Smoothing out 1911 slide


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Hedge Hog
July 12, 2004, 08:10 PM
Long time listener, 1st time caller. I have an SA Loaded (my first 1911) that runs fine, but I have a question about the smoothness of the slide as I manipulate it by hand. I have handled several 1911's that seemed to slide on ball-bearings when racking the slide, but mine does not feel nearly as smooth. I have tried the slurry method on the slide and frame rails and racked the slide some 200 times. It helped a little, but not enough. I really don't believe the slide is too tight--I can move it a very small amount horizontally as well as vertically up towards the front of the slide when is it in battery.

It seems to hang up a bit as I pull the slide back and that little piece of shiny metal that pokes through the frame (disconnector?) engages with the cocking lug on the slide. It is noticable both pulling the slide back, and riding it forward. Is this normal?

I only have about 200 rounds through the pistol, but I added slurry to the cocking lug as well, and it is somewhat smooth. Is there anything I can do to smooth out the slide, or is that a big-dollar gunsmith item?

Thanks

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Coltdriver
July 12, 2004, 08:46 PM
Putting slurry on the slide wears it out faster. Same thing with people who put paste in a barrel to wear it out a little in the name of breaking it in.

I have found that the best thing you can do to smooth any gun is to smooth the metal out with an application of moly lube. If the machining is really rough and has a lot of chatter marks that is another story, but it is not something you are likely to find with even a modest quality 1911.

If you really want to go wild, get some very fine polishing sand paper and smooth the parts that rub. But understand that with a 1911 there is usually some slop in the slide to frame fit. Unless you get to a specialized or target class version.

With my 1911's I moly'd all of the parts that rubbed (except the hammer and sear) and then used a good teflon grease sparingly.

Moly lube the gun, put at least 1000 rounds through it and moly lube it along the way a couple of times. It will get better and better with more use. Don't forget to change the slide spring after every 300 rounds or so and do use a shock buff.

Welcome to the world of 1911's!

1911Tuner
July 12, 2004, 11:26 PM
'Twas said:

Putting slurry on the slide wears it out faster.

:scrutiny: 'Splain please...
__________________

Howdy HedgeHog,

First...are you sure that it's the slide to frame fit? If there are
toolmarks in the spring tunnel, the recoil spring will give the impression of roughness in the slide during hand-cycling. If these tool marks are there, you can smooth them a little with a piece of 600-grit wet or dry paper.
Don't try to completely remove them...Just hit the high spots.
Check by cycling the bare slide on the frame. Still rough?

Feel along the corners of the frame rails for sharp edges and lightly break
those edges with a meduim stone at about a 45 degree angle. Run the stone along the sides of the frame rails lightly to burnish the high spots.
Lightly! Don't use sandpaper on the frame rails, and don't get wild. If you have a Dremel, take it out in the street and hit it with a hammer 5 or 6 times.

The bump that you feel from the disconnector is normal as the slide pushes it down against spring pressure. Do NOT file or stone the top of the disconnect. Don't change the angles on the front and back of the tip.
Polish these angles by rubbing briskly on your blue jeans.

Check for contact between the top of the slidestop and the slide with the magazine out. There should be about .010-.015 clearance when you push the stop down. Check it with a feeler gauge.

Does the top of the dust cover make contact with the slide? Minimum of
.007 inch clearance there with the slide fully rearward. .010 is better.
If there's a straight-line rub mark on the spring plug tunnel (slide) there's
contact.

Is the hammer rubbing the slide? Cock the hammer and cycle the bare slide on the frame. If the roughness is gone, it may be tool marks in the
mainspring housing rubbing the mainspring, or hammer contact with the slide. Dress the hammer on the side of contact, in the area of contact with a stone. Touch up with cold blue if applicable. If the side of the hammer has a sharp edge on the front side, break it lightly at 45 degrees with a stone.

Is the cocking rail in the slide tool-marked? Dress any roughness lightly with the edge of a medium stone. Just hit the high spots, and don't try to completely remove deep tool marks. The cocking rail is the block in the center.

If the gun has a full-length guide rod, check for hard rub marks on the rod.

Many things can cause roughness. The slide to frame fit is just one of them, and unless there's evidence of galling, that's probably not it anyway.

Stainless has a tendency to gall. If the gun is stainless, look closely for signs of this.

Standin' by...

Tuner

RatFink
July 13, 2004, 01:09 AM
I'm not an expert Like 1911Tuner, but wouldn't it smooth out a bit on it's own just by shooting it? When I get a new pistol, I usually put 500 rnds or so through it before I consider anything drastic. For instance, my new FN-HP while I did remove the mag safety right away I didn't touch anything else until I had shot it (even thought the trigger was pretty gritty), now 400 rnds later and the trigger is pretty damn smooth.

Hedge Hog
July 13, 2004, 03:05 AM
Thanks for the replies. Tuner, I will have to take a look at the items you mentioned. I was hoping you would reply :)

Oops! I took out the disconnector and used a very fine stone on the angles up top to try and smooth them out. I was very careful not to change any angles. I also stoned the bottom surface of the disconnector that lays flat against, well, whatever is beneath it, as well as the otherside where the disconnector leg of the spring touches it. None of this seemed to help. I will have to take a look at the dust cover, the slide stop, recoil spring tunnel, and the slidestop as you have mentioned.

The slide does rub the cocked hammer when the slide is brought all the way back. I assume that is normal? I did some light stoning on this point as well, to try and smooth things out a bit.

If I did too much stoning with the disconnector, what will the result be? I swapped out the two piece guide rod for the GI set up.

As an aside, as I had the pistol apart tonight, I checked the extractor tension with a live round. when I shake the slide a little, the rounds wiggles but does not fall out. However, I noticed that the claw, or very end of the extractor, does not come in contact with the rim of the round at all. It seems to be tension from the inside of the groove below the claw tip that is holding the round in. I was under the impression the claw needed to come in contact with the rim. Is this true? If so, how would I asjust that? I read Brownells Shop Talk, as well as an article at 1911 forum, but they didn't really answer my question.

Thanks again to all. This 1911 seems to be an obsession for me, and I love all firearms! I take it out and handle and wipe it down (blued) several times a day. I think I have GAS--Gun Aqusition Syndrome. I want more!

cerberus
July 13, 2004, 01:27 PM
If your 1911 is working well at the range with no FTF and FTE. And your getting good groups. Just keep shooting and cleaning also applying a good lub. Why worry about something that does not exist.

Dave Sample
July 13, 2004, 11:13 PM
Try a FLGR and see what happens. It might surprise you. A CMC drop in part!

1911Tuner
July 14, 2004, 05:42 AM
Hedge Hog said/asked:

wiggles but does not fall out. However, I noticed that the claw, or very end of the extractor, does not come in contact with the rim of the round at all. It seems to be tension from the inside of the groove below the claw tip that is holding the round in. I was under the impression the claw needed to come in contact with the rim. Is this true?
_____________________

No. Your extractor set-up is correct. The slot is the part that holds tension.
The tip of the claw shouldn't make any contact inside the case extractor
groove or on the front at the angled part of the groove.

During an extractor fitting, my practice is to stone a radius on the bottom of the claw to prevent the corner from making contact with the case as it
angles upward from the magazine and into the barrel throat. Some extractors are beveled as they come from the package...some are square
cornered.

If the bottom of the slot is square, I also file a small bevel there to give the
rim a camming surface to help spring the extractor open. The bevel is at
about 45 degrees, and not more than 1/3rd the width of the width of the slot.

Luck!

Tuner

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