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Slide to frame fit on 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by peregrine46, Dec 28, 2012.

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  1. peregrine46

    peregrine46 Member

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    I have been reading a lot about the slide to frame fit on 1911 pistols. I do not under stand what all the hype is about. Some say tight, some say it does not matter. If the guns is accurate, what difference does it make as to the tighness of the slide. I have a Springfield 1911 long slide that has .015 slack in the slide to frame and it will shoot six rounds into one ragged hole at 20 yards. The only thing done to this gun was a trigger job with Ed Brown parts and some barrel to slide fitting. The barrel lockup is very tight. I also have a custom built Fusion 10mm that has virtually no slack in the slide and it will shoot 4 inch groups at 100 yards, yes 100 yards. Tight is nice, but I think some people tend to over rate it. Yes I do like the tight fit of my Fusion over the Springfield, but I can't complain about the groups the Springfield shoots.
     
  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If it shoots good, it is good.

    This pistol is the tightest 45 ACP I own, it does not rattle when shaken. It is incredibly accurate.

    ReducedLesBauer.jpg

    This one rattles, not nearly as accurate, but goes bang each time. The accuracy of both pistols is far above what is needed in the typical pistol ranges within which conflict occurs, but if I want to bust rocks on the far end of the range, the Baer is the one to use.

    ReducedColtSeries80SS9518rightsidev.jpg
     
  3. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Tight slide-to-frame fit was a big thing in the past, but over time many (most?) 1911 gunsmiths (and many 1911 enthusiasts) have come to feel that while slide/frame fit helps accuracy, good barrel to slide fit contributes far more to the gun's overall accuracy. As long as you use the sights, the barrel/slide fit is critical.

    If you're doing Ransom Rest tests, then slide/barrel AND slide/frame fit is important.
     
  4. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    The barrel to frame fit is MUCH more important to the accuracy of the 1911.
     
  5. powder

    powder member

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    THEREIN lies your question, that you answer yourself, as if you know the answer.

    I don't get it?
     
  6. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    It is the retention of accuracy that requires everything to be well fit. The less it moves in directions it should not, the better.
     
  7. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    It isn't all that important. What is more important is the fit of the barrel lugs into the slide and where it contacts the frame, as well as the barrel into the bushing. For pure target shooting, where a quarter inch difference in a 50-yard group can determine whether you hit the higher or lower scoring ring, tight slide/frame fit has some benefit. This is of little use on a gunfighting weapon. If the slide fails to return to battery in a gunfight, you don't get a do-over.
     
  8. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Pretty much ALL the above ^^^^^^
     
  9. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    Like others have said; barrel/bushing to slide fit. It all depends on if you want something for competition or self defense/range use. I was issued a 1911A1 in the Army that if you shook it, it sounded like it would fall apart it was so loose. Even being loose, I had no problems qualifying expert each and every time with it.
     
  10. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Purpose doesn't matter. If it's built correctly it can have incredibly tight tolerances and be as reliable as any 1911, more so after 10s of thousands of rounds.

    "Tight" and reliable need not be mutually exclusive and most 1911 smiths building today that care about their work take the time to tighten the fit.
     
  11. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Member

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    You should change careers. :confused:
     
  12. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Didn't want to touch that one myself...course I read reports like that from Glock guys every other week.
     
  13. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Here's my take on the question.

    Tightly fitted doesn't guarantee accuracy any more than rattletrap loose guarantees reliability. Too loose can be detrimental to reliability because it creates gaps for larger debris to enter. Nor is tight and reliable mutually exclusive. I've seen uber-tight pistols run with the best of'em and I've seen loose guns turn in surprising accuracy.

    95% of my work with the 1911 pistol has been geared toward reliability and addressing functional issues. What building I've done has been more rebuilding old and worn pistols...so I do tighten them up some. Accuracy is a secondary concern. Although accuracy is most often improved to some degree...and markedly so if a new barrel is used...it's not my primary goal.

    I like to use the rule of threes. .003 inch play in the slide...vertical and horizontal. I like .003 inch clearance between barrel hood and breechface. .005 on the sides of the barrel hood is fine. I work the vertical slide play down to .003 inch, and then fit the barrel to regain that. What many don't realize is that a barrel with a tight vertical fit will remove vertical slide to frame play because it lifts the slide and forces the rails into hard contact. I fit the barrel to return that .003 inch vertical play because steel to steel contact causes wear and .003 inch of oil clearance goes a long way toward forestalling wear. I also work for longevity.
     
  14. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Those are words to live by. How the fit is tightened is another important factor in longevity as is the use of appropriate lubrication for certain material.
     
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