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Main spring and trigger adjustments

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rich.tullo
Froneck
DA/SA
r_zerr
chiz1180
NukeMMC
javaduke
Texasref
bruce martindale
jjfitch
jglenn21
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hengehold
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Main spring and trigger adjustments  - Page 2 Empty Main spring and trigger adjustments

Post by hengehold 1/12/2024, 5:08 pm

First topic message reminder :

I recently built a 45cal 1911. Used EGW kit for hammer/sear/disconnect or. Initially I experienced some light strikes (~30% failure rate) increased the main spring incrementally to 19, 20, & 21 lbs springs. Trigger felt great with a 19# spring but had to increase spring weight up to 21# before light strikes have been eliminated. Now the trigger does not feel great anymore: feels much heavier and somewhat clunky compared to the lighter springs. Is there something I can do to offset this increase in trigger weight/sear engagement weight? 

Maybe adjust one of the fingers on the flat spring behind the grip safety to adjust sear & hammer engagement? 

-Trevor

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Post by chiz1180 1/15/2024, 2:59 pm

hengehold wrote:
chiz1180 wrote:Yes, that is the basic idea.

Is there a way to correct this off center fitting? 

It sounds like either way the barrel is scrap and new one will need to be fitted to have center primer strike.
Firstly, I am not a gunsmith, I have built a few and own a number of accurized 1911s. Your issue very well very well could be fixed, but I can't say for certain as I am not sure how your barrel was fit or how off center the primer strike is, nor can I predict how much work would be needed or potential specialized work. Probably should communicate the issue to the Smith that fit the barrel. Fitting a barrel is kind of a painful and time consuming process.   

For what it is worth my Colt Kit gun does this and functions perfectly with Federal primers, and has issues with CCI and Winchester. Part of why I have semi retired that gun from regular competition use.
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Post by Froneck 1/15/2024, 3:06 pm


Is there a way to correct this off center fitting? 

It sounds like either way the barrel is scrap and new one will need to be fitted to have center primer strike.
 Sound like by your statement you have an off center primer strike. First determine if it's high or low. If you reload just install a primer in empty case so it's not ejected. A loaded case can be used at the range by marking it so recovered case can be inspected. I don't know what lower lug ramp angle you used when fitting the barrel but  would check at what amount of forward travel the disconnector will reset. Repeatedly pulling the trigger while slowly allowing the slide to travel forward. It's possible slide travel is causing you problems.
Photos of the lower lug and primer hit will help.
 Simple head space gauge is a round inserted in a removed barrel, it should be very near to flush with the hood.
 Old school build had set screws on either side of the upper locking lug slots so up travel could be shortened if pin strike is low. That was also a way to center lock-up being the barrel will find the center between the screws.
 Federal primers seem to be easiest to ignite, CCI the hardest of the main primer brands.

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Post by chiz1180 1/15/2024, 4:34 pm

Froneck wrote:

Is there a way to correct this off center fitting? 

It sounds like either way the barrel is scrap and new one will need to be fitted to have center primer strike.
 Sound like by your statement you have an off center primer strike. First determine if it's high or low. If you reload just install a primer in empty case so it's not ejected. A loaded case can be used at the range by marking it so recovered case can be inspected. I don't know what lower lug ramp angle you used when fitting the barrel but  would check at what amount of forward travel the disconnector will reset. Repeatedly pulling the trigger while slowly allowing the slide to travel forward. It's possible slide travel is causing you problems.
Photos of the lower lug and primer hit will help.
 Simple head space gauge is a round inserted in a removed barrel, it should be very near to flush with the hood.
 Old school build had set screws on either side of the upper locking lug slots so up travel could be shortened if pin strike is low. That was also a way to center lock-up being the barrel will find the center between the screws.
 Federal primers seem to be easiest to ignite, CCI the hardest of the main primer brands.
Instead of a primer, fill the primer pocket with playdough or other soft clay.
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Post by hengehold 1/16/2024, 11:29 am

I talked to the smith today about the off center issue. He agreed that Federal primers is what should be used. He doesn’t know of a way to adjust the gun so that primer strike can be centered. He said it is typical to have off-center primer strikes in a hard fit BE barrel because of the removal of material in the lug area and results in barrel being above centerline. My gun has been fitted with a Kart barrel.

Seems like a company making NM barrels would make the barrel with extra material in the lug area to allow for material to be removed and still end up centered on the firing pin.

Are there any barrel makers that make barrels with additional material in the lug area for this purpose?

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Post by DA/SA 1/16/2024, 12:06 pm

Make sure that you hammer strut is not contacting anything throughout it's range of movement.
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Post by Froneck 1/16/2024, 12:24 pm

Usually the lower lug has additional material. Since you said the upper lugs need material added I assume the firing pin hit is low! Did you remove any material from the top lugs when you fitted the barrel? As I mentioned set screws into the lower slot can he used, was used quite often by many gunsmiths years ago. I have fitted 100s of barrels and never needed to remove material from the top though I have fine tuned a few by removing very little material from the top lugs. Remember there is only about .050" of engagement and that is at the very top of the lugs. Years ago a popular add on was called a tuner. It was either in a rib or by itself. It applied pressure to the top of the barrel. You could try that. Maybe it's still available.

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Post by jglenn21 1/16/2024, 1:12 pm

1st question: is the primer strike high or low on the primer... that will determine if you can adjust the strike easily or not..

frankly, I can think of only one pistol that I didn't remove material from the upper barrel lugs to allow the upper engagement to be at least .045 and that had an out of spec Slide on it.. that's with Kart smith fit, KKM, and Nolin barrels.  those barrel are built with extra material in the upper lug to allow you to fit the engagement.. lower lugs also always had extra material to  allow you to fit the SS pin for lockup.  very rarely is the primer strike far off of the center of the primer and if so it never affected firing at all.  like I mentioned a picture would answer how good or bad the OP's strikes are...
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Post by Froneck 1/16/2024, 3:49 pm

Building a 1911 from purchased parts isn't as easy as it seems! There is a relationship between the barrel, frame and slide that must be considered before making any cuts! Not all frames, barrels and slides are the same. I admit I like using Caspian Frames and Slides though I'm told there are a few better. For my guns I use Kart barrels yet have used Bar-Sto for those requesting or providing it. I do tend to have slightly high primer hits so that over time the wear will allow refitting. Winchester primers will work without problems, my typical reloads use Winchester or Federal depending on what is available. I do have a box of 900 CCI large pistol primers that I think are Rifle Primers if anyone is interested.
 Before cutting the relationship between the 3 main components should be considered. Yes the bushing should also be considered but at a later time yet one must be included when fitting the first 3 mentioned.
 Having a complete functional machine shop with the top of the line machines I have all the measuring tools. Being a tool nut I have quite a bit and there is not a measuring tool that I don't have to measure every dimension on the 1911! So I build from dimension. Using a Moore Jig Borer that has accuracy of .0001" which is better than any milling machine for hole locations. Best one can get on a mill is .005"! Pistols are short so .005 in 6" of travel will be normal. I have 3 Moores, so I do use one for light very accurate milling, not supposed to do that but the amount of work I do I will never wear-out the machine.
 However fitting by hand takes more skill, knowledge and time.
 When deciding to build a 1911 tack driver the shooter should consider the skills required and what will happen if done wrong. Errors will lead to replacement that will get expensive. I've seen quite a few Youtube videos that are BAD!!!! I do like watching Anvil gunsmithing videos though he usually works on rifles. I can say one thing, Mark Novak has very poor machining skills! Also seen him use an 8-36 tap for a 8-40 screw, that's wrong! But he does some thing that impress me and got me interested in Rust Blueing!

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Post by jglenn21 1/16/2024, 4:23 pm

Frank, you're missing out not trying KKM barrels. Also on rust bluing give Mark Lee's rust bluing mix a try.  great.stuff and you don't need a rust.chamber. Brownells carries it
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Post by Froneck 1/16/2024, 6:09 pm

I've heard a lot about KKM barrels, Just about every time I went to Perry I came home with more Caspian slides and frames. I think I have 5 pairs waiting my attention. When I get time to build a .45 I'll try KKM. I did get a bottle of Rust Blue from rustblue.com and when I ordered a carding wheel from Brownells they told me they also had a Rust Blueing. I added it to my order but the label says Brownells not Mark Lee's. Is it the same stuff? I also ordered and have a french fryer like Mark uses in his videos. As soon and I complete my .22 conversion slide I'll try rust blueing. All that is needed on the slide is slide stop and thumb safety notch, some serrations at the front of the slide will be nice to include.
 Right now I have a difficult project I'm working on in my shop, putting 3 rows of 82 of .014" wide stilts in 36 stainless steel 3/4 pipe that's 17" long.

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Post by jglenn21 1/17/2024, 8:22 am

Not the same stuff.  It's typical rust bluing requiring a rust cabinet.. works fine if you use a cabinet or some similar way of rusting your piece
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Post by rich.tullo 1/17/2024, 4:36 pm

hengehold wrote:I recently built a 45cal 1911. Used EGW kit for hammer/sear/disconnect or. Initially I experienced some light strikes (~30% failure rate) increased the main spring incrementally to 19, 20, & 21 lbs springs. Trigger felt great with a 19# spring but had to increase spring weight up to 21# before light strikes have been eliminated. Now the trigger does not feel great anymore: feels much heavier and somewhat clunky compared to the lighter springs. Is there something I can do to offset this increase in trigger weight/sear engagement weight? 

Maybe adjust one of the fingers on the flat spring behind the grip safety to adjust sear & hammer engagement? 

-Trevor
What kind of firing pin are you using?
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Post by Froneck 1/17/2024, 4:37 pm

Watching other Anvil videos Mark will boil the parts in water and not use steam. He will apply the rust blue liquid then put the item in boiling water, he used a french fryer so I purchased one. Only time he used steam is when Bob from Rustblue.com is there. I guess he's helping him sell the stuff. They said Industry used steam years ago because steam was available. Cabinet they used was cardboard box. Does Mark Lee's require boiling or is it similar to typical cold blue?
  As to firing pin use I think the OP confirmed he was getting off center firing pin hit, I assume it high or low and since he requested info on barrels that had extra material on the top lugs I also assume it hitting low. However he should be sure which direction the strike is off center.

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Post by hengehold 1/17/2024, 7:02 pm

Black mark is indicating the 12 o’clock position when cartridge was chambered. So, firing pin is hitting high. 
Today I shot 40 hand loads with Fed 150 LPP. 4 of the 40 were light strikes. So, a 10 percent failure rate. They all went off on the second hit from the firing pin. 

Main spring and trigger adjustments  - Page 2 Img_0010


Last edited by hengehold on 1/17/2024, 9:49 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by DA/SA 1/17/2024, 7:05 pm

Time to measure the upper lug engagement.

Is it a Gunsmith fit barrel or an Exact Fit barrel?
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Post by hengehold 1/17/2024, 7:11 pm

DA/SA wrote:Time to measure the upper lug engagement.

Is it a Gunsmith fit barrel or an Exact Fit barrel?
It is hard fit by a gunsmith 

How do I do that?

I guess I’ll have to Google it.

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Post by jglenn21 1/17/2024, 7:26 pm

Seen plenty of pistols with that amount of FP offset that run fine. That is indicative of low upper lug engagement. Do get light hits with factory ammo or just reloads?
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Post by DA/SA 1/17/2024, 7:39 pm

Post an image of the barrel upper lugs.

I'm not claiming that barrel fit is your light strike issue, just that the barrel being that low and hard fit seems a bit oðd to me.
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Post by Froneck 1/17/2024, 8:07 pm

Are the ones in the photo fired or fail to fire? Do you check the slide to see if it is completely closed? When testing check to see if slide is as far forward as it can go. Do you have a digital caliper with depth gauge?
 If you have a digital caliper with the barrel out of the slide and a round in the chamber (preferably factory) measure the distance from the top of the hood to the center of the primer. Then use the height gauge to measure the top of the slide to center of firing pin hole. Assemble the gun and then check the distance from the top of the slide to top of the hood. Distance measured to center of primer + distance from top of slide to hood should equal the distance from the top of the slide to center of firing pin hole. You might want to also measure the hood to slide with the slide off the frame, bushing in and something to put pressure on the bottom of the barrel. Then compare the 2 distances. They should be the same!
 Send photo of side view of lower lug.

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Post by hengehold 1/17/2024, 8:25 pm

jglenn21 wrote:Seen plenty of pistols with that amount of FP offset that run fine. That is indicative of low upper lug engagement. Do get light hits with factory ammo or just reloads?

It has light strikes with both factory and hand loads. I had about 50% light strikes using PMC.

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Post by Froneck 1/17/2024, 8:49 pm

I agree with John. However I do see what seems to be a light hit by the firing pin slightly below the main dent. Odd but it seem other photo has same ting but to the left.
 One thing to try is fill a magazine full and insert it when the slide is closed. For safety removed the firing pin though no round is in the chamber. Try pushing the barrel down, does it move? Will the barrel move right or left?

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Post by hengehold 1/17/2024, 9:52 pm

More examples of primer strikes. 
Main spring and trigger adjustments  - Page 2 Img_0012

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Post by hengehold 1/17/2024, 10:30 pm

Main spring and trigger adjustments  - Page 2 Img_0015
Main spring and trigger adjustments  - Page 2 Img_0013
Main spring and trigger adjustments  - Page 2 Img_0014

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Post by hengehold 1/17/2024, 10:41 pm

Froneck wrote:Are the ones in the photo fired or fail to fire? Do you check the slide to see if it is completely closed? When testing check to see if slide is as far forward as it can go. Do you have a digital caliper with depth gauge?
 If you have a digital caliper with the barrel out of the slide and a round in the chamber (preferably factory) measure the distance from the top of the hood to the center of the primer. Then use the height gauge to measure the top of the slide to center of firing pin hole. Assemble the gun and then check the distance from the top of the slide to top of the hood. Distance measured to center of primer + distance from top of slide to hood should equal the distance from the top of the slide to center of firing pin hole. You might want to also measure the hood to slide with the slide off the frame, bushing in and something to put pressure on the bottom of the barrel. Then compare the 2 distances. They should be the same!
 Send photo of side view of lower lug.
Brass in the photo posted earlier were all fired. 4 of the pieces failed to fire on the first strike. I cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger again. Second hit made all 4 primers detonate. 

Yes, I did check slide for complete closure when experiencing click/no-bang. 

Do the pics show you what you are looking for?

I’ll have to try to take measurements tomorrow.

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Post by Froneck 1/17/2024, 10:50 pm

I don't like what I see of the lower lug. Can you make photo of link at 45 and 90 degrees? Do the test by inserting a full magazine in the closed slide. That barrel does not look new how long ago was it installed?

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