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I went to the gun store yesterday to look at the Colt .38 super. I noticed that the frame to slide fit is loose, meaning I can move the slide up and down against the frame. I can also move the slide side to side. I am planning to buy a Colt next year but is this kind of slide to frame fit usual or unusual for a Colt? Should I look for a tight fit when I buy a Colt?

Thanks for your replies.
 

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The play is normal for a Colt, and in within original design tolerances. Most clone makers go with a tight slide/frame fit with zero play because the public expects it, having been spoiled by decades of custom gun articles in American Handgunner. The argument over whether some play in the slide or a tight fit is better has been raging for years. I'm in the "some small play is better" camp. The original military pistols were purposely built with play to allow them to keep functioning even after they took a mud bath, or were subjected to sub-freezing temperatures where the oil would literally turn to jelly. Of course, these days most 1911 owners won't even let their guns get scratches on them, so the conventional wisdom is to have a nice tight gun that feels like the parts were hand-lapped together.
 

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and just to expand on the above reply, slide/frame play is a very small part of accuracy....you're better served with a high quality barrel properly fit combined with decent trigger....something most Colts seem to have, which explains the general pleasing accuracy of their guns, despite the designed clearances....accurate AND reliable, even when dirty.....
 

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Barrell to bushing fit is much more critical. I have taken Colts with loose slide to frame fit AND bbl to bushing fit; fitted a bushing and got spectacular accuracy. Colt makes a good bbl.
 

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Yup, bbl fit is much more important. Wife's Colt Special Combat should have been named the Rattler (keeping with Colt's "snake" theme), but will shoot one hole groups with good ammo. I've got the target from the factory. Tracy
 

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The last two new Colt 1911s I bought (a BNIB 1989 Tank Officers model .45 and a new .45 Series 80 blued, all steel Cmdr) shot, out of the box, at rest at 25 yards using match quality hand loads, 1.4" groups. Both have a little slide to frame side play, but the Cmdr has very little play. Sights, barrel, bushing, the ammo, and the shooter make more difference in accuracy than tightness to frame. But I would suspect that a gun that seems like it might fall off the frame (you know, one that rattles like a cow bell or a tin box of nuts and bolts) may not add to accuracy. A little looseness, though, shouldn't make as much difference as the factors noted in the previous posts. Bob
 
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