer follow
and burst-fire issues brought on by glass-rod trigger jobs
that seem to have become the darling of the games crowd.

Just wanted to clear it up before it COMES up.


May 31, 2003, 06:35 AM
Tuner-ever tried toothpaste for a slurry? I've used it on a couple of occasions on friend's 1911's. Seems to polish without taking much metal away, plus it gives ole reliable fresh breath:D

I've always looked at the 1911 as a modular design, with the major wearing parts easy to replace in order to bring it back into spec. I wouldn't call that planned obsolecence, but a very functional design easy for the company armorer to keep running. So far as feeding hollow points and such, I have seen a couple friends do nothing more than slick up the frame feed ramp and install one of Colts new barrels with the grooved feed feed ramps on the barrel-strange looking on my 2 year old 1991A1, but then they feed LSWC's and flying ashtrays just fine without any corrections or polishing.

May 31, 2003, 08:20 AM

Your modular design theory has hit the nail squarely on the head,
along with the unit armorer observation. Note that in its original
guise, that the pistol could be gutted by using its own parts
as tools. JMB thought far ahead of just the artifact. Your
astute observations are the mark of a man possessed of
logic and a clear thought process,and your thoughts are drawn
from that, rather than being based on emotions. That's a gift.

In days of old, I used Pearl Drops tooth polish to make'em
slick, but not since I discovered J&B and CLP...Before
Pearl Drops, it was Pepsodent...and I just dated myself.

Thanks for your thoughts. After the week I've had, I needed it.


Ky Larry
May 31, 2003, 09:28 AM
I seem to recall from grade school history a man named Eli Whitney. Didn't he invent the mass production process? Modular design is making all the parts the same so they can be repaired and/or replaced by standardized parts. The 1911 was a military contraced design so I'm sure JMB designed the pistol to be easy to return to spec by replacing part with a minimum of hand fitting.

May 31, 2003, 09:54 AM
Bingo again!

Very few designs come about in a lightening bolt of
genius and inspriation...but rather as a long, evolutionary

Browning borrowed the idea of headspacing on the case mouth
form Georg Luger, and the 9mm cartridge. Now...if he had
just tapered the .45 acp a bit more....

May 31, 2003, 11:36 PM
I have shot three 1911's that were "tight"...two springfields & one Kimber. All would choke as soon as they got a little dirty.

The Kimber was mine, a stainless Gold Match Series I. It was traded for a Gold Cup, which is a little looser, but shoots just as well.

Guns are self soiling machines. The powder residue, brass shaving, unburned kernals have to go somewhere. That's common sense.

I have a Delta Elite, to which I fitted a Bar-Sto barrel. Since it's primarily a target/fun gun, I left it pretty tight, as far as going into battery. The slide to frame fit, however, is as Colt produced in 1987, which is pretty sloppy. It's a one hole gun at 25 yards, and is reliable.:D

I own six Colts, and one SA Mil-spec in .38 Super. The SA is a little sloppy on the slide, and it eats everything from .38 ACP's, to fire-breathing 9x23's(with its 9x23 barrel). The Colt Defender is a little fussy about what it eats, but it is indeed an ultra-short 1911. All the fullsize Colts are reliable, including the newest one, a stainless new rollmark 1991A1.

I certainly might someday buy a Les Baer, but otherwise I am perfectly happy with Colts made as 1911Tuner describes:)

May 31, 2003, 11:53 PM
I have a Delta Elite, to which I fitted a Bar-Sto barrel. Since it's primarily a target/fun gun, I left it pretty tight, as far as going into battery. The slide to frame fit, however, is as Colt produced in 1987, which is pretty sloppy. It's a one hole gun at 25 yards, and is reliable.

I have a Colt Series 80 made in 1988, and it too has a very sloppy slide/frame fit. It's so bad that when you shake it, it doesn't just rattle, it CLANKS. I added a tighter bushing, a beavertail, and better sights but that was it. Since buying the pistol new I've fired nearly 75,000 rounds through it. I used it when I took several high-level training classes during the course of a week back in 1996. During that time I had no real opportunity to clean it, just squirt some more oil on the rails at one point. The combined round count during that week was over 1500 rounds. Despite never cleaning it the pistol it never malfunctioned, and in fact I ran another few hundred rounds through it just to use up my training ammo before finally getting around to cleaning it.

In all the time I've owned it I can only recall maybe a half-dozen malfunctions, which means I've had a failure rate of .00008%. So you can NEVER convince me that a loose gun is a bad thing. By the way, my two final scores were 297/300 and 296/300 on the LFI targets, so you also can't tell me that a loose gun also guarantees inaccuracy!

June 1, 2003, 12:00 AM
Don't you think, when compared to other weapons that require not tuning of new parts, that calling a 1911 "modular" is pushing things a bit?

There are other guns as easy to take apart, and almost all other combat guns are completely "drop in" on OEM parts.

It was modular in the first half of the century.

June 1, 2003, 12:39 AM
dsk...Nice shootin'.

I'm glad that you asked that question, Handy.

During the watershed that WW2 was to become, weapons
were built on an assembly line by select fitting what was
essentially a procession of "Drop-In' parts...In the event
that there was a problem with a function check due to a
part not fitting properly, another was selected until one
was found that would bring it into spec. Then, there
was always the selection of oversized and undersized parts
that could be called on to enable the assembler to keep trying.

The weapons were shipped to their destinations, and only if
one experienced a repeated malfunction did it come under
the influence of a unit armorer...who started searching for yet
another part that would make the gun work. If hand-fitting
was required, other than a little deburring, the gun was
taken out of service because it couldn't be repaired in the

In most cases, a part was a member of a "group" rather than
standing alone, and as such often required that the whole
group be switched to effect a repair, and in most cases, this
worked quite well with very little, if any, fitting required.
Most of the time, they dropped in and worked.

This isn't modularity in the purest sense, but it comes very close.
An ordnance-spec pistol can be retro-fitted with ordnance-spec
parts or groups of parts in just a few minutes, with about a
99% chance of success on the first try.

Some of them rattled...and some clanked, as dsk pointed out...
but they worked.


June 1, 2003, 10:11 AM
Thanks for the details on the "Magic Goop". My thought is to use this just on the rails and allow the barrel-slide contact to remain tight; I can always do it to the barrel surfaces later if required. Smoothing the slide-frame contact should go a long way to improving the feel of this pistol and IMO side-frame tightness is way overrated vis-a-vis accuracy.

June 1, 2003, 10:22 AM
Mighty welcome riverdog...

Go ahead and slap in into the lugs and all. It won't loosen
anything up. All it does is polish the high spots. It's not
like lapping compound at all. It removes no metal, or at least
not enough to measure without an electronic comparator.

Try it...You'll like it.

Shoot straight!

June 1, 2003, 01:17 PM
In his "Colt 45 Auto" book, Kuhnhausen states that tight slide/frame fit has a 5% effect on accuracy. 5% is not even statistically significant, according to the stats I know.

Albert Shear
June 1, 2003, 02:02 PM
Would YOU pay 3500 dollars
for a pistol and carry it every day? Shoot it 25,000 times a year?
A millionaire might

Yes and I am not a millionaire. I have Berettas,Sigs,Glocks and many custom&stock 1911s. Whats my life worth? A $2000.00 Ted Yost Springfield Armory Operator is currently on my belt.
Baers & tightness: I have three and have never had one malfunction. It is not the slide to frame fitting that is what some perceive as a problem. It is the lockup surfaces that are oversize fit to allow wear in(top&bottom lugs,bushing).

June 1, 2003, 02:24 PM

Kuhnhausen states 15% for slide/frame fitting. The 5% is the unreachable number.

He makes the excellent point that slide frame fit is worthless if the various aspects of barrel fit isn't done.

June 1, 2003, 02:55 PM
Good show, Mr. Shear...Your collection seems to be impressive.
The point was not to bash the high-end pistols, but rather to
point out that the tighter the fit, the more *likely* it is
to be dirt and/or neglect sensitive... and that is very true.
I have a Ford pickup truck with nearly 200,000 miles on it,
and it still operates on the OEM water pump, alternator,
and all light bulbs. I understand that this is the exception
rather than the rule, however.

My other point is that a completely reliable pistol can be
carried for less than a third of the cost of a full-blown custom.
Not everybody can justify that cost, if they can afford it at all.
I envy those who can...on both counts. I would love to add
a Yost-built pistol to my collection.

Now, my question to you is...assuming two equally reliable
pistols...In the event of a shoot-for-blood situation...can you
do any better with the Yost than you could with a mil-spec
Springfield or 1991-A1 Colt? Maybe a little, if you are a very
good shot, and the range is 15 yards or more. Your event
is likely to occur at closer to 15 feet, and the time for taking a
deliberate shot is probably not going to be available. In these
situations, taking the time to find, align, and squeeze off a
shot will likely get you killed. Your antagonist will probably
have the initiative, and any action on your part will necessarily
be a reaction...and your time will be measured in fractions
of seconds. Ask me how I know...

The bottom line is that it won't be the gun that determines
whether you go home or get a tag on your toe...It will be your
resolve, and your ability to keep your head and act in a very
short time frame. The gun won't have much bearing on it,
if any at all.

Not meant to flame...just pointing out some realities.


Albert Shear
June 1, 2003, 03:12 PM
Based upon your parameters of the "life or death" encounter I concur wholeheartedly. Yes, I believe you know and so do I.
I have been blessed in life and I can afford most of what I desire. I have many handguns from $300 up to $3000. If I can afford to carry,use and train with the most expensive is that any different than doing the same with the $300? Maybe not, maybe so. One of my Wilsons is a CQB. I can not trust it because of sporadic malfunctions. The same holds true for a Springield Armory Loaded. A $300 EAA Witness has never malfunctioned once in 6 years. I still have my S&W Model 58 I purchased as an LEO in 1974. Has it ever failed, no.
What I do choose to carry is because it instills confidence and peace of mind. And just like anything else in life there is a pride of ownership mentality and I have that flaw when it come to firearms.

Albert Shear
June 1, 2003, 03:16 PM
I also wish to address the "dirt" and tightness issue. I believe this to be a non-issue with civilian concealed carry. The gun generally goes between holster and safe or nightstand and back agian. I have heard this argument before about tolerances and dirt allowances and I believe it is not jermaine.

June 1, 2003, 03:31 PM
mr. Shear...do this test.

Carry your pistol concealed for a month. Field-strip it
once a week and use a drop of oil in the usual places.
At the end of a month, detail-strip the piece and
peer inside with a light. You may be surprised to
see what resembles a small lint-trap...dust bunnies
and all.

I had occasion to address a Failure to Fire issue on a
friend's custom pistol...complete with 3.5-pound trigger
with minimum overtravel. He was sure that his trigger job
had gone south. Very concerned. The problem was that
lint had gotten behind the trigger shoe, and was stopping the sear from rotating enough to get out from under the hammer hooks. The pistol hadn't been shot dirty...It had been carried
dirty. Worked fine the night before when he cleared the
pistol and lowered the hammer. He had me remove the
overtravel screw.

A tightly-fitted pistol can be very reliable, but it will be
necessary to keep it sparkling clean to be so.

On another point...I have a couple of M-58's myself. Love'em!
Though I can't accept firearms through the mail any more, Richmond ain't far. If you'll bring those problem pistols to me,
I'll get'em runnin'. Active and retired LEO's pay for parts
only...labor is N/C

Take care, and thanks for your service.


Albert Shear
June 1, 2003, 03:39 PM
Yes , all weapons must kept clean whether $100 or $10,000 in order to operate trouble free. That is the constant in the discussion. I do thank you for the offer and who knows, maybe I will be down your way. I have enjoyed the banter with you immensely. Please stay safe, Albert

June 1, 2003, 03:44 PM
Aye aye...I'm about 15 miles north of Winston-Salem...easy
directions. If you're in the area, look me up. We'll have a
peek at those problem children. It's likely somethin' simple,
and a matter of bringin' everything into harmony.

Keep your powder dry!

Ky Larry
June 2, 2003, 06:45 AM
Thanks for the toothpaste tip Tuner and Delmar. I tried it last night with my CZ75B (.40 S&W). I put a little Ultrabrite on the rails and worked it thru 500 cycles and cleaned every thing up with degreaser and relubed with Break Free CLP.Slide feels much slicker. I'll try the slurry on my other CZ's. How do you clean the slurry out of your pistol when you are done polishing it? Thanks.

Admin: If this is the wrong place for this post, please repost in proper place. Thanks.

June 2, 2003, 01:22 PM
I use Next Generation carburetor cleaner...Advance Auto, for
less than 2 bucks.


June 2, 2003, 04:46 PM
Watch out using that carb cleaner. It will permanently damage your skin, and melt many plastics.

June 2, 2003, 11:15 PM
...and melt many plastics.

When you think about it, given the topic of this thread, that's actually kinda funny... ;)

"Goldangit, nothing I own is plastic! Even the dashboard of my car is steel!"

;) :D

(But yes, folks, extended exposure to carb cleaner/gun scrubber will suck the lipids right outta your skin, being a degreaser and all; wear gloves when using the stuff...)

June 2, 2003, 11:47 PM
In my experience the "plastic" used by Colt in their triggers and mainspring housings is unaffected by solvents, including bore, carb, and brake cleaner.

Of course, it still doesn't stop die-hard purists from hating those components anyway.

June 2, 2003, 11:55 PM
I replaced my plastic MSH on my Series 80 Enhanced .38 Stupor with a metal one, and replaced my plastic trigger with a... um... STI polycarbonate one. Yeah. That's the ticket. ;)

June 3, 2003, 12:16 AM
Carb cleaner is not comparable to other "solvents". It's designed to eat anything that is petroleum based - that's how it cleans additive build up out of your carb. Just because you can't immediately see the damage, doesn't mean it's not there.

Ask a space shuttle engineer.

Andrew Wyatt
June 3, 2003, 01:31 AM
The trigger in my GM is plastic. Untill i can find my box of WWII GI ones, it'll stay there. Of course, I dissassemble my 1911 to clean it, because if i didn't, dad would disown me.

June 4, 2003, 04:54 AM

Thanks for a really great thread.

June 4, 2003, 09:47 AM
I'll give an early vote for thread of the year! :cool:

Thanks, 1911tuner, for giving the first unequivocal reason not to slam shut an ACP. The bbl feet are pretty clearly the weak point on the whole mechanism when you think about it. If they get peened/shifted, the whole thing will go South pretty fast. Maybe we ought to put out a book called "Colt 45 Autos for Dummies," with you of course as the author! :)

The other reasons so often advanced, i.e., frail sear/hammer surfaces are OWNER INDUCED. I can see it on a tweaked bullseye pistol, but the pistolsmiths themselves know there are only so many cycles in a cough "tuned" trigger pull no matter how you baby it. That's why the arcane advice on preserving that 2# trigger. Not applicable to a reglar ole ACP, imho. The bbl feet thing, however, does make a whole lotta sense to me and I appreciate learning something new about "Ole Slabsides!"

June 4, 2003, 09:56 AM
Thanks, 1911tuner, for giving the first unequivocal reason not to slam shut an ACP. That's actually in the "Slamming slide forward on a 1911?" thread. (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=25259)

June 4, 2003, 10:20 AM
Riverdog: Oops! My bad. I thought everything was on one thread.

June 4, 2003, 06:01 PM
Hey hey Big G it's cool:

I hit the wrong button about 3 times a day...and you're mighty welcome for the thread.

Cheers all,

June 4, 2003, 07:36 PM
If the slide does not lock back after the last round, then you must insert a new mag and rack the slide, instead of inserting a mag and pressing a button. I would much rather press a button than have to recock the weapon. Also, in a stressful situation, with sweaty hands, I would imagine that getting a good grip on the slide would be difficult, considering it can be difficult just in the gunshop.

June 4, 2003, 07:53 PM
In a stressful situation, it's best to reload with the pistol in
battery on a hot chamber. A locked slide/empty pistol is
nothing more than an engineered stoppage...just like
surgery is engineered trauma. I've always looked at
the slidelock feature as more of a "Your're Screwed"
indicator than a necessary function of a fighting tool.

Have we another debate in the offing? :)


June 4, 2003, 08:32 PM
Have we another debate in the offing?In fact Tuner yes . this has reminded me of something I consider very relevant ...... I will go post ... it's to do with sub conscious math!!:)

June 4, 2003, 08:52 PM
it's best to reload with the pistol in battery on a hot chamber 1911Tuner,

"Tactical" reload, you mean?:confused:

. I've always looked at the slidelock feature as more of a "Your're Screwed" indicator than a necessary function of a fighting tool

Ending up with a click rather than a bang sort of gives you away, doesn't it?

In certain situations, wouldn't we rather stop shooting on empty with slide locked open, so as to give the BG the impression that we still retain the element of continuing threat to his well-being?

BTW, I've been following your posts and they really are very educational, in a 1911 kind of way.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. ;)

June 4, 2003, 09:33 PM
In the days before "Tactical Reload" was in vogue...We called
it topping off the weapon. It was one of the things that helped keep me alive in bad situations.

Off hand, I'd say that the strongest intent to a bad guy of your intent to hurt him would be to shoot him...but that's just me.
Some bad guys aren't afraid of anything or anybody, and
brandishing an empty gun would be to invite disaster. Better
to keep it hot in case you get the type who needs convincing.

P-95! Excellent! I love a good debate. I'll start on it first
thing tomorrow. Might be some who disagree, but it
will at least be something to think about.


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