1911 barrel movement ... how much is too much and common causes?


PDA






1858
May 23, 2011, 06:56 PM
I recently bought a pair of Dan Wesson 1911s, a Valor and a V-Bob. Both pistols have slight barrel movement once the barrel is locked to the slide. After controlled racking of the slide (no magazine in the pistol), if I push down on top of the chamber I can feel a "click". My Ed Brown has zero movement if I conduct the same test. So my question to knowledgeable folks such as 1911Tuner is how much barrel movement is acceptable, and what are the common causes for this movement in production 1911s? I installed Ed Brown bushings and spring plugs in both Dan Wesson's and now there is no movement of either barrel in the slide after lock up. I put this down to the fact that the Ed Brown bushings are much tighter on the DW barrels compared to the DW bushings which have a considerable amount of free play.

If you enjoyed reading about "1911 barrel movement ... how much is too much and common causes?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
ThePunisher'sArmory
May 23, 2011, 07:09 PM
I'm no expert but the tighter the bushing the more accuracy...I would think. However don't drop it in the dirt. The tighter the tolerance the less reliable it will be.

9mmepiphany
May 23, 2011, 07:19 PM
I'll of course defer to 1911Tuner...but it raised my curiosity enough to go check my 1911. Sorry I'm down to only having one in the house and it isn't a production gun, but...

As I slowly retract the slide...using my support thumb in the triggerguard and an overhand grip on the slide in front of the ejection post...and feel for play at the rear of the barrel, I have no movement of the barrel hood at all other than that caused by the link pulling the barrel downward.

I do not think it has to do with the bushing allowing movement, I would think it would be related to the fit between the link, the barrel and the slide stop pin.

1858
May 23, 2011, 07:47 PM
I do not think it has to do with the bushing allowing movement, I would think it would be related to the fit between the link, the barrel and the slide stop pin.

I agree with this and that's why I'm wondering if the tighter Ed Brown bushings merely mask the issue. Even though I can no longer feel any "click" as I push down on the barrel hood once the barrel is locked to the slide, if the initial problem is due to the link, barrel feet and slide stop pin interaction, I've done nothing to change that. A properly fitted barrel should have zero movement I'm sure, but I'm curious as to how much movement would keep a gunsmith awake at night if match grade accuracy wasn't required.


As I slowly retract the slide...using my support thumb in the triggerguard and an overhand grip on the slide in front of the ejection post...and feel for play at the rear of the barrel, I have no movement of the barrel hood at all other than that caused by the link pulling the barrel downward.

I had to read this a couple of times to understand exactly what you're doing but I've got it now. I'll try this tonight. All I've been doing is pushing down on the barrel hood with the slide and barrel locked and all the way forward, after controlled racking of the slide. As I said, with the factory bushings, there's a definite "click" as the barrel bottoms out. Perhaps this is the link or the barrel legs bottoming out on the slide stop pin. Either way, I expected better from Dan Wesson based on what I've read.

Sniper X
May 23, 2011, 07:48 PM
WQellll. I have a few 1911s and have had MANY. I have had 1911s that have no movement in the slide or barrel AT ALL, and some that are so wiggly that they sound like a bag of marbles when you shake them if there isn't a round in the chamber. ALL have been so accurate at ranges that they would need to be used in combat, that it doesn't seem to matter. I feel that only with a mag in and a round in the chamber and of course pointed in a safe direction can a 1911 be considered locked up enough for a true movement test. Even at that, like I stated, some shake and wiggle and still shoot like tack drivers some have no noise at all and shoot like tack drivers. In fact, I have never shot a 1911 that did not shoot incredibly well.

EddieNFL
May 23, 2011, 07:54 PM
Short link.

Jim K
May 23, 2011, 08:27 PM
I too will defer to Tuner, but when the barrel in in battery, the link should be irrelevant. The barrel is locked into the slide by the barrel foot riding up on the slide stop. In fact, the link is not even necessary as the barrel goes into battery; it is needed only to pull the barrel down as the gun unlocks. If the barrel is being propped up on the link when it is locked into the slide, that is not good and the gun may be inaccurate. That is called "riding the link" and since the link is both loose and narrow, it is not a stable position and the barrel can swing from side to side when in battery.

When the barrel foot is properly seated on the slide stop, the barrel cannot be pushed down. Only if the barrel is riding on the link and the link is loose can the barrel be moved.

Jim

1858
May 23, 2011, 09:16 PM
Jim,
But isn't this a common problem with many production 1911s? The feet barely make contact with the slide stop pin, or worse yet, have no contact at all. I've seen many slide stop pins with no indication of contact between the pin and the feet, just a shiny ring in the center where the link is making contact.

It's amazing to me that the feet can be shaped so perfectly that they ride up the slide stop pin and lock the barrel in place with zero movement once the barrel is locked to the slide. But back to my original question ... how much movement of the barrel is "typical" or "acceptable" with production 1911s. From what I've read, 0.001" between the bushing and the barrel is a match grade fit. I've also read that 0.002" is ideal for barrel hood to breach face clearance, so is there an equivalent number for the gap between the barrel feet and the slide stop pin?

makarovnik
May 24, 2011, 03:25 AM
Bad barrel to slide fit and not locking up properly. Don't depend on the link to push the barrel up into the slide. That's naughty.

1911Tuner
May 24, 2011, 08:31 AM
The link is irrelevant. The only reason it's there is to disengage the barrel from the slide at the right time to let the slide pass over it without knocking the lugs off. Properly within spec, the barrel should be fully supported by the slidestop crosspin's contact with the lower barrel lug.

That said, there are a good many that don't have this sort of fit.

As far as being able to get a little movement when you push down on the barrel...it's not an ideal fit for the best accuracy, but as long as it's engaged far enough into the slide, it won't cause a problem other than a little vertical stringing on target due to not returning the the exact same place between shots.

Using a longer link isn't a good fix for vertical barrel movement. It doesn't do much for accuracy, and often makes it worse. The real problem with juggling links is that it alters the timing of the linkdown. Longer links delay it. Delay it a little too much and the barrel hits the vertical impact surface before the lugs are clear of the slide. The lugs are damaged to some degree, and if the crash is severe, the lower lug can be pulled off the barrel. Upper lugs also suffer, as well as the slide's lugs.

Link too short has the same potential for expensive damage. Shorter link advances the timing and causes the barrel to hit the frame bed before it hits the vertical impact surface. Commonly known as "Stopping on the Link" is a silent killer of barrels. I've seen lower barrel lugs pull completely through the chamber. One guy noticed odd "U" shaped bulges in his fired brass, and brought the gun to me for a check. Inspection showed the problem, and in my best judgement, he was within maybe 50 rounds of a catastrophic failure of the ka-blooey kind. Very lucky. Turned out to be a short link that somebody had installed before he bought the gun used. The gun was a Colt Series 70 Government model that had a Wilson #2 link in it.

Final analysis...Unless you're chasing small groups, if the gun is accurate enough to hit what you normally shoot at, and you can't see any peening of the upper lugs...I wouldn't worry about it.

Zerodefect
May 24, 2011, 04:10 PM
How deos it shoot? I'd imagine if it's accurate, then it's a non-issue. How hard are you pushing? If the slide moves back........

My DW has no play when I push down on the barrel hood with the slide in battery. My DW front sight is a bit too tall. No problems at all other than that. My Kimber has no barrel play as well.

I'll have to check for barrel play from now on with new pistols at the shop. Never really thought much about it.




Isn't the bullet traveling down the barrel going to pull the barrel forward and firmly up into the slide lugs anyways?

9mmepiphany
May 24, 2011, 06:13 PM
As new as it is, why not give them a call and see what their CS folks say. At worst they'll tell you it is fine unless feeding or accuracy really suffer, at best they'll fit a new barrel

1858
May 25, 2011, 12:41 AM
As far as being able to get a little movement when you push down on the barrel...it's not an ideal fit for the best accuracy, but as long as it's engaged far enough into the slide, it won't cause a problem other than a little vertical stringing on target due to not returning the the exact same place between shots.

Thanks ... this is what I was thinking. I suppose I was expecting more from Dan Wesson given the excellent reviews on this and other forums and the $1,800 price tag. I have this feeling that I was too late to the Dan Wesson party. Prices have been going up which is understandable, but I hope that quality isn't heading in the opposite direction.


My DW has no play when I push down on the barrel hood with the slide in battery

I think this is typical of production pistols ... sometimes you get a great one, sometimes an average one and sometimes a bad one. This also illustrates the problem with ordering rather than choosing from a selection. If I had four or five of each model to look at, perhaps I could have found a pair that exhibited better fitting of the barrel.


9mmepiphany, I don't think I'll be calling CS or sending the pistols back unless I have issues at the range. The Ed Brown bushings have resolved the barrel movement for the time being, so I'll shoot the pistols with the DW and EB bushings to see if there's any appreciable, practical difference and take it from there. I'm guardedly optimistic that it'll all work out in the end.

Thanks.

JDGray
May 25, 2011, 06:31 AM
I had .013" total bushing to frame to barrel clearance in my SA1911, and it shot poorly at 30'. Most of the fit issues was the bushing to frame fit, and a new bushing fixed it. I put the bushing to barrel clearence at .0015, and it shot very well afterwards, but only used it for a target gun:)

Apocalypse-Now
May 25, 2011, 02:37 PM
any barrel movement during lockup is unacceptable, especially at the pricepoint of DW's.

this is why i'm not a DW fan. they look pretty, but they take shortcuts on the fitting.


i've owned many 1911's, and never had one with any barrel movement during lockup. even on a $600 1911.



a friend of mine had to send his CBOB into DW because they impoperly fit the grip safety to the frame and there was a sharp edge at the top of the grip tang. he had to pay shipping, and when he got it back they had indeed relieved the sharp edge, but the grip safety fit much too loose (an inordinate amount of verticle/horizontal play).

1911Tuner
May 25, 2011, 03:32 PM
Quote:

>this is why i'm not a DW fan. they look pretty, but they take shortcuts on the fitting.<

It's not likely there's any "fitting" done at all. The various parts are made to a +/- tolerance and assembled. If the tolerances stack in the wrong direction, you get more loosely mated assemblies.

Apocalypse-Now
May 25, 2011, 03:36 PM
all DW's are completely fit inhouse. slide to frame/barrel to slide/grip safety. some small parts as well.

1911Tuner
May 25, 2011, 04:25 PM
Quote:

>>all DW's are completely fit inhouse. slide to frame/barrel to slide/grip safety. some small parts as well. <<

If you believe that, I've got a bridge that I'll sell...cheap.

Apocalypse-Now
May 25, 2011, 04:31 PM
alrighty ;)

on second thought, maybe we're debating the issue from the same point of view. i didn't mean to infer they are completely made in house, but rather final fitting is done in house. :)

1858
May 25, 2011, 07:46 PM
there was a sharp edge at the top of the grip tang.

This is something else that I didn't want to bring up, but there are numerous sharp edges inside the frames of both DWs. I had to take a small file to the inside of the Valor to remove two burrs that were digging long gouges down the length of the magazines (I can post photos if necessary). Next up was the magazine release of the V-Bob. It took a ridiculous amount of force to insert a magazine and I'm amazed that the V-Bob left the factory in that condition. I removed the magazine release and had to file, fit, file, fit the catch until magazines would go in with relative ease. Even now, the V-Bob magazines are taking a beating from sharp edges inside the frame. Compare this to the magazines in my Kimber and Ed Brown that have been inserted and removed hundreds of times and yet they look new.

As I said before, eventually I'll get the DWs to where I want them even if that means sending them off to a good gunsmith such as Dave Severns. But today, based on what I've seen and particularly on some comparisons by Dave Severns, I expected better ... a lot better!!!

Apocalypse-Now
May 25, 2011, 07:48 PM
^^yep, you're right. as i said before, at the price point, i expect much better fitting/machining than DW's exhibit. that, and the fact that they don't offer a lifetime waranty and make you pay shipping, has me not even considering DW's for 1911's purchases.

the fact that you had to do your own filing to get them to function properly with mags is absolutely unacceptable. i would call DW, or if you don't want to keep them, sell both and get a SA TRP or Custom Carry.

1858
May 25, 2011, 08:10 PM
the fact that you had to do your own filing to get them to function properly with mags is absolutely unacceptable. i would call DW, or if you don't want to keep them, sell both and get a SA TRP or Custom Carry.

I'm going to keep them both, no doubt about that. They're basically Ed Brown frames and slides with good to very good frame to slide fit with 9mm firing pin holes. At the very worst, they'll make a good platform for custom builds. The Valor will get extensive USPSA use so I've already added an Ed Brown MSH and Maxi-Well (stainless but painted with black GUN-KOTE) along with Cylinder and Slide Rhino Hide grips and an Ed Brown barrel bushing and recoil spring plug.

I bought the DWs because of all the rhetoric from DW owners (particularly on other forums) claiming that they're every bit as good as Ed Brown pistols and that Ed Brown owners are wasting their money. As an owner of Ed Brown pistols (SF and SFC), I wanted to find out for myself if this was true. A casual inspection in a gun shop isn't nearly enough to form an educated opinion. Based on my Ed Brown, my two DWs and a friend's Ed Brown, I'll be buying a pair of Kobras next but certainly no more DWs ... not at their current price point anyway. A used DW Valor or V-Bob in excellent condition for around $1,500 or less would be a decent buy, but at $1,800 and $1,900 there simply isn't enough attention to detail to justify the cost.

I hope my experience will help others make an informed decision.

Apocalypse-Now
May 25, 2011, 08:17 PM
^^dan wesson's don't use ed brown slides/frames. other than the MSH, i don't think they even use ed brown small parts anymore either.


can't blame you for not wanting to purchase them anymore though lol. not bad guns, but since they come with a noticeable lack of attention to details, they should be MUCH cheaper.


if you go onto the DW subforum on 1911forum, those people think DW 1911's are the greatest thing since sliced bread LOL :)

1858
May 25, 2011, 08:35 PM
^^dan wesson's don't use ed brown slides/frames. other than the MSH, i don't think they even use ed brown small parts anymore either.

Are you sure about that? Have you compared Dan Wesson frames and slides to Ed Brown frames and slides? If Ed Brown isn't making them for DW, then EB and DW are getting them from the same supplier. Ed Brown uses 9mm firing pins in all of their 1911s. Both the Valor and V-Bob have 9mm firing pins. Who else does this? The cuts, edges etc on the frames are virtually identical.

As for parts, the mag release and grip safety are Ed Brown as is the ejector and extractor. The slide stop may or may not be but the thumb safety clearly isn't.

This thread isn't meant to be a DW bash fest so the list below may be more useful. Basically, I like more features than I dislike.

Like

Overall appearance of both the Valor and V-Bob
Duty Coat finish
Slide to frame fit
Front strap 25 lpi checkering
9mm firing pin (smaller hole in breech face)
Forged stainless frame and slide
Very low ejection port, cool angular flare
Heine Straight Eight sights
Trigger pull
All of the quality internal parts

Dislike

Burrs inside the frame
Barrel fit
Barrel bushing and recoil spring plug
Solid trigger
Slimline grips
General attention to detail and QC

Apocalypse-Now
May 25, 2011, 08:41 PM
Both the Valor and V-Bob have 9mm firing pins. Who else does this?

springfield armory, kimber models without the swartz type safety, the new ruger sr1911, and a few others lol

i'll try to post a source on the DW's if i can find it again.

ZeBool
May 25, 2011, 08:54 PM
I carry a Valor bobtail everyday. When I first got it the front sight was dead. Trijicon informed me that they would fix the sight for free, pending an inspection after I paid to send the slide. No way was I going to pay more money to fix an already somewhat expensive firearm.

I gave Keith over at DW a call and explained the situation. Three days later I had a mailing label, and on day 8 after having shipped it, the Valor was back on my hip. Never cost me a extra cent.

As for the gun, it's as tight, accurate, reliable and well-fitted as any other 1911 I've handled. Including the big three, all of which I have experience with.

1858
May 25, 2011, 08:57 PM
the new ruger sr1911

Really? I thought it had the standard .45 ACP firing pin with a tip diameter of .093.

If you find any information on who makes the DW frames and slides that would be very helpful.

If you enjoyed reading about "1911 barrel movement ... how much is too much and common causes?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!