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Old March 12, 2013, 11:24 PM   #1
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How "drop-in" are 1911 barrels?

If I wanted to try out a different barrel in my 1911, how involved is the swap?

I know there are different lengths of barrel links available, but is it pretty easy to tell when you've got the 'right' one? Can I use the existing barrel bushing, or should a new bushing be fitted along with the new barrel?

I just don't want to crash any parts together and goon up the gun.
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Old March 13, 2013, 01:36 AM   #2
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I put in a colt replacement barrel in my commander and it fit perfectly. I first took some measurements to see how close it was to the original and it was so close that I don't think I could hand fit it any better. Did I just get lucky? I
don't know but it sure shoots nice. Hope you have the same results.
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Old March 13, 2013, 07:05 AM   #3
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Hard to say, because there are so many makers now.

Bar-Sto makes good stuff, and I got a "semi drop-in" from them a few years ago for my Commander in .38 Super, but still decided to send it back to them with the slide for a better fit than I thought I could do myself.

I later bought a 9mm barrel from a small maker for the same pistol and it did drop right in.

I would expect Colt parts to pretty easily drop in to a Colt gun.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:36 AM   #4
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Might besure there no up and down figgle when in battery. The most barrel changes need is change the barrel link to get a nice snug fit and not to tight.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:40 AM   #5
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In my opinion, there's no such thing as anything "drop-in" for a 1911 besides grips.
Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen
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Old March 13, 2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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That is an interesting comment as six companies and a government factory (just in the U.S.) made around four million of those guns with near total interchangeability, yet now the "to heck with the spec" companies have got the whole thing so messed up that Constantine is, unfortunately, right.

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Old March 13, 2013, 11:42 AM   #7
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There are generally three classes of barrel, "drop in", "pre-fit", and "gunsmith fit". The first should be sort of like a G.I. barrel, in that it should fit in any within-spec gun. "Pre-fit", or "semi drop-in" means the barrel is somewhat oversized in key areas, not so oversized that it won't still drop-in to a lot of guns, but perhaps requiring a bit of fitting to a specific gun. "Gunsmith fit" means the barrel is oversized in all important dimensions, and won't fit any gun without extensive modification to suit the specific gun.
I have dropped a Colt G.I. barrel into a parts gun with no other Colt parts, and the fit was pretty good.
A Storm Lake pre-fit needed fitting in just about every area other than the lower lugs, to fit a Caspian frame/slide gun.
I have no experience with gunsmith-fit barrels, though I think I prefer barrels with precision pre-cut lower lugs, which have all the fitting done at the top lugs.
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