PDA

View Full Version : 1911 parts and what they do...


bug_eyedmonster
06-25-2008, 6:27 PM
Hey Guys,

I was wondering if someone here can help me with something I've been wondering. I'm not new to guns, but I've always been wondering what all the little pieces inside a gun actually do. In particular, with 1911s. I've seen various replacement parts for the guns, but now I'm left wondering what they do and how it will actually affect the gun's performance. I tried searching for a break down on line and also here, but came up with no luck. Anyone have something I can read over or know where I can find this info? I'm a car guy by nature, but mainly control sales at a performance shop... I have this problem at work too, I need to know what certain parts are doing and how they change the actual output of the car. I'm too dumb for engineering, so I'm left trying to either tinker myself or ask someone with a better grasp of the part or situation.

Jerry

Fjold
06-25-2008, 6:41 PM
Here's an animation of a cutaway 1911 that shows you how everything works.
If you click on the colored buttons in the lower-left portion of the picture it will make the parts invisible, or show a cut away of the parts, or an external view as the gun cycles.


http://www.m1911.org/loader.swf

bug_eyedmonster
06-25-2008, 6:51 PM
Thank you very much, that's gonna have to work for now.... nice find though.

Jerry

ty423
06-25-2008, 7:01 PM
that diagram explains a ton. What is it you are looking for exactly?

bug_eyedmonster
06-25-2008, 7:15 PM
that diagram explains a ton. What is it you are looking for exactly?

I'm sorry, let me explain more. I've never really cared much about 1911s until i shot one. The very same day after shooting, I bought one. I started looking into modifying the gun (that's just how I am, like my cars and bikes), but was not sure how the changes would change other aspects of the gun. Here are some of the questions that are still kind of unanswered...

1. What the mainspring and mainspring actually does. I know that it engages and applies tension on the hammer, but that's it. Same thing with the different housings.

2. The difference in the types of guide rods and springs. How they change the way the gun feels and reacts to different typed of ammo. I understand they need to be replaced after time, but what spring rate do i use?

3. The plunger and plunger tube's functions. I can obviously see that it keeps pressure on the take down pin and prevents it from slipping out, but why does it need to go all the way back to the safety?

I know that there's designs on the guns that could be improved on, and that's why there's so many different aftermarket parts, but what should determine what I pick aside from quality? Since the gun was designed in 1911, can some of the features be "obsolete" based on newer designs and machining ability from current gun manufacturers?

Jerry

Fjold
06-25-2008, 7:21 PM
The mainspring stores the energy to drive the hammer forward to hit the firing pin.

The mainspring housing (flat or arched) changes the grip fit in your hand.

Guide rods either full length or standard support the recoil spring differently and can change the balance of the gun by shifting weight forward.

Different recoil spring weights adjust the cycle time of the slide to compensate for different power loads and for custom slide weights.

The plunger tube and detents hold the slide lock and safety in the operating position to prevent either from flopping around and engaging themselves when you don't want them to. They also keep the slide stop/release from falling out of the gun.

///D
06-25-2008, 8:06 PM
Good for you going about it the right way. This link is always helpful:

http://www.m1911.org/1911desc.htm

And in case your also looking for detailed takedown/assembly references:

http://www.kerensky.net/pics/series2/

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5053379821405436208&hl=en

FMJBT
06-25-2008, 8:17 PM
Since the gun was designed in 1911, can some of the features be "obsolete" based on newer designs and machining ability from current gun manufacturers?

Jerry

There have been quite a few minor improvements over the years (Lowered & flared ejection port, beavertail grip safety, etc.) but for the most part, the original design was nearly perfect.

big50_1
06-25-2008, 8:49 PM
bug_eyedmonster-Wow, you are starting into the mod thing fast. I would recommend shooting the 1911 for six months before putting any dollars into it. That will give you time to do some research and focus in on what direction you want to go. In one respect, the 1911 is like clay. You can mold/modify it to be any sort of semiauto but will you like the outcome when it is finally done? Check out various 1911 books on Amazon, the various 1911 forums and The High Road forum (1911) section. These will get into so many variations of the 1911 that your head will swim. I have a put-together 1911 in .45 ACP that I collected parts and a receiver circa 1982 and set it up as a basic 1911 with fixed sights. Nothing wow at all. It has always fired and ejected the empties. A couple of years ago, I gave myself a Barsto accurized Springfield SS 1911 in 9mm and target sights and it will do 1" groups at 25 yards off sandbags with any type of 9mm I stuff it with all day. So the possibilities are endless.

bohoki
06-25-2008, 9:05 PM
its kinda weird but just about every part is called what it does

its quite a coincidence if you think about it

1859sharps
06-27-2008, 9:35 PM
I would recommend shooting the 1911 for six months before putting any dollars into it.

Best advice I have ever seen on 1911s and making changes

I recently got bit by the 1911 bug (again) and spent sometime researching which brand to buy since I have been out of the 1911 “game” for a while. While doing that I came across two common mistakes being made by new 1911 owners.

First was, new 1911 owner who start swapping out parts before they have even fired a single one round from their new gun. Then they would post wondering why the heck their gun was so unreliable. Or shot like crap.

The second was, ammunition. 1911s were designed to shoot military ball ammo. That is what they like, and shoot best. Yes, you can shoot some other types, but ball ammo is the sweat spot for these guns. If there is a particular type of non ball ammunition you are interested in shooting, buy A box, try it. If your gun does not feed it, odds are it’s isn’t a faulty gun. Remember, designed for ball ammo. So to get it to feed, you may need a gunsmith to step in and make a few tweaks.

Learn you gun, and understand it’s design before deciding something needs changed out. And don’t fall for slick advertising or random claims of “this works, and will solve all your issues” post in a forum somewhere. At least without know if the poster knows what they are talking about.

For grins and giggles, this is how I approached my 1911. After deciding on a Springfield 1911 full size parkerized loaded model w/night sights. I bought ammunition, not replacement parts. Winchester white box 230grain FMJ. This eliminated the ammunition question. If these rounds didn’t feed, odds favored an issue with the gun. To date or 500 rounds later, no failure to feed.

I then made about 3 trips to the range firing about 100-150 rounds a trip. Breaking down and cleaning the gun between trips. What this taught me is that my particular Springfield is 95% good to go as is from the factory. Heck even the sights are dead on point of aim point of impact from the factory. To make it 100% in my mind I have identified two changes I will be making. But by waiting and using the gun for a while in 100% stock from the factory configuration, I now have a bench mark to gauge any changes I make. I will know if changes I make truly improve the gun.

Synergy
06-27-2008, 11:07 PM
I agree with shooting your 1911 for a few months, 1859sharps makes some good points. Shoot it and break it in then step into the realm of customization. Learn it inside and out, field and detail strip it. If you want to go to a class on 1911's try this: C&S 1911 pistolsmithing (http://www.cylinder-slide.com/classes.shtml)

I ran lots of 230 ball ammo and was going broke, 1911's can feed other ammo reliably. Semi-Wad Cutters (SWC) can work well, may need some feed ramp polishing. Now I load my own and shoot a 200g SWC with 5.3 of W231. My RIA 1911 eats it all day long.

Also pick up Kuhnhausen's Shop Manuals Vol I & Vol II on the 1911

1911 only forums:
http://1911auto.org/forum/ (I recommend this site, I am there with the same name)
http://www.1911forum.com/

Here is a good video on striping a 1911, look for other vids by the same poster.
SEBrkF0sMgI

gunboat
06-28-2008, 1:31 AM
If it ain't broke why fix it?? Home mods generally improve the weapon till it won't work at all --

bug_eyedmonster
06-28-2008, 1:51 AM
Hey Guys,

First of all, I've had this 1911 for some time. Since I've had it, I've shot about 5000-7000 rounds though it. Yes, you read that right, I've bought case after case of Winchester FMJ 230 gr. .45 ACP rounds. I've also shot come random hollow points, Federals Hydrashocks, Hornaday TAP, and some other defense rounds through it. Please don't take this the wrong way, I appreciate your input and everything, but I wanted to make sure you understand that I've shot this gun plenty, and I know what I'm talking about with them. The whole point of this is because I wanted to learn more about them, more then the average stuff...

Thank you all for your help, you all collectively answered more then what I wanted to find, and it's great. I've replaced the parts that I thought needed to be replaced, and before replacing anything more, I wanted to make sure I was replacing them for the right reasons, that's all. Thanks again for everyone's help guys.

Jerry

bug_eyedmonster
06-28-2008, 1:53 AM
If it ain't broke why fix it?? Home mods generally improve the weapon till it won't work at all --

I never changed anything that didn't need to be changed. This was simply for future reference... and I leave the modding to professionals, I don't do them at home unless I know I'm capable. I work with performance cars, so it's the same thing I preach to customers about their cars, I would think guns are the same way.

Jerry

berkeleygiraffe
06-28-2008, 9:20 AM
the two question I have are what model 1911 do you have and what do you want to achieve with mods?

dgey
06-28-2008, 2:18 PM
before modding your gun, I'd shoot it and break it in. Get proficient with it so that you can identify what you'd like the gun to do better...i.e., trigger feels sloppy and heavy..., sites don't pick up as fast as you'd like..., then go at it...

ar15barrels
06-28-2008, 3:27 PM
Depending on what gun you own now, many of the aftermarket parts may be of higher quality and will follow the specs closer.
Some are made to make a better trigger pull.

Differences in mainsprong housings are purely to change how the gun sits in your hand.
Flat mainspring housing makes the gun naturally point lower while the curved mainspring housing raises the muzzle a bit.
Put the gun in a holster on your belt.
Draw with your eyes closed and see where the gun is pointed when you open your eyes.
That's the "natural point of aim".
Adjust the gun as necessary so that you can open your eyes to a gun that's already on-target for you.

1859sharps
06-28-2008, 3:50 PM
I've replaced the parts that I thought needed to be replaced, and before replacing anything more, I wanted to make sure I was replacing them for the right reasons...
Jerry

with that approach you are ahead of the average shooter and will spend more time enjoying your gun, then wondering why it isn't working. That and knowing your limitations as a home smith.

I also have found the Kuhnhausen's Shop Manuals to be a good reference.

bug_eyedmonster
06-30-2008, 12:45 AM
the two question I have are what model 1911 do you have and what do you want to achieve with mods?

I have springfield TRP with a full legth dust cover that I am using for USPSA Limited 10. I added the ambi safety because the original owner changed the factory ambi for a single sided for carry purposes. I also had the mainspring houseing changed out because the magwell/mainspring housing was all one unit, and I was changing them out for the Techwell kits. While I was at it, Frank at Irvington Arms changed some other smaller parts out and did a trigger job. These mods have all been justified, and I was considering changing other aprts if need be, but again, I wanted to make sure any changes would not directly or indirectly change anything I did not want changed.

Jerry

bug_eyedmonster
06-30-2008, 12:46 AM
before modding your gun, I'd shoot it and break it in. Get proficient with it so that you can identify what you'd like the gun to do better...i.e., trigger feels sloppy and heavy..., sites don't pick up as fast as you'd like..., then go at it...

please read a couple posts up...:confused:

bug_eyedmonster
06-30-2008, 12:48 AM
Thanks again to everyone for their input, I'll be researching more and going from there... thank you!

Jerry