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Too many questions
February 20, 2008, 04:57 PM
I've been told (I know, three dreaded words) that most factory 1911's have barrels fitted so poorly that the lugs will peen within a few thousand rounds.

The explanation is that there is too much "loose breech", and I don't know if this is a real term, or a gunsmith trying to sell me a match barrel and have it fitted. He describes it as being able to move the slide rearward before the slide lugs engage the barrel lugs, thus allowing the slide to get a running start before the lugs come into contact.

So, is there anything to this, and if so, how much "loose breech" is too much?

Also, what is the general consensus on shock buffers for 1911's?

wjkuleck
February 20, 2008, 06:39 PM
"Most factory barrels" seems to be a stretch.

My first reaction is that it's not how tight (up to a point, of course) but how much the lugs engage. If the barrel/bottom lug cam/slide geometry doesn't get the lugs fully enaged, then, yeah, you'll get peening.

Regards,

Walt

RickB
February 20, 2008, 11:21 PM
Old G.I. guns can have that condtion, due to the relative softness of the slide material. You can test for this "looseness" by putting slips of newsprint between the barrel hood and breechface. See how many you can put in there before the gun will no longer go into battery. The gun I have in hand will easily lock-up on four, needs some thumb pressure to lock up on six, and absolutely will not lock up on eight. One thickness of newspring is about .003", so that would be about .02" of "looseness". I don't know how "tight" the gunsmith would like it to be.

Too many questions
February 21, 2008, 01:30 AM
When he fits a barrel, you can't close it on one sheet of typing paper. I don't know the thickness of that...

I will give him credit, I've had several 1911's in the past that he's fitted barrels to, and each one was that tight, and I never had a failure to feed with any kind of ammo in several thousand rounds. They would even feed empty brass from the magazine.

I've been thinking of getting another 1911, but don't want to spend the extra $$ to have a match barrel fitted if it's not necessary for the longevity of the gun. I'm thinking of one of the new Colt Series 70's or possibly a Kimber (I think it's the Warrior?) I believe one of the Kimber models has an internal extractor AND no firing pin block activated by the grip safety.

wjkuleck
February 21, 2008, 06:55 AM
I don't know how "tight" the gunsmith would like it to be.

Not tight at all. The hood on a 1911 should be clearanced, not fitted. The hood's only function is something for the breechface to push on as the slide returns to battery. The hood has nothing to do with lockup.

Regards,

Walt

WESHOOT2
February 21, 2008, 09:16 AM
I am having the supplied barrel hard-fit.

It shot fine, just poorly fitted.

Costs less, too.

Hunter Customs
February 22, 2008, 07:34 PM
Your gunsmith may call it loose breech but if the slide lugs are peening you have a timing issue that needs corrected before you ruin a slide and barrel.
If you wish you can call me at the shop and I'll explain gun timing to you.
Regards
Bob Hunter
www.huntercustoms.com

Too many questions
February 23, 2008, 04:58 AM
As I understand it, loose breach and timing are the same thing. It has to do with the barrel being fitted in such a way that in recoil, the slide begins to move rearward a little before the barrel does, causing the rear surface of the slide lugs to hit the front surface of the barrel lugs rather than having them in contact and moving together. I hope I explained my understanding clearly...

Is that about right, and if so, how much slide movement would you say is acceptable before the lugs come into contact with each other?

Hunter Customs
February 23, 2008, 09:23 AM
No, loose breech and timing are not the same thing. However I would say the loose breech you described was caused by the timing issue.
What actually caused the shearing of the radial lugs of the slide and barrel was the fact that the barrel during link down struck the impact surface of the frame to soon, not giving the barrel proper clearence from the slide, which in turn caused the barrel and slide to crash together damaging the radial lugs of both.
If you can move the slide to the rear a considerable amount before the barrel starts to move it's time to replace both the slide and barrel. However a close inspection of the radial lugs will tell more about the amount of damage the gun now has.
If the damage is severe enough and you don't replace the slide and barrel, as things get worse the gun will lock up from the barrel and slide being jamed together and it may even shear the lower lug completely from the barrel.
If I was you I would have the smith you use explain the three phases of barrel timing and the procedures that's used to correct them. If he can't you might want to look for a new smith.
Regards
Bob Hunter
www.huntercustoms.com

Too many questions
February 25, 2008, 07:46 PM
Thanks for the info!

When looking at a NIB 1911, how much slide movement would you say is acceptable before the barrel begins to move? I can see now that it is important to be sure that the link is dropping the barrel enough so that the slide and barrel lugs are clear of one another before the barrel hits the frame.

At least I THINK I understand that now...

Hunter Customs
February 27, 2008, 01:26 PM
You ask what's acceptable as for slide movement before the barrel begins to move, my answer is none. The slide and barrel should start their rearword movement at the same time.
There's much more involved then just the barrel link when timing a 1911.
Regards
Bob Hunter
www.huntercustoms.com

Too many questions
February 27, 2008, 01:58 PM
Thanks, that's what I suspected. Is it difficult to find a factory barrel fit that is acceptable?

Hunter Customs
February 28, 2008, 09:06 AM
I think most factory barrels would be considered as having an acceptable fit.
That being said I have corrected timing issues in factory produced guns.
Regards
Bob Hunter

brickeyee
February 28, 2008, 09:13 AM
Older military guns had the final 'fitting' done with proof loads.

It only took a couple to get almost complete lockup on all the barrel lugs.
The fitting got 2 out of 3 typically, and the final lug was 'moved' by the proof load.

I do not think anyone does this now though.

Too many questions
February 28, 2008, 11:49 AM
Thanks for all the info. I may have to consider the new Colt 70 Series.