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1911 plunger tube question?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Texas Bob, Aug 14, 2004.

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  1. Texas Bob

    Texas Bob Member

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    Just put a set of Nill grips on my 1911, and I noticed the left grip panel in no way covers the plunger tube. With a modern 1911, how important is it to cover the plunger tube?
     
  2. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    With any 1911, the plunger tube should be staked in; it is not, and was never intended to be, held in by the grip.

    So whether a grip covers the tube partway, all the way, or not at all, is strictly a matter of appearance and the ideas of the grip manufacturer.

    Jim
     
  3. Zardoz

    Zardoz Member

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    I disagree, if the tube comes loose (and they can), the grip will hold it there and this may just save your bacon. :p
     
  4. Sam

    Sam Member

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    One of 2 items i don't like about the 1911.
    I have had 2 come off on me over the years.
    When I get a new 1911 I solder the plunger tube to the frame.
    Solved.

    Other gripe is grip screw bushings. They get the same treatment

    Sam
     
  5. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Plunger Tube

    Jim nailed it. That part of the grip isn't intended to hold the plunger tube assembly in place. It does seem to be another Browning redundancy that
    will keep the gun operational (temporarily) in case the tube loosens, but it shouldn't be relied on to keep it in place any longer than it takes to get it staked correctly.

    Cheers!

    Tuner
     
  6. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    I don't care if the plunger tube was staked on by JMB himself using the hammer of Thor, I'm going to have a grip panel that at least partly supports it on a fightin' pistol.

    I'm just a belt and suspenders kinda gal. ;)
     
  7. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Redundancy can be a good thing.
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Browning did indeed add that little lip on the left grip as extra insurance. The tupe is suposed to be secured by staking the two little posts. But if for some reason it does come loose the plunger can slip under the manual safety's paddle and jam the safety in the "on" position. Not good under any circumstances. Some grip makers apparently were (are) unaware of what that lip is for and leave it off. Certanily it can't substitute for a correct fastening of the tube, but there is no good reason to eliminate it.

    I never knew the man of course, but I think John Browning must have been a sort of "belt and suspenders" sort of guy, which is part of the reason the 1911 design is so good.
     
  9. ryoushi

    ryoushi Member

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    I know at least one company (QCB) brazes the plunger tube on permanantly. Assuming you have a good quality bar stock tube to begin with, would there be any disadvantages to doing this?
     
  10. joegerardi

    joegerardi Member

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    Tamara:
    Were that the British definition of "suspenders," I'd be yours forever! :)

    Actually, just wanted to say "Hi!" It's been far too long since we chatted about books.

    ..Joe
     
  11. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six member

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    How difficult is it to change a tube that's been brazed on?
     
  12. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    Tough, but on the other hand, how often are ya gonna hafta do it??? :)

    I wonder if JMB knew that staking was not fail-proof? If that was the case, why not spec that it should be brazed or silver soldered, or something other than just staking? Presumably, he had a theory...the man seems to have done very little without thinking it through.
     
  13. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six member

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    Twice, so far, but you could argue that only one of them applies to this discussion.

    I had to replace a crushed tube, and then I had to re-stake a tube that had shot loose. You could argue that the loose tube wouldn't have shot loose, but that still leaves you with replacing crushed tubes.

    When you start mucking around with the receiver, it's actually easier to crush them than you would think it is.

    Then again, I'm new at this. I've only been working on my weapons for a couple years.
     
  14. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

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    Some of us know how to stake them off so they never leave you again. About every third Colt that has come through here has a loose plunger tube. Thjey have never bothered to learn how to make them stick, but I have. I would never think of brazing one on. How crude.
     
  15. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Apparently it's been a problem for awhile. I've got a Colt "Combat Government" with a loose plunger tube at the the slidelock side. I don't have a staking tool, so I'm thinking about some JB Weld.
     
  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Browning's earlier prototypes didn't have a manual safety. When the army insisted on one he had to find a solution, and as part of it the plunger tube came into the picture. At the same time he decided that replacing a tube was better then requiring a new frame. During this time the necessary steps were taken to be insure the tube was correctly staked, and the lip on the grip offered extra insurance.

    Some of today's makers don't countersink the holes inside the frame, and some have been known to "glue" the tube in place with an adhesive. It is little wonder that these can come off.

    Considering the possible consequences if a tube loosens, I consider low-temp silver solder to be a good idea. Others disagree - which is something I don't lose any sleep over. Changing a tube would be troublesome, but so far, over a 50-year period, I haven't crushed one. I also haven't had a tube come loose. As I usually build my personal guns refinishing isn't an issue because the pistol will be refinished anyway.

    I do use a thread sealant on grip screw bushings, followed by staking. A loose bushing won't disable the gun. A loose plunger tube can.
     
  17. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Member

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    I agree with you there, unfortunatly, the thin grip panels i use don't have enough meat.
     
  18. Maxer51tx

    Maxer51tx Member

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    One of the innovations of the Wilson KZ45 is incorporating the tube in the polymer frame. I don't own one, they don't fit my hand. But it is another way to appraoch the problem.
     
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Know-How

    Dave said:

    They have never bothered to learn how to make them stick...
    ___________________

    Oh, Colt knows how...They just don't take the time to do it any more.
     
  20. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    In fairness, that's really not a design problem :uhoh:

    I was examining a 1911 with a 1918 C number this weekend...very clean, hasn't been shot in more than 50 years and obviously not much before that...I tell you honestly that the plunger tube was loose (the grips had been stored separately to ensure no corrosion under the grips). So, at least one person in Hartford seems to have gotten it wrong, unless we're going to blame the war...


    ...though I'd hate to be held to the standards that some of us here hold the gunmakers to. ;)
     
  21. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six member

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    Well, of course not. That's exactly my point.

    You need to be able to change tubes, and if you can braze them on and change them easily, that's one thing, but if it makes them hard to change, I'm against it.

    Because sometimes, you need to change them.
     
  22. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Okay, I'll modify my statement: "I don't care if it was staked on by Dave Sample himself, using the Hammer of Thor..." ;) :p
     
  23. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

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    Thanks Tamara. It is not a very complicated job and it can be done so that they stay. The Ancient One mentioned adhesives and this is part of the reason they never leave. He also talked about flaring the inside of the little hols so that the plunger tube rivets can be flared so they cannot come out. A little acetone on the tube and the holes, a litlle Green 640 Loctite Sleeve Retainer, a nice staking tool, 24 hours in the vice after it is staked on and you are good to go. It will stay. Until I want to take it off and replace it. Thats when we need the Hammers Of Thor. And perhaps the heat gun and a special way I have of prying them off so as not to ruin them.

    47741111.gif

    47741101.gif

    21196051.gif

    21196030.gif

    21195989.gif

    21195955.gif

    This will give you a lttle idea of how we do these simple things.
     
  24. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

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    21195921.gif

    Some of the various tools we use in our trade for this Job.
     
  25. Bill Z

    Bill Z Member

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    Want to know how good that method is? Put one on backwards and have to re-do it, :banghead: , and yes, do enough of them and it will happen. You even try to convince yourself that maybe JMB designed it to be interchangable, but it doesn't work. That's when you need Dave's second set of instructions. :(
     
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