View Full Version : Order of Accurizing a 1911?

May 14, 2008, 01:12 AM
I have a Sistema that I'd like to upgrade to improve its accuracy. Currently it functions well but it's very loose. So I'm intending to fit a match barrel and bushing, tighten the slide, fit the rails, and install a new trigger group. It's currently at the gunsmiths having a bomar sight mounted.

I'd like to try my hand at fitting a match barrel and bushing (e.g. Kart's). But I'll likely have the slide and rail work performed by a qualified gunsmith.

What I'd like to know is which jobs should be performed prior to the others. For instance, I assume that the slide and rail work should be done before any barrel fitting.

What's the typical order of the tasks performed when accurizing a 1911?

May 14, 2008, 02:17 AM
By Sistema, I assume you are talking about a 1927 Argentine Colt and not a Ballester-Molina. If you have a Ballester-Molina, you can forget about doing anything to it, as it will not accept most 1911 parts.

I generally advise people against tightening the rails on old military pistols, as the rails have generally worn to the point that they are difficult to tighten enough to compensate for the wear without major work. Another reasoning behind my recommendation is that the barrel locks to the slide, and the sights mount to the slide, so you can achieve major results by simply fitting a good barrel/bushing set, properly cutting the barrel lug, and fitting the appropriate barrel link. Fit the extractor and drop the ejection port will make the pistol a little more tame so it launches the brass into space and not into your forehead. Polish the feed ramp to get rid of humps and bumps, replace the sights and trigger, and you have done most of the easy part that will give you major results. If you plan on tightening the rails anyway, make sure you follow the proper procedures or have it done by a smith. Peening the rails and refitting them will improve accuracy further, but is a major undertaking for most people.

May 14, 2008, 01:47 PM
thanks - yes it's a 1927 model, one of the FMAP imports.

May 14, 2008, 10:03 PM
I would move slide tightening to the bottom of your list. As previously posted, with a good slide to barrel fit and good sights you're not going to gain much by removing slide play unless it's really loose. Good sights and a good trigger are more important to me. I have seen a lot of 1911s that rattle when shook still able to chew the center out of a target.

Hunter Customs
May 15, 2008, 10:12 AM
I agree with the others, you will gain the most accuracy with a good hard fit barrel (hard fit means tight at both ends).
In the 1911 platform 80 percent of the mechanical accuraccy is the barrel and the fit of the barrel.
The only time I would consider tightening the slide to frame would be to correct the functioning of the gun, in most guns this will not be needed.
That being said if you are going to tighten the slide to frame there's only two ways I recommend it be done. You can weld up the frame rails and then machine them on a milling machine or have Accu-Rails installed in the frame, I prefer the weld method.
I seen more then one frame and slide ruined by the old squeeze and peen methods.
Bob Hunter

May 16, 2008, 10:13 PM
So if I were to fit a new barrel, link, and bushing, and at a later date decided to go ahead w/ the slide work, could this affect the fit of these components?

May 17, 2008, 01:10 AM
So if I were to fit a new barrel, link, and bushing, and at a later date decided to go ahead w/ the slide work, could this affect the fit of these components?Barrel and bushing, no. Link, definitely. The link is connected to the slide stop (frame) and connects to the bottom of the barrel lug (slide assembly). If you tighten the slide by peening the rails, you actually make the slide ride lower on the frame. Since there is little to be gained in the way of accuracy by tightening the rails, don't do it.

May 17, 2008, 04:54 AM
On semi auto handguns the barrel to slide fit is quite possibly the most important item. It allows constant return to battery position.

May 18, 2008, 09:50 PM
thanks - I wasn't sure of whether tightening could change the slide geometry sufficiently to alter the fit of the barrel.

I'm not wed to having slide work done - it's just that the slide is noticeably loose, so I've been considering it. But I'll go ahead w/ the other jobs and see whether these get the pistol to where I'd like for it to be.

May 20, 2008, 09:06 AM
Start with a fitted bushing. I like EGW. If that does the trick you're only 20 something bucks in debt! A melt EGW bushing did wonders to my PT1911.

Hunter Customs
May 25, 2008, 10:26 AM
I pretty much agree with the info Scorch posted about the barrel, bushing, and link, however there's a little more to this then just changing the link.

If the slide to frame is going to be tightened after a new barrel has been fit the first thing that needs to be considered is how much tolerance you are going to remove by tightening the slide to frame. Then you will need to figure what barrel link needs to be used, it should be shorter then the original link, so the lower lug of the barrel may need some fitting again ( be sure and measure each link the number stamped on them is not always accurate). Once the correct link is installed on the barrel you will need to recheck the barrel timing as it has changed now that the link's been changed and the tolerances of the frame and slide has been changed.
If you don't correct the timing you will most likely see shearing of the radial lugs on the barrel and in the slide. If the shearing continues both the barrel and slide will be ruined.

In conclusion, if the slide is so loose on the frame that it really needs to be corrected it should be done before fitting the new barrel.
Bob Hunter