View Full Version : 1911 Hammer not seated symetrically

September 11, 2000, 02:54 PM

I just bought a used Colt Officers' Model. The hammer has almost no clearance on the left side and is rubbing against the frame when the hammer falls. The gun fires fine.

Any thoughts on the cause? Did someone sit on this gun when it was cocked and locked maybe? Can this be corrected? Is it a big deal?

Thanks for any help?



Jim V
September 11, 2000, 07:09 PM
Most 1911's show that type of mark on the hammer. If teh pistol goes bang when you pull the trigger, what is the problem except looks. It is easy to fix if you dont want the rub marks, take the hammer to a machinest that has access to a surface grinder and have him grind off .005" from each side of the hammer which extends above the frame.

Ne Conjuge Nobiscum
"If there be treachery, let there be jehad!"

September 12, 2000, 07:36 AM
I too have an Officer's ACP that does this. :( However, you may need to have an experienced smith look it over for a problem with the receiver. Back several years ago, Colt was having labor/QC problems. I don't know if union workers were intentionally damaging guns or if unskilled replacement workers were the problem, but the steel framed Officer's ACPs made during that time had numerous flaws. :( On mine, I eventually discovered that the hammer pin hole in the receiver was machined with an oversized and off axis hole. With the gun stripped, inserting the pin from the RIGHT side, you could move the pin side to side by .110". :confused: :mad: It was if there were 2 intersecting holes with a common point about half way through the receiver. It wasn't a very visible flaw when you were just looking at the gun. What put me on the trail was watching the pins as I pulled the trigger & lowered the hammer. First with no resistance, then riding it down with my thumb.
While this is aggravating in the extreme, it probably is not unsafe with stock parts at full depth engagement. I wouldn't want to do a trigger job on one for someone else as the tolerance/slop could add up to a problem. :rolleyes:
The cure? Send it back to Colt, send to a good smith, have a precision bushing machined & pressed into an oversized reamed hole, or just live with it.
Mine also has a curved frame SIDE under the thumb safety. :rolleyes: I thought it was bent originally, but later determined that it was machined/ground/polished into that condition.
All in all, a dud. By the time I found it, I had already done a bunch of tuning/fitting, so Colt wouldn't touch it. I learned an important lesson from that. Always get out the gauges & check it out FIRST!!!

[This message has been edited by BBBBill (edited September 12, 2000).]

September 12, 2000, 10:08 AM
FWIW, I used to have a BHP made in the 1950s, when guns were presumably made with far more care and craftsmanship than we see nowadays. It had the same problem with the hammer: almost no clearance between the hammer and the slide on the left, and a rub mark on the left side of the hammer.

September 12, 2000, 01:41 PM

Thanks to all for your replies. The local smith said not to worry about it; too expensive to fix. Other than that, the pistol is of very fine fit and finish. It is a brightly polished stainless, including the trigger. An off-axis hammer pin hole would explain the problem I am observing.

I just sent it to a smith in Idaho named Mel Doyle for new sights and new springs throughout. When I took off the painted wood grips, the grip screw bushings were very corroded, so I wanted to have the entire gun dissassembled and cleaned. It sat in a drawer for ten years or more.

Thanks again,


George Stringer
September 13, 2000, 08:30 AM
Ledbetter, this is a common problem in these pistols. This is due to a slight misalignment or looseness in the hammer and hammer pin. The usual cure is reaming the pin hole in the frame and the hammer for oversize pins. I haven't had one yet that required a bushing. And sometimes the hammer slot is opened just a touch and polished. I haven't seen very many that the oversize pins would not correct. The main concern is that it doesn't hit the side of the slide recess. George

September 13, 2000, 01:55 PM
Hi George,

Well, that's kinda my concern. I guess I misspoke when I said the hammer hit the frame, it actually does hit the recess in the slide, but only about the bottom third of the hammer is rubbing.

The pistol is in the shop now, but just for new sights. Mel Doyle is the guy my local smith sends 1911's to. I think I'll shoot it as-is for a while before I spend the money on fixing this. The pistol is a beauty and seems to shoot pretty good. I'll know better when I get some sights on it that don't fly off.



September 14, 2000, 12:28 PM
"I learned an important lesson from that. Always get out the gauges & check it out FIRST!!!"

When I bought my 1991 Colt in 1993(?), immediately I thought "somethin' ain't right". I was used to the milsurp 1911A1's being loose, but this puppy was looser than them!
Using a Sears Craftsman Dial Indicator, I determined that the barrel hood could be pushed 12 thousandths out of lock at battery with thumb pressure only. I found that the Bushing had about 8 thousandths of slop in it.
My Norinco was put together better than this! I wrote to R. C. Whittacker (sic), President of Colt at the time and complained that it was amazing that in the land of the CNC Machine and the highly skilled Union Worker, that his plant could not turn out a product at least as good as coolie slave did with a 10" mill bastard file! That got his attention.
I was invited to send the piece back to Hartford. Colt ran it through the Custom Shop (I still have the receipt for 670.00 worth of hand work, marked "NC") where they replaced and hand fitted the bbl, bbl bushing, link, and SLIDE. When I got it back Colt included two factory targets signed by the custom smitty showing 1.25" groups at 25 yds.
I almost wrote to thank them, but, by golly this should never have left the factory floor, and you should not have to thank people for doing what you bought and paid for. Anyway, as BBBBill says...check first.

Pax Christi.

Rev. Joel+