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lifetime 1911

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by proven, Jan 17, 2005.

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  1. proven

    proven Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    ken grant's recent thread to tuner got me thinking about something i've been putting off.

    i have an early kimber and would like to replace most everything with parts that have the least chance of failure. also i'd like to have prefitted replacements on hand and a good manual to be able to perform repairs. think of relocating to a remote part of the world where gunsmiths are nonexistent and sending the pistol to a smith is not an option.

    could someone list the parts i should keep on hand and the quantities of each??

    also any tools i might need and a good manual for the 1911.

    and if you are feeling really energetic, i'm looking for the same outfit for a remington 870p...parts, tools, manual.

    thanks for your time
  2. ken grant

    ken grant Member

    Jan 10, 2004
    middle Ga.

    That's the same things I wanted. ONE 1911 to shoot the snot out of and have pre-fitted spare parts on hand. I have too many 1911's on hand and really don't know how to use any of them. :rolleyes:
    I am making the same mistakes that I did before I lost everything to a fire.Too many guns and not really know anyone of them well.
    Trying to change that now. :cuss:

    ONE 1911 to shoot and enough pre-fitted parts to keep it running. Nothing fancy,but dependable.
    Like Commander size best but full size would be O.K.
  3. Fireblade Systems

    Fireblade Systems Member

    May 12, 2004
    Mount Sterling, Kentucky
    Every spring recoil springs wear out the fastest so more of those. Several sets of pins in case of breakage or loosing during cleaning. Firing pin,extractor,ejector firing pin stop, recoil guide and plug,slide stop,thumb safety,grip screws and bushings, magazine catch lock,sear,disconnector,hammer,hammer strut. Most of the major parts will last thousands of rounds if fitted correctly but in the off chance something happens i would have at least one spare. Things like springs and pins and little things that tend to get lost when taking them apart you cant have to many of those.
  4. 45auto

    45auto Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    You should always have 2 1911's with whatever parts you may need. :)

    You may need work or rebuilding that just can't solved with small parts replacement...if you shoot a lot!
  5. cordex

    cordex Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    So ... what happens if the frame or slide get damaged?

    Spare parts are great, but assuming that a gunsmith is not an option, and obtaining parts beyond what you've already stockpiled would be difficult, I'd say that at least one complete duplicate handgun would be required.

    Just throwing numbers out there, beyond a spare gun, I'd say for a lifetime it would be good to have:
    5/10 recoil springs
    1/3 recoil spring plugs
    1/3 barrel bushings
    1/2 recoil spring guides
    1/2 properly fitted barrels/links
    0/2 spare links and pins
    1/3 mainspring assemblies
    1/4 sear springs
    1/3 sears
    1/3 hammers/struts
    1/3 disconnectors
    2/4 firing pins
    3/6 firing pin springs
    1/2 triggers
    1/2 magazine catches
    4/8 grip screws
    2/4 grip bushings
    0/1 set of sights
    0/1 grip safety
    1/2 plunger tube assemblies
    10/50 magazines
    1/4 full sets of pins
    1/4 extractors (oops! forgot this one)

    But others will be able to make better recommendations.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2005
  6. stans

    stans Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    central Virginia
    Cordex has made a good point, frames and slides can and do crack, so how are you going to replace them? Sounds like you need two or three 1911's and spare parts for all of them. Oh, don't forget spare barrels. Depending on barrel quality and the type of ammo you shoot you will get 5,000 to 50,000 rounds fired before the barrel usually needs replacement. This number can be shortened if you get a bad barrel or if it is improperly fitted. Come to think of it, for a lifetime of shooting you might want a half dozen 1911's, just in case one or two suffer some sort of catastrophic failure.
  7. proven

    proven Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    for a "lifetime", multiple pistols would be the answer. maybe i should have thought about the title a little more. however, i'm trying to be as self sufficient as possible and would like to be able to address most repairs without the help of a gunsmith (short of catastrophic failure , of course). keeping a few extra of most of the small parts around sounds reasonable, but what would be a good repair manual, and what about any tools needed??

  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I don’t know what you guys consider to be a lifetime. Do you mean your life, or that of the pistol(s)? There are a lot of USGI 1911 pistols that are still in perfect shape, and have all of they’re original parts – including springs – and are fully functional.

    The life of a pistol (which I think you’re getting at) is not measured in years, but rather usage. When the pistol was adopted in 1911 the Army also purchased a list of certain parts, which they believed would be the most commonly needed replacements. I’ll look that information up and post it later.

    There is also an issue of old guns vs. new ones. They don’t make them like they used to so far as materials (and sometimes workmanship) are concerned. Gun companies are no longer run by “gun people,†they’re run by number-crunching accountants and MBA graduates who’s focus is on profits, and not necessarily quality.

    So what you really need to do is establish a benchmark based on usage. How many rounds fired during an average year times the number of years you have in mind. I suspect that in the “far places†you might intend to be you won’t have an unlimited ammunition supply, and you might have to improvise alternative training and drills to keep your skills honed in place of limitless practice. The question(s) you’ve brought up may seem simple, but they aren’t. There are a lot of things to consider that so far haven’t come up.

    Incidentally, some of Tuner’s “range beaters†– and for that matter two of mine – have fired an incredible number of rounds without part(s) failure. You might ask him why? (Hint – it wasn’t because of excessively heavy springs or shok-buffs).
  9. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Lost Angeles
    A lifetime can mean many things. Many guns see only a few hundred rounds per year. Others see many thousand.

    My range bag has recoil springs and an extractor.

    The rest I figure I'm going to want to sit down at the bench with proper tools and space at home to check out. When that happens, I'll wait the 2~3 days Brownells takes to get me spare parts. If I'm really impatient, I will run over to Kings in Glendale to pick things up.

    I have two other functional 1911's I can use in the meantime. You'll spend more money picking up spare parts then you will buying a new Springfield GI or Milspec to serve as a back up. :)

    Jerry kuhnhausen's book is a great place to start. His book is less about "custom" gunsmithing and more about replacing parts and returning the gun to factory spec. "Shop Manual" is a very appropriate title for it. It's a good place to start understanding the hows and whys of your pistol.
  10. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    May 22, 2003
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    1911 For Life

    Fuff said:

    Incidentally, some of Tuner’s “range beaters†– and for that matter two of mine – have fired an incredible number of rounds without part(s) failure. You might ask him why? (Hint – it wasn’t because of excessively heavy springs or shok-buffs).

    Well...Part of it was due check drillin' the cracks. :p

    I think that many have hit the nail on the head. Any machine will wear if it's used, and the more it's used, the sooner it will wear or break. No way around

    Any 1911 will last a lifetime if it's only used a little...and a top-grade gun will
    last only a few years if it's shot hard. Also, heavy use means different things to different people. To some, 5,000 rounds a year is heavy. To others, 5,000 rounds is a month's worth of practice. It's pretty subjective,
    but I'll toss in a guideline which is also open to debate, but is close enough for government work.

    If you're a three boxes a year shooter, a stock GI or standard Mil-Spec Springfield will likely make a perfectly functional heirloom for your children
    or grandchildren.

    If you plan to shoot in excess of 500 rounds a month, it might be a good idea to have a pair. One to shoot and one that is kept in reserve or carried.

    If you plan to shoot a thousand rounds a week...add another pistol so that you can have a "Backup Beater." If you can afford it, have 3 or 4 and rotate them for range duty, always keeping your carry gun reserved for just that purpose...and fire it only occasionally for familiarization or function checks.
    It would also be a good idea to make your brace of pistols as close to identical as possible so that if you have to reach for one in a hurry, you won't be grabbing a stranger.

    Keep a few spare parts on hand, along with regular maintenance parts like springs and the like. A spare extractor, firing pin, hammer and sear pins,
    mainspring housing pin, a trigger, firing pin stop, mag catch assembly, and any parts likely to be lost during a field or detail strip, including plunger detent pins. Ideally, a set of "Fitting Required" parts like extractors should be maintained for each gun...ready to drop in and go.

    As far as shock buffs go...If your beater will functin with a buffer in place,
    no harm in using one...but not in your UTYAIA carry gun. They do reduce
    the impact shock between slide and frame...but exactly how much they'll actually extend the life of any given gun is debatable. I've seen guns crack early that never fired a round without a buffer...and I've seen guns go 100,000 rounds without cracking, and they never had a buffer in place. No...Heavy recoil springs aren't the answer. Some guns will run fine with a buffer, and others won't.

    As for me...I keep a half dozen beaters busy, and I have four pistols that I rotate for carry duty which are rarely fired. Collectibles are almost never fired, even though they function perfectly. Those could be pressed into service in a pinch, but likely won't be.

    1911-pattern pistols? The more, the merrier says I... :cool:
  11. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears


    Now that my monitor is clean...

    Great Thread.

    I had, but when the safe was stolen these were among the guns stolen.

    4 each was my criteria. One of each off-site ( thank goodness). Two I rotated Carry and another was a backup to those two. In case of repairs or somesuch.

    4 each, all set up the same, except for stocks, My Dailey 1911 CCW sported Cherrywood...

    Old Colts, bone Stock, "Gov't Models"
    Combat Commanders bone stock Steel ( one stainless)
    Model 10
    Model 36.

    I lied - Two model 64 3" RB HB

    The stainless were my BBQ guns, sported Ivory Stocks...BBQ sauce shows up easier on Steel and Ivory. :p

    The 1911s all used USGI or Colt 7 rd mags. No shockbuffs, though one did have a leather one which was popular at the time, when bought off a fella. Had 36 mags, slew of parts for both sizes.

  12. OzarkExpedition

    OzarkExpedition Member

    Nov 7, 2004
    Spare Parts

    This comes directly from:
    Wilson Combat 1911 Auto Maint. Manual

    1 or 2 tested Slide Stops
    2 Spare Firing Pin Stops
    1 or 2 Fitted Extractors
    10 Spare Recoil Springs
    4 Spare Firing Pin Springs
    1 Spare Hammer Spring
    1 Spare Recoil Spring Plug (in case of loss)
    24 Shok-Buff buffers

    In the text it states with this parts kit a pistol should go more than 20,000 rounds with parts left over.

    Lets not restart the debate over Shok-Buffs - just adding it in there like I read it from this little book. :neener:

    Hope this helps,

    Ken Smith
  13. 19112XS

    19112XS Member

    Jul 7, 2003
    Maybe a couple oversize links and link pins, to compensate for wear, might be a good idea?
  14. KMKeller

    KMKeller Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    He's not kidding, I've seen the gun, the cracks and the holes he drilled to stop the cracks... :what:
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    May 22, 2003
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts

    KMKeller said:

    >He's not kidding, I've seen the gun, the cracks and the holes he drilled to stop the cracks...<

    And that was just one of about a half-dozen...and THOSE are the ones that I haven't shot to destruction...yet. :p

    Now ya know why I'm known as a "Crack Shot." LOL
  16. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 3, 2003
    South PA, and a bit West of center!
    Or is that just ''the guy who knows the correct drill'' Johnny!?? :D

    Hope all is well in Collie Land my friend. :)
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