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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
is it normal to have a slightly wobbly slide while hammer is cocked back on my 1911. prolly put 500 rds thru it already.
 

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Yeah its normal. Some people get really obsessed about having absolutely no play between the slide and frame but some play is not a bad thing. How the barrel locks up and trigger control will have more bearing on accuracy than slide to frame fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah its normal. Some people get really obsessed about having absolutely no play between the slide and frame but some play is not a bad thing. How the barrel locks up and trigger control will have more bearing on accuracy than slide to frame fit.
ok. just worried i might not have lubed it enough while shooting and the friction ate away the metal
 

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A better description of wobbly could be helpful. I completely agree with ejr10mm's post. I have shot a 1911 that rattled like spray paint can & was accurate & reliable. Of course it had way more rounds through it then 500. The way the barrel locks into the slide & barrel bushing have more bearing on accuracy. Left to right or up down movement is normal. When you say wobble I tend to think of a circular motion. If you are concerned I would err on the side of caution & take the pistol back to where you bought it & ask.
 

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Just an observation regarding slide/frame fit. When I bought my last stainless Series 70 it had a fairly snug-fitting slide, and despite lubing it well for its break-in cycle it had several failures to feed during the first 50 rounds. It did it again once or twice in the next 50, but after 100 rounds it was running great and has been ever since. The slide is also slightly looser than when it was brand-new, but still fairly snug by Colt's standards. My new blued Series 70 has a noticeably looser slide, and in its first 200 rounds it didn't bobble one bit. It's also just as accurate as the stainless gun, proving that slide to frame fit is overrated on anything but a Bullseye match gun where you're wanting to squeak the last bit of accuracy out of the pistol, even if it comes at the cost of reliability (Bullseye shooters are normally allowed alibis if the weapon malfunctions during the course of a string of fire).

There are custom pistolsmiths out there who insist that the slide to frame fit should be snug for the sake of both reliability and durability, and if you're taking into account the fact that their guns are carefully hand-fitted and lapped together they have a point. However you pay a premium for that sort of attention to detail. On a production line gun you may get a snug-fitting pistol that's still fairly reliable, or it may be tempermental if not kept clean and well-lubed. Colt purposely leaves the slide and frame fit slightly relaxed for the sake of reliability, although I admit sometimes they're a little too relaxed (my '89 GM would make a great trail gun for scaring off rattlesnakes just by shaking it). But all else being equal, I'll go with trench-mud reliability before I worry about getting that last drop of intrinsic accuracy out of a combat pistol. For most other folks it's more a matter of pride to have a snug-fitting 1911 than any real need.
 

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I am glad al gore had not invented the www when I got my first 1911. That is what the man said so it must have been true, right? :) I was not molested by any issues now saturating the cyber web world of handguns. Shot gun. Acceptable performance. End of story. If I had only known that if it rattled it must not be proper, I would have been crushed and missed out on many enjoyable days at the range.

I am not making light of your question. I am just using a different technique to validate what these others have said.
 

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Also remember that the play in the slide to frame is there to not only make sure it's reliable but also that any crud that gets in there won't effect function. Colt makes combat pistols that need to work in any environment.
 

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An early 80's combat commander that I recently picked up has the most generous slide to frame fit of any of my other 3 1911's. That said, it's not quite a rattle trap. You can shake it to get it to rattle but you'd have to shake it pretty good. Poor shooter when I got it. After I did trigger work, replaced sights and fit a new bushing, it's an accurate gun and a real nice shooter.
 

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I have a hard time to the point of calling bs on a loose slide to frame fit enhancing reliability.

1) NOTHING can get in there. Nothing.
2) More consistent is more reliable. A slide flopping around on the frame is in no way conducive to reliability.
3) The most reliable 1911s ever built have the tightest slide to frame fits. Wilson, Springfield Custom, Baer, Nighthawk. That's a clue....
 

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I have a hard time to the point of calling bs on a loose slide to frame fit enhancing reliability.

1) NOTHING can get in there. Nothing.
2) More consistent is more reliable. A slide flopping around on the frame is in no way conducive to reliability.
3) The most reliable 1911s ever built have the tightest slide to frame fits. Wilson, Springfield Custom, Baer, Nighthawk. That's a clue....
I'll have disagree if only on the point of being so emphatic, both from your point of view and the opposite point of view.

Baer seem to be tighter than the others you mentioned, yet I've seen several Baers lock up so tight that it took a hard plastic mallet to beat them apart. Wilsons have always been reliable in my experience. Comparing the internal fit and finish clearly shows the Wilson to be superior to the Baer (that might just start a flame war). All of those you mentioned are production customs.

True custom builds from the top tier smiths are in a different league entirely. They are often fit to that near zero clearance fit and are supremely reliable. The difference is the fact that they are truly built one at a time by a single smith controlling every minute aspect of the build.

Bullseye guns were notorious for jamming and they were fit to zero clearance. Were. Some still are jam-o-matics. Smiths like Jerry Keefer have taken them to a whole new level. Ask him about the reliability of his guns at the last National Matches. Again through obsessive attention to detail and techniques not available or economically feasible for the average builder/shooter. Equally tight guns with unequal performance.

Absent that level of perfection in fitting, some extra clearance is necessary for a reliable gun. Doesn't have to be goose loose, but more generous machining tolerances on pure production guns dictate that to meet the price point for most shooters.
 

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I can only imagine there are Wilson, Baer, Brown, and Nighthawk owners that lost their last meal when Springfield Custom was included on that list.

While on the topic however, and considering expensive paper punches, the one with the tightest slide to frame fit in my shooty collection now is a Kimber Grand Raptor from the Kimber Custom Shop (I will take another drink of tea while the laughter dies down). I bought it years ago new for about $1.2K because it is a very pretty gun. I even put some snakescale grips from Esmeralda on it.



Be it Ransom Rest or sandbags I can not shoot it as well as an old 1988 GCNM that has a movement in the frame to slide and over 10K rounds through it. I bought it used from a friend who bought it new in 1988, which was during the strike years at Colt where temps were putting a lot of guns together. He took it to a gunsmith in 1988 who looked through it and said it looked generally O.K. It is under my 1977 I bought new that year that also outshoots the Kimber.



Oh yes, the Grand Raptor stays in my shooty collection. I put a couple thousand rounds through it, but .45 ammo is not cheap and even if you reload I look at my time as worth something. It is just such a pretty pistol. It is also the last Kimber I have and it has the external extractor, which I had no problems with and would like to keep an example of.
 

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I have a hard time to the point of calling bs on a loose slide to frame fit enhancing reliability.

1) NOTHING can get in there. Nothing.
2) More consistent is more reliable. A slide flopping around on the frame is in no way conducive to reliability.
3) The most reliable 1911s ever built have the tightest slide to frame fits. Wilson, Springfield Custom, Baer, Nighthawk. That's a clue....
I've got to disagree as well. I prefer a little play. I too have seen tight guns lock up in IPSC matches. For me, the lockup is everything. Fully in battery, one should be able to press down on the barrel hood and see no movement, bushing needs proper fitting obviously.

I'm just speaking from my own experience.
 

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Colt's factory Government models seem to have a somewhat loose fit, which becomes more evident when it's broken in.

It isn't a problem. That's how they were a hundred years ago. Try a Sig 226, if you want to see a new pistol rattle when you pull back the hammer.
 

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Just an observation regarding slide/frame fit. When I bought my last stainless Series 70 it had a fairly snug-fitting slide, and despite lubing it well for its break-in cycle it had several failures to feed during the first 50 rounds. It did it again once or twice in the next 50, but after 100 rounds it was running great and has been ever since. The slide is also slightly looser than when it was brand-new, but still fairly snug by Colt's standards. My new blued Series 70 has a noticeably looser slide, and in its first 200 rounds it didn't bobble one bit. It's also just as accurate as the stainless gun, proving that slide to frame fit is overrated on anything but a Bullseye match gun where you're wanting to squeak the last bit of accuracy out of the pistol, even if it comes at the cost of reliability (Bullseye shooters are normally allowed alibis if the weapon malfunctions during the course of a string of fire).

There are custom pistolsmiths out there who insist that the slide to frame fit should be snug for the sake of both reliability and durability, and if you're taking into account the fact that their guns are carefully hand-fitted and lapped together they have a point. However you pay a premium for that sort of attention to detail. On a production line gun you may get a snug-fitting pistol that's still fairly reliable, or it may be tempermental if not kept clean and well-lubed. Colt purposely leaves the slide and frame fit slightly relaxed for the sake of reliability, although I admit sometimes they're a little too relaxed (my '89 GM would make a great trail gun for scaring off rattlesnakes just by shaking it). But all else being equal, I'll go with trench-mud reliability before I worry about getting that last drop of intrinsic accuracy out of a combat pistol. For most other folks it's more a matter of pride to have a snug-fitting 1911 than any real need.
Very well put^^^^^^. I prefer a SNUG FITTING gun even on production guns that is why I went with my favorite brand....not Colt. I used to own 4 Colts.;)

That said, I have to defer to DSK's very lucid explanation above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Colt's factory Government models seem to have a somewhat loose fit, which becomes more evident when it's broken in.

It isn't a problem. That's how they were a hundred years ago. Try a Sig 226, if you want to see a new pistol rattle when you pull back the hammer.
hmm idk, all the new sigs ive held had a pretty tight slide to frame fit. even my old 228 made in 1991 still has no play and never had a jam. my 1991 isnt tight but also isnt loose. i could just feel the slide move side to side a tiny bit. i remember my para 1911 gi expert was tight that why i wondered if i did something wrong with my colt. by the gi expert jammed alot though. my colt also never had a jam except for a one time the slide failed to lock back on empty which might have had something to do with a low pressure round.
 

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HM, all of the Colts I've purchased since about 1970, including a Custom Shop Special Combat Government, "wobbled"/rattled a little or a lot, save one. That one, a recent production Gold Cup Trophy, did not initially rattle, but after two trips back to Colt for serious issues, now rattles also. I admit I'm one of those people who prefers a closer/non-rattling slide frame fit. I know that attitude is not popular in the Colt section, because Colts rattle, so that must be at least proper, and even desireable. I guess my Les Baer and SIG X-5 are probably my currently tightest pistols, as far as slide/frame fit. They just work, as did my previous P210s, tight/no rattle all German P226s, 229s and 228. My STIs and Dan Wessons are close the the Baer and X-5 in slide/frame fit, and also just work. I freely admit that I do not know if they would work as reliably as my very loose isuue 1911A1 did in the miserable conditions encountered in SE Asia, and I do not ever intend to return there to test my Baer, X-5, etc, or for any other reason. If my current, tighter guns would not function as well as my issue pistol in those conditions, so be it. I accept that trade off...ymmv

BTW, I've read, more than once over the years, that Bill Wilson, a fellow, who makes guns or something, believes properly built guns with precise/close slide to frame fit are more reliable than the loosely fitted guns....
 
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