1911 Parts (Hammer, Trigger)


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mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 07:48 AM
Hi folks... I am owned an ATI 1911 for about five years now and over the weekend I had my second part break on it. I am also on my fifth box of LP primers so I have put roughly 5K rounds down range.

I am still happy with the gun, but a little less impressed with the materials.

The first part was 100% my fault (Over zelous with a hammer) and the imported replaced the part no questions asked... I bent the slide stop.

The second part that broke during a cleaning may or may not have been my fault. My opinion is I did something stupid, and poor materials failed as a result.

I broke the hammer. I dry fired the gun without the slide in place and the following was the result:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/mcdonl/2013-01-01153753_zpsbc21a27d.jpg

First thing I thought was "That was stupid" because some basic physics indicated that something coming down with that much force and only the bottom half of the hammer stopping cannot be good as the top half wants to continue, and my this case did. Upon closer examination (Not shown in this picture) there was a clear void in the hammer at the break. It looked like the part was not cast properly (Not that you can properly CAST anything for a gun.....)

So... I have reached out to the importer again, and I expect to get a good response from them as I did the first time but I want to use their replacement as a spare and buy a new hammer and trigger.

Nothing wrong with the trigger, but my goal for this year is to make every one of my guns better. So, I would like a stainless skelatized trigger and matching hammer.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Leroy

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1911 guy
January 2, 2013, 09:02 AM
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with either Ed Brown Hardcore or Wilson Bulletproof parts. You'll pay slightly more than "standard" prices for these parts, but there are no cast parts to be found in either line. Machined from stock and heat treated. Parts are seldom truly "drop in", even from the original manufacturer, so it might be a good time to pick up some other parts you want to swap and have them all done at the same time.

And you're right. Dropping the hammer on a bare frame will break the hammer. Maybe not the first time, maybe not the second, either. But eventually it WILL happen.

Coyote3855
January 2, 2013, 09:28 AM
I don't think you should expect the importer to replace parts you broke with improper technique. You sound like the guy who could mess up a ball bearing with a toothpick.

To stay on topic, Ed Brown or Wilson parts are excellent quality.

mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 09:37 AM
Thanks for the kind words coyote.

squarles67
January 2, 2013, 11:08 AM
I've had good luck with the Wilson value line stuff

mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 11:12 AM
Thanks squarless... I was looking at that and they indicated they were metal injection molded and it stopped me in my tracks because I am ignorant of that type of construction. Is it different than cast? The price is right, and for a $400 NIB 1911 I have certainly gotten my moneys worth I just dont know if dropping $100 or so on a new hammer and trigger is a worth while upgrade.

squarles67
January 2, 2013, 11:55 AM
Some people have a problem with the MIM parts but I've had good luck with the Wilson Value Line. I have WVL hammer and sear in two of my 1911s and I also used them in a freinds with no issue and as you stated, the price is right.

rcmodel
January 2, 2013, 11:55 AM
So, I would like a stainless skelatized triggerYou don't want a stainless steel trigger, even if somebody made one.

You want a skeletonized aluminum trigger.

A steel trigger weighs too much and inertia will induce trigger bounce under recoil and doubling.

Lightweight aluminum triggers were invented to stop all that.

rc

mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 12:06 PM
Thanks RC... this is all new to me.

JTQ
January 2, 2013, 12:15 PM
Thanks RC... this is all new to me.
And I would think the typical skeletonized trigger would come with a matching commander hammer, that judging by the broken hammer you have, would not fit your current grip safety.

I would take your pistol to a gunsmith and let him choose his preferred parts and let him install them.

rcmodel
January 2, 2013, 12:23 PM
Triggers don't come with hammers.

Spur hammers like his don't fit beavertail grip safetys.

Commander hammers fit any kind of grip safety.

rc

JTQ
January 2, 2013, 12:45 PM
Triggers don't come with hammers.

I'm aware of that. My assumption (probably a bad one) is the OP would pick a Commander style hammer to match the style of his skeletonized trigger he desired.

Spur hammers like his don't fit beavertail grip safetys.
I'm aware of that, which is why my assumption is he has a GI grip safety.

Commander hammers fit any kind of grip safety.
That, I was not aware of. I apologize for giving bad information.

http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=225876


http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=619080

mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 01:05 PM
JTQ and RC... Like I said... even though I have had this for a few years, other than breaking it twice I have not had to do much with it nor have I had the time/motivation to learn about it.

As far as I know, there are two safetys... a tumb safety (Non ambi) and what I thought was a grip safety (You have to have the gun in your hand for the hammer to come down....)

Is this a beavertail safety?

Ky Larry
January 2, 2013, 01:41 PM
Any time I have a question about a 1911-type pistol, I ask 'Tuner or Old Fuff. Both gentlemen are always spot-on with their advise.

bigfatdave
January 2, 2013, 01:42 PM
Is this a beavertail safety?"beavertail" is a style of grip safety, with a wider and longer extension that extends over the hand.

I'm not trying to be rude, but based on your posts and knowledge level ... ... let a gunsmith do the parts swaps you're thinking about, or just buy the gun you want already set up the way you want. You'll be happier in the long run.

JTQ
January 2, 2013, 01:44 PM
A grip safety could be a beavertail grip safety or a GI style grip safety, or something in between.

I believe rcmodel has probably forgotten more about 1911's in the past week than I will ever know. However, in spite of his insistence a "Commander" style hammer will work with a GI grip safety, I'm still skeptical.

My Colt, with a factory grip safety, somewhat between a GI and beavertail, has metal removed on the top of the grip safety, which I assume is to allow the fitment of the Commander style hammer. It seems as if Colt is doing extra work if this is not required for the hammer to fit.

My grip safety is the same as used on the current Commander model #04691. As a matter of fact, I also have the same hammer.

http://www.coltsmfg.com/Catalog/ColtPistols/Colt1991Series.aspx

Greg528iT
January 2, 2013, 02:59 PM
That is a hard way to learn. But no one was hurt so all is good.
Yes, putting $100 into a $400 gun does NOT make it a $500 gun, but... you will have a gun that is better, than what you had.
I've had a Wilson Value line hammer and it appears to be a reasonable part.
I've not put a commander hammer on a traditional grip safety gun but in general they made the commander hammer so that it would not stick out as far, and thus FIT.

Take a look thru Brownells, Midway, Wilson's web sites, see if the upgraded hammers, triggers, grip safeties and see if you want to upgrade some parts. If you do great, if not, no biggie. A base line 1911 is still a wonderful gun to behold.

It sounds like you are new to 1911s and even if you weren't I'd recommend going to a qualified gun smith for fitting of new parts. Chances are pretty good he'll have an old spur hammer, from when he upgraded someones to a commander. While he is fitting the new / (new/old) hammer, ask him to smooth out the rest of the fire control group. Smooth is not the same as lightening. There are things he may do to lighten the trigger, but in general stock springs, with plenty of hammer hook will provide a very smooth yet distinct trigger pull that you will appreciate.

mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 03:45 PM
Dave, thanks for the concern. I am new to 1911's but I have had this gun for going on 5 years and have taken it down and re-assembled countless times. I am just not sure about what parts to buy. It seems like a pretty simple machine.

Is replacing the trigger significantly different than removing one that is already in the gun to clean it and then replacing it?

rcmodel
January 2, 2013, 03:53 PM
My Colt, with a factory grip safety, somewhat between a GI and beavertail, has metal removed on the top of the grip safety, which I assume is to allow the fitment of the Commander style hammer.You know, you are right!

I do believe though that back in the day, a commander hammer would work with a GI safety without notching it.

A lot of todays "commander" style hammers have an elongated hole and longer spur instead of the little round one they used to use on Commanders.

Truth be known though, it's been so long ago when I did it I can't remember.

rc

bigfatdave
January 2, 2013, 04:45 PM
Dave, thanks for the concern. I am new to 1911's but I have had this gun for going on 5 years and have taken it down and re-assembled countless times. I am just not sure about what parts to buy. It seems like a pretty simple machine.

Is replacing the trigger significantly different than removing one that is already in the gun to clean it and then replacing it?
trigger might be drop in, I've changed out a number of my 1911 triggers
fitting other parts may be signifigantly more complex, requiring precise filing

Walkalong
January 2, 2013, 05:39 PM
My favorite trigger. STI Polymer (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/746161/sti-trigger-1911-long-polymer-black)

dogmush
January 2, 2013, 07:00 PM
Buncha questions flying here, not all of which actually got answered.

Mcdonl. You mentioned MIM parts. the hammer you broke was almost certainly MIM and not cast. It's a pretty common way to make less expensive small parts. Like any manufacturing method it requires QC, and as you saw, if done badly can leave voids in the parts, which can lead to failure. I've had a Wilson VL hammer and sear in a 1911 for several thousand rounds without an issue, but it's definitely not as strong as a a machined one. For a non defensive weapon it's kind of your call. Good MIM parts can last a long time.

Your pistol probably has the GI style grip safety like the one on this pistol:
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/dogmush/P1300008.jpg

It's designed to work with the spur hammer you had on there. There is also various kinds of "Beavertail" grip safeties, like this one:
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/dogmush/HPIM0622.jpg
It's designed to allow you to grip the pistol higher without getting your hand pinched by the hammer. As you can see, the beavertail gun has a different kind of hammer. That's a "commander" hammer it probably won't work with your GI grip safety without modding the safety (but it might, there's a lot of different kinds of 1911 parts) Just to make life fun, there's another kind of "Commander" hammer, the kind Colt originally used, that probably will work with your grip safety. it looks like this: (not my gun or pic)
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/dogmush/LTcommandersmall_zps981b6d7b.jpg

Now you can decide what kind of hammer you want. (if you decide you want to add a beavertail you'll probably, but not definitely, have to modify the frame) Once you do that it's worth mentioning that the hammer and the sear work together as a pair with pretty tight tolerances. (hammer hook engagement is measured in the thousandths of an inch, I'm not going to go look it up right now) Conventional wisdom is to replace the hammer and sear as a pair, and manufacturing tolerances being what they are, fit them to each other. This takes some specialized tools (I use square stones, feeler gauges and a set of mock up pins) Looks like this:
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/dogmush/searwork002.jpg

It's not hard but will require some more reading and expense on your part to fit and install these parts yourself.

The trigger on the other hand is pretty straight forward. There's usually some tabs on the new one to adjust up and down and side to side play (you just bend them a little at a time) and often an overtravel screw to adjust. (do this or you'll mess up your carefully fit sear from the previous step) Pretty much just pic the trigger that you like and go for it. Occasionally you will have to file the trigger bow, and that takes a little precision.

It's worth mentioning also that you said you had a little over 5000 rds, which is [one of] the maintenance intervals for the recoil spring on a 1911. since you have it tore down anyway now would be a good time for springs. I change mine as a main and recoil set, because they're cheap, and it's good insurance.

mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 08:45 PM
trigger might be drop in, I've changed out a number of my 1911 triggers
fitting other parts may be signifigantly more complex, requiring precise filing

Dave, certainly not claiming to have any smithing skills but I have done some minor filing and fitting. Saiga conversion type stuff.

Thanks for all of the advice fellas. Not sure what I am going to do yet but at least I have ideas.


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Skylerbone
January 2, 2013, 10:21 PM
I honestly would never recommend anyone attempt changing fire control parts on a 1911 without knowing exactly what they're doing and the correct tools to proceed.

For clarity, changing the trigger may, without and exact match, change its relationship to the disconnector and consequently the sear and hammer. That same trigger interacts with the grip safety.

Next, whether it is a $175 Hi Point or a $7,000 Les Baer Anniversary model you owe it to yourself and others around you to make it safe. Now is a great time to both ensure safety and improve what you have.

mcdonl
January 3, 2013, 06:04 AM
Well put skylerbone. I am going to order the replacement hammer, and reuse the trigger as there was nothing wrong with it. No sense complicating something with a $400 gun.


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dogmush
January 3, 2013, 06:46 AM
New hammer still has to be fit to the sear. At the VERY least hook measure the hook height and make sure the sear fully engages it.

mcdonl
January 3, 2013, 07:43 AM
Dogmush, I viewed this thread from my mobile device and did not see the pictures yesterday. Thank you, the first picture is the configuration I have.

I am just going to order the replacement parts and bring it to a friend at the gun club who is also a gunsmith and have him make sure everything is good. He is doing some other work for me as well.

Thanks again.

JTQ
January 3, 2013, 09:57 AM
I am just going to order the replacement parts and bring it to a friend at the gun club who is also a gunsmith and have him make sure everything is good. He is doing some other work for me as well.
Before you order, I would still tell him what you have, tell him what you want, and let him either order the parts that will work, or tell you what to order.

mcdonl
January 3, 2013, 10:11 AM
Before you order, I would still tell him what you have, tell him what you want, and let him either order the parts that will work, or tell you what to order.

Even if they are factory replacements?

JTQ
January 3, 2013, 10:16 AM
Even if they are factory replacements?
So you are ordering the same parts from ATI?

You referenced dogmush's pictures, and indicated you have the configuration in the top picture, correct? I'm merely suggesting you want to make sure you don't order a hammer similar to either of the other hammer's pictured since I'm still not convinced they will work with your pistol. Notice the top contours of the other grip safety's that allow the use of those hammers.

The other thing to consider is your gunsmith, hopefully, has some experience making these changes. He no doubt has used various parts from various vendors over the years and has determined which ones are of better quality and which ones require the least amount of work on his part and which will work best with your particular pistol.

highlander 5
January 3, 2013, 10:34 AM
A point here if I may,some folks buy 1911 like the ATI and replace the internals anyways.
Case in point,I have a few freinds that bought Norinco 45 autos and had the internal parts replaced with parts from Baerr,Wilson or other 1911 parts makers just so they knew that the parts are top notch and less likely to fail. Parts even the top end ones can or will fail at the most inappropriate times.

mcdonl
January 3, 2013, 11:07 AM
I am ordering based on my serial number and the exact replacement of the item that broke. Trying to keep it simple.

mcdonl
January 3, 2013, 06:54 PM
FYI. The hammer

177103


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