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How to swap out the Mainspring Housing on a 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Lone_Gunman, Aug 22, 2008.

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  1. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I have decided that arched mainspring housings feel better to me than flat.

    How do I change that part out to an arched housing? Is it difficult to do?

    Other than the housing, do I need other parts?
     
  2. VHinch

    VHinch Member

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    Push the MSH retaining pin out, pushing from the "dished" side of the pin. Pull the old MSH out. Push the new MSH in. Reinsert MSH retaining pin. Takes less time to do than it does to type out these directions.
     
  3. blkbrd666

    blkbrd666 Member

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    Unless your tolerances are so tight you have to file off the top of the MSH to get the grip safety to move.
     
  4. Josh Aston

    Josh Aston Member

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    The new MSH likely won't come with the mainspring or cap so you'll need to remove the pin that retains those (keeping the thing pointed in a safe direction, preferably one that will catch the pieces when they come flying out). Put the pieces in the new MSH, insert the pin, place new MSH into 1911 and reinsert the retaining pin.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2008
  5. Black Majik

    Black Majik Member

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    Make sure you use a heavy rubber band to hold down the grip safety. This should prevent the sear spring from popping loose. Also remember to have the hammer strut end go into the mainspring cap.

    2 minute swap.
     
  6. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    I'm about ready to step out to friday Happy hour but will tell you how
    I changed my arched stocker to a flat.

    * go to brownell's they carry 10 or more different make and type of
    Main SPring Housing optionss Consider what you want.

    I'll be back in a couple of hours

    Randall
     
  7. jim147

    jim147 Member

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    What brand 1911? If its a Springfield you may need all the parts for the main spring housing.
     
  8. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Josh,

    What spring and plunger are you talking about?
     
  9. D-Man

    D-Man Member

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    I actually just did this tonight using directions from wamphyri13 as he answered my question in the 1911 forums:

    01)Make sure pistol is unloaded.
    02)Wrap a rubber band around the grip safety.
    03)With a small punch, drift out the mainspring pin
    04)Remove mainspring housing
    05)Press down slightly on the mainspring cap in the housing and push out the little retainer pin.
    06)Remove guts and place in new MSH.
    07)Press down slightly on the mainspring cap in the housing and push in the little retainer pin.
    08)Install MSH in the gun. Be sure hammer strut rests in the mainspring cap.
    09*)Press the MSH firmly upward to align holes and tap in mainspring pin the same direction it came out.
    10)Remove rubber bands and test function.

    It was pretty simple - the only problem I had was in step #5 I was trying to push the retainer pin on the mainspring out backwards. One thing that will be helpful is to have a vice or some clamps to use when tapping things out.

    This was the probably the biggest 'gunsmithing' step I've done with my handguns - the 1st one was replacing the mainspring in my Sig P226. If I can do this, just about anybody can.
     
  10. Josh Aston

    Josh Aston Member

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    Mainspring and mainspring cap (not plunger, my bad).
     
  11. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    Yeah, I got a bit confused when Josh mentioned the plunger

    THe Main SPring Housing (MSH) contains
    <drum rol>
    l the Main SPring (MS)

    The MSH has a vertical hollow space where the MS resides,
    at the base of the MS it has a Cup to hold the end of the MS
    it is a resting place for the MS - a coil spring.

    In fitting an MSH you might need to stone the sides for vertical
    fit - you might need to stone the top horizontal for that portion of
    the fit. The tube that contains the MS in the new MSH should be
    polished - use a rod and fine grit wet seandpaper say 400 grit to make
    sure thaere aren't any burrs in the tube for free travel of the MS.

    Dis-assembly and Assemboly is best left to those with experience,
    I had my gunsmith do this after I got the new MSH I wanted installed
    from Brownell's. He didn't charge much maybe $15?

    If you do it, wear safety glasses.

    Randall


    THe
     
  12. Majic

    Majic Member

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    A tip for reassembly...... have the hammer at rest when reinstalling the MSH. If the hammer is cocked you will be fighting the mainspring/hammer spring and at 23 lb. it can put up quite a fight.
     
  13. loop

    loop Member

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    The mainspring is very difficult to compress to remove or replace. I have a small nail sticking out of a stud in my garage I call my "mainspring installation tool." If you press the mainspring cap against the nail you can get a lot of leverage very easily. Then R&Ring the pin that retains the spring is very easy.

    Also, if you are replacing the housing it is a good time to consider adding a mag well. Smith & Alexander makes a really nice one that comes as one piece with the arched housing. The housing is also lined in 20 LPI checkering. I put them on full-size 1911s as a matter of routine, kind of like replacing the springs with Wolff.

    Lastly, wear safety glasses when dealing with the mainspring. They are under a lot of pressure.
     
  14. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    Well disregard my description of the position of the Main Spring Cup,
    and erhm Loop, the O.P. said he wants to go to a FLAT MSH do mag
    wells have that option?

    I personally don't see the need for a mag well if the mag opening has
    been beveled for ease of mag entry but to each their own.

    I sent the O.P. a pic of my 1911 with a Les Baer Custom
    Stainless Steel Flat w/vertical serrations MSH. This Flat MSH with the vertical serrations don't sit flush with the frame, but stick out just
    a bit but it is constant in length and not the shape of an arched
    where the arched sticks out further from the frame as it travels toward the
    base of the handle. I find it very comfortable IT's a S&W 1911 5"
    Bbl. in Stainless Steel. fwiw.

    Randall
     
  15. Jolly Rogers

    Jolly Rogers Member

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    Yes, I have one on my Springfield. They also list them in thin to match thin grips if your preference is for thin grips.
    Joe
     
  16. HRT

    HRT Member

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    +1 on Loop using the small nail on the stud. I have made a fancy one that cork in my bench vice......



    A scrap of 2X4 Stud with a 6 or 8 penny finishing nali driven to about 3/8" protrusion. Mines portable....I don't have to take the garage with me to change a main spring:neener::neener:
     
  17. loop

    loop Member

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    Um gee, HRT, I've been working on a ccw garage, but...

    Oh, sorry, S&A offer flat mainspring housings with the magwell too. I was just mentioning it because it is easy to do at the same time.

    Flat mainspring housings with or without mag wells are common. Send me a check for the cost of freight and I'll send you two for the price of one. After the check clears.

    I only mentioned it because it is the appropriate time to make the conversion.

    my bad...
     
  18. HRT

    HRT Member

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    Loop-
    You'd have to have Omar the tent maker building your cover garment for a CCW garage....even if it were for a Mini cooper....:D:D
     
  19. loop

    loop Member

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    HRT-

    I'm a big guy. I can carry a colt in my pocket. I oughta be able to fit a garage in my armpit...

    LOL
     
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