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Old October 27, 2023, 06:26 PM   #1
mulespurs
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1911 new barrel ?

I have a 1911 commander length made by ATI in 45 acp. It cost me $400 and works 100%. However it is not as acurrate as would like. I am wondering if it makes sense to put an Ed Brown or similar barrel in it for under $200.

Or just trade up for a $600 pistol.

I'm kinda stuck on 1911 commander and 45acp.

What seems best to you?
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Old October 27, 2023, 08:33 PM   #2
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what kinda groups at what distance are you getting with the stock setup?
What distance do you intend to shoot at?
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Old October 27, 2023, 09:31 PM   #3
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A new barrel will not overcome any limits you might have as a shooter. I find the commander 45 a bit harder to control than a GI length 1911 in 45. If you want a smaller gun than GI, a CZ 75 is hard to beat in 9mm.
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Old October 27, 2023, 10:57 PM   #4
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The accuracy of any handgun depends on a number of factors and the accuracy of a 1911A1 pattern gun adds in a few more.

There are three basics common to all, the gun, the ammo, and the shooter.

Find a shooter, of demonstrated accuracy, and have them shoot your gun and ammo.

If the results are not drastically different, then the issue is most likely not you.

Get some different ammo for your gun and see if the accuracy changes enough to be significant. Try as many different kinds as your budget allows.

If possible, have someone else shoot the ammo you are using (now) in their gun and see if the results are the same, close, or much different.

Each one of these steps helps pin down which is the major factor in your issue. IF you're thinking about a replacement barrel for more accuracy, its best to determine if the gun is the problem, or not.

IF its not you, and its not the ammo, then its the gun, but the gun is a whole raft of things, and it includes how those things work together.

For example, if your barrel is accurate, but the gun doesn't reposition all its parts precisely the same way, every shot, its not going to be as accurate as it could be. And, the opposite is also true.

Quote:
However it is not as acurrate as would like.
This is a big question that needs to be answered up front, or you're just going to waste money and time.

How accurate do you think it ought to be?? Do some research and see the average of other guns. Everybody wants "match gun accuracy" and "combat reliability" and that's a tough thing to get both of.

If your expectations simply aren't realistic, you aren't going to get them easily, or possibly at all.

Commander size guns aren't generally made to be match gun accurate, even if they have all the bells and whistles to make people think they ought to be.

People will talk a lot about group size at X range, what is it you're looking for and not getting??

I've got a Colt that will do 2.5" groups at 25yds, from MY hands. That might sound like it could be better, but it's one ragged hole, and I can't do better, and don't expect better than that.

What are your standards??
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Old October 27, 2023, 10:58 PM   #5
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A new $600 1911 isn't likely to be any more accurate than your $400 ATI.

What kind of accuracy are you getting, at what distance, and what ammunition are you using? What kind of accuracy are you hoping for?
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Old October 28, 2023, 06:22 AM   #6
Sarge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulespurs View Post
I have a 1911 commander length made by ATI in 45 acp. It cost me $400 and works 100%. However it is not as acurrate as would like. I am wondering if it makes sense to put an Ed Brown or similar barrel in it for under $200.

Or just trade up for a $600 pistol.

I'm kinda stuck on 1911 commander and 45acp.

What seems best to you?
Yes. A fitted barrel & bushing from Brown will substantially increase your pistol's mechanical accuracy. I would add a 'match' slide stop, with a 0.200" crosspin while your at it. This provides the lower lugs with a stable & square platform. It's been a few years since I ordered one, but I've used Brown's version with excellent results.

Personally, I'd rather have the proven ATI Commander than a random $600 1911 that might not be reliable or any more accurate than the one you have.
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Old October 28, 2023, 10:03 AM   #7
Jim Watson
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What kind of group or score can you shoot with it?
What kind of group or score can you shoot with a different gun?
What kind of group or score can your deadeye buddy shoot with it?

What are you wanting to improve?
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Old October 28, 2023, 10:21 AM   #8
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If you like the ATI, and it lacks accuracy, yes, it would make sense to put a better barrel in it, along with the things 1911 smiths can economically do to increase mechanical accuracy.

You said it is not as accurate as would like. I'm not going to insult you and tell you it's the shooter and not the gun. I will assume you are accurately representing the facts.
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Old October 28, 2023, 10:32 AM   #9
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My Commander is probably the least accurate service-sized pistol I own, but it will put all rounds in a group no larger than the apparent width of the front sight; for defensive use, that's plenty accurate enough.
I just paid $500 for a new barrel to be fitted to another gun, and it will (did) shoot a 2" group at 50 yards, which makes me happy, but doubt I'll ever need that kind of accuracy in a .45 ACP handgun, other than for a smile.
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Old October 28, 2023, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickB View Post
I just paid $500 for a new barrel to be fitted to another gun, and it will (did) shoot a 2" group at 50 yards, which makes me happy, but doubt I'll ever need that kind of accuracy in a .45 ACP handgun, other than for a smile.
I used to run a Jackpot match. 5 classes. One was a 5" plate at 50 yards for 5" (or shorter) 1911s. Pay 5 bucks for 1 shot. If 1 person hits, they win. If 2 or more, then another round. If no-one hits, bow out or add a dollar and shoot again. We had one where the winner fired 12 rounds, and won over $100. That's worth a smile.
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Old October 28, 2023, 03:56 PM   #11
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“Yes. A fitted barrel & bushing from Brown will substantially increase your pistol's mechanical accuracy.”
The key word there is “fitted”. So in addition to your $200 barrel, you’re looking at another $100 to $200 to have a good gunsmith fit it. A drop in is probably not going to improve accuracy much. $200 spent on experimenting with different ammo and practice might give you better results. As others have mentioned, you haven’t said what kind of groups at what distance you’re getting now. That’s nessesary to form an opinion.
My bullseye match pistol was a $350 Norinco 1911, with a stock barrel, but I spent another $350 for gunsmithing (early 1980’s) which was mostly trigger and Wichita sights, but some barrel and bushing fitting. It will shoot 2 1/2 to 3 inches at 50 yards with my 200 grain LSWC handloads.
There was a YouTube video, I believe made by a gunsmith at Wilson Combat or Ed Brown, where he made a fixture to hold the barrel as a single shot, to eliminate human and mechanical error, and tested a bunch of stock and custom target barrels. (one was a Norinco) He proved there was little to no difference in barrels that were properly made to start with.
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Old October 29, 2023, 09:43 AM   #12
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American Handgunner magazine published a similar test; a WWII G.I. barrel was more accurate than one from a modern custom maker.
Who's doing the fitting is more important than the barrel maker.
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Old November 2, 2023, 06:33 PM   #13
mulespurs
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What I know

I have a practice target that is about 2' x 3' "an old tractor fuel tank" that is one of my prefered targets to plink at, it is 175 yards from my shooting area.

With my Kimber cdp 5" offhand I have taken the other guys money with 5 out of 7 shots on target, you can hear a nice "ding". There was a side wind at the time.

I cast all my bullets with a mihec 185 gr swc mold, size .452, lube and load with 5 gr Red Dot for a plinking load.

If the ATI can get halfway to the Kimber from where it's at I'll feel better.

It's plenty good for bad guys as it is, but I might have to deal with a striped gopher in my lawn at 20 yards before he charges.

Thank you for your opinions
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Old November 2, 2023, 10:01 PM   #14
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drop in

After an unfortunate incident with a squib round, we replaced the factory barrel on my Tisas 5"carry model with an Ed Brown "match" drop in w/ bushing. A few passes with the appropriate round file constituted the "minor fitting required".

I can't say that jacketed ammo saw a great change in group size, but......
My 200 gr LSWC reloads, running 900 fps, will plunk a 7 rd mag into 2-1/2" consistently at 25 yds, and 3 round groups often run about an inch. That is better than the factory barrel by far.

For what it's worth W-W p230 gr FMJ has been a very accurate factory load for me in several guns.
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Old November 3, 2023, 05:36 PM   #15
mulespurs
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I hope

I hope my experience is as good as yours.

Next I have to get a cararact fixed in the next couple of weeks and allow some recovery time, then get that barrel ordered.

I will report back after further testing.

Thank you for your support,
mulespurs
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Old November 4, 2023, 02:45 PM   #16
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Good luck.
Various relatives have had VERY good experiences with their cataract surgery. Hope the same holds true for you.
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Old November 4, 2023, 03:37 PM   #17
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A poor barrel in a 1911 (or any other gun) CAN contribute to poor accuracy.

But its a short barrel without rifle harmonic issues. Its easier for manufacturing processes to produce a 1911 barrel that will shoot reasonably well.

However! The nature of a 1911 provides several opportunities for the slide (sights) and the bore axis to be pointed in slightly different directions.

That little Truth provided a livelihood for the pioneers of accurizing rattly war horse 1911's into very accurate handguns.

Modern production methods (CNC Machining,investment casting,etc) allow an outfit like ATI to give very good bang for the buck.

A new drop on barrel can give significant gains IF ATI built a crappy barrel to begin with. But likely ATI built at least a decent barrel. You have to name your enemy to fight him.

If the issue is bushing to barrel fit, fitting a bushing to your ATI barrel will help. If the breech end of the barrel can float around in the slide, for any of several reasons, accuracy will suffer. That includes coming to battery on the slide stop.

All of that can be relatively perfect, but if your slide rattles on your frame the sights on your slide are rattling,too.

Getting your cataract fixed may help more than a barrel.

Once thats done,whanging away at an old tractor might be fun, but it doesn't prove much.

I like cast bullets and they can shoot very well. Your relatively new (not broken in) barrel may not like those 452 dia 185 gr flying ash trays. Maybe.
So try some 200 gr H+G SWC bullets .Or even (gasp) some quality jacketed bullets. Just to nail down whether the gun will shoot. Ammo IS part of the equation.
Get on a bench,rest your wrists in sandbags and call your shots.

See how you do. Narrow down what needs fixing. And have fun!
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Old November 21, 2023, 11:21 AM   #18
gnappi
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Before using a big hammer solution of replacing the barrel, make sure the bushing, and link as well as the trigger are optimized.
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