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Drop in 2 lb, 1911 trigger

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Greg528iT, Jan 22, 2012.

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  1. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    AND YES.. it's on my range only toy.

    Start with my Springfield upgraded Mil Spec - 1911 (added beaver tail grip safety and red dot sight)

    I had previously attempted to adjust the trigger pull on this gun, and succeeded. Though as I learned more and more about all the geometry I was liking the idea of starting fresh.

    1st. start with a new sear. reading across the web, the EGW hardened sear is suppose to be as close to perfect out of the box that as they come
    [​IMG]
    I did rub the sides and trigger bow contact area with 3000 grit polishing tape. You know basic stuff you are going to do. They say the primary sear surface is ready to go. I did take 1 pass with the tape. While the sear was out, I passed the disconnector surfaces across the tape as well.

    2nd. Add a new hammer. I went with a Wilson Bullet proof hammer.
    [​IMG]
    Per a few here, they say they leave the hooks at .023". The Wilson hammer comes with .020" hooks. Hmmmm. With the 3000 tape on a lathe tool (exactly 90 deg edge) I took 2-3 passes on the hook face, just because.

    THIS by itself gave me a solid 4 lb trigger pull. Very crisp.

    3rd. I believe the original Springfield main spring runs in the 23 lb arena.
    [​IMG]
    I made a quick jig to test to see if I could tell if there was some relaxation over the last 10 years. It compressed near 23 lbs. I ordered a set of Wolf springs, 21, 19, 17 lbs. The 21 and 19 compressed to their numbers in my jig. I guess my jig works OK.. and as I figured the orignal spring was 23 lb.
    I put the 19 lb spring in.
    This dropped the trigger pull to 3 lbs.

    4th. Now to fiddle with the sear spring. OR not mess with it. OR. drop in the Cylinder and Slide sear spring.
    [​IMG]
    I polished the tips a bit. Just to make sure. and OK OK, I kinda pulled on the center leaf a tad, but don't think I could see much of a difference in the position of spring.
    This gave me a crisp 2 lbs pull.

    No follow on, I can't rattle the sear off the hooks. I'll take it shooting Monday or Tuesday. With all non modded parts I'm sure everything will be fine.
    and AGAIN.. this is my range only toy.
     
  2. ichiban

    ichiban Member

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    Might I recommend that you only load two rounds per magazine until you have established a level of reliability and experience with such a light trigger. An unexpected full-auto 1911 is scary as hell and may get you a visit from the boys at BATFE. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  3. nathan

    nathan Member

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    Prepare for an accidental discharge. A 3.5 lb is the best minimum .
     
  4. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Um...Well...no. Not really.

    The center leg of the sear spring returns the trigger and resets the disconnect...and holds the disconnect in the connected position. Too little tension will let the disconnect fall out of position when the trigger is pulled, and the usual result is a failure to fire because the sear resets and grabs the half-cock...stopping the hammer.

    A hidden effect is that the half-cock can crash into the sear as the hammer falls, damaging the sear crown. Sometimes it includes light strikes and misfires. Sometimes not. The shooter blasts away happily until one day...the hammer starts to follow or the trigger gets hard because the damaged sear has eaten away at the hammer hooks.

    Got a copy of Ken Hallock's little paperback, eh?

    If I find .018 square hooks on a hammer, I'll toss it in the scrap barrel. I'm not real comfortable with .020 hooks, either. I much prefer .025 inch...a little undersquare for positive engagement...and the use of an escape angle on the backside of the sear crown to reduce the contact area and minimize hammer lift.

    There is little practical difference between a 2-pound trigger and a 3.5-pound trigger other than for establishing bragging rights down at the gun shop. A Distinguished Expert may be able to consistently do a little better with 2 pounds...a little.

    This is good advice, and for more than getting used to just how scary light a 2-pound trigger is.

    Remember too, that the sear and hammer move in an arc, and that the angles on those parts were mated on a fixture with precisely located hammer and sear pins. If your frame's pinholes aren't exactly the same as those on the fixture...which is unlikely...all bets are off.

    And thus duly warned...we wish you the best of luck and good shootin'.
     
  5. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    Drop in 1911 parts, :uhoh:
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    1911's with 2# triggers. :uhoh:

    rc
     
  7. Bozwell

    Bozwell Member

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    A light trigger on a range toy isn't really a problem in my opinion. The gun shouldn't be loaded until you're on the firing line and you shouldn't have your finger on the trigger until you're ready to fire. Were it a carry gun that would stay loaded all the time, I'd agree, but not so much on a range gun.
     
  8. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    I only mentioned that I plucked at the center leaf. Let me be clear, I plucked it, more like a mouth harp, from it's out of the package shape to it's um final shape I can't say I moved or bent anything. More of cycling it.

    I guess including the fact that I sanded sides and edges, makes it sound like MORE than drop in. but really I'd do the same to the stock parts I took out cleaned and replaced.

    YES.. I'll start with no more than 2 rounds.

    Also why while I was ordering, I ordered a range of main springs. I put the 19 lb in. The 21 may go in. Or even the 23 go back in depending on my results and desires.
     
  9. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    TONS of competition shooters run triggers down to 1.5lbs (and 2.25 to 2.5 is so common as to not even be noteworthy), and AD's are relatively rare. 2lbs isn't going to go off if you breath on it. It's still going to take an actual press of the trigger to go bang.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    When you drop the slide on an empty chamber without holding the trigger back do you get hammer follow?

    rc
     
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    On a competition only pistol when the work is performed by a skilled and talented trigger man. In a service-grade or even a range toy/hobby pistol...as a component in a drop-in set? Not me, lad. Nossir. When those hooks are that short and squared, the rest of the package had better be 101% right.
     
  12. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    NO! which makes me semi confident it'll be OK. but will start slow at the range. 2 bullets etc.

    Measuring straight between the hammer and sear pin my Springfield appears to be .024" farther apart than the blueprints. Well, I didn't expect it to be perfect. I did set the hammer and sear pinned on the outside. The hook face and sear face positions appear pretty close to the 3d model I've created.

    I'd have NOT cut the hammer hooks to less than .023" but as I say they came .020".

    I did not use any abrasive greater than 1500 grit. On the hammer hook face I set a 90 deg lathe tool with the 3000 grit tape on the hook side. I can pretty much assure that no real material was removed.

    This was a mis match of parts. Wilson hammer, EGW sear, etc.
     
  13. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    HUH??? these 2 holes would be drilled AFTER any forging casting process. These holes would be drilled during the machining process. Depending on how they set it up, I could see them gang drilling them. Pretty sure that's not the case here.
     
  14. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    Back to the OP, I "know" how to do a trigger job too. That being said, I haven't done anything with the FCG on any of my 3 1911s. I paid a fair amount of money to have William Alexander (Alexander Arms; Tallahassee, FL) put a consistent 3.4lb trigger on my Colt. With that trigger, it almost seems like I "think" the trigger instead of pressing it. 3.4lbs is very light.

    Drop in parts where 1911s are concerned are almost never properly fit. The part is either going to be too small and it will fit with slop, or it'll be too big and it's not drop in anymore.

    As far as the hammer hooks go, you shouldn't have cut them to begin with... You're potentially creating a dangerous situation. Your gun works now, and it'll work for awhile... but with so little metal there, you're much more likely to wear it out instead of wearing it in.

    It's a good idea to stick to the schematics as closely as possible (at least in certain parts). Cosmetics are one thing, but when you start mucking with the fire control group things can get dangerous.
     
  15. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    I did. Nice to see that Colt uses a mix of old and new tech. We can certainly see why 1911s have the price premium they do. All that hand working is expensive.

    I guess it would depend on the age and or quality of the CNC machine that does all the initial hole drills. What's the positional repeatability???

    Depending how they are made they should be within the same tolerances as OEM parts. Being I bought Wilson and Cylinder and Slide I assumed (yeah I know) that they would be able to hold tolerances as well as Colt or Springfield.
    I agree. and I didn't cut a thing. I did buy the Wilson hammer knowing they advertise that they have .020" hooks. I measured them, they were .020" . I'm wondering if William Alexander cuts hammer hooks to less than the blue print .030" height to get that 3.4 lbs pull??? I'd bet he does.
     
  16. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    On measuring, my hammer hooks are .026, but my caliper isn't digital and my eyes aren't great for seeing tiny things. I'd say give or take .001 - It's much closer than your .020 though. I'm not saying stick to the blueprint all the time, or even exactly... I'm saying that you're more than .010 off ... that's plenty enough to cause problems, especially when you're using a "drop in" hammer. The hammer, sear and disconnector all need to be fitted to each other and to the gun. Start mucking with one part and the others are going to have problems functioning properly.

    Again, maybe not right away, but it WILL wear out quicker than the next guy that has hammer hooks of the proper depth. Keep your eyes open for hammer follow and please don't use it as a carry gun. I'd really hate to read about you in the news sometime being arrested because your firearm doubled or being buried because it broke when you needed it most.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  17. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    Use shims. A nice machinist set will have shims running at single thousands intervals. You can then see or feel it easily. Wilson said it was .020" I put an .020 shim on.. then an .019 and a .021 YEP.. it was .020"

    Added:
    and.. I've said before.. I'd NOT have gone below .023" is I was taking a OEM hammer down from .030". I AM putting some trust in Wilson Combat to produce and SELL a product that is satisfactory.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  18. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    I don't have any shims (or a machinists set of tools/shims/gauges). Mostly because I don't do anything that requires them currently, though that particular set of tools IS in my future. I'm not saying the hammer hooks on your hammer aren't .020, I'm saying they're off from blueprint by .010 ... A hundredth of an inch is a lot when you're talking about a precision piece of machinery like a handgun, even one as simple as a 1911.

    Either way, it is what it is. We learn by experimenting and screwing things up or fixing them as the case may be. I use a Rock Island to experiment on personally... Much cheaper for a project gun.
     
  19. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    OH.. my comment was more dirrected that Wilson said they where .020" and using a shim / feeler gauge, I proved to my satisfaction that Wilson can at least hold to a very tight tolerance there.

    Rail.. have you ever measured the spacing between the sear and hammer pin holes? Easily done with your dial caliper. I measured mine last night. Doing the trig, they should be .4344" apart at the centerline. With the pins out you can measure to the far sides of the holes. .4344" + (.110"/2) + (.157"/2) I discovered mine are .024" farther apart than 1911 blue print. :( The bright side to this is, that the sear face will bury deeper into the hooks than they normally would have.
     
  20. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    Greg: The holes are correct on my Colt, but they're off on my Springfield (.022 off, pretty close to yours) and they're .013 off on my RIA.

    Wilson Combat is, I'm sure, a fantastic supplier when it comes to parts dimension accuracy, and with the holes on the springer being off so much, the shorter hammer hooks won't be quite as much of a problem, though I think you may see increased sear wear instead. I'd keep an eye on it (I'm no expert, by any means, but I'm learning). Matter of fact, my Springfield has a WC grip safety (previous owner installed it) and the only thing I don't like about it is the lack of a "memory pad". I plan to build it up a bit once I find a ground clamp and a rod holder for my welder.

    *Edit to add: Most of the work I do on my 1911s is pretty much cosmetic only, with the exception of polishing internals (VERY carefully) for smoother action.

    One thing I haven't figured out how to do yet is polishing the inside of the frame where parts ride... Those are probably the only machine marks left on my RIA, are inside the trigger bow slots and the slot where the disconnector/sear rides.
     
  21. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    Hmmmmm I guess I'll be measuring my other 2 Springfields. 1 dead stock, a pre Mil Spec / GI designation (has a combination of features of both) and my newest a 2010 made Ultra Compact Loaded. Only thing changed was putting in a flat trigger (cosmetic) and a EGW sear. The OEM sear was too narrow at the .030" face. OH and the sear spring. The center disconnector tab was cut at an angle and I replaced with a wolff spring. It pulls at 4.5 lbs. I'm happy.
    ANYWAY.. I looked at the dimension on the original blueprints. I'm wondering if Springfield didn't "FIX" something along the way. (Since your Springer is so close to mine)

    I'd like to polish the trigger bow guides. So far I've been satisfied with using emery cloth on the bows themselves and getting a free slip/slide.
     
  22. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Member

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    I recently had a Luger double on me after a trigger job, the second round went up at about a 35 degree angle, which translates into through the roof of my shop! It really did scare me too, I knew it doubled, and I assumed both rounds would be on the target because of the cyclic rate, when I saw that the second round went through the roof I finally began to contemplate what 3 or 4 or 8 rounds would have done! That's when I got the fear.

    Sometimes I wonder how many times a guy "lucks" out. I don't believe in luck, nor certainly in depending on luck. It's far better to read something like this and use caution instead.
     
  23. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    I guess I should have named this thread. "I acheived a 2.5 lb trigger pull by just applying precision aftermarket parts. If you are uncomfortable with this light of a trigger do NOT apply ALL of them" :)

    I went into this and gave different pull weights at different levels of parts being added.
    1st was 4lbs using EGW Sear and Wilson Hammer
    2nd was 3lbs with lighter main spring
    3rd was 2 lbs with lighter sear spring.

    We've already discussed how the Wilson hammer was as advertised, with .020" hooks and is a hardened hammer. Should last a while.

    We've not discussed how accurate the sear was. Before I purchased the sear a buddy fabricated a jig using the same dimensions from the original blue prints. It's a circular jig so that we can look at the sear face relative to the .4045" dimension that is 90 deg to the centerline of the hole. 90 deg to the centerline is tangent to the radius. Obviously offset a little in this case, but I think we can agree that at .030" it's pretty close.
    See attached picture. This is an UNTOUCHED out of the package EGW sear. It's the correct dimension from the center. The face is flat. There is a good break angle already included.
    [​IMG]
    I did touch that face to a 3000 grit polishing tape, but you can be assured that 3000 tape isn't really going to do much here.

    I'm not a commercial for EGW.. I'm just trying to point out that for a little more one can buy a sear and hammer that is ready to rock and roll.

    I know know that my spacing between pins is a little long, but as we look at the geometry, it'll only cause the sear to bury further into the hammer hooks (make it harder to pull out).
     
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Gentlemen...my intent was to advise you that drop-in trigger jobs may
    or may not be safe and functional...nothing more.

    Open your calipers to .018 inch and look at how tiny that is.
    That's a 33% reduction from the original specs. Then, if you
    cut a proper escape angle on the backside of the sear crown, you've
    brought the engagement surface down to about .010-.012 inch.

    The spec hammer hooks are supposed to be undersquare to
    pull the sear back into the hammer should the gun be dropped or
    otherwise jarred and to compensate for hammer hook and sear angles
    that don't exactly agree...either due to varying sear lengths or
    holes being mislocated.

    The gun was never meant to be a target pistol. It can be tuned
    for that, but it's not what it was meant to be.

    You can bring the trigger down to 2 or 3 pounds, sure...but unless
    it's right, you can also turn a rugged, reliable pistol into a dangerous
    piece of machinery.

    Hanging onto a full-auto 1911 isn't that hard to do...even with one hand...
    if you're expecting it. If you're not, or it happens when you trip
    the slide during a reload...it can get pretty ugly in quick-time.
    It may fire one round and it may empty the magazine.

    Go ahead and ask me how I know.

    Be very sure that you really want a 2-pound trigger. If that's all
    that will do, I advise you to go to a skilled pistolsmith for the work
    instead of relying on drop-in parts adjusted to somebody else's
    gauge.
     
  25. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I generally stay out of 1911 platform gunsmithing threads because I have had more then enough of them, and by this time I think that everything that needs to be said has been. However there is no end to it as the same questions keep get ask over, and over, and endlessly over again.

    But this one seems to demand a comment.

    The safety lock (a.k.a "manual safety") is designed to block the sear so that the sear can't rotate out from under the hammer hooks. In other words what makes the safety safe is the amount of engagement between the sear and hammer. If on one hand you reduce the depth of the hammer hooks, while you put a back-angle on the sear, you can leave as little as .012" of solid engagement left. If the fit between the safety's lug and the sear allows even the slightest movement, or the respective pin holes in the frame are off, but still within tolerance - but with the stack going toward the maximum side, a less then hard hit on the hammer spur could cause the hammer to fall.

    This is of little consequence in a target pistol, that is loaded, fired and cleared on command. But in a cocked & locked weapon with a cartridge in the chamber it's asking for an event followed by some serious consequences. Having the pistol double or go into automatic mode is not a fun trip either.

    As 1911Tuner has pointed out - and I believe he's forgotten more about this pistol then the rest of us will ever know - the 1911 was designed and developed to be a weapon. It can be adapted for other purposes, but there are limits that cannot be safely passed. A drop-in or even fitted 2 to 2 1/2 pound trigger pull is way beyond this pistol's safe limits, because in leaves absolutely no margin for error or wear.
     
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