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1911 gunsmith ?


Marshal5
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M5,  bigger front sights are available that are staked like what you have  on it. We have a few shooters I know of using them with great success. As far as function if you have good magazines (like Tripp) and your using a round lead bullet that mimics a hardball round  that pistol might be ready to go without fooling with it. You won’t know till you try......
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Boggus Deal (a top shooter here) does excellent 1911 gunsmithing.  Search the Member List for his contact info.

 

I had my Series 70 Colt slide dovetailed, and a custom tall front sight fabricated, and a 10-8 National Match (legacy) rear fixed sight installed by Mars Armament, a smith shop in Salt Lake City.  They also have done tuning suitable to ensure the gun runs 100% reliably.  They were slammed by work in 2020 and may be back to accepting and completing 1911 work now.  Top notch, but rather pricey.

 

https://marsguns.com/

 

Recently made Colt Series 70 guns ship with pretty good, Traditional legal, sights already.

 

But, I would highly recommend a dovetailed front sight.  My 1911 lost a tall staked front sight after a professional installation was done.  Tall sights just are harder to keep on the slide than original heights with their lighter weight.  The dovetail, if done to one of the standard dimensions, allows you to easily change over to a different configuration quickly.

 

Be careful to review the allowed modifications and replacement parts configurations that are within the rather tight window for a Traditional pistol.  A standard Colt Government style gun (or Springfield, Ruger, Remington, RIA, etc) with

* a beveled magazine entry (no added "well"),

* no checkering or serrations on front strap, trigger guard or slide,

* military-spec shapes and sizes on hammer, safety, grip safety,

* fixed sights in solid color, blue, black, or natural colored steel/stainless (may be polished).  No dots, beads, inserts, glow devices, etc.)

* and a well tuned "duty" weight trigger

are about all that is really needed most of the time.

 

Gun tuned to run perfectly with "light hardball" lead ammo, at a power factor of about 160.

 

Gun weight cannot exceed 40 ounces with empty magazine.

 

good luck, GJ

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Garrison Joe

 

Quick question.

You mentioned the front sight solid color, blued , black or stainless.

I saw a shooter who took his standard front sight which was dark blue and he polished the blue off the very top of the surface that the shooter would see when using the gun.

In effect he created a two tone front sight. The polished tip on the front sight he told me allowed him to acquire a quick sight picture for faster shooting. He said it was allowed in the rules?

Is he correct?

 

Also how many pound recoil spring do most use for WB loads, I will use 230 bullets?

Thanks

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I saw a shooter who took his standard front sight which was dark blue and he polished the blue off the very top of the surface that the shooter would see when using the gun.

In effect he created a two tone front sight. The polished tip on the front sight he told me allowed him to acquire a quick sight picture for faster shooting. He said it was allowed in the rules?

Is he correct?

 

The parts-condition rules for a Traditional pistol are on page 5.  Here's a very specific rule that pertains to your question:

 

The back of a colored front sight may be polished to natural steel color.

 

My interpretation of "the back of the sight" is that would be the whole back surface of the sight.  Perhaps a Rules Committee member would care to comment.  If the sight just "shows normal wear" that has removed bluing at the top of the sight, I doubt it would be considered an illegal modification.  So, I'd give it a pragmatic view, and say it's good to go, without having seen it.  But then, I've run local matches and shot in big ones, but not run the big ones.

 

 

 

Also how many pound recoil spring do most use for WB loads,

 

If you tune your gun to a typical 160 power factor load, the bullet weight won't matter much for your spring selections.  And for a 160 power factor, I have found a lot of tuners (like Wilson) usually say a 15 pound recoil spring and a 19 pound main spring is a good balanced match.    Remember that most factory 1911s (ones not intentionally set up for high power levels) are tuned to factory hard ball PF levels - 230 grains at 825 FPS or so, or about 190 PF.    For that, Colt and several other makers install a 16 pound recoil and a 23 pound main spring when building guns.

 

Why reduce the mainspring weight when reducing the PF and the recoil spring?  Consider how those two springs are used.  The mainspring is providing the major resistance to the slide moving back (more than the recoil spring, which is kind of the weak assistant during rearward travel).  Really, the recoil spring is mostly storing enough energy to shove the slide forward to strip the top cartridge off the magazine and shove it upward and forward into the chamber reliably.  Meanwhile, the mainspring is storing energy for the hammer fall that will come later.  And, some slide energy is used up when the fired case hits the ejector, too.

 

On forward motion of the slide, the main spring does nothing (it stays compressed until the hammer falls).  The recoil spring is what drives the slide forward. 

 

So, when you reduce the PF in wild bunch ammo to 160 or slightly more (staying away from the absolute minimum of 150 provided by the ammo rules), the slide will be moving backward with less energy.  To prevent a short slide travel that could fail to cock the hammer (or even fail to eject the case cleanly), the mainspring is commonly reduced somewhat.  Testing shows, one can reduce mainspring weight to about 19 pounds in a smoothly running gun, with the mainspring housing honed to avoid wasting energy rubbing against the typically rough bore of the mainspring channel.  And the reduction of the mainspring reduces trigger pull slightly.

 

And the recoil spring can be reduced just a little, so drop it to 15 pounds.  Safe to do since there is a fair amount of rearward slide speed reduction when the PF is dropped to 160.  The lighter recoil spring AND mainspring reduces the effort needed to rack the slide, too.  Along with radiusing the bottom of the firing pin retainer plate. The recoil spring still has to do the same amount of work to run the slide forward, so it does not drop as fast as the mainspring weight drops.

 

You get into a balancing act with the two springs.  Just dropping recoil spring weight lessens the reliability of going into battery well.  Just dropping mainspring weight lets slide come back too fast and batters the hammer/sear engagement point and possibly the frame.

 

Is there a quick way to see when you have a good spring-weight pair?  I follow recommendations I've seen on Wilson and a couple of other sites.  Clean up any fired cases on the range around your firing position.  Load a full mag of your intended loads when you have gun smoothed like you want. Firm grip, using your intended shooting style.  Fire until gun empties.  Should see no failures to eject and no failures to feed and no failure to cock hammer.  And last round should lock slide open firmly, not just hanging on edge of slide release engagement.   

Fired cases closer than 5 feet => often springs are resisting rearward motion too much (mostly the mainspring is heavy, but if one is reduced, consider reducing both)

Fired cases farther than about 15 feet => spring set is too light and cases are being flung out with abandon.  Go to a heavier set of springs.

 

 

 

Free related failure troubleshooting experiences follow.

Fired cases are dinging the mouth => extractor nose shape or ejector length isn't quite right to push the case out the middle of the ejection port

Failures to eject - check ejector first.  Then extractor tension.

Failures to strip out of magazine - check magazine and magazine follower first  (I use Tripp as a standard magazine)

Jams going up feed ramp  (3 point failures) - here, several things can be the source of problems.  Subject of discussions galore on 1911 sites.  But check magazine and mag spring first.

Jams just short of going into battery - check ammo first, second and third.  Then look at too tight a radius on break over from barrel ramp to chamber.

 

 

 

 

A really good 1911 and spring maintenance guide is found in one of Wilson's videos:

 

Including spring change out intervals.

 

 

And, of course, these are guides I find to be useful on fairly smooth, tight Colt 1911s.  Your gun will vary from that "legacy standard".  Your goals in how the gun runs will vary.    My goals are:

Reliability - especially feeding and chambering and magazine operation

Good trigger pull at about 3.5 pounds, breaking cleanly and consistently

Sight visibility at speed.

 

All the rest - doesn't matter anywhere near as much, even accuracy, but who doesn't love an accurate gun?

 

good luck, GJ

 

 

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