Learned Elders of THR & Gun Healers--Need 1911 help!


El Tejon
May 22, 2004, 11:37 AM
I have a new problem that I have not encountered before in my decades in the gun culture. No, not the fact that I'm nuts, I already know that.:D

The weapon: Les Baer TRS, serial # TR01687. Purchased October 2003. 400 Rounds though it. Has been through maybe half dozen dry practice sessions. Have had the weapon stripped 3 or 4 times. I have several Les Baers and several other 1911s so weapon is not unfamiliar to me.

The problem: Dan Flory wanted to go shooting this Saturday morning. Woke up early to strip the weapon and lube it for the session.

Could not get the thing back together. The link pin would not line up upon reassembly. It seemed as if the barrel was blocking the link pin hole.

After exhausting my supply of profanity in English, Spanish and Russian, Dan arrived and was able to insert the link pin but could not rack the slide. I was able to rack the slide but the slide felt "tight". I applied more lube while gun assembled.

At the range, the gun ran flawlessly chewing up Winchester, Remington, Federal and Black Hills ammo (including 42 rounds of my carry ammo, the 230 JHP, +P), 250 rounds total. While at the range, I applied a light coat of Tetra gun lube twice to the assembled weapon.

My questions: 1. Any idea what may have gone wrong, other than the fact that it was in my claws? (El Tejon is not noted for his gunsmithing abilities--e.g. unintentionally reversing operation of a Swedish Mauser to cock on opening:D). Never had this happen. Any idea what may be wrong, or what I may have done wrong?

2. I plan to keep the weapon lubed and shoot and dry practice the blue bejeebus out of it to wear it in before disassembling the weapon. Should I just take it to a gunsmith to be safe, rather than sorry?

What say you? I thank you for your time.


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May 22, 2004, 12:22 PM
Howdy El T

I'm gonna assume that you mean the hole in the link that takes the slidestop crosspin. The link pin is pressed into the lug.

It sounds like you've gotten the link swung past vertical, and the slidestop
pin has it in a bind. Make sure that the spring guide is seated with the
curved area flush against the barrel and try again. It's mainly a matter of
holdin' your mouth just right when ya put it together.

Make sure the barrel is fully seated in the slide, with the bushing in place.
Put the spring and spring guide into place, and use your thumb against the spring to keep the curved part of the guide against the barrel.
Flip the slide and barrel right side up with the muzzle facing to your left.
Keep pressure on the spring with your left thumb. Make sure that the link is hanging vertically, and slip the frame into place. Look through the slidestop hole until you see the link pass it, and use a nail or drill rod, etc. to line the link up forward of the lug. Push the slidestop
through the frame and link, ane leave the stop arm hanging free. Work
the slide back and forth to make sure there's no binding, and put the slidestop in its assembled position.

Hang in...It'll go together.


May 22, 2004, 12:26 PM
Sounds like you found a burr or had some chunk of something in there binding it up. My first guess would be that the burr or the chunk was in the barrel locking lugs or the lugs in the slide.

I would first field strip it and see If I can find anything in the areas mentioned above. A fingernail or something else like a small screwdriver to scrape edges and recesses is needed, if you use metal just don't scratch it up. Odds are after shooting it whatever it was is ironed out or gone. Then if I didn't find anything I would see how the bare slide fits the frame, a Baer is going to be snug but not tight feeling. If OK I would see how the slide stop fits in the barrel link, then see how the bare barrel fits in the slide locking lugs. Odds are it is something simple.

El Tejon
May 22, 2004, 02:11 PM
Tuner, tried the screwdriver trick thingy. Did not work, the hole dealy was still obstructed. Dan put the slidestop pin thingy and then worked the barrel until the pin could be pushed in.

HSMITH, when I lubed it this morning, everything was okey-dokey. No burrs, no chunks. As well, when I shot it this morning, everything was just fine. I dry practiced with it over lunch. Did about 150 presentations. Everything is seemingly o.k.

My question is: should I shoot it some more to wear it or just take it to the gunsmith. At least I know where he is, he's at my club at an all day cowboy shoot.

May 22, 2004, 04:50 PM
Howdy El T,

Maybe the gun is just tight....Baers have a rep for that.

Detail strip the gun and get the trigger and related parts out. Make up
a batch of the J&B Bore Cleaner/CLP Breakfree slurry (Search "Slurry") and put a good coating on the locking lugs, lower lug and link...in the slide rails, and on the barrel at the front and around the sides at the rear.

Assemble the gun without the recoil system and hand-cycle it about 100 times. be careful when you move the slide to the rear, or you'll peen the frame rails without the spring guide rod in place. Remove the slide and
get more of the goop into the rails and hand-cycle it another 100 times.
Rinse it all out with some carburetor cleaner, oil everything lightly, and
reassemble it without the trigger group. Put the gun in battery by hand,
and tilt the muzzle upward at a 45 degree angle. The slide should travel fully rearward. Tilt the gun downward at 45 degrees. The slide should return to full battery.

That should loosen things up enough to take care of any over-tight issues.



May 22, 2004, 08:53 PM
Sounds to me like the link pin's too long. Common misconception in current 1911 production, making the link do the work of a tight lockup into the lugs.

I'd get the smith to check'r out, if he knows 1911's.

May 23, 2004, 12:57 AM
See what happens when you take apart, clean and lube a gun? I keep tellin' ya folks...:D ducking,

I'm kidding, stuff like this always seem to happen when someone is either watching, or one is trying to teach another.

Last time I had this happen on a NIB Series I Kimber. In my case the factory lube kept the link in the wrong place and then I discoverd a small burr on the slide that I had to "oomph" past to allow slide to be where needed.
I smoothed the rail, used pointy stick from Corn on the Cob (Popeye's Chicken Joint has the best ones) and lined everything up.

Heck I had to buy the 4 pc Popeyes combo last night for supper...I needed another pointy stick, had to order the Corn on the Cob as a side. Sigh...one must have proper tools for task. :D

yankytrash makes a good point about link .

Have we discussed how to check for proper size?
If not - we need to...please folks.

I volunteer to run to Popeye's if we need pointy sticks. :p

Not an "learned elder" ...the elder part is just happening. I do know pointy sticks come with the shrimp basket if a side is ordered tho'.

[hey you have someone give you free eat tickets at a place...see if you don't use 'em]

May 23, 2004, 07:48 AM

"Sounds to me like the link pin's too long."

The link pin's sole function is to anchor the link to the barrel via a hole in the lower lug. That pin is nominally .154 inch diameter. The length is slightly less than the width of the lower lug.

The slidestop pin anchors the link to the frame, so that the link can
unlock the barrel from the slide as the assembly moves rearward under recoil. This has to be done at the right time, and playing with different
link lengths does have an effect on this timing. Shorter advances the
linkdown...longer delays it.

"Common misconception in current 1911 production, making the link do the work of a tight lockup into the lugs."

Very common misconception, and often done by guys who notice an incorrect fit/lockup at the rear of the barrel and try to tighten it up by
installing a longer link. Counterproductive move, as it not only doesn't
help accuracy...and it can actually degrade it. It also leads to wallowing
out of the link pin hole, which affects linkdown timing and it puts the
shock of the return to battery on the tips of the lug feet...which in time
can also lead to further delay of linkdown timing when the feet get peened
rearward. Late linkdown timing can and does destroy barrels and slides.

A link that is so long that it actually cams the barrel lugs into the slide
can cause the reassembly to be a problem, but it shouldn't be so bad that
the slidestop pin can't go through the bottom hole in the link. That would
show up immediately during the final assembly of the pistol, and would cause it to be "Red Flagged" for further inspection.

While production pistols often do "ride the link", and some few even stand on the link... I can't see Baer letting a pistol that has the barrel standing on the link in vertical lockup to get past QA.

sm asked:

Have we discussed how to check for proper size?
If not - we need to...please folks.

The link's sole function is to unlock the barrel from the slide. It has a
secondary function of acting as a guide that keeps the barrel tracking
up and down in a straight line during its rise and fall...but that's incidental.

The link should serve no function in the vertical lockup of the barrel. That
is correctly accomplished by the slidestop pin and the lower barrel lug. The
slide and frame's vertical fit...The lower lug's vertical dimension from the
bottom to the top of the upper lugs when in the In-Battery position...and
to a lesser degree, the diameter of the slidestop pin all determine how
tightly the barrel fits in the slide.

When the link is swung to the In-Battery position....slightly past vertical...the slidestop pin should bear against the lower lug at the bottom and at the rear. If the link's center to center length is such that the pin is
held off the lug at these points...the link is too long.

Ideally, the forward radius of the lower lug should let the slidestop pin
lightly touch at that point as well...and should bear slightly harder on the
lug as the pin goes "around the corner" on its way to vertical lockup. This
contact should be even from side to side, and the link should bear none of the load. The trick is getting the barrel to fit into the slide so that there's no vertical play when in battery, and at the same time not pit the slidestop
pin in a bind with the lower lug at any point.

The link's length can be checked by holding the barrel up with the slidestop
pin through the link. Swing the link to and fro and look to see if it makes contact with the lug from the centerline of the forward radius on the lower
all the way to the vertically locked position. While many production guns
will allow the barrel to ride the link a little on the forward radius, the ride
should be over by the time the pin is in the in-battery position.

Installing a shorter link might correct this...but you can also put the
slidestop pin into a bind with the lug as it goes around the corner.
Installing a shorter link will also advance the linkdown timing of the barrel
a little. Swapping links should be done carefully, with a mind toward
checking everything that can be affected by the swap. Generally,
a change of more than plus or minus more than .003 inch can bring
on other problems.



May 23, 2004, 08:41 AM
El Tejon,

With the barrel removed, does the link swing free? or it is binding?
If it doesn't swing free, look for burrs/dings on the barrel link "fork" rubbing against the link, or for dings/burrs on the link rubbing the barrel link "fork".

Holding the slide upside down slide the barrel inside. When the lugs co-incide does the barrel drop down easily? If there has been any peening of the lugs they might not want to mate up easily.

If it's neither of these problems we'll keep plugging until we tracj it down.

It's always something.

El Tejon
May 23, 2004, 12:30 PM
Steve, how the heck can you eat like that and still be so thin that you can slide under a door!?!? I had fish and veggies, spent 45 minutes on the treadmill and still cannot get down to 175 where I should probably be. Where's the envy smilie thingy?:D

Blues, link thingy was swinging freely and everything checked out seemingly okey-dokey. However, I am in no way qualified to sign off on a pistol.

Tuner, thanks much for the tutorial.:)

I'm going to call Les tomorrow and see if he can do a quick check before I go to Tejas next month. Have others, but want to blood this one in Tejas (only proper). ;)

May 23, 2004, 03:20 PM
Okay guys I really learn something every time we discuss anything in regard to the 1911. I'm facinated by it's design. Shot them for years and still learn stuff about them. That Browning fella really thought this thing out- huh?

Dumb me - I use a felt tip or bees wax( with or w/o talc) to see where something is rubbing. "emery what is touching only - go slow". Well the principle is there in checking stuff.

El T,
I'm lucky. I inherited a metabolism.
I eat healthy - fruits, veggies, baked, broiled...the greatest part of the time.
So I don't feel bad, guilty or take advantage of my metabolism. If I want Fried chicken, fried apple pies or my blackberry muffins [ can you smell them...sniff sniff] I enjoy it. I appreciate the time I can.

I bought a 3# bag of surgar when I moved in here in '99. I still have some...what my neighbor brought back from borrowing. I figure that half a cup will see me through till the next neighbor borrows...:p

I inherited some good parts is all.

Dave Sample
May 23, 2004, 03:26 PM

Here is a tool that I use all the time on all of my guns. Missed link, jammed slide, tight gun. Caught the link and gun went together. This tool will help you line up any hole for insertion. I like Tuner's post better. I do not have time right now so this will have to do.

May 23, 2004, 03:53 PM
I made something similar in brass at one time. Am I seeing a straight and curved end...90* ?

I used brass as to not scratch ...umm...I like that tool. Describe it better if you would. I mean it is rigid, or does that center portion swivel, or swivel and tighten in place?

Still gonna keep my pointy sticks handy tho'...I like the "side" benefits. :D

El Tejon
May 23, 2004, 05:46 PM
Dave, hmmm, maybe need to pick one up. Where do I get them?

May 24, 2004, 02:09 PM
I've seen those at Lowe's in the tool crib.

May 24, 2004, 03:36 PM
Mine's a MATCO


Each end can be unscrewed to changed or replaced.

Dave Sample
May 24, 2004, 06:54 PM
This is a hardware item and this one came from True Value priced at about three bucks. It has a 90 degree point on one end that is perfect for getting an extractor out of the slide and also I like that end for pressing the plunger in while installing thumb safeties. The other end lines up the sear pin, the hammer pin, the link hole for the slide stop, and it will help with the little slide stop plunger if you are having problems with that little rascal. I used this today assembling six of our Class guns and could not live without it. It is handier that horns on a Billy Goat, as Tuner would say! A Machinist pal gave me one many years ago and I think I have three or four on my bench all of the time. If you work on 1911's at all, get one!

El Tejon
May 24, 2004, 11:00 PM
So, this tool thingy is called a "scriber"???

Do you think the old guys at Lowe's or Menard's will know what it is? Or do I have to buy it from a catalogue? TIA.

Dave Sample
May 25, 2004, 10:27 AM
I have seen it in the Harbor Freight catalog from time to time.They would have it at a cheap price, maybe. Good Luck! It is called a Scriber. I have one that has a sliding middle grabber but most of mine are solid.

May 25, 2004, 10:46 AM
I bought mine from one of the tool guys at my local garage.
I was there on tool day an asked him what he had.
Snap-On and Mac-Tool guys should have them on their tricks.

You can order on line (http://www.matcotools.com/Catalog/search.jsp?thecattype=&query=scriber&search=all&Image18.x=9&Image18.y=11) but they'll cost more.

The ends on mine are good hardened steel and the hook side point is SHARP!

It's also great for digging crud out of tiny places.

May 25, 2004, 11:34 AM
BluesBear said:

Snap-On and Mac-Tool guys should have them on their tricks.

:what: Wonder if the tool companies know about their field reps turnin' tricks on their routes...

If ya edit this and correct it, I'll just change it back...Classic!:neener:


May 25, 2004, 11:51 AM
Tuner you can get some really good deals from those guys.

A great many mechanics, especially at the smaller garages, make weekly payments on their tools. The owner of the garage usually has an agreement with the route guy that the tools won't leave the shop until they're paid for.

Guys that fall behind often turn a few tools back it to bring their debt down.

The route guy just wants the rest of the money for it.

May 25, 2004, 01:32 PM
<click light bulb on> _< slap!- slaps forehead>

That's What my old mechanic buddy used all the time !!

I was using dental pics. He showed me that scriber. With all the access with tool catalogs in another business - how did I miss this. Silly me just makes one out of brass similar ,because metals I worked with were soft!!

I like the fact replaceable ends are available. Allows one to replace, but if one is broken...make another tool from broken pc. Versatile and adaptable, like having multi tools / different bits.

Thanks for posting that tip and picture Dave and others!!

I hate it when brain cells run off on vacation without telling me.

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