Accuracy Tweaking for a 1911 pistol


April 25, 2004, 08:29 PM
My wife and I wanted to build a 1911 pistol (specifically an STI Edge). This is the first time we will do a project from scratch. We already have the small parts and the frame. The question is, once we have built the pistol, how can we make it accurate? I will be using a Schueman barrel on this one. Hope you can help us on what parts to tweak or do on this poriject. Thanks.

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Bill Z
April 25, 2004, 09:03 PM
Properly fit the barrel. That is where 95% of your accuracy lies, along with a mojor portion of your reliability. Since the sights are mounted on the slide, in order to achieve the best accuracy the barrel has to lock up in the same place every time. You need to insure the hood is fitted properly, the bushing is fitted properly and the feet cam on the slidestop properly. If you have that part licked, you are there.

Really, the only other thing that I can think of affecting accuracy is the crown. A new barel should be okay though.

Now, I would reccomend the Kart EZ-Fit barrel if you have never fitted a barrel before. I wish Fred would have come up with a different name. People emphasize on the EZ part and not the FIT part. This barrel has to be fitted, it just doesn't take as many tools to do it. The bushing is already properly fitted to the barrel, so you only need to fit the bushing to the slide. It is a match grade barrel by the way.

Before I forget, you should have any barrel chamber reamed also, this will insure a smooth chamber that is properly chambered for the round, and a good smith can set the freebore properly for reliability and accuracy.

April 26, 2004, 12:46 PM
You won't get the most out the best barrel and barrel fitting if you don't have a good trigger pull, decent sights and quality ammo. It all combines to make up an accurate gun.

Dave Sample
April 26, 2004, 11:10 PM

April 27, 2004, 12:46 AM
quite unlikely to be able to tell the difference between a super accurate, 2" at 50 yd 1911, and a "just so-so" one that groups 4" at that distance. Many a series 70 Colt, with a collet bushing would group 5 match swc's into 4" or better at 50 yds, right from the box. Since so few actually ccw a full size and wt 1911 very much, and since nobody has ever proven that he could group better than a man's chest, at 25 yds, while actually under fire, the "accuracy" thing is just a game sort of mental exercise.

April 27, 2004, 10:31 AM
Here's what I understand for accuracy:
- proper barrel fitting (my gunsmith will take care of this)
- good trigger pull ( i got the C&S kit for this)
- good sights (i got the heinies)
- good ammo (will do after assembly)
- bench rest or ransom rest (a friend can provide them)

What else are the details I should focus on? Thanks.

April 27, 2004, 10:50 AM
day, zero wind or mirage conditions, good physical health, to include being well rested, no undue stresses, (like cold, heat, rain, etc) good ear and eye protection, extreme concentration on the task at hand.

Sean Smith
April 27, 2004, 05:32 PM
Barrel quality matters. Kart and Bar-Sto are the most used by bullseye shooters. SV has made alot of very accurate guns with Schuemann barrels, and the Schuemann AET barrels are possibly the most accurate barrels available right now. My experience with the 10mm AET in my Delta Elite would seem to support this, though I can't honestly say that it is more accurate than the Bar-Sto in my last Delta Elite just yet... need to shoot it more with more diverse loads to find out for sure. All are accurate as hell if properly installed.

Proper barrel-slide-bushing fit is, no doubt, the most important single factor as long as the barrel isn't truly horrid. Also ensure the barrel has a good crown on it, an improperly machined crown can impair accuracy, and most 'smiths will re-crown a barrel for cheap. With a pistol it is hard to say if a 45deg or 11deg crown is better, the important thing is that it is properly machined.

"Shootability" (as opposed to mechanical accuracy) comes down to trigger-sights-ergonomics.

Dave Sample
April 27, 2004, 09:26 PM
Most factory barrels can be improved with a NM bushing, properly fitted, and a Wilson Number Three (.278) link with a new link pin. This will give you about 95% of what your 1911 will deliver on a good day and any of them are more accurate than 99% of the owners can shoot them. After you can out shoot Robbie, then it is time to spend about $5000.00 on a really nice 1911. Do the best you can with what you have to work with now. I spent $25,000.00 and 5 years trying to win just one IPSC match and the best I ever did was a 1st place in "C" Class.

April 27, 2004, 11:40 PM
Thanks for all the help guys. It's really just a personal thing for us trying to build a very accurate 1911. Your suggestions are very appreciated.

October 17, 2005, 03:05 AM
Hello Bill,

If I understand you correctly, a new Kart E-Z Fit barrel needs to go to another 'smith for chamber alteration?

Kinda confused..maybe I need to change my handle from saltydog452 to 'kinda confused'...


October 17, 2005, 06:28 AM
Have to agree that the Easy-Fit system is probably your best route for a first-time job. I had excellent results with the two that i used in a GI Springfield and a WW2 GI Colt. It's not the answer for all pistols though. As long as you're starting with a new slide and frame that are both in-spec on the vertical dimensions, it'll do ya right. If there's a vertical mis-match or a tolerance stacking issue that sits the slide too high on the frame and too far from the slidestop crosspin, you won't get full depth on the lug engagement.
I ran into that with the Pimp Nork and was forced to go with a full-fit barrel.
I went with the Kart for that one too. The easy-Fit woudn't have given more than .035 inch vertical. Very good barrels, and I'll use'em again when the need arises. The Easy-Fits have weird links though...About .005-.006 inch oversized in the slidestop pin holes. Still haven't figgered that one out.

Salty...Most new aftermarket barrels and about half the new factory barrels that I've run into lately have a little taper in the chambers. I almost always get chips when I drop a finishing reamer into one. The Karts were no exception, though they were tapered much less than most. I was careful not to make'em any deeper, as the chamber depth was very close to minimum...
and that worked out just right for me. At any rate, finish-reaming to clean up the taper adds to the chambering reliability of a barrel.

The hard-fit Kart also allowed me to fit the lugs for equal engagement in the horizontal plane for all three lugs and still maintain a close fit at the hood
with ideal headspacing. With the Easy-fits, I was only able to get two...
with one ALMOST equalizing, and the other leaving about .002 inch on the
#3 lug. With enough use, it'll probably come into play as the other two start to deform...but it'll take several thousand rounds...something that I don't plan on with either pistol.

October 17, 2005, 09:32 AM
I hope I don't ruin a good barrel. I don't have the know-how or the tools to monkey with barrel/slide lug engagement. Nor do I have access to a finishing reamer. When my bride sees the bill for the barrel, she may well have a different definition in mind for the term 'reamer'.

You tried to explain lug engagement to me, but the explanation of how to correct/adjust it went over my head. Gonna give it a shot anyway. Fred sez 'Don't worry about lug engagement..just follow my simple directions and It'l take care of itself'. 'Just don't mess with the lower legs or link.'

I dunno..We'll see.

Thanks again,


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