stupid question of the week: converting series 80 1911 to series 70


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1KPerDay
January 13, 2011, 12:11 PM
Does this only involve removing the 2 series 80 bits from the frame, replacing them with this
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=13121/Product/1911_AUTO_FRAME_SLOT_BLANK

and removing the plunger from the slide? Do I need to use a different firing pin spring or anything?

Thanks!


EDIT: before we get into the "why do you want to remove the series 80 stuff" thing:

I have no issues with the series 80 trigger, and actually prefer the extra measure of safety. (Whether it's real or whether it just makes me feel better, I don't have any issues with it, other than making the gun a bit more fiddly to get back together.). But I'm getting a series 70 .22 conversion and will need to use a shim at least for that. right?

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huntershooter
January 13, 2011, 01:43 PM
The hammer in an "80 series" has a shelf, not a "half cock notch".
At a minimum you need to replace the hammer. Then you would need to mate the new hammer with the existing sear, which can certainly be done. If I were doing it I'd obtain a high quality hammer/sear set and replace both.

Buck Snort
January 13, 2011, 02:46 PM
Just DON'T use it as an SD gun. You'll have a hard time explaining to a jury just why you took a perfectly good safety device out of your gun. It might not even be germaine to the case but it'll be brought up and it can't help you one little bit.

xr1200
January 13, 2011, 03:33 PM
You really don't need to replace anything , to convert a 80 series colt to a 70 series for target shooting.

If you are just doing it to achieve the best trigger pull possible, all you have to do is removing the firing pin block and spring assembly from the slide and just reinstall the firing pin and spring as in a 70 series Just leave out the parts that block the firing pin.

As for the frame you can simply remove the trigger lever that is in the right side of the frame and leave it out and replace it with a small metal washer, that is about the same size and thickness to take up the slop, you can get them at radio shack for a few dollars. Or get the replacement metal plate from brownells to fill in the gap.

Install a lighter hammer spring and you are ready to go for target shooting.

The other thing is that if you will use to gun for personal defense or ccw , its better to leave the trigger assembly stock alone, to avoid any potential issues in a court of law.

1KPerDay
January 13, 2011, 03:42 PM
From what I've read, you need the spacer to prevent the sear from walking over and locking up the gun or going full-auto. I imagine a washer would accomplish the same thing. thanks for the tip.

I do NOT plan on using the modified gun for SD or CCW. Only for the .22 conversion/range use.

Do I really need a lighter hammer spring? This is the steel-slide Colt conversion with the floating chamber that supposedly increases recoil enough to run the slide reliably.

r6j6b
January 13, 2011, 03:49 PM
Quote:
"Just DON'T use it as an SD gun. You'll have a hard time explaining to a jury just why you took a perfectly good safety device out of your gun. It might not even be germaine to the case but it'll be brought up and it can't help you one little bit"

Is there a specific legal precidence or cases this has proven as gospel truth?
Not being combatitive but am very interested in seeing actual verbatum precidence. Comments like this are all over the 'net and referred as gospel by many. Specifically - if possible - pertaining to the 1911 style platform. tyia

xr1200
January 13, 2011, 04:08 PM
Why make your self a test case for a modified trigger in a court of law. Your better off playing it safe and use a stock factory gun for personal defense.

The only way you could probably get away form any legal ramifications for a modified trigger sysytem , would be if you had custom work done by Wilson Etc. and had the complete gun set up as one of their reliability or defense packages.

In a court of law you will have a hard time convincing a jury or a judge that the trigger work you did your self was safe and better than what the factory shipped the gun with.

xr1200
January 13, 2011, 04:10 PM
Replacing the hammer spring will vastly improve the trigger feel, and pull weight. It only costs about $5 anyway. Your kit will also function fine.

mgmorden
January 13, 2011, 04:50 PM
Just DON'T use it as an SD gun. You'll have a hard time explaining to a jury just why you took a perfectly good safety device out of your gun. It might not even be germaine to the case but it'll be brought up and it can't help you one little bit.

In cases of clear self defense, it's HIGHLY unlikely that the case would even make it to trial for a jury to be wondering about it in the first place.

A shooting is either justified, or it's not. No amount of other factors such as gun used, ammo used, or anything else is going to change the validity of your justification.

1911Tuner
January 13, 2011, 04:50 PM
You'll need a TJ's frame blank to fill the gap in the frame when you remove the levers.
Be sure to remove it for inspection every 5,000 rounds and dress the flanges that will probably form around the holes, or it could interfere with clean sear reset.

A standard firing pin spring would be a good idea. The ones in Series 80 pistols were short and fairly soft. Leave the mainspring/hammer spring alone. No need to change the hammer, either unless you plan to use the half-cock as a safety position...and even then, it's not really necessary.

It won't be a Series 70, though. The lack of lawyer parts do not a Series 70 make.
Series 70 means that the pistol is...or was originally...equipped with a collet barrel bushing and the Accurizer barrel...also a Colt trademark.

There were no firing pin safety parts in any of the pistols built in the 50s and 60s...but they weren't known as Series 50 or Series 60 any more than the WW1 models were known as Series Teen.

r6j6b
January 13, 2011, 04:58 PM
xr, you're repeating more internet rhetoric. As I stated, I'm not being combatitive, only looking for 100% factual information or genuine *first hand* experience. Is there legal precedence? That would definitely lay my question to rest and dispell *some* 'net lore.( I'm not questioning what a person's best option is. ) If there is actual cases where a precedant has been set- many people had better put their modded "HD" guns(handgun, rifle or shotgun) back in factory stock condition. Legal precedence could quite possibly dry the aftermarket parts business up. It would cause more gun modders to have extra cash laying about for training and ammo. just sayin.

1KPerDay
January 13, 2011, 05:04 PM
Thanks Tuner... I'd read what you posted in the past on other forums but wasn't sure about the firing pin spring. Sorry about the incorrect nomenclature. :)

Old Shooter
January 13, 2011, 05:17 PM
I would think the issue of safety removal mods would be a bigger and more likely issue in an accidental shooting as compared to a self defense shooting. In the SD shooting you intentionally shot the BG and the gun functioned as expected, safety issues aside. In an accidental shooting the lawyers suing you will put that issue on the front burner as in "Your reckless disregard for safety and the kitchen table mods you made to the gun resulted in baby billy-bob shooting the next door neighbor" or a shooting range incident or whatever. If you really want a series 70 style gun go out and buy one, nothing wrong with having two guns anyway.

JRC45AUTO
January 13, 2011, 06:03 PM
Be careful when you drop the slide.
If the trigger job is not right the hammer will fall and you'll shoot a hole in your table.
It happened to me.
I've been shooting and working on 1911's since 1985 and I'll give you this advise.
The series 80 firing pin block is the formost and most important safety feature ever made.
I will not own or work on a series 70 1911 period.

1911Tuner
January 13, 2011, 06:13 PM
I would think the issue of safety removal mods would be a bigger and more likely issue in an accidental shooting as compared to a self defense shooting.

Bingo. Although a prosecutor could conceivably try to make an issue of the removal of the parts in a criminal action...it would probably be nullified pretty quickly if your attorney is capable of passing the state BAR.

In a civil action following an accidental shooting...it might well mean your having to choose between heating and eating for the next 30 years while you get used to life in a rented single-wide.

I have de-lawyered Series 80 pistols that I use for range beaters. I don't allow anyone else to use them...no exceptions. If your BFF Joe were to shoot himself in the foot with your altered pistol...even if the alterations had nothing to do with it...you could find yourself on the losing end of a very costly tort.

Don't think that good ol' Joe would sue you? When the bills are piling up, his cars have been reposessed...and his house is about to go into forclosure and his kids can't eat or have decent clothes...and his wife's job is downsized...your house and cars and a large chunk of your salary will start to look awfully tempting.

Remember that in this "Age of Litigation" anyone can sue you for practically anything. Even if they don't win, the legal fees spent fighting it can be ruinous.

So...You have to ask yourself a deep question. Is it worth the risk, no matter how small? Or would it be better to just save your nickels and dimes and buy a model that doesn't include the firing pin safety system? As long as nobody else fires or even handles the gun, you'll be okay.

I know this isn't what you asked for, but I have to write it because it's even possible for the owners of THR to be named in a suit for allowing it to be posted here...or me for telling you about the frame blank...without a caveat.

It's the world that we live in. Nobody is to be held accountable for their own actions any more...at least not if there's money to be had.

1911Tuner
January 13, 2011, 06:38 PM
The series 80 firing pin block is the formost and most important safety feature ever made.
I will not own or work on a series 70 1911 period.

:scrutiny:

Interesting. I much prefer to own and carry 1911s without the lawyer parts...and I've been at this 1911 thing since 1965.

r6j6b
January 13, 2011, 07:10 PM
Thanks for taking the time to get comfy with the typie finger 1911Tuner - I(and most others) have read/heard those words about civil liability et al. Prudent advice, yet I've still not heard hard fast precedent. Back to the law books I go.

1911Tuner
January 13, 2011, 07:24 PM
"Typie finger"??

I'm doing naught but presenting something to think about. I really don't give a rotund rodent's rump what modifications that anyone makes to their guns...but any chance of civil liability for THR has to be covered by a disclaimer.

As in:

"We do not advocate making illegal or unsafe modifications to any firearm."

That's why many books published by Paladin Press...and most of you know which ones I mean...have the disclaimer: "The content is to be used for informational purposes only."

As an armorer, I'm often asked to do this particular modification on Series 80 pistols. I flat refuse, and tell the owner that I'll tell him what to do...and even demonstrate it on my gun...but I won't do it for him. No exceptions.

The information has been given, along with the disclaimer. You may do with that what you will...but while you're diggin' in those books, you might want to ask yourself how...logically... disabling an existing safety feature on a gun will do anything but hurt your chances of successfully defending a tort action.

JRC45AUTO
January 14, 2011, 03:01 PM
Interesting. I much prefer to own and carry 1911s without the lawyer parts...and I've been at this 1911 thing since 1965.

I know, I used to have 70 series gov models & gold cups and never gave the FP safety a second thought.
When I started shooting IPSC I saw the hotrods come out with their 1-2 lb triger jobs.
I figured like a rifle, a lighter trigger would give increased accuracy.
I have done 12-2lb trigger jobs on 70 & 80 series colts and never had a hammer to follow when dropping the slide.
Thats a standard check when I do a job.
A friend brought his newly purchased, worked over 3 lb trigger colt to show me.
He was carrying cocked & locked, so after admiring it I was going to load & make ready for him.
Inserted mag, dropped slide with slide release & BANG.
Hole thru my kitchen table.
A series 80 would not do this even if dropped with thumb safety off.

Zerodefect
January 14, 2011, 03:59 PM
Just DON'T use it as an SD gun. You'll have a hard time explaining to a jury just why you took a perfectly good safety device out of your gun. It might not even be germaine to the case but it'll be brought up and it can't help you one little bit.

Wrong.

1. A good shoot is a good shoot, deosn't matter how many safeties you have.
2. A negligent or accidental shoot is still a negligent or accidental shoot, deosn't matter if you tampered with the safeties or not.

Bottom line, if you accidentally shoot someone, your screwed, no matter if your gun is stock or not. You can't pass the blame. Sure, the prosecuter is going to make a point that you may have made your gun more dangerous, but your allready screwed.

No jury is going to let you off the hook because your gun was box stock and safely holstered.

xr1200
January 14, 2011, 04:19 PM
Your biggest concern with an altered trigger or safety mechanism is going to be in an accidental shooting or an altercation outside the home where a gun is used.

Why even take a chance with using an altered gun in a self defense situation or in a public place.

Take these 3 examples, you have a 1911 with a lightned 2lb trigger and are holding an robber at gun point for police, at that point his hands are in the air and you accidently touch the trigger and kill the robber once he was already disarmed.

Or you are are walking around a shopping mall with your modified gun and it drops from the holster or pocket and discharges killing someone.

Or you are wrestling someone over a physical altercation and the gun discharges.

Now how are going to justify your modified trigger system in these shooting ?

mgmorden
January 14, 2011, 04:43 PM
xr1200: In all those cases, as Zerodefect pointed out - you're pretty much screwed at that point anyways. They are accidental shootings, and in some cases outright fantasy.

You CAN NOT hold a robber at gunpoint for police to show up for example. You can use your weapon defensively, not to enforce the law. You pull your weapon and you're either safe to shoot (ie, he's in your home), or you're not - ie, he's not, in which case you can't hold him as if he flees and you shoot, you've committed murder - your life was no longer in danger.

Now, you could be arguing against target features (such as a 2lb trigger) on self defense guns, or against making UNSAFE modifications to ANY gun, and that's fine, but both are completely different issues from making standard, working modifications to a firearm.

This issue, much like the use of reloads, is simply one of those internet "wives tales" that has sprung up and taken legs.

1911Tuner
January 14, 2011, 05:08 PM
A friend brought his newly purchased, worked over 3 lb trigger colt to show me.
He was carrying cocked & locked, so after admiring it I was going to load & make ready for him.Inserted mag, dropped slide with slide release & BANG.

It's odd, but over the course of nearly 50 years of owning, shooting, handling, beatin' and wrenchin' on 1911 pistols...I've never had it happen to me...and the only one that I've been present to see it happen with was one with a double-throwdown trigger job that broke clean at 3 pounds...and I submit that it wouldn't have happened even at that unless there was somethin' bad wrong with the hammer/sear/disconnect group.

The ones that I have seen follow have all been stopped by the half-cock, as per design intent, and the ones that do that shouldn't be fired again or even loaded until it's corrected...Series 80 or otherwise.

Mechanically defective guns are subject to malfunctions...and when the hammer follows the slide...that's a malfunction that proves that something is defective.

So...I've never had it happen to me, but then again...I don't dink around with hair triggers on 1911 pistols. 5-6 pounds is fine, thank you.

Zerodefect
January 14, 2011, 05:16 PM
Your biggest concern with an altered trigger or safety mechanism is going to be in an accidental shooting or an altercation outside the home where a gun is used.

Why even take a chance with using an altered gun in a self defense situation or in a public place.

Take these 3 examples, you have a 1911 with a lightned 2lb trigger and are holding an robber at gun point for police, at that point his hands are in the air and you accidently touch the trigger and kill the robber once he was already disarmed.

1911's should never go below 4lbs. IMO. My DW has a very light trigger. I hung a bucket from it's trigger with a coat hanger. Filled with water 'till it dropped the hammer. Consistntly at 4.25-4.5.

Also that senerio violates the finger off the trigger rule and the don't point your gun at something you don't want to destroy rule. You can back away and lower your weapon.

So in this senerio, it maybe a good shoot (badguy is still a badguy afterall), but if a jury rules "bad shoot", even with a stock Glock/XD etc. Your going to jail.

Or you are are walking around a shopping mall with your modified gun and it drops from the holster or pocket and discharges killing someone.
Series 70 1911's do not have this problem. No gun should go off if dropped. That's a gun smith error. Have to be careful if you do a trigger job on a 1911 or remove the series 80/II parts. But a 1911 with it's 80/II parts removed should be drop safe. May need to use a 70 firing pin and spring.

A stock Glock doing this is still going to put you in jail until your hearing. Involutary manslaughter, and a nice civil suit when you get out.

Or you are wrestling someone over a physical altercation and the gun discharges.

Not allowed to wrestle, argue, or act tough in bars, if your CCW is on you. It's still a negligent discharge. A stock Glock is still going to get you arrested for this. No harm done, you'll probally get to go home one gun short, possibly lose your CCW.

Now how are going to justify your modified trigger system in these shooting
Pretty much screwed allready. Deosn't matter. ?

Many people carry modified triggers. Especially Glock owners. Really is something to consult your Lawyer about to know for sure.

My lawyer: "As long as your modded gun is safe you be ok. But a negligent discharge is negligent no matter what. What type of gun has no bearing at all in the decision process of good shoot vs bad shoot. But in an accident case, it may hurt you some more. "

(give or take my memory is rusty)

1911Tuner
January 14, 2011, 06:55 PM
Well...It's headed in the very direction that the OP asked that it not go. He asked specifically about a .22 conversion unit, and what he'd need to make it function correctly. He mentioned nothing about carrying the gun for any purpose other than to take it to the range, or possibly to pot some small game.

The answer has been provided. Yes. He needs the shim. The disclaimer covering THR is in place. I see no real need to take this further into the abyss.

EddieNFL
January 14, 2011, 08:09 PM
:scrutiny:

Interesting. I much prefer to own and carry 1911s without the lawyer parts...and I've been at this 1911 thing since 1965.
Ditto (since '74).

I get around not having them by teaching myself to not drop my piece. Having a mechanically sound firearm also helps.

Don't care for trigger locks, either.

FlyinBryan
January 14, 2011, 08:22 PM
is 1kperday's link working for you guys?

r6j6b
January 14, 2011, 08:47 PM
"We are currently conducting maintenance on www.brownells.com.

We will be back up shortly. Thank you for your patience."

it will soon enough ;)

1911Tuner
January 15, 2011, 06:13 AM
Ditto (since '74).

I get around not having them by teaching myself to not drop my piece. Having a mechanically sound firearm also helps.

I wonder how we ever managed to get along for almost 75 years before Series 80...shock buffs...8-round magazines...and FLGRs.

EddieNFL
January 15, 2011, 08:32 AM
I wonder how we ever managed to get along for almost 75 years before Series 80...shock buffs...8-round magazines...and FLGRs.
We were to stupid to know. How would we survive without paper towels?

larryh1108
January 15, 2011, 08:56 AM
I kinda like these computer gizmos. Life before computers was filled with reading old National Geographic magazines. However, autos have evolved with air bags, ABS and roll cages, all in the name of safety.

I don't own nor will I buy a Series 80 but perhaps they are for the casual gun owner who only knows how to insert the magazine and pull the trigger. The modern safety features are (probably) more beneficial for those who do not patrol these boards. There's nothing wrong with additional safety features but they aren't for everybody.

Racinbob
January 15, 2011, 08:31 PM
Although I do have my opinions on this (original) issue, I'm not going to say anything but that you all need to read, reread, and heed what 1911tuner is saying.

AZ_Rebel
January 16, 2011, 10:57 AM
The series 80 firing pin block is the formost and most important safety feature ever made.
Do you really believe that?

Inserted mag, dropped slide with slide release & BANG.
Was your finger on the trigger? If not, why did the safety notch on the hammer not stop it? And with your finger on the trigger the firing pin block would also have been disengaged. Sounds more like an ND then a mechanical failure.

A series 80 would not do this even if dropped with thumb safety off.
How do propose dropping the slide with the thumb safety on?

Having owned and carried 1911 type pistols since 1958 my preference is a 4 lb trigger with some slack, no creep and no backlash. A 2 lb trigger, while do-able, is not long lasting and not desireable on a carry gun.

Buck Snort
January 16, 2011, 05:52 PM
mgmorden wrote: "A shooting is either justified, or it's not. No amount of other factors such as gun used, ammo used, or anything else is going to change the validity of your justification."

Ah yes, the leisure of living in a perfect world!

Frank Ettin
January 16, 2011, 08:05 PM
Just DON'T use it as an SD gun. You'll have a hard time explaining to a jury just why you took a perfectly good safety device out of your gun. It might not even be germaine to the case but it'll be brought up and it can't help you one little bit....Is there a specific legal precidence or cases this has proven as gospel truth?...
...In cases of clear self defense, it's HIGHLY unlikely that the case would even make it to trial for a jury to be wondering about it in the first place....This isn't what this thread is about, BUT --

[1] As a lawyer, I will not use a gun for self defense that has had a safety device disabled.

[2] If anyone really wants to delve into the issue, it has been discussed extensively. See --

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=466935

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=480258

ROBBY.1911
January 17, 2011, 10:07 PM
a guy breaqks into your house swinging a machete at your head. youroll off the couch and grab the series 80 to defend yourself. right as you defacate and faint, you double tap him. when you come to, the crazy guy is down for good but all by himself in the on the kitchen floor. you swing your head around and see 5 CSI techs with micrometers and Jerry Kunhausen manuals measuring every part of yor series 80 with two EMTs holding the gurney. you blink twice, and clear your throat as you are noticed by the law enforcement conclave gathered in your living room. as one of the cops turns to approach you, he says this,"you have the right to remain silent...."

Frank Ettin
January 17, 2011, 10:18 PM
...a guy breaqks into your house swinging a machete at your head. youroll off the couch and grab the series 80 to defend yourself. right as you defacate and faint, you double tap him. when you come to, the crazy guy is down for good but all by himself in the on the kitchen floor. you swing your head around and see 5 CSI techs with micrometers and Jerry Kunhausen manuals measuring every part of yor series 80 with two EMTs holding the gurney. you blink twice, and clear your throat as you are noticed by the law enforcement conclave gathered in your living room. as one of the cops turns to approach you, he says this,"you have the right to remain silent...."... You have a fine, active imagination, but your little detour into fantasy fiction is completely pointless.

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