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Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Fitting a New Barrel to a M1911

  1. #1
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    Fitting a New Barrel to a M1911

    I have started researching about fitting a new barrel to a 1911 and there sure is a lot of information that goes along with it. Can anybody here at the sight break it down to its simple elements as to what you must do? I am not looking for short-cuts but rather an outline of what must be done and from this point I can expand on my knowledge.

  2. #2
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    My first question is to ask what are your expectations.

    Second question is where are you going to get the new barrel?

    Third question is how much you'll shoot it?

    You can drive yourself crazy reading about all the tools and jigs you "need" to "properly" fit a barrel, but the reality is that the military barrels were all made to a set of standard specifications, and they were (in about 98.73% of instances) drop-ins. Was the barrel lock-up not quite as tight as the experts say is necessary? Probably ... but they worked. Did the barrels "ride the link" when returning to battery? In may cases, yes. If you shoot 50,000 rounds through a gun that rides the link, the link hole in the barrel underlug will get a bit loose. If you shoot 500 rounds a year -- you'll never notice it.

    Somewhere buried in the archives of the Gunsmithing discussion area here, Niemi24s has an article that goes into a dimensional analysis of why the military-spec 1911s typically roide the link. It might be worth your time to look it up and read it.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  3. #3
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    Hello Hawkmoon, thanks for your reply. To answer your questions, my expectations are to maintain my 2 .45s for what they are...plain vanilla milspec .45s. The one .45 I shoot occasionally and the other I shoot regularly, they have 5,000 and 14,000 rounds thru them respectively. I purchased both barrels from the guns manufacturer. I have checked for fit in this manner: I made sure that there is no binding or unnecessary contact on either the frame or slide and that the slide cycles freely without binding or any drag. I checked for proper headspace. I also made sure there is no excessive play or unneeded movement of the barrel. About the only thing that was needed was some minor polishing with 600 grit paper. Am I on the right track? I understand that these barrels can go thousands of rounds but I just like having spares should they be needed. And yes, you can drive yourself crazy reading about all the tools and jigs plus secret incantations that are needed to fit a barrel to a 1911. I just thought I would reach out to those such as yourself with all your experience and knowledge.

  4. #4
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    There's "gunsmith fit" (which is where you drive yourself nuts trying to ensure that all three locking lugs engage fully at exactly the same time, that the barrel hood to breech face clearance is exactly right, that the lockup lug engagement depth is perfect, and that the barrel doesn't ride the link when locking up), and then there's "armorer fit." For your situation, I'd say armorer fit is fine.

    Manufacturers' barrels are made to drop into their guns. If a gun is manufactured to standard dimensions and tolerances, any manufacturer's barrel will probably drop in. I am (or was) a certified 1911 armorer. (I took the class at the Sig Academy. My certification expired recently and I need to take the class again to renew it.) The first time I took the class I expected to learn a lot about fitting barrels, fitting thumb safeties, etc. Not so. According to Sig Academy, armorers never touch a file. Armorers are parts changers. If something isn't working right, you swap in a new factory part. If that doesn't work -- you send the gun back to the factory.

    You have already done more than what a Sig-certified armorer would do. The only thing I would add would be to use a wide Sharpie (or Dyechem, if you have it) to mark the locking lugs on the top of the barrel, reassemble, then cycle the action manually ten or twenty times, and then inspect the locking lugs to see what the engagement pattern looks like. Don't expect all three lugs to engage, but look to see that at least two are making contact. While cycling, check the feel to ensure that the lugs aren't engaging too soon and "clashing" as they engage. You shouldn't feel any hitches in the movement as the barrel lugs first come into contact with the slide.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside
    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 20th August 2023 at 17:49.


  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input Hawkmoon! Yes, I will try marking the locking lugs with a Sharpie to see how they engage, I did not think to do that. As far as what you mentioned, I have not felt the lugs clashing or any hitches as the barrel lugs come into contact with the slide. To confirm that it all felt the same, I tried to see how the gun felt with both the spare barrel and the current barrel. As far as I can tell they are identical in function. I felt that I was on the right track and your information gives me confidence that I am.

  6. #6
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    One of the most important checks to make with a new barrel is to insure the locking lugs of the barrel and slide are totally disengaged by the time the slide moves back (with respect to the barrel) after firing the gun. Do this on an unloaded gun by removing the recoil spring, cocking the hammer inverting the gun and slowly drawing the slide aft - feeling for any "hitches".

    • No hitches is good and means the barrel will drop down far enough to avoid locking lug crashes, but . .

    • Hitches are bad and indicate further work is needed to avoid locking lug crashes because the barrel isn't dropping down far enough.
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]
    Last edited by niemi24s; 22nd August 2023 at 16:45.


  7. #7
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    Hello Niemi, thanks for the info. I am going to try that along with marking the lugs on the barrel like Hawkmoon suggested. I think I am on the right track and you guys input has helped.

  8. #8
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    Oops! Forgot to say that when doing the inverted gun check, the gun (barrel, barrel bushing, link, slide) should ideally be free of any lubricants so as to not inhibit the fullest engagement of the locking lugs.
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]

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