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series 80 trigger question

1598 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Dave Sample
I was reading about Sepekku's woes(sorry dude) with the trigger in his defender.Am I to understand that on a series 80 trigger ;from the halfcock position you can pull the trigger and the hammer will come down SAFELY on a loaded chamber?(meaning there's metal between the firing pin and the hammer in this situation?).Kind of an oddball decock of sorts...eh?

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The hammer does not have enough inertia to lite a primer from half cock. Ther is nothing between the hammer & firing pin. I don't like it & change all of my hammers to S70 captive type. No one that I know of makes an aftermarket premium S80 type hammer, so apparently no one else likes it either.
What BBBill said.While it isn't a big deal,it's unnerving to me.I only own one 80 series,and replaced the trigger and sear with Wilson's Ultralite and A2 sear.Very nice parts,but they aren't dropin's by any means.If you have a machinist friend,he can make it captive and sear protective for you,but it's probably cheaper and easier to replace it.
Sorry guys I'm a REAL novice to the inner workings of this gun so you kinda lost me with"Captive and sear protective"

Pulling the trigger from half cock doesn't sound real safe.

Sorry for my ignorance,Byron
Guys, regarding the "Safety Shelf" on the Series 80 guns - IT ISN'T YOUR FATHER'S HALF COCK NOTCH! Totally different thinking is at work here. The Safety Shelf is designed to positively catch a "slipped hammer" when necssary, and it is stronger and safer than better in that role than the original "half cock" notch. The information already given is correct - the very short hammer fall is inadequate to allow the firing pin to overcome even a worn firing pin spring.

If there was anything remotely unsafe about it, I'm sure the Trial Lawyers Association's members would have brought this to Colt and ParaOrd's attention regarding at least one of the several hundred thousand Series 80 guns that have been placed in service since 1983. The Series 80 system works fine, and is no more subject to problems than any other individual part of the gun.

And if you think Colt has made a mistake, that a
Series 70 is all that is necessary - contact Kimber and Springfield Armory and ask them what they are doing to their guns, right now.

Both are busy adding safety improvements - and neither is doing it as well as Colt already has. Kimber is, true to form, copying Colt's first design from 1937 - the Swartz Lock. Works similarly, but unfortunately requires removing the rear sight to really clean the slide portion of the mechanism (Kimber does not recommend this to the end user), and is released early by gripping the gun (grip safety linked) rather than at the last instant just before hammer fall like the Series 80's trigger linked system.

Springfield is being a little more simple in their approach. SA uses a totally non-standard lightened firing pin in concert with their new mainspring housing key lock. It may help them meet drop test requirements, but it does nothing to help if a part fails and the hammer falls due to some other fault.

I can assure you that both clone makers would have avoided changing if there was any way possible. It costs money to change your tooling and then stock two versions of everything for ten years or more.

The "Safety Shelf" on Series 80s is not really intended for the task of lowering the hammer on a loaded chamber - THERE IS NO EARTHLY REASON TO DO THIS, the guns are quite safe "cocked and locked". The only circumstance when my guns come off "cocked and locked" is when they are being cold (well, warm) stored in the safe. I clear them completely, lock the slide back, FEEL for an empty chamber, then lower the slide and pull the trigger. I then put a five round loaded mag in the pistol and put it in the safe.

As for the lack of replacement Series 80 hammers, I suspect the fact that the Series 80 will work with the Series 70 hammer and it is one less item to inventory and ship has more to do with it than anything else. Safety isn't really the 1911 Aftermarket's concern.

Anyway, YOU ARE NOT "pulling the trigger from half cock" - something less than "quarter cock, it would seem to me. And I have heard exactly zero accounts of this creating a problem in the last eighteen years since inception.

Sorry if I was wordy - but there really is nothing to get your knickers in a twist over...

Warmly, as always, Col. Colt

"Beware of Counterfeits & Patent Infringements"
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Sorry to lose you there.The captive notch is grooved out so to speak.Instead of the hammer sitting on a shelf.The tip of the sear slides up into the notch with metal in front of the sear preventing it from going foward and releasing the hammer.The sear protecton is a nub of metal in the center of the notch.The outside 1/3 of the sear is what contacts the hammer hooks.Since the center 1/3 doesn't matter,it will hit this nub and protects the finely honed surface that contacts the hammer.The Gold Cups had a notch in the sear in the center also,but I think the newer design is better.The real deal is to stay off the halfcock no matter what the design.This is one of those deals like dropping the slide on an empty chamber.Both should be avoided.Hope this clears it up for you.
Thanks Rex,Col.Colt,I think I understand now.

What happens if you drop the slide on an empty chamber?
Bad QC and gunsmiths too stupid to properly work a trigger on a Series 80 don't prove that the design of the safety itself is bad... aside from the general rule that more complexity always gives you more points of failure. In that case a 1911 is light-years behind a Glock already, not to mention a revolver or T/C Contender...

The Pit: http://www.geocities.com/mr_motorhead/index.html
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I think it's more a problem of bad gunsmiths and not so much bad QC....but I agree with you in general.
Dropping the slide on an empty chamber(that jolt from thumbing the slidelock lever) does 2 things.For one,it jars the sear/hammer and can cause the hammer to fall on an improper or extremely light job.Then you get the sear slamming into the halfcock notch ruining the surface(this is where the protected notch helps).The other,which is much less significant but still bugs me,is the slide and barrel get unnecessary battering.Feeding a round greatly slows the slide and the slamming effect on lockup,along with the jolt to the hammer and sear as in #1.Hope this clears things up.If you don't have any manuals yet,Kuhnhausen's 2 books are excelent,and I hear Wilson makes a fine one.They can be expensive,like close to $30 apiece,but they have a wealth of knowlege in them.
Ahh,thanks Rex.

I do have the first Kaunhausen(?) book on order since I've heard so many good things about them.Hopefully it'll teach me something.
Just a comment on what Col. Colt said about "what SA And Kimber are doing" ...I think (on Kimbers) you will only find this modification on the Eclipse II guns. The rest if the Kimber line ...no. Makes for a better case in court for those people who may actually have to shoot someone with thier gun. That's all. --HD
I agree that the Series 80 trigger is not the best thing to come down the pike. But, I must say that I have no problem with ANY trigger that is in good repair, and that the Series 80 trigger is just a bit redundant. Why? Rule #2: Keep your finger OFF THE TRIGGER until you're ready to shoot.

As far as people replacing parts, bear this one in mind. Why do people do it? I mean, the 1911A1 is to me, one of the greatest fighting pistols ever made, a designation which few if any other handguns deserve. It's good enough the way it is when it was used in combat---period? So why to people go to great lengths to change parts, tune them up, etc.?

Because they can, that's why.

They're not stupid, or ignorant. It is simply because they might like their .45 in a different flavor, that's all. No one deserves a flame for doing something they want to do to their property.

Me? My taste runs to beavertails, lowered and flared ejection ports with gas pedals and mudflaps, a Bo-Mar adjustable rear and dovetail front. 3.5 to 4 lb on the trigger, thank you very much, and just a little creep if you would please. Why? I can feel the trigger return against my finger, which helps me during rapid fire. As a matter of fact, one thing I distinctly like about the Series 80 trigger is this: I can make my .45 go "full cyclic" for a max of 5 rounds--meaning I'm pressing the trigger so fast that I have five pieces of brass in the air, about 4-5 inches apart. Not accurate worth a darn, but within 7 yards, they're all 8 ring inward on the B27. With the Series 70 action (superb for bullseye, by the way), I have to slap the trigger, and not pull it.

So, as fas as I'm concerned, if someone wants to carry a box-stock gun, great. Light modifications? Fine by me. Perhaps a Wilson CQB, a TRP, Baer Premier II, Brown bobtail, or Clark? Knock yourself out. A 40 watt Colt with 1-year power cells? Have fun (

Why don't we concern ourselves with getting more people to shoot instead of flaming them for their choices?

"Be not afraid of any man, no matter what his size;

When trouble rises, call on me and I will equalize."
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Originally posted by HOUNDDOG:
Just a comment on what Col. Colt said about "what SA And Kimber are doing" ...I think (on Kimbers) you will only find this modification on the Eclipse II guns. The rest if the Kimber line ...no. Makes for a better case in court for those people who may actually have to shoot someone with thier gun. That's all. --HD
Uhhh... Beg to differ...

ALL Kimber's being produced in ALL model lines are Series 2, which makes them legal for sale in CA.

Kimber, in an effort to cut manufacturing costs, will stop (or have stopped) producing the earlier (Series 1) type models.

Look at the Website, they are all Custom II, CDP II, or Gold Match II, etc, not just the Eclipse line.

Everyone has their opinion's, and Col Colt, bless his heart is staunchly biased towards Colt's. Nothing wrong with that, but much like the 1911 vs. Glock debates, the "Colt is Best, everything else sucks" debate get's tiring.

To Kimber's credit, they did something to permit the guns to be sold in CA. Nothing wrong with the Swartz design, it works, it get's the job done for what they needed, to be able to support the large customer base, and market in California. What's Colt's problem? They think "One Gun fits all" or maybe, we don't deserve to access to the entire line. Face it, practically EVERYTHING coming out of Hartford has the S80 lockwork, it should pass the testing here, why hasn't it been approved? Maybe because they have submitted them... I can understand... $3000/model line, hey, the "investment" would have to be recovered... BS!

Colt has submitted a grand total of 6 1911 models/variants.

07000D Stainless Steel, LWT Defender
04012XS Stainless (brushed) Commander
01091 Stainless (matte) 1991A1
01991 Blue (matte) 1991A1
02070E Stainless Govt MkIV
02570E Blued Govt MkIV... THAT'S IT!

Now, TRY to find one in the state... They're out there, I saw a couple today, but they aren't everywhere, and everyone wants an arm and a leg!

Kimber, & Springfield... Well, they have both submitted, and gotten 60 models (variants) approved, 30 for each, and Para has even more than that!

Does that make Colt better than a Kimber, or Springfield... No.

Does Colt give a Rat's Ass about selling their product, at least in California... Nope... Not hardly! It's like Colt's attitude is "We're the best, we don't need your business"

Col Colt... You can parrot the Mantra of "If it's not a Colt" all day long... I really don't care... It's the reason why Colt THINKS they are all that, and that they don't HAVE TO RESPOND TO IT'S CUSTOMERS REQUESTS!

The reality of life here is... If Colt would wake up, and consider the business they could have, and the Customer's they have left in the Cold, we all might benefit!

I would gladly have the options of many fine variants by Kimber, Springfield than accept the narrowed choices Colt has provided.

Sorry for the Rant... Enjoy
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