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jerryballs
05-02-2010, 8:56 AM
I have had several high end 1911's and I just picked up a new nighthawk talon. The gun seems to shoot decent..Not nearly as nice however as my old s&w pc1911...

The main question I have is how tight should the slide fit? I can grab the slide and wiggle it and hear an audible clack clack and well as feel some play...Is this how it should feel? non of my other 1911's of this caliber had any play, so maybe this is a testament of whats coming out of the nighthawk factory lately? or maybe its total ignorance on my behalf on how a slide should fit...

Your input is appreciated

Jerry

Voo
05-02-2010, 9:33 AM
People tend to associate certain things with the the "quality" of a 1911, slide to frame fit is one them.

It's a subjective issue as it has a very little to do with the overall accuracy of a 1911. Having it loose actually adds to the reliability but the 'slop' is often viewed as undesirable as your gun can still made reliable and accurate while having a tight slide/frame fit.

These things can sometimes* loosen up over time but my friend's Baer (and the consignment ones I've handled) is still sewing machine tight after many, many years of use. I think for the premium Nighthawk is charging it's not unreasonable to expect the gun to be fitted extremely well. Otherwise, as you've experienced with your S&W 1911, you're getting a high end 1911 that doesnt perform any differently than middle grade 1911, which IMHO, a shame.

There are remedies to tightening the fit, so if thats' something you're willing to pursue, there are still options.. accu-rails, peening the slide..etc etc..

teflondog
05-02-2010, 9:40 AM
I would be really upset if I had any slide play on a Nighthawk. While the slide to frame fit doesn't have to be extremely tight, it shouldn't sound like a rattle trap either. My Ed Brown has no slide play whatsoever. It's nowhere near as tight as my Les Baer though. All of my "tight" 1911's have been extremely reliable so I don't believe that having slop is required for reliability. I think lazy 1911's makers claim that having poor fit is for reliability reasons. That's not a valid excuse in my book.

nn3453
05-02-2010, 9:49 AM
People tend to associate certain things with the the "quality" of a 1911, slide to frame fit is one them.

It's a subjective issue as it has a very little to do with the overall accuracy of a 1911.

This. I have shot a sloppy series 70 Colt that shot on par with customs. Guy wouldn't sell it to me :)

But people view it as undesirable because it is supposed to reveal the overall "quality" of the gun.

But as everyone said, if you pay a premium, you should expect a tight fit.

J-cat
05-02-2010, 9:59 AM
Some people will tell you it does not matter. Some people will tell you that only 5% of accuracy is attributed to slide fit. That may be true, but I feel that a $2500 gun should not have any play at all.

bn91205
05-02-2010, 11:12 AM
+1!

People tend to associate certain things with the the "quality" of a 1911, slide to frame fit is one them.

It's a subjective issue as it has a very little to do with the overall accuracy of a 1911. Having it loose actually adds to the reliability but the 'slop' is often viewed as undesirable as your gun can still made reliable and accurate while having a tight slide/frame fit.

These things can sometimes* loosen up over time but my friend's Baer (and the consignment ones I've handled) is still sewing machine tight after many, many years of use. I think for the premium Nighthawk is charging it's not unreasonable to expect the gun to be fitted extremely well. Otherwise, as you've experienced with your S&W 1911, you're getting a high end 1911 that doesnt perform any differently than middle grade 1911, which IMHO, a shame.

There are remedies to tightening the fit, so if thats' something you're willing to pursue, there are still options.. accu-rails, peening the slide..etc etc..

jerryballs
05-02-2010, 11:09 PM
Thanks guys, I am sending it back to nighthawk... For $2600 I would expect tight and smooth like Teflon rolllers

JTROKS
05-02-2010, 11:24 PM
For a 1911 that's in the $2K+ range the slide to frame fit better be bank vault tight, but smooth. The reason you buy a custom high end 1911 is to have it perfect, meaning great looking, nicely fitted, void of flaws and last but not the least, accurate.

Black Majik
05-02-2010, 11:27 PM
Thanks guys, I am sending it back to nighthawk... For $2600 I would expect tight and smooth like Teflon rolllers

As it should. It doesn't need to be Springfield Pro/Custom Carry or Les Baer tight, but for the price you paid it shouldn't have any rattle either.

cocorador
05-03-2010, 4:12 AM
I think it may be due to the model you purchased. I purchased a wilson CQB a while back and it had a very slight wobble in the slide. However, when I purchased a Super Grade, it had no movement at all. My Limcats, which are competition pistols have no movement as well.

I may be wrong, but that goes for my friend's Wilsons as well. But really, Voo is correct on the frame/slide fit. A little movement is okay, but then again, $2600 and you expected something better fit, I wouldn't be happy either.

Good luck, I'm sure Nighthawk will do right for you. All those high end companies usually bend over backwards for their customers.

Miltiades
05-03-2010, 5:46 AM
Some well known 1911 gunsmiths contend that slide to frame fit is not that important in accuracy, and that barrel to bushing fit is much more important. Here is a quote from the website of RD Burns of Burns Custom Pistols in Washington state:

Frame to Slide Fit
Date Nov. 7th 1997

J. Kuhnhausen says in his shop manual on 45s that 15% of the accuracy of the pistol comes from slide fit. I believe it is a lot less, may be 5%, if that. Correct tightening of the slide to frame fit will make the gun more reliable because the parts work the same way every time, but less tolerant to dirt and powder residue. If you don't wallow in the mud and clean your gun every 1000rds or so it shouldn't be a problem. If the gun is too tight, reliability suffers.

If your gun will shoot 1 1/2" at 25 yd in your hands that is better than 90% of the custom $2000 guns out there. Barrel and bushing fit IMO are 95+% of the accuracy in a 1911. It really helps to have a GOOD barrel but that is a given. I have found that the Kimber barrels are GREAT. They are also available from McCormick. If a Kimber barrel won't hold 1.5" @ 25 yd I have found that a new barrel crown usually solves the problem.

EVERYONE has an opinion on the rest. Mine is: RELIABILITY, sights, trigger, beavertail, bigger thumb safety, in that order. In my opinion, you have all it takes in your Kimber. You can still do a lot to them to enhance their usabilty... after all, that's how I turn a buck.

Final note: back in 1985 I had a comped 45 Colt I built with a LE type cone comp with a Wilson barrel. I was always changing something on the frame so this top end was used on 3 frames as I remember. None of them had been fitted. The final frame (a Colt) that I used to compete with would shoot into 1.5" at 50 yd and it would rattle when shook, the fit was so loose.

Rock_Islander
05-03-2010, 6:26 AM
The question you're asking about the slide to frame fit in a custom $3000 1911 and whether or not it should wobble. It should NOT wobble in a gun priced so high. Period.

I'd give Nighthawk a call and tell them what your problem is. For the price you've paid for that pistol, they should have no trouble making it right for you.

My $500 Rock Island Armory did not wobble whatsoever right out of the box. It's got 1000 rounds through it now, and it has BARELY loosened up. I can shake it and there are no rattling sounds still.

I'd expect a Nighthawk to be fit much better. More on par with a Les Baer, that has no play after thousands and thousands of rounds.

Some well known 1911 gunsmiths contend that slide to frame fit is not that important in accuracy, and that barrel to bushing fit is much more important. Here is a quote from the website of RD Burns of Burns Custom Pistols in Washington state:

Barrel to bushing fit is only second when it comes to the most important accuracy factor in a 1911: The fitting of the bottom lugs of the BARREL, and its overall fit at the four major contact points within the gun (one of those being the bushing fit). But the bottom lugs matter the most as that dictates whether the barrel locks downward in the exact same position every time the slide returns to battery.

3 main factors for a 1911's accuracy:
1. Overall barrel fit (hood, bushing, lugs, top lugs)
2. Barrel Bushing fit (hand fitted and match are always best)
3. Slide to frame fit (if the slide can wobble or vibrate as the bullet passes through the barrel, it can and will affect accuracy)

-hanko
05-03-2010, 8:33 AM
I have had several high end 1911's and I just picked up a new nighthawk talon. The gun seems to shoot decent..
What's the group size at, say, 25yds.??

-hanko

SVRider
05-03-2010, 8:56 AM
Read my post #20 in this thread:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=180526

Yeah, it seems Nighthawk's quality has slipped from where it was when they were originally formed. I noticed when my GRP was built, a few of the smiths that were there at the time my Talon was built no longer were, and a few "new" guys had taken their place.

It took me a while to figure out why the checkering was cut that way, but I finally noticed. The frame is machined ever so slightly off center. Mine was not the only one. I've seen several NH's since then that were the same (or worse) as visible by the front strap checkering (one was completely missing the last two vertical checker lines!). I got a song and dance from their CFO explaining that they had to keep people employed and at some point they had to just accept the machining from their supplier and build pistols. Sounded like they know there are problems and continue to build anyway. (He also asked me not to post anything on the internet about it! :rolleyes:)

If it is loose, definitely send it back. At the price point, it should be damn near perfect. Don't know how they will tighten it up without doing some things I don't care for (i.e. squeeze the slide down, peen the frame rails, etc.), which is the whole reason you buy one from a builder like NH in the first place....to get it built right the first time from oversized parts!

If I were to do it again, not sure I'd buy another Nighthawk..... For a pistol approaching $3k....I expect more....

Good luck with it and let us know how it goes.

SVRider
05-03-2010, 8:59 AM
...and BTW, as other have said, it's unlikely that the slide fit will affect accuracy that much. It's more about how well the barrel is fit on a 1911.

Two schools of thought on slide fit. Some say fit it loose, so it can get dirty and still run. Other say fit tight so dirt cannot get in there in the first place. Probably some merit to both ideas, however...as I said, for the amount of money you spent....send it back!

Rock_Islander
05-03-2010, 2:10 PM
When I've got 2000 dollars to burn on a pistol, I'm buying a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special. To me it's just a beautiful pistol, built to Les' outstanding specs. I had the "honor" of holding one at my local gun store... Man the frame to slide fit is ULTRA tight, it was definitely hand fit to perfection.

Black Majik
05-03-2010, 2:32 PM
When I've got 2000 dollars to burn on a pistol, I'm buying a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special. To me it's just a beautiful pistol, built to Les' outstanding specs. I had the "honor" of holding one at my local gun store... Man the frame to slide fit is ULTRA tight, it was definitely hand fit to perfection.

Thousands of rounds later, it'll still be tighter than most production pistols when new. :)