Newbie Help - Breakdown for Colt 1911 .45 ACP


November 17, 2007, 05:28 PM
Looking for tips on field stripping a Colt National Match 1911 .45 ACP I just obtained from my in-laws.
I am new to the 1911 style pistol, so need some pointers, please.
Based on S/N, this gun was made in 1959 for the commercial civilian sales market, rather than Army issue. I don't think it has been fired in maybe 10 years. My father in law used to use it for target competition. In fact, he had mounted an AimPoint Mark III first generation laser site on it in the early to mid 80's. I've already removed this non-functional, obsolete unit. The top-rail for it, mounted on the left side grip plate, was rather interesting looking.
My challenge comes at the very first step of field stripping the gun. When I depress the spring button on the end of the barrel, I cannot get the barrel bushing to budge at all. I know I need to rotate the bushing in order to release the barrel and begin the disassmbly.
I would like to avoid doing anything dumb and messing up this gun. It looks like a really fine specimen. Therefore, I have not taken any tools or lubricant to the bushing, yet. All attempts to disassemble have been using fingers, only.
So... any suggestions on methods of loosening and freeing the barrel bushing? Should I apply penetrating lubricant? Is there a particular tool or techniques that works well on recalcitrant bushings? Is there some trick in positioning the slide to help free it up?
Alternately, would I be better off locating a local smith and having him strip, clean, and oil the gun before I start using it?
Thank you in advance for any help, tips, and pointers you may have.


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November 17, 2007, 05:54 PM

Sounds like you have a nice 1911. If the pistol hasn't been fired or cycled in some time, residual oils or grease, may have things a bit stiff. You will not hurt the pistol by applying a good quality gun oil to moving parts. Kroil (penetrating oil) could be applied to work its way between the barrel bushing and the slide, and should loosen it up nicely. You should be able to completely strip the pistol with just your fingers, and parts of the pistol. Midway, Brownells and others sell plastic bushing wrenches, if you're so inclined.

Here's some disassembly instructions that showed up in a web search for 1911 disassembly. There are many such documents on line.

just my opinion...... do NOT use WD40 on the pistol. My experience has shown that WD40 is better suited to non-firearms uses.

November 17, 2007, 07:58 PM

Most firearms manufacturers have manuals online that you can download. They usually walk you through the disassembly and the assembly.

November 17, 2007, 08:11 PM
I had the same question a week or two ago, and found these three very helpful videos:

1911 Disassembly (

1911 Re-Assembly Part 1 (

1911 Re-Assembly Part 2 (

The Lone Haranguer
November 17, 2007, 08:55 PM
It may have a tightly fitted barrel bushing to increase accuracy. You may need a barrel bushing wrench ...
... to at least get it started turning.

This assumes it has a standard recoil spring plug (the "button" you depress) and guide and not some sort of full length guide rod setup. Some of these have to be unscrewed from the spring plug. However, you do not mention any screw heads (usually a hex/"Allen" key).

My two personal 1911s (a Colt and a SIG) take down with fingers only. :)

JP from Phoenix
November 17, 2007, 10:35 PM
wow thats a whole lot easier than i thought it would be, i have 1911 fever right now and want my first one bad

November 18, 2007, 09:44 PM
Thanks to Jayb and The Lone Haranguer for realizing I was asking how to get the stuck bushing moving, not how to field strip the gun.
LH advised, "It may have a tightly fitted barrel bushing to increase accuracy. You may need a barrel bushing wrench"
I had not known such a tool existed. Now I do.

(The how-to links are good, thanks - but I already had those instructions in several forms. )

I returned to the gun show this afternoon, found a barrel bushing wrench for $2, and worked on the Colt this evening.

Partial success; I was able to turn the bushing with the wrench, to allow removing the slide from the frame and cleaning most of the gun. However, the bushing is still so tight, I have not been able to remove t from the slide. Thus, I have not yet successfully removed the barrel from the slide.
I'll keep working on it, and adding oil.
Any added suggestions on fully freeing the bushing would be great.

Thanks, all! This is a great forum for quick help. I do appreciate it.


November 18, 2007, 10:08 PM
liberally apply Kroil (no, I don't sell the stuff, I just like it ) or a good penetrating oil between the bushing and slide

... in a padded vise, or B&D workmate
grip the slide at the serrations with muzzle up
rotate the barrel link towards the muzzle
pull the barrel up until it stops at the bushing

using your new bushing wrench, rotate the bushing back and forth so the recoil spring plug cutout on the bushing travels between 7 o'clock and 9 o'clock, or 3 o'clock and 5 o'clock..... pull upward gently on the barrel, and allow the barrel to turn with the bushing.

Since it went together... and because it's rotating, it will come out. Be patient, and use lots of oil....... don't hit it with anything :p

November 18, 2007, 10:27 PM
Craig If you take care you will note that the bushing has a " teat " that runs in a grouve milled in the slide . Thus it will turn 90 degrees in one direction to release the spring for takedown , then you must turn it back beyond where it originally was to release the bushing . Now i dont know how to describe how far to turn it back ( normally one side of the spring retainer will still be in the dustcover hole the spring came out of . but ill state that if you turn it just past the original position you can take a pencil or similar non mar " stick " and put it where the spring came out from the back of the slide to the front and with gentle to medium pressure feel when it aligns for removal . Most will not over rotate but i have seen a few which will and bind . after the first time you will have it down and it will seem natural . Oh and congrats on the fantastic first 1911 .

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