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Old May 11, 2001, 07:15 AM   #1
Join Date: February 1, 2001
Posts: 16
I recently purchased a 1991A1 but haven't been able to fire it yet. On advice from this board, I field stripped and cleaned and lubed it. Following the Colt manual that came with the gun, I did all the tests to make sure it's back together properly (it passed those). Is there anything else I can do to make sure no tragedies happen when I fire it?

Thanks for your help
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Old May 11, 2001, 07:18 AM   #2
George Stringer
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Cecilius, short of taking it to a smith to check over I can't think of a thing. It sounds like you did it right. George
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Old May 11, 2001, 08:41 AM   #3
John Lawson
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Join Date: August 28, 1999
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Whoah There!

To determine whether you have assembled the firing pin lock correctly, unload pistol, cock hammer, point upward, insert a pencil into the barrel and snap. If the pencil flies out of the barrel, you are ready to fire. If not, you need to re-assemble the lock parts making certain that they lift properly when the trigger is depressed. It would be bad news if you met up with a bad guy on the way to the range and found that you had deactivated your own pistol.
"Politicians are bilgewater in the ship of state."
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Old May 11, 2001, 09:04 AM   #4
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Good idea with the pencil-just make sure you point it in a safe direction! Test mine the very same way, except at the dining room table after one range session, it stuck in the ceiling. Thought it was funny until I saw the look on my wife's face!
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Old May 12, 2001, 09:15 AM   #5
John Lawson
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Join Date: August 28, 1999
Posts: 281
Sorry, wrong number.

Sorry, I forgot to note that I do not sharpen the pencil and load it flat end first with the eraser up.
I bought the minimum order of every bore size nylon rod, allowing me to do this safely in any caliber, but with the miinimum order of each I now have several lifetime's supply of each size.
So, I packaged them up with an instruction sheet and sell them at gun shows for $20 to try to break even.
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Old May 12, 2001, 10:39 AM   #6
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Join Date: March 28, 2000
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Basic function check:

1) people have already described the pencil test.
2) cock hammer, apply safety.
3) pull trigger with safety on. Hammer shouldn't drop.
4) lower safety. With grip safety not depressed, pull
trigger. Hammer shouldn't drop.
5) lower safety, depress grip safety, pull trigger. Hammer
should drop.
6) This will make some M1911 enthusiasts cringe. Retrack
slide fully and let it go, do not ride it down. Hammer
should remain cocked.

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Old May 12, 2001, 11:08 AM   #7
John Lawson
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Join Date: August 28, 1999
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On the last test, it is best to engage the slide lock and test for hamer drop by whipping the pistol muzle downward rapidly, adding inertia, as you slip off the slide lock.
If the hammer stays cocked through three of these violent tests, the engagement is safe. If it does not stay cocked, you need a gunsmith who can do a trigger job. Under service conditions, you have to rely on the integrity of engagement and you can't baby a pistol.
One further test not mentioned (I'm shocked) is to cock the hammer over an empty chamber or a snap cap (your choice) and pull back slowly, s l o w l y, for about half the release. Place the pistol next to your ear and touch the hammer spur. If you hear a very faint click, you need a gunsmith who can do a trigger job.
Both of the above are beginner's failings, and no experienced pistolsmith would let a pistol leave his shop with the above faults. For example, if you are told that you have to hold the hammer back when you drop the slide on an empty chamber, take THAT gunsmith off your list. He does not know how to do a trigger job. If your street pistol has been modified and you detect that the hammer hooks have been "lowered" i.e., filed down. Replace the hammer and find a gunsmith who can do a trigger job. All of the above are even undesirable on target only pistols, but they can be suicide on a carry piece.
A good pistolsmith can do a trigger job on a Series 80 pistol that does not have the characteristic feel of the firing pin safety releasing, does not have to "lower" the hammer hooks and the hammer will stay cocked under the torture test described above.
Some gunsmiths will whine and tell you dropping a slide on an unloaded chamber will do damage to your pistol. And, this may be true of their output, but if it will not pass the test, it is not safe to trust your life to that weapon.
Followdown is a SYMPTOM that will always get worse...
I was in the US Army Ord Corps during the halcyon days of the 1911, and I have worked on more 1911 pistols than most gunsmiths... and every pistol I worked on received the above described test to determine that there was no followdown. In all of the Army service and earlier and later gunsmithing work, I have never put a pistol into somebody's hands that I would not personally carry for defense. And, I know many pistolsmiths who feel likewise. You may have to learn a lot more than you know now to perform satisfactory work, but if all of us could do it, certainly you can do it. NEVER stubbornly defend a stupidity because you don't understand the mechanics involved. LEARN. There is adequate literature out there to inform you.
One last thing: Boosting a trigger, i.e. applying pressure to the hammer by leverage or direct pressure will tend to straighten out a sloppy trigger job, but it says volumes about the slipshod methods of the perpitrator, Brownells "experts" be damned. They sell the proper tools to correct the angles without straining the mechanism; use them, don't rely on "field expedients" in the shop. You may have to use that trick in the field someday, but the parts should be changed for new ones the first time you are back in the shop.
"Politicians are bilgewater in the ship of state."
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Old May 13, 2001, 09:27 AM   #8
Join Date: May 12, 2001
Posts: 92
Disconnector Check

In addition to the above mentioned checks I perform a disconnector check. After checking to insure the chamber is unloaded check the thumb safety, grip safety, and disconnector by pushing the muzzle of the gun into my palm (it pushes the slide rearward about .25" and restricts seperation of bbl. from slide and pushes the discon. down to disengage the sear from the trigger)if the hammer drops when the trigger is pulled in this condition then there is a problem (usu. the discon. is not working properly-then take to a competant gunsmith to have fixed)-I cannot stress enough though to insure that the pistol is unloaded and it is unwise to keep any ammo in the area where you clean and function check your guns to prevent any accidental discharges.

I am in question though about how to lower a trigger pull to 3 1/2#, make it creep free and a crisp or a rolled break on the trigger on a NRA Bullseye Competition only gun without squaring and lowering the hammer hooks to a certain height? or changing the sear angles to insure squareness and improve sear engagement into the hammer hooks?-But minding that a very knowledgable pistolsmith is required to insure that the weapon is done correctly and not "Billy-Bob-the-shade-tree-pistolsmith" does it. But once it is done there are certain things that the shooter must be aware of also to insure that the trigger stays good and safe. A good trigger pull in bullseye can make alot of difference.
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Old July 30, 2001, 09:35 PM   #9
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Trigger re-visited...

On the last test, it is best to engage the slide lock and test for hamer drop by whipping the pistol muzle downward rapidly, adding inertia, as you slip off the slide lock. if you have done the tests except for the extra-inertia adding slide release from lock while whipping downward and everything is OK...BUT...the 2nd or third whip causes hammer follow...what would YOU check first? 2nd?
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Old July 31, 2001, 12:36 AM   #10
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For you folks out there with mil-spec guns, I have illustrated instructions on how to do a function check on my Website.

The link is also on the main page.
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Old July 31, 2001, 11:04 AM   #11
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Old July 31, 2001, 03:46 PM   #12
Harley Nolden
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There are 5 safteys on the 1911A1.

Safety Grip, Safety Lock, Disconnector, half cock and inershia hammer.

Pointed is a safe Direction, with magazine out, chamber empty. Charge the slide to cock the hammer, Without putting ANY pressure on the grip safety, try pulling the trigger. The trigger should not function the release of the hammer.

If the hammer falls, repair or replace the grip safety.

SAFETY LOCK: (this is the Positive Safety)
Follow the above safety rules. Push the "Safety Lock" up. Try pulling the trigger. The hammer should not fall. Release the finger on the trigger, then push the "Safety Lock" down. If the hammer falls, the "safety Lock" is defective. If it stays in place it is correct.

If the hammers falls when pulling the trigger or when releasing the safety repair or replace the Safety Lock.

Following the same safety rules, with the hammer cocked, with the palm of the non-firing hand, push the slide back until your palm meets the barrel. This should be far enough to function the disconnector. Pull the trigger, the hammer should not fall or be released from the sear. If the hammer falls repair or replace the disconnector

Following the above safety rules; With the hammer down, push the slide back far enough to engage the half cock notch. Once engaged pull the trigger. The hammer should not fall. If the hammer falls, then replace the hammer.

Following the same safety rules: with the slide closed, put pressure on the trinnger, work the action several times, the pressure should be kept on the trigger, and the hammer should not fall.

Do the same without pressure on the trigger, the hammer should not fall. Working the action shoujld be vigorous, with the trigger pressure and without the pressure on the trigger.

These are the 5 safety-function test performed by the Army when the 1911A1 was in use. It is even used on competition guns. When all these safeties work you can be reletively sure it is safe to shoot.

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