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stupid question of the week: converting series 80 1911 to series 70

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by 1KPerDay, Jan 13, 2011.

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  1. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Does this only involve removing the 2 series 80 bits from the frame, replacing them with this

    and removing the plunger from the slide? Do I need to use a different firing pin spring or anything?


    EDIT: before we get into the "why do you want to remove the series 80 stuff" thing:

    I have no issues with the series 80 trigger, and actually prefer the extra measure of safety. (Whether it's real or whether it just makes me feel better, I don't have any issues with it, other than making the gun a bit more fiddly to get back together.). But I'm getting a series 70 .22 conversion and will need to use a shim at least for that. right?
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  2. huntershooter

    huntershooter Well-Known Member

    The hammer in an "80 series" has a shelf, not a "half cock notch".
    At a minimum you need to replace the hammer. Then you would need to mate the new hammer with the existing sear, which can certainly be done. If I were doing it I'd obtain a high quality hammer/sear set and replace both.
  3. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Well-Known Member

    Just DON'T use it as an SD gun. You'll have a hard time explaining to a jury just why you took a perfectly good safety device out of your gun. It might not even be germaine to the case but it'll be brought up and it can't help you one little bit.
  4. xr1200

    xr1200 Well-Known Member

    You really don't need to replace anything , to convert a 80 series colt to a 70 series for target shooting.

    If you are just doing it to achieve the best trigger pull possible, all you have to do is removing the firing pin block and spring assembly from the slide and just reinstall the firing pin and spring as in a 70 series Just leave out the parts that block the firing pin.

    As for the frame you can simply remove the trigger lever that is in the right side of the frame and leave it out and replace it with a small metal washer, that is about the same size and thickness to take up the slop, you can get them at radio shack for a few dollars. Or get the replacement metal plate from brownells to fill in the gap.

    Install a lighter hammer spring and you are ready to go for target shooting.

    The other thing is that if you will use to gun for personal defense or ccw , its better to leave the trigger assembly stock alone, to avoid any potential issues in a court of law.
  5. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    From what I've read, you need the spacer to prevent the sear from walking over and locking up the gun or going full-auto. I imagine a washer would accomplish the same thing. thanks for the tip.

    I do NOT plan on using the modified gun for SD or CCW. Only for the .22 conversion/range use.

    Do I really need a lighter hammer spring? This is the steel-slide Colt conversion with the floating chamber that supposedly increases recoil enough to run the slide reliably.
  6. r6j6b

    r6j6b Member

    "Just DON'T use it as an SD gun. You'll have a hard time explaining to a jury just why you took a perfectly good safety device out of your gun. It might not even be germaine to the case but it'll be brought up and it can't help you one little bit"

    Is there a specific legal precidence or cases this has proven as gospel truth?
    Not being combatitive but am very interested in seeing actual verbatum precidence. Comments like this are all over the 'net and referred as gospel by many. Specifically - if possible - pertaining to the 1911 style platform. tyia
  7. xr1200

    xr1200 Well-Known Member

    Why make your self a test case for a modified trigger in a court of law. Your better off playing it safe and use a stock factory gun for personal defense.

    The only way you could probably get away form any legal ramifications for a modified trigger sysytem , would be if you had custom work done by Wilson Etc. and had the complete gun set up as one of their reliability or defense packages.

    In a court of law you will have a hard time convincing a jury or a judge that the trigger work you did your self was safe and better than what the factory shipped the gun with.
  8. xr1200

    xr1200 Well-Known Member

    Replacing the hammer spring will vastly improve the trigger feel, and pull weight. It only costs about $5 anyway. Your kit will also function fine.
  9. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    In cases of clear self defense, it's HIGHLY unlikely that the case would even make it to trial for a jury to be wondering about it in the first place.

    A shooting is either justified, or it's not. No amount of other factors such as gun used, ammo used, or anything else is going to change the validity of your justification.
  10. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    You'll need a TJ's frame blank to fill the gap in the frame when you remove the levers.
    Be sure to remove it for inspection every 5,000 rounds and dress the flanges that will probably form around the holes, or it could interfere with clean sear reset.

    A standard firing pin spring would be a good idea. The ones in Series 80 pistols were short and fairly soft. Leave the mainspring/hammer spring alone. No need to change the hammer, either unless you plan to use the half-cock as a safety position...and even then, it's not really necessary.

    It won't be a Series 70, though. The lack of lawyer parts do not a Series 70 make.
    Series 70 means that the pistol is...or was originally...equipped with a collet barrel bushing and the Accurizer barrel...also a Colt trademark.

    There were no firing pin safety parts in any of the pistols built in the 50s and 60s...but they weren't known as Series 50 or Series 60 any more than the WW1 models were known as Series Teen.
  11. r6j6b

    r6j6b Member

    xr, you're repeating more internet rhetoric. As I stated, I'm not being combatitive, only looking for 100% factual information or genuine *first hand* experience. Is there legal precedence? That would definitely lay my question to rest and dispell *some* 'net lore.( I'm not questioning what a person's best option is. ) If there is actual cases where a precedant has been set- many people had better put their modded "HD" guns(handgun, rifle or shotgun) back in factory stock condition. Legal precedence could quite possibly dry the aftermarket parts business up. It would cause more gun modders to have extra cash laying about for training and ammo. just sayin.
  12. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tuner... I'd read what you posted in the past on other forums but wasn't sure about the firing pin spring. Sorry about the incorrect nomenclature. :)
  13. Old Shooter

    Old Shooter Well-Known Member

    I would think the issue of safety removal mods would be a bigger and more likely issue in an accidental shooting as compared to a self defense shooting. In the SD shooting you intentionally shot the BG and the gun functioned as expected, safety issues aside. In an accidental shooting the lawyers suing you will put that issue on the front burner as in "Your reckless disregard for safety and the kitchen table mods you made to the gun resulted in baby billy-bob shooting the next door neighbor" or a shooting range incident or whatever. If you really want a series 70 style gun go out and buy one, nothing wrong with having two guns anyway.
  14. JRC45AUTO

    JRC45AUTO Member

    Be careful when you drop the slide.
    If the trigger job is not right the hammer will fall and you'll shoot a hole in your table.
    It happened to me.
    I've been shooting and working on 1911's since 1985 and I'll give you this advise.
    The series 80 firing pin block is the formost and most important safety feature ever made.
    I will not own or work on a series 70 1911 period.
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Bingo. Although a prosecutor could conceivably try to make an issue of the removal of the parts in a criminal action...it would probably be nullified pretty quickly if your attorney is capable of passing the state BAR.

    In a civil action following an accidental shooting...it might well mean your having to choose between heating and eating for the next 30 years while you get used to life in a rented single-wide.

    I have de-lawyered Series 80 pistols that I use for range beaters. I don't allow anyone else to use them...no exceptions. If your BFF Joe were to shoot himself in the foot with your altered pistol...even if the alterations had nothing to do with it...you could find yourself on the losing end of a very costly tort.

    Don't think that good ol' Joe would sue you? When the bills are piling up, his cars have been reposessed...and his house is about to go into forclosure and his kids can't eat or have decent clothes...and his wife's job is downsized...your house and cars and a large chunk of your salary will start to look awfully tempting.

    Remember that in this "Age of Litigation" anyone can sue you for practically anything. Even if they don't win, the legal fees spent fighting it can be ruinous.

    So...You have to ask yourself a deep question. Is it worth the risk, no matter how small? Or would it be better to just save your nickels and dimes and buy a model that doesn't include the firing pin safety system? As long as nobody else fires or even handles the gun, you'll be okay.

    I know this isn't what you asked for, but I have to write it because it's even possible for the owners of THR to be named in a suit for allowing it to be posted here...or me for telling you about the frame blank...without a caveat.

    It's the world that we live in. Nobody is to be held accountable for their own actions any more...at least not if there's money to be had.
  16. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Interesting. I much prefer to own and carry 1911s without the lawyer parts...and I've been at this 1911 thing since 1965.
  17. r6j6b

    r6j6b Member

    Thanks for taking the time to get comfy with the typie finger 1911Tuner - I(and most others) have read/heard those words about civil liability et al. Prudent advice, yet I've still not heard hard fast precedent. Back to the law books I go.
  18. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    "Typie finger"??

    I'm doing naught but presenting something to think about. I really don't give a rotund rodent's rump what modifications that anyone makes to their guns...but any chance of civil liability for THR has to be covered by a disclaimer.

    As in:

    "We do not advocate making illegal or unsafe modifications to any firearm."

    That's why many books published by Paladin Press...and most of you know which ones I mean...have the disclaimer: "The content is to be used for informational purposes only."

    As an armorer, I'm often asked to do this particular modification on Series 80 pistols. I flat refuse, and tell the owner that I'll tell him what to do...and even demonstrate it on my gun...but I won't do it for him. No exceptions.

    The information has been given, along with the disclaimer. You may do with that what you will...but while you're diggin' in those books, you might want to ask yourself how...logically... disabling an existing safety feature on a gun will do anything but hurt your chances of successfully defending a tort action.
  19. JRC45AUTO

    JRC45AUTO Member

    Interesting. I much prefer to own and carry 1911s without the lawyer parts...and I've been at this 1911 thing since 1965.

    I know, I used to have 70 series gov models & gold cups and never gave the FP safety a second thought.
    When I started shooting IPSC I saw the hotrods come out with their 1-2 lb triger jobs.
    I figured like a rifle, a lighter trigger would give increased accuracy.
    I have done 12-2lb trigger jobs on 70 & 80 series colts and never had a hammer to follow when dropping the slide.
    Thats a standard check when I do a job.
    A friend brought his newly purchased, worked over 3 lb trigger colt to show me.
    He was carrying cocked & locked, so after admiring it I was going to load & make ready for him.
    Inserted mag, dropped slide with slide release & BANG.
    Hole thru my kitchen table.
    A series 80 would not do this even if dropped with thumb safety off.
  20. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Well-Known Member


    1. A good shoot is a good shoot, deosn't matter how many safeties you have.
    2. A negligent or accidental shoot is still a negligent or accidental shoot, deosn't matter if you tampered with the safeties or not.

    Bottom line, if you accidentally shoot someone, your screwed, no matter if your gun is stock or not. You can't pass the blame. Sure, the prosecuter is going to make a point that you may have made your gun more dangerous, but your allready screwed.

    No jury is going to let you off the hook because your gun was box stock and safely holstered.
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