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Old August 20, 2021, 11:30 PM   #16
Tex S
Senior Member
Join Date: November 12, 2008
Location: Fort Worth, TEXAS
Posts: 894
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
The GI bushings I used when in the Army were essentially "single use" items. Meaning, that if they were removed from the frame, they were done and not reused.

The bottom of the bushing has a thin "skirt" that the staking tool flares against the inside of the frame, locking the bushing in place. The bushing can be unscrewed but doing this after staking (original installation) bends/breaks the skirt section so it cannot be restaked with any certainty that it will hold.

IF you get a screw stuck so badly that unscrewing the grip screw also unscrews the grip screw bushing from the fame, its best to just toss both, assuming you can get them apart to get the grip out. Usually one can, but doing so destroys the bushing anyway and even is the screw isn't damaged, I'd toss it just because its evil!

The staking used on the grip screw bushings is similar to the plunger tube, where a thin bit of metal around the edge of the bushing or tube leg is flared and the metal of the frame is not disrupted. Its quite different from the more common method of staking a screw head or sight where a center punch is used and it disrupts both the screw head and the surrounding metal "locking" them together.

There's no reason to not use a "permanent" type loctite on the bushings of your personal gun if they are loose or have been removed. It would be much simpler and easier than trying to recreat the GI staking method which would require not just the tools but also a new bushing, in order to work. Probably would even be stronger.

The GI 1911/1911A1 was made so that the front sight, plunger tube and grip screw bushings, and the ejector were not remove and replace parts. IF they came off, new parts were installed and staked. Though the ejector wasn't staked. Factory installation was a press fit onto the frame. A replacement of the ejecor (a pretty rare thing in GI service) didn't get staked, a hole was dripped in the frame and a retaining pin installed. The front leg of the ejector has a notch in it for just that purpose.

None of this necessarily applies to a non Colt, non Govt contract 1911/A1. Today's multiple manufacturers do what they think is best, and sometimes that only generally follows the pattern used in GI spec guns.

The guns I saw, inspected and worked on in the Army in the 70s were the WWII GI guns and a few were even actual 1911s NOT 1911A1s.
A few were almost like new and still nice and tight (service new not match gun tight) but most were more worn and some were very loose, but there was no service spec for being loose. IF the gun passed its function check, it stayed in service.

Interesting tidbit, of the literally tens of hundred of guns I checked inspecting arms rooms only 3 ever came into my shop for actual repair. And all were for the same thing. Gun dropped on hard surface smashing rear sight. (cracked or broken grips were replaced by company armorers).

In this regard the GI 1911s were like Browning's other masterpiece, the M2HB .50 caliber machine gun. I saw quite a few of those come through my shop, and all for the same base reason, someone dropped it and broke something, most often charging handle or sight ears. One time they actually broke one of the grip frames. Point is, the guns just didn't break or really wear out, it took some GI breaking them to take them out of service.

Yes, I know that is an overgeneralization and I'm sure there were guns that actually broke parts. I just never saw any 1911A1s or Ma Duce that had parts fail in the years I supported the 9th Infantry and 2nd Armored divisions. They got broken, but never seemed to break on their own.

Cannot and WILL NOT say that about the M16, M60 and several other small arms I saw in service.
Interesting post. Thanks.
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