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1911 Reliability/Accuracy Tuning

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by SrDedosRapidos, Feb 14, 2009.

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  1. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    i just got a Springfield GI a couple days ago and plan on carrying it. Im going to send it off to Gemini Customs and I was wondering if there were a good combination of accuracy work and reliability tuning.

    Tightening the tolerances decreases the reliability a great deal but increases accuracy; i want a good balance of both. I cant really get a good idea as to the accuracy on the pistol as of current because the GI blade sights are horrendous! When i do manage to line up multiple shots though the groupings seem pretty tight. (to be honest, the 1911 is a completely different beast than the Sig 225 im used to shooting, so i cant truly comment until ive really gotten used to it)

    I took it to the range and put 100 rounds of Winchester 230 grain ball through it and had 3 FTF of the first 3 magazines, but after the gun warmed up it ran flawlessly.

    Obviously im going to get a throated barrel and have the feed ramp polished (and DEFINITELY a few Wilson Mags...) ETC. But what can i do along the lines of accuracy that wont interfere with the reliability tuning im going to get? Obviously some nice sights and a 4lb trigger job, but what about a match barrel or tightening the slide to frame fit?
     
  2. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    That's not true. I'm not a machinist, so if I'm incorrect maybe someone with more experience can set me straight, but I believe: "Tolerance" refers to the margin of error allowed on the particular dimensions of a part, based off the blueprints. "Clearance" refers to the amount of space between moving parts, and is accounted for in the blueprints, and taken in consideration when tolerances are set.

    You want the pistol to adhere to the correct tolerances, to ensure proper clearance. If a pistol is too tight, then it means too little clearance because the tolerances were either not tight enough, or were not adhered to by the builder.

    As for improving accuracy, the barrel lock up is where most of the mechanical accuracy is achieved in a 1911. A barrel that locks up into the same place every time is essential for accuracy. This means the lugs need to be well matched on the barrel and slide, and the bushing needs to tight enough to keep the barrel from budging when in battery, and make it return to the exact same location after the shot. Slide to frame fit makes up a small amount of mechanical accuracy.
    The rest is mostly the shooter, but a nice trigger helps the shooter do his part, so that is not something to be overlooked.

    Jason
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Barrel & bushing fit = 60% improvement.
    Trigger job = 50% improvement.

    Slide to frame fit has little effect on accuracy, but if it is too tight it has an effect on reliability when full of dirt.

    Kuhnhausen's book has a chart showing the various percentages the different part fits contribute to mechanical accuracy (Repeatability).

    Rear barrel play = 20%
    Bushing fit = 20%
    Consistent vertical lock-up = 20%
    Frame/Slide play = 15%
    Headspace = 10%
    Match grade barrel = 10%
    Beyond reach = 5%

    Shooter assistance features:
    Trigger work = 50%
    Better sights = 25%
    Misc, Ammo, etc. = 25%

    So slide rattle does matter.
    But not much compared to several other things.

    The main influence a tight slide fit has on total accuracy is providing the consistent vertical lock-up.

    But if the gun can give consistent vertical lock-up, and the slide still rattles, it matters not at all.

    rc
     
  4. jwr747

    jwr747 Member

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    as ole "Albert" once said "things are relative" in an everyday CCW pistol,a target grade pistol is accurate and reliable.if you stomping around the muck and dirt of the woods,a target grade pistol,may have some reliability problems(tight tolerances don't like dirt/mud/leaves/ect.).thats why Mr. Brownings mod of 1911 45ACP goes bang where ever it is,not many tight tolerances.also,some target grade pistols may have cloth snagging sharp sights that would hinder use. jwr
     
  5. dave from mesa

    dave from mesa Member

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    Don't know of Gemini Customs but I'll bet you they have a package that will fit you're needs.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I suspect that if you look the barrel is throated already... :scrutiny:

    The 1911 pistol was originally designed to be a weapon, and history has proven it to be an excellent one, in its original form.

    In post #2 Jason_G did a great job of pointing out the difference between "clearences," and "tolerances." Before, during and shortly after World War Two the Army went to great lengths to institute "calculated clearences" to insure battlefield reliability and interchangability of parts, regardless of whatever contractor made them.

    During the 1960's the Army assigned Springfield Armory (the government arsenal, not the company with the same name) the task of developing a bullseye match pistol based on the 1911A1 platform. A number of changes were made in service pistol crearences to enhance accuracy. Of course these changes affected reliability, but that was of little importance in a target gun. It should also be noted that these guns were individually "bench made," by skilled armorers. It was never intended that these match pistols would be used as service pistols, yet today most 1911 style pistols are made to match standards using match gun technology.

    Today's gun buyers want target-pistol accuracy on one hand, and service pistol reliability on the other. They often expect to get both in pistols that are assembled with a minimum of handwork. They seldom get both in the same gun.

    It may be noticed that there are frequent complaints about reliability of current or recently produced pistols, while none, or next to none, show up concerning those that were made before 1965. There is a good and obvious reason for this.

    The accuracy standard for USGI service pistols was 3 inches @ 25 yards, and this was more then good enough for the intended purpose. They also worked, "out of the box," and other then test firing, Uncle Sam never shot a round to break a service pistol in.

    Before you do anything you need to decide if you want a pistol to carry, a target gun, or a big-boy toy. It is foolish to spend a lot of money going in the wrong direction.
     
  7. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    You should have just bought a high end 1911. You're going to spend enough money on what you have, to get what you want, to have a bought a high end gun, and you still won't have a high end 1911.
     
  8. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    Good stuff guys, thanks.

    How then, Old Fuff, do i get it close to its "original form"? Obviously ive already had 3 failures...

    And i don't really target accuracy... if fact i doubt i need any real accuracy work outside of getting used to the platform and DEFINITELY new sights (it was just a thought... i wasn't sure if there was a way to get accuracy AND reliability tuning without canceling each other). Then i can really determine if i need any work.

    Ill just stick with a nice reliability tuning package then and not worry about "fixing what isn't broken" with the accuracy.

    And how do i tell if the barrel is throated? I thought it wasn't because the original GI didn't have a throated barrel (as far as i know... im far from an expert) and the Springfield GI is supposed to be an accurate recreation of the original...
     
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Old Fuff is right as to the real military issue guns versus ultra tight 50 yard slowfire target pistols, but your imported copy did not pass US Army inspection and is nowhere in compliance with the true "mil spec" no matter what the advertising says.

    I will wager that a good shop like Gemini will be able to improve BOTH accuracy and reliability versus a factory clone. Jeff Cooper referred to the work performed as a "half accuracy job."
     
  10. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    i think the purists here will be happy to know that ive changed my mind and am only going to have 1 thing done;

    Adjusting the extractor.

    If that and new Wilson Mags dont make it go boom 99% of the time, ill look further into it. I guess messing with the ejection port is unnecessary if someone can tune the extractor to throw them at 2 o'clock and the trigger feels fine to me. I guess ill have to see how i feel after 500 rounds or so.
     
  11. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    N/M. Deleted.

    Jason
     
  12. ulflyer

    ulflyer Member

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    SRDEDOS: You can get a rear/front sight set from Brownells for only a few bucks and have a local smith install them for another few. Tremendous improvement; unless you already have good eyesight, in which case you may find the small mil sights to your likening. Nothing wrong with these sights, its just that many of us have ageing eyes. :)
     
  13. 2nd 41

    2nd 41 Member

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    Would you consider using SA custom shop. They did an trigger job ($80) on my "Loaded" and it is a shooter. Let them take care of the FTF issues under warranty. Their customer service is awesome.
     
  14. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    Good suggestion!

    I suppose instead of spending money i could send it back. duh :eek:
     
  15. Lonestar.45

    Lonestar.45 Member

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    If it runs flawlessly, why get reliability tuning?
    I'd get a trigger job, sights, and that's about it. It sounds like it is plenty accurate enough for CCW, and as you shoot it more and get used to it you'll probably shoot even better with it.

    I have a SA GI that I haven't done anything to other than change grips, and I don't hesitate to carry it when I'm in the mood. I shoot it better than any of my Glocks (even with the small GI sights), it's never malfunctioned, and anything I'd do to it would just be for looks or comfort.
     
  16. EHL

    EHL Member

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    I wouldn't rule out getting a beavertail grip safety installed. Feels much better when shooting.:) I also wouldn't rule out getting the ejection port lowered and flared. I've heard plenty of stories where the casings either get stuck or at least beat to hell. (that's important if you reload) A good trigger job (4.5lbs) sure does make her a joy to shoot too. If you wanna keep the GI as is, go ahead, but I haven't looked back after I did the mods on mine. Truly love this gun!
     
  17. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    It doesnt run flawlessly cold... which i imagine is how one CC's a gun :D

    I had 3 failure to feeds and that was with 230 grain ball.
     
  18. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    That also depends on what brand of ammo All ball isn't the same Clean and lub try differebt brand
    On a Springer I would toss the factory extractor and get a good Wilson or Ed brown .Springfields are not the best in that area. Will loose tension quickly. Its One of main complaints you see about springfields If you not bother by the GI tang Then leave beaver tail off its not really needed Pistol was used for years in military and civ with out the ugly beavertail. Neither of my Gov has it and I really don't miss it
     
  19. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    By fitting a new barrel bushing to my Springfield loaded, my offhand shooting was greatly improved. For $30, you can have EGW fit a bushing for you, mine only needed a little massaging, to fit the barrel through. Still 100% reliable, after the mod. The flyer was caused by me thinking to much:D
    [​IMG]
     
  20. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    Michael,

    Im actually probably going to have all the small parts replaced as ive heard bad things about Springfield's factory small parts. They have a forged frame and slide so you figure they have to cut costs somewhere :D

    Im going to order a few different brands of ammo online this weekend and see what kind of results i get.

    Ill definitely look into a match bushing for sure :cool:
     
  21. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    If you're looking at gutting that pistol and paying a good (not bubba down the corner) gunsmith to work his/her magic on it, I suspect you are going to have more money into that pistol than what you could have paid for a NIB gun with the same work already done on it. I'm not saying don't do it, but I would check on the prices and make sure this isn't the case first. If it is, then you might consider selling it and just buying what you really want. Check on it.

    Jason
     
  22. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    I think replacing all the small parts is just Paranoia on my part and im going to wait and see how its performing after 500 rounds before i decide what to do.

    Even a NIB pistol might not work like i want it to and have to be sent off. I really like mine but feel it just needs some minor tweaks to work reliably. The rest is purely optional and unnecessary. Besides, i would still feel more comfortable having someone at a custom shop fitting my barrel and bushing for the extra money than trusting it was done right at the factory, even with nicer 1911's, but thats just me (unless it were a custom shop gun)

    And let me clarify something i wasnt aware of earlier;
    I wasn't having Failure to feed issues... it appears im having failure to chamber issues so im going to replace the recoil spring with an 18.5lb one and hold it a bit more firmly.
     
  23. jaysouth

    jaysouth Member

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    Put some King Hardball sights on and shoot and shoot and shoot.

    When the gun has a couple of thousand rounds through it, you will know exactly what needs help.

    When you can shoot more accurately than the gun. find someone to fit a barrel bushing to it.

    I have a Les Baer that really doesn't shoot any better than an an old colt Gov Model. Someone finally explained (I did not want to hear this), It ain't the bow, it ain't the arrow, its the indian holding the bow and shooting the arrow.

    Enjoy.
     
  24. SrDedosRapidos

    SrDedosRapidos Member

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    Jay,
    GREAT advice :D
     
  25. mmartin101808

    mmartin101808 Member

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    I'll start off by saying I really like Springfields. I own three. Two of which are 1911's. One is a Mil-Spec, and it's been a great gun. The main differences in it and the GI is the sights, flared ejection port, polished feed ramp, and slanted slide grooves. I've looked into getting a few things done to it, but from what I've found schmecky's right. You'll spend as much, if not more than the cost of a higher end 1911. As far as mags go, I don't think Springfield's are all that bad. I've got 2 eight rounders I use in my Mil-Spec and Loaded Champion. I've never had any issue in either gun.
     
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