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"Drop-in" barrels

1324 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  nwgunman
Am I wasting my money on one of these things? I'm looking for improved reliability, not accuracy. I'm thinking an Ed Brown as it comes with bushing and pin. Or maybe a Wilson? Anybody "been there, done that"...? Thanks
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nwgunman, I just swapped a .38 super to a 9mm drop in bbl. No name bbl, don't even know who made it. Check out my post in Range Reports, "9mm conversion". End result I like them. With the quality of machining today I don't see any problem with them.
The Ed Brown drop in will require slight fitting. Pay attention to the barrel/bushing fit.
Cord' caveat: If you have decent accuracy from the current barrel don't change it. (mine sheared it's lower lugs hence the change.)

Getting a new barrel for improved reliability makes no sense unless your current barrel is broken.

The Pit: http://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/index.html
I agree with CastleBravo. A new barrel probably won't do much for reliability unless your old barrel is very messed up. Plus, if you currently have reliability problems, they should be diagnosed. The problems may not be with the barrel at all.

Byron Simpson
Yeah, I'm starting to re-think the barrel replacement. I'm having a major problem with my Springfield chambering the first round from slide lock. It happens with all 3 brands of fairly new mags(McCormick, Mecgar, Wilson) and all types of ammo including 230 factory ball. It happens only from slide lock, but only with a full mag. Once the gun is cycling, no problems. Even if I chamber a round, then insert a full (8 round) mag---the gun will run fine. With the slide locked back, the mags have some play up and down...it's a pretty loose fit. This allows the round to set lower and looks like heading lower into the frame ramp. Maybe the mag catch hole was machined too low in the frame? I checked the catch itself (looks ok), and even swapped it out with a nearly new McCormick and there's the same amount of "play". At the range, if I press the mag up into the well and drop the slide...presto! No hang up. Is my pistol headed for the junk pile?

[This message has been edited by nwgunman (edited 10-30-2001).]
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No, your pistol isn't headed for the junk pile. Sounds like you need a mag catch with a higher lip on it to help your feeding problem. You might try the 1911 mag catch made by STI. They have a high lip on them and might help your problem.

You might also see if a talented smith can help out a little too.

Byron Simpson
...Maybe the mag catch hole was machined too low in the frame? I checked the catch itself (looks ok), and even swapped it out with a nearly new McCormick and there's the same amount of "play".
It's possible ,but not likely. Someone with the specs & tooling to measure can confirm that. Some play is not unusual. JP Interprises sells an "elevated" mag catch that raises the mag .045" in the mag well. More likely, it's due to extractor, mag, feed ramp ,spring rate issues, but it's not the "junk pile" for your gun yet. If there is a problem with the frame, Springfield will gladly make it right. They have outstanding customer service.
A buddy of mine bought two Ed Brown drop ins. He had a time gettting them to run. I bought 2 Bar-Sto drop-ins. I cleaned the hoods up and they ran great. Bar-Sto makes a real good drop-in.

As for the failure to feed the first round in the mag. Whats the recoil spring,try a 18.5 conventional spring.
Thanks guys. I've checked and re-checked most of the variables: mags (fairly new), extractor (checked tension, angles, etc), recoil spring (18.5lb with less than 1000 rounds on it), etc, etc. I'm gonna try one of the mag catches with a raised lip next. I appreciate the input from everybody. I'll hold off on the re-barrel for now.

I have had some of the problems you describe when building a pistol. The round would be pushed up the feedramp but not quite make it into the horizontal position (oooo---kinky). Anyway, remove the slide and barrel.

Place the barrel/link assembly where it would normally be on top of the frame and push the barrel toward the back of the frame. Measure the distance between the back edge of the barrel and the top of the feedramp. There should be about a .030" step between those two points. If the barrel is setting back too far (too small a measurement) then this will lead to feeding problems. The barrel will then need to be faced off in that area to obtain the measurement then contoured with the proper feed angle. The barrel shouldn't be faced off more than .040". You might want to let a smith do this.

Hope this helps if the other suggestions don't work for you.
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You will not gain much from a drop in barrel. That's what you have now. You have not said who made this delightful 1911. A good smith could solve this in a few minutes. It could be one of several problems. Most "drop in " barrels are not drop ins. A lot depends on the quality of the link and all 1911's are different. I've rarely seen one that can't be made reliable by a competent pistolsmith, so you might want to take it to one and find out what the REAL problem is
Another thing to check is an ultra tight chamber. I had that problem with my Kimber. Another 2 minute reliability fix.
After some amount of work, it's looking like the reliability thing was a combination of problems. I'm thinking that this Springfield full size was just barely functioning when I sent it off for the re-finish. The very slight change in clearances pushed the pistol into full malfunction mode. This has been a great "learning the 1911" experience, with only minor pulling off hair and gnashing of teeth. A barrel replacement was definately the wrong direction. Thanks to all for the input. Stay safe.
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