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New member... questions for "1911Tuner"

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by creeper1956, Sep 29, 2012.

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  1. creeper1956

    creeper1956 Member

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    Hello all,

    I’m new here, but not what you’d call “new”. I came here following the interwebnet breadcrumbs left by John Travis aka “1911Tuner”.

    I have cancer, and sometimes it’s easier to stay awake all night reading than it is to try and get some sleep… so I’ve spent most of this past night reading the writings of Mr. Travis, and have come to the conclusion that his knowledge and understanding of the 1911 design is… arguably, without peer.
    I apologize for being "late to the show", so to speak... and for the convoluted way in which my mind works :p

    Should you happen across this thread Mr. Travis, I have some questions for you… if you’d be kind enough to respond. Failing that, perhaps a disciple of 1911Tuner, or other knowledgeable individual that has some objective and factual comments, might offer up some insights that could shed light on a few muddy areas in my search for truth.

    On with the show… Question 1.

    I have an early 90s, “Ultimate” stainless steel Gold Cup National Match .45ACP. I’ve modified it here and there, mostly to accommodate my aesthetic tastes and my left-handedness. It's the gun I used it to teach my daughter how to shoot, many years ago, and it will go to her when I exit this plain of existence.

    I was reading the writings of Dave Lauck… of D&L Sports and recipient of the American Pistolsmiths Guild - Pistolsmith of the Year award. Seems to be quite the knowledgeable fellow as well.
    He states that an all stainless steel 1911 is not preferred because: “SS will not run as smoothly or snugly as a properly fit and finished carbon steel pistol. SS has problems with galling when two pieces of SS slide against each other.”

    I have some experience with metallurgy, so one first has to wonder why anyone makes such a thing as an all stainless target 1911, where best accuracy is the goal, and... is this why my SS GC slide to frame fit is (intentionally?) substantially looser (sloppy is a better word actually), as it came from Colt, than the far superior fit of my blued carbon steel GC of the same era?

    Question 1... part 2.

    I’ve gone back and forth with a FLGR (full length guide rod) in the SS GC... and currently have the stock bits installed.
    In Mr. Lauck’s writings, he supports the use of a FLGR, the reasons for which are extensive and can be found here… I’d rather link it than use up space re-printing it on this forum.

    My question is, as applied to my sloppy fit SS GC… are the slide to frame alignment and wear reduction benefits, as stated by Mr. Lauck, real or imagined? I've been considering this because it does snug up the slide/frame fit somewhat.

    I have several other questions I’d love to have a logical answer to… but I’ll save those for another post, another time.

    Thanks for reading… cheers,
    C
     
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The statement regarding galling with stainless steel was probably a little misleading. It's not impossible to get a close fit with SS...but it is a little more involved because it requires careful attention to fitting. Few commercially assembled pistols get that attention to detail until you get into the high-end semi-custom builders like Wilson and Brown.

    The reality is that only a small percentage of mechanical or intrinsic accuracy comes from a tight slide to frame fit. Much more critical is the barrel. Assuming a good barrel fit, you'd need a machine rest and very good ammunition to see any practical accuracy difference between .005 inch and .001 inch slide to frame clearance...which is pretty much the bare minimum...and you'd be advised to keep it well-oiled, even with a carbon steel slide and frame set. If you're determined to set one up with less than that, I advise you to look into an "Accu-Rail" installation. Although unnecessary for all but the most precisely-built Bullseye pistols, it provides for near zero slide to frame fit, and the rails are available in half-thousandth increments that can be quickly replaced as wear loosens it up.

    For the most part, .003 inch slide to frame clearance is really as close as they need to be. Dry, you'll barely be able to detect any movement, and with oil in the rails...you'll have to pull on the slide pretty hard to feel any.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The stainless galling statement might be getting a little dated too.

    When stainless pistols were in their infancy, there were a lot of galling issues because they were making the frame & slide out of the same alloy.
    The AMT Hardballer comes to mind as one of the first, and one noted for having galling issues.

    I believe Randell was the first to offer a stainless 1911 in 1983, and I haven't heard of any outstanding issues with them.
    But there weren't very many of them made to begin with.

    Now, the manufactures have seen the light, and have much better stainless alloys to choose from to prevent it. They also use two different alloys for frame & slide, which reduces the tendency for it to stick to itself and gall when run without proper lube.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  4. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    Speaking of Randalls, here's my baby.
    P1020423.gif
    Regarding RC's post, I have had one galling incident with mine. The top of the hammer snagged a bit of the slide just ahead of the disconnector slot one time when I cycled it dry after cleaning one time many years ago. I immediately addressed the issue with a stone to keep it from getting out of hand and kept it greased with camshaft grease for a while and it never recurred. BTW I took this one out for exercise yesterday. Despite a sloppy slide fit it locks up tight and shoots very accurately.

    P.S.
    Welcome to THR! Isee this is only your second post, and my prayers with you battling cancer.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  5. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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  6. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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  7. creeper1956

    creeper1956 Member

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    Hello gents,

    Sorry for the late return, I had some medical issues that kept me away. Thank you "Shimitup" for your kindness and welcome.

    Thank you all for your considered responses. As has been suggested, slide to frame fit, within a reasonable amount, has little effect on practical accuracy. "Modern marketing" of the 1911 dictates that the better the fit, as in nearly zero clearance, the "better" the gun. I've found that many production, "match grade" fit 1911s are, however tight, so poorly done and "draggy" that they are unreliable until they've been properly lapped in.

    My particular SS GC will shoot around 1.25" from a rest at 25 yds... which for me is about as good as it gets with any 1911, regardless of quality.
    I had considered an Accu-Rail installation many years ago, but decided to leave things as is. Spending money to make a gun shoot better than I'm capable of seems to be money poorly spent. ;)
    Since new, I continue to use the same SS specific lubricant on the slide/frame as always... so everything fits about as well as it did 20 years ago, with minimal measurable wear.

    Lovely Randall Shimitup. I had an opportunity to buy a left handed Randall many years ago, before they became rare collector items, bot opted not to because shooting "right handed" guns has become so ingrained that a dedicated left handed gun would only confuse me. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

    I'd imagine that, based on my two comparative samples (and others of the era I've inspected), Colt did have a concern about stainless on stainless. I've not looked at a new SS Colt, but I'd wager, considering the "tight tolerance means quality" marketing, they put a bit more effort into the fit these days, if for no other reason than to be competitive in that regard.

    The thread Mr Travis found regarding the Ruger 1911 is somewhat surprising. Apparently, SS galling is still with us... the surprising part is that it's with a Ruger, a company that has, or should have, a vast amount of SS experience.
    I suppose no manufacturer is completely immune to walking the fine line of what the public wants vs. what works best.

    If anyone is interested in commenting on my FLGR conundrum... I'm all ears.

    I appreciate and value your participation gentlemen... be well.

    C
     
  8. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    Creeper,

    Thanks for the complement on the gun. My Randall came with a FLGR and I simply found it annoying and unneccesary, thus I installed a stock plug and guide. To me it's just a sales pitch. Think about the spring on a FLGR, it rests at each end in exactly the same spot opposing exactly the same forces as a standard rod and plug. Think about whats stabilizing the front end of the FLGR, the plug.... mounted in the slide, and the slide is stabilized by the frame rails! So the frame rails are having to stabilize the additional mass of the FLGR. I fail to see how this takes a load off the frame rails.Only difference I see is that it could keep your gun feeling a little smoother if you had a bent spring. Of course then you ought to replace that once in a while anyway. I didn't mean to rant, I was just following the idea of a FLGR to a logical conclusion. Warning; my logical conclusion may also be skewed it's 2:00 A.M. I'm going to bed.

    Take Care,
    Shim
     
  9. creeper1956

    creeper1956 Member

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    Not being a FLGR fan either, thinking that JMB got it right the first time, I'm predisposed to agree with you. I guess what I'm looking for is a totally unbiased, completely objective... from an actual engineering standpoint... view of the FLGR. Know what I mean?

    I don't know if you were willing to read the link I provided to D&L Sports regarding FLGRs in the original post, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't as it's a touch lengthy... but Mr. Lauck does make some points that I'm not quite willing to disregard as advertizing. To be honest, I don't think Mr. Lauck is saying what he's saying to sell guide rods.

    You know how it is... there's us (and I include myself in this group) "FLGRs are a waste of metal" types, and then there's the "FLGRs are the greatest thing ever created" types. I think much of what both sides say is based on "small sample" empirical evidence... without much open-minded investigation into the truth of it.

    I'm willing to have my mind changed if a logical argument can be made for the use of a FLGR. In this instance, I'd rather be educated than opinionated. ;)

    Press on regardless,
    C
     
  10. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    Creeper,

    I actually did read the whole thing. Truthfully I had not really established an anti FLGR mindset always considering them a minor annoyance, as he states it only takes a few seconds more for me to field strip than a standard plug. I simply didn't want to deal with it and my particular gun actually feels smoother with a standard guide.
    I hadn't really thought the process through until last night when I was typing my post. I did indeed process everything from an engineering standpoint. If I left something out or made a mistake please 1911Tuner or RC jump in and set it straight cause I have a sneakin suspicion that they have way more experience than I do. I've been dabbling in gunsmithing about 30 years or so yet I am still a hobbyist and as I recall they are pros.

    One more thing I didn't mention last night, consider that only about 3/4" of spring is unguided at rest. When fired that goes away very quickly for much of the cycle, coils are guided externally by the plug and internally by the rod. To counter his argument about reliability many thousands of rounds have cycled through the Randall with 0 failures attributable to recoil spring issues. Having now thoughtfully reconsidered the idea of the FLGR I'm all the more convinced there are other things I'd rather do with $45. Creeper, I hope that provides a little food for thought, I still want to hear from RC or Tuner. I learn something every time they post.

    Take Care.
     
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The FLGR:

    "What's so good about'em?"

    *shrug* "Nothin'."

    "Well, then...What's so bad about'em?"

    *shrug* "Nothin'."
     
  12. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Full length guide rods are awesome tools, nearly indispensable. Use one in your pistol. Take it out and drift your sights. Lose that hitch pin? No problem. A few more and I can stake down my tent.

    Lots of uses, no real harm (or benefit). Consider the myriad of modern pistols that are FLGR equipped. At the end of the argument it's just another guide rod.
     
  13. VAPOPO

    VAPOPO Member

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    The first thing I did with the 2 piece guide rod that came in my Loaded Springer was toss it and put a GI set up in it instead. I cant stand them. Plus the springer was heavy enough already and didnt need the extra Oz or so that it added.
     
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