Need help fitting a 1911 bushing barrel...

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Sep 15, 2007
Hi all,

I'm putting a threaded bushing barrel into my Springfield TRP operator, which came factory with a bull barrel. The EFK barrel came with a matched bushing and link.

At first, the barrel completely would not slide into the slide. The sides of the barrel lugs were hitting the channel between the spring guide and the barrel. I lightly polished the area with hand files and the barrel slid home nicely.

That's when I started having the true problem. In battery, with the bushing installed and the slide stop in place, the barrel locks up fairly well. However, I can't pull the slide all the way back. I can pull the slide about 3/4 of the way back, and then something jams. At the slide's maximum rearward travel, there's about 1/2" of the barrel hood still visible in the ejection port.

I tried forcing it, creating a couple rub marks on the barrel, and I polished those areas, but it's not helping. I've been polishing various spots for maybe a half hour now and I decided to stop and make a thread before I do something irreversible. Seems like, no matter what I polish, the slide won't go any further back when I pull on it. The gun always returns to battery fine when I push the slide forward, and the barrel always locks up properly.

Anyone encountered this before when fitting a 1911 barrel? Any help would be most appreciated, I'm really not anxious to spend $100 and 3 months to have my gunsmith fit the barrel.

Get a black Magic Marker and "color" the complete barrel.
Now, put it back together and cycle it once to see what is rubbing where.

Could be interferance with the back of the bushing against the foreword part of the enlarged locking lug area on the barrel?

Could be not enough bushing clearance to allow the barrel to fully drop as the slide comes back?

Could be something else entirely?

I've already polished a bit of the inside-rear of the bushing to allow the barrel to drop further if needed, and the bushing should'nt be touching the locking lugs at all. I'll try the magic marker though, that's a good idea (should have occurred to me, I used to use machinist's dye occasionally).
Dykem Steel Blue is way better, but not everyone has it.
Almost everyone has a Magic Marker!

BTW: You might be surprised how close the barrel thick section comes to the back end of the bushing at full slide travel!
See if it will open all the way without the slide-stop pin.

It almost impacts it on a full-size 1911.

Forgot to mention previously: It won't work even with the frame completely removed, so it tells me the problem is in the top half somewhere.
Will the barrel even go all the way forward in the slide without the bushing in place?


I opened up the bushing, lightly filed the locking lugs, polished the entire OD of the barrel, and filed more at the 4 and 8 o'clock positions around the chamber, and as of now it's BETTER but not GOOD. I can force the slide all the way back without too much effort, but there's still significant friction going on somewhere.
Ya need to check link-down though that bushing could be screwy.

With the barrel resting on the frame an slide stop installed when ya push down and back on the barrel does the slide stop spin freely?

IF you don't have feeler gauges take a piece of 20lb. paper an rip a 1/4in wide strip about 4in long, folder in half the long way...when she's stuck or after link-down with slide over the barrel and can you slide the paper between the barrel and slide?

If the above are no go theres plenty of (way better'n mine) advice about fitting the barrel.

Awright, how far --or not-- is the barrel off the bed when your doing the above?

Will she roll back without the recoil spring? Wonder too with both spring an bushing out, hold the barrel an check.

Post back when ya can.

The part of the frame the barrel looks like it rests on.

For the other can you rack the slide w/o the recoil spring or w/o the spring & bushing (meant ya may to hold the barrel up a mite).
1) How do I check the bed clearance? The slide and barrel are in the way when it's assembled enough to have the problem.

2) It has the problem even without the recoil spring, but cycles much better without the bushing, which is why I've been focusing there. But I don't want to remove too much from the bushing and mess up the lockup.
1) No slide just frame, barrel & slide stop

2) Huh, do ya have another bushing you can try?
Have no other bushing, my other 1911 is a bull barrel. I'm out of town for thanksgiving but I'll check the bed when I get home. Seeing as how it cycles fine without the bushing, I doubt that's where the problem is.
Conqueror already said:

"Forgot to mention previously: It won't work even with the frame completely removed, so it tells me the problem is in the top half somewhere."

That said, with the slide upside down, Barrel and bushing installed, lifting on the barrel just enough to clear the lugs, will the barrel slide forward as if in recoil? With the spring and plug installed? Without?

Elliminate as many pieces as possible until you find the friction point. And is it friction, or a solid stop?

At first, the barrel completely would not slide into the slide. The sides of the barrel lugs were hitting the channel between the spring guide and the barrel. I lightly polished the area with hand files and the barrel slid home nicely.
If the barrel wouldn’t slide into the slide you would have had to cut from one or both sides of the hood until it would go all of the way flush with the breech face. If you took too much from the wrong side this might cause you problems. The barrel would not be “square” in the slide thus one of the lugs would rub on the frame as you’ve indicated (as you can imagine there is a tool to set this correctly). FWIW there are many other “pitfalls” one can encounter (and tools you’ll need to build or buy to do the job correctly). I would highly suggest, as a minimum, getting one of the gunsmith videos for building a 1911. If picture is worth 1000 words….
And is it friction, or a solid stop?

It's friction. The gun will cycle snap caps just fine, and I'm planning on running a few rounds through it on Saturday to see if it loosens up a bit. It's just a somewhat-tight friction point as the last 1/4" or so of the barrel hood disappears into the slide during recoil and on the way forward again.

I hand-cycled it a few hundred times at home and got some rub marks on the barrel at about the 2 o'clock position if looking at the muzzle end. I polished that area a bit but couldn't really tell if it made a difference.
Sorry...been out for awhile. How've you made out?

The frame, barrel, slide stop stuff I mentioned above is to test an make sure the barrel is NOT being stopped in link down by the link (bad). Also, if so the barrel will likely not move as far south as needed.

Ideally, the vertical stop halts link down on the recoil lugs although its not uncommon to have the barrel lightly impact the barrel bed. Either way, stopping on link or flopping on the bed is not good.

Between .008 and .010 between the top of the barrel and the slide is needed at full link down.

Sounds like its better from your last post but not all clear --no pun intended. If it's still sticky when hand-cycling I wouldn't fire the weapon. Would be curious to see what a regular old MGW or Brown drop-in bushing does ~20 bucks. Also, Kuhnhausen's 1911 Vol II book has a bunch of great info and the measurements on barrel fit.

I did take it to the range last saturday, and it shot quite well (only about 2" from my old point of aim with the bull barrel). It cycled fine while shooting.

The friction point is still there, but interestingly, it seems (this may or may not be true, just what I perceive) that the friction point has moved. Whereas it used to be around the 2/3-rearward point in the slide movement, it is now at the very end of the slide's rearward travel.

I've got a big test tomorrow but afterwards I will check the link, barrel bed, and slide stop for signs of impact.
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