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1911 Safety Concern

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1911 Safety Concern Empty 1911 Safety Concern

Post by ShooterSteve 3/7/2024, 5:48 am

I recently inherited a Government size 1911 that appears to have been a project gun.  I would like to give it to another family member but have a concern with it mechanically before I test fire it.  It originally had 2 concerns, one was the grip safety was not working.  I was able to correct that by replacing the trigger.  My other concern is that when I rack in a dummy round thru the magazine and the gun is in battery ready to fire, the barrel and slide which stay locked together move forward and backwards on the frame in the direction of the slide travel approximately .040" total travel.  It takes little pressure to move it back and forth.

Just to check, I swapped out the barrel and recoil spring/plug with one from another gun and it made no difference.  Does anyone have an idea what the problem may be?

Thanks,
Steve

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Post by Tim:H11 3/7/2024, 8:24 am

Grip safety not working: you can have the arm on the grip safety welded up and re-fit to work with the trigger that was in the gun. A replacement trigger with long enough stirrup/bow might engage better and it sounds like that’s the route you took and it worked.

Slide movement: if you can rack the slide back some that’s normal. Match guns are fitted more tightly and to get the slide to come back some it may take some umph. But a rack grade gun or a stock gun will be easier to rack the slide back a little and it will be normal. So long as the recoil spring is keeping the gun in battery and the slide isn’t loose and freely sliding back and forth you’re fine. Stock 1911’s are like that some times. There are others here more knowledgeable than I that can speak to this in greater detail.

Personally I’d take the gun to a competent gunsmith and have it looked over before gifting it out.
Tim:H11
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Post by Froneck 3/9/2024, 10:19 am

I'm not sure what your doing. You should pull the slide back slightly until the barrel starts to drop. Then release slide with a dummy round in the chamber. The slide should then return forward. However there needs to be quite a bit of pressure about 6 pounds depending on the weight of compressed weight of the recoil spring. That should be with the hammer locked back. Little pressure could indicate your spring weight is too light. Spring should be about 6.5" long free length, wires size will determine the compress weights. Too light of a recoil spring is not good, slide will hammer it's self back, spring weight should be  enough to allow the slide to lock back when last load in magazine is fired using the loads normally fired.

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Post by Tripscape 3/9/2024, 12:58 pm

He is talking about when the gun is in battery pressing on the barrel front moves slide and barrel together slightly to the back. Totally normal.

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Post by Froneck 3/9/2024, 4:45 pm

Yes, moving the slide back a small amount before the barrel drops is normal especially on non target 1911s. However OP stated it "takes little pressure". Being a recoil spring is about 6-1/2" long free length and it's compressed when inserted to about 3-1/2" long when the slide is closed, though not exact but approximate pressure on the slide should be about 1/2 the compressed weight of the spring, therefore a 12pound recoil spring should exert about 6 pounds so the movement described should require about 6pounds of force to move it in the closed position and hammer locked back. The OP has to indicate what "little pressure is. I would suggest the OP should measure the recoil spring length, it should be about 6-1/2" free length when removed from the gun. Lowering the amount of compression weight is not done by cutting the spring, changing wire diameter of the recoil spring is the correct method of lowering the spring compression weight. I might add that the OP does not list any other factors such as rib or scope mount and scope. The 12pounds I mentioned is quite light if used in a plain slide using factory ball ammo.

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Post by Tripscape 3/9/2024, 5:12 pm

Frank,
I love your precision, as always )) Subjectively it doesn't take much pressure to move the assembly, but you are right!

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Post by ShooterSteve 3/10/2024, 5:31 am

Thankyou all for your input.  The pistol has a new 16 lb recoil spring installed along with the firing pin spring that came with the Wolfe recoil spring.  I think I found out what is causing the issue.  I noticed on my other 1911's when you apply reward pressure to the slide, with hammer cocked, you immediately get resistance as you overcome the disconnector pressure.  This pistol's fit between the hole in the slide and the disconnector itself is loosey goosey and not providing that initial resistance I'm used to feeling on other 1911's.  My brother has a spare disconnector he's going to give to me to swap out.  Hopefully, that corrects the issue (or my perceived issue).  Steve

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Post by Froneck 3/10/2024, 6:16 am

Disconnector pressure should not be very much. Depending on upward force applied buy the sear spring about 2 pounds depending on what it's adjusted to. but it would add to what you approximately have by the 16pound spring being about 8 pounds! So even if no depression of the disconnector occurs in .040" rear movement you mentioned there should be about 8 pounds of resistance.
 Furthermore "loosey goosey" disconnector is usually due to oversize or worn hole. Wear on the disconnector will add to what ever hole wear there is.  In addition the disconnector slot in the frame is radiused and disconnector angled so there should be a gradual increase in added weight.
 You should have about 8pounds to over come at the start of movement gradually increasing to 16pounds.
 You need to define what "little pressure " is but it should be as mentioned 8ish pounds given you have a "New 16pound" recoil spring.

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Post by ShooterSteve 3/10/2024, 7:56 am

Thanks Froneck,  
I just took some additional measurements that may help explain more.  I placed a digital scale on my bench and with the gun on the scale zero'd the scale.  Cocked the hammer and placed the muzzle on the scale and holding the frame, increased pressure until the slide moved.  The initial .040" of what I call play, took 3 lbs 6oz of pressure.  To continue to move the slide under recoil spring tension took 10 lbs.  I took a stock Kimber Custom II with new 16 lb recoil spring and there was zero play, it went right to 10 lbs to move slide.
Steve

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Post by Froneck 3/10/2024, 8:16 am

Kinda odd! you are using a new spring so it should be full length and apply about 8ish pounds to the slide when completely closed. Disconnector will not add 6pounds 10 ounces to the weight! If you didn't have a new spring my guess would be a short recoil spring! I'm not sure what else would cause over 6-12pound jump in .040 of travel! is.
 Thinking about the issue, being your recoil applies pressure to the slide via the barrel bushing (spring pushes on the recoil spring plug that is held by the bushing and bushing attached to the slide via the retention tab on the bushing) is it possible your bushing is moving .040"? Forward inertia of the slide can pull the slide forward the .040", when pulling the slide to the rear the bushing moves to other side of the retaining tad requiring .040" movement. So if you have a loose bushing (type that can be easily rotated with slight finger pressure) and worn tab I can see that causing the problem you mention.

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Post by ShooterSteve 3/10/2024, 5:17 pm

The barrel bushing does not have any play in it.  As you expected, the new disconnector did not improve things.  As a last comparison I took the slide, barrel, spring, bushing, and slide lock and moved it onto my Kimber and there was no issue.   I did the same thing with my (2) Kimbers, one with a fitted Kart barrel and put those top halves on the 45 in question and both displayed the same issue, however, the Kart play was slightly less but still there. 

All I can think is that it's an issue with the frame.  It's a stainless with no markings other than a SN that starts with A followed by 4 numbers.

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Post by Froneck 3/14/2024, 11:47 am

I have no idea what might be causing the issue. The recoil spring applies constant varying pressure on the slide. Being your 16pound spring is rated at 16pounds when compressed to 1-5/8" in length and is about 3-3/4" long when the slide is closed. So you should have about 1/2 the rated weight when the slide is closed. There should not be any increase jump in weight, weight should gradually increase as slide in moved back. I can see a slight decrease, my guns do have a slight decrease due to the pressure applied to the barrel lower lug by the slide stop pin.
 Thinking about the issue the only way there can be a change in weight is if the recoil spring is not against the frame and slide. As I mentioned the spring contacts the slide via the plug and bushing. However the spring guide is the contact to the frame. Maybe the spring guide is contacting the barrel via the lower lug. Inertia of the slide closing pushes the barrel forward which then moves the spring guide .040" forward, pulling the slide back the barrel moves with the slide allowing the spring guide to contact the frame after .040" of movement so that now the spring actually contacts the frame. In other words the recoil spring is pushing on the barrel and the slide not the frame and slide until the barrel moves .040" then the spring contacts the frame. The 3-3/8 pounds is friction and the disconnector depression weight.
 A bit of a stretch in reasoning but I guess it's possible and only thing I can think of.

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Post by Froneck 3/15/2024, 11:06 am

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