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Old July 23, 2012, 11:35 AM   #1
Firefighter88
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1911 trigger job

I have a taurus 1911 AL, for a low end 1911 i was very pleased with its accuracy, and have never had a malfunction(knock on wood) yet. I've only put 2 or 300 rds through it though. The trigger is a bit stiff, but not horrible. Can a beginner, or should a beginner, attempt to alter trigger, or polish parts of trigger. How would i go about making the trigger better, more smooth, lighter, etc. I want to do it myself, but i need to know what not to do so i dont create an unsafe firearm. Safer options as well, maybe a drop in type trigger? Any help appreciated...
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Old July 23, 2012, 01:21 PM   #2
g.willikers
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Whittlin' on trigger parts is fraught with danger for the inexperienced.
Badly installed or modified triggers can cause all kinds of grief.
Better to buy drop in parts from a manufacturer with a reputation for making truly drop in ones.
But do some research to find out who actually does.
If the drop in parts don't, you might as well take it to a qualified gunsmith in the first place.
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Old July 23, 2012, 01:24 PM   #3
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It is certainly possible for the "kitchen table gunsmith" to do trigger work on a 1911, as I have been doing so for twenty years. It does require some fairly intimate knowlege of how the gun operates, and some dimensional specs. I have managed to massage the triggers on my guns to safe, crisp, 3.5# pulls using the stock parts, but not all parts are created equal.
This is really good info: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/lid=1...__Trigger_Pull
You should also invest in the two-part shop manual from Jerry Kuhnhausen. It's not the absolute last word in 1911 'smithing, but there's tons of good info in there. A less complete, but still good (and cheap) resourse is Hallock's .45 Auto Handbook.
The drop-in trigger kits from Cylinder & Slide are really excellent, but they are also expensive.
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Old July 23, 2012, 10:37 PM   #4
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I'm going to suggest one of two routes:

1. The drop-in parts that others have suggested.

2. If you really want to stone hammers and sears and get it right the first time, you're going to be into the tooling to the tune of several hundred bucks. You'll need some India stones, and ceramic or ruby stones to finish the polish. To get the angles right without experience, I'd highly recommend getting a trigger/sear fixture like the Ron Powers' setup, which you can find in Brownells. By the time you've bought the stones gunsmiths use to clean up triggers and the fixture to maintain your angles, you're into this project for $250 to $300.

Suddenly the drop in parts are sounding pretty good, right?

There is, of course, a third route: take it to a gunsmith who is competent in 1911's.
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Old July 23, 2012, 11:21 PM   #5
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It's definitely a give a man a fish/teach a man to fish proposition. For $250 you have bought the tools to do as many trigger jobs as you want, or you could pay that to a gunsmith for one trigger job.
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Old July 23, 2012, 11:40 PM   #6
dreamweaver
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cylinder and slide makes a 1911 sear spring that will lighten the pull about 1.5 lbs.
about 7 bucks and easy to install.

tom
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Old July 24, 2012, 12:03 AM   #7
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I do trigger jobs on 1911s and other select guns, but as I no longer have an FFL, I do only local, by appointment work. It can take several hours to modify existing parts, much less time to fit drop-in parts.

Don't forget the liability issues. If this is a carry or HD gun, making the trigger smooth and crisp is one thing, making it (much) lighter is another... and wanking it up so that it is unsafe is something else entirely.

As it has been stated already by previous, and some knowledgeable, posters... there are lots of alternatives. Compare what a competent 'Smith will charge, parts and labor, to the cost of a drop-in kit.
This is assuming you have the mechanical aptitude to install a drop in kit... and applies as well to buying the tools and supplies.
I have a tidy investment in trigger tooling, which have paid for themselves many times over... but that was my intention.

A suggestion. Detail strip and clean your gun. This will be a good learning experience if you've never done it before. If you need to, take pictures of disassembly as you go, so you will know the orientation of parts. Take notes and make little sketches if necessary.
Assemble the trigger, hammer and sear parts only... and stare at them for awhile. You may be able to, if your careful and have the appropriate size dowels, assemble them to the outside of the gun... makes it a little easier to visualize. See how it all works?
Now... using the appropriate gun lube of your choice, when you reassemble the gun, detail lubricate the bearing and axial surfaces of those and any other parts that they come in contact with.

When you operate the trigger again, I guarantee that the pull will feel "better"... with no modification of any kind. Bonus is, you have a much greater understanding of how your gun works.

Cheers,
C
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Old July 24, 2012, 04:25 AM   #8
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re:

Quote:
I do trigger jobs on 1911s and other select guns, but as I no longer have an FFL, I do only local, by appointment work.
Uh...You might not wanna advertise that too widely. If you're engaged in a gunsmithing business, doing it without an FFL is a violation if you accept anything of value for the work...even an offer of "Let me buy your lunch for doing this." Your next appointment may be an ATF agent looking to make an easy score.
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Old July 24, 2012, 08:19 AM   #9
Firefighter88
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Great articles and advice. I now have a much better understanding of what is involved in trigger work. I will definately follow some of the recommendations and I have some studying to do. I'm glad I joined this forum, nice to have experienced professional reference. Thanks!
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Old July 24, 2012, 09:44 AM   #10
HiBC
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I have had good luck with the Cylinder and Slide kits.

I second getting some references.Kunhausen is a good place to start.I also invested in the Wilson Combat videos.

It's one of those "The toe bone is connected to the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone" deals.

There is a progression to fitting the parts.

The thumb safety must be fitted so there will be no sear movement when the trigger is pulled with the safety on.It is quite likely you will need to fit a new thumb safety.

Now,here is where I get crazy,maybe.While I'm at it,do you like your trigger?

Do you like your grip safety? Cyl and Slide makes a nice replacement pin and spring kit....not real expensive...

Now,it might also be true that a smith with experience can use his jig and stone to simply put a very smooth finish at the proper sear angles on your parts,maybe sligtly tweak or replace your sear spring ,and check the safeties...you will see improvement and might be able to retain all your original parts.

Its approx $100 to $120 for a Cyl and Slide kit,about $15 for a spring and pin kit Maybe $20 ish for a Colt thumb safety.

Do you want an education,or just a little better trigger?

And,do you have access to a good smith?
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Old July 24, 2012, 11:07 AM   #11
Firefighter88
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I thought i liked my trigger, until I shot my buddies glock. I know they are completely different operating systems, but when you feel a trigger you like better... I am not quite where i can explain exactly what my trigger feels like or what i want it to feel like, but i'll give it a shot. Mine has over travel, not alot, but enough i notice it. If creep is the play in the trigger just before it stiffens when pulled back, then it has very little creep. My main concern is that its too heavy of a pull and feels like its dragging against something, even when well lubed. I dont know the exact pull weight, but smoother is more important to me than pull weight. My grip safety feels stiff also, and comes out from gun more than i'd like, but until you asked i never had an issue with it. I am definately wanting an education about every aspect of the guns I own or plan to own. I know of a few smiths in my rural area, but none that i trust with my guns. I'll be honest, i will most likely not be grinding or polishing any internal parts for a while, but hope to eventually. For now just building my knowledge and asking questions.
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Old July 24, 2012, 11:43 AM   #12
Creeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1911Tuner
If you're engaged in a gunsmithing business, doing it without an FFL is a violation if you accept anything of value for the work...even an offer of "Let me buy your lunch for doing this." Your next appointment may be an ATF agent looking to make an easy score.
Not too concerned really. I have cancer and haven't done much of anything in the past few years... no shooting, no motorcycles, no nothing but trying to stay alive.

Just being able to sit upright and use a computer is a big deal for me.

Cheers,
C
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Old July 24, 2012, 01:04 PM   #13
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Keep pluggin' Creeper. As long as you're fighting, you haven't lost.
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Old July 24, 2012, 02:38 PM   #14
Creeper
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Thanks CowTowner. Every day is a new day... full of possibilities.

C
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Old July 24, 2012, 03:36 PM   #15
Edward429451
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I polished my own 1911 trigger when it was new and gritty. You don't need a stone or to change angles or anything like that. Use some Flitz or simichrome and a rag, no dremels. Polish the back of the trigger, and the front of the dis-connector to a mirror finish and this will smooth it up quite a bit. That's all you need.
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Old July 27, 2012, 01:37 PM   #16
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3 out of 4 times,the Cylinder and Slide set worked fine out of the pkg.On one occasion,with a non-Colt frame,the sear was a bit long.

I suggest leaving the surfaces alone unless you get the reference material,study and understand,and also get proper tools.Wilson,I believe,makes a $30 sear jig.I went with the Marvel,its about$60.

Check,I believe Cyl and Slide will fit their parts for you for a reasonable fee.Try their website.

You may find,by the time you buy the refs,the tools,the parts,you can buy another Phillipino 1911 for the cost of getting your 1911 education.Its all about your priorities.

On the flip side,done right,your fire control parts will be roughly equivalent to the hi-buck custom guns.

I do not suggest going for the very light,match type trigger.There are legal issues if you ever are involved in a self defense shooting.

To have Cyl and Slide fit a "duty" trigger is probably a safe and efficient way to get a good trigger.
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