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Para Ordnance Wild Bunch 1911


Jack Spade
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One of our older shooters was paring down some guns and brought one to a match today where I bought it.  What can anyone tell me about the Para Ordnance Wild Bunch 1911?  It seems pretty stiff like it needs some springs changed to ease/smooth operation for competition.  Looking forward to seeing what your opinion is of these.

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I can't tell you anything about your particular gun/model;  but... ANY factory gun is going to need the attention of a competent 'smith, well versed with the requirements of a competition gun of that type, before it can be truly "competition ready."

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Factory guns are indeed sprung heavier than is needed for Wild Bunch with it's 150 minimum power factor.  And then consider the square/sharp edge on the bottom of the firing pin retainer, rough mainspring housing bore, and other burrs and tight fits on slide, etc., yes, non-tuned guns are stiff. 

General gun will probably be very usable after tuning and smoothing.  From reports from others, not from any personal experience with them.

Sights on the PO Wild Bunch model may have 3 paint dots on them, from advertising I've seen on the gun.  For use in a Traditional category, those would need to be covered to match the main color of the sights.

good luck, GJ

 

Edited by Garrison Joe
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  • 3 weeks later...

On my guns with tuning and smoothing performed, for Wild Bunch 155-170 Power Factor, a 15 pound recoil spring and a 19 pound main spring work well for me.  A lighter mag release spring is also handy.   Some folks start tweaking their (3 leaf) sear/trigger spring, but I can get good triggers without bending or lightening that spring.  That makes it easy to just drop in a new one every 5 thousand rounds or so.

With higher power (factory and above), that set of springs may lead to hard battering on the slide and frame, so consider what you will be feeding the gun.

1 - Keep your recoil and main springs balanced.   Just putting a light recoil spring in will not work as well as reducing spring weight on both.

2 - I've learned from reading instructions from several 1911 smiths that your gun is "sprung well" when fired cases fall 5-6 feet away from where you stand.   If they dribble out, the springs are strong for your load.  If they fling 15 feet away, springs are too light.

3 - The firing pin retaining plate bottom edge is often square and has a sharp back edge.   Rolling that back edge to a radius of about 1/2" works for me to reduce slide retraction force, spreading the hammer cocking over more slide travel distance.

4 - Most mainspring housings have a rough bore for the mainspring.   Brownell's has a flexi-hone made just for smoothing that drilled hole.

good luck, GJ

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Spring makers have a way to measure spring "weight."   Here is the only commercial end-user scale I have found:

https://www.securefirearmproducts.com/Model_Details.php?modelno=11490-SR-D

It includes the compressed length at which a 1911 recoil spring is measured already researched for you.

BUT - If they are "old" springs, just toss them.  The ones you will install will be what you run for the next couple of years anyway (and those springs in the drawer will be even older then).  A 1911 (or any other defensive semi-auto) deserves to have the best possible springs that never instill doubt in the shooter's mind!

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe
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"Another forum" post on this subject is here:

https://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=584466

Even though this post was made in 2017, no one seemed to know about the Secure Firearm Products tester which began to be sold as early as 2010.  Shows that a spring weight tester just does not get much publicity.  😄

The original recoil spring specs (and how to measure the weight) from US government can be found in that post.   Although current Colt factory springing practice is the 16 # weight, not the 13.5 # found in the spec sheet!

good luck, GJ

 

Edited by Garrison Joe
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Many thanks for the explanations on springs @Garrison Joe !

I'd like to ask if you use and recommend (rubber) recoil buffers for 1911s? I installed one (of unknown brand) in my Auto-Ordnance but I had issues. The slide didn't stay open with an empty mag while shooting and when open with a new mag I couldn't drop the slide by pulling it back. I had to press the mag release what I usually don't do due to my short thumb. So, I took the buffer out. Maybe I should try a different brand (Wilson?) or grind the thickness down somewhat?

Phil

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No buffer is needed NOR recommended.  These are essentially a gimmick for when folks shoot hot ammo in lightly sprung guns and believe they see damage due to that.  If the gun is correctly sprung, it needs NO buffer.  A shock buffer does not make recoil less or the gun shoot softer.  Buffers do add a piece of plastic/rubber that breaks down and jams the gun. 

I've run one 1911 Colt Government that I got new back in the 1970s with 130,000 rounds fired.  Never had a buffer in it.   Ran factory springs when I was shooting full power ammo.   Put in lighter springs and retuned the gun when I started using it in Wild Bunch.   My other 1911s do not have shock buffers either.

good luck, GJ

 

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14 hours ago, Equanimous Phil said:

The slide didn't stay open with an empty mag while shooting and when open with a new mag I couldn't drop the slide by pulling it back. I had to press the mag release

Both are symptoms of too much recoil spring pressure, surprised you didn't have cases falling right on your boot, too.   Take out the buffer and don't put another in. Then check for how your cases eject.

good luck, GJ

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4 hours ago, Garrison Joe said:

Both are symptoms of too much recoil spring pressure, surprised you didn't have cases falling right on your boot, too.   Take out the buffer and don't put another in. Then check for how your cases eject.

Good to hear that such buffers aren't needed. I left the buffer in for only one range session and immediately took it out because of said issues. The gun seems to work fine without the buffer and I never had any feeding issues. It is still stock as it came out of the box but besides a quite awful trigger I am happy with it. A shim I ordered from Brownells to get rid of the series 80 firing pin block just arrived. I hope installing it will improve the trigger a bit.

I never paid attention where my ejected cases gather but I guess they take a good fly and don't just drop. I will watch it next time. I do not have the possibility to chrono my ammo. As I do not reload .45 Auto yet ( becauseI rarely shoot it) I bought rounds from a professional reloader. This ammo is intended for use in IPSC and supposed to meet PF of 170 (Major Classic Division) with a 230gr RN, so it's probably a tad hotter than the average WB load.

Phil

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Almost any 1911 can be easily set to a 4 pound crisp pull with no creep.  If your factory trigger is more than about 5 pounds, it needs work.  The lighter mainspring we talked about (above) will take off some pull weight.  A good quality sear spring (the three leaf thingy) sometimes helps, as does taking out that Series 80 FP interlock.  Auto Ordnance is not well known for doing much tuning on their guns, and it's not surprising that you got a poor trigger.  Several reviews I have read call out the need for fire control tuning, as well.

But most improvement on a 1911 will come from having a practicing 1911 smith work a little magic with stones and polishing.  Many things to look at, and the pro knows which ones yours might need.  Things like checking and setting the sear-to-hammer contact correctly make a BIG difference.

That ammo should work real well, and certainly will be powerful enough for Wild Bunch.

good luck, GJ

 

Edited by Garrison Joe
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