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Old July 17, 2017, 03:57 AM   #1
JJ45
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1911 Preventive Maintenance

Eliminate two factors that are critical to 1911 operation;
1.The pistol is properly cleaned and lubed
2.The magazines you are using are proven

As PREVENTIVE maintenance, what 3 factors would you consider most important in the reliability of your 1911 for IDPA competition and a lot of practice? BESIDES the two factors mentioned above.

To keep it running 1-2-3 most important areas....Thanks J
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Old July 17, 2017, 04:48 AM   #2
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I change the recoil spring every 2K rounds or so. Springs are dirt cheap - $2 apiece from shopRuger.com.

New recoil springs assure feeding reliability, in my experience, at least...

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Old July 17, 2017, 05:44 AM   #3
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I have 1911's made in 1917-1918, 1942-1943 I thought I would do more than just oil them occasionally like changing recoil springs every World War or so but since they perform admirably the way they are I guess not. I shot close to a one hole group with one the other day, ran an oily patch down barrel, lubed rails and put it back in the safe.
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Old July 17, 2017, 07:46 AM   #4
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Yeah, recoil springs seem to last much longer than advertised.
For those of us who reload, probably the one thing that will assure it goes bang is to know how to make good ammo.
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Old July 17, 2017, 12:39 PM   #5
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Clean, lube, inspect. Have spare parts you are capable of replacing and know a good gunsmith for what you can't do yourself.
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Old July 17, 2017, 06:07 PM   #6
Aguila Blanca
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Preventive maintenance BESIDES the two items you listed?

3. Change recoil spring every 5000 rounds.

4. Don't touch anything else.
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Old July 17, 2017, 08:53 PM   #7
lee n. field
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
4. Don't touch anything else.
In other words, resist the urge to tinker?
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Old July 17, 2017, 10:31 PM   #8
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In addition to the recoil spring, I would suggest a new firing pin spring every 6,000 rounds or so.
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Old July 18, 2017, 08:47 AM   #9
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lee n. field
In other words, resist the urge to tinker?
Well, the question was about preventive maintenance. More 1911s have been ruined by people trying to "improve" them than by any three other causes.

Tinkering is fine, if you like tinkering and are willing to accept the consequences. If you have a 1911 that's reliable and hits what you're shooting at, tinkering is probably not recommended. Once I prove that a new (to me) 1911 runs, I don't tinker. I save my tinkering for the guns I assemble from used parts acquired from various sources. The two pistols I used when I was competing (and which I will use again if I return to competition) are NOT potential candidates for tinkering. They work -- "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
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Old July 18, 2017, 08:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ45 View Post
Eliminate two factors that are critical to 1911 operation;
1.The pistol is properly cleaned and lubed
2.The magazines you are using are proven

As PREVENTIVE maintenance, what 3 factors would you consider most important in the reliability of your 1911 for IDPA competition and a lot of practice? BESIDES the two factors mentioned above.

To keep it running 1-2-3 most important areas....Thanks J
Besides cleaning and lubing (and I do more lubing than cleaning) and occasionally changing springs, I don't do any other maintenance to my guns. Quality mags are always a factor, and I lube my mags from time to time with a little spray lock lubricant, the graphite stuff that dries completely. Other than that run decent ammo, replace anything that breaks. Hardly rocket science.
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Old July 18, 2017, 05:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
...
4. Don't touch anything else.
THIS is the most critical thing you can do to keep your firearms running! Read it. Memorize it. If you have any questions, READ IT AGAIN!

Seriously, if it's working properly, just keep it cleaned and lubed. Keep some spare recoil springs on hand and replace as needed. If you're worried about magazines wearing out, keep a couple new in wrap with the recoil springs.

Otherwise, if it's working properly, don't touch anything else!

Doesn't just apply to 1911s, but firearms in general. You wouldn't believe how many bags of gun parts gunsmiths see because somebody took a functional firearm and thought "Gee, it's pretty old/looks dirty/has a lot of rounds/some guy on the internet said these need to be really looked at sometimes".
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Old July 18, 2017, 05:45 PM   #12
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Just a devils advocate question here.
If a coil spring gets fatiqued by compression and relaxing,
Would not the hammer spring be subject to that as well?
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Old July 18, 2017, 08:54 PM   #13
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Here's a run-down by 1911Tuner, who used to post here and who is regarded by some as the reincarnation of JMB. Tuner is a 1911 whisperer. He wrote this a number of years ago for M1911.org.

http://www.m1911.org/technic23.htm
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Old July 18, 2017, 09:26 PM   #14
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I will add one note - If you want to replace parts, especially springs, make sure that you are not replacing a quality OEM part with a piece of junk you got cheap at a gun show. How do you know? First, don't replace parts just because someone says "replace everything every X rounds." Know the gun well enough to know when a part needs replacement. Know the source, or at least the seller, of the parts you buy.

My own practice is, if at all possible, to buy GI parts, and that does not mean something in a tan envelope; learn what GI parts look like and how they are packaged.

Jim
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Old July 18, 2017, 11:03 PM   #15
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I changed the recoil spring after 500 rounds.

But then I found the original under the couch. . .
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Old July 18, 2017, 11:59 PM   #16
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Besides clean & lube ...and good mags....

I will add :

Clean to me means field strip after every range trip ....
Every 1,500 rds, remove firing pin & extractor & clean and lube...
Every 3,000 rds break gun down to a bare frame, inspect clean & lube.
( I put about 500 rds a week, thru my primary 1911...).

1. I replace recoil spring every 8 weeks, I replace Firing Pin spring every 4 months or 16 weeks, I replace main spring about every 25,000 rds or once a year. About every 75,000 rds I will replace the leaf or sear spring. If I choose to run a " shok buff" in the gun...and Wilson recommends it on their .45acp's but not on their 9mm's ....I replace it about every 2,000 rds or if it shows any wear... I go back & forth on wether shok buffs are needed - but i tend to believe Wilson Combat knows their guns ...

2. Good mags...means clean mags / from a good mfg. I carry 12 mags for my gun...and as I run thru drills...speed reloads, tac reloads, etc...some may get used more than others and build up more carbon on inside of feed lips or on followers. So once a month, I set aside an hour to break each of those 12 mags down, remove base pads, take out springs, etc / clean & inspect each mag & reassemble...mags last a long time but i keep 4 new mags in inventory ( I only use Wilson, ETM mags with the oversized phenolic base pad ). If a mag gives me any issue ...I mark it with a permanent marker ...set it aside for inspection. I will clean & test it 4 or 5 times, on different practice range trips...if it burps again, I throw it out ! After 5 test runs it goes back in primary rotation, if it performs.

3. Check tension on extractor about every 6 months or every 10,000 rds.../ I do it by feel & experience but find a good local gunsmith to do it - or Brownells sells a tool & jig to do it.

Last edited by BigJimP; July 19, 2017 at 12:08 AM.
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Old July 19, 2017, 11:04 AM   #17
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I had a set of mags that would splay out at the top, preventing ejection, and part of my weekly pre-match drill was testing each mag for lock-back and smooth ejection.
Even though I don't use those particular mags anymore, I still perform the tests occasionally on match-day mornings.

Insert empty mag in gun, rack slide, eject mag. Repeat two or three times.

Put single round or snap-cap in mag, insert mag in gun, eject mag. Repeat two or three times.

At a sanctioned match last year, even though I'd performed those tests two or three times in the week prior, one of my mags stopped locking the slide midway through the match.

Some years earlier, I was nearing the end of a match, realized that I hadn't performed the tests pre-match, told myself, "You haven't had any problems yet, so why would they start now?", and, of course, on the last stage two of my mags didn't eject cleanly.

Some people will just toss a mag that stops working perfectly, but I'll replace springs and followers, tweak the tube, etc., to keep a $25-$35 mag in action.
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Old July 19, 2017, 11:39 AM   #18
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You only need to change springs when they break. Not on a schedule. Spring do not lose temper from being compressed.
"...most important in the reliability..." Good ammo.
"...mags that would splay out at the top..." Stored/transported how? Drop 'em a lot? Mags with spread lips tend to double feed and such, but ejection has nothing to do with it.
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Old July 19, 2017, 01:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
mags that would splay out at the top..." Stored/transported how? Drop 'em a lot? Mags with spread lips tend to double feed and such, but ejection has nothing to do with it.
Stored empty, in a padded nylon pouch.

Dropped six or ten times each, every match.

Never any issues with feeding, they'd splay enough that the tubes would drag on the sides of the frame above the trigger tracks. It wasn't the feedlips, but the small "ears" just forward of the formed lips.


I also had a set of mags that did spread at the lips, and those would eject rounds at the worst time, usually up into the magwell where I'd try to compress them against the slide on reloads.
Those mags had a heat-treat or dimensional issues, and were replaced by the manufacturer.
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Old July 19, 2017, 06:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T O'Heir
Spring do not lose temper from being compressed.
But they do lose temper from repeated flexing.
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Old July 19, 2017, 07:58 PM   #21
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I was shooting Bullseye Pistol at CMP Talladega next to the AMU shootes and asked them about M1911 durability. These guys were shooting 5000 to 7000 rounds a month out of their M1911's. These were Caspian Arm slides and frames.

They wore out triggers and sears, generally within the year. Barrels wore out every couple of years. I don't remember if extractors broke. None of their Caspian Arm M1911's had cracked a frame or slide and the guns had been in service before any of the shooters had joined the AMU. I am quite sure springs were being replaced because these are consumable items. These guys, like all Bullseye shooters, lubed frequently during the match. I see, and I copy, every ten rounds I am applying a drop of oil on the end of the barrel where it meets the barrel bushing. We change targets ever ten rounds so I have a frequent oiling breaks in 2700 Bullseye. I frequently add a drop of oil on the rails between targets of a 2700 Bullseye match. I also try to keep the barrel link and slide stop lubed. Others have told me they don't oil that area during a match, but that area does experience wear, and I have an oil bottle! Bullseye shooters told me the elbow is the drip point. I think I over lube compared to others, but, so what. I ought to own shares in Mobil because I am sure I am raising their stock price.

Change magazines when they malfunction.
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Old July 20, 2017, 02:00 AM   #22
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Post #13
Thank you for posting the link Aguila Blanca.

A quick cut and paste and I have a copy of it on my computer as well as a hard copy.

Thanks again.
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Old July 20, 2017, 07:51 AM   #23
Don P
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Quote:
I change the recoil spring every 2K rounds or so.
Fixin what ain't broke Clean and lube and when issues arise ,trouble shoot repair the problem and move on.
IDPA is a low round count match, at best 6 stages at 18 rounds, 108 rounds
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Old July 20, 2017, 09:31 AM   #24
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Taper crimp
Plunk test
Never going a match/practice session with a perfectly clean gun.
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Old July 20, 2017, 12:30 PM   #25
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"Spring do not lose temper from being compressed."
"But they do lose temper from repeated flexing."

Good springs will do neither; bad springs will do both.

I have often stated that good magazines springs will not lose tension from being compressed, even for decades. But not all springs are good, and some of those now being sold are pretty bad. I once removed the long-loaded magazine from a 1911A1 "bureau drawer defense gun". I turned the magazine upside down and shook it - six rounds fell on the floor, the follower stayed down. The spring came out as a compact mass with no tension at all. The owner was not ignorant, he fired in competition, but never checked his HD gun. The magazines were gun show "bargains", sold as GI surplus; they weren't.

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