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Lets talk 1911 triggers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Spent Shell, Mar 4, 2007.

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  1. Spent Shell

    Spent Shell Member

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    First let me tell you what I'm looking for.

    I've been shooting my whole life and am now just starting to get the 1911 bug, in fact I can't believe I don't already have one, so I need one. I already have plenty of pieces for protection and play shooting so I'm intrested in a 1911 that will be more of a target gun.

    I've read so much on 1911s that it's almost hard to sift through it all, but there seems to be less info on triggers in stock form. I've only shot a few and they were more on the mil spec level, I did shoot a Kimber quite a while ago but it's hard to even remember the feeling. Now I realize there's a REALLY good chance I'll end up getting some trigger work done to decrease the pull, but I'd like to hear more about what comes off the shelf.

    I'm not stuck on the idea of any particular model at the moment but don't want to get crazy on price yet for an all out custom, I'm thinking somthing in the $1000 +/- range should get me a good start.

    I've looked at Springfield Armorys website and it specs two different ranges on trigger pull on all it's listed guns, either 5-6# or 4.5-5# , so do all the triggers in one range feel the same or are there differences in length of pull an smoothness, with just the same effort?

    Just so you know where I'm coming from I've replaced trigger springs in single actions (revolvers)to the point of being scary......and I love it. Not a carry gun, or even action shooting, just target. I'd really like to own a 1911 that will outshoot my other autos.

    Any thoughts on what direction to start? Maybe even a link to an unbiased comparison between the triggers?
     
  2. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    That's tough to provide - you're looking at production line guns and there's a lot of variance in the trigger feel. A smooth 5#s feels better, and a lot lighter, than a gritty or creepy 4#. I don't think a general statement can be made - it depends on the individual weapon and how well the parts mated up on the line.

    That said, without an extensive trigger job, a 'fluff & buff' of the stock pieces in any stock 1911 can make a vast difference in the feel. There's a sticky in the 'smithing sub-forum discussing procedures.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=61238

    I'd shy away from series 80 type ignition safetys as they only complicate attempts to get a smooth, consistent pull. Actually, I avoid lawyer safetys of any type so I personally prefer Springfields with the ILS replaced.
    /Bryan
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2007
  3. waynedm

    waynedm member

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    If you do nothing else, make sure you get a trigger with an adjustable overtravel. Overtravel has more of an affect on that than anything else.
     
  4. GreenFurniture

    GreenFurniture Member

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    The best results I have seen and gotten have been to replace the hammer, sear, disconnect and mainspring with a Cylinder and Slide kit. Smooths out the pull and you can get different kits for different pull weight(s).
     
  5. Baphomet

    Baphomet Member

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    I would agree with all of the above. My Springfield Loaded came with decent #4 - #4.5 trigger but a Cylinder and Slide kit turned the pull into something truly excellent. A #3.5 pull with just a tiiiny bit of pre-travel (at my request) to prep the shot and crisp as a cracker thereafter. It's probably the more expensive route, but it's a sure bet for a truly excellent trigger pull.

    That being said, a decent gunsmith should be able to take your stock parts and get you a very good pull as well. Emphasis on "decent" gunsmith.
     
  6. lycanthrope

    lycanthrope Member

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    My C&S hammer/sear combo with SVI Infinity trigger and SVI Infinity Titanium sear spring gives me 2.25lbs with no issues. A Brazos Custom kit should get you 2.5lbs capability for most guns.
     
  7. Black Majik

    Black Majik Member

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    Target 1911 with an excellent trigger OTB? Adjustable target sights, crisp 3.5 lbs trigger, and 3" guarantee accuracy at 50 yards.

    How about a Les Baer PII?

    A little over $1400 from Sporting Arms

    www.sportingarms.com
     
  8. robctwo

    robctwo Member

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    I bought a Springfield Armory Black Stainless Target Loaded last year. Trigger was every bit the 5-6lbs advertised. I replaced the guts with Ed Brown parts. Much better.

    Bought a S&W1911PD Commander later. It has the 80 series trigger, but that trigger is much better out of the box than my SA. I'm leaving it alone. My friend just bought a used S&W1911 5" in the old "Billboard" look, with a stainless frame and blued slide. It has an exceptional trigger with no smithing that he knows of. I shot it today. It is great.

    I bought a used Ed Brown Exec Target for right at $2,000. It is better. I was looking real hard at the Les Baer line before this Brown came on the market. Still thinking about a PII with the 1.5" guarantee. That's still out of your price point.

    I'd go S&W every time in the $700 to $1,000. Also have heard good reviews of the Dan Wesson Pointman 7 in that price. Go to the S&W web site. They have two 1911's in 5" with adjustable sights with steel frames and slides, one stainless and one blue for suggested retail of $1,100. That should translate into about $800-$850 retail.
     
  9. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    STI Trojan no more than 4.25lb with a perfect break.

    David
     
  10. jlh26oo

    jlh26oo Member

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    One thing I like about SW 1911's are that they use the nitro carb bath (same as tennifer and melonite) on at least one of their full size sw1911pd's with a rail. Once you get spoiled to that, it's hard to go back. Good to hear they are competitive in terms of performance.

    http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/71/products_id/27628 too bad about the rail
     
  11. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    Yup, for a few hundred more than a stock $1000 gun, you get so much more overall.

    Chuck
     
  12. Spent Shell

    Spent Shell Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Now I've got even more info to think about.

    Could someone please explain the adjustable overtravel? I see it mentioned everywhere, but finding a real explanation of what it does seems difficult. I've never owned a gun with this option, and I'm pretty sure I've got an idea as to how it works, but if someone wanted to elaborate to make it clear, I'd appreciate it as opposed to just assuming I understand. Any opinions/preferences on it would be great as well.
     
  13. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    The overtravel adjustment is just a set screw drilled into the face of the trigger...you set its depth to avoid excessive overtravel after the sear releases. Find the deepest setting that does not interfere (with the trigger depressed, pivot the hammer in and out to be sure it clears the half-cock notch/ledge) and set it with green Loctite.
    /Bryan
     
  14. Baphomet

    Baphomet Member

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    More precisely it's an adjustable over-travel stop (via a set screw). Over-travel is, to keep it really simple, when the trigger continues to move rearward even after the shot breaks. This additional motion of the trigger hinders accurate shooting.

    An adjustable over-travel stop allows you to remove most, if not all, of this unnecessary motion by turning a set-screw, typically located on the trigger face. When someone says their pistol/revolver has a "crisp" pull, or a "clean break", typically it means that there is little or no over-travel in the trigger-pull. Over tightening can cause problems however. If the set screw is set too deeply, the hammer can drag and interfere with the trigger resetting for the next shot. When that happens you simply back the screw out a little at a time till you find the right balance.
     
  15. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    No, I'd say the 'crisp' or 'clean' refer to the break - no creep, no grit rather than overtravel, which is after the break.
    /B
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2007
  16. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Overtravel refers to the distance the trigger moves AFTER it breaks, i.e., after the sear is released. You need SOME overtravel for safe and reliable operation, but you don't want too much. An adjustable overtravel stop lets you fine tune it for you.

    In general, I find creep (or lack thereof) to be the most important factor in trigger feel. For carry guns, I like a pull weight of around 5-5.5 pounds. Practical competition guns should be 3.5-4.0 pounds, and bullseye can be 1.5-2.0 pounds. All should break cleanly with no detectable creep.

    I have a Para Ordnance SSP that had a beautiful trigger right out of the box -- crisp break right at 4.5-5.0 pounds. I have a Colt Gunsite CCO, on the other hand, that came from the factory with a quite creepy trigger. I spent $30 to have my 'smith tune it up. It now breaks cleanly at a shade over 5 pounds.
     
  17. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    Only a .22 can break as light as 2#s...centerfire requires 2.5 unless a .45 cal which must be 3.5 or more...in service pistol (CMP matches or so-called 'ball' guns), 4#s is the minimum by rule.
    /Bryan
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2007
  18. mshiermd

    mshiermd Member

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    Trigger pull

    Now let me get this straight. The crispness of the trigger is determined by the machining and/or polishing of the hooks and the sear. Isn't the pull force determined by the tension or force applied by the sear spring? Someone correct me if I have the concepts wrong.

    Michael
     
  19. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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  20. mshiermd

    mshiermd Member

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    Canuck-IL wrote:

    by both...the friction of the sear against the hooks and the resistance of the sear spring...check out the Brownell's trigger setup "How-To" by Weigand for his method.
    http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/Gun...?p=0&t=1&i=349

    /B

    Thanks so much for the reference. It's just what I was looking for.

    Michael
     
  21. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Bullseye rules on trigger pulls are quite specific regarding the minimum allowable. Service pistols minimum trigger pull is 4 lbs for that portion of the match. Center-fire pistols (single shot or semiautomatic) or revolvers of .32 caliber or larger (including 7.65 mm and .45 caliber pistols and revolvers); barrel length, including cylinder, not more than 10 inches; trigger pull not less than 2 1/2 pounds, except .45 caliber semiautomatic pistols not less than 3 1/2 pounds.

    .22 pistols and revolvers can have a trigger pull no less than 2 lbs.
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    You can do a lot to improve trigger pull simply polishing the sliding surfaces on the trigger and trigger loop and the slots in the frame where the loop slides. I took a Fed Ord "kit gun" I built (from decidedly inferior parts) and slicked it up that way. I installed a McCormic prepped trigger and sear (bought at a bargain price), and for little money have a trigger that is a joy to shoot.
     
  23. bdutton

    bdutton Member

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    What did you use to polish the sliding surfaces? Is there a jig required? What polishing tools did you use? Is it easy enough to do by an amateur?

    I've been thinking about doing this with my trigger.
     
  24. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Use the finest grit cloth you can get. I trimmed a popsickle stick to a sliding fit with cloth wrapped around it. The job only took a few minutes.
     
  25. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    Tape some 600 or 800 wet/dry paper to a piece of glass to do the bow...careful not to bend it. I finish up with Flitz or Maas on a rag.

    For the trigger channels, superglue some 600 to the square end of a chopstick - an almost perfect fit.
    /B
     
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