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I am going to try and fit a new barrel bushing to my Kimber 1911.

I don't need one, it's just kind of a learning experience for me. If I screw it up, I still have the original, so I'm just out the few bucks for the bushing.

Now I know that the tab that fits into the slot on the slide will be oversized. My question is on fitting the bushing to the barrel.

Do I just remove enough metal from the inner diameter of the bushing to permit the barrel to slide through it (keeping the ID a perfect circle), OR, since the barrel tilts up, do I have to relieve the BOTTOM of the ID of the bushing, making the ID a slight oval?

School me, brothers. :smile:
 

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Believe it or not fitting the bushing is one of the more difficult jobs. The clueless say you have to have a "tight" bushing when, in fact, if you do the gun won't work.

The tightness of the bushing within the slide is a small part that is often overdone. It should not turn like the GI bushing, but doesn't need to be super tight either. Most of that fit comes from the skirt not the "tab" although that part may need work too.

If the bushing won't go into the slide at all metal must be taken off the skirt. It is very hard to get a nice round part with a flat file so that is best done with a belt sander or with a narrow piece of emery cloth used like a shoeshine rag... ;) make haste very slowly and try often. Get a cheap bushing wrench and use it to help judge tightness. The wrench will also let you turn one that is too tight and help you see where metal needs to come off.

The popular thing right now is the "angle bored" bushing from EGW. Based on the OD of your barrel they will cut it slightly angled and this is probably the most expedient way unless you have the tools to actually ream or fit a bushing.

Remember that the barrel must be able to tip up and down inside the bushing. Don't remove any metal from the barrel just the contact area inside the bushing. Again, this isn't easy to do with normal hand tools. Emery cloth wrapped around a wooden dowel is probably best. Dremel tools are the kiss of death...

This has also made me come up with a new definition for "upgrade".

Fixing something that ain't broke...
 

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tight

Hey Charlie,

Got a call from a buddy the other day. His neighbor brought over a 1911 that he had taken apart for cleaning, but couldn't get back together, due to arthritis in his hands. This old gent was a great big guy, probably in his mid-80s, and had been a state trooper for 22+ years. He had shot on some kind of composite team made up of highway patrolmen, Army Guardsmen, and Air Guardsmen. The pistol in question was pretty neat....it had a GI lower, with Rock Isand proofs. The strap was stippled, and the whole thing had been blued , over an old parkerizing. So it was a sorta of pleasing blue park job (I have a couple of guns that I had that done to, and it is attractive.) I don't know what make the bottom was, as I can't tell 'em apart. The top was a commercial Colt, and I'd say it was from the 40s. It had what was left of the deep shiny blue. It also had big block sights, like the ones on my old High Standard Sharpshooter. Flat mainspring housing. Wooden checkered grips, no diamonds. I don't remember seeing the pony.

The different thing was the barrel bushing. It came with a wrench. Never having been a match shooter, I had never handled one of those. It was so tight that it took two of us to get it all back together. I had to hold the gun, and keep the plug pushed down, and my pal had to do the wrench work with that bushing.

Is that necessary, to have something fit that closely?? Now the old-timer wants to go out shooting, but I am holding him off til this ugly summer gets over.

I was just curious about that tight bushing. I don't think that I would care to monkey with something like that. But then again, I don't shoot match, either.

Your comments, please. Did this sound like a GI-armory built piece to you?

Regards,
Jim
 

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The different thing was the barrel bushing. It came with a wrench. Never having been a match shooter, I had never handled one of those. It was so tight that it took two of us to get it all back together. I had to hold the gun, and keep the plug pushed down, and my pal had to do the wrench work with that bushing.

Is that necessary, to have something fit that closely??

Your comments, please.

Regards,
Jim
If you'd put a piece of .45 brass in the ejection port as if smokestacked, or a piece of 1/2" dowel or something, you might have found that bushing a lot easier to turn when reassembling (or disassembling). This is because with the barrel now out of battery, it's now lined up with the bushing, and not stressing it vertically in any way.

If the bare bushing (no barrel) is still hella hard to turn in the slide, what I'd personally do is lube it up with Kroil or something and (put the slide in a padded vise if necessary) and sit there and turn the bushing back and forth with the wrench until it got reasonably easy to do (though NOT loose). At that point I'd clean out the oil and loose metal and probably find a very pleasant fit.

Charlie, with his superior skill, big brain, and professional tools, might have other advice, but that's what I'd do at this point. ;)
 

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Snake has a good point. Match barrels usually have a portion at the muzzle, usually about 1/2", that is 0.005-0.010" oversize. Backing the slide off should help, but it is just a good idea anyhow to avoid more wear on the barrel or bushing. Even if it isn't oversize at the muzzle pulling the slide back enough so the barrel unlocks is a good practice.

I always built guns so that a bushing wrench was needed but you didn't have to bring a friend to turn it.

Without a picture can't say much about the gun but it certainly could be what you say. The USAF did not normally blue over parkerizing (don't think the Army did either) but it certainly could be done.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Got a week?

Believe it or not fitting the bushing is one of the more difficult jobs. The clueless say you have to have a "tight" bushing when, in fact, if you do the gun won't work.

The tightness of the bushing within the slide is a small part that is often overdone. It should not turn like the GI bushing, but doesn't need to be super tight either. Most of that fit comes from the skirt not the "tab" although that part may need work too.

If the bushing won't go into the slide at all metal must be taken off the skirt. It is very hard to get a nice round part with a flat file so that is best done with a belt sander or with a narrow piece of emery cloth used like a shoeshine rag... ;) make haste very slowly and try often. Get a cheap bushing wrench and use it to help judge tightness. The wrench will also let you turn one that is too tight and help you see where metal needs to come off.

The popular thing right now is the "angle bored" bushing from EGW. Based on the OD of your barrel they will cut it slightly angled and this is probably the most expedient way unless you have the tools to actually ream or fit a bushing.

Remember that the barrel must be able to tip up and down inside the bushing. Don't remove any metal from the barrel just the contact area inside the bushing. Again, this isn't easy to do with normal hand tools. Emery cloth wrapped around a wooden dowel is probably best. Dremel tools are the kiss of death...

This has also made me come up with a new definition for "upgrade".

Fixing something that ain't broke...
Time isn't really a problem Charlie. The reliability and accuracy of my Kimber is fine with the original bushing...I guess I am "fixing something that ain't broke". ;)

I have done some minor parts replacements on it; nothing that required a great deal of skill. I remember replacing a friends thumb safety a dozen years ago, and you actually had to fit it. When the ambi safety failed on my 1911, I bought a Wilson safety and it dropped right in...no fitting necessary.

This is just a learning project for me. The guy who's shop teacher told him he oughta be a butcher. :help: :D

Thanks for the tips! I'll be sure to post how high on my cuss-o-meter this project rates. And what the results, good, bad or indifferent are.
 

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I am almost ashamed to admit that I've taken a rubber coated lead hammer to the bushing on my 10MM Delta gun...

Not to mention the fact that on two occasions I've achieved reasonable ceiling penetration with the recoil springs of same... :)
 

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Aw gee Terry...have fun... BUT

you may not see any difference at all, even if you put it in a Ransom rest.

For a learning experience that really will show results I would suggest a Kart "Easy Fit" barrel installation. The bushing is already fitted to the barrel but you will have to fit it to the slide, but getting the hood and lockup is actually more straightforward than bushings. Just buy the small kit of tools for it and follow the directions. It will cost more than the bushing but with care it is worth a bunch.

That is what I did to the world famous Prairie Dog Gun which will still shoot under 2" for 10 at 50.

It is still fixing something that ain't broke, but really would be an upgrade:lol:
 

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While I readily admit that right now my RIA sports an EGW Angle-bore, Extra-thick Gunsmith-fit bushing( You give them the ID of the slide and the OD of the barrel at the muzzle), I used to fit a bushing to the slide first. When it was snug but not tight, I'd measure the barrel at the muzzle( With a 0-1 Micrometer, not a dial-vernier), add .001 to that and start in on the ID of the bushing using a 9/16ths dowel(Turned down from 5/8ths.) with a single wrap of Crocus Cloth around it. Most muzzles except for Match barrels(True Match barrels) are around .577 to .582 in diameter. Oil the cloth and turn a couple times and check, turn a couple times and check til I got the fit I wanted. Thing you have to watch is that when you move the slide back .100 or so,the barrel can tilt down and unlock.





Looking at the bushing I know it looks like the barrel isn't straight. That's because it isn't!!! 1911 Barrels sit in Battery with the chamber-center 52 minutes above level with the frame-rails.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Aw gee Terry...have fun... BUT

you may not see any difference at all, even if you put it in a Ransom rest.

For a learning experience that really will show results I would suggest a Kart "Easy Fit" barrel installation. The bushing is already fitted to the barrel but you will have to fit it to the slide, but getting the hood and lockup is actually more straightforward than bushings. Just buy the small kit of tools for it and follow the directions. It will cost more than the bushing but with care it is worth a bunch.

That is what I did to the world famous Prairie Dog Gun which will still shoot under 2" for 10 at 50.

It is still fixing something that ain't broke, but really would be an upgrade:lol:
Charlie, I never would have thought that fitting a barrel was easier than fitting a bushing. Tell you what...I will take the advice of one much more knowledgeable than I, save my pennies and try the Kart barrel route. :p

Again, the wonderful thing about 1911's is that if it doesn't work out, I can slap the old parts back in and I'm back in business.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Will do, Charlie. Thanks.
 

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I understand that if you provide measurements of the slide's internal diameter and the barrel's outer diameter, EGW will machine a bushing to fit.
 

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I understand that if you provide measurements of the slide's internal diameter and the barrel's outer diameter, EGW will machine a bushing to fit.
I don't doubt it. I needed a part made for a 1911 and sent them a sketch and dimensions (to .001") and they made me a fine, fine part. Good guys!
 
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