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  #1  
Old 01-15-2013, 10:54 PM
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Default first successful 1911 detail strip.. follow up questions

I ordered a new Wolff 16lb recoil spring, extra power firing pin spring, and 23lb mainspring for my RIA Tactical recently to replace the shoddy factory springs. I've only put about 600 rounds through it, but the recoil spring had already lost a noticeable amount of strength as evidenced by the increased ease of racking the slide. I also have done a lot of dry fire practice (around 20,000 dry fires within a few months), so the mainspring had lost a considerable amount of tension... it became much easier to cock the hammer back compared to when I first got the pistol.

I hadn't yet detail stripped my 1911, and was quite apprehensive about being able to put everything back together again. I'm here to say it was a piece of cake! Any of you guys who are scared to detail strip your 1911 for the first time... just go for it! I'm amazed at how useful the experience was in furthering my understanding of how the fire controls interact and how the gun functions.

I will say that a vice would be nice for holding the MSH in place while removing the mainspring, but it is not necessary and I was able to do it using the mainspring housing pin and a flat tabletop. The only tools I used were a flathead screwdriver and a small punch to take out the MSH pin.

Moral of the story is: go take apart your 1911! It will allow you to see how all the parts interact with one another, providing you with valuable knowledge of how your gun functions. I do have a few questions however: first, when removing the extractor is it better to apply rearward pressure from the breech face or pry it out from the back of the slide? It seems to me that pushing from the breech face could alter the extractor's tension if it's really stuck in there tight. Second, is it possible for the extractor to "clock" or rotate in the channel when you re-install it, or is there something keeping it in the same position as before it was removed? Third, does the mainspring housing pin only go in one way, or can you insert it with the concave end on either side of the frame? (I understand that you have to insert the convex side first so that the cone-shaped pin that pokes out into the channel can slip over it more easily, but does it matter which side you insert it from?) Lastly, is it safe to use a .22 caliber brass/nylon bore brush to clean out the firing pin and extractor tunnels? I just used a .22 rod with some patches to clean it but I would like to use a brush to really scrub out the crud that builds up in there.

In retrospect, I wish I'd attempted a detail strip sooner! I really feel like I'm starting to understand the platform better, and it's given me the confidence to attempt to fit a new sear spring soon. Thanks to everyone on Calguns and 1911forum for all your advice and knowledge, especially redcliff! I'm 100% addicted to 1911s now... I can tell there's no turning back Sorry for the long-winded post, I'm just in one of those giddy moods
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2013, 11:09 PM
Brandon04GT Brandon04GT is offline
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Quote:
first, when removing the extractor is it better to apply rearward pressure from the breech face or pry it out from the back of the slide? It seems to me that pushing from the breech face could alter the extractor's tension if it's really stuck in there tight.
You can do it either way, but I like to use a chopstick or something else similarly soft to push it out carefully from the breech side. If you try and pry it out from the backside and use the corner of the slide as a pivot, you risk gouging up the corner of the slide if the extractor is in there tight enough. Normally you'll find that after the extractor is about 1/8" of the way out, the rest of it will come out easily.

Quote:
Second, is it possible for the extractor to "clock" or rotate in the channel when you re-install it, or is there something keeping it in the same position as before it was removed?
Yes it's possible. No, nothing is keeping it in the same place except for friction. Not a big deal though. Just re-install the extractor by pushing it in while keeping an eye on maintaining it's proper orientation. It will make it much easier to install the firing pin stop since the firing pin stop groove will be all lined up.

Quote:
third, does the mainspring housing pin only go in one way, or can you insert it with the concave end on either side of the frame? (I understand that you have to insert the convex side first so that the cone-shaped pin that pokes out into the channel can slip over it more easily, but does it matter which side you insert it from?)
It can go in from either way, but customarily it goes in left to right, with the concave end showing on the left side of the gun.

Quote:
Lastly, is it safe to use a .22 caliber brass/nylon bore brush to clean out the firing pin and extractor tunnels? I just used a .22 rod with some patches to clean it but I would like to use a brush to really scrub out the crud that builds up in there.
Yes, Hilton Yam from 10-8 talks about doing this in one of his how-to tutorials. I just use cotton swabs and find that it cleans the tunnels just fine. I find that the firing pin channel doesn't normally get too dirty but the extractor channel takes several CLP coated q-tips to get clean. The main thing is to avoid oiling the firing pin, firing pin spring, extractor, or firing pin stop as doing so will just attract more dirt and grime. Some people say to put a light film of oil on everything but I don't really find this necessary. If anything, I clean my parts with cotton patches and CLP so there is probably a miniscule film of CLP left on them.

Last edited by Brandon04GT; 01-16-2013 at 6:31 AM.. Reason: added some more info
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2013, 11:34 PM
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INFAMOUS762X39 INFAMOUS762X39 is offline
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Recently just did my first detail strip as well. While doing so, I swapped the sear spring to a Cylinder&Slide Light Sear Spring on my Kimber TLE. Trigger break is fantastic now.

My 1911 to buy list is never ending.
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Old 01-16-2013, 6:04 AM
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Congratulations on your first detail strip I have nothing to add to Brandon04GT's excellent post.

Please be sure to perform the 1911 safety/function checks anytime you detail strip or remove the MSH. http://www.coolgunsite.com/funcheck/function.htm
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Old 01-16-2013, 1:23 PM
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Congratulations! I remember how proud I was of myself when I did my first detail strip and re-assembly without having to take a "box of parts" to the gunsmith....

If anyone's interested, here's a very detailed, step by step ( with pictures ) instruction on dis-assembly / re-assembly to pass onto friends and such.

http://how-i-did-it.org/detail-1911/field_strip.html
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:20 PM
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I would recommend (whether or not you intend to do your own smithing) both volumes of Jerry Kuhnhausen's 1911 manual.
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Old 01-17-2013, 1:05 PM
Dr. Dimento Dr. Dimento is offline
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Default cleaning out f/p,extractor tunnels, pin holes

Harbor freight has a great micro bottle brush set, couple bucks in their paint spray gun dept. They work very well on holes 3/32 to 5/16.
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  #8  
Old 01-17-2013, 1:12 PM
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Pretty easy wasn't it!!! There are books that show how to do things on 1911s. The books are really good to have. Remember not to wear out the 1911 by over cleaning and taking it apart just because it is fun!!!
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Last edited by Sunday; 01-17-2013 at 1:16 PM..
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Old 01-17-2013, 5:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcliff View Post
Congratulations on your first detail strip I have nothing to add to Brandon04GT's excellent post.

Please be sure to perform the 1911 safety/function checks anytime you detail strip or remove the MSH. http://www.coolgunsite.com/funcheck/function.htm
Thanks for the link. I had done every function test except for the disconnector test... tried that just now and all is good! Dropping the slide on an empty chamber makes me wince but I suppose it's necessary to ensure the hammer isn't following.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skosh69 View Post
Congratulations! I remember how proud I was of myself when I did my first detail strip and re-assembly without having to take a "box of parts" to the gunsmith....

If anyone's interested, here's a very detailed, step by step ( with pictures ) instruction on dis-assembly / re-assembly to pass onto friends and such.

http://how-i-did-it.org/detail-1911/field_strip.html
Yeah I was slightly worried about getting the pistol back together and having an extra part sitting on the table

I'm curious about why that link says to engage the thumb safety before rotating the barrel bushing and removing the recoil spring plug, then disengage it to move the slide back to line up the slide stop with the take-down notch... I seem to be able to rotate the bushing and remove the plug just fine without the thumb safety locking the slide in place. Any particular reason for this?
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