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Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by proven, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. proven

    proven Well-Known Member

    i'm not experienced with the USGI stuff and had a question. i've been told that USGI parts are very good quality. i recently picked up a USGI recoil spring plug, and about 1/8" behind where the checkered "nipple" protrudes from the muzzle end, there is a smallish dent or ding of some sort in the cylinder wall. doesn't seem like it should be there. when shining a light into it, you can faintly see where it "bulges" on the inside. also, after i installed it, when taking it apart the recoil spring seems to "stick" a little. what do you guys think?? should i scrap this and find another plug?? i bought this and the standard length guide rod together, and am now wondering about the quality, reliability, and authenticity (was told they were "new" USGI) of both. i'm replacing the full length guide rod on my kimber for carry purposes. i kind-of like the idea of replacing most of the small parts with USGI stuff. thoughts and suggestions?? thanks for any help.
  2. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Well-Known Member

    My Colt MkIV Series 70 Combat Commander had a semi-circular cut in the top of the recoil spring plug that was bent inside. This was to hold the plug onto the recoil spring to keep it from "escaping" when disassembling the gun. Could this be what you're seeing?
  3. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    Tinker's got it right.

    On GI spring plugs and on many older Colt commercial guns, there is a "flap" of metal pushed into the plug.

    When the plug is installed on the recoil spring, you turn the plug as though screwing it on the spring.

    The spring will interlock on the plug, and prevent the plug from shooting off and getting lost, if you loose control of it during disassembly or assembly.

    As a cost saving, later commercial guns don't have this.
  4. proven

    proven Well-Known Member

    thanks guys
    any thoughts on the quality of USGI parts and the idea of replacing the small parts (slide stop, mag release, thumb safety) with these?? this is a carry gun, and i'm not that picky about matching finishes or looks.
  5. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    DEPENDING on whether the GI parts are new, and unworn, AND on whether they're actually genuine USGI parts, they would do quite well.

    Genuine USGI 1911 parts were almost all made from forged and milled steel.
    GI parts were top quality, tough, and fool-proof.

    Most current commercial parts are made from cast steel. The better commercial stuff will be as reliable and last as long as GI.
    The lesser stuff is always out of spec in at least some areas.

    In truth, most of the higher grade new commercial parts are probably as good, and unless you have a part that's "certified" bad, there's really no reason to change the parts out unless it'll just make you feel better.

    The problem will be in making sure you have 100% USGI, non-reject, unworn parts.
  6. proven

    proven Well-Known Member

    thanks dfariswheel
    the parts i have found are supposedly new (never issued/unfitted) USGI, and the parked finish on the guide rod and plug was pretty spotless. though, you make a good point about them possibly being rejects. i think i'll stick with Hardcore and Bulletproof stuff.

    thanks for the help
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Tinkerer and Dfariswheel gave you half the story on that recoil spring business. A GI recoil spring has one small end and one open end. The open end "screws" into the recoil spring plug to keep it from departing when removed. At the other end, one coil fits tightly on the recoil spring guide so the spring doesn't fly off with the plug. In other words, the plug, spring, and guide are kept as a unit until someone deliberately separates them.

    FWIW, the same is true of the firing pin and its spring, which should stay together, and the two plungers (slide stop and safety) and spring that reside in the little "tunnel". They also are made to be and remain a unit.

    But, modern makers shave a few cents off the cost of the gun by not making the parts the way they should be made, and so things fly about when the gun is disassembled.

    As to GI parts, they were made to very rigid specifications and are excellent. The problem is that most are now used up and have been replaced by (shall we say) less than quality parts. Remember, not all that glitters is gold and not all that is Parkerized is GI.

  8. gamachinist

    gamachinist Well-Known Member

    One thing to add to Jims note on "GI" parts.
    There is a difference between USGI,and somebody elses GI a lot of the time!
    Been there and been burned on those two little missing letters, :fire:
  9. proven

    proven Well-Known Member

    one last thing...
    were the USGI guide rods hollow?? this one is hollow and has a tapered, rounded end.
    also, the outer edge on the checkered "nipple" of the plug is somewhat rolled inward. i imagine from sliding the bushing across the plug. kind-of bugs me as the checkering almost seems recessed.
    as i can't be truly sure of this stuff's quality, how does the Ed Brown standard length guide rod and plug compare. what do the custom builders use??

    sorry about all this fuss over a guide rod, just trying to gain some knowledge.

  10. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    GI and Colt Commercial guide rods are hollow, with a rounded front end.

    Custom builders use anything and everything. A good many use long, one piece guide rod units, mostly because their customers demand them.

    Some people claim long guides improve the gun, others say they don't.

    I personally like the standard GI-type short guide, and have never had any problems with it.

    The Brown stuff seems to be high-grade.
    In truth, the only problem I've ever seen with a standard guide rod was on guides made from cheap, soft metal, or on guides that were just very old and heavily used.
    These either battered or cracked the recoil flange.

    Use whatever you want, it'll work.

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