View Full Version : Order of Fit: slide, frame, barrel & bushing

June 27, 2005, 07:43 PM
I received my parts order from Brownell's on Saturday, so I'm going through these small parts, anticipating the arrival of the major pieces. I'm rereading Hallock's .45 and Kuhnhausen's Vol 1 so I have a handle of what should be done.

I will need to fit the slide to frame, barrel to slide, bushing to slide, and barrel to bushing. I am still unclear as the order each part should be fitted. From what I gather the slide to frame fit first for the solid platform. Then bushing to slide so that the fit is snug and ready. Next the bushing to barrel as the King's bushing ID is smaller than barrel OD (I anticipate bushing OD to be larger than slide ID but not sure yet as the slide has not arrived yet for measurement). Then when the slide, bushing and barrel all fit, I can then begin fitting the barrel to slide. Also, I can relieve the bushing if there is any barrel springing (top back and bottom front).

Is this process correct or am I off course?

One thing I didn't pick up and might need is some lapping compound for the frame and slide. And a minor detail, but, after work on the blue barrel bushing, will I need to recoat that with anything? The barrel OD is .579" and the bushing ID is .571". And when working with diameter and a difference of .008", I will only need to remove .004" overall, correct? Now, doing this work, I intend to go little by little, by fit, not necessarily by number measure. And depnding on what the slide ID is, I'll fit the bushing OD accordingly as well.

Edit: for visual fruitness I attaxhed the bushing and barrel. I'm not touching these for fitting, just examining ;)


June 27, 2005, 10:29 PM
Here is a decent primer. http://www.thedisease.net/arcana/gunsmithing/Colt_1911_Match.txt

June 28, 2005, 12:56 AM
with diameter and a difference of .008", I will only need to remove .004" overall, correct?

If you use a lathe you would remove .004" from the radius, which would open the bushing by .008". If you use a reamer it would be expanded by .008".

I don't know what the recommended bushing-to-barrel clearance will be, but making the ID of the bushing the exact same as the OD of the barrel would probably be considered tight enough to be a non-fit. You would probably be shooting for .001" clearance or greater. (Closer for a match pistol, looser for a defense pistol, within reason.)

Also, the bushings I've speced have always had oval openings. I usually buy several bushings and select the one with the clearance I want, where the clearance is at the side of the bushing. Even bushings with the same specs will have different actual dimensions, sometimes by a lot.

My carry pistol has a .002" side bushing to barrel clearance. It was .009" as I bought the gun, a Kimber Custon TLE II. The new bushing (a Wilson) helped accuracy a lot, and I haven't noticed a decrease in reliability.

And don't forget, the bushing's OD will have to fit inside your slide muzzle end. You can buy or build a lathe mandrel to shave the OD, or you can use one of those expandable rubber collets used for sanding drums and mount the whole shebang in a drill chuck. (Lathe is preferable because it ensures your cuts are parallel to the bushing axis.)

Haha... that's a lot of talk for fitting ONE part of your gun eh!!

EDIT: Please keep the group updated on your project. I'd really like to see it.

July 1, 2005, 01:10 AM
Thanks for tips. I actually went ahead and snugged the bushing to barrel by sticking sandpaper to a round dowel to snug fit the bushing ID, then sanding little by little (took 4 hours). I started with 140 grit, then moved to 80 when I was comfortable with it and keeping the bushing straight. After it was pretty much fit, I polished it up with 600 paper spun on a dowel in the drill. It wasn't the prettiest or best method, I'm sure some of you are shaking your heads and wondering how crooked the gun will shoot now. I went slow and kept things even. I continuously measured all the way around. I do have it at .580" so, that is nearly spot on (barrel OD is .5795"). It is snug, I will go in and do a final touch up on it with a Sharpie and see exactly what spots are high, then take them down. I do anticipate filing the bushing to relieve any springing, so if that is present, I won't be surprised. I am aware that getting the bushing out of round was a risk, but I can only work with the tools I have. If I tore up a bushing, I'll get a new one. I'm having a good time figuring this stuff out.

Anyhow, here is the pic of the bushing and barrel.


July 1, 2005, 07:43 AM
We have a large population of Polish heritage around here, and they call your dowel wrapped with sandpaper tool a 'Polish reamer'. Split the dowel and use centrifugal force to spin the paper out against the surfaces and it becomes a 'Polish hone'.

It works, but as you said it takes a lot of effort to keep straight.

Dave Sample
July 1, 2005, 12:26 PM
The order is to fit the frame to the slide, then fit the barrel with a loose bushing until it is happy, and then tweak it by using the NM Bushing last. You need to lap it in with JB Bore Compound to that Mill Table Cycle and then it needs to pass the "Gravity Test" before you go any further. The Kings Bushing is a part I never use, but it is probably OK.
We make a "Captain Eagle Cheap Tool" for turning the OD of the bushing with a 3/8 or 1/2 inch drill, but it is part of the secret stuff we do in the 1911 Class, so I will not put it up here. It costs about $2.00 at the hardware store for the parts.
Looks to me like you are doing a great job so far, Shorts. Keep up the Good Work!

July 1, 2005, 03:36 PM
I think I will/do have a spare loose bushing I can use to fit the barrel to slide. So, I will work it that way before using the real bushing for final fit. I did remember you talking about the gravity test in the other posting. So, I printed out that thread as reference for mine.

For the bushing OD, I've got it figured out with a dremel rubber thingy and my drill. I might be similar idea to the method you use in your class. So, I'm kinda jazzed to see how it works out :o I do like using the drill as I can control the RPMs. I'm not afraid to get my fingers in there and work close and fine. You mentioned a NM bushing. I did look for that a bit, but didn't really have much luck finding a commander bushing. I might not have looked in the right sites.

The lower gets here today and I'm antsy awaiting the arrival of the slide. But the charge is on my statement so it better get here soon!

Thanks for the support. While the project isn't the prettiest, it is mine I will have to give the pistol an approprate name :D

Dave Sample
July 1, 2005, 08:46 PM
I have been getting my NM bushings from Gil Hebard for many years. Since you already have a good bushing, I won't bother with his phone number. He has been one of the great supplier in my past and continues to supply some parts for the Online 1911 Classes.

You take really good macro pictures and we will all help you "Get R Dun" if you wish. I am delighted that you are showing the tenacity and spirit that I look for in students and I will help you where ever I can. There is something really neat about giving birth to a 1911 so enjoy this experience and get all you can out of it. Every part you fit will never fool you again!

I just had my beautiful UPS Girl deliver 12 1911 lower ends today and we are starting the GSP EX Online Class of 2005 very soon. The thrill is still there, Shorts! I am excited about this class as we are going to do them my way for a change. Also the Gunsite way, too. Let's build some guns and have some fun!

July 1, 2005, 11:48 PM
I got to get a new camera, my husband took ours on deployment...i know..awwwwwww :D So, I've been really trying to get my pictures better quality. I picked up a Nikon 4800 and its worked great.

Today I received a good phone call from my FFL dealer, my lower half had just been delivered. So, I drove right over and got the paperwork squared away and got the parts home. Soon after arriving home, I found out the slide had just been delivered, it was like Christmas! I got the parts unpackaged and sorted. Then I slide the slide on the frame. It was smooth and snug, unfortunately, not all the way on. The inside of the ejector is just a bit wider than the slide tunnel so the inside edge needs to be filed down a bit. Also, the lower half smells a lot like gear oil, so, I tore the whole thing down and cleaned it up. I did have troubled getting the mainspring housing out of the frame. I ended up removing the thumb safety and moving the grip safety enough to get a flat tip screwdriver in to pry out the MSH. Luckily it flew out and hit my chest instead of poking out an eye. The gun is pretty dirty and is in desperate need of a refinish. But that will wait until the rest is in working order.

Here are some pics:


July 2, 2005, 12:07 AM

I wanted a slide with no front serrations, but none were available and none were scheduled to be built. I didn't want to sit around and wait on a slide that might show up.

The sear definitely needs work and I'm fixing to tear open the MSH. When I cocked the hammer, it was HEAVY. The noise it made wasn't normal, plus the hammer had play. Looking at the sear, it has no primary and secondary angle. It looks to be flat. The hammer looks to be in better shape. I'm contemplating trying to fix these up, and should I mess them up, I'll order a matched set.

The gun overall just looks neglected and needs some TLC to get her going again. I'm really enjoying this project. I was pondering seeing if I could get into your class, but I'm normally out of the loop and your slots filled quickly. I did read your site. Those enrolled are lucky, and those that didn't finish for whatever reasons, if they weren't 'good', I'd like to give 'em a kick in the butt ;)

Oh hey, the slide I was getting was suppose to be blue, but from all look and feel, it's park :confused: Unless there's some new blue I don't know about??? lol Anyway, I don't mind it. I wanted it in park in the first place.

July 2, 2005, 12:28 PM

What a fun project. I can't tell from the pictures about your slide finish. Real bluing is an oxide coating of ferrous oxide, which is blue/black, and if you apply it to a polished surface it looks smooth and shiny, as you are accustomed to thinking of bluing, but if you apply it to a matte surface it will look much like your pictures. But then, so will black Parkerizing.

Dave's got you covered on the sequence. If you want maximally tight fit, you can use high spot blue or smoke to check where two parts rub, then either scrape or use your Dremel and Craytex tip to remove metal at the rub points. You keep repeating this until the parts fit.

I made a tool for fitting bushings on the lathe that lets me precision grind them internally, then tilt them on-axis to grind the relief angle without changing the grinder's cross-slide position. Before I made that, I used an expandable reamer to get a tight cylindrical fit, followed by 600 grit lapping compound to get the bushing and barrel dog nut to slide smoothly. I then scraped the relief angle per Hallock, but used high spot blue to add precision. I was probably being unnecessarily picky, but it didn't hurt anything.

One point to note is that the shorter the slide, the more bushing relief angle you need to prevent springing. A bushing perfectly relieved for a 5" slide length will be a little under-relieved for a 4" slide length. Pre-relieved bushings will tend to have a little extra to compensate for tolerances in the slide and barrel locking lug depths. That is why I prefer to start with an undersize part, as you are doing.


July 2, 2005, 02:57 PM
UncleNick, it did (finally) occur to me that the blue could be matt, but I'm not real sure :o

Ok, I think I'm making this my official progress thread (mod can i change my original title??). I do have a diary in Word with pics of progress, but this is the easy way to get it online.

Last night I filed the inside of the ejector to get it to fit inside the tunnel. This morning I lapped the slide and frame. Incidently I hadn't purchased by table vise yet. So, I did the tried and true method I do all my work, I held it in between my knees, hence the setting of the towel and me on the floor :o

LAPPING FOR FIT IS HARD WORK. I used JB bore compoud and Hoppe's 9 oil. I didn't want to cut fit anything, so back forth, push with hand...tap with soft-faced mallet....push...tap...push....tap...etc etc etc....for hours...... Finally, I was getting somewhere. The rear of the frame starting at the ejector that was super tight. But I got things moving smooth back and forth. I'm going to continue to work it with just oil. No more compound as the fit is awesome, I just want to butter up the movement. With the rails dry-to-min oil, the slide is just a hair shy of a gravity drop. Whhheeewww! I'm so glad I got this complete with good results :)


ps...sitting and working on the floor, using your legs as the vise hurts your butt cheecks and cramps the lower back muscles. NOTE TO SELF: GET A VISE!

Dave Sample
July 2, 2005, 04:58 PM
Lookin' good, Shorts. I wiah I had known about your wanting to take our Online 1911 Class. I have been trying to get a female involved since we started it and am still wanting a good woman to build a gun and have some fun. If any of you gals out there are interested, don't be bashful!
I doubt very much if that slide is Parkerized, but no matter. I don't know what you got to build this super .380 Magnum Commander, but I am sure you have enough there to get something done.

We use the slide as a swage like you are doing. It takes a great deal of back and forth,but the effort is worth it. I do not build Commander size guns as tight as the big guys. I like just a llittle looser fit for reliablity issues. Also you are not building one with a big boom factor and I am sure you need a good fit, but not super tight.

You are a ways away from playing with the trigger group. Try to take some pics of the hammer, sear, and disconnector for us so we can see what you are facing there. I would advise a whole new trigger group from Chip McCormick to make things go a little easier, but that is your call. Remember when the time comes , you may have to use a lighter mainspring than the one you have. A 9mm spring kit from Walter Wolff would be a good investment.

I can't really tell if you have a commander lower end or an officers. Something does not fit with my eyes, but it could be me. You are doing a great job and I for one, am very proud of you. Keep it going. Oh, and get a vice mounted somehwere. 4" - 5" jaws should run about $40.00 at a discount store.

July 3, 2005, 02:01 AM
I found a nice 4" Craftsman vice for $35 at our NEX, so I'll go by and get that. I just kept putting it off...running on base and such.

The lower is an Officer, the slide is Commander. I do think a lnew mainspring will help. Upon further inspection of the frame, the lower front lip of the bottom edge of the disconnector tunnel is nicked up and a touch dinged. It looks as if it had gotten caught by the sear/disconnector (or something) somehow. I need to get that smoothed out so that it doesn't tear up anything.

I will get pics of the current trigger group (after I get my vise) :) I love the macro on this camera :D

I didn't get work on the gun much today, but tomorrow I'll see what I can get going on that barrel, slide and bushing.

Jammer Six
July 3, 2005, 05:01 AM
You go, girl!

You're on your way! :D

Dave Sample
July 3, 2005, 02:14 PM
I have a dumb question here, Shorts. As you know, I do not do Officers Models for many reasons so I am ignorant about what is available for them, and am wondering where you will get magazines for it in 9mm? Or will you simply use standard 9mm magazines? I thought that your lower end was that size, but Monitors don't always tell the true story.

I am really proud of you now as I would not even think of trying to build a 9mm Officers lower with a Commander upper. I think Cory Trapp at Gunsite does them as a matter of course, but I never have. This trip will be fun, huh? Maybe I can pick his brain for the spring weights that he uses next time I see him.

Does your lower end have a 9mm feed ramp? Let us hope so!

July 3, 2005, 03:40 PM
Dave, I found that Metalform produces an Officer's 8 round magazine in 9mm. As far as I know, they are the only ones to make them. Brownell's carries them, so I ordered one...only one, I brain farted when I ordered so I'll need to get another for convenience sake :o

Here is a pic, the 9mm on the left, .45 on the right (as if I needed to caption that).


Dave Sample
July 3, 2005, 07:54 PM
You are The ONE! That is great news. I think we can deal with all of the other issues as they arise and you are going to have a great time with this CCO deal. I thnk you might just have a well thought out plan! I am going to send you a PM soon.

July 3, 2005, 09:40 PM
:) I'm keeping my fingers crossed I don't jinx myself.

I've been working on the bushing to slide fit today. Spent 5 hrs and this is where I am at. I got the bushing chucked up onto my drill via the rubber attachment that holds the Dremel sanding bands. From there, I hand held several different stones/papers as I needed more or less material removed per pass. This is a great method for turning the tail end of the bushing, but not so for cleaning up the notch and area above.

When the bushing got close to spinning almost all the way around with a wrench, I dabbed a little oil and compound in there to finish turning.

So, the skirt fits well, I'm just stuck on the last little bit. I might get a looser fit since I went to the lapping compound before getting the bushing totally seated. But we'll see. The bushing seats well and straight, which of course, when turning and filing by hand and no lathe is a huge concern. But, go slow and careful and the work can be done.

BTW, I did get the bushing to sit all the way down with a good rap, HOWEVER, I was not using forsight. I had no barrel installed in the slide and well, the bushing got stuck in the slide :eek: Fabulous. After trying a dowel or two, I got my nut drivers pulled out the appropriate size and used it to punch out the bushing. I'm an idiot, but thankfully the bushing was fine :o so let that be a lesson to anyone else, don't get the bushing stuck to the slide.


Isn't that scuff mark there on the front plug cover look nice?? Thte dust cover was a bit rough and once I got the frame and slide moving together, the two got rubbed. I smoothed out the inside of that dust cover so it wouldn't scratch my slide anymore. I need to recheck it with a marker to be sure. As of now though, it's not a concern. The thing will probably get refinished, and if not, it adds character :D

July 4, 2005, 12:50 PM

It looks like you got the edges of the rails slightly out of parallel with the sides of the frame. This causes the rubbing you got. You can check for this by putting the slide on the frame and looking for evenness of the gap between the dust cover and shroud underneath.

Unfortunately I don't have a nice digital camera like yours, but I can Photoshop a little and I think this composite image will illustrate my point and how the measurement may be done with the depth stem on your caliper.

To avoid this on a redo, measure the width across the rails that you have right now, then measure the frame width just below the rail ways (the channels, or grooves underneath) and subtract it from the rail width. Divide the result by two. This is how much the rails should overhang the frame. If you peen the rails to spread them a little more, measure the depth to the way off the frame (same as my image, but flip the caliper over). Add the overhang number to this number and file the rails on one side down to this depth fore and aft. This gets you parallel to the frame on one side. Trim the other side and lap as before for final fit. Your slide should now be centered in the frame.


July 4, 2005, 02:58 PM
I think the rails are a hair off. I will do a thorough check. Thanks for the writeup and diagram of the rails. That gives me a good picture of what to do. There were some imperfections inside of the dustcover, so I smoothed those out. I did a check and I don't have any more rubbing there in that spot. Another thing, might be adding to it, the dustcover sides are not the same width. I'll get a picture of that later on after the 4th festivities.

Dave Sample
July 4, 2005, 03:18 PM
I have responded to you before I went to the Forum. Great help from UncleNick. You are way ahead of me! Have Happy Forth of July!

July 4, 2005, 10:23 PM

Do post the picture. If I get time, I'll try to make up a drawing of the angled rail edge effect. It's not something I've seen mentioned in the books and manuals, but it certainly affects consistency of performance to have one-side contact sometimes and not others. I'll also see if I can get time during the week to put something together on the sear angles. I did a finite element analysis of this some time back and the dynamics are interesting (to engineers, anyway), but the bottom line is the human element of the feel of the trigger.

The late Col. George Nonte nicely divided accuracy work into Mechanical Accuracy and Practical Accuracy. The former, for the 1911, is the fitup of barrel, bushing, slide, frame, and link and link lugs (the things that would make a gun accurate from a machine rest). The latter consists of sights, grip panels and trigger (the things that make it user-friendly). I think he had the division of principles right.


July 4, 2005, 10:48 PM
The sear angles I will need some work on if I do use the ignition set I have now. Here's are pics of those that I took today for when I do my writeup on that part.



July 4, 2005, 10:49 PM
Here's the dust cover. I don't know if it's me or what, but the edges do seem a slight different thickness.


Geez, the kinda pictures this camera can take, I'm kinda embarassed to show yall how rough my gun is :o

Dave Sample
July 4, 2005, 11:05 PM
I think those pictures are almost too good, Shorts. Wow.
This is what the factories call tolerances and most dust covers are not the same on both sides. This looks like a Colt Lower and you can make it work.
Nick can be of more help than I can on the sear angles and hammer hooks. I have my hammers like this one cut square on a mill with a carbide flat end mill and I have a Wilson sear jig that I use to stone the sear that has the angle I want to use and is never changed. I do not bother with that stuff any more because Chip has a hammer and sear that is better than I can do already done and that is what I use now. I don't have time for those two day trigger jobs that still weren't great but had to be settled for. Since this is a learning experience all I can do here with those parts is wish you luck and hope you can make them work OK. Hang in there, Shorts. This is going to get interesting!

July 4, 2005, 11:12 PM
Dave, I think I am going to order the McCormick sear and hammer. But I'm going to tool with this sear and hammer to see if I can get it to work, for a little practice. I went ahead today and ordered a reduced pak of mainsprings from Wolff. Not sure which will work the best, but out of the three, I can get close.

Jammer Six
July 5, 2005, 01:18 AM
Shorts, I went around and around with three sets of McCormick stuff.

The bottom line is that they aren't made to spec, and they are more difficult to fit because of it.

The other thing I learned is that the set that's sold as the "Wilson Value Line" is the same as the McCormick stuff.

I did it all in public, and wrote more than you would ever want to know about it here. (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=132013)

There are good people in that thread, people who know about trigger jobs, and will tell you what you need to know to do them right.

You go, and let us watch! :D

Dean Taylor
July 5, 2005, 07:34 AM

You are welcome to try any of my 1911s. Several have CMC trigger, sears, hammer and disconnectors. They are better than or equal to any of the other systems I have in other 1911s.

Shorts - good luck and have fun with your project. I suggest you pay most attention to those giving advice who post with their real name and location.

[email protected]

Hunter Customs
July 5, 2005, 08:06 AM
Hello Shorts,
I will not tell anyone how to spend their money but I will say when it comes to trigger group parts or any parts for that matter the cost of using top shelf parts over the cheap parts is money well spent. Top shelf parts will be good quality tool steel, they cost more but they are not MIM.
As for lapping a frame and slide I like 38-900 and finish with 38-1200. A slide lapped to the frame this way will feel like it's rolling on ball bearings.
Good luck with your project gun.
Bob Hunter

July 5, 2005, 01:27 PM
I originally slated the McCormick sear and hammer as the parts to purchase for this project. I took them off my Brownell's order until after I received the lower to see what I did and didn't need. But, if this lower is 20yrs old like I think it is, fresh new parts couldn't hurt.

I had read a lot of grumbling about MIM parts. But while reading them, I also read "show me where they failed and have caused so much trouble for you". So, I'm in the middle and probably in the position where I should just see for myself which parts work and which don't. It's tough when there are differing opinions amongst the ranks. Although, I feel confident in those I tend to lean towards.

Jammer Six, I read most of your tread, a lot of reading :D I do need to go back and finish it.

My thinking on the aftermarket parts, regardless if they're in spec or not, the ones I have here are more than likely not either. In fact, I know they're not in great working order because I tootled with the lower befor I disassembled it. So, new parts or old parts, they will need adjusting.

Dave Sample
July 5, 2005, 01:56 PM
When you decided to enter the World of Pistolsmithing, you made a decision to build a gun the way you want it and that is fine with me.

I am used to working with high end parts that have the holes in the lower end in the right place for what we do. Years ago, I measured the holes in 21 Colt lower ends and every one of them was different. This is where the "Trigger Work" skills come in and the hard road to make inferior parts work OK. None of us will ever use the "High End" trigger compoments again because they are not easy to do without a mill and years of training. I have installed three of these trigger groups personally and would never spend the money for them again because they add nothing to the 1911's we work on here. I can understand Bob"s advice because it is not his money and he has to back up his work and tell his customers what wonderful parts he uses. I agree with that 100% for him. I am not going to spend three times the money for parts that I have to re-cut on a mill and then stone on a sear jig. That ain't me.

I want a 1911 trigger to be safe and break clean at about 3 1/2 to 5 lbs. I like a heavier pull on my personal guns but that is because I do not sit around and dry fire them and think how wonderful they feel. I want them to go 100,000 rounds before anything goes bad and so far, so good. That is why I like the hardest parts that I can find for these little machines.

There is one more thing. Chip McCormick is a personal friend of mine and I like all of his stuff. he is one of the most likable and honest men I know. The other "High End Parts Guys" will make you anything you want, charge you an arm and a leg, and after you revise it, it is good stuff. Too good for poor old me.


Hey! Who's those guys and gals with Dave! Man , am I glad I quit those donuts!

Jammer Six
July 5, 2005, 08:26 PM
The important information about McCormick sear and hammer geometry was pointed out by Chuck Rogers.

I spent more money and learned more about the 1911 during that thread than anything I've done before or since. :D

Hunter Customs
July 5, 2005, 10:42 PM
I have all types of customers that I build guns for, law enforcement who stake their lives on the guns I build, CCW holders that stake their lives on the guns I build, competition shooters, and folks that just enjoy good quality guns. They all agree on using the best parts available. I could never and never will advise anyone in good faith to use cheap parts. It's true that quality parts need fitting but then again trigger jobs are part of pistolsmithing. As for the 100,000 round test that's where competition shooting comes in, as it's the competition shooters that shoot the large amounts of ammo every year that will prove how well parts are made. These are the people that test the parts to see what works. I know not one serious competition shooter that pays to have a gun built that will use MIM parts.
Now as for name dropping meaning anything or having pictures taken with someone, my oldest grandson who is eleven shot the Area 3 match this last weekend. He was squaded with some of the biggest names in the shooting world. Now this don't mean a thing except that he had the chance to shoot with some of the best shooters in the world and we both had the chance to meet some very nice folks.
As for Chip being a nice guy, I'm sure he is I like his mags.
Bob Hunter

July 6, 2005, 10:03 AM
I had read a lot of grumbling about MIM parts. But while reading them, I also read "show me where they failed and have caused so much trouble for you".

I haven't seen a MIM part fail since, oh, Monday afternoon (hammer strut.) The week is young, however. ;)

Dave Sample
July 6, 2005, 03:03 PM
I use Ed Brown Hammer Struts. So far, so good. I like Chip"s, but don't use them. The strut is important to the geometry in a trigger group, but don't quote me. I use what works best. Bob Hunter and I always will be light years apart. He is in business and I am not. That makes a big difference, maybe.

As for Chuck, last time I knew he was using Wilson hammers but I don't know what he uses now. We do not talk and have't for years. I know he knows what's what in a 1911.

Some people have a natural affinity for messing things up. The parts people love them. I have two factory barrels here that a very well know Gunsmith riuned. That takes real talent to destroy a drop in factory barrel. I am not that good yet.

July 6, 2005, 07:30 PM
Well, I picked up my Craftsman vise and set of needle files. Those things are awesome. I just about have the bushing fit to the slide, I just need to turn it and lock it in. There was some clearance issues with the locking tab and the slot in the slide. Even though the bushing was fully seated, the locking tab wasn't clear of the slot wall. Now, do I reduce the top edge on that tab enough so that it does fit? I am aware that the fit between the two need to be snug. Should I leave the horizontal edge of the tab slightly in favor of "uneven" so that as I rotate the bushing it gets snug? Or all the way even?

I've also started on the slide and barrel fit. I polished the breechface and disconnector track. Although they are smooth, you can still see the tool marks. I measured the barrel hood and needed to narrow it, so I filed a little off the sides and got things centered. I also had side battery on the barrel face, so I filed them down to clearance the slide shoulders. When those were fit, I polished the faces. When doing my tests, I marked the barrel surfaces with a black sharpie. Not the coolest and mybe not the best method, it's what I had available, but it worked just fine for me to see any high spots.

Alright, I have to head out. Sorry no pics today but I will get things rolling after tomorrow when I can devote my full attention to this. The barrel still neds work in the slide and frame. Any wisdoms would sure be appraciated.

Dave Sample
July 7, 2005, 12:30 PM
I use the "Captain Eagle Smear Fit" sometimes for bushings like this. I put the slide in a vice with the bushing intalled with the barrel in place and the whole thing is smeared with JB Bore Compound. Then I simply use my Big Kings Bushing wrench and turn it back and forth until it gets hot and turns easily but still it very tight. It works for me!

Bill Z
July 7, 2005, 04:31 PM
I don't presume to know as much as Dave or Chuck about the 1911, I learn from both of them as I am proud to call each of the two my friend. (Not name dropping Bob, it's just a fact.)

I can see the differences in the geometry that Chuck points out, there is no denying it. I have used original Colt hammers several times and like them, and will soon be trying some Wilson hammers also. I also am interestred in George Smith's (EGW) trigger group and am placing an order early next week there gathering parts for two customs on the books. I have also used the Yost-Bonitz group and it is in a full custom that's out getting prepped and blued right now.

I also know about the CMC parts. We average about a dozen and a half of these trigger groups a year with new students that have never built or worked on pistols before, and have had no trouble with them, period. There is no denying that they work, and I have a personal pistol with over 5000 rounds through it plus lord knows how much dry firing from me and people who look at the pistol. Chips parts have always served us well, and the company has always supported us wholey. (No Bob, it's not a name drop or a random pic, Chip and Ray are quite good friends, so was/is Armond, unfortunately he isn't there anymore, and he owe's me lunch!)

Interestingly enough, this is practically, probably identically(not sure) the same trigger group that Kimber uses. They sell about 50,000 copies a year, and relatively speaking, have few problems that I am aware of. I've jsut never seen a hammer and sear set break from CMC or Kimber, but I know I only see a relatively small amount of firearms.

Where am I headed with this? For a first time builder like Shorts, who is doing an admirable write-up and super photo's (by the way, what camera are you using? I'm jealous and just gotta know) the CMC parts are quite economical, have a great track record, and if you can resist not fixing what is not broken, will seve you well. All you need to do is cut a relief angle, insure even contact on both hammer hooks, and then try to wear them out. It will take quite some time.

Bill Z
July 7, 2005, 04:33 PM
I'm curious. What type of pistol and what type of failure on the hammer strut. Where did it break? Particular brand? I've only had trouble with the geometry of certain struts in 1911's, but never a breakage problem.

Jammer Six
July 7, 2005, 05:43 PM
It will take quite some time.
Took me about six months.

The hammer strut and thumb safety that I broke were both MIM.

Dean Taylor
July 7, 2005, 10:48 PM
I am also curious about the hammer strut that broke. What brand in what?

I have shot 1911s over 50 years and easily over 1 million rounds and have never broken a hammer strut. Why have I not had tgrouble when it only took Jammer 6 months to break one?

Bob - you have made it clear you do not like CMC parts. Specifically whose trigger group parts do you like? I am an amatuer metal worker. Thank you in advance for your answer.

[email protected]

July 7, 2005, 10:49 PM
Alrighty, I ordered a CMC sear and hammer from Brownell's, so......

And sometime this afternoon my Novak sights arrived. I didn't realize how hefty they were. I know they don't go on until later later, but I thought I'd show 'em off.


Bill Z, my camera is a Nikon 4800 I just picked up a few weeks ago. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I found it for a pretty good price after some searching.

Bill Z
July 8, 2005, 08:29 AM
Took me about six months.

The hammer strut and thumb safety that I broke were both MIM.

Well, while I was talking about hammer and sears if you would have read the entire statement, not struts and safeties, I have a broken Ed Brown laying around here that came off of a pistol and a really bad C&S safety. The breakage on these can sometimes be attributed to poor fitting. I've never had a strut fail or seen one fail, that is why I am curious as to where they break. I could see where poor fitting, or I should say the lack of fitting one/checking one would cause undo stress and cause this, but would like to know the weak point to see if my theroy makes sense. Same for the thumb safety, where did it break? The EB I have broke at the pin, but appeared to be caused by the lifting action 90* to the frame as in when it's dissasembled. I think there muxt have been a bind somewhere.

Bill Z
July 8, 2005, 08:32 AM
Shorts, that camera seems to be worth the bucks. I use a Sony DSC-85, probably discontinued by now, and use the manual settings. I don't think I can get nearly that close with the macro though, especially with that clarity. You get what you pay for and that camera may be one I look to upgrade too in the future.

July 8, 2005, 11:47 AM
I think so, I'm really loving it. I never tried the macro on our other camera, so I can't compare it to this one. Although the optical and digital zoom on it was 3-4x. The optical zoom on this Nikon is 8.3x. The features on it are nice. Normally I don't use the "froo froo" buttons for different scenes and conditions, although on this camera, I am. I can definitely see the better quality in the pics. Coupled with a 256mb card, the possibilities are endless! .....until I kill the battery :D

Alright, I got my vise set up today on my work table. I forgot how much I enjoy putting stuff together :cool: I punched the center with my cool spring loaded punch, drilled a pilot w 5/32", then 3/8" and finished with 1/2". I got everything secured with parts from my garage bucket. I did have to deal with too fat, too long or too short, hence the stacked washers on the 2x4. We'll see if they break and I catch the flying debris, but so far so good. Maybe later on when I hit Home Depot I'll get some new hardware and switch them out. I also have leather straps curing in the jaws to protect the work.


Dave Sample
July 8, 2005, 02:05 PM
Listen to me very carefully, Shorts. When I had to put the Online1911 Class together I had to select parts that would work for a first time builder. There is no way I know of to teach you or anyone else to do Sears , Disconectors, and Hammer Hooks over the Internet, period. It would entail a very expesive Bob Marvel sear and hammer jig jig and add $150.00 to the price of the tools and the resulting trigger pulls would be very erratic. I would not know where to begin to tell someone where to set the set screw or rollers or whatever on a jig. They would have to follow Bob's instructions to the letter and use expensive parts that would be ruined daily. My sear jig remains the same as it has been for 20 years. It is a Wilson that used to cost about $20.00 landed and it is great for me.

People who have not spent 20+ years learning how to do action work like to use pre-fit trigger groups that go in pretty easy. I have done that myself lately with a Dane Burns trigger group that he sent me a few years ago to test. It is in the 400 Cor Bon EAGLE III as we speak. That one is unfired as yet because I have been casting bullets and ordering various stuff so I can do some up to date load development for that load. Peter Pi seems to be stuck there and there needs to be some more messing around with this cartridge.
The new C E LE MAY 45 has a Ted Yost trigger group in it that was a hard one to use for me, as the holes in the sear and hammer were too small and the hammer hooks had to be re-cut on the mill to get rid of the wire cut on the 90 degree angle. I am picky about this and i called Ted before we cut it abd asked his permission to do it. He gave it freely and I made them work with a beautiful 3 lb trigger pull using a stock black short plastic trigger that was in the spart parts bin.

Pistolwrench quoted me on another forum and said:
"Yesterday I couldn't spell pistolsmith, and now I are one!"

I am sure Chip will get along fine without selling his parts to Bob Hunter as he has done very well in the parts business with pals like me who do not like to denigrate suppliers for no reason. I am buying 24 sets of parts this year not including the extra stuff I use personally.

Bob Marvel told us his new jig reallky is the hot ticket to sucess with trigger work. We has a long talk with him at The Shot Show. His work is very beautiful and he is a very sharp man.




Here is Bob and Bruce at the Caspian Booth in late January talking about 1911's? He builds some really fancy Caspians that have a lot more Bling than ours. They are also very accurate and have wonderful trigger pulls that I will never come close to. Mine work OK and are long lasting, but Bob is light years ahead of me in the trigger pull department.

I have an Old Nikormat 35mm that I love dearly. It cam used from the Denver Post and it is an antique now. I love your camera, Shorts.

I have shot about 500,000 and have never broke a hammer strut. I am amazed at the talent it must take to do that! Wow is me!

July 8, 2005, 03:53 PM
Why do you say it takes "talent" to have a MIM part fail in a stock gun. Who's fault is it, since it couldn't be the part itself?

Bill Z
July 8, 2005, 04:02 PM
Same kind of talent it takes to break a hammer with a feather?

Jammer Six
July 8, 2005, 05:16 PM
So was I, Bill.

I broke a MIM hammer strut and thumb safety (both stock parts on a Springfield Milspec), I replaced the stock hammer and sear with McCormick parts (are they the same as "CMC"?) because they were cheap, and wore them out in about six months.

I'm not sure we're helping Shorts with all this foolishness, but I would like to know if CMC is the same as McCormick, it would explain a lot of other things I've read recently.

The strut I broke snapped almost exactly in half.

The thumb safety broke right next to the pin, that is, the unbroken pin remained in the hole, but the lever and the rest of the safety snapped off it, at the juncture of the pin and the lever.

I was on the firing line in both instances, with the thumb safety, I loaded the weapon in the middle of a stage, racked the slide, and tried to put the safety on, but it wouldn't go, because it was broken.

With the hammer strut, again in the middle of a stage, the hammer was suddenly no longer under tension.

July 8, 2005, 05:36 PM
I'm not sure we're helping Shorts with all this foolishness,

lol Shorts is just going on with her business, you guys are now background noise to my work :p

Dave Sample
July 8, 2005, 08:10 PM
Metric gun with CMC parts installed. Very Interesting to me. But what do I know?
Handy: I think that MIM is a very poor choice of metal for a hammer strut. On the other hand, I don't know what an Ed Brown hmmer strut is made of. All I know is that they work fine for me and have worked fine for a good many years. I have not been happy with anything else. I have never had one break but we work them over and install them with compatable parts. I teach my students to install a hammer strut and do not view them as "Drop In's". If done incorrectly they can hit the back of the beavertail and cause a twang noise everytime the hammer is dropped. We had a Colorado smith that was famous for this.

Less you don't understand, Pistolsmithing is a highly skilled occupation and in my opinion, takes years to learn.

We are helping Shorts because I like her Spirit and her trying to do something neat for herself. I like to help others if they want my help and until she tells me to get lost, I will be on her team. You can take that to the bank! She has undertaken a project that I would never even try , but I will try to help her anyway I can with the small details here and there. It is my pleasure, Sirs amd Madames.

Bill Z
July 8, 2005, 09:28 PM
Well, it breaking in the middle would fit my theory. Sometimes the geometry between the parts will be bad and the strut will hit in the MSH or as Dave says the grip safety. I can see where tis could add stress to the part, especially during a recoil cycle while being fired, and causing the break. The material it is made out of wouldn't matter much here I don't think.

I always invisioned one breaking at what I would consider the weakest point, the ring at top. I have serrated these in the past, removing material from here, and have never had one break, so it is interesting to me that one wouild break at the thickest portion. That is also the general area you would get the impact or rub though.

Now, splain me the wearing out of the hammer and sear. What wore out? Were they altered? Were they checked for even contact when they were installed? Was it even wear or one side ot the other? The MIM is normally very hard, so I find this curious also.

Hunter Customs
July 9, 2005, 09:07 AM
First I want to apologize to Shorts as I do believe this thread has drifted off topic. That being said seeing that my name is being thrown around with things some seem to think I said I feel I must respond to this.

Dave and Dean,
Not once did I name CMC parts when I made reference to MIM parts. If you go back and read what I said I'm sure you will see this. As a professional I do not come to a public forum and bad mouth manufactures or other smiths as some seem to take pride in doing on this forum. By the way Dave MIM is not the type of steel but the process in which the part is made.

You ask what parts I use, I believe I can see where this is going. However just in case you are sincere I've used several different manufactures parts over the years again being a professional it will serve no purpose to post their names. I will say that some parts were cast some were barstock some were forged all have served me well. Brownell's (not name dropping Bill just fact) does a pretty good job of listing the manufacture process of the parts they sell. However if it's not listed contact the manufacture of the part you are interested in I believe most will tell you the process in which the part was made.
Seeing that you are a student of metallurgy I do believe what would better serve Shorts or anyone thats reading this thread is if you would explain the difference between ways to manufacture parts such as, die casting, investment casting, drop forging, and hammer forging. If you would be so kind to do this I'm sure they would have a better understanding of the MIM debate and see why you believe it's structually surperior or even as good as the other processes in manufacturing parts.

To all that may be concerned,
It's plain to see that Dean, Dave, and Bill prefer to use and endorse using MIM parts when building their guns. I have no bones with this as that is their business.
My business is to give my customers the best value for their dollars spent without handing them a substandard gun.
Here's a little food for thought. If MIM is such a great process in manufacturing parts I wonder why the major players in the industry are not using it to manufacture barrels, slides, and frames? Barrels, slides, and frames have been made from the process of casting and forging.

Bob Hunter

Bill Z
July 9, 2005, 10:41 AM
Well Bob, if you read my posts, I did say I used different parts and am trying different parts.The CMC parts that we spoke about are what we use for our first time builders, exactly what Shorts is doing. I know, the Devil's in the details and everything needs reading. There is even a very clear and consise reason for using those parts given. Sorry that was lost on you.

Now, the use of MIM is not practical for all applications. It seems to work well in the automotive industry in making crankshafts but not in engine blocks. Your reasoning as to feel it is not suitable for use in some parts of a pistol because you shouldn't make a barrel out of it isn't really a fair comparison. For your comparison to be valid, any polymer gun would self destruct immediatly. Any lightweight alloy or aluminum gun would just self destruct. I've got a Glock on my bench for replacement sights I know has several thousand rounds through it and doesn't look the worse for wear and a Kimber TLE with over 20,000 rounds through it that's not even battered or loose, just dirty as hell since the shooter felt like a boresnake and some gunscrubber was adequate to clean the pistol. While it's a great testimony to the design, it atarted to have a few issues that have been readily resolved. (BTW, didn't have to replace the first part on this pistol, save for the springs, which are not MIM ;) ) We did do some really cool sights on it though.

July 9, 2005, 11:37 AM
Well, I've read a while back the difference in forging, casting, MIM and stamped. My take on the MIM parts is that quality in the production process will yield quality in the perfomance. While MIM is easier to 'screw up' and make the part weak right off the bat, when done right, it should perform well.

Hunter Customs
July 9, 2005, 02:26 PM
Does your plastic gun have plastic rails? Have you ever seen a Aluminum frame fail? I have, it's a well known fact that aluminum frame guns are great for carry but it always seems the concensus is to not shoot an aluminum frame gun a lot. This holds especially true with high pressure loads such as plus P loads. For general information there is an alloy on the market that's as light as T6 but twice as strong and is as easy to machine as T6 but that's another story. Anyone who does not think the hammer in a 1911 style pistol is a high stress part might want to take another look at the hammer and what happens when the gun is fired. I've seen and replaced MIM hammers with the hooks sheared off, I don't find this to be a good thing.
I also don't find 20,000 rounds as that much of a test. When the test gun gets past 100,000 rounds of ammo that's making a 210 plus power factor (no powder puff loads) and about 200,000 dry firings let me know.
Bob Hunter

Dave Sample
July 9, 2005, 02:48 PM
All pistolsmiths have their own opinion about parts. To imply that I do not know what the MIM Process is interesting since I have posted that process of taking metal and plastic in a very fine mixture and the amount of each strictly measured, getting it really hot, and then injecting into molds, letting it cool popping it out, and then machining it, is kind of silly. Bob does not have any idea of what I know or don't know, but I can assure you that if I didn't know, I would not say anything.

Shorts is a first time builder by anyone's standards. She has not indicated to me that she has built a bunch of other guns so I am trying to help her get her First Project done to HER satisfaction, not mine. I am a 45ACP Man and She is a 9mm Woman. So be it. I have built 9mm's in a 1911 configuration and have built 9mm Majors for IPSC Shooters. I have also built a couple of .40 S&W's but will not longer waste my time with that caliber which I deem a poor choice for high end 1911 work. I like the.401 bullet size in my 400 Cor Bon, but that is a fun thing with me and is a Toy Gun. I don't pretend that it is anything else. It will never be for sale and will go to my son who likes wildcats like I do. I really wish some days that I still had the 10mm Centaur instead of that beautiful diamond ring, but a trade is a trade and we cannot snivel and whine about getting $4000.00 worth of diamonds for a shooter. I had converted it to 400 Cor Bon before I traded it.

I have to apologize for wandering off topic and it is not intentional. I am an old man now and love to ramble on about nonsense that is not pertainent to the subject.

Shorts! You go Girl!

Bill Z
July 9, 2005, 05:57 PM
Well, gee Bob, I never said that the hammer wasn't high stress, but is it high stress at the hooks or at the strut hole and hammer face and neck? Consider the hole on a hammer strut. Jammer had a strut break, but not at the hammer pin hole. I serrate these on occasion to 'sign' my work depleting the material by about 30%. Still never had one break.

You've never seen a forged hammer break? I have. I've also seen a forged frame break. This is all a matter of semantic's I think. Hell, these use MIM on internal parts of an engine that will see more cycles in a week than any gun will ever see in a lifetime. MIM may not be great stuff, but it sure ain't bad stuff. Cast parts can be victim to the same problems MIM can be, and heat treating can be bad on any parts. Ask Novak about there adjusting screws on the forst batch of Combat adjustables they sent out. They got screwed by there heat treater and had sight adjusting screws breaking. (BTW, they made good on every one and solved the problem. It's a great sight that I'm working with right now on a big project and like the sight.)

I have ntohing against forged or tool steel parts, I use them regularly. I also have a great deal of experience with the proper parts selection for first time builders that are learning over the internet, and what works for them. I would dare say that I am amoung the few that have the most experience doing this. Shorts is a first time builder and it was mearly suggested to her to use these parts. They work very, very, well. Hell, Kimber puts them in 50,000 guns a year, more than you and I and Dave and any dozen one or two man shops will ever build in a lifetime combined. I'd say for the failure rate, that's a pretty good test. Of course, I haven't seen a Kimber hammer or sear fail, and have only heard of a few, but no more than Colt or SA or anyone else.

Bob, I wish you continued success in your endeavors, you have great business practices and I like a fellow that sticks by his guns, but do you really think that it is better for a first time builder to play with a hundred dollar trigger group without the benefit of proper training that really has to be done first hand?

July 10, 2005, 07:14 AM
You go shorts!!!! you are my new hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aim straight and have fun

July 10, 2005, 12:38 PM
I received my reduced mainsprings yesterday from Wolff - 20, 21 and 21#. I shoulda checked the mail earlier because I had just finished putting the gun together for a little "it looks like a real gun" time. I still haven't gotten the bushing turned and locked yet, I'm waiting on the bushing wrench I had to order. I couldn't find the one I thought we had around here :rolleyes:

I did tootle around with the sear and hammer yesterday. I pulled out my flat stone and touched up the hooks on the hammer. I also smoothed them down a bit to .020"-.021". As much as I can see the hook is at 90*, but I will go through everything again to be sure I wasn't crosseyed. Then I took the sear and began putting both angles on it. I got the angles close for "trying out" when I checked them on the frame, so I decided to put the gun together to see how things felt. Several obervations now, that were also present when I first received the lower:

1. There is play in the trigger, several mm regardless if hammer is down or cocked.

2. There is play in hammer between down and halfcock

When I first received the lower, I tried out the trigger and feel and it was ridiculously heavy/hard/stuck. While I had the gun broken down, I cleaned up all holes and tunnels with some JB Bore compound. The MSH was especially gritty, the disconnector tunnel bottom edge was nicked - things were just rough, so I got them smoothed out.

I've also got the barrel close to fit, although I'm unsure if I'm completely in lockup and how much lug engagement I have. I need to get some clay strips to smush in there to check. I did put things together and did a flash hole test. The hole is pretty close to even, although it still looks a bit shy. I Sharpied the slide lugs and grooves and I am not getting contact from the slide. I did break the lugs a hair and smoothed the slide lugs and things are clear. The barrel does overhang the feed ramp so I will have to get that moved back. I had to work on the barrel face a bit as the slide shoulders were getting battered. I also had to touch up the rear barrel lugs as they were contacting the frame before the barrel bedded. I paralleled them a little better with the barrel hood as that was off. I'm still using that Randall barrel I picked up on the fly. Again, I'm not too worried about putting a file to this. If I goof it up, I'll just get another barrel and have another go at it. Am I going about the barrel fit alright? Or am I off?

Anyway, here are some pics.


As you can see, there are a lot of details I can get better at, especially cosmetics. But I think that will come to me as I get use to working on the gun, get use to the techniques and such.

I have the gun broken down again and I'm having another go at the sear angles. Like I said, I do have a McCormick sear and hammer on the way so I have less fear working on these. Plus, the gun wasn't in good working order when I got it, so any improvement I get out of this will be great! :D

So things you see on here I can do better, please chime in. I know I'm missing stuff.

July 10, 2005, 05:00 PM

I am attaching a PDF file showing the busing locking lug trimming. For the first step use a flat needle file. For the scraping steps, take your smallest square needle file (small enough to fit between the lug and bushing collar) and sharpen the tip at 90°. This takes awhile because the file is so hard. It also can chew into your stone, and for that reason I like to use the side of the stone rather than the regular sharpening surface to do this. I also like to use spray adhesive to stick wet/dry sandpaper down to a square of plate glass for specialty sharpening. It gives you a flat surface and you can replace the abrasive when it wears out. It also lets you progress through finer grits for completing the job: 320, 400, 600. I use it with water or light oil; this yields the best edge.

You can radius the corners slightly on the file tip to prevent gouging. What you end up with is a push scraper. Think of a scraper as a single-tooth file, and it will make some sense. You push it in from the side to hit the spots metal needs to be removed from.

More later.


Jammer Six
July 10, 2005, 05:14 PM
Oooh, UncleNick, we are now friends!

Thank you!

July 10, 2005, 05:37 PM
Great pdf UncleNick. That's just what I needed. I'm getting tired of looking at my unlocked bushing :o ....now, only if my wrench would get here. My favorite gun shop is closed for another week so no where on the island to buy for instant gratification.

July 10, 2005, 10:09 PM



Hunter Customs
July 11, 2005, 08:48 AM
Yes I do know.

I would like to take the time to finish our discussion and answer your questions but I don't feel this to be fair to Shorts.

After viewing your pictures you want to make sure the bottom of the barrel ramp (commonly called the throat area) is not even with the top of the frame ramp.

As for the overhang of the slide at the rear. After making sure you have the proper lower lug and radial lug engagement, the frame impact and barrel impact area is correct so the gun will be timed correct then you can correct overhang. This is done by blending the rear of the slide with the rear of the frame.
While on the subject of timing I measure all the barrel links I use. I do not go by the number that may be stamped on them or the package they came in. I measured one that was suspose to be .278 the other day it turned out to be .2844.
Also this would be a good time to measure the spacing of the radial lugs of your slide and barrel, as they do effect the timing. For optimum performance and barrel life they should measure .324 and .649 respectively. The first thing I do with a new slide is measure the radial lug spacing, I've had some that were to far out and they went back for replacement. If you are not sure how to do this you can contact me at the shop and I'll explain it to you.
Good luck with your project.
Bob Hunter

July 11, 2005, 09:37 AM
Bob, good catch on that feed ramp. That could have been a big problem for Shorts. I assume she's going to need to change the barrel chamfer/ramp angle to a steeper one?

A couple of points on MIM:

1. It is BOTH a process for creating a part, and a type of final product. MIM created steel parts have qualities that are unique to that process.

2. With respect to Dave's good fortune with CMC parts, I would point out that all Kimber's are advertised as also being built with CMC parts, and have a woeful reputation for those parts breaking. So unless Dave is claiming that CMC makes different parts for aftermarket than in the production Kimbers, I can't see how he can deny that these parts have a spotty reputation for durability. They may not be any worse than cast, but certainly aren't as strong as the best forged parts.

3. I would be greatly surprised if precision drop-in dimensions of the CMC parts couldn't be found in at least one forged tool steel product from C&S, Brown, EGW, Nowlin, Masen, STI, Briley or Wilson. They do cost more than the CMC parts, but at only about 2% difference in the cost of a $2000 gun, this seems like money well spent.

July 11, 2005, 09:55 AM
Bob, thanks for the input. The ramp and overhang had been staring me in the face the whole time I was getting it to where it is now. But now I'm getting to the point in the build I need to address it. I'm still scratching my head about it. And for now, I'm letting it be until I get the barrel into full lockup. I think it will be a bit of a bear to get right though.

I measured things last night and the barrel and slide are still shy of a good tolerance. I've been trying to understand the lower lug adjustment/link, but I'm still not totally unerstanding the process and what it does in the frame.

As for the link itself, what is the proper way to measure it? It has crossed my mind a time or two as I was doing link downs on the frame "maybe my link isn't the right size?".

July 11, 2005, 12:01 PM

There is an interdependency here. If you have your link lugs sized so that, without a link, as you push the slide into battery (barrel and loose bushing and assembly pin in place) the bottom portion of the lugs move up onto the assembly pin like a car going over a speed bump, and at the apogee they plush the barrel lugs into full lock. At that point, the recurve in the barrel lugs should run into the assembly pin and stop the slide from going any further forward. Often these are cut so the back of the slide overhangs the back of the frame by about 1/64". This leaves you room to re-cut the link lugs a little later to compensate for wear.

At this point you can size the link itself. Put the pin in place and let the link drop down. The hole through it should just kiss the link lugs along a quarter of the circumference from 12 O'clock back to 9 O'clock if you hold the barrel with the muzzle horizontal and pointing to the right.

You can also take your calipers and use the outside jaws (the main ones) to measure the web between the pin hole and the lug surface at 4:30. This should match the web measurement of the link. If your link is too small or too long, the gun won't go into battery as it did without the link in place. The short link will hang up on the link lugs, while a long one will try to push the barrel up too far and jam the gun just short of battery. Test this using Dave's gravity feed approach. If you force the gun into battery with a long link, you will be prying the rails up with the slide.

I always make my own links from ground oil-hardening tool steel bar stock and double heat treat, drawing it twice to 800°F. This yields a Rockwell hardness of about 50, which will take the hammering without cracking or deforming. You should probably invest in one of the kits of different length links from Brownells while you save up for your heat treating oven.

Your barrel needs to be re-throated at the feed ramp. You can do this with a Dremel tool and the carbide cutter they sell which has spiral teeth (not the tile cutters with cross-cut teeth), followed by Craytex tips to polish. Mark the outside of the barrel under the feed throat with Magic Marker. Put the gun and link together (you need to establish the link size first). Push the barrel back into counter battery position and use an opened safety pin to hook up under the overhand and scratch a demarcation in the magic marker. You will whittle down to that size and maybe 1/64th over. Under-hang is better than overhang, since it doesn't stop feeding.


Dave Sample
July 11, 2005, 12:52 PM
I have been advising Shorts via PM's and have not commented much on nthe forum. I have been busy getting 1911's ready for the bluing tanks this weekend and have not had much to say.

Shorts has undertaken a project that would scare me, and I am fearless. She went ahead and purchased all of these parts without any input, and I presume they came off the Internet for the most part. She is using new parts mixed with well used parts with an officers lower end well used and with a 45 ACP feed ramp. Her barrel is a used Randall and they are a failed enterprise so I have no idea of what that barrel will fit up as. She is a very tough, likable woman and I will help her all I can, but I am trying to keep her in first grade, not in senior high.
I think a lug cutter would be a huge help in fitting that barrel as the whole top end needs to be moved forward without touching the barrel throat until she has the slide lined up with the lower end. This is a touchy job that needs some one like Bob or Uncle Nick to step in and get her past these rough spots. They have both joined in the spirit of the game here and could make life a lot easier for this gal with some tools that a one time builder should not need to buy. I , too, would offer my help here if she wishes to avail me of my previous offer.
I have the tools here to do a 30 minute job for her if she wishes to get out of the jam she is presently in.
The other way to cut lugs here is to use a chain saw file which is the way I fitted barrels for many years and still have that file here in my shop.

WE are going to finish this Job come Hell or High Water , Shorts! I have spoken!

July 11, 2005, 02:36 PM
WE are going to finish this Job come Hell or High Water

See, that's the kinda attitude us Texans are raised on. "What do we need to do? Ok then, let's go do it". What a breath of fresh air :cool:

Gosh, now I'm all self-concious wondering if I am the fool with this project :o If it works, I'm the fool with a fun gun! :D

All the parts in the lower are used, the frame came complete. All the parts in the slide, including the slide and barrel, are new. I have new mainsprings, hammer and sear I can upgrade to. If need be I can replace everything else in the frame.

UncleNick, great writeup on the lugs and link. I drew a picture of your explanation so I can put an image to everything. Did I interpret everything correctly? (lol sorry, I'm a visual/hands-on learner)


1. There is an interdependency here. If you have your link lugs sized so that, without a link, as you push the slide into battery (barrel and loose bushing and assembly pin in place) the bottom portion of the lugs move up onto the assembly pin like a car going over a speed bump, and at the apogee they plush the barrel lugs into full lock. At that point, the recurve in the barrel lugs should run into the assembly pin and stop the slide from going any further forward. Often these are cut so the back of the slide overhangs the back of the frame by about 1/64". This leaves you room to re-cut the link lugs a little later to compensate for wear.

2. At this point you can size the link itself. Put the pin in place and let the link drop down. The hole through it should just kiss the link lugs along a quarter of the circumference from 12 O'clock back to 9 O'clock if you hold the barrel with the muzzle horizontal and pointing to the right.

3. You can also take your calipers and use the outside jaws (the main ones) to measure the web between the pin hole and the lug surface at 4:30. This should match the web measurement of the link. If your link is too small or too long, the gun won't go into battery as it did without the link in place. The short link will hang up on the link lugs, while a long one will try to push the barrel up too far and jam the gun just short of battery.

I measured the lug width at 430 and it is less than the link width. I also ran the link along the lugs checking for #2 up there, contact is good at 12 and 9, but there is no contact at 10-11.

I also put the barrel in the slide and put on the frame and slid it into lockup. The slide overhang that is present with the link in place is also still present without the link.


So it is all broken for good??

Dave Sample
July 11, 2005, 04:36 PM
You have plenty of meat on those lower lugs, Shorts. Imagine if they were a little thinner up front but with the same curves. The slide stop is where the lugs stop the forward movement of the slide. When we fit the barrel, we sometimes need to cut them up as we cut them BACK. When you cut the lower lugs back, the slide moves forward. We use a lug cutter that goes in the slide stop hole and then we force the slide forward slightly until it all lines up, including the disconnector notch which needs to be in the right place, also. Then we finish the job with small files until it will pass the gravity test. This test will be very important on this particular gun because of the caliber and you shooting it with your right hand only. We may have to tweak the springs to get the right amount of recoil for the way you shoot it. All semi autos have to have resistance to function and that is why we try to hold them hard and step into the recoil without fear.
You are a great person and deserve all the help we can give you. If we can't make this work, I will send you a Star BM Commander 9mm to play with forever. My daughter has one just like it, only the pimp version.
By moving the lugs forward we cure part of the overhang at the same time. So keep up the good work and remember that you must be very patient with yourself when working with metal. Crawl first, then walk ,and then run with the Big Dawgs! They get easier everytime you build one so don't despair. This one is a Piece of Cake!

July 11, 2005, 06:49 PM
Thanks Dave :)

So with plenty of material left on my lugs, that's a good thing for further fitting correct?

I am seeing a bit of new light. Setting the barrel in the slide in lockup position and then putting my finger on the barrel and applying downward pressure backwards and forwards, the barrel seemed to be rocking on a high point in the slide lugs. It seems that the rear most slide lug wasn't even with the rest. I remembered a reference in Kuhnhausen where they took a lug leveler, just a round straight iron they used to even the lugs. So, I got out my dowel, wrapped some paper around it and began smoothing the slide lugs out.

I sanded...checked barrel movement..sanded...checked movement. When things got noticeably better (although still a touch of movement), I assembled slide frame, link and slide stop and took measurements of lockup again. I did this both with and without the link. This seems to have helped lockup, as my numbers were consistently running between .054-.056 with link and .050 w/o link.

The slide lugs are working a bit more in unison. I'm still marking things up and checking the fit. It's not there yet, it was nice to make a little progress.


The rear of the slide still seems to be close, with and w/o link installed. Here's a comp of the two. Sorry I couldn't make the variables of the camera distance any better. It's really hard to tell the difference. Oh yeah, how about that nice rear end bulge of my slide?? :rolleyes:


hehehehehe my Brownell's order just got here :D And it took all of 30sec to finish turning the bushing to the slide. Hmm, why didn't I get one of these sooner? It's the King's bushing wrench, that's hefty!

July 11, 2005, 10:39 PM
most interesting... :) I'm anxiously awaiting the barrel ramp/throat issues, myself, since I've been through this with my 9mm LW Commander that I converted from .45 a couple years ago.


Kindly quit laughing at my dremel work :D it's an Ebay barrel, and next time I'll set up a mill. The LW Com does feed, and so far it shows no signs of case bulges, even with +P Corbons in a tightly headspaced barrel.


At the time I was building this I could find no references, nor educated opinions about how much throat one could have on a 9mm 1911, so I had to go slowly and make reasonable guesses. If someone can share more experience, it would be appreciated - by me and probably by Shorts, too.

July 11, 2005, 11:12 PM

Thanks! I've got a better picture of the project now.


Your illustration of my lug description is close, but exchange #1. with #3. for the corresponding measuring location for the link web. Your first lug photo shows the link to be about right for the lugs as they are currently cut, so the question remains whether they have more material to be removed? The illustrations of the slide in battery show there is no extra material to be removed at the leading edge of the lug feet (bottom part that stops against the pin going forward. I say this because I can just make out a little of the frame peeking out from under the back of the slide. You don't want the slide further forward or you may have to start scraping more length into the disconnector depression in the slide to keep functioning.

Next test: With the frame in your leather-line vice, assemble the barrel and slide and try-bushing (the loose one) together as you did before; no link. Put the assembly pin in and push the gun into battery. Now put about a one foot length of 3/8" wood dowel into the muzzle and push down on the far end to see if the barrel moves up and down any at the ejection port, or if it is tight? If it doesn't move when you bear down on the end of the dowel, this is good. The back of the slide should be held forward with thumb pressure while you do this.

If there is barrel movement, then your lugs are already short and there is nothing left to cut. In this case you would need a weld-up done to the lugs to give you material to tighten them. This is a job that has to be done by and experienced welder. I shudder when I remember a picture of Bob Day with an acetylene torch adding magazine spring material to the lugs of a barrel without any obvious chill in place. Only a very skillful welder can get away with that. I would rather you have a good TIG welder do it if it must be done.

Alternately, you can simply install an oversize lug to swing the barrel up further. This doesn’t afford quite such good consistency as fit lugs, but the link will be the right length if you decide to weld up the lugs later. Sizing this link becomes more problematic than my earlier description. Probably the simplest method is to start by making a depth measurement of the top of the barrel chamber from the top of the ejection port with the caliper's depth stem. Do this both with the barrel as far up and as far down as the dowel moves it. Take the difference in thousandths and jot it down for the next step.

Links are measured by the center-to-center (c-t-c) distance between the holes. You already measured the web. Now stick the sharp little inside measuring jaws on the top side of the caliper into the link holes and see how wide open you measure the outside edges of the holes to be? Add the result to the web thickness and divide by two to get the c-t-c hole spacing. Add the barrel elevation change jotted down in the last paragraph to this c-t-c number to specify a new long link from the Brownells catalog.

More later.


July 12, 2005, 02:48 AM
tex-n-cal, the pic of the barrel ramp, is that sitting even with the feed ramp or is there a little gap betwen them? I can't tell from the angle.

Next test: With the frame in your leather-line vice, assemble the barrel and slide and try-bushing (the loose one) together as you did before; no link. Put the assembly pin in and push the gun into battery. Now put about a one foot length of 3/8" wood dowel into the muzzle and push down on the far end to see if the barrel moves up and down any at the ejection port, or if it is tight? If it doesn't move when you bear down on the end of the dowel, this is good. The back of the slide should be held forward with thumb pressure while you do this.

I just did this test. There was no movement when I held the back of the slide forward with a little hand/thumb pressure. If I removed my hand and released the slight pressure on the back of the slide, the barrel would eventually start to wiggle up and down with the dowel.

As for the link measurement, that came out to be .278".

I should be taking video clips of this stuff (my sweet Nikon does that too!). My inexperience doesn't help diagnose the troubleshooting :o

BTW, I just did a mark up on the slide lugs and barrel lug contact, assembled slide, barrel, bushing and slide stop....

...with link (sorry about the flash):

...without link:

Jammer Six
July 12, 2005, 03:37 AM
Oooh, Oooh, ooohh! [hands waving frantically]

Video, please, video! :cool:

July 12, 2005, 07:13 AM

It looks like you're in good shape. When I saw the back of the slide ever so slightly forward of the back of the frame, I was worried you had run out of material before lug cutting could begin, but Dave's observation that you had plenty of meat was correct. You don't need any lug cutting, however, since you are already slide-forward and locked up. The only improvement possible would be to check for unevenness in the lug contacts against the assembly pin. Hallock covered this (page169 in my copy). (While you're at it, re-read pages 124-130 for link details.)

Assuming feet to be even, just check that the existing link lets your slide get to the exact same position and the barrel just as high up in the ejector port as it went without the link. If so, you are in like flint.

We'll have to get you to buy a tube of Prussian blue (Hi Spot blue). This is a blue dye in a grease base. Because it doesn't dry, it has the advantage of thinning where contact is good. This lets you see grades of contract rather than the on/off go/no-go nature of layout blue or Magic Marker. Also gets thinner than the dry film coloring. Better for scraping.

I made a pull-scraper some years ago from water hardening drill rod. It is easier to scrape lugs with. I will see if I can detail it this evening. Day job is calling now.


July 12, 2005, 04:13 PM
I spent the better part of today on and off with the slide and link. I'm still not getting a good lockup. My numbers are running about .055-.056". Lockup with link and w/o, there is a different of .018"-.020". That's a lot :mad: I have no contact areas stopping movement in the barrel or slide lugs.

With both link and w/o, I did the flash hole test (empty brass with primer pocket drilled out at center) and the firing pin hole alignment was very close on both, all be it, about dead on w/o the link, and I could just barely make out an edge with the link.

Ok, I've gotta go do a workout to calm my nerves :o

Dave Sample
July 12, 2005, 07:15 PM
This seems to going better than I had hoped with Bob and Nick's help we are marching through Georgia. Shorts seems to ba able to handle a file and sanding sicks quite well and that is a blessing.

It looks like the slide and frame are lined up pretty good. Bear in mind that a 1/16th of an inch either way can be cleaned up later. On Custom Guns, nothing fits at the start, but it will all come together at some point in time.

I wish I could help you understand Lock Up better. Imagine this: The barrel is in postion and is held in place by the link and pin on the bottom with the slide stop, and is locked in place above this by the two barrel lugs engaging the grooves in the slide. The lower lugs are resting on the slide stop pin with the link in between them. If the barrel lugs are tight against these lower lugs, that is a plus, but it does not have to be perfect there. The grooves in the slide have space above them all of the time. They have very little space when the gun is locked up in battery, and when the gun is fired, the link pulls the slide down and the barrel is out of those grooves until the slide picks up a round, stuffs it in the chamber, and the slide enagages the barrel lugs as the slide stop pin forces the barrel up in the slide again.

What is going to be important here is how tight we can get that barrel to sit there in lock up on the lower lugs. Anything over .050 up in the grooves is fine. We check the fit by pushing down on the barrel hood. If it is a solid feel when you do that , the gun will be accurate.

The magic number on the little gap between the feed ramp and the barrel throat is 1/32 on an inch. This is a must for feeding reliabliity as the round must be pushed out of the magazine, smack the feed ramp and then bump up into the chamber where it hits the top of the chamber and then is guided into the firing postion.


Note the gap between the feed ramp and the barrel throat. This feeds great because it is a bottle neck round, but it is the same gap for any 1911. This is the best picture I could find right away.

Amatuers ruin feed ramps on a regular basis because they think that this should be a smooth transition between the feed ramp and barrel throat. That is why we had to weld up the feed ramp on the '70 series Colt so we could re cut it and have the little gap back. That gun has been fired with a wide variety of ammo and runs 100 % so far.


We restored this one to it's former splendor after some "five thumbed clutz" ruined it. It was butt ugly when it showed up here and left a neat looking shooter of the flat black variety that we like. It took a lot of work but the owner felt it was worth it. Since he is a close personal friend, I undertook the job.


I am sure you know how I hate to return these guns. I really get to like them.

July 12, 2005, 10:10 PM

It is a bond that forms. I remember Russ Carniak speaking of his guns "returning home" when they came back for accessorizing or trade-ups.


I think my middle-aged brain is missing something here. You said the lockup is 0.050" to 0.055" with or without the link, a difference of 0.005". Then you say there is a difference of 0.018-0.020"? Is that what you get pushing the barrel up into the slide with your thumb? Can you clarify what this is a difference to?

One more test to help clear it up:

Coat the link in Magic Marker, then put the link, barrel, try-bushing slide and frame back together with everything lightly oiled. Also lightly oil the assembly pin and insert it through the link, then put the whole gun in the vice again. Put the 3/8" dowel rod back in the barrel and hang enough weight off the end of it to tip the barrel up into battery when the link isn't there (you may have to try this without the link to get the weight right; an empty milk jug with a few cups of water in it works, but be sure the gun is gripped firmly enough in the vice to hold it up.)

Push the slide fully into battery with your left thumb, then let go. Gently place the tip of your index finger at the back of the ejection port so it bridges the slight drop-off from the back of the port to the back of the barrel hood, and is touching both. Use your other hand to carefully sneak the assembly pin out without disturbing the slide position. Did you feel the barrel come up? Now shine a light through the assembly pin hole and tell us whether the bottom edge of the hole in the link remains lined up with it? If you try to sneak the assembly pin back in, does it meet any resistance when it gets past the thickness of the side of the frame and starts to enter the link hole?

If there is any obscuring of the assembly pin hole by the link, push the tip of the assembly pin into the frame just far enough that you feel it kiss the link, but without disturbing it. This is just to keep the link from moving while you perform the next step: Go in through the assembly pin hole on the opposite side of the frame with a straight pin and scribe the perimeter of the assembly pin hole onto the Magic Marker on the link. Pull the whole thing apart and measure how far the scribed line is from the edge of the link hole on the side opposite the web between link holes. Your new link needs that much more web than you have now. You also have short link lugs if these test symptoms happen, but let's not fret that yet. The first step is getting the link length established.

The other approach, if you have a lockup discrepancy and can't get the measurement satisfactorily, is to buy a set of long links and just keep trying them larger and larger until you find one that prevents the gun from passing Dave's gravity test, then back up one size. The only snag that can arise is that a really long link (should your lockup require it) may be so long that it swings the back faces of the link lugs into the frame before the barrel is fully in counter battery. You can identify this condition by assembling the link, barrel, frame and assembly pin (no slide), and observing whether the barrel still seats snuggly back against the frame? If not, and a gap appears between the frame and the underside of the barrel at the rear, then the back faces of the link lugs have to be filed forward until it fits.


July 12, 2005, 10:54 PM
Shorts, the barrel ramp is at most a few thousandths ahead of the frame ramp. Bear in mind that is an aluminum .45 LW Commander frame, so the frame ramp is cut deeper than a normal Colt .38 Super/9mm frame ramp.

It's not the 1/32 of an inch Dave suggests - and that's not meant to disagree somebody who's built more 1911's than I've ever looked at :) When working on it I could not find a reference that listed the acceptable case head exposure for a 9mm case, so I had to proceed cautiously. I haven't shot it in a couple years, but I recall it working okay for a fun gun.

The idea behind it was to have a multi-caliber 1911, where you could just swap magazines & top ends, between .45 & 9mm. It needs a better barrel and sights, and a correct .45 top end, and then it will be pretty sweet. :)

July 12, 2005, 11:44 PM
I just did a litle more work so, let me respond to the questions first.

I think my middle-aged brain is missing something here. You said the lockup is 0.050" to 0.055" with or without the link, a difference of 0.005". Then you say there is a difference of 0.018-0.020"? Is that what you get pushing the barrel up into the slide with your thumb? Can you clarify what this is a difference to?

Sorry, I took a leap and didn't bring everybody along :o This was a check from Dave he sent me off forum (Dave I hope I'm notgiving away a secret!). When I have the link installed, I measured the barrel hood to top of slide with slide close, then measured again with it 1/4" open (to unlock the barrel). I then subtracted the two and got a result. I did these measurements, both with the link and without the link. When I did these measurements, I placed the depth guage of my dial caliper at the front of the ejection port/hood.

That was what I meant by .050 w/o link and .055" with link. I was thinking that these two should be close to the same with and without the link. Dave is that correct? I don't know why I got that idea, but please correct me. I'm driving myself crazy.

Then you say there is a difference of 0.018-0.020"? Is that what you get pushing the barrel up into the slide with your thumb? Can you clarify what this is a difference to?

The difference is from the measurement of a closed slide (barrel hood to top of slide), both with the link (~.113") and without (~.096").

As I mentioned at the top, I did some more filing in the rearmost barrel lug slot. I markered the first lug in the slide and slid the barrel in, then pressed down and pressed down and "see-sawed" the barrel to mark the high spots. I ended up doing quite a bit of this. I mentioned earlier (somewhere, I think in an email to Dave) that the barrel was not sitting flat in the slide. Somewhere around that first lug it was doing a see-saw motion front to back. So I took a dowel wrapped with 220 paper and proceeded to even the slide lugs a little more, as well as did a little polishing. So, I got the barrel touched up enough that is it pretty much completely seated. Now if you'rescratcing your head wondering why I did this, 1) it just didn't seem correct to have it move like that while trying to get positive engagement, and 2) I refereced our GI, it didn't do that.

As for: One more test to help clear it up: I'll go ahead and get started on that now and post results in a bit.

The other approach, if you have a lockup discrepancy and can't get the measurement satisfactorily, is to buy a set of long links and just keep trying them larger and larger until you find one that prevents the gun from passing Dave's gravity test, then back up one size. The only snag that can arise is that a really long link (should your lockup require it) may be so long that it swings the back faces of the link lugs into the frame before the barrel is fully in counter battery. You can identify this condition by assembling the link, barrel, frame and assembly pin (no slide), and observing whether the barrel still seats snuggly back against the frame? If not, and a gap appears between the frame and the underside of the barrel at the rear, then the back faces of the link lugs have to be filed forward until it fits.

I was just thinking I should get a set and see what that does. If the link lugs hit the frame, not a problem, I have files and I know how to use 'em :D

We check the fit by pushing down on the barrel hood. If it is a solid feel when you do that , the gun will be accurate.

I just tried this after doing the filing work. When I hold the rear of the slide and push down on the hood, there is no movement. However, if I push down on the hood without holding the slide, the barrel moves down .015". I took this measurement at the rearmost part of the barrel hood and top of slide.

tex-n-cal, I wasn't sure if the 1/32" is specifically for the 1911 platform or of the caliber changes this at all. But everything I read states to have the 1/32". So figured to get as close to this as possible.

July 13, 2005, 12:49 AM
UncleNick, I just did your test. I liked that one, my newbie eyes could read the results :o The link does need to be longer. The barrel moved up when I removed the slide stop. It did have resistance on it as I slid it out of the hole.

July 13, 2005, 07:01 AM

Good. Mystery solved. The approach of pushing down on the hood usually works, but assumes that the assembly pin isn't held up against the underside (horizontal portion of the slope) of the link lugs by the short link. When it is, you end up just pushing down on the pin via the lugs.

Now we'll have to start thinking about some weld build-up of your lugs. The gun can be tested just with the long link, so it isn't show stopper, but getting the lugs to fit with the new link is needed for best accuracy.


July 13, 2005, 06:57 PM
I went to the gun shop off the island today, guy said they had 2 link kits...the Wilson's and Kings. I said I'd go pick one up, and I opted for the King's since their longest was longer than Wilson's. Well I get there and there are only 3 links on the package, I need the 4th (.290"). I say this to the guy and he says "uhh well, then I'll discount the price for you, I'm sure you'll only need the #1 or #2 anyway" :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: Uhhh no. So I take the kit anyway, knowing darn well they weren't going to fit, but I didn't want to waste the guy's time. Heck I drove a freakin' hour one way! Maybe the moon and stars would align and I'd get lucky. I hate confrontation initiated by me.

I get home, link things up with the #3 (.287"), yeah right. There is still a bit of link showing when doing that last test from UncleNick. Better than the standard, but not enough.

:rolleyes: When will I learn?

Anyway, what should I do now/next?

Dave Sample
July 13, 2005, 09:44 PM
Hang in there, Shorts. You are learning more than the average bear.

I sent a gun back today to Colorado with another butchered Clark ramped 38 Super barrel and a flat spot slide stop. This guy is in the AH Club 100! I didn't replace this one because I am tired of that stuff and the gun is not for sale. The owner knows what it is and does not care at this point. He just wants a 5" 38 Super Shooter to plink with and it will do that. Clark barrels are a nighmare to fit and this one was badly out of round. The last Wilson we chopped that I installed 18 years ago was right on the money. Go Figure?

I guess I missed the LW lower end somewhere along the line. I thought it was just a steel officers lower end. Makes no difference as far as feed ramps are concerned. Every 9mm, 38 Super, 45 ACP, 10mm Centaur, 400 Cor Bon, I have ever built had the same feed ramp to barrel throat gap but what do I know? I know they all ran and are still running. Maybe I am just lucky?

Most 1911's will fire just fine standing on the link. It is not the best, but it works. What matters is that the gun comes back from recoil in the exact same place after each shot and it tight when the round lites off. This is the way factory guns are set up and you can take any stock factory gun and you will rarely see any marks on the lower lugs from the slide stop pin.

This is a 9mm Belly gun, good for killing a perp at from 3 to 7 yards. I think in my eagerness to help you, I lose sight of that. I used to build Bullseye Guns that took 1500-2000 rounds of firing before the slide would go into battery without a push from your thumb. EAGLE III, my 400 Cor Bon is set up tight like that and we have cycled the slide several hundred times now and have not even fired it yet. I am looking for three inches at 50 yards with that one, if I can get a magic load that will work.

I am different about barrels than most in this business, and all I have ever used is Fred Kart's barrels for a good many years. I made my bucks elsewhere and never had time to mess with other stuff like the Big Boys do. When I build a gun I want it to be the best. Period.

We are faced with a 45 lower and a 9mm upper and that is not an easy deal. We are using used parts, new parts, old parts, and weird parts.

We will "Get R Dun!"

July 13, 2005, 10:26 PM
I did completely assemble the gun, recoil system and bushing and all. Much of it was out of "dang it, work!". At the gun shop, I saw all the pretty guns. I get home and see my pile of parts, talk about a big gap!

Anyhow, I had quite a time fighting the recoil spring and plug squished in the frame as I tried to get the wrench pressed down to fit around the bushing so I could lock it. LOL Heaven forbid I need to ever dis/assemble that thing in public, talk about spectacle :D If you guys ever want a challenge, assemble your pistol single handed with a tight bushing ;)

After getting the gun together, I tried cycling the slide to feel it work. The recoil spring was tough. I guess I got use to messing around with the gun and no spring. I installed an empty magazine so that I could check lockback and the slide stop. The slide stop seemed to not want to catch the notch on the slide. I'm not sure if I was getting the slide far enough back with my weakling muscles for the notch to catch. The edges are new, so they might be a little unforgiving about engagement.

The slide went forward into lockup. I dropped the slide on an empty chamber and it was nice and strong. Better be, all the hoopla with the spring. I even got greedy and installed a round in the magazine and dropped the slide on it. The round chambered just fine. Upon ejecting the round, I inspected the impact point on the barrel and bullet. The impact was about 1/3 way up the ramp at below the nose of the bullet. These Metalform mags actually hold the round up pretty high. Just high enough that the bottom edge of the ejector leaves a scratch on the case as the bullet slides past it into the chamber.

As for how any of this will work during battery, I don't know, I just wanted to see it in one piece.

July 14, 2005, 01:49 PM
How much headspace is acceptable for the 9mm?

Jim Watson
July 14, 2005, 02:43 PM
Don't worry about it. If a cartridge will chamber with the head at or slightly below the hood, you have adequate headspace. If it drops way below the hood, you have excessive headspace; if it stands proud you have insufficient headspace. In the latter case you could round up a reamer and fix it; otherwise it is what it is.

You are getting a lot of good advice from Dave and Nick but be aware that you are working with used parts. There is not likely a whole lot of extra metal to be cutting on to get a tight fit. A long link will tighten up the barrel lockup but can cause other problems. A friend once set me up with a long link which tightened up my old Commander considerably and improved accuracty a bit. But feeding went out the window and I had to revert to the stock Colt link and let it rattle.

Dave Sample
July 14, 2005, 03:35 PM
Jim is right on about barrel links. I do not like or use long or short links, largely because I don't have to in my work. Clark barrels used to have to be linked up to work right, but I never liked that way of doing things. I think she has got her slide to frame fit and now needs to work on getting used to that tough spring and recoil system in the Commander size top end. I need to know the spring weight you used, Shorts. It sounds to me like you need a 13-14-15 lb Commander recoil spring in this build. but who knows? I have never done a 9mm Commander before!

Keep up the good work! I am Impressed!

July 14, 2005, 06:16 PM
The case head is about dead even with the hood.

Dave, the recoil spring is a 16lb. It's heavy as all get out. The fullsize GI is easier to rack and lock back. It sure isn't the grip I have on them, they're both steady. I was thinking of possibly trying a lighter recoil spring. I read tex-n-cal ended up using a 12ish (? correct me if I'm wrong tex-n-cal) spring on his 9mm Commander after trying several weights. After cleaning up the mainspring housing and innards, I left the original spring in there as a starting point, especially since I'm still doodling with the original sear and hammer. I do have a set of reduced weight mainsprings from Wolff that I intend to use to fine tune. It seems recoil springs would be of use as well. Should I go ahead and pick up a set of reduced weight springs?

One big step in progress I made today was getting the barrel ramp scoot back. I was pretty nervous about it, but I spent the morning reading and figuring out what I needed to do. I started off with the round needle file, then switced to different half round type files depending on what I needed shaped. After getting the ramp formed up the way I needed, I had to blend the material. I tried a papered dowel, but that wasn't going to cut it. So, out with the Dremel and the finest sanding drum thingy I had. I gently touched the edges, staying well clear of the top breakover angle. That was one area I didn't need to be ambitious about. After blending and polishing (180, 220, 320, 400), I assembled the pistol and loaded the mag w/ 3rounds. I pulled the slide back, let it go and.... JAM! The round kida stopped itself about halfway +. I tried 2 more times to pull the slide and release, but it was stuck. I disassembled everything and vised up the barrel. I decided to lay even that last hair of material between the breakover angle and what I had already done. I blended again with the edge of the dremel sanding band. Then polished everything up again. I assembled the gun, inserted 3 rounds in the mag, pulled the slide, and SLAM. Loaded. Pulled the slide to cycle, round ejected, round loaded, closed. Again, for the 3rd bullet, round ejected, round chambered. Ahhhhhhhh

I knowt his isn't the best job with the Dremel, so please go easy on me :o These pics are at 400 grit. I finished up the working ramp with 600. The wierdness on the right and left sides is due to the extractor bevel being already cut out on the right side, so, I didn't get the shape even.


After (I'll get one posted wit the new ramp) I still don't have the 1/32 gap, but the ramp is not overhanging the frame ramp anymore. I tried to stay as conservative as I could with the ramping, yet still get feeding. I didn'thave much room to work with as if I did cut back to the 1/32 gap, the angle from the bottom to the top of the ramp would have been a steep cliff:

And for soon to be range test anticipation:

Guys, THANK YOU so much for being so patient with me and working me through this build, on forum and off. Although it's not done yet, I definitely couldn't have gotten this far and felt comfortable with the work without yall. I owe yall dinner! Anyone going to be in Whidbey anytime soon???

July 15, 2005, 12:37 AM
Your Dremel work is way neater than mine :o

One observation - some of the ammo out there fell nicely into my no-name Ebay aftermarket barrel and headspaced correctly. Other brands and bullets, however had longer bullet ogives and as a result were hitting the rifling before going fully into battery. This problem has the potential to raise pressures rapidly, so I bought a 9mm finish chambering reamer and 9mm headspace gauges, prior to reaming the chamber and barrel a bit deeper.

Before you call the headspace good, drop a variety of ammo into the chamber and make sure all the rounds you plan to shoot fully enter the chamber.

Lastly, when shooting mine with Win white box 115 gr ball ammo, the cases tended to dribble out of the chamber, but ejected quite positively with +P ammo. A 12-13 lb recoil spring is probably a good starting point.

dale taylor
July 15, 2005, 06:58 AM
Shorts, thank you for great pictures and an excellent learnng experience. [email protected]

July 15, 2005, 11:06 AM
tex-n-cal, I'll do a check with the ammo I use. The ones I used for the hand cycling were Fed. American Eagle. I didn't see any rifling marks on the bullet when I inspected them after ejection. They seem to be seating consistently in the chamber. I'll pick up some other ammo too test out as well. I'd rather use PMC at the range anyway. I've veered away from WWB as their .380 fmj is a flat nosed bullet and it ALWAYS jams my Beretta 86...and jams as in EVERY round :rolleyes: It's wierd though, JHPs feed fine through it. Which is what I need it to feed when and if I should ever need it.

Dale, hopefully I didn't do anyone a disservice with my wacky build and troubleshooting lol People reading this might be sayin "Geez lady, can't you figure out how to fit your barrel?" :p

So am I about ready to take this project out to the range and see if it will run? I won't be doing any bullseye shooting since I don't have the sights on yet, but I'd like to see how it runs. I did perform all the safety checks on it and it passed. I got no hammer drop, thumb and grip safeties are functional.

Oh hey, I'm also tossing the idea of naming this pistol. I need to come up with something to call it. Now I can't just say "my gun" because, I gots two of um now :D

And once I get this project cleaned up, I'm going to make a holster for it. I haven't touched my leatherwork since my last Beretta holster, which came out really to my liking. I'm going to use the same pattern for this pistol, but maybe with less cant and cross draw. This gun is STRICTLY range gun until it deems itself utterly reliable and safe for carry.

Dave Sample
July 15, 2005, 01:17 PM
Headspace/Norinco factory triple chromed barrel.


The barrel hood was .003 from the breechface so this proved to be OK. If the round is in the chamber flush with the hood, and the hood is close to the breechface, you are good to go. I never used gauges because a good factory round tells me everything I need to know.


Tha same barrel after I cleaned up the throat a little with a craytex tip on Mr. Dremel. Note the absence of the sharp edge at the top of the throat. This is where the rounds hang up.


Checking the primer hits after the test fire with the CMC trigger group installed.


Checking for dented cases during extraction. No sign of any problem here.


Target at 5 yards (15 feet) to see if all is well at gunfighting distance.
This $225.00 China Girl passed with flying colors afer a forum member on another forum said it was Junque. It is a very nice 1911 now and is waiting at Gunsite for the next time Cory fires up the tanks.


Here is the 15 yard test target which it also passed with flying colors. I guess I still know how to tweak these neat, cheap, guns. I will use it as a throw away carry gun when I get it back from bluing. This one had the usual flanging of the upper lugs and needed to be relinked with a .278 standard link (Wilson Number 3) which gave me the center hits on the primers. I also found a tight bushing in the parts bin that is as good as a NM so it will be even more accurate than before I prepped it.

Keep up the good work ,Monica. Brownells sells those little craytex tips that I purchase 25 at a time. Gray or red work good. Red is a little more aggressive. Be sure to get the larger mandrels for them.

July 15, 2005, 01:40 PM
Thanks for the pictures Dave. I remember the post about the Norinco and how 'bad' it shoots. Goes to show what a little skill can do.

Yall know what? I wanna do it again :eek: :o I'm missing not having something to work on and fit. I guess I can go into the kitchen and practice parkerizing some angle iron I picked up for my vise jaws. I already started perking up at seeing slides and frames :o I don't think my husband, though overseas, could take another build right away. Yesterday on the phone I got, "Sweetie, what was the charge from a Wilson Combat?" :p

Actually, once I verify the gun is in running order, (or soon) I would like to blend the rest of the rear of slide to be even with the frame. I'm not concerned with the corners as I am with the bulge there at the back where the extractor tunnel is. How do I go about sanding this down? Files? Rough sandaper? Angle grinder? (I'm kidding ;) Besides, I don't have one yet.


July 15, 2005, 02:50 PM
Hey Shorts,

Terrific job. A straight .45 1911 would have been project enough, but glad to see you worked it out with this Frankenstein.

At the range, I'd recommend taking a variety of recoil springs (which might make all the difference between it jamming constantly and running smoothly) and some sandbags and bullseye targets.

If the gun runs, you might as well check to see if it groups from the bench, and where those groups are at 25 yards (relative to the point of aim). Armed with that data you'll be able to get some educated guesses on appropriate sight heights. (And if it doesn't group, you'll know not to bother with the sights until it's fixed.)

BTW, I may have missed it, but I understood that 9mm 1911s need/use a longer ejector. Did you change your's out, or going to give it a whirl first? The lighter slide might make up for it, anyway.

Overall, great looking gun. Like a Star BM, but made of nicer steel.

July 15, 2005, 03:06 PM
Thank you :) I can't just do it like everybody else, I gotta be eccentric.

BTW, I may have missed it, but I understood that 9mm 1911s need/use a longer ejector. Did you change your's out, or going to give it a whirl first? The lighter slide might make up for it, anyway.

The ejector is the stock unit that came with the frame (that I know of). Although it is a .45, I believe the Officer's used extended ejectors to accomodate the short slide cycle. So I left it on there. If it works, it's good. If not, then I'll go ahead and replace it. During hand cycling the rounds ejected well. It tossed the rounds out the 4-5oclock position. I may need to file an angle on there to fine tune ejection location.

It's cold and raining right now, otherwise I'd be standing on the range line, nervous and antsy with a loaded 9mm. Then again, the firing line is covered.....

Dave Sample
July 15, 2005, 05:49 PM
The ejector is an extended one already and may work fine. It should be off set like a 38 Super/9mm toward the center more, but time at the range will tell. 38/9mm ejectors are different but sometimes we get lucky. It is a good point to ponder, though.

I blend in the back end of a gun like this with a Dremel and a sanding drum, then some Craytex tips, then some filing, and then some more polishing. The sparks and the metal go bye bye quick, but I do not advise this for a first time builder. Small files and sanding sticks will do it. I file against the marks left by the sanding drums and end up with sort of a cross hatch effect, and then smooth it down from there. This is one of the last things I do. I leave the extractor in while I do this and the ejector has to be in place, too.

I hope you ordered night sights for a Commander size slide, Shorts. If you got a government size front sight, it will be too tall. Officers front sights are shorter yet! We can't file them down to point of aim like we can fixed sights.






Different Srokes for different pistoles

July 16, 2005, 01:39 AM
I think I'll attack the rear slide with files and paper. I've gotten pretty comfortable using them and I'd rather go slow and steady. Every stroke is an opportunity to get it as perfect as I can get it. Unlike the Dremel, if I breathe wrong I could miff up :eek:

I did order Commander sights. When placing the order I was aware that, unlike fixed plain sights, I cannot file to fit a tritium dot. So, I contacted Novak and made sure I was ordering the correct height. Again, we won't know until they are installed :o

Dave Sample
July 16, 2005, 01:04 PM
I think that the sights will be close enough for Government work. My concern now is the ejector and if it were me, I would install a 38/9mm ejector before you re finish the gun. There is a difference and IF I can I will post a couple of pictures. It depends on what is in the parts bins. I amy have one of each to show you the difference.
Shorts! We are closer than we have ever been!

July 16, 2005, 02:02 PM
Cool, I wasn't sure if there was a difference.

Here is a pic of where things stand on this one.


Edit: Today I polished up the sear, hammer and disconnector and got things a little smoother on the pull. That really makes a difference you can feel to have those surfaces like glass. And all safety checks passed :o

Dave Sample
July 17, 2005, 01:38 PM
I haven't forgotten the pictures. I will get them up sometime today. Looks like you need to relieve that ejector underneath a little but it is hard to tell from your pictures and the angle of the lens. I have a 38 Super here that has a 38/9mm ejector in it. 20,000 and still going strong!

Test Fire , here we come!

July 17, 2005, 02:14 PM
I think so too, it is leaving a scratch on the case as it slides from underneath into the chamber. I wasn't sure if I should go ahead and do that or what lol I'm stillin inda like a little kid asking for permission, "Can I....?" :o

Dave Sample
July 17, 2005, 03:33 PM

Here is a stock 45 ACP extended ejector on a Commander frame similar to yours.


Here is a 38/9mm extended ejector installed on a race gun.


Side view of the 45 ACP.


Hope these give you an idea of how it it inset toward the middle to accommodate the smaller rim.


Side view of the 38/9mm extended ejector.


July 17, 2005, 04:56 PM
Dave, good pics. Though I don't think I have any more room to schooch over the ejector with a specific 9mm unit. I already had to file the inside edge down on this one so that it would fit inside the ejector tunnel on the slide. The only thing I can see that has room is that top inside corner where it is rounded off. I'm still hoping right now that it is long enough. I'd really rather not change it out. I have visions of legs breaking off in the frame, but if I need to, then I need to.


Dave Sample
July 17, 2005, 07:04 PM
These pictures are Caspian Lower Ends. One is a Commander size and one is a 38 Super Lower end. I know that the early Colt Commanders used a 38 Super ejector because at the time, there were no extended 45 ACP ejectors. They came later. Notice the off-set cut for the hammer on the inside so it will get closer to the smaller rim. I am not sure your slide will handle it, either. I do not know who made the slide, but it should have a 38/9mm ejector tunnel.

Let us wait and see what happens when you shoot it. It is too soon to worry about it and they are easy to change, with a little help from your friends.

July 18, 2005, 04:20 PM
I went out to the range today, fired a little 22/45 for warmup, then switched to the project thing (man it needs a name). I only loaded one round in for a few times, just for safety sake, regardless the gun safety functioned fine at home. I was also a bit nervous about blowing it up in my hand, so yes, I flinched mighty powerful the first shot, so much so I laughed and didn't even shoot. BTW, the trigger can be a little lighter.

I took 100rds of Fed American Eagle 9mm 115gr. FMJ, but only fired 36 due to concern about headspace. The target was about 7yrds out. The mainspring is the standard Officer's which I believe is 23#. The recoil spring is 16#.

I have no sights on the gun, so this was pretty much point it at the target and pull the trigger. I did have a few shots that I have no idea where they hit :o (after closer looks they were on the paper, just in the black lines)

The results:

1. I could see hint of case bulge. This isn't good.


2. Not all FP hits were centered. I'd like to get them closer if I can. Edit: Checking the relation of the FP hit to the extractor mark, the hits were off center to the right.

3. There is evidence of the FP rebounding after the primer strike on about 1/2 of the cases. The cap has the big indention, as well as a tiny needle point hit on the edge of the indention.


4. The extractor needs more tension. Most times if I closed the slide on a loaded magazine, the ejection of that round did not happen. The edge of the extractor hook just slipped over the case rim. This left the empty case in the chamber and the slide jammed as the next round was trying to move forward and out of the mag. When I could, I tried to load the mag on a closed slide, then rack and load. There was also some reside on the base right beneath the immediate area where the extractor sat. What is that?


5. The shot groups were low and left. Some groups were actually tighter than I thought, and some shots were pretty flyaway. I adjusted my aim every few rounds when I loaded a mag. I held steady on the table for a rest for several rounds.

6. The gun never failed to feed, except when a case got stuck in the chamber due to the extractor not pulling it out.

7. I had a few ejected cases walk up my arm, one or two came back to my chest/face, the rest were ejected to 4-5oclock, varying anywhere from 2-5' away. But they were in a consistent area as I picked up all my brass.

8. The brass mouth was in good shape after ejection. It was clearing the slide withoutgetting pinched anywhere.

I'm going to break the gun down and see what things look like. I'll get some pics of things up in a bit. Overall, I'm pleased that the gun functioned. It seems to me that these results will take a minor adjustments, ten I'll test again.

July 18, 2005, 05:51 PM
After breaking down the gun, I got pics of the contact areas.




July 18, 2005, 06:44 PM
How is getting the chamber reamed going to help? That bulged case looks like it came out of a too-big chamber already.

July 18, 2005, 06:48 PM
Alright, then I used the wrong term :o

Anything else? Replace the barrel then?

Jim Watson
July 18, 2005, 07:40 PM
Be not dismayed, you are doing well. No doubt Dave and Nick will be along but here is a shooter's perspective:

1. Brass bulge: Try a different brand. I poked through a box of range pickup brass and the Federal was bulged as you illustrate and the others weren't. Different guns, different chambers, different brass, I don't know. But don't leap to conclusions.

2. Centered firing pin hits: If the firing pin is hitting low, centering it will reduce locking lug engagement. Not good. If it is hitting high, centering it will increase locking lug engagement. Sounds good but might affect feeding.
If it is off to one side, it is due to barrel or slide construction and not much to be done about it. Don't worry about it, the NRA once found that a slightly offcenter firing pin hit gave better accuracy, all else being equal.

3. Firing pin rebound: Hanged if I know.

4. Extractor: If the first round is not extracting you probably need more extractor tension OR better extractor hook fit. If the others are extracting, it is probably not off too far. The real gunsmiths here can tell you where you ought to have contact... and not.

5. Groups? Without sights? Forget it, install sights as soon as convenient.

6. Feeding: Feeds hardball, great. If for defense, try some hollowpoints, eventualy. Remington is closest to hardball shape, either standard or Golden Sabre.

7. The occasional wild ejection will decrease as you improve extractor fit from No 4 above. But it still might be somewhat wild, shorter guns scatter their empties more.

8. Un-dented brass: I take that as a sign that the extractor, ejector, and recoil spring are not too far off spec.

July 18, 2005, 10:34 PM
A heavier firing pin spring should cure the firing pin problem.

Of course, a lighter recoil spring may also help.

Dave Sample
July 19, 2005, 12:14 PM
Well, Well, Well.
OK. Let's get on with it, Shorts.

The extractor should be 38/9mm. They are different and IF ( I have them around here) I can get a few pictures of them , I will do so.

You need a 9mm38/ejector.

Your barrel has a very large chamber and perhaps that is why it was for sale.

The reason the shells were not ejected is because of the 45 ACP ejector.

The 23 lb mainspring is not out of line in a 45 ACP Commander, but I would use a 19-20-21 to see if they work OK. I do not know what is on that officer's lower end as they are different.

Your recoil spring seems to be close in poundage.

Empty brass shape is determined by the size of the chamber, not by who makes it. The brass re-sizes itself when it is fired to that shape. I would scrap the barrel and get a good one. Ejectoin is a three part deal. The port size, the ejector tweaks, and the extractor hook tuning and the exrtactor tension. Magazines also affect ejection.

Your work is cut out for you now, Shorts. You are just begining the fun stuff of Pistolsmithing. I am here for you and am a Fed Ex away and if it gets out of your ability range, I will jump in and help you to what ever degree you need me for.

I have a case of 9mm here for test fires.

July 19, 2005, 04:17 PM
Alrighty, once and for all, the only used parts are on the lower. Those are the parts that came with the stock Colt Officer's Model and yes, it is a .45. Everything else has been converted to 9mm.

The upper is all new and consists of the following parts...in 9mm.

Slide: Essex 9mm Commander, Essex
Barrel: Randall 9mm, Ebay
Bushing: King's #303, Brownell's
Extractor: Ed Brown 9mm/.38super, Brownell's
Firing Pin: Ed Brown 9mm/.39super, Brownell's
Recoil Spring: Colt .45/.38super Comm., Brownell's
Recoil Spring Plug: Comm, Brownell's
Recoil Spring Guide: Ed Brown Comm, Brownell's
Magazine: Metal Form Officers 9mm 8rd, Brownell's
Sights: Novak front tritium, plain rear, Novaks

I even picked up a new Wilson 9mm/.38super slide stop but I didn't use it yet as the Metalform Mag catches the original slide stop and locks back last shot. I realize my project is looked at as completely low budget and a waste of good time. That's fine, but it's mine and I'm learning and don't regret any decisions I've made with it. I realize I took a chance on the Randall barrel. I knew it from the very beginning. But I figured what the heck, I'll get a new one if it doesn't work but I have to see for myself.

Ok, got that out of my system.

As for the ejector, I don't understand how that can be my ejection problem when the gun ejected fine aside from the times the extractor did not pull the case from the chamber. The extractor is a 9mm unit. Is the extractor hook suppose to be able to move at all when it is installed?

As for the chamber, what is the acceptable max. diameter over a case?

I decided to install my sights. I started this project to get the full affect and it wouldn't have quite been the same if I didn't. Not that I don't appreciate the offer, I am very grateful, Dave. But I guess as a kinda right of passage, I sorta wanted and needed to do it for myself. I did keeping hearing in my head from prior correspndence, "...this guy messed up everything..." and kept picturing myself in his shoes :o

So I got the Novaks installed this morning. I had to do some filing to get the dovetails opened up a little bit, but they sit well. I won't tack them down until after the slide is refinished and the gun is sighted in and in working condition. The rear sight doesn't sit flush with the rear of the slide, but it doesn't bother me none. I'll leave it be. I've gotta do work back there anyway, so if it does haunt me, I might try to get it flush, but really, eh.


Don't have a clue if their on there straight, but the main idea was getting them fit to the slide. How do you get them straight anyway? Do you test fire from bench rest at the range while adjusting them for each shot?

Dave Sample
July 19, 2005, 08:15 PM
If the ejector post misses the case rim, it does not eject. The extractor pulls the case out and then against the tip of the ejector and then spins the empty case out of the port.
An Essex Top End.

Glad you have the right firing pin, spring, extractor and that they are the ones you should have.

The gun looks nice with the sights on it. I drift them in with brass punches and "Smear Fit" them so there is no light coming through the dove tail. Red Loc-Tite will keep them in place later when you have sighted it in. The rear sight has a small screw that can be relaced with a large one later if need be.

Shorts! I am glad you are doing this project without any help except a little advice once in a while. I believe in what you are doing and have taught many, many people to do what you are doing at home in front of a PC. I was concerned about you breaking a little atomic bulb and I am glad you did a good job yourself.

You have done very well so far. Keep up the good work! It will all come together at the end of the day.

July 19, 2005, 10:55 PM
I got some numbers maybe that might help.

Breechface measures .422"


The mouth of the chamber is at .395"


I scribed the line of the barrel throat on a spent case. The bulge is above this line all the way around the case.


I picked up a box or three of PMC and Winchester to test out.

Jim Watson
July 19, 2005, 11:21 PM
Comparison measurements:

Colt chamber mouth diameter .392"
SA chamber mouth diameter .391"
(Vernier caliper measurement, actual diameter a little larger due to flats on caliper blades.)

Colt slide face width below extractor .424"
SA slide face width below extractor .417"

Colt and SA brass exposure about as high up the sidewall as you scribe, but not as wide. Your old Randall barrel has a barrel ramp like a .45 wadcutter gun, my Colt and SA have hardball ramps which are much narrower.

I don't think you have anything to worry about on case expansion; my Federal 9mm is .385" just ahead of the extractor groove and tapering from there. It is GOING to expand in any usual chamber. Maybe their brass has less springback. Other brands I have measure the same or not over .003" larger, but don't know their temper.

July 20, 2005, 12:00 PM
Shorts, I think I have thought of a name for your new cco. How about short's nightmare nine for now. then once you have it all dialed in how about shorts beauty, or shorts black beauty??? Just thinking while I type. you aer sdtill me hero. Keep up the awsome work and reporting.

Aim straight and have fun

July 20, 2005, 12:54 PM

While I'm sure it is not the ideal way to do things, I'm thinking that the chamber dimensions causing the bulge might be a non-issue IF:
1. Accuracy is decent.
2. Extraction is good.

But the extraction issue makes me wonder if the case bulging might be your source of extraction problems. On the otherhand, it doesn't look like the extractor was exactly clawing up that case rim, so a tension/adjustment thing is probably more likely.

If it isn't causing the above issues, I don't really see what harm the bulging case is really going to do. It won't blow the web out of the case, and can't damage the chamber, so maybe it isn't worth worrying about.

Dave Sample
July 20, 2005, 01:30 PM
The extraction issue is a simple one. 9mm/38 Supers need the correct ejector. While the 45 ACP extended ejector is trying , it is not hitting the case rim in some instances. It is a $15.00 part, it is pinned in and will come out fairly easily. If the slide is made right, it will work. Until you install it, your CCO 9mm will be "Iffy".

The case bulges do not bother me , either and I don't think they relate to the extraction problem. I don't have a 9mm barrel around here anymore, but I do have a 38 Super. It is similar to your Randall barrel at the rear end (relieved for the extractor hook) but was made by Briley many years ago when they first came out with ramped barrels. Mine is ramped ,so I can't help you with photos. I can see on your fired cases where the 45 ejector is just barely touching the outer edge of the rim.

Jon is right about the nightmare of creating this small shooter with the parts you have chosen. It WILL turn into your dream gun at some point in time. We just are not quite there yet.

Keep up the good work, Hey! If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!

July 20, 2005, 01:41 PM
I went out to the range again this morning. I took 50rds WWB and 50 PMC and my combobulation of a gun. Last night I retensioned the extractor to bench test specs so I was confident things would go well.

And things did go well. Everything extracted and ejected. I still had those one or two in a mag that walked up my arm or bounce off the bill of my cap, but I'll get that worked out and I don't see it as a problem. I did have about 3 fail to feeds with the WWB. The round just dove and stuck on the frame feed ramp. One was fed with a rerack, the others were cleared by dropping the mag, reseating the round in the mag and reinserting again. Looking at the rounds, the WWB bullet was slightly more pointed than the PMC, which had a rounder shape, although not by much. None of the PMCs had any FTF or FTE. IN FACT, I HAD NO FAIL TO EJECTS THE WHOLE SESSION. I did however have the mag follow lip walk over the slide stop a time or three to produce no last shot lockback. But that will take a slide stop switch to a 9mm unit (that I have sitting in my parts box). If the slide still won't lock back, it won't be the end of the world, I can count.

Overall I am pleased. The sights were great and the gun shot very well to poa when they stayed put. Of course, they were not tacked down, so the rear sight always floated left....and all my shots floated left. I hadn't tightened the screw in the rear, no biggie. But I took it as a good sign that I could see my poi move with the sights.

As for the case bulges, all the cases today looked just like the Federal cases. No bulges were excessive in looking like a blowout, they were just expanded to the chamber.

Again, I'll break down the gun for cleaning and inspection.

Edit: Ok guys, I really think yall are blowing the ejection "issue" out of proportion. Believe me, I'd be in a different mood of the range day was less than impressive. I don't see how a 9mm ejector will fit under that tunnel, as I have already stated and shown. I had to file this .45 ejector to fit. If anything, it can be longer. But it isn't a problem. If it is, then I will change it out.

FINE, MY PARTS SUCK. It's not a high dollar shooter, but that doesn't mean it won't run. Parts brand didn't seem to be an issue when I started building the project, I don't know why it is now.

Now, again, I do not see how the ejector is the problem on ejection if the extractor hook did not pull the case out of the chamber. Doesn't that mean you just take a step back and make sure the tension on the extractor is correct before moving on? Keeping it simple, right?

4. The extractor needs more tension. Most times if I closed the slide on a loaded magazine, the ejection of that round did not happen. The edge of the extractor hook just slipped over the case rim. This left the empty case in the chamber and the slide jammed as the next round was trying to move forward and out of the mag.

Dean Taylor
July 20, 2005, 04:20 PM
Shorts while it is nice to have the slide lock back it is not absolutely necessary. It just requires different gu n handling. I have a Open Race 1911 set up to never lock open - I will not go into the reasons why. I would put off dealing with that until other issues are settled even though this is not too hard to approach.

[email protected]

July 21, 2005, 11:28 AM
Where did you get the Officers Model frame? Judging from the photos, it looks like it's been in a fire.

July 21, 2005, 11:44 AM
Don't judge, I doubt it was a fire.

I bought it new from Colt. This one slipped past QC.

Kidding, it's 20+ years old, so yeah, the blue is a little worn. I bought it from another forum member who was selling as it wasn't looking like he was getting to his project.

Let this be a lesson to you people who think cleaning and lubing your gun doesn't matter. It may not matter tomorrow, or next week, but years down the line, it does.

Anyhow, the gun isn't suppose to look pretty yet. I've worked in the garage enough to know that things take building, cutting, and scratching and then getting a good painting before they look good. I'm sure there are some that can keep a gun absolutely flawless while doing work. But this wasn't starting from pretty pieces. Function first, then looks.

Dave Sample
July 21, 2005, 03:24 PM
Here is what I am trying to say, Shorts. These are a 45 type ejecetor and a 38/9mm ejector. Look at the pictures and you will see how they do a 9mm ejector.



This is a 38/9mm ejector in a race gun. Look at how the firing pin stop is relieved for the hammer and the ejector.


This is a 45 ACP ejector in place.


The rear view of both guns.


Here they are again nose to nose. I think you have a 9mm slide with a 45 ejector cut. Typical of Essex arms. Maybe not. Who knows at this point.

July 21, 2005, 05:19 PM
ok. But what can or should I do about it if the gun is functioning fine?

July 22, 2005, 01:24 AM
Tonight I did a little work filing the rear of the slide. I'm tired of it sitting around unfinished. I had to do these areas:


So, I got my trusty file and went to work. Here's the results:


I also decided to do a little dehorning job (not pictured). I figured what the heck. I don't really like the "melted" look. I think it makes the pistol look sloppy, so I kept the filing pretty conservative. Just enough to take the sting out of the rear of the slide coming back and biting skin.

N.M. Edmands
July 22, 2005, 01:40 AM
:) Shorts, Please don't take offense, but you are becoming 1 damned fine "Pistol Wench" ;)

July 22, 2005, 01:42 AM
lol thanks :) No offense taken, I've been a grease monkey too ;)

Dave Sample
July 22, 2005, 10:34 AM
I said from the start that the 45 ejector might work and that I hoped it would. You have done a great job, Shorts. Please try to understand that I am a nit picker and was where you are at a good many years ago. This has been a wonderful thread and contains many great posts.

I think you have made your dream come true.

July 22, 2005, 11:30 AM
This thread is addictive like a soap opera but with pistols :D

Dave Sample
July 22, 2005, 04:06 PM
"Pistol Wench" What about that , Shorts? It has a real nice ring to it. I think I like it!

July 23, 2005, 06:16 AM
Shorts, Think of this cco of yours as the ugly duck... soon it will grow into it's own and be the beautiful swan you had visioned.

Aim straight and have fun

July 23, 2005, 11:08 PM
I hate to burst the good name bubble, and there have been some appropriate suggestions, but I have refinished the gun.

Post acid bath:

Bathed, prepped and ready to be hot water dipped:

Post park/WD40/reoil treatment:

Last night I mildly dehorned the slide and sanded it. Today I went ahead and dipped both the slide and frame in the 50/50 muriatic acid and water to clear the blue. I then sanded the frame and slide (again) with 100grit paper. As you can see, I didn't do a primo job sanding. I can live with that. If the finish craps out, I'll redo it. Anyhow, I used my home park method I've been tootling with. So, the gun is now nice and dark and doesn't look as if it's been in a fire anymore. Is that better???

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the controls and buttons. I thought about parking them with this batch, but I was more concerned about getting these two prepped and parked together for uniformity. I'm either going to reblue the controls, or I'm going to strip them and park them. I'm not concerned with the park coming out a different shade. Since they are all buttons, they'd be matching to each other and would end up being a subtle 'touch'.

July 23, 2005, 11:45 PM
For comparison sake here's The Thing next to the GI. Sorry about the flash.


What do I need to do to install the Novak sights? The rear has the little set screw, so I think a little loctite on that once I get the gun sightd straight at the range. But first, how do I finish the front? The sight has a little hole and it came with a little crush sleeve. What do I need to do to set that?

July 24, 2005, 06:57 AM
That's looking mighty fine Shorts! Note to self: I gotta learn to do parkerizing!

July 24, 2005, 11:07 AM
:) Thanks. Parking has been fun (and frustrating) to figure out. But, like any recipe, once you get it down, it'll come out alright.

I reblued the pins and the barrel bushing last night, as well as the grip safety, MSH and thumb safety but theycame out looking ugly. So I'm going to strip and park them today. That outta ake care of them for a while.

Dave Sample
July 24, 2005, 02:05 PM
That front sight has a hole in it and you should center it and drill a 1/16th inch hole through the slide and then smack that roll pin in after you loc-tite the dovetail and get it centered. A small drill press should be a help in this task. After you have the pin in, you can blend in the underneath with a sanding drum where it sticks through the slide in the Bushing Area.On rear sight with set screws, I use to sight them in and then make a mark in the center of the set screw hole, knock the sight out, and drill a small hole in the dovetail with a center drill and then set the screw a little deeper when I put it in for the last time. We do not have to do that with the Online 1911'a because the sight cuts are not generic and each cut is perfect for that particular sight. They are very tight and we install the roll pin when they are cut They do not move after we get them done.

Nice work on the finish, Shorts. It is nice and black.

July 25, 2005, 01:40 AM
K, I'll get things lined up for the sights. Thanks for the procedure.

Well, tonight I went ahead and parked the grip safety, thumb safety and MSH. Then I reassembled the gun and here it is. The sights are standing in for photo ops, but, this is it.



On a side note, I just got word yesterday that we did recieve verbals for the Japan orders we've been hoping for. I think our move will be slated for the Dec/Jan time frame. So, I'll just have the coming months to get all the shooting in that I can. Firearms are prohibited in Japan so ours will be sent to live with my folks. I've been wanting to get Dad a CZ75B, but in the meantime, he can make do with our stash.

July 25, 2005, 07:32 AM
we did recieve verbals for the Japan orders we've been hoping for. Saronara Shorts! Do keep in touch and tell us how much you are loving it!

I hate to be the one to mention this, but don't you think your pistol deserves a fitted grip safety? I certainly do! Other than that, it is really looking good! I'm glad you didn't go with the spotted look of stainless small parts. :D

July 25, 2005, 10:48 AM
lol Thanks

Yeah, I left that grip safety there that came with the gun. I originally slated a BT, but when I got this, I decided it would do. Not the prettiest, but its alright. I'm not even using the new hammer and sear I ordered because I got the original set feeling pretty good. I might try those for a little kick in the pants 'new'.

I think later down the road I might end up redoing some things. For now though, this should be a decent shooter that won't rust away in the closet. This gun is staying with me, never to be traded or sold (as if anyone would wanna chance it) :o

dale taylor
July 25, 2005, 06:10 PM
It's picky, picky to critisize Shorts work. She did great. Photos were superb! I learned a lot from this thread. I hope she does another project with photography. [email protected]

July 27, 2005, 11:04 AM
I guess it is done done. I installed the sights yesterday. It went pretty quick. I slid the sight in and marked the hole and pressed a little divot for the bit. I didn't want to drill through the sight and widen up the hole any, so I removed it. I don't have a drill press so just used the hand drill and some careful pointing :o A little oil dabbed on there too for good measure. Once it was done, I set the sight in with some Loctite, let it dry, then punched in the crush sleeve, a little Loctite too. The rear is just sitting in there with the set screw until I sight it in.

I'll see if I can get out to the range today or tomorrow. Time's getting tight as I leave for Japan on Tuesday, so I might not get out there until after the trip.

Again, thanks everybody for the help and patience :)


Dave Sample
July 27, 2005, 07:27 PM
I hate these kind of endings. Sayonora from No Habba Hair Boy San, Shorts. I was very big in the Land Of The Rising Suns 50 + years ago.


July 27, 2005, 10:49 PM
Sweet :)

July 31, 2005, 07:29 PM

Sorry to miss out on most of the end of this. I’ve been working out of the country and had limited time for Internet access.

Several observations and questions:

The apparent double-strike on the case primer looks to me more like a ding caused by the spinning case hitting something on its way out. The photo appears to show cratering and coloring of the small dent not matched to the firing pin nose. This could just be angles and light fooling me, but I would look for a little brass coloring on the corner of the ejection port where the hood channel meets open air.

On the other hand, if it actually is a firing pin double-strike, then a new firing pin spring may be in order. I would try stretching the original a little until you see this behavior stop, but still don’t incur any misfires. If you have lightened the mainspring any, that also may put an end to it.

Since I haven’t ever played with an Essex 9mm slide, I am curious to learn how it fit originally? I know from the posts that you lapped it in place, but since your photos don’t show any sign of the rails being lowered, I wondered if it were possible that only the horizontal fit of the slide and frame had been achieved, but not the vertical? The way to tell is by having the slide and frame together alone (no barrel or links or springs to create tension) and slipping feeler gauges into the space between the slide and the frame along the bottom edge of the slide above the grips. You shouldn’t be able to slip anything bigger than two or three thousandths in there on a newly tightened gun. If you can, it partly explains why you need such a long link. Lowering the slide will shorten the link length requirement by an equal amount and give you slightly better consistency in lock-up.

You commented about having some cases climb your arm on ejection. This is generally because the case is struck by the recoiling slide on its way out the chute, imparting rearward momentum to it. This can happen for a couple of reasons I’m familiar with: the ejector is too long or the recoil spring is too light. The long ejector causes the case to start out of the extractor while the slide is still moving very quickly to the rear. This, in turn, causes the case to tend to spin rapidly. As it leaves the extractor hook, the rotational axis shifts location from a line perpendicular to one between the hook and the ejector impact point to the center of mass of the case on a parallel axis. This speeds the spin up like a skater pulling her arms in on a spin. If the rotational velocity is great enough, this can cause the case mouth to whip around and smack up against the slide port before it clears the gun. You can tell if this is happening both by brass marks on the slide at the front edge of the ejection port, by marks on the cases that jump back at you, and by having a friend watch cases come out and tell you whether they are spinning lazily or whizzing rapidly? The later is a sign of this issue. Setting the ejector nose back a little causes ejection to commence when the slide’s rearward motion has been a little further retarded by the recoil spring, thus slowing the whole event down, and allowing less rearward momentum to be imparted to a struck case. A stiffer recoil spring will also slow things down at the point of ejection.

A third method of mitigating this problem is to reshape the ejector nose, causing it to contact the case low and outside (see right-hand ejector in the illustration). This imparts spin a little further from the pivot at the extractor hook. The result is a lower spin rate and also causes the case to head out at a slightly higher angle off the horizontal. The only concern I have with doing this in your project is that your .45 ejector may already be hitting the smaller case radius on its inner upper corner alone. You could tell by applying some magic marker to the ejector nose before firing, and see where it cleans off? Anything you reshape outside that area won’t count. This situation would already be giving a minimum spin rate for the slide’s rearward velocity, but hitting too high for best ejection trajectory. If so, getting someone with a milling machine to open the ejector tunnel up for the type of .38 / 9 mm ejector Dave showed in earlier pictures may be the best cure. More work, though.

A last question: Whose parkerizing chemistry are you using? Is it the Shooter’s Solutions manganese base chemistry? I have purchased a sample, but have yet to try that product. I noticed in the pictures that your result had a lot of sheen, but that can be fresh oil. If, on the other hand, the solution has not etched as much of a matte finish as you expected (even without blasting), try using it up near the peak of its recommended temperature range. This causes conventional parkerizing solutions to etch more aggressively and leave a rougher matte surface finish. I assume this would be true with other variants as well, but you would have to try it on a test piece.

After illustrating the bushing lug scraping, I started to create a complete virtual 1911. I’ll post the results if you aren’t in Japan by then. If you are, then, jōdeki, to sayonara!


July 31, 2005, 07:31 PM


How about calling your beast the .38 Super Short(s)?


July 31, 2005, 10:43 PM
Hey Unclenick, good to hear from you. I'm fixing to head out for Japan early Tuesday morning, so I'm taking a look at this now, in lew of packing :o I hate packing.

;) Super Shorts, reminds me of the nickname the guys on the offroad forum gave me/my truck. That was S.S Shorts (S.S. = Super Squirrel, don't ask me where that came from).

The way to tell is by having the slide and frame together alone (no barrel or links or springs to create tension) and slipping feeler gauges into the space between the slide and the frame along the bottom edge of the slide above the grips. You shouldn’t be able to slip anything bigger than two or three thousandths in there on a newly tightened gun. If you can, it partly explains why you need such a long link. Lowering the slide will shorten the link length requirement by an equal amount and give you slightly better consistency in lock-up.

I just checked this with feeler guages, slide and frame only. The .003" fits, .004" is tight and .005" doesn't fit (geez, "you could drive a truck through that hole", in the words of my old marching band instructor). Before the "nerd!" comments begin, I wasn't in band, I was a drummer :cool:

There is no vertical movement between the slide and frame if I grab the two and try to giggle them. I was looking through pics to see where the slide and frame were lapped to each other, but no luck. I reparked the gun so it's harder to tell.

As for the brass on the edge of the slide, I'll have to check at next range session. I cleaned the gun from Friday's outting. I didn't notice any brass dust arond the ejection port, but I wasn't looking too close for it either. Looking at the location of the ding compared to the extractor mark, the dings are centered above the FP strike, although not all cases have them. And the oneshat do, some are more prominent than others.

The cases up my arms, I'll watch that next time out as well. All the spent cases were landing pretty consistent to my 5oclock about 6' away. I noticed picking up brass that they weren't scattered around.

Ok, I have completely lost my train of focus between that last paragraph and this, my husband just called. Anyhow, Unclenick, thanks for the input. Please keep it coming.

Edit: Parkerizing. I actually used a homebrew I had been messing with (H2O, Phosphoric acid, manganese dioxide and steel wool). The pics look pretty shiny. After removed from the solution and a hot water rinse, they were doused in WD40, then toweled off and slathered in gun oil to sit overnight. The frame came out great, better than the slide. I used 100grit paper. The 120 was a little too smooth. Anything more course than 100 would be scratching :eek: A few areas came out smooth park, and I actually like that finish. Parts that weren't touched with any paper, like the rails and inside the mags well.

July 31, 2005, 11:23 PM
Shorts, you've done a nice job with that project. A 9mm Commander is a fun gun, very handy and well balanced for the caliber.

Good luck to you and your hubby in Japan - and thank you for your service to our country :)

August 2, 2005, 07:56 AM
After getting maybe a third of the way into my virtual 1911, I found there already is one on line, and it's a good illustration in Flash format (so you need the Macromedia Flash Player installed).

On the menu, click in boxes one (top) and two in the first (left) column to split the slide and the frame, and in the third column click the fourth box from the bottom to hide the slide stop. Click on the link in the right-most tab at the bottom to get rid of the recoil reducer. You still have a full-length recoil spring guide, but basically this will show the lock-up nicely.



August 3, 2005, 09:17 PM

Genki desu ka? One last thing when you get a chance to read this. The other reason for a stiffer recoil spring than just stopping the arm crawling cases is it retards the whole recoil event. This leaves the case in the chamber a little longer, extracting it after the pressure has dropped a little further, and thus cutting down on case bulging. Tune the gun for the round, as they say. Whoever "they" are. Probably not the Men In Black in this case.


August 7, 2005, 01:11 AM
Genki des. Ego ga hanasemas ka? :D Talk about culture shock. I feel illiterate here, offbase is quite an adventure. But I haven't starved to death or been arrested, so the trip is successful.

Apparently the month of August is sweltering with 100% humidity, kinda like back home TX on the coast. But I'm having a good time, yall should see my tan! :cool:

It's wierd being here without my hobbies. I do need all my spare time to memorize words and hopefully more phrases. I am looking forward to the 'easy' of home, where I can order takeout and ask for the wasabe on the side :o

Just dropping in, I hope the guns back home are behaving themselves and are not going off by accident.

August 7, 2005, 07:14 AM
Konichiwa! Ogenki desu ka? Dou ****eru? Kibu o motte. Yuki o da****e!

So the editor fries Nipponese?!!!!! :rolleyes: Good to see you found a keyboard Shorts! Stay in touch!

August 7, 2005, 10:48 AM

Yeah, I expect you'll be asking a lot of people if they can speak English? I got so I could read enough kanji to get around on the trains, but a friend of mine gave the simplest advice for finding the right departure platforms: Just learn to pronounce the name of the destination station, ????-eki. If you ask a non-English speaker where the platform for the destination train is, they will say things you don't understand, but will also point. Just head in the direction they pointed and keep asking. Eventually someone will point in the other direction, and you'll know it was the last platform you passed.

Also, a warning about learning the language: limit your use of mnemonics. There is an old joke about the salesman who tried to remember how to say thank you in Japanese by associating "arigatō" with "alligator", pronouncing it by stopping at the “o”. Later, at the conclusion of an important meeting, he bowed deeply and said "crocodile-o".

Have fun,

Dave Sample
August 7, 2005, 01:06 PM
Domo Arigaro, Shorts! Glad to see you made the trip OK. Also glad you are on line from the Land of the Rising Sun. Enjoy your visit and have a good time there. I sure did.

August 17, 2005, 03:23 AM
Konbanwa ya'll. I got back 2 days ago and just about fully recovered from the trip. Can I just say that the Lonely Planet Japanese phrasebook is a lifesaver. And I ate things I didn't even know what they were :barf:

Well, I only have a limited amount of time before I must send our guns to live with Dad. It seems that we will be PCSing back to Japan in Dec/Jan time. I feel all rushed now trying to shoot as much as I can! :o

On a shooting note, we did hit the Akihabara (sp?) and in one shop buried in the mess I ran into a whole slew of airsoft pistols and rifles. Those things are awesome! I can see why they'd be mistaken for a real firearm. The least expensive was a Beretta 92, which went for a cheap $30. Average for a 1911 and various others were $100. The really cool autos were $200+. I'll be exploring the airsoft world once I get there, as well as hitting paintball day every month.

Now back to my 9mm Thing. The slide lugs are getting some good contact with the the front of barrel lugs. So much so, there is some peening going on that I can feel a raised edge on both the slide and barrel lugs. There is also a wierd edge on the front of the barrel lugs which look to be as though the barrel lugs and slide lugs are not parallel with each other. Again, noticeable by the peening.

Also, the front of the barrel bottom lugs (were the link sits) is getting battered by the bottom of the rear hole ledge on the recoil spring guide. What is that about?

Alright, I haven't had my head wrapped around this stuff for a little bit so I'll get it all together soon. I'll also try to get a pic of the peening marks. In all honesty I'm ready to throw away the whole top. But my husband would kill me, especially after what we just paid for the Japan trip! :eek: :o :mad: I love shooting this thing, I just need to get it right.

August 17, 2005, 09:37 AM

Glad you had a good trip! I remember Akihabara and all the electronics and other hobby related booths you could peruse there. I was in Japan so long ago that I had to go to Okubo, where the sumo stables are, to buy shoes that fit. At size 11 I was then about a half centimeter too big for the largest standard shoe size. Not true now, I'm sure. The kids there have McDonalded their way to greater height.

The lug thing: In general the terminology I've always heard and used distinguishes them as the "locking lugs" (top of barrel and in the slide) and the "link lugs" (bottom of barrel). The peening of the locking lugs depends on whether the leading or trailing edge is peening? If the former (more likely in a fit-up gun) the barrel extension (hood) being slightly too long could cause the locking lugs to try to engage too soon. Taking of a thousandth or two off is all that it would require. Also, did you chamfer the front edges of the locking lugs a-la-Hallock? This helps them line up and may also be all you need to cure the problem without touching the barrel extension.

Battering of the trailing edges would be odd, but a very short barrel extension combined with a very long link might conceivably do it. It depends where the peening is. If it were only on the rearmost locking lugs, the other possibility is that the long link is too long and is pushing the back edges of the barrel up into the slide too hard.

Your asymmetric peening is likely due to riding a long link into lockup rather than a cut and scraped set of link lugs. The link allows the barrel to tilt a bit via the small amount of slop in the link pivots, where cut and scrape fit link lugs give a broader base that is fixed with respect to the rest of the barrel. A competent weld-up followed by filing, cutting and scraping would give you this, but it has to be done well. Preferably TIG (tungsten inert gas; a.k.a. heli–arc) welding with the filler material matching the barrel material fairly closely and a chill on the barrel so the heated link lugs can’t affect the temper at the chamber or warp it. It takes some skill, but not rare skill. Talk to some welders and let them demonstrate material addition on the edge of a piece of 1/8” or 3/16” wide scrap if your aren’t sure and they’ve never done it before.


Jim Watson
August 17, 2005, 02:21 PM
I had a short slide-long compensator racegun once that flanged its locking lugs in short order. Gunsmith squared them and it did it again. We repeated the process until the contacting faces of the lugs were beaten down to the locking angle in the shortened slide and it never did it again and shot fine as long as it was competitive, after which I bought a regular slide for it. I'd just clean them up and see if it would seat itself with some use.

The battering on the link lug by the head of the recoil spring guide can be stopped by beveling the appropriate area of the head of the recoil spring guide so they don't touch when installed. Saw this on a big name custom shop pistol once, so bad the slide had about .060" of play in it.

Or it could be misfit as U describes and you can weld up and refit the whole works. But I'd do the simple stuff first.

August 17, 2005, 05:39 PM
Thanks for the terminology lesson. I still have to stop and go slow when reading through things to make sure I'm visualizing it right :o

As for the peening, it is the leading edge of the barrel locking lugs, as pictured in Kuhnhausen Fig 64 on pg 50.

I did camfer the edges a bit when I fit the barrel.

August 18, 2005, 07:11 AM
I was in such a hurry to get to work yesterday that I forgot to address the recoil spring guide.

As Jim says, a chamfer of the back inside radius should address this. However, between the battering there, the cases crawing up your arm, and the case bulges, I think you've got three symptoms calling for a heavier recoil spring to slow everything down a little bit.