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Help young guys understand the 1911, three questions

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by AR15activist, Feb 26, 2015.

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  1. AR15activist

    AR15activist Member

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    Keeping in mind that I've already done my initial research, but that I need more information; your expertise is valued:

    A.) What's the difference between full length guide rods (FLGR) and GI guide rods, what are the pros and cons for each type, and which do you prefer?

    B.) What's the difference between flat and curved or arched mainspring housings, what are the pros and cons for each type, and which do you prefer?

    C.) What's the difference between a "model 70 and model 80" style action, what are the pros and cons for each type, and which do you prefer?

    Also, please add any other thought which may come to mind regarding the 1911 pistol.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    A) IMO the GI rod makes disassembly easier, but in reality, little difference in the two.

    B) Flat vs. arched is a matter of preference. The original was flat, changed to arched with the A1. Find what feels best.

    C) The Series 80 safety incorporates a few extra parts and prevents the pistol from being fired without first depressing the grip safety. Its only shortcoming to me is that its cutout leaves the disco slot rail rather thin. It does require I bit more dexterity to reassemble which could be a possible second point of contention but I'm fine with either system.
     
  3. AR15activist

    AR15activist Member

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    Ok, thank you! Interested to hear what everyone else has to say.
     
  4. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    full length guide rods ad a touch more weight in the front of the gun helping in recoil. also pretty standard in Bull Barrel guns. The 1911 works with either, as its function is to only hold the spring straight. I prefer 2 piece though do have bull barreled 1911's that have the FLGR.


    Arched changes the angle of grip. personal preference really.. I prefer flat.

    Series 80's have a firing pin block that makes them more drop safe.. I prefer 70's (less parts)
     
  5. AR15activist

    AR15activist Member

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    "full length guide rods ad a touch more weight in the front of the gun helping in recoil. also pretty standard in Bull Barrel guns. The 1911 works with either, as its function is to only hold the spring straight. I prefer 2 piece though do have bull barreled 1911's that have the FLGR."

    So when we're saying "two piece," that's in reference to a GI guide rod, correct?
     
  6. Doogledog

    Doogledog Member

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    A) You'll get varying opinions about the full length versus GI guide rods, I personally don't care.
    B) I prefer the flat mainspring housing because I have small to medium sized hands and I shoot better with it that way.
    C) The 80 series have more parts that prevent accidental discharge from drops. Again I have no "druthers" with the 70s or 80s.
     
  7. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Then there's all the different triggers, and different hammers, and different sights, etc., etc.....
     
  8. Winkman822

    Winkman822 Member

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    1 - Full length guide rod, as others have stated is intended to add a little bit of weight to help with muzzle flip, it's also supposed to keep the recoil spring from binding as easily as it could with a GI assembly. Honestly, I've not noticed any benefit to the full length guide rod, and very much prefer my standard GI type guide rod. Also, beware if you have a 2 piece full length guide rod. The two pieces can work loose after enough rounds are sent through the gun. I never experienced that issue, but it is something to be aware of. Two piece full length rods also have a tendency to slightly complicate field stripping procedures.

    2 - Flat or arched mainspring housing is just a matter of personal preference and what fits your hand better. For me, flat is the way to go on a 1911. While the arched mainspring housing does slightly change grip angle, it's not so drastic as to make the gun feel like it's got Glock grip angle.

    3 - Series 70 and Series 80 are specific to Colt 1911's. A true Series 70 is a Colt 1911 that does not have a firing pin block safety and that also has a collet bushing (basically three little fingers instead of a solid bushing) that was slightly springy that was supposed to give the sensation of a tighter bushing to barrel and slide fit. The Series 80 went back to a solid bushing and also incorporated the firing pin block. On a Series 80 and M1991 Colt, as you press the trigger, a lever rises up out of the frame to disengage the firing pin block in the safety. Early Series 80 1911's had slightly sloppy feeling triggers when compared to pre-series 80 pistols because of it. This has been substantially improved over the years. The other firing pin block safety is what was referred to earlier and is known as a Swartz safety. With the Swarts safety, a pin rises up out of the frame when the grip safety is depressed and the pin disengages the firing pin block in the slide. The Swartz type firing pin block tends to side step the slop that you can occasionally encounter with a trigger type firing pin block on a 1911. Personally, I prefer a 1911 that is sans firing pin safety whether Series 80 (trigger) or Swartz (grip safety). Sans firing pin block makes the gun an overall simpler design with less things to worry about going wrong. Also noteworthy is that many folks new to 1911's will end up with a Kimber or older S&W 1911 that uses a Swartz and from lack of knowing better, will shear off the pin that disengages the firing pin block when re-assembling the pistol after cleaning/lubing...they'll grab the frame by the grip, when putting the slide, barrel, etc, back on and will retract the assembly all the way to the rear rather briskly and there goes the pin. Time for a trip back to the manufacturer, or to a gunsmith to completely bypass the block.
     
  9. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    The questions have been answered pretty well, so I'll just add what I prefer on my 1911s.

    A. GI, because it's simpler and I don't think the FLGR gives any significant benefit.
    B. Flat, because it feels better in my hand.
    C. Series 70 style, because I don't feel the additional firing pin block is needed. But that said, I don't really care that much and my two Colts are Series 80.
     
  10. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Yes, sorry I wasnt clear. I am not talking about a 2 piece FLGR.
     
  11. AR15activist

    AR15activist Member

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    So, there are two piece GI guide rods, one piece FLGRs, AND two piece FLGRs -- correct?
     
  12. AR15activist

    AR15activist Member

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    I think this is going to be my initial preference as well...
     
  13. bdb benzino

    bdb benzino Member

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    A. Most seem to prefer the GI set up, as a one or two piece FLGR can make disassembly more difficult. Although In my personal experience with a couple 1911s, a flgr actually helped the pistol feel tighter and function smoother. That may be rare though. Also the flgr I just installed in my Norinco 1911 is slightly inset along with the reverse plug so it sits in the pistol, and allows for standard disassembly, which is very nice.

    B. The different types of msh are purely a personal choice based on your grip, although I have to use a flat MSH.

    C. This has already been answered well. I have owned pistols with both and don't really care. I had a M1991 Colt with an awesome trigger that had the 80 series, and have had numerous others without that were fine too. Another personal choice IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  14. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    a. GI
    b. Flat with a long trigger. Arched was a Band-aid for the short trigger IMO.
    c. 70. The Colt series 80 is fine. But I despise the Kimber FP safety setup. Good olde fashioned series 70 is my preference. The 1911 is perfectly safe with a modern firing pin.
     
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    I consider FLGR's to be not only useless but responsible for all the firing pin blocks required on new 1911's in some states today.

    "The Series 80 safety ... prevents the pistol from being fired without first depressing the grip safety."

    Not true; some firing pin blocks operate off the grip safety, including the Swartz safety used on Colt pistols prior to WWII, but Colt did not use that design in its Series 80; that firing pin block is moved upward by linkage from the trigger bow. The grip safety prevents the trigger bow from moving, but that is the standard design; the grip safety does not operate the firing pin block directly.

    Jim
     
  16. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    1.) A full length guide rod is designed to run the length of the recoil spring as the slide cycles rearward. In theory this increases accuracy. I have not noticed an increase in all the guns I have shot. I tend to prefer the GI or half length guide rod for ease of disassembly. The full length guide rod generally requires a takedown wrench because the mainspring cap has a sharp edge to it that is difficult to press in with your finger or thumb.

    2.) Flat and arched mainspring housings have to do with ergonomics. Some folks prefer the flat mainspring housing and some prefer the arched. My hand fits the arched better but it is a subjective opinion.

    3.) The difference between a series 70 and series 80 as explained before is the added firing pin safety plunger (located in the slide) and the corresponding levers that deactivate it (located in the frame). Some people have said that the Series 80 has a heavier trigger pull due to the extra plunger spring. I tend to lean toward the original design by John Browning (series 70). However, the series 80 will prevent the gun from discharging if dropped on the muzzle.

    Hope that helps.
     
  17. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    There is contention with nearly every part and difference found in the 1911.

    A) Personally I prefer short or GI length guide rods. They are easier to disassemble than full length or two piece rods. At least for me.

    B) I prefer uncurved backstraps on the main spring housing, with stippling all the way around and a memory bump in the grip safety. That is what feels best for me having tried other variations. Which is odd for me because on other semi-autos, I like the arched design if it comes with different backstraps.

    C) Probably the biggest contention in 1911 technology. As mentioned the Series 80 incorporates a "modern" drop safety firing pin block. The Series 70 does not. I prefer the Series 70 as the trigger pull is smoother, the big selling point of a 1911 in the first place. I do have a Series 80 and I can tell the difference in pull quality. Whether the Series 80 increases safety is a matter for much debate.
     
  18. Zach S

    Zach S Member

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    It seems the technical questions have been answered, so I'll just adress the personal preferences.

    GI Guide rod. Take down is simpler. My taste evolved from not caring, to keeping a spare GI guide rod and matching plug in my gun toolbox in case I bought another 1911. I also keep extra slotted screws for the grips and mag catch. A FLGR makes the recoil spring captive, so to install a .22 conversion, all you have to do is push out the slide stop, remove stock slide assembly, and install the .22 conversion. That is the only real advantage I have found.

    I prefer flat mainspring housings, they are also the most common on production 1911s.

    I prefer series 70 for simplicity, although a firing pin safety isnt a dealbreaker for me.
     
  19. AR15activist

    AR15activist Member

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    Well, I hope all of you are enjoying this thread as much as I am. We successfully set out to answer questions and transfer knowledge -- pretty cool!

    Happy to be on THR guys, Thanks!
     
  20. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    OP is almost there--FLGR come in two "speeds"--one piece or in two-piece. As a general rule, they use a spring bushing with a hole in it so that the rod can poke through during recoil. This can be aesthetically displeasing to some. Since the head of the rod is exposed, an allen/hex wrench can be used to unscrew the two-piece rod. which then allows for 'normal' dis assembly.

    Four bits = half dollar to me. I'd had both; only standard length in what I have now.

    As to mainspring housings, what I have noticed is that you rend to be inclined to one or the other based on which format you learned with. I grew up with GI-issue, so I use arched (else I shoot low). I even have an (itty-bitty) arched mainspring housing on my Officer's Model.

    Series 70 v. 80 also tends to be experience & preference. I like the way the spring collet bushing works (even having busted a few). The solid bushing has its good points, too. I have both--just not in the same size. So the Officer's is a Series 80 (they all are). Now, I've seen a Series 80 in "strike era" semi-Custom (matt electroless nickel with blued controls) to compare to my Series 70--just never with spending cash in my pocket. To me, one is its way, the other is its way, too. Six or a half-dozen.

    Now, if at 13-14 I'd been trained up on a Kimber or a Para-Ordenance, my preferences would likely be different.
     
  21. JDR

    JDR Member

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    A. A GI guide rod does make it easier to takedown the gun, the extra muzzle weight that the FLGR gives is negligible without any significant benefit.

    B. I feel that a flat mainspring housing points the gun better for me.

    C. Series 70 style with an extra power firing pin spring and a titanium firing pin, makes the gun drop safe without the extra parts needed for a Series 80 firing pin block.
     
  22. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Jim K is correct, I described the Swartz system but, and this is only a technicality, since the trigger bow is blocked by the grip safety, said safety must be depressed for the pistol to fire.

    As for my preferences: GI rod, 14 lb. recoil spring, steel firing pin, wide thumb safety, flat MSH, Series 70- only for ease of reassembly.
     
  23. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    A Series 80 isn't necessarily a detriment to a good trigger, provided your gunsmith is competent enough to do a trigger job on a Series 80 1911. I have a Colt XSE lightweight Commander which is a Series 80 and it has a PHENOMENAL trigger.
     
  24. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Not always, but usually. I have handled a few 70 and 80 1911s. Production guns that haven't been fine tuned by a gunsmith usually have a smoother pull on the 70. I did get to handle a D&L Sport once, and they always use Series 80, and that was a very nice trigger. Nearly had a heart attack at the price tag though.
     
  25. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I have found that I prefer the flat mainspring housing as it gives me a more natural and ergonomic grip on the 1911.
     
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