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Improving frame to slide fit. Wow.

1912 Views 51 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  theraptur
I finally picked the pistol to start my custom project on. I was going to do the Tisas Service Special I bought a couple months ago, but it shoots so well and the fit is pretty darn good...I decided to leave it alone.
So I picked my latest Tisas Tank Commander. It has a looser frame/slide fit and I carry commanders more often. If you shake the pistol it rattles pretty good. I know, I know, the original 1911's rattled, but this is my project in 2023, we have the technology, and I want to improve every aspect of this pistol. So I want a custom, no rattle fit.

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Anyways here we go. I measured the frame and slide and ordered the appropriate thickness frame plate. I suppose you could do this with no plate but this keeps you from going overboard with the hammer. I did not use a vice (edit 1-25-23 VISE haha got me!) to hold the frame, electing to go old school and hold it. Using the workbench as a base I was able to quite easily keep the plate in the frame groove/hold the frame and get to work with the hammer. I used a new stainless claw hammer.

Apparently this is called swaging and @Oldpistol convinced me to tackle it. I tap-tap-tapped (which became bang bang bang) each part of the 4 rail "corners" - avoiding the open middle where the magwell is. Then you see how the slide goes on, then tap bang tap bang some more. Rinse and repeat. Now I feel the fit getting tight. I flip the slide backwards and attempt to start it at the rear of the frame once it gets too hard to slide it all the way from the front.

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At this point I have reduced the clearance so much that I have to lightly tap the slide with a deadblow hammer to get the slide on very far. I figure this is enough to start with.

Now I get the perma marker out and mark the rails and start the slide. It's very tight and I have to tap with the deadblow hammer. It leaves witness marks where the high spots are. Oil up a 240gr stone and lightly/carefully start hitting the high spots. Wipe off and test fit. Repeat.

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Now the slide starts to fit and working it back and forth by hand, it leaves more witness marks and you file those again, repeat as necessary. Go easy. Remove a little at a time, clean the grit off, and test. After a few cycles it is almost there! Sliding it back and forth there are a couple of spots where you can feel a bit of drag, even though the slide will "fall" through the full range of motion under gravity. So now I switch to a 600 grit stone and carefully work across those 2 areas. Still using marker to check. Clean everything off and now the slide is butter smooth through the entire travel. The fit is noticeably tighter than when I started and instead of a rattle, it has the tiniest wiggle of play. There has to be some play, necessarily, as nearly identical dimensions will have high friction and gall/stick. So let's see what happens with the pistol assembled and lubed properly.

Holy crap. Is this the same pistol? There is no rattle, and I mean NONE. It cycles smoothly. I am SO impressed with the end result. I can't believe I was hesitant to take a hammer to 1911 frame rails 😃 I had fit a spare EGW angle bore bushing a couple weeks ago to tighten up the front end, now along with the frame/slide job, this pistol feels ready to run. Shooting tomorrow!

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