Series 80 Detail Strip


December 31, 2003, 10:38 AM
Drop the magazine and clear the pistol...

Series 80 Colt pistols have a passive firing pin block that will enable the pistol to fire only if the trigger is pulled. There are 4 parts in this system. 2 in the frame, and two in the slide. The parts in the frame will not hamper disassembly in any way, while the two in the slide require that certain steps be taken in the proper order to remove the firing pin and extractor.

Frame disassembly is accomplished exactly the same way as a Series 70.
Reassembly is a bit more tedious. Before removal of the parts in the frame, take a minute to study them. One is held in place by the hammer pin, and will only go in one way. The other is buried a little deeper, and is held in place by the sear/disconnector pin. It will go in upside down, and will not allow the pistol to function. You will find it in the right side of the frame, beside the sear.

Disasemble the frame parts, and look carefully at the lower one...It looks a little like a boomerang with a hole. One end is shorter than the other. For reference sake, I call it The Bird's Head...because that's what it looks like to me. This one will be the tedious part of reasembly. The other one is a cakewalk.

The proper orientation for the bird's head is with the long leg pointing downward, the short leg pointing rearward at an angle. The bird's "eye" goes toward the front of the pistol. The long leg bears against the trigger stirrup.

To reassemble this part, it will be necessary to get the sear/disconnector pin through the sear, disconnector and the "bird's eye". The best way to do it is with a slave pin...enter the M-16 firing pin again.

Install the trigger bar lever...the bird's head..first, and slip the end of the firing pin through it. Push it against the inside of the frame, and slip the pin out far enough to keep it in place, but not far enough to let the lever fall. With the sear and disconnector properly oriented...(you did have them together...right?) carefully slip the sear/disconnector sub-assembly into place. Align them by nudging the trigger to the rear and moving the disconnector paddle until the firing pin will slide through all three parts. Turn the frame upright and test by shaking it. If nothing falls out, roll the frame back onto the side...left side up...and use the sear pin to chase the slave pin out. Re-test. If nothing falls out, you're done.


A dab of Lubriplate grease on the right side of the trigger bar lever will stick it to the frame and help to keep it in place while installing the sear and disconnector.

Reinstalling the upper part...or the plunger lever, is a matter of laying it in the slot with the point facing forward, installing the hammer, and pushing the hammer pin home. When you are through, pull the trigger to make sure that the upper lever cams upward with light finger pressure on top of it. You will feel it try to lift if all is well. if it doesn't, remove it and try again.

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December 31, 2003, 10:44 AM
The Series 80 slide contains a plunger and a tiny spring. The procedure for disassembly is like the Series 70, except that it will be necessary to follow a few steps in the proper order.

Depress the plunger with a fingertip, and push the firing pin inward as far as it will go. With the firing pin held in...release the plunger. The firing pin will be captive. Remove the firing pin stop. With your thumb over the rear of the slide, push in on the plunger again, and it will release the firing pin. Continue to hold the plunger in while removing the firing pin and spring.

Pry outward lightly on the extractor. When you see it barely move, the plunger should pop out a little. Grab it with needle nose pliers and pull the plunger and spring out. Careful...That spring is both small and lively. If it hits the floor, you will be lucky to find it. If you have to put more than just a little pressure on the plunger to remove it, the extractor still has it captive, and you will have to apply a little "wiggle" to find the sweet spot. If the pistol is fairly clean, the plunger will pop out far enough to remove it easily. A dirty channel will require a little persuasion. With the plunger and
spring out, the extractor can be removed in the normal manner.

To reassemble the slide, put the extractor in first...just short of flush. Look
into the plunger hole to see if the cut-out in the extractor aligns with the radius of the hole. If you can see any part of the extractor at the rear radius of the hole, you will have to pull it back out a little. When the hole is clear, you can put the spring and plunger in.

Push in on the plunger and hold it in. Install the firing pin and spring, and
again push it in as far as it will go while holding the plunger in. Release the plunger to capture the firing pin, and replace the stop. Push the plunger in one more time, and the firing pin should snap into place. If the rear of the pin doesn't come through the hole in the stop, the stop isn't seated

Reassemble the pistol, and check to make sure the system is in order by placing a pencil in the bore eraser first, and pulling the trigger. If the, pencil isn't shot out of the barrel...start over.

This procedure is fairly simple, although tedious. With a little practice, you
can accomplish a disassembly/reassembly on a Series 80 with just a bit more time than a 70...depending largely on how steady your hands are.

Luck to ya!


Black Snowman
December 31, 2003, 11:06 AM
I have yet to detail strip my Delta Elite and it looks like I'm running out of excuses. I'll let you know if your instructions give me any grief ;) Thanks for all the assistance Tuner, you're invaluable wisdom is at least appreciated, even if it's not paid for :D

December 31, 2003, 11:52 AM
I'm running out of excuses.

Jump in and get your feet wet! Nothin' ventured, nothin' gained.

I'll let you know if your instructions give me any grief.

If they do, I'll stick with ya 'til it's up and runnin'.

Luck to ya, neighbor!


January 23, 2004, 04:44 AM
BTT...also for the Sarge

January 23, 2004, 06:43 AM
Thanks for yet another instructional thread on the 1911 sir! I have 4 of them, ranging from a Trophy Match to a 1991A1 Compact (ugly finished officers model) and all Series 80.
I break my weapons all the way down after every shoot and you have a great idea on the "birds head". I have gotten to the point where on reassembly, I point the frame down, put the disconnector and sear in on top of the trigger bow, and stick the first finger of my left hand thru the top of the magazine hole and after some practice, I just drop the the birds head in and push the pin thru. It's a snap and takes but just a bit of practice.

I always test my Series 80 after assembly by dropping a dowel rod down the barrel, cocking the hammer and pressing the trigger. If ya did good, that dowel should jump out of the barrel if you are pointing the barrel up.
I used to use a pencil, but Mrs Delmar got a bit upset when the pencil stuck in the ceiling above the dining room table:uhoh:

That hammer fall could detonate a primer made out of deck plate, me thinks.

January 23, 2004, 08:37 AM
Well, I got the thing apart and the wilson trigger fit in like it was made for it. In taking it apart some stuff fell out too fast for me to see how it went together. After 2 hours of IM's and Phone I was walked through reassembly. Have detail stripped it 5 times since, so now I am a pro. Stupid assed series 80 safety, I swear I cussed that thing for 2 solid

1911 tuner, thanks for the DETAILED instructions, I printed them for future reference.

CSA 357
August 8, 2007, 06:31 PM
1911 tuner i too would like these instructions, i took one of my colts apart to change the trigger, there was stuff fell out of it i dont know what it is! does a 1911 have a crank shaft?:D csa

August 8, 2007, 06:58 PM
CSA...They're in the first post of the thread. You can use a slave pin for the sear, disconnect, and trigger lever, but writing it up would've confused everybody.

August 8, 2007, 07:02 PM
This is a nice thread, but when I saw the title I thought for sure I'd find 1911 pictures. Sigh! :( No pics!

October 22, 2007, 10:06 PM
This is an awesome thread....very helpful!! Would love a ""HOW TO"" dissassemble slide with an external extractor, series 80 if possible. As in a SiG GSR...


June 18, 2010, 03:34 PM
I read this thread and it was very helpful after taking apart my series 80 Colt 1991 to install a new trigger. One problem though.... After installing the trigger, I took it to the range, and it would not fire, even with factory ball ammo. The hammer falls, but no ignition. I brought it home, checked the firing pin by dropping a pencil in the bore while pointing up, and it barely jumped. I turned the trigger stop screw out a few turns, and now the pencil jumps much higher, and with more gusto. Would the trigger stop screw prevent the firing pin from fully hitting the primer? I hope I fixed the problem. I guess I'll find out next time at ther range!

June 18, 2010, 04:10 PM
Would the trigger stop screw prevent the firing pin from fully hitting the primer?No.
But it would prevent the hammer from fully hitting the firing pin.

Because the sear is prevented from moving out of the way by the trigger stirrup not moving the disconnector, and releasing the sear all the way, and the hammer safety notch, or bump is hitting the sear.

Good way to mess up the sear angle and hammer notch too.


June 18, 2010, 04:30 PM
Crap, I hope I didnt mess up anything!

June 19, 2010, 03:37 PM
Would the trigger stop screw prevent the firing pin from fully hitting the primer?
Yes it would since the FP block would not be released.

On the Series 80, the trigger overtravel determines the amount of rise of the lever that engages the FP block plunger. Too little overtravel will result in the lever not being raised enough to release the FP block. After some time, you will notice peening on the FP block from this happening.

Add more overtravel until you get the maximum rise from the lever.

June 19, 2010, 04:13 PM
I took out the screw completely. Now the pencil shoots out of the barrel about 18", much more than before. I also took out the FP and FP plunger. The plunger was peened slightly, so I chucked it in my Dewalt, and lightly smoothed out the peening with 320 and then 600 grit paper. (I think I'm going to replace it with a new one, just to return it to like-new). When I pull the trigger with the slide off now, I see the plunger lever rise much more than before. Obviously, the trigger stop caused this problem. Thanks for the help guys!

June 19, 2010, 04:16 PM
Now you need to make sure the trigger's rearward travel is stopped by the grip safety before it pushes into the sear spring. With a Colt, you "should" be OK unless you dropped in a Wilson beavertail.

June 19, 2010, 04:19 PM
Now you need to make sure the trigger's rearward travel is stopped by the grip safety before it pushes into the sear spring. With a Colt, you "should" be OK unless you dropped in a Wilson beavertail.

Ok, could you walk me through how to check this?

June 19, 2010, 04:38 PM
The first sign of a problem is usually the gun doubling or firing three in a row. :) With the OT screw, if you adjust it so you just get the maximum lever rise, it won't be a problem. I've never completely removed an OT screw so I suspect you could resort to measuring but there is one measurement that will be very hard to get if at all.

Measure the amount of trigger travel. You can do this by marking the shoe against the frame so you can see how far the trigger travels before it is stopped by the grip safety.

The one that will be hard to measure is the distance from the bottom of the trigger bow to the front of the sear spring. The grip safety stop distance needs to be less than this distance.

Like I said, I've never tried it that way, I've just adjusted the OT screw to make sure there are no rubs of the sear on the hammer and then backed it out more until the lever was at it's max. Maybe someone else can think of a way to do this without shooting the gun to see. :)

July 25, 2010, 09:12 PM
I recently picked up one of the new Remington 1911 R1's and testing it in the shop it was fine, but after I field stripped it for cleaning the grip safety stopped working. Before it felt like it was under some tension, now it just seems to flop around in there. I didn't remove anything anywhere near the grip safety, so I don't know why that happened. And I've never detail stripped a 1911 before, but looking at parts diagrams, it looked very intimidating.

Today I tried (with the help of animations, videos and written instructions) a detail strip, which went rather well. The issues started, though, with the reassembly. getting the "bird's head" piece back in, and the sear/disconnect. It took me over two hours to finally get things back together, and after all that, the grip safety still just flops around!

I did call E-RPC and they are sending me a call tag to return it to them. I just don't know what caused the problem, and I can't seen any reason for the problem, so I'm going to let them take care of it.

Anyone who says the 1911 is easy to disassemble/reassemble must be a much better person than I am; I have no plans to try this again...I've had better luck detail stripping my Sig P220!

July 25, 2010, 09:39 PM
Gary...that doesn't make sense, but I learned a long time ago to never say never. It almost has to be a problem with the sear spring. The right leg controls the grip safety function and reset.

As for detail stripping the 1911...assuming no add-on lawyer parts as with the Series 80 or the Swartz's really not complicated at all. Once you've done it a few times, and know the correct orientation of a few of the parts, it's shockingly easy. If I don't get in a rush, I can take one apart...slide and frame, starting with a fully assembled about a minute. Leisurely reassembly takes about two and a half or three...but if I rush, I can get it done in much less time. Find somebody who knows the ropes and have him walk ya through it a couple times...then go home and practice. Pretty soon, it'll almost fall apart.

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