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For the Gunsmiths Out There...

1989 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Charlie Petty there any way to advise a layman on how he (me) can tell whether a barrel is properly fitted on a 1911? I have read conflicting articles/opinions on wrench tight/finger loose bushings, barrel's that move when you push down on the barrel hood or don't, "railroad track" like marks on a slide stop or not...

I usually form an opinion after I shoot the gun in question. If it is accurate, in my hands, must be alright. Just wondering if there is a way I could figure that out before I plop down the greenbacks, since I have NO idea how to correct the problem. Or if, in any particular gun, it's worth the effort/expense.
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Terry it would be so much easier to show this but the single most important element is the fit of the bottom barrel lugs to the slide stop pin. The easiest way to judge is to look for "railroad tracks" on the slide stop pin.

EVeryone seems to think slide/frame fit is important but it only really matters for the time the bullet is in the barrel. A well fitted barrel will take care of a lot of slide play.

It is very hard to judge bushing fit but a slightly larger diameter ( about 0.005") at the front 1/2" of the barrel is a clue. There will be some friction marks on the barrel. If the bushing is a bit snug in the slide that's fine. It is not necessary to have to bring a friend to turn the bushing but a gentle wrench is nice. You should always retract the slide out of battery before turning the bushing. This avoids wear and makes it easier to turn.

The fit of the barrel hood (headspace extension) to the slide is important. I was taught to fit it so you could see no light when the barrel is locked up but it had to fall out of battery freely.

The barrel link's only purpose is to pull the barrel down to unlock. Long links are a bad idea.

With a little practice you can get a pretty good idea of fit without taking it apart. My #1 test is to see how it feels in the last inch of travel on the way in to battery. You can feel things begin to get snug when the pin starts to ride on the lugs.

If you can push down on the barrel and see any movement it isn't locked up.

Now for the rest of the story.

Almost any newly made gun from the big companies is going to shoot pretty well ( 2-2.5") @ 25 yd. which will be better than the average bear can do...:rolleyes:
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Top your memory is just fine... guide rods are simply a way to extract money from shooters.

I always felt that fitting the hood so you couldn't see light was a mark of craftsmanship. It isn't easy to do and teaches you how cut a straight line with a file. It probably doesn't have to be perfect for good accuracy.

Terry the Kart barrel is "easier" to fit because you don't have to cut the bottom lugs. You do have to get the hood right and fitting the bushing to the slide can be difficult but done right it is a big accuracy improvement.
One of the first tests in my training was to take a rough cut piece of stock and file it to a cube.

After the lugs were welded up I used a chain saw file. Lug cutters came along years later.

The secret to fitting both lugs and hood is to start with both too tight and then start using a rawhide mallet and try to drive the parts into a fit. What happens is that you can then see where to remove metal. That way even if the cut in the slide isn't square you can compensate.

The most important element is pateince. One swipe too much and you're :censored:

But I don't like doing lugs either which is why I'm so fond of the easy fit Kart barrel.
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