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1911 Slide to frame fit?

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LenV
Rob Kovach
Jerry Keefer
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spursnguns
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1911 Slide to frame fit? Empty 1911 Slide to frame fit?

Post by beeser 1/15/2015, 8:29 am

The last time I sent my .45 Range Officer to Springfield they tightened the slide to frame fit and now I'm having ejection problems.  The fit is so tight that it will sometimes stick part way if operated by hand.  What do gunsmiths typically do to tighten the fit?  Is there something I can do fix the problem short of sending it back again to Springfield?

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Post by BE Mike 1/15/2015, 8:39 am

If it were me, I'd just lube the frame and slide and work it until it was smooth. If you wanted it to "mate" quicker, you could put something like valve grinding (I've known people who used household cleanser) compound on the frame and slide and work it by hand. Of course you would want to remove all traces of the compound and re-lube after you got the parts worked in.
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Post by Dr.Don 1/15/2015, 8:45 am

Don't touch it with anything as coarse as valve grinding compound.  Oil it and try to work it in.  If that fails and you want to loosen it a bit more use something extremely fine.  I have some 800 grit lapping compound, but I used a gunstock rubbing compound on the last one I did.  Go only a few strokes at a time, then clean, re-lube and try it.  Repeat as required.  (It's labor intensive, or at the very least tedious).
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Post by Fire Escape 1/15/2015, 8:56 am

Good advice on staying away from Valve Grinding Compound!
Many years ago I screwed up a fishing reel following the 'just use some valve grinding compound....' standard advice. I subsequently learned that there were many varieties of lapping compound and that the easily available one for valve grinding was very coarse and aggressive (valves are very hard and so are their seats these days.
It may be harder to find locally (easy from Brownell's) but as mentioned above what you want to use is a very fine lapping compound, be sure to check early and often for progress.

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Post by dronning 1/15/2015, 9:11 am

I'd just lube it and shoot it.  My Les Baer hardball gun was so tight it wouldn't move without a little help from the bench.  I took it to the range an put 500 rounds through it keeping it well oiled.  Ran like a champ after that.

- Dave
ps shooting 500 rounds of hardball ammo in one sitting isn't fun after the first 150 rounds.
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Post by beeser 1/15/2015, 9:24 am

I don't want to make it worse so I'll just lube 'n shoot until it gets better.  It's frustrating though having to clear the chamber after just about every round.  BTW and again, what do gunsmiths generally do to tighten the slide to frame fit.

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Post by DavidR 1/15/2015, 9:34 am

use a very thin full synthetic oil, my mike Curtis gun is so tight some thick oils cause it to bind, also go down a pound or two on your recoil spring till it breaks back in, if its too tight you can use toothpaste to lap the slide/frame fit it is only mildly abrasive and will smooth things up.
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Post by Virgil Kane 1/15/2015, 10:40 am

beeser wrote:  BTW and again, what do gunsmiths generally do to tighten the slide to frame fit.

Squeeze slides and peen frames.


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Post by spursnguns 1/15/2015, 12:25 pm

Virgil Kane wrote:
beeser wrote:  BTW and again, what do gunsmiths generally do to tighten the slide to frame fit.

Squeeze slides and peen frames.


Virgil
Hello,

That's old school....the state of the art is accurate mapping (dimensions), welding up the rails and then re-machining.
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Post by james r chapman 1/15/2015, 2:26 pm

Wonder how Hershel did it, hmmm...
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Post by Jerry Keefer 1/15/2015, 3:55 pm

I never, never, never, ever lap...!!! If it's tight, there's a reason.. Find it.. Something, somewhere is not straight or true..Machined rails will always be better, because no man can come close to a matched set of #7ABEC spindle bearings..  Hi Spot or Prussian Blue and scrape/flake the high spot..The slide frame fit should be as close as humanly possible and move freely.  How tight are the ways on the lathe or mill..??
the same thing will work on the 1911..
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Post by Virgil Kane 1/15/2015, 5:46 pm

spursnguns wrote:
Virgil Kane wrote:
beeser wrote:  BTW and again, what do gunsmiths generally do to tighten the slide to frame fit.

Squeeze slides and peen frames.


Virgil
Hello,

That's old school....the state of the art is accurate mapping (dimensions), welding up the rails and then re-machining.


Maybe old school but I would highly doubt that Springfield welded up and re-machined a gun sent back. I could see them going to a bin of slides and seeing if a new one fit tighter than the old one but can't see them spending a lot of time on a gun that was already sold.

Just my thoughts and I'm usually wrong so take it for what it's worth. Smile


Virgil


Last edited by Virgil Kane on 1/15/2015, 5:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Rob Kovach 1/15/2015, 5:49 pm

Jerry,

Is there anything wrong with tightening up frame to slide fit by squeezing and peening?
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Post by spursnguns 1/15/2015, 6:08 pm

Virgil,

You seem rather skeptical but you are no doubt correct.

Rob,

I won't answer for Jerry but I was in Jim Hoag's shop a hundred years ago when a slide he was tightening decided that it had enough.  I will never forget the sound the steel made when it snapped or the howl Jim made when it happened.
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Post by Jerry Keefer 1/15/2015, 6:08 pm

Rob Kovach wrote:Jerry,

Is there anything wrong with tightening up frame to slide fit by squeezing and peening?
From an engineering/mechanical stand point, it's terrible..
Many years ago, it was all they had.. Colt made some early match fit competition frames and slide if I recall correctly. For the most part, many guns were peened and squeezed.. In my early days I did a few, but quickly saw the error in my ways and totally abandoned the process.   I welded them for a while, which is much better, but now if I were to take on a lose fit up, I would Accu Rail in a flash. It is a superb process. I have done quite a few, and the outcome is always the same.. outstanding & everlasting..
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Post by LenV 1/15/2015, 7:25 pm

I will now prove I have no business building match pistols. I have wondered many times why it was important to have an extremely tight (but smooth) slide to frame fit. If the barrel locks up perfectly, has a tight match grade bushing and for all practical purposes is rock solid in the slide. What difference would it make if there is a little movement between slide and frame? I am sure the answer would be a big difference if the scope mount was on the frame, but with the dot or steel sights mounted on the rail how does that effect accuracy? Wouldn't the sights follow the slide? Now, I will leave it wide open to be picked on.

Len   ( I suspect it has more to do with how it recoils then locks up )
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Post by Jerry Keefer 1/15/2015, 9:05 pm

Nope..Think barrel tester..
Now if we could turn the frame and slide into the barrel tester..The frame and slide is the foundation that supports the barrel.. Forcing/requiring the barrel to push out the clearance between the frame and slide, and then lock  up in the same place every time, is simply not going to happen..If the frame and slide act as total support for the barrel, the accuracy becomes what the barrel is capable of.
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Post by beeser 1/15/2015, 9:49 pm

I'm a little confused but what Jerry said makes sense.  It also seems to me that if the slide is bent (inwards) that would just change the geometry and squareness to the frame.  I suspect that's what was done in my situation because it is tight at the beginning of engagement.  The RO  is not an expensive gun so I'm not sure if an Accu Rail is appropriate.  Or is it?  Should I just give up on Springfield and look for an answer elsewhere?

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Post by dstates 1/15/2015, 10:10 pm

Why would you give up on it now? You have a tight slide to frame fit. Shoot some 10's and have fun breaking it in.

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Post by dronning 1/15/2015, 11:13 pm

beeser wrote:I'm a little confused but what Jerry said makes sense.  It also seems to me that if the slide is bent (inwards) that would just change the geometry and squareness to the frame.  I suspect that's what was done in my situation because it is tight at the beginning of engagement.  The RO  is not an expensive gun so I'm not sure if an Accu Rail is appropriate.  Or is it?  Should I just give up on Springfield and look for an answer elsewhere?


Shoot it, have patience it will break in.  Like I said my Les Baer hardball gun's slide wouldn't even move at first.  The first question they ask you is have you put 500 rounds through it yet, if not call us when you do.

- Dave
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Post by Jack H 1/15/2015, 11:50 pm

Unless you RO was a complete rattle trap, and I doubt it was, your fundamentals are much more important.
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Post by knightimac 1/16/2015, 6:30 am

Beeser my cousin who is captain in the army bought a spriongfield after he shot mine this summer hoem on leave.  A couple of weeks ago he called and complained to me that his new Springfield jammed three times while shooting it for the 1st time. 

I asked him two things:

1.  Did you clean and lube it before shooting the new gun?  HE SAID NO.
2.  What ammo did you shoot?  HE SAID HERTERS.

I told him to take it appart and clean it completley.  Then buy 300 rounds of decent Remington or Federal 230 grain FMJ and shoot the crap out of the gun.  Then clean it again completely.

I agree with others 100% shoot in the gun.
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Post by Axehandle 1/16/2015, 6:48 am

Shot peened and aqueezed Bullseye guns for many years.  Those guns would shoot with any 1911 ever built then or now.  Building the 1911 that way is a very labor intensive process.  Personally feel like, while the process builds good guns,  the real drivers for the oversize and Krieger stuff is just to expedite the process.    Remember the shameful Colts in the 70s, 80s, and 90s?   Look at the current off the shelf 1911s coming out of the top 1911 manufacturers.   Kimber put up the bar for everyone 15 years ago.   The RO is a good example.   But...  Nice as they are they aren't what a skilled 1911 builder can produce.

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Post by beeser 1/16/2015, 9:00 am

OK, here's the plan.  I have a return shipping label from Springfield.  I'll clean, oil and shoot the gun until just before the label expires.  If it smooths out on its own or some other fix crosses my path, fine.  If it doesn't I'll send it in for Springfield to fix.  I'll also play around with different recoil springs.  Again, this is a gun with about 2000 rounds through it that Springfield attempted to fix by tightening up the frame to slide fit.  The stiffness feels different than it did new and more like something is binding.  I have another new RO (actually 2 other new ones if you count the 9mm version) and it definitely feels different.

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Post by DavidR 1/16/2015, 9:25 am

they probably just squeezed it a little,
shoot it a few hundred rounds with light weight oil and I bet it gets sweet
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