Colt Series 80...Again


August 17, 2004, 10:02 AM
Well group...After the issue that I had with the XSE Commander, I got curious about the other Colt that I bought from the same financially strapped friend two days later...a blued NRM Government Model.

Since I had bought the gun strictly as a shooter, I immediately removed the
lawyer parts and shot the ears off of it. Happy to report that other than
the hook of the MIM extractor snapping off at about the 1k mark, the gun
never missed a beat. (It's the one that I peened and lowered the frame rails on a while back. See "A Disconnector Story". It was mainly for my own satisfaction, and the fit never affected the gun's function.)

So, bein' an early riser with nothin' to do except finish the coffee...I
went to the shop and dug out the little plastic bag with the original parts in it. I installed them and did the initial timing check. The plunger lever moved
up less than .030 inch after the slack was out, with a .070-inch rise at full trigger pull. I did the pencil test, and the pencil barely made it out of the muzzle...partly due to the standard-length/rate firing pin spring that I had installed, and...yep, you guessed it...mostly due to the plunger releasing the firing pin too late.

I had also changed the original short, plastic trigger for a long plastic trigger, but there wasn't enough difference between the two to make a difference after comparison. The long one was actually a bit longer in the bow, which would have improved the condition...but not enough to correct it.

Since the gun is a range beater, and will never wear the Series 80 parts,
it's not an issue. The gun functions perfectly as is...but this kinda backs up
my theory that the trend in recent production Series 80s may warrant having the system checked out before trusting it in a given pistol.

For those who note a problem there, it's an easy fix and not too expensive if the gun isn't under warranty any more...See your friendly neighborhood
pistolsmith for the cure. If the gun is under warranty, send it back to Colt.



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August 17, 2004, 10:10 AM
How difficult is it to remove the "lawyer parts?" I just bought a used model 1991A1, and I would love to get rid of them. Is it something a novice could do, or is it better left to a 'smith?

And, yes, I will still carry it after the parts are removed and damn the lawyers. JMB's design survived 70-odd years without them in the first place.


August 17, 2004, 10:19 AM
Howdy Joe,

Easy to do if you can detail-strip the gun. You'll need a little part called a "Frame Blank" from Brownells...$4.25 plus shipping. Go with the small package rate of $3.25 via U.S mail. I'll look up the part number and post it
in a few. You'll probably have to do it yourself. Most smiths that I know will not knowingly deactivate a factory safety device.

Then remove the plunger and spring from the slide. Ba-Da-BING!
Just like JMB intended. Ignore the hole in the slide. It won't hurt a thing.

I'll post the part number as an edit to this reply...

EDIT: TJ's Custom Frame Slot Blank PN 876-011-780
Call toll-free 1-800-741-0015 and talk to the nice folks.

August 17, 2004, 10:43 AM
Thanks! I'm putting together a little order from Brownell's and just add this to that. I'm getting rid of the FLGR on my Loaded Operatior (remember that discussion?) and I figure I'll just replace all the slide stops and extractors in my 1911's: I don't know what they're made of, and I consider it cheap insurance.

I've as yet never detail-stripped a 1911, but I have your excellent instructions, and if I screw it up, well, I'm sure I won't be the first person to show up at your door on 9/22 with the "1911-In-A-Bag" kit! :)


August 17, 2004, 10:44 AM
This may be a bit off topic, but I understand a good 'smith can do a good trigger job on a Series 70 or Series 80 if he knows what he's doing. I am told there is barely a difference if any. This would apply to 3.5 triggers and heavier.

But, I just read that for a very light trigger, say 2 lbs, you are better off using a Series 70 system.

Reason I ask is I just bought a 1991 Commander that has a very heavy trigger. Crisp, but heavy. I'd like to get it pretty light, like my Kimber's 2 lb trigger. It will be a range gun only, and I like them light and crisp.

Any help is appreciated.

August 17, 2004, 10:48 AM
Just for grins, I swapped out the parts last night with the blank. Trigger feels a little lighter, but... :scrutiny: I'll try to get range time this weekend to see how it feels with something besides snap caps.

My Series 80 Commander is a 1992 gun. From the factory, it was a POS and under warranty was worked on by Bain and Davis. As part of the work, they did a small trigger job which included some polish on the lawyer parts. The trigger was great before and I, having shot many other Series 80's, will ABSOLUTELY disagree with anyone who says you can't get a great carry trigger out of a 80. This pistol has thousands of rounds through it. All (and they are few) failures have been mag related.

I may or may not put the parts back in. I do like the pin block concept and I like the Colt solution compared to others. I was ordering other things from Brownells at the time so the $4.25 cost to try it out wasn't an issue.

August 17, 2004, 11:12 AM
The trigger was great before and I, having shot many other Series 80's, will ABSOLUTELY disagree with anyone who says you can't get a great carry trigger out of a 80. Sure, but can you get a grat 2# competition trigger out of a S80?

August 17, 2004, 11:15 AM
Hey halvey,

I can't speak for the smiths who do the 3.5 and under triggers, but if a good trigger man gets the guns, you'll be hard pressed to feel the difference between a 70 and an 80 Series gun. Some of the best factory triggers that I've felt have been on stock Series 80 pistols. It's all in the prep and in how good the smith is.

August 17, 2004, 11:18 AM
Don't know, haven't looking into it, and honestly have no interest. Shot a Briley with a 2# trigger years ago. Wasn't for me.

A 2# carry trigger seems pretty scary.

August 17, 2004, 11:20 AM
Thanks Tuner

2# competition trigger I didn't say a 2# carry trigger, I said a 2# competition trigger.

August 17, 2004, 11:32 AM
You're right, but I didn't say anything about 2#'s in my post either so I guess I miss your point in quoting me. I specificly said "carry trigger".

Dave Sample
August 17, 2004, 03:53 PM
The problem is really not the parts as much as it is the shooter. The trigger HAS to be pulled all the way back and a lot of good shooters will stop the pull when they feel the hammer release from the sear. If the trigger does not go all the way back, the lever does not raise high enough to do it's job raising the safety plunger in the slide, hence light firing pin hits and nicked firing pins where the plunger hits them. Mosy of them leave the factory OK as near as I can tell with my limited experience with them. If you pull the top end off and see how the sear lets go before the lever comes up, you will understand the problem. This is not always the case, however. If the sear releases when the trigger is ALL the way back, they work just fine. I never had time to waste on a system that I believed could be addressed with the Heavy Duty Wolff firing pin spring that went in every gun that came over my bench. About a $1.50 cure for that problem. I did 56 oz trigger pulls on all of my guns and seldom went below that. I would go as high as five if needed for a duty/carry gun. I have never had one go to half cock or follow in 20 + years so I must either know something or I am very lucky. The smiths I know personally can do '80 series triggers in their sleep and think nothing of it. They also love working on Stainless Steel. So there you go. It is very easy to test this system with the pencil test that Tuner mentioned.

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