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Discussion Starter #1
This may have been asked before but what the h...

I am a firm believer that the most important thing on a 1911 is the barrel fit. I would like to learn to fit a barrel.

What literature would any of you suggest?

Brownells has a tool kit just for this purpose, is it worth the price?

I would like some cheap barrels to practice on first do any exist?

Would a small lathe be a good purchase?

Thanks before hand for any help you could give me.
 

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Buy the Kart E-Z fit barrel. It can be installed with just simple hand tools. Kart IMO has always made the best 1911 barrel.
 

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Well, you are correct in the belief that barrel fit is one of the most important aspects in an accurate 1911, along with the bushing fit I would say they are the two most influential aspects of an accurate 1911.

I would suggest:

Kuhnhausen Volumes I & II

There is an article here on the forum on "Mechanical Accuracy" by Metal Smith, a definite read and re-read and re-read, you get the point

I feel that the AGI videos on building 1911s are good for showing you some of the actual procedures but there are a lot of holes in the stuff presented and some stuff is not detailed enough, but they are one of the few video resources available for this sort of thing.

Hallock's 1911 book is pretty good

http://www.blindhogg.com/gunsmith/barrel.html

Read Wil Schuemann's article on timing at www.schuemann.com

This has been covered a lot here, so use the search function to get some more posts on it. There are many great smith's here and they are very helpful and kind enough to contribute.

A lot of it will be just getting involved and trying to do it. Which brings us to tools.

Tools I would suggest:
(Nine digit numbers are www.brownells.com part numbers, names are the places to get the item, no specification means that they are not store or brand specific)

Dial Calipers
Barrel Alignment Block (080-000-041)
Loose fitting barrel bushing for fitting the barrel to the slide (not for actual, final usage)
Swiss Pattern Files for fitting the barrel hood (I use #2 & #4)
A set of needle files
Stones and or sanding sticks
EGW Hood Length Gauge (www.egw-guns.com)
Barrel Holder (080-711-100)
Barrel Locking Lug File (080-751-000)
Locking Lug Kit has several of the tools together (080-000-089)
Slide Lug Iron (080-689-000)
Gauge Pins http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=950065&PMAKA=616-8126
1911 Lug Cutter (080-000-068)
3/16" Round Swiss File (360-313-231)
Slide Pusher (I can't seem to find this indiviually on the Brownell's website or in the catalog, but they should sell it separately)
Cratex polishing bits for foredom tool or dremel

Possible tools you may need:

Nowlin ramped barrel frame bridge cutter (654-105-000) -- if the vertical impact surface needs to be set back to adjust timing
Link pin hole reamer -- if you need to open up the pin hole for link pin installation.

A lathe would only be used to turning down the barrel bushing and cutting/re-crowning the barrel. Fitting the bushing can be done with a file and/or sanding sticks so a $500 (smallest lathe I've seen) would be a bit of overpurchasing if this is the only use for it. Not to mention, lathes work better the bigger/heavier they are from what I am told. You may need a bushing reamer to cut the inside diameter of the barrel bushing. Here is a nice adjustable reamer (170-531-002)

Unfortunately there are not any "cheap" barrels to use for practice. Most barrels that require fitting or are made to be oversized are high-quality aftermarket barrels that are going to be $150-$250. The lowest priced one you will find is probably a Kart .45 Government barrel. They are extremely high quality and probably the favored barrel of bullseye shooters. They are also chrome-moly steel (carbon not stainless) if that matters to you. I think they are like $150 or so from Brownells but if you get one from Gil Hebard guns it comes out to like $110 or so because they give a 10% discount for orders over $100. They are not on the web, call or write for a catalog

Gil Hebard Guns
125 Public Square
Knoxville, IL 61448
309-289-2700

Good luck on your journey. PM me your email address and I'll email you a word doc and a view diagrams I have for my own personal barrel fitting.
 

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No problem. Just sharing the information others have shared with me.

Just a word of warning though, once you start this you will keep buying guns to modify and parts to build into guns :D It's a vicious but fun problem to have.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Bigdaddy , your extensive answer is very much appreciated.
This was the very type of info I needed. Great! Thank you!
 

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Big Daddy said:

Just a word of warning though, once you start this you will keep buying guns to modify and parts to build into guns :D It's a vicious but fun problem to have.
Yup, I'm on my 6th project now! :)
 
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