How long is a 1911 Commander-sized plug?


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Captaingyro
March 2, 2013, 03:13 PM
You'd think this is one of those things you could find in about 30 seconds with Google, but nooooo...

Anyway, I'm replacing the full-length guide rod on a commander-sized 1911 with a conventional rod. I've got the new rod, but the spring plug I wanted wasn't available in the commander size, so I bought the government size and figured I'd just cut it down. Finding out how long it should be, however, is proving to be quite a challenge.

FWIW, the gun is a S&W SW1911SC. The barrel length is 4". The open-ended plug that's coming out of it is only 1.082" long. That may in fact be the correct length for a closed-end plug, but before I commence to cuttin', I thought I'd try to get the straight skinny.

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1911Tuner
March 2, 2013, 03:46 PM
The plug in my old pre-80 Combat Commander measures 1.076 OAL.

Captaingyro
March 2, 2013, 04:09 PM
Thanks, 1911Tuner. Maybe the one that came out of mine is a good gauge after all.
Love your "beloved master" quote, by the way.
It snowed for about three hours down here near Waxhaw today. Did you get some up there?

Anybody else care to measure a commander plug?

rcmodel
March 2, 2013, 04:28 PM
I gotta go with 1.075" to 1.078", accounting for normal manufacturing tolerances.

1911Tuners measurement confirms that.

rc

1911Tuner
March 2, 2013, 05:36 PM
Nary a flake up here.

Captaingyro
March 2, 2013, 07:31 PM
Well, the concensus seems to be that...it depends. There are true "Commander" lenght pistols (4.25"), and then there are those whose barrels vary from 3.75 on up. I asked here, over on 1911 Forum, and locally, and got answers anywhere from 1.075 to 1.163.

What I heard more that once is, "As long as it's short enough not to interfere with the recoil, and long enough to support the spring, it should be good."

I trimmed the new one to 1.100", (figuring I can always take more off) and it seems to fit just fine. I can't feel any short stroking in the slide, but only a live-fire test will tell for sure.

Thank you for the responses. If I have anything helpful to report after shooting, I will post it.

1911Tuner
March 2, 2013, 09:20 PM
I can't feel any short stroking in the slide, but only a live-fire test will tell for sure.

It can't, unless the stop shoulder in the slide's spring tunnel is missing, and the too-long plug protrudes from the backside of the tunnel. The plug can only go so deep in the tunnel. As long as you can install it and compress the spring far enough to let the bushing swing past it, the length is good. If it's too long, you won't be able to get the gun together.

If the bushing is too long, it'll impact the front edge of the third barrel lug, and that can cause it to short-cycle...but it'll also bust the bushing lug or its raceway in the slide...or both...if you fire the gun.

rcmodel
March 2, 2013, 10:21 PM
I trimmed the new one to 1.100", Posts #2 & #4 wasn't good enough measurements for you to use then??

Tuner apparently took his gun apart and measured it, and I pawed through old notebooks in the basement from 45 years ago to answer your question as best as we know how.

I'm real sorry that wasn't good enough!

We tried.
And Tuner is still trying.

I myself, give up. :banghead:

rc

1911Tuner
March 2, 2013, 10:29 PM
rc...What he got from another source or sources is:

What I heard more that once is, "As long as it's short enough not to interfere with the recoil, and long enough to support the spring, it should be good."

Sources that don't know enough about the pistol to know about the stop shoulder in the tunnel and that the plug couldn't cause short cycle...and that if it were too long, it wouldn't physically fit into the front of the slide.

Tuner apparently took his gun apart and measured it.

Eh. It was already on the kitchen table, along with the caliper. Took all of about 30 seconds to take it apart...measure it...and put it back together.

Probably took you a while to dig through that archived material, though.

rcmodel
March 2, 2013, 10:58 PM
Never mind!
It just hit me wrong there suddenly was all.

I'll try to behave better next time!

Or not.

rc

Captaingyro
March 3, 2013, 04:03 AM
RC...I sincerely do appreciate the research. As I pointed out in the original post, the open-ended plug that came out of the gun was 1.082", so I knew the new one could be at least that long. It actually came out to 1.099", so I'm 17 thousandths (about the thickess of a fingernail) longer than the original.

One of the guys I consulted locally has been building competition 1911's since the sixties, and he basically said what Tuner said, albeit without all the detail.

Tuner, thanks for the extra info. The pistol assembled easily, with the added benefit that the new plug is easy enough on my thumb that I didn't need the wrench to rotate the bushing into place.

Captaingyro
March 3, 2013, 02:15 PM
Don't know why I was so worried about a commander-length plug...turns out I had a few hundred of them lying around.

A guy on another forum swore this would work, and it sure does. I don't intend to shoot it like this, but I think you could.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and I'm trying to imagine who came up with this idea. My money is on some poor, muddy, wet doughboy sitting in a trench in 1917, cleaning his 1911. He accidentally launches the plug up out of the trench and into no man's land. Realizing that climbing out and looking for it probably didn't promise much of a future, he started hunting around for a replacement, and...Viola!

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/517018/caseplug.jpg

matrem
March 3, 2013, 02:44 PM
Necessity is the mother of invention, and I'm trying to imagine who came up with this idea.
My money would go on John Browning.

1911Tuner
March 3, 2013, 03:55 PM
Necessity is the mother of invention, and I'm trying to imagine who came up with this idea. My money is on some poor, muddy, wet doughboy sitting in a trench in 1917, cleaning his 1911. He accidentally launches the plug up out of the trench and into no man's land.

Not likely. The original spring plugs had a punch cut that allowed them to be threaded onto the open spring coil. The closed end of the spring was crimped slightly, and was a press-fit onto the guide rod. Nothing would launch out of the gun in the event of a slip.

In its original configuration, the gun could be detail-stripped with no tools other than its own parts...excluding the grip screw bushings, ejector, and the sights.

My money would go on John Browning.

Yessir.

Walkalong
March 3, 2013, 04:18 PM
The original spring plugs had a punch cut that allowed them to be threaded onto the open spring coil. A detail that must have annoyed many of the newer penny pinching gun maker types. You don't see it much.

rcmodel
March 3, 2013, 04:29 PM
Cylinder & Slide and Colt still makes mil-spec plugs with the spring punch cut if you get tired of chasing yours.

http://www.brownells.com/handgun-parts/recoil-parts/recoil-spring-plugs/1911-auto-mil-spec-recoil-spring-plug-prod26985.aspx

http://www.brownells.com/handgun-parts/recoil-parts/recoil-spring-plugs/recoil-spring-plug-dull-ss-prod4640.aspx

rc

Captaingyro
March 3, 2013, 04:44 PM
Genius!
Who is this "Browning" of whom you all speak? :rolleyes:

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