1911Forum banner


3536 Views 23 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  roaniecowpony
I am currently mapping out my next project which will be a build on a Colt Series 80 .45ACP Lightweight Commander. This gun is very low mileage and will become my primary off-duty carry weapon. I do have some concerns about the aluminum frame and am considering having a ramped barrel and an Acc-U-Rail system installed along with the other work (Heinie Straight Eight Sights, Caspian Beavertail, etc.) in order to save wear and tear on the pistol. This one is going to have to last as my department will not provide letterhead for off-duty weapons and I am therefore prohibited from purchasing another from a non-California resident. I have heard some say that the Acc-U-Rails are not safe on a defensive weapon because they have a tendency to break and "lock up" the pistol. I also read somewhere of a new Acc-U-Rail system that provides for a more solid attachment of the rails. What do you experts think? As always, informed input is always appreciated.


Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Go to "search" and type in Accu-rails as a subject-- I was also looking for some feedback on this. Had used them on more game-oriented guns and came across the exact situation you have-- LW Commander, too much shake. Check it out.
There is a captive style of Acc U Rail that looks to me like it would lessen the chances of a rail breaking to near zero. Do most rails break at the bend near the front? If so, this captive style has no bend, it's a straight rod. Can be seen at ... http://www.cominolli.com/accurail.htm

Hi Marvin, I think going with 45 acp ramped barrel is a BIG BIG MISTAKE, If someone tells you they can build you a dependable one on a ramped barel thats great, but make sure they will buy the pistol back off you if it don't feed the first 2 rounds out of the magazine, they want to nose dive into the feed ramp, it seems like a magazine problem but they feed fine on a standard feed ramp, good luck on a BIG hollow point. I've installed EGW steel feed ramp inserts on aluminum problemed frames with prefect feeding result. Contact EGW on this one, hope this heps you out. Metalsmith
Marvin, I had a project like yours. Para aluminum frame, commander top-end. It was a concept for a carry gun. My competition guns had rails with over 70,000 rounds through them and never a problem. Seems that this subject was covered a while back and Richard Heinie had a pet gun with rails. I have never seen or heard of a railed gun failing. I would agree with the ramped barrel. I have never had or seen a problem. Again I have two .45's with the ramped barrel that are 100%. I think the ramped barrel is a good thing with the alum frame. I must respectfully disagree that the ramped barrel is a mistake. I would agree that with a steel frame there is less of a need. I think that the most important aspect is to have a competent gunsmith, who you can talk to about your goals.
Good luck and stay safe, PG
Originally I have never seen or heard of a railed gun failing.

I had a steel gun in .38 super that was assembled from a cheap aluminum frame with Accu-Rails and ran two Shock Buffs shooting very minor loads. It was great for many tens of thousands of rounds. I shot the dog lumps out of it. When it failed it failed big time. It locked up and I thought maybe a link or guide rod, who knows untill you get it apart. When I managed to get the slide off, the rails(not the Accu-rails) poured out of the gun in crumbs. This is not a critisisim. It was well used. I don't know that I would use them on a alum. carry gun with full power ammo if I was going to shoot it a lot. I would think a person would have to shoot a stock one a lot to see any sigificant wear on the frame rails. On the other hand it was buttery smooth when it came back Accu-Railed and maintained that fit and feel up til' the time it disolved.
I should have been more specific. It had been a long day. I meant that I was not aware of a railed gun failing due to the accu-rails. In your situation, was the failure a product of a cheap frame or the accu-rails, or a combination? My reason for the rails on my carry gun was to much slide to frame slop and if I carry it , I will shoot it to remain competent. My thinking was that it would increase the useful life. I wanted steel on steel. I fired many full power loads, including corbon. I shot quite a few IPSC matches with it using hard-ball. It is still very tight with 100% reliability. It has been retired. From your post you must be an impressive steel shooter. Do you make out to the west coast for the steel challenge?

Take care,PG
Originally posted by PG:
I should have been more specific. It had been a long day. I meant that I was not aware of a railed gun failing due to the accu-rails. In your situation, was the failure a product of a cheap frame or the accu-rails, or a combination? My reason for the rails on my carry gun was to much slide to frame slop and if I carry it , I will shoot it to remain competent. My thinking was that it would increase the useful life. I wanted steel on steel. I fired many full power loads, including corbon. I shot quite a few IPSC matches with it using hard-ball. It is still very tight with 100% reliability. It has been retired. From your post you must be an impressive steel shooter. Do you make out to the west coast for the steel challenge?

Take care,PG
Howdy PG,
I think it just gave up the ghost due to wear. I think(look out now,I'm thinking!) that the instalation probably weakened the frame to some degree and that it probably would have stayed together w/o the Accu-Rail but would have surely gotten lose from all the use long before it expired. I don't want to say whose frame it was because I don't think it was the frame or the Accu-Rails that made it fail. I think how ever you set up a gun it only has so many rounds of life in it and I think I exceeded that number by one.
No, I never got too far out west. I am lucky that the mid west host a lot of the big matches at PASA and Chapman, I used the gun for steel locally and shot it in several of the Masters speed events. I also lived in the country and had a steel range set up in the back yard along with a ho-made plate rack and a set of Masters precision targets with a NRA action course short of the mover. Boy do I miss that place. I recently moved. Now when I do load development I have to pack up and drive 40 miles round trip. Before I would reload, shoot, go inside and crank the powder measure some and go back out and shoot some more. It was pretty convienent that any time I had to do anything I could walk around the back of the house and bang away.
I laid out for about four years due to a broken back and surgery but I am just now putting together a Limited rig for IPSC and hope to shoot again this spring. I doubt that I pursue it as much as I used to but I miss the people and the shooting. I have healed well and believe I can do it and not hurt myself. The last match I shot was an Area III and I finished third B limited. I think it will be hard to get back to that level. Good luck with your aluminum gun.
See less See more
Hi Dotdot,
Thanks for the info. Glad to hear that you are back at it after what sounds like a difficult time. I wish you the best.

Take care and stay safe, PG
There is a reason Clint Smith recommends ball ammo. He carries a light weight Commander a lot for his and his families personal protection.

I do also.

If you want the gun to run and are betting your life and your families on it, my suggestion is keep it simple which in turn will be reliable.

No rails, regular barrel ramp....ie two parts, frame ramp and barrel throat. Use Wilson mags and shoot ball or a ball style HP. I am less worried about ball ammo than I am about ramp wear and tear after the anodizing is gone from a Colt frame so I stick to ball. You do your part, the ammo and gun will do its.

The steel EGW is a better idea. But even it isn't madatory if you stick to the other basics.

My suggestion is search out and talk to guys who shoot and carry LTW Commanders for serious use and burn rounds through them.

Sometimes money is not the answer or the fix, basics are.

[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 02-22-2001).]
See less See more
LW ramp inserts: I don't like the EGW method of set screwing and LocTiting it in. It needs to be held in positively, mechanically. LocTite is fine for certain things but does not have a place on our guns being depended upon to hold in a critical part like this. This is right in there taking a beating on one side from rounds impacting on it during the feeding cycle; on the other (front) side, it is in line to get the impact pulse from the slide banging off on the frame.... not to mention the underside of the barrel banging down on top of the insert as the barrel links down. A set screw is not the answer either-- screws come loose (sometimes), and if it is tight enough to really do its job well, it is stressing something. If that something is thick and solid, fine, but if that something is a piece of aluminum with lots of sharp-bottomed cuts going in various directions, and to boot is subject to sharp impacts, well, something might give eventually. I am currently doing a Commander for a customer and am inserting the ramp in such a way as to be mechanically sound and shake-out-proof. I'll provide some pics when I get to that point.
See less See more
Please note that the previous, pompous post (by me) was made by someone who has not actually used the EGW product.... I just have strong feelings about using magic goos and set screws to hold things.... the method I am using is more work but will still be there in 100 years.
Many thanks for the input. I think I will leave the rails alone, use a standard barrel (maybe even the one that is in there now)and see if I can locate a steel Kimber to shoot for practice. I can carry the Commander and just shoot it for quarterly qualification. Shouldn't be a problem for the seven to ten years I have left in the People's Republic.

Hi Larry, Good post, I doubt very seriously if cryro would help the breakage of the rails, I beleive it has to do with the instalation, I'll touch base on the subject at a later date, Metalsmith
Originally posted by Larry Vickers:
Ball ammo - You guy's need to know ball ammo is some seriously over penetrating stuff.

That is a given. Some like the resulting two holes instead of just one. The effects of a hand gun round on a human target is pretty iffy to begin with unless it is extremely well placed no matter what the ammo is.

I would be real interested to know out of these millions of rounds that get fired just how many actually have been used on humans since the primary weapon is a 223?

No question someone should have learned how to run a 1911 if you are shooting a million rounds a year, but to what end? My understanding is the 228s get used more than a 1911 does or even the Beretta, in your house.

Past that I would bet that more humans have been killed with ball ammo than any other 45 round. I would also bet that in the last 25 years more humans have been killed by the civil population with 1911s than all of the US Military combined. And there are damn few civilains that shoot even a 500 rounds a year. The ones that shoot more seldom get into gun fights.

I have seen more guns fail in a civilain environment because some guy is hording and recycling his expensive carry ammo than I have seen ball fail to work in a factory built gun. ( I do agree not all ball is created equal) So while the military experience and millions of rounds are an interesting data point how that relates to a civilian population, I have to wonder.

I suspect it doesn't at all.
Very Interesting!!! After supposedly 15+ years of M-9 isue, our best are still useing the 1911 more than the M-9. I'd like to hear more about this as it is a pet peave of mine. Not that the M-9 isn't a good gun, it just ain't a 1911 & it ain't a 45! Please post more on this subject if you can Mr Vickers.
Originally posted by Larry Vickers:
Virtually unlimited reasources at my work place have given me the opportunity to learn some things about guns and shooting over the 12 plus years I've been here - I've simply been exposed to more than any civilian I know. Much of what I know I can't share but what I can I will - some of you may like it, some (obviously) will not. So be it.
Let me be forthright here, Larry. I think you have some good info, I obviously think you build a decent gun (other wise I would have never have ordered two from you). My "liking" what you have to say has nothing to do with your commentary. I just disagree with the value you seem to place on the "millions of rounds" you "see" go down range.

My problem starts when you take a homogenous population with the same ammo, guns, same gunsmiths, mags, training. Then start telling me that when you shoot a million rounds it means that info translates across the board for the civilian population and consumer.

I am still willing to bet that the civilian (citizens and LE) population shoots more folks with hand guns every year than all the US military combined. Your unit is a tiny part of that program and although more likely to use a hand gun offensivly, your data is miniscule compared to the overall stats in the US of all hand gun shootings.

A good (Master or above) IPSC shooter, some where in their career, will put 1000 rounds a week down range. They will see 5 to 10K rounds a weekend put down range. That is only 400K to 500K rounds a year for a decent IPSC match shooter.

There are 3 or 4 gunsmiths I want building me guns. Of those even fewer have burned that amount of ammo and applied that education to building guns. Even fewer have looked down the sights of a 1911 at another human being on multiple occasions.

It is clear that you think the experience of seeing a million rounds fired a year is of great value to you. I am sure it makes a difference in how you build a gun. ( which is why I am in line for 2)

I have had this discussion of "experience" more than once and will freely admit that it is always the ones without the "experience" that argue that the particular experience has little value. Which is exactly what I am doing now

I'm a little hard headed though. I find it difficult to believe that spec op shooters and custom guns, a zillion rounds a years tells a lot more than what any good competitor gets in a year for experience or the actual documented shooting info for the civilian side.

You keep repeating the reference (ammo your group burns)in your posts, I just had to point out that I don't think it does make a difference.....from my limited experience of course.

It is not a dislike, just a disagreement.

Back to ball ammo. The real issue of civilian shootings is that the shooter needs to hit the target. Most people in a self defense shooting don't, civilian or LE. If you have the option of buying ball at $10 for a box or designer HPs at $30 for half as many, I suggest buy ball every time. Buy it and shoot it. A lot of it. Ball will solve the problem if you can solve the problem in 45.

Most folks don't burn up 25K rounds of ammo a year and the little practice they do get is never enough.

Some times it is too easy to overlook the basics of what a gun is for and what it takes to use one to good effect.
See less See more
Wow Dane, a decent IPSC shooter really shoots between 400,000 to 500,000 rounds a year and 5,000 to 10,000 in a weekend? Man, its no wonder I can't quite make GM.

Tom Freeman

p.s. I like rails.
Never questioned you can shoot. But so can a few other smiths. You aren't the only one.

Lighten up

I respect your opinions because you can actually shoot which I already knew. And you build a very nice gun. Which is obvious. Not because your unit burns a million rounds of 45 a year.

I don't think spec op experience translates well into civilian self defense which is all I am concerned with. Hence the ball ammo thread.

If there is one thing you aren't it's "vague", Larry.

Enjoyed the conversation.

Dane Burns www.burnscustom.com

[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 02-25-2001).]
See less See more
Turns out Larry is "vague" intentionally but his observation on ball ammo for over penetration is very good info from actual end users. I will defer to his judgement on that issue.

I also suspect Vicker's experience in spec ops is closer than I had originally thought as some of it does indeed apply directly to a civilian environment.

Coming from me that is a rare omission and not an endorsement given lightly. Vickers deserves that comment.

[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 02-27-2001).]
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Not open for further replies.