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I have a novice question pertaining to "drop in" parts. Does that mean I can buy a beaver tail safety, barrel or bushing and install it on my own or do I still need "Mr Smith"? Basically, what is user friendly and what is needed for a pro?
 

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I've been told, "There's no such thing as a drop-in part."
If it just drops right in and functions perfectly, you got lucky.

That said, I've been pretty lucky with some parts like thumb safeties,
slide stops, firing pin stops, triggers, mainspring housings and some drop-in
grip safeties like those from Kings.

A gunsmith told me there is no such thing as a drop-in barrel. There
are just too many variations in each pistol. For proper fit and function
a barrel and bushing should be installed by a gunsmith. Or, at least
someone who knows what they are doing? That ain't me.
 

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Lucky; yep

I asume NOTHING I buy as a 'drop in' will.

I've had some luck with a few parts, but I've also had to fit pins.....

Suggest that nothing will fit without some cautious file-n-paper work; go very slowly, constantly checking your Kuhnhausen manual, reminding yourself "I can always take more off".

Patience is critical.
 

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Before:



Actually the trigger and grips came out of my parts box and dropped in.

After:




The only parts which really did just drop in are internal and can't be seen. Nowlin "drop in" trigger job. The other parts required minimal fitting.

The sights dropped right in: I dropped a couple hundred bucks in them! :biglaugh:

-- Chuck
 

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Hi, Mike. I have to add my dittos to the replies you've received, and maybe go step by step a bit.

The first thing you have to nail down is where you are along the “smith vs. no-smith,” line you are. By that, I mean that if you’re just starting out learning how to work on these pistols, there will be more items that you’d leave to a smith than you would later, when you know more. The exception is if you really want to learn to do things yourself, and to continue to learn more and more. If you are going to learn, you WILL mess stuff up. That’s just part of the tuition to learn.

If you don’t want to learn to really work on these guns yourself (and that’s fine!!!!), then you can skip the last paragraph, and go straight to the next question, which is: “What is it about your pistol that you are dissatisfied with?” or, put another way, “What problem or improvement are you seeking to achieve by modifying the pistol?” Before you even consider modifications, I’d think you’d want to know what it is about the pistol that needs changing. That’s a subjective thing for each person.

Once you identify why the pistol needs to be changed, THEN look at what’s available to change it. To do that, you should study hard – use multiple sources to learn all you can, and then – AFTER – doing that, come back here and ask specific questions.

Once you go through those steps, you’ll know (1) what it is about your pistol that you subjectively need to change and why, (2) what modifications are available to accomplish that goal, and (3) whether you want to try to do it yourself, or send it out.

Now let’s get into the “drop-in” parts issue. Some things will. Some things won’t. Even some things that are advertised as “drop-in” won’t! Here’s what I’ve noticed in my own struggle to learn how to work on these pistols. If I get something wrong or leave something out, I hope some of the many folks who here who are more experienced than I will set me straight.

Let’s start with true “drop in” parts. These are few. They include grip screws, grip-screw bushings, springs (other than the flat ones) and Wilson's little plastic front-strap checkering tab that you stick onto the front of your grip (I tried one and tossed it – it shifted no matter what I did).

Next, let’s look at things will probably drop in and work, but may take a bit of careful smoothing to get to work at their best. Those include triggers, the barrel bushings that come with many drop-in barrel kits, mainspring housings (although some might require a little tightening for best results, they’ll usually work without that) and the guts of mainspring housings, mag catches, slide-stop pins (if you are lucky – most of the time you will be), firing pins, pin sets, recoil-spring guides, recoil-spring plungers.

Next are things that are advertised as “drop-in” but that probably WON’T just drop in. Things that are touted as "drop in" but probably won't include beavertails and barrels (although it has been my experience that the bushings that come with most aftermarket barrels that are advertised as drop-ins do seem to drop in). One of the first pistol mods I ever tried to make was to swap out a stock Colt grip safety to a Wilson "drop-in" unit. I am slow-minded, and it took buying two of them (and boogering the first) to get it to work. The arm had to be fitted. As for drop-in barrels, I have only tried one. It was an Ed Brown drop-in, and I really liked it! That's because it DIDN'T drop in, and I got to do a little beginner fitting with it.

Next, there are the complete swap-out fire-control kits, which usually include a pre-mated and prepped hammer, sear and disconnector, and which also may include the related springs. I have no experience with these - maybe others here will know more – but I believe my memory is correct that I've read that these do tend to drop on in, but again, that's going on hearsay being run through aging memory.

I’ve probably left some parts out of this, but you get the picture. Again, the answer depends on what “DIY vs. gunsmith-fit” means at your stage of learning, your desire to learn to do work yourself (or not, which again is fine!!!), and if you do want to continually push your knowledge and ability farther, whether or not you are willing to booger some parts along the way.

Best,
Jon
 

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I asume NOTHING I buy as a 'drop in' will. I've had some luck with a few parts, but I've also had to fit pins.....Suggest that nothing will fit without some cautious file-n-paper work; go very slowly, constantly checking your Kuhnhausen manual, reminding yourself "I can always take more off". Patience is critical.
This is darn good advice from WESHOOT2, especially the 'Patience is critical' part...

DIY requires some reference for the work in question to come out safe & acceptable, or some 'hands-on' experience to end up with a quality replacement or well-fitted installation. It's quite easy to take a well-fitted pistol and turn it into something the original gunsmith might find unacceptable. If you ever question your ability, especially with the tools you have at hand, rethink about DIY and ship it to someone you trust to work on your firearm. Replacing grip panels really can't be too dangerous, while fitting and reworking a trigger can be. Realize your limitations and use 'common sense' to guide you from that point...good luck


ColtM1911A1
 

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Interchangeable parts - DON'T. EXCEPTION: Most grip panels.
 

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are a lot of parts that can and do "drop in" a 1911.

If your frame already has a .250" radius cut, I would bet that almost any BT you buy that was for a .250" radius cut would "drop in". There are some parts made to the larger end of tolerances that will require fitting and should have smaller gaps when properly fit, but there are many more parts made to the smaller end of tolerances that are darn close to a drop in fit in a lot of cases (but they may not look as pretty as a properly fit part that was a bit oversize to begin with).

This is why the differentiation between fitting for aesthetics and fitting for function need to be taken into account. While that BT safety may drop in and look okay, it may need some fitting internally to make sure it functions properly. Same goes for a thumb safety.

When it comes to barrels and barrel bushings, it's up in the air really. Some places sell bushings in several different ID's and OD's, so if you measure your barrel and slide, you could theoretically order one that will "drop in" and may even fit fairly well. When it comes to barrels, chances are high that those are going to require at least some fitting for both aesthetics and function. Unless all the parts you buy are made to the same print specs - a frame, slide and parts kit all from the same source. Even then, you may find that some fitting is required for function, as well as aesthetics. How much would just be a guess and could vary from kit to kit.

If you're handy with a file and patient, there may be a lot fo stuff you can do yourself. If you can't tell a machinists file from your wife's nail file, modifications may best be left to a smith. :)
 

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are a lot of parts that can and do "drop in" a 1911.

If your frame already has a .250" radius cut, I would bet that almost any BT you buy that was for a .250" radius cut would "drop in". )
Fitting the radius is one thing...

Having a functional grip safety is another ... :)
 

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I bought a "drop in" BT grip safety from Wilson Combat. The arm was .020 too long. Fitting was required for my Commander.
 

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My Caspian originally had a pretty loose bushing barrel,and it fit my Para ordnance real tight.So I swapped the bushing to the para.Just to have a bushing I picked up a standard govt bushing at a gun show.
It sat around a few weeks,one Saturday I decided to fit it to the gun.Put thr bushing on the bare barrel to see if I wasted my $9 ,and darn,without touching the bushing at all,it fit as good as my Wilson! So I just stuck the bushing on and called it done.My feelings on drop in parts are a lot of dice rolling.Sure it may fit on the pistol and work,but usually look like poop.

the bushing was my only drop in ,that droped in and worked with no help
 

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Fitting the radius is one thing...

Having a functional grip safety is another ... :)

Does everybody around here stop reading after the first sentence? :confused: Had you read a little further into my post, you would have seen the below comment.


kevins_garage said:
...This is why the differentiation between fitting for aesthetics and fitting for function need to be taken into account. While that BT safety may drop in and look okay, it may need some fitting internally to make sure it functions properly...
 

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Most parts that I have seen "drop in" don't really offer much improvement over the original part unless you're replacing a broken part.
 

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Most parts that I have seen "drop in" don't really offer much improvement over the original part unless you're replacing a broken part.

How do you define "drop in"?

I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that any drop in part can somehow offer more improvement potential if it is replacing a broken part instead of a non-broken part. :confused: Unless you're just trying to say that any drop in part will have to be better than a broken part. :)

Even the most simplistic of drop in parts that should require no fitting at all - changing grips, or changing to a wedge style MSH or even just one with a different checkering - can make a huge improvement over original parts for some people. The improvement can be a real functional improvement, a perceived aesthetic improvement, or both.

There's no way to be sure of much of anything when it comes to 1911's, unless you buy the part and try it for yourself in your gun. If it doesn't drop in, it's up to the individual to decide if they want to try the install on their own, have it installed by a smith, or just skip the mod and leave their pistol alone.
 

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Okay, here's the part where I show my ignorance. What is a Kuhnhausen Manuel? Did a Google search and came up with Nordics and mexicans.
 

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Okay, here's the part where I show my ignorance. What is a Kuhnhausen Manuel? Did a Google search and came up with Nordics and mexicans.
It is a must have manual for every 1911 owner, volume 1 and 2!!!!:rock:

Most "drop in" parts usually require 'dropping in" at your local gunsmith!!!!:rock:
 
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