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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently sent a SW1911PD (Commander) off to have a new barrel and bushing fitted to increase accuracy, I was looking to get at least a solid 2-3" @ 25 yards. My other goal was to give up nothing in the way of reliability, this is a daily carry gun, not a match gun.

A new Briley stainless barrel and a stainless bushing was fitted, for the record, the Briley spherical bushing was not used. I have not had a chance to really wring this gun out as of yet for some meaningful accuracy testing, but initial shooting has shown improvement.

The slide to frame fit was not altered, and it has always been fairly tight, no rattle, and very very little side to side play, and no up and down slop. The bushing is very tight with no movement, in fact a bushing wrench is now required to strip the gun.:eek: There is no movement whatsoever between the hood of the barrel and the slide, the old proverbial bank vault as they say.

Here is where I have a question as to fit, the slide movement back and forth. Obviously the slide moves back and forth for function:rolleyes:, but it will move with the slightest pressure 3.5 pounds to be exact. Think of it this way, you press back on the slide as if you are going to do a press check, at 3.5 pounds of pressure the slide starts moving and will travel .025", then it meets 'real' resistance from the recoil spring, and it takes far more pressure to continue to open the slide. The barrel does NOT begin to toggle down out of lock during this first little bit of movement.

If the slide closes forcefully, it always closes completely, but if allowed to close very gently it stops short by .025", of course you can easily push it forward, or if you pull the trigger, the hammer will drop and push the slide forward that last little bit. I guess the best way to describe this is slop in the slide from front to rear on the frame. The way I got my measurement was to use a caliper to measure the offset between the rear of the slide and the rear of the frame, when fully forward they are flush, but have a .025" 'offset' when not fully forward.

I have another SW1911PD that is factory stock, as well as a 70s era box stock Colt 1911A1, while both of these guns seem to have a much looser fit than the first one, they exibit NONE of this forward/rearward slide 'slop'.

Is this a fit problem, or I am just being anal!

Pics added for clarity...




BTW the thumb safety will engage when slide is set back like this.



Thanks for any input.
 

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It is hard to say without seeing what you have. The front of the barrel's bottom lug may be hitting the rear of the guide rod. Coat them with a black marker and cycle the gun some to see if they are hitting. If so. take a little off if needed. Compare your new barrel with the old one to see if it looks different in that area.
 

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Sounds like the barrel bushing/barrel fit to me. I have handled several 1911s where the bushing was changed and caused the same "symptom". I had a Colt that did the exact same thing. It never caused a problem when shooting, only when manipulating the slide with your hand.
 

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Gans is correct on this one. The recoil guide is most likely hitting on the bbl. lug. This transmits the recoil spring pressure against the bbl and not the frame. The slide "floats" until the bbl backs off enough to let the guide contact the frame and then the pressure can build.
The solution is eliminate the premature contact. (Magic marker or hi-spot blue will validate contact.)
I had this situation on a custom Commander from a "Big Name" 'smith, and filing the end of the guide fixed the problem.
 

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I had the same experience after fitting a barrel to a new tight frame and slide.. close the slide sharply and there is no problem, ease it closed and it hangs just before going into battery but, with a nudge will lock up.. check all clearances.. barrel springing, barrel to bushing fit.. or send it back to the smith that worked on it for evaluation.. my own experience was to lube the entire gun and shoot the pistol once everything was checked over properly for fit and function and let it wear in....
 

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It is hard to say without seeing what you have. The front of the barrel's bottom lug may be hitting the rear of the guide rod. Coat them with a black marker and cycle the gun some to see if they are hitting. If so. take a little off if needed. Compare your new barrel with the old one to see if it looks different in that area.
:rock:
Sounds like this is the case.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update

I appreciate the feedback, and I was leaning towards the explanation that the recoil guide was hitting the barrel lug first as opposed to the frame. I took a long look at this but decided not to start filing away.

First off, my recoil guide rod has previously been melonited (is that a word), and the marker trick was difficult to see. Second, it is hard to put metal back if I screw it up.

I called the smith that installed the barrel, and he assured me first off that he knew that this was the case when he sent the gun back, and he said that it was because of a very tight barrel fit. It was not a problem, and that it WOULD wear in.

BTW, the pics of the slide are after I have already put a couple of hundred rounds through the gun since getting it back. I am going to shoot it a bunch more and see where it is then....

any thoughts?
 

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I call foul! This doesn't sound like a tight fit problem to me.
Here is a way to check. I see you have a full length guide rod installed. Try swapping back to the standard guide rod (or borrow one from a Bud) and see if the problem goes away. I bet it will. That will debunk the "That's the way it should be/ It will wear in" guesses.
 

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That first bit of easy rearward travel is the barrel disengaging from the upper lugs...I doubt anything is wrong...but it could be that your link is a little too short. But I AM NOT a gunsmith.
 

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I also am not a Gunsmith, but...the slide is the part that is supposed to be under spring tension, not the bbl. The bbl is free floating and is locked/unlocked by the motion of the slide. The only way the slide can be "loose" is if there is no spring pressure between the slide and frame. This will happen if, as the bbl. links up, the lower lug comes into contact with the recoil guide and unseats it from the frame. The spring pressure is NOW between the front of the slide (at the plug) and the bbl. lug. Since the bbl. is linked up, and is now rigidly locked in the slide, the spring is effectively pressing against two places in the slide, and nowhere on the frame. This allows the slide to "float" with no spring resistance until the slide moves back enough to allow the bbl. to back away from the contact with the spring guide. The guide now correctly seats against the frame, and you regain spring pressure on the slide.
 

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That makes sense too..
 

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Barrel fit

I know I wouldn't want the slide to "free float" at all, since reaward movement of the slide can cause the disconnector to be depressed, which disables the trigger. Your slide movement looks close to the starting point of
causing the trigger to not function. I think a "fix" is necessary/mandatory
for a self defense gun. I agree with the recoil rod theory.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update

Today I decided to try switching out recoil guides as was suggested. I pulled out a 70's Colt safe queen, mostly because it did not use a full length guide rod.

I installed the guide rod, spring and spring cap from the Colt into the S&W, and if anything it seemed like it was worse. The barrel still locked up tight, but it seemed that there was even more 'slop' in the forward/reward movement of the slide.

I am really leaning to this being the (front) of the bottom barrel lug striking the rear of the recoil guide so that it does not sit flush on the frame. Would you normally want to file metal from the lug or the guide rod. My first thought would be the guide rod, but since it did this with more than one rod, I would think the problem is with the barrel lug.

Am I correct to assume that there are no critical surfaces on the front sloping portion of the bottom lug?

Let me know, I do not want to start hacking away! :(
 

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I believe it is far safer and more productive to file the guide. They sometimes have a large chamfer on the end that doesn't do anything except add length. Just shorten the "nub" that projects into the frame towards the bbl. until it doesn't hit anymore, and then break the edge a little for ease of assembly. I think I chucked my rod in a cordless drill and faced it down with a bench grinder while spinning. It is easier to keep it even that way.
Let us know what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update

I have talked again with the folks that did the work for me on this gun, and have been assured that there is not a problem with the barrel fit. I accept this explanation based on their experience as well as their word, that is good enough for me.

Now I plan on going out and burning some powder!:rock:
 
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