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Old March 11, 2012, 05:04 PM   #1
Maxx_Ammo
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Colt 1911 Goverment advice

I have aquired a new to me Colt (fullsize) goverment model with the commerical version slide. the barrel has been shot out. I want to replace the sights and a new barrel. what im thinking is a set of novack low profile sights and possiably a Lake Storm barrel? The trigger has been replaced, hammer is "bobbed" and titanium extractor, and new parkerizing finish.. can you all suggest some direction, and sights I can buy parts from? I am looking to have the barrel fitted up and and ramp worked.. + any needed suggestions to get this thing running sweet.

MAxx
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Old March 11, 2012, 06:32 PM   #2
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Brownell's should have anything you need in sights for the M1911. If you want a front dovetail, you will have to cut it or have it cut, as the standard sight fits into a hole in the slide.

If you want other than a drop-in barrel (and they often don't drop in) you will likely have to have that fitted as well. There are many gunsmiths who do tht work, with ability ranging from absolute tops to abysmal. The ones with national reputations are usually backlogged until six weeks after Judgement Day and I can't even make suggestions on local gunsmiths. I suggest you ask around and talk to some of them.

If you want to tackle the job yourself, there are several people on this site that can help, plus literally dozens of web sites and "now-to" books on the 1911.

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Old March 12, 2012, 12:41 AM   #3
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Kart?

thnaks Jim for the speedy reply.. I ma leaning toward a KART barrel but need to keep in mind this is my first semi-build for the 1911.. I have mild machinig exp and have meatal working exp in the past.. can anyone attest to how muc skill and effort is need to match fit these KART barrels.. an with that kit do you get the barrel bushing also to match fit?
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Old March 12, 2012, 01:00 AM   #4
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I never fitted a Kart barrel so can't help with that, but generally, fitting a barrel is not a big deal, but you have to have experience in how the barrel, bushing, slide, link, slide stop, etc. work in conjunction with one another. You have to get full engagement of the locking lugs, yet still make sure the barrel unlocks properly. Lots of small things, but you can't miss any and do a good job.

I strongly recommend the Kuhnhausen books on the M1911. Get both; they are well worth the money.

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Old March 12, 2012, 03:41 AM   #5
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Could you post some pictures of what a worn-out barrel looks like. I have never seen one.
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Old March 12, 2012, 04:37 AM   #6
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MA,
The Kart EZ Fit barrel is pretty easy to fit. Your results will depend on where your current frame/slide are fitting vertically now.

You fit the barrel in 4 spots and the bushing OD. The reason your f/s vertical fit is so key is that really is limited in how much fitting you have and still have enough upper lug engagement.

Regarding the shot out barrel...this is a bit questionable since 45 ACP is known to not shoot out barrels or wear out, but they are know for part mixing which causes poor fit and accuracy/reliability issues.
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Old March 12, 2012, 09:24 AM   #7
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Maxx,

I was also thinking to ask how you know the original barrel is shot out? The rule of thumb I always heard for hardball was around 25,000 rounds. For lead bullets there doesn't seem to be any limit if you don't scrub the bore with stainless brushes or shoot dirt and grit through it on a routine basis. The link lugs will get loose on the slide stop pin after awhile, if the gun was fit up originally. If the barrel is a standard barrel that wasn't fit up, then you either have to replace it or find a good TIG welder to build some metal up on the link lugs and barrel extension for you to cut and file and scrape to fit. These days that's considered old school, but it still works. A third possibility is a David Chow type spring steel pad in the slide locking lug recess to remove lockup slop, but that's old school, too, these days. The Kart EX-fit is at the opposite end for the easiest way to get a tight barrel lock up.
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Old March 12, 2012, 06:57 PM   #8
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shot out

it is the origianl barrel and I reload my own ammo+ shoot alot.. so athe only variable in the fact that this one shoot sparatic grouping is the actual gun.. Im very accurate with a handgun and ended up placing this on in a vice to confirm it is the gun.. it throws strays all the time and will not hold a grouping.
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Old March 12, 2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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options

Kart ez kit
wilson combat
Swenson
briely

Any that are for sure or to stay away from ?
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Old March 12, 2012, 07:49 PM   #10
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Pictures of what I think I have

I think this is a commercial M1911 colt frame with a colt imported slide, bobbed hammer, aftermarket trigger, titanuim extractor and firinging pin, unfortunaly it has been parkerized which killed the collectability so I want to make a shooter out of it..

I want a barrel , hammer? any other upgrades or tell me if im screwing up here or off base..

Last edited by Maxx_Ammo; March 13, 2012 at 01:32 AM.
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Old March 12, 2012, 08:02 PM   #11
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additional pics

feedback please?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1911_parts 001.jpg (112.7 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg 1911_parts 002.jpg (65.0 KB, 66 views)
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Old March 13, 2012, 04:40 AM   #12
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What does it say on the other side of the slide?
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Old March 13, 2012, 05:10 AM   #13
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Yes. Other side of slide??
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Old March 13, 2012, 09:17 AM   #14
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other side of slide

pic
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Old March 13, 2012, 09:31 AM   #15
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The barrel looks pretty good, from the outside.
Have you tried a slightly oversized bullet?
That might improve things, without needing a new barrel.
Just a thought.
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Old March 13, 2012, 09:46 AM   #16
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Ill give it a whril.. thought about some lead castings..
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Old March 13, 2012, 12:14 PM   #17
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Maxx,

The precision (grouping) of a 1911 usually isn't the fault of the barrel bore condition. That's why I asked how you knew it was shot out. Usually it's the fit of the outside of the barrel into the frame that's 95% of the problem.

The rules of thumb I was taught were that barrel to slide and assembly pin lock-up is 65-70% of the improvement in group size. The barrel bushing is 15-20%. The slide to frame fit 5-10%. I've never heard of the barrel bore condition even coming into it, though in an extreme case of crown damage or a defective rifling job, or a lot of sand shot through the bore, it would. A truly shot out bore will have its throat gone, the dognut on the outside of the muzzle worn severely or some other factor that makes refitting impossible. But, in general, the .45 ACP runs at such low temperatures and pressures that you never see the kind of heat stress cracking of the throat than you will with a rifle, nor the kind of erosion you do in a magnum revolver forcing cone and throat until an extraordinary number of rounds have gone through it.

If you've never done this work before, I would go for the Kart EZ-fit, as you can usually get a good job with one without having to fit the slide and frame or the link lugs to the assembly pin or the link to the barrel, and still not have excessive barrel tip-up. It's also a good idea because Fred Kart will take the time on the phone to explain it to you if you get into a snag. It comes with a bushing, so you'll be taking care of the first two elements I mentioned and likely get 90% of any possible improvement without having to do anything else. You'll find fitting the bushing to the slide the hardest part. Before I had a lathe, I did it with shoe-shine sandpapering, a bushing wrench and valve lapping compound and patience. Slow going but not difficult.

If you plan on doing any other tuning on the gun, like smoothing the barrel tunnel in the slide or polishing the feed ramp or breaking the corners of the locking lugs, I recommend you do that first so you don't affect tolerances that affect the barrel fit after already doing the barrel fitting. If you decide to try to learn how to tighten a slide to a frame, you also want to do that first.

When I first got my Goldcup in the late 70's, it would not hold a 5.5" group with lead bullets at 25 yards. After fitting it shot lead bullets into under 1" at 25 yards. Jacketed match bullets shot into under half that. Same original Colt barrel; just welded up and hand fit on the outside. And that bore was half a thousandth out of round when it shot those groups off the bench, so it's just not the primary issue in this gun.

I've put these up before, but it should give you some idea what to look forward to when you get all the i's dotted and t's crossed in the fitup.

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Last edited by Unclenick; March 13, 2012 at 12:29 PM.
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Old March 13, 2012, 01:08 PM   #18
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I tend to agree with Unclenick, though I have seen some pretty bad .45 barrels. Remember that GI ammo was corrosive through about 1952 and I heard a rumor that South Pacific jungles did not improve barrel condition. But a worn out barrel on what looks like a commercial gun seems a bit unlikely; if the only sign is a falling off in accuracy, I think I would look elsewhere for the problem.

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Old March 13, 2012, 03:12 PM   #19
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thabks guys this is why I love it here.. you all are more than willing to help noobs like me.. im excited and will roport back to ya on the findings.. thanks again..

MAXX
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Old March 13, 2012, 06:38 PM   #20
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As an addition to what Unclenick posted, here's a photo of a 1911 barrel (made in 1918) that is pitted and dark. But the pistol it is part of groups just like my Series 70 from 1978 with a bright shiny pretty bore; this barrel is not 'shot out'. Ugly? Sure it is. But it works just fine

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Old March 13, 2012, 07:54 PM   #21
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ok knowing that .. I still want to rrplace the hammer , barrel link and hand match a bushing .. so with that said what series goverment should I order?
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Old March 14, 2012, 05:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
other side of slide

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

pic
Ummmmmmm...... that's the same side as the other photo.
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Old March 14, 2012, 09:54 PM   #23
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OOPPS

the Other .. Other side of the slide.. lol
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Old March 15, 2012, 12:32 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxAmmo
ok knowing that .. I still want to rrplace the hammer , barrel link and hand match a bushing .. so with that said what series goverment should I order?
If you are referring to which trigger group parts to purchase, the Series '70 parts and earlier would be the type of part you want for a standard government model frame and slide. A Goldcup style hammer has a slightly different hammer strut pin hole position to make trigger work easier to do, but unless you are going to do trigger work or unless you want a lanyard hole for dry fire cocking via a cord, or unless you are installing a beavertail grip safety design that interferes with a standard hammer's spur, there are other places you could put your money than the hammer to get more bang for your buck.

George Nonte pointed out there are really two kinds of accuracy work, mechanical and practical. Mechanical is mainly the barrel fit up work and the slide fit work; it's anything that would make the gun shoot better from a machine rest. Practical is the sights and trigger work and grip panels and any other modification that makes the gun easier for the shooter to operate it to best advantage.

I always get the mechanical accuracy of a 1911 together first, or the rest you do most likely won't improve results to a degree you can really see on paper. Be aware that if you replace only the barrel link with a long link to improve lockup, you can cause subsequent damage if you don't know how to check and correct the barrel lockup timing. Battered locking lugs in the slide is a common outcome from doing this incorrectly. Worst case, the barrel won't lower fully into the frame cradle in counterbattery and feeding is compromised and actual interference with the slide pulling back can then also occur. Also, using a long link to improve lockup is not as repeatable or accurate as welding up and fitting the barrel link lugs together with it, because it still allows some lateral rocking and position variation because of the narrower perch on the slide stop assembly pin it provides. It also puts more stress on that pin. It is done and you can try it, but is not best practice from a durability standpoint and does not typically achieve the gun's full accuracy potential.

You should read the books, Kuhnhausen in particular, and it's not a bad idea to read Hallock and Nonte for simpler and more old-school descriptions to help you get your brain wrapped around what all can be done and how. Mainly, like a doctor, you first want to do no harm.

You may also find you want to install an adjustable rear sight or file down the front sight. When you get the barrel locking up high in the slide, it will be angled down more in battery than it was originally. This will lower bullet point of impact, typically a few inches at 25 yards. But you need to try this to test it in your particular gun.

For the above reasons, unless you do a weld-up or buy a new barrel with extra metal on it, I think F. Bob Chow's technique of fitting a shim to control the locking engagement depth is better than messing with the link. It'll keep the barrel angle low. Basically, this concept accepts that the lockup is already adequately engaged (or the gun wouldn't be working) and that Colt leaves about 0.015" of extra room in their tolerance stack for you to fill. All you need to do, then, is stick a roughly 0.015" shim up in the rearmost locking recess of the slide that will take up the extra space and stop vertical barrel play.

There is a good description of the method in the fifth post in this archive.

That arrangement makes your existing link and link lug profile correct and you don't have to mess with them. Since you have a mismatched slide and frame and barrel, you want to double-check for the correct shim thickness. You could do that with automotive plastic shim gage material stuffed into the recess, then removed and measured after letting the barrel close into it. Another method is to get some brass or soft steel shim stock you can cut trim easily into small pieces and You can hold the gun upside down while you try dropping trial layers of shim material in and noting how the back of the slide and frame line up when it closes on them. Once the shim fills the space, the slide will start backing up with additional shim, and you can pick then select the shim thickness so the slide and frame back up a hundredth of an inch or so, leaving is room for the new arrangement to settle in.
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Old March 15, 2012, 01:36 PM   #25
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I would not count on being able to just put in a hammer.

I say this because once the hammer and sear relationship is established,then the thumb safety is fitted.Odds are good you will have to put in a new thumb safety.(If you put the safety on,pull the trigger,release the trigger,then pull back the hammer while watching the sear,the sear must not move)

I am a rookie with 1911's.Some may disagree,but after wasting parts,time,and effort,I have come to the conclusion ,for myself,order a Cylinder and Slide matched hammer,sear ,disconnect kit,a thumb safety,(an OEM Colt is not a bad idea),if you think you may want a longer trigger or a different grip safety,get it NOW.

All that stuff gets fit in order,and changing a part can make everything downstream wrong.
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