View Full Version : "Drop in" 1911 Match Barrel

Mike Baugh
January 16, 1999, 10:25 PM
Does anybody have any experience with any of the "Drop in Match Barrels" for 1911's ? I have a hand fit match bushing on my stock barrel and did not know if I would notice a big difference in replacing the barrel . Thanks , Mike...

Art Eatman
January 17, 1999, 12:59 AM
I won't be offended if anyone contradicts me, but I'm dubious about "drop in" unless it's maybe from a topline custom guy. Does it have a fitted bushing included? Already "perfect" as to throat and polish? A lot of the other stuff mentioned in Halleck, like the slight "breaking" of the edges of the lugs, or links of various center-to-center options?

Seems to me some guys advertise "Match" like others advertise "Tactical"...

Regards, Art

January 17, 1999, 02:23 AM
IMHO barrel to bushing fit is the key to 1911 accuracy. Replacing the barrel without replacing the bushing would be a mistake. It could go either way depending on how well the new barrel mates with the bushing. Best to buy a barrel that comes with its own bushing. Why are you replacing the barrel? Is there a problem with it? Poor accuracy? Or are you just trying to make the gun shoot better? BTW- What make of gun is it?

Mike Baugh
January 17, 1999, 09:53 AM
Grayfox , the gun is a new Springfield . I have customized several Government models over the past few years and this is just this winters project . I usually have the guns hardchromed and so I replace all the parts except the frame , slide and mainspring housing with Brown or Wilson Bullet Proof , install Heinie or Novak sights and then bevel all sharp edges and take out tool marks before plating . I have never used an aftermarket barrel before and since I blend the slide to match the frame in back if I am going to try a different barrel now is the time so I do not have to strip hardchrome/recontour/rechrome the slide and frame later . I have a Trophy Match that came from the factory with a Stainless "Match Barrel" and it seems to have a slightly tighter fit in the frame of the new gun . I placed this barrel in the new gun and the slide overhang in the rear would have to be shortened about .030 to give a smooth transition . I tried some barrels from my other guns and all seemed to give different amounts of under/overhang so I figured the chances of finding a barrel down the road that lined the slide/frame up perfectly would be nill .I do not want to get into a timing/lockup issue by changing barrel links to try to make it line up . I installed a Wilson Match bushing on the stock barrel with a snug bushing to frame tightness and .002 barrel to bushing tightness and it shoots well but if I thought a new drop in "Match Barrel" would give a considerable advantage in accuracy/service life I would try one . I have never fit an oversize barrel that is why I am looking at the "Drop In" . Thanks , Mike...

George Stringer
January 17, 1999, 10:59 AM
Mike, the only way you will see a difference in accuracy is in a machine rest. The circle is what is important; slide to barrel, barrel to bushing, bushing to slide. .002" is the correct bushing clearance for the barrel and the bushing should fit snugly enough to require a umph to turn it. George

Mike Baugh
January 17, 1999, 01:11 PM
George , I kind of thought the stock barrel would hold its own with a proper bushing fit . I have always been amazed at the poor barrel to bushing to slide fit on factory guns . With the new bushing I took out a total of .010 free play . The match barrel that is in my Trophy Match is only .003 wider on the bottom lug foot width , but I did not know if this combined with a possibly tighter chamber and better bore profile would add up to an "Amazing" difference , and I would have no control over the above items on a 'Drop In Barrel" . The gun is going to be a carry piece so I think it will be OK . Thanks for your time , Mike...

Harry Bonar
February 2, 2005, 11:39 AM
Dear Sir;
There is no such animule as a "drop in" part.

Dave Sample
February 2, 2005, 11:48 AM
Amen, Harry. Very few people I know can shoot that good. Caspian Arms has a nice new "Drop In Barrel" that really does work.......................in their slides. I would not know if they work in metric 1911's but I have thrown away many SA barrels. They used to be two piece junk. We use Kart EZ Fit in our Online 1911 Class. Takes about 10 hours each , average fitting time, but the results are very good.

February 4, 2005, 08:09 PM
Harry ... is that your real name? :D

Harry Bonar
February 10, 2005, 12:07 PM
Dear Sir:
Yes; Harry Bonar is really Harry Bonar (I went to Bob Evans with the wife and the "seater" said, "Name please." I said Harry Bonar. She thought :) I said HarryBoner and laughed; made her day --mine too! :)

Dave Sample
February 10, 2005, 01:45 PM
You gotta love him. I am jealous , Harry! That is the greatest name here!

Bill Z
February 10, 2005, 02:33 PM
You get more accuracy out of a properly fitted bushing than a 'drop-in' barrel. Unless there is something with the lock-up, timing, or something badl;y wrong with the crown of your current barrel, save for some horrible defect somewhere else, a 'drop-in' barrel wouldn't do anything but make practice ammo funds disappear.

Dave Sample
February 12, 2005, 10:12 PM
I have found through the years that most 1911 have pretty good barrels and that they can be inproved by re-linking and fitting a NM Bushing. A repeatable, tight, lock up is what makes them accurate and many times a new barrel is not the answer. I always advise trying to make the existing barrel do better work first.

Tim R
February 13, 2005, 12:21 AM
Hey Bill, Nice page! :) Someday!

Harry Bonar
February 26, 2005, 10:27 AM
Dear Bill:
Just looked at your site - some pretty nice looking 1911s' there!
I don't think there is anything more enjoyable that doing 1911s"!
Every - time one comes in you learn something about them, trigger, extractor, barrel fit from the factory, and of course the old ones that don't have all the nicities we add to already good pistols.
I've been impressed with the Charles Dailey and Rock Island Armory 1911s'. Also, even the Ballesters aren't past redemption! However the Llamas I don't have much to do with; "trade it fellow."
And, then, as J.B. Books said - you'll find one that some "ham handed" guy brings in that has NO quality at all and it'll outshoot everything! Ha! :D
I've learned to look out for the purchaer and if he has junk I'LL TELL HIM IN A GENTLE WAY TO, "TRADE THAT SUCKER OFF."
I WORKED ON A FRAME (WON'T SPECIFY WHICH ONE) one day for four hours and finally told the guy, "no charge, do not let anybody assemble this for you, and get a bettrer frame!" Don't know what he did?
Harry B. :)

March 12, 2005, 07:48 AM
I thought the correct clearance for barrel-to-bushing was .001", and the correct clearance for slide-to-bushing was .001", too.

Is the EGW angle-bore bushing the answer?
Do Briley sphericals run reliably when (very) dirty?
Am I insane?

Please, professional help here...........gotta new Caspian slide coming, but my (current) SA project already has a hard-fit Kart tuber in it.
What should I do?

Hunter Customs
March 26, 2005, 07:48 PM

I feel I'm very fortunate that the mentor I had in 1969 was very knowledgeable about 1911 guns. He taught me that 80% of the mechanical accuracy in a 1911 pistol is the barrel and the way it's fit. It was the first time I heard the term hard fit when talking about barrel fitting. If you want the kind of accuracy like the target above shows you will need a hard fit barrel and you can't achieve this with a drop in barrel or just by linking a barrel up with a longer link. At one time we did use Colt barrels welded up and fit them hard fit which is the same thing one would do today by hard fitting a gunsmith fit barrel.
Bob Hunter

March 26, 2005, 08:25 PM
Bob hardfit the Nowlin barrel (9x19) in oneamy EAA Witnesses; ha! Accurate gun.
Real accurate.

Gotta drop-in BarSto in oneamy 1911's; came with a fitted bushing.
Accurate gun.
Real accurate.

Gotta EAA factory match barrel (40 S&W) bought used from a friend; kinda fit it in oneamy Witnesses; ha!
Accurate gun.
Real accurate.
Except I tried to take it apart today, broke oneathe (rusted in) grip screws, got the trigger and hammer pins out, now got the whole thing screwewwewewd up I'm gonna need all the King's horses and all the King's men........

....and, apparently, a big wad of fix-me cash.

Sorry for rambling, but I got this big pile of EAA crap on my bench now, and, frankly, no good end in sight. Site. Whatever. :cool:

Darn, was gonna IPSC again widdit 'cause it is/was so accurate........

Hunter Customs
March 26, 2005, 09:29 PM
Do you have any use for a EAA 9x19 barrel with 2 port compensator and guide rod system?
If so I have one that's like new.
Bob Hunter

March 26, 2005, 10:13 PM
The following rather lengthy article is my account of a similar effort to improve a marginal Springfield MilSpec by replacing the defective factory barrel with their Trophy Match/TRP barrel. Hope it is informative and helpful to your situation.

I picked up a new Mil-Spec in January.

Range conditions were not ideal for the first outing, but I was anxious to shoot. All shooting was done at 25 yards, and the groups were shot while seated on a cold, wet bench and shooting over the range bag. Yee-Haw. I started with Wolf hardball, standing on my hind legs and blasting away at an empty cartridge box on the snowy berm. Point of impact was a little high left, so I switched over to a paper target that someone had shot with a .22 & left hanging on the stand. 5 rounds of Wolf went into 4 inches, about 4” out at 11 o’clock. I noticed I was fighting the creepy trigger, and determined to concentrate on the sights and just press it off.

I switched over to my 200 grain SWC reload, and a fresh target. 5 shots went into 3 1/2 “, with three of them under 2”, and it was grouping closer to the sights:

Next up was Federal 230 HydraShok, which produced a 3”, 5-round group:

Now, you’re not gonna take Camp Perry by storm shooting like this- but I have shot guns that shot worse. By this time there were about 22 rounds of everything left, so I loaded the factory mag with every round different than the one below it, using all loads listed above. Then I turned and hosed the rounds into the berm, as fast as possible. I repeated this three times, and the MilSpec ran like clockwork with the mixed loads.

March 26, 2005, 10:16 PM
The “Fly in the Ointment”

Still, this was a nice, tight 1911- and I thought it should have shot a little better. When I got it home I tore it down again, and started looking for anything which might have inhibited accuracy. The first thing I found was a small imperfection in the barrel’s exterior, located right on top about an inch ahead of the front locking lug.

This alone wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans, but after scrubbing the bore I also found a corresponding defect in the barrel’s interior. It appears that whatever force caused the exterior defect, crushed the barrel enough to form a ridge into one land and groove of the rifling.

Folks, this cannot be good for accuracy. I doubt it would ever be a safety issue given the .45 ACP’s low operating pressures- but hey, this was a NEW gun. This should have been caught by Springfield’s QC inspectors.

I notified SFA of the barrel problem on 02/01/05, and shipped it to them on 02/02. I simply asked that they ship me another one-piece stainless barrel, sans the problems, that miked a full 0.580 at the muzzle. Megan Klavon at SFA handled the service matter, and I must say she was a pleasure to work with. When I received the new barrel on 02/16, my first impression was that it was a superb piece of manufacturing. Finish was first-rate and execution was perfect, inside and out. It was also a dead-perfect, drop-in fit; the only thing (aside from the finish) notably different, was that the replacement was a tad longer, and protruded from the bushing slightly. When I asked Megan which model this particular barrel was typically furnished with, her reply was “We use that barrel in our Trophy Matches and TRP’s.”

Nice! But did it shoot?

Yes it did. Even with the 0.005 oversize stock bushing, it was grouping three 230 HydraShoks in an inch and a half. The 200 LSWC load, mentioned above, ran just over two inches for five; not bad for a bulk load put-up in mongrel, range pick-up brass… particularly from a service-grade pistol.

I ran out of Universal Clays, and have been fiddling HS-6 in several calibers, including the .45 ACP. This particular load was 8.1 grains under the Sierra 230 JHC. Range was about 43 yards, rested on the side of a handy tree-


Four of the five are inside 3.5 inches, and the stray was definitely mine. My assessment is that this barrel alone, improved the MilSpec’s mechanical accuracy close to 100%.

This new barrel was really showing promise, so I went ahead and fitted a Maryland Gun Works match bushing per Kuhnhausen's shop manual. I got a chance to bench the gun at 50 yards, and I believe it is going to be a real shooter. The 3-shot cluster is probably what the gun can do; the flyers were the best that I could do, on this particular day. Still, it went under 3.5 inches, which makes me pretty proud of the reload if nothing else. I don't shoot much better than that on my best day, with match ammo and full-blown centerfire target pistols. The load was 8.1 grains of HS-6 under Sierra's excellent 230 grain JHC.

The Navidrex grips aren't bad for "cheapies" either.

March 27, 2005, 07:12 AM
Thanks for the offer, but I already have one in 9x21 :D

Carries fairly well from a Yaqui; sight radius makes my shooting straighter; sixteen hundred with a 115g R-P JHP (vaporizer).
I call it my "Goin' to Chicago" piece.

Except that's the frame I just buggered LOL..........

(Actually, my all-time fav when wearing its 41 AE tube. Boyohboy does THAT thing shoot straight; still gotta respectable stash of Speer's 180g Gold Dot bullets. HS6.)

Dave Sample
March 28, 2005, 02:46 PM
Who said anything about using longer links? Interesting thread.

March 28, 2005, 04:16 PM
Invssgt: Nice informative writeup.

Sounds like you have a decent 50 yarder there with the right loads...with a "drop in" bbl and fitted bushing.

Accuracy wasn't bad with the defective bbl either.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Springfield the number one seller of 1911's in a couple of years.

March 28, 2005, 08:47 PM
Dave,I have found through the years that most 1911 have pretty good barrels and that they can be inproved by re-linking and fitting a NM Bushing Maybe they thought you were. What did you mean by "re-linking"? Fitting a shorter link? Or just one with tighter dimensions through the holes?

Dave Sample
March 29, 2005, 02:05 PM
Handy; You hit the nail on the head again. I do not like long or short links. I always use the .278 size for what I do. What I have found is that the factory links are sometimes stamped out junk and the people who build these guns do not view this small part to be as important as I do. A quality barrel link coupled with a decent NM bushing fit does much to improve any 1911 factory barrel and the gun will then shoot better than the shooter can shoot it in most cases. I have done this with terrible looking, pitted Systima barrels that you would swear were junk and shot out and have achived the kind of accuracy needed for the purpose at hand. ( Win the fight at 3-7 yards.)
Thanks for helping me clear this up. I use to use Wilson Links that were in the $6.00 range, but Fred Kart has been generous to supply me with a few of his at no charge and I will use them in the future. My tastes are simple! I like the Best.

Hunter Customs
March 30, 2005, 08:28 AM
I certainly have nothing against using the best quality parts thats on the market. That being said using the same size link on a loose fit barrel does not change the lockup of the barrel. That's why we used to weld up the hoods and lower lug so we could get a tight lockup, remember barrel and barrel fit is 80% of the mechanical accuracy in a 1911 style gun.
Bob Hunter

Dave Sample
March 30, 2005, 07:17 PM
Weld up barrels and then cut them to size. I have some of that junk in my Hall of Shame parts place. I never wasted my time with that stuff when I could buy brand new oversize barrels and fit them. Thanks goodness thoses days are gone. I like Match Barrels.

Hunter Customs
March 30, 2005, 10:38 PM
There's not much call for welding up a barrel and fitting it nowadays with the selection of good quality gunsmith fit barrels we now have, but that wasn't the case years back. Then we didn't have the Schuemann, Nowlin, Brown or Bar-Sto barrels to choose from so you welded up a Colt barrel and hard fit it to the gun. A Colt barrel welded up and hard fit the right way by someone who knew what they were doing was a long way from being junk and there was some damm good bullseye guns built using welded up Colt barrels.
All this being said, just relinking a loose fit barrel with the same size barrel link still does nothing for improving barrel lock up or the mechanical accuracy in a 1911 style gun.
Bob Hunter
(816) 675-2340

Dave Sample
March 31, 2005, 12:08 AM
Well OK. Sorry.

March 31, 2005, 01:18 AM
All this being said, just relinking a loose fit barrel with the same size barrel link still does nothing for improving barrel lock up or the mechanical accuracy in a 1911 style gun. I was given to believe that it isn't the AMOUNT of lockup, but the consistency of lockup. It also strikes me that a link with tighter hole dimensions would contribute to longitudinal stability, and therefore repeatability.

Maybe one of you gentlemen can help me remember the name of a prominent '70s gunsmith who built very accurate, and loose 1911s. I wonder what he would say about the effect of a good link?

BTW, I really dislike it when we have the pleasure of having two knowledgeable gunsmiths disagreeing, and they just back off. The rest of us can learn much from BOTH of you telling your story and sticking to your guns. I give both of you credit for being pro builders (not just self proclaimed tuners), and would like to hear Dave make his point about links. If both of you are polite, there is no problem with disagreeing. But there is a problem if this board ISN'T the appropriate place for such a disagreement. On the contrary, it is the BEST place to disagree.

Hunter Customs
March 31, 2005, 09:30 AM
You are correct about a barrels lockup must be consistant. That being said a loose fit barrel will not be consistant and lock up in the same place every time. If that was the case no one including my mentor would have wasted time welding and refitting the barrels in the old Colts. You are also on the right path about the barrel link. That being said the point is, if you have a loose fit barrel, which the link is part of the equation just changing the link with the same size link changed nothing in the barrel lockup so the barrel is still inconsistant in its lockup.
I know of no pistolsmith that will claim a loose fit barrel to be accurate, the old Ransom rest will prove that every time.
Now my mentor did claim that slide to frame fit was not as important as some may think it is, maybe this is what you are thinking about when talking of a gun being loose.
Also I'm not here to spar with Dave or anyone , I'm just stating facts from what I know has been proved and taught to me.
Bob Hunter

March 31, 2005, 10:16 AM
I'll find the gent's name who built loose guns.

I'm unsure why you say that a barrel with loose upper lug engagement MUST be inconsistant. If the bushing is somewhat tight, the link and lower lugs bring the barrel to a consistant spot relative to the frame and there is steady forward pressure on the hood, what is inconsistant?

Dave Sample
March 31, 2005, 11:00 AM
I wish to thanks Bob for his input on this subject and to Handy for giving me a chance to say what I need to say to clear this matter up.
I never implied that a badly fit barrel/gun would benefit much by any improvement that I would make in a small way.
I used to do a new link and NM barrel Bushing for a minimum shop charge of $35.00 which included the bushing ($8.60) and the link ($3.00) in 1911's that were pretty decent factory guns that had a very loose bushing fit and a stamped out junk link. Believe it or not, I improved several Norincos with this simple fix. No. They were not bullseye guns. No. They were not the most accurate. But Yes, my clients were happy with the fix and the improvement.
Hunter Customs and Dave Sample:Pistolsmith are at the exact opposite end of the 1911 business. I doubt if there is anything about 1911's that we agree about because I did not make my bones as a factory gun tweaker. I am not a welder. I am not a machinist. I do not believe in applying heat to any part of a 1911. I do not believe in the barrels he seems to like and do not use them in what I do. I do not build Custom Commander size guns. ( One exception: The GEN C E LEMAY 45 SS Commander size 1911). I do not like guide rods in Commanders but love them in Toy Guns. Bob and I are both good men but trained under different circumstances. I am self taught. he was taught by an old time smith who did things the best way they could back then and I have no problem with that. He is still in business, I am not. I think that is it very healthy to see the different aspects of 1911 work that he and I talk about here for the rest of the members of this forum. I am assuming that we can both feel free to disagree, but still be civil about it. There are as many ways of viewing The Art of the 1911 as there are Pistolsmiths. I disagree with his view on slide to frame fit also. I think this is one of the most important aspects of a Custom 1911 Build. I think EVERYTHING need to be tight!

Relative to welding up barrels, I have pictures here of that kind of work done by a member of the American Handgunner's Club 100 Best who has butchered two barrels with the weld and cut deal. I used to have one done by a big time smith in the Denver area that was brazed with brass in the hood and lug area. I consider that a very crude way to do things in 2005. Back then, they had no choice. The two barrels that I have here were done in the last 10--12 years so there was no excuse for doing them except to save a buck. I know the man personally and he used to be a pal of mine. You will never know who he is from me, but let me say that I was very sad to see such work come out of his shop.

So I will continue to do things my way and Bob will contimue to do things his way and I am sure that all of our efforts will be OK with the people we do work for. It is a strange business full of many different ways to get to the same basic result. A Very Nicely Done 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol.

Dave Sample
March 31, 2005, 03:08 PM
Just thought you might want to see some pictures if this new barrel fitting style with the weld and cut deal


Here's the 38 Super Colt '70 series barrel. Nice job job those lower lugs. Huh?

Top View looks nice.


Then it gets strange with the slide stop treatment.


Here is two of these dandy's, one 38. one 45.


Look at the hole in the links


Dave Sample
March 31, 2005, 03:14 PM
The top barrel is one I fit that has about 50,000 rounds through it.


hey! Is that my armorer's mark on the disconnector rail? Wow!


Well folks, it kind of makes me glad I am not a "Me Too Guy". I have never been a "Joiner". I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Dave Sample
March 31, 2005, 03:16 PM
Oh by the way. Here is a shot of the two of them with theior rescpective slide stops. Sad, huh?


Hunter Customs
March 31, 2005, 11:30 PM
A loose fit barrel is just that loose fit and never goes back to the same lockup all the time.
Three critical areas in good barrel fit at the back of the barrel are, hood area both sides and back, radial lugs on the top of the barrel, lower lug which includes the link and slide stop pin. For a barrel to be consistant these three areas must fit very well. If one is loose it can cause the other to be loose which will give inconsistant barrel lockup.
A good example of this was in the 80's when Colt was getting several complaints about the radial lugs in the slide and on the barrel being rolled and in some cases sheared. What caused this was poor fit barrels. Not only did the loose fit barrels have poor accuracy but they were also damaging parts because they were creating timing issues in the gun.
In conclusion for a gun to shoot the kind of groups like the one in the picture of the target I posted, it will need to be of good quality, hard fit both front and rear.
By the way the barrel that shot the group was an Ed Brown barrel.
Bob Hunter

March 31, 2005, 11:35 PM
Erm, Dave, didn't you say if you can't spell it you shouldn't work on it? Remember the "drimmel" thing?

Sorry, couldn't resist :D

PS: it's "sistema"

Hunter Customs
March 31, 2005, 11:51 PM
I'm not sure what your pictures are suspose to represent poor welding or poor workmanship on fitting of the barrels. Either way they are not even close to one done the right way.
The barrel on the bottom does not have enough dwell time on the lower lug. The way it's cut it would make the gun out of time and respond like a blow back action. It also appears to be bent.
The top barrel is not quite so bad but it appears to not have enough material in the feet area of the lower lug for a good lockup and the link appears to not have enough clearence to clear the radius of the lower lug.
I've seen high quality match grade barrels that looked as bad as the two you have pictured all because the people that were trying to fit them did not know what they were doing.
Bob Hunter

April 1, 2005, 09:45 AM

I think you realize that your response absurdly avoids the question. Or do you actually believe that the countless loose fitting 1911s out there (as originally built) are all eating their lugs like that bad run of Colts?

The question was: Can a well fitted link improve accuracy? Your answer suggests you have no experience with the question. I'm certain you are very good at producing tightly fitted 1911s, but for you to disagree with Dave on this point you'd actually have to have some firsthand knowledge. And saying that a loose gun will just destroy itself does not suggest you have that knowledge.

Further, the mention of timing also suggests you haven't thought about this. The only real way to create a timing issue is with an overly long link.

Dave Sample
April 1, 2005, 11:45 AM
Handy catches me every time! I used to be married to a Catholic Girl who could spell any word there was, but she is long gone and my spelling has suffered a great deal. Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. I no longer own one of those things so I couldn'r look at the slide to check spelling! I will make a note of the correct spelling and I won't shoot one again until I can spell it right!
Bob is right about lock up. He knows that it affects accuracy. To install a gunsmith Kart NM Barrel in a factory gun would be about $225.00 labor and about $ 180.00 for the barrel, bushing, link, and pin. I am slow and careful so it takes about three hours of my time and I charge $75.00 per hour. I would require a very well built , tight gun to start with or I would not waste my time or my client's money. That would give the shooter about 2-3 inches at 50 Yards. The $35.00 fix with a decent gun would deliver about 4-5 inches at that distance. Take your pick! I could do it either way, and did. I will stand by what I said to start with. Most factory guns can be improved by the intallation of a new link, a new link pin, and a NM Barrel Bushing. Take it or leave it, or argue about it. Makes no difference to me!

April 1, 2005, 12:10 PM
Jeez, Dave. I don't correct spelling. That was Romulous.

April 1, 2005, 12:17 PM
Jeez, Dave. I don't correct spelling. That was Romulous.

Okay, now that was funny! :D

Hunter Customs
April 1, 2005, 01:59 PM
I'm not sure if you want an honest answer or are just trolling. Maybe I misunderstood what you were asking but my knowledge of 1911 guns goes much further than what you believe. That being said I do not claim to know it all, but over the years I have gained a reasonable amount of knowledge of 1911 guns. I'm not avoiding answering any question, I was trying to explain barrel fit but I take it thats not what you are interested in. To answer the question you just ask. Does a well fit barrel link improve accuracy in a 1911 gun? To some degree yes. I believe my original comment on this was, if a barrel link is changed for another barrel link of the same size on a loose fit barrel it does nothing to improve the mechanical accuracy in a 1911 gun. I'm not sure what part of that statement you can't comprehend. Now to go further in hopes that you can comprehend what I'm saying, I do concur with Dave, a well fit barrel bushing will improve accuracy in a 1911 to some degree. If memory serves me correctly I do not ever recall saying it did not.
Now my question is. If a barrel is loose in areas other than the link and bushing what makes you think the lock up is consistant?
Bob Hunter

April 1, 2005, 02:43 PM
Now my question is. If a barrel is loose in areas other than the link and bushing what makes you think the lock up is consistant?
Browning lock up relies on the barrel being held between several fixed points, which I'm sure we both agree on. In the original 1911 design (pre gunsmithing), those points might be summerized this way:

1. Bushing: Provides vertical and lateral stability to the front of the barrel. Provides no longitudinal or fore/aft stability.

2. Lower lug and link: Provides the forward limit of the barrel and slide, as well as longitudinal stability because the link is pulling the two lower lugs down and level against the slide stop pin. This also provides vertical stability to the back of the barrel, but little lateral stability since the frame cut and lower lug have some lateral play and are well below centerline.

3. Hood: Provides the forward pressure on the barrel to allow the link to time the barrel into the upper slide lugs. Provides no longitudinal stability (unfitted).

4. Upper lugs: Provides fixed fore and aft lockup to insure consistant headspace during cycle. They provide no lateral or longitudinal stability.

5. Slide and barrel: The curved upper surfaces mate to provide lateral stability.

When you fit a barrel in 1911 you are not doing something that wasn't being done before. Now you are ADDING increased longitudinal stability with an oversized hood, and increasing the horizontal stability by greatly increasing the down force on the lower lug using the slide. But looking at the "loose" 1911s design you can see that all the elements of consistancy are there, if play is kept out of the link, bushing and foreaft upper lugs.

Your statement about "same size link" is the confusing part. Same length - if it is the correct length to begin with, then that is the link to use, and that length is determined solely by the lower lug surface (if the barrel lugs are also in spec). But the size of the link HOLES determine the amount of play both vertically and longitudinally that will be seen between slide stop and lower lug. THAT is the point of using a nicer link, and why I (and Dave, I guess) believe a tightly fitted link with no play will increase consistancy.

The 1911 slide/barrel relationship is fairly unique - one of the only Browning type pistols where the barrel tilts out of horizontal to lock, but is level with the slide in the unlocked position. Gunsmiths like yourself have developed some fairly drastic and interesting methods to make the original design work in a fundamentally different way than intended and have netted accuracy results that are as good as other, simpler designs that don't require hand fitting. My hat is off to you, but don't confuse the work you do with all the other ways of achieving consistancy. One has only to look at the seemingly sloppy "lock up" of a P38 or Beretta 92 to realize that consistancy can be had without the expense of extremely small clearances. The no clearance method works, but one can also keep the clearances where they matter least and tighten up the parts that do the most work.

FYI, I'm called lots of things, but rarely troll.

Dave Sample
April 1, 2005, 06:42 PM
Jeeeze Handy! I now have cable and this thing is so fast it skipped to you and I did it again. I am going to have to go back to dial-up if this keeps up. I am really sorry I get you mixed up here. I still think it was a funny post and we have to give him five points for it. And take away five atta-boys for my mistake!

UH1-D Rotorhead
June 14, 2006, 04:17 PM
Purchased 3 SLM 45 acp barrels....finish is superb, equal to my Bar-Sto, and the price ($89.00) each with link and SS bushing was too good to pass; anyway, I purchased these barrels to replace the 2 piece SA barrels in my GI and Mil-specs, which I have mildly customized with all the internals dumped for Ed Brown, Caspian, and Wilson parts, MS housings replaced with S&A arched checkered SS, and solid alum triggers; the barrels "dropped in" as advertised, with only a vigorous cycling of the slide 20-30 times to insure proper seating of the lugs. The fit is definitely tighter than the factory barrel, but not so much so to cause problems when racking the slide. Put 250 rounds through one of the pistols without a hitch. Is there such a thing as Drop in? ;)

June 16, 2006, 03:38 PM
Changing link length toa longer one typivcally results in the barrel ridinh the link.
Instead of the barrel feet pushing it into the slide, the link does the pushing.
It is not really designed for this and a broken link is usually the eventual outcome.
If there is enough depth on the lugs to shorten the link, and then cut the barrel feet again, you can improve the vertical lockup.

June 16, 2006, 10:07 PM
How the heck will removing even more material 'improve the vertical lockup'?

June 17, 2006, 11:33 AM
The barrel feet will now be correctly riding on the stop pin and wil cme to a consistent position.
The lugs are not supposed to ever 'top out' in the slide. This will just cause a jamb and break a link very quickly (and if frced enough bend the slide stop pin).
Vertical position is not controlled by the slide, you just have to have enough lug engagement to take the load produced when fired.
The vertical battery is controlled by the barrel feet.

June 17, 2006, 11:47 AM
So......you are saying Nowlin, Barsto, Kart, Miller and Kuhnhausen are all wrong?
I've got to wonder, where did you get your info? :confused:
Do you work as a gunsmith? :(

June 17, 2006, 09:42 PM
I think Kuhnhausen says exactly the same thing I am saying.
Riding the link and not having the barrel feet produce teh vertical lockup has always been seen as incorrect.
Before the ready availability of aftermarket barrels with oversized feet we used to weld them up and then cut them back using a small milling cutter riding in the slide stop holes. The jig is available from Brownells now, but for many years they had to be made.
Guess you think all the years of welding and the now oversized barel feet are not required?

Iron bottom
June 18, 2006, 06:53 AM
Had me going, Brick. You said the lugs should never top out in the slide. I now think you were saying the lugs should never top out in the slide by riding a long link. Rather the barrel feet and slide stop pin should provide the vertical lock up. When I fit the barrel feet, they will lift the barrel up as far as the lugs will allow, and also lift the slide to remove any play in the rails while in battery. Then I measure for the correct link size. Right or wrong? What say you guys?

June 18, 2006, 11:24 AM
Iron Bottom,
I agree with you 100%.

I DO NOT agree with the following:

"If there is enough depth on the lugs to shorten the link, and then cut the barrel feet again, you can improve the vertical lockup."

"The lugs are not supposed to ever 'top out' in the slide."

"Vertical position is not controlled by the slide,"

I do not see how removing even more material from the lower lugs will improve lock-up.
Also, if a shorter link is fitted in an attempt to 'improve' lock-up, the rear travel of the barrel may be stopped by the link instead of the vertical impact surface of the frame. This is what will break links.
A good technical discussion of this can be found at:

June 18, 2006, 08:35 PM
If the lugs top out in the slide (go to zero clearance) the oddds of things operating correctly for any length of time are pretty darn small.
The barrel feet are cut to ensure enough lug engagement for safety (80-90% is good enough).
It would take an awful bad setup to have the lug stop the downward travel of the barrel before it hits the frame.
I see more broken links from cheap links (punched out not machined) and too much length being used.
The barrel strikes the slide as it rises and the load is transfered to the link and the slide stop cross pin as the link swings over vertical.
Many stock guns have enough play in the sldie frame vertically to allow the slide to bump up nad over the lug, but they seem, to break pretty quickly from the extra beating.

June 18, 2006, 10:45 PM
your experiences and techniques certainly differ from mine.
Maybe we are from different parts of the country?
Shall we just agree to disagree?