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  #1  
Old 05-26-2021, 1:00 PM
rplaw rplaw is offline
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Default Slide swap

I'm on a roll, 2 gunsmithing threads in 2 days...

Anyway:


I WANT WANT WAAAAANT!!!!! a 9mm Commander 1911. Not available in CA to us worthless proles unless for an outrageous private party transfer pricetag for a BBQ gun that's not really suited for an EDC because it's going to get beat up.

So...

How difficult would it be to swap the govt length 5" slide and barrel for the Commander 4" on a Springfield Loaded Stainless target Pl9134L? (It's 1 of 2 that are Ca compliant.)


Expensive for a 'smith to do it? Estimated cost?
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2021, 4:20 PM
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Well, it might be easier to find a 38 Super Commander and swap the barrel for a 9mm. Easy to do, and has been done many times.
As for swapping the slide. Some say it can’t be done. There is a difference in the frame geometry between a Govt(full sized) and a Commander frame, and some Commander slides may not work on some Full Sized frames.
I have tested a ParaOrdnance Commander slide with 9mm barrel on a RIA Govt 45 acp frame, and it works just fine.
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Old 05-27-2021, 8:14 AM
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Easier and less money to buy a commander in 38super and have a a proper 1911 gunsmith fit a 9mm barrel. Kimber makes a Pro HD carry II in 38 super that’s Ca legal. Check the list for others.


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Old 05-27-2021, 9:45 AM
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The problem with rebarreling 38 super to 9mm is that my issuing agency won't let me carry it.

Changing the caliber would be "manufacturing" a new pistol. Changing the slide length without changing the caliber is merely a modification to an existing firearm to make it easier to conceal.

As a last resort I could probably send it to the manufacturer's custom shop for the conversion using their factory parts. Or buy the parts and have them fitted / fit them myself. The gun I want exists, it's just not Ca legal.
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Old 05-27-2021, 10:47 AM
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Wait a minute. Are you LEO? If so your roster exempt and can buy what you want.


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Old 05-27-2021, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
Wait a minute. Are you LEO? If so your roster exempt and can buy what you want.


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No, I'm a permitted CCW.
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:24 PM
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Ahh. Yep. Have to be registered in the caliber it’s being carried. Only way to do that is purchase it and dros it in that caliber.


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Old 05-27-2021, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rplaw View Post
The problem with rebarreling 38 super to 9mm is that my issuing agency won't let me carry it.

Changing the caliber would be "manufacturing" a new pistol. Changing the slide length without changing the caliber is merely a modification to an existing firearm to make it easier to conceal.

As a last resort I could probably send it to the manufacturer's custom shop for the conversion using their factory parts. Or buy the parts and have them fitted / fit them myself. The gun I want exists, it's just not Ca legal.
i dont think you have the legal authority to make such a ruling
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Old 05-27-2021, 1:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rplaw View Post
The problem with rebarreling 38 super to 9mm is that my issuing agency won't let me carry it.
Easy solution assuming the caliber marking is only on the barrel:
Buy it.
Convert it to 9mm.
Pawn it as a 9mm.
Pawn return it to yourself.

Now it's in the DES database as a 9mm the last time you acquired it.

Markings are indeed on the barrel:
http://firearmsandtraining.gunetools...rry-hd-ii.html
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  #10  
Old 05-27-2021, 3:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
Ahh. Yep. Have to be registered in the caliber it’s being carried.
Only way to do that is purchase it and dros it in that caliber.
Or re-purchase it.
Two PPT's will get it turned into a 9mm in DES as well but a pawn return is usually cheaper.
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Old 05-27-2021, 6:42 PM
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The pawn/double PPT things are "games" that my IA won't stand for. They aren't stupid and this county actually does investigate everything on the application.

Trust me, I know. My only real recourse is to change the barrel length but keep it the same caliber as manufactured and imported into Ca. All that technically does is swap the std slide/bbl for "different" ones. It's more involved than merely changing out sights, but it's still just a mod instead of "altering" the gun by changing it's caliber.
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Old 05-27-2021, 6:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
i dont think you have the legal authority to make such a ruling
I don't need "legal authority." I know the rules my county mandates for CCW permittees and those rules don't allow what's being proposed.

On the other hand, if anyone else wants to try it, I'm not going to stand in their way. Just don't call me for bail money.
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  #13  
Old 05-27-2021, 9:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rplaw View Post
The pawn/double PPT things are "games" that my IA won't stand for.
They aren't stupid and this county actually does investigate everything on the application.
You should just PPT an off-roster gun that's configured how you want.
That way, it's only DROSed to you once so there's no "games" for them to investigate.
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  #14  
Old 05-27-2021, 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rplaw View Post
Just don't call me for bail money.
hahaha

I'm pretty sure you have to do something illegal before bail money is a concern.
There's NOTHING illegal about converting the caliber of a gun or of double PPTing a gun or pawn returning a gun.
They are just legal methods of correcting the DES.
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Old 05-28-2021, 6:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
hahaha

I'm pretty sure you have to do something illegal before bail money is a concern.
There's NOTHING illegal about converting the caliber of a gun or of double PPTing a gun or pawn returning a gun.
They are just legal methods of correcting the DES.
*shrug*

We're not talking about "correcting the DES." My IA doesn't allow "modified" firearms to be carried. Plain, simple, and unambiguous.

If you believe that altering the caliber and then double transferring the arm to change it in the database isn't a "modification", then in your mind, it's not. Unfortunately for me, you're not my IA who DOES believe it's a "modification" and won't allow it. He's been fairly consistent on what that means and, since he's the ultimate authority on who gets to play or not, I stay well within the lines demarcated by his rules.

YMMV.
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Old 05-28-2021, 6:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
You should just PPT an off-roster gun that's configured how you want.
That way, it's only DROSed to you once so there's no "games" for them to investigate.
You're right.

Now if only I could figure out a way to let people know I'm looking for a commander sized 1911 in 9mm...
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Old 06-09-2021, 4:01 PM
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Moving forward on this, I DROS'd a Springfield Target yesterday. Good to pick up the Friday before Father's Day. (Yay!)

I watched a youboob video of a guy doing an 80% commander build on a Gov't frame and saw what he had to do to make it all work and be in spec. It's not that atrocious but I think I'm going to talk to Springfield and see if they'll do the conversion for me and what it'll cost. If they won't, I'll see who else can do it with factory parts. I do know it's basically irreversible once it's done, which means:

This leaves me with a "spare" Gov't length slide with target sights. Hmmm, I wonder what I can do with that? Maybe build my own 80% in some oddball caliber? Plus my birthday is coming up and I need to get myself something special. Decisions, decisions...
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  #18  
Old 06-09-2021, 5:43 PM
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Default Slide swap

Not necessarily irreversible. You have to cut the frame rails back as well as the recoil spring tunnel for the commander top end. Then to use a government top end you have to cut the 5” barrel lower lugs like a commander as well as a few other things but you can have a switch top frame that will be both commander and government.

The real question is how many smiths can do this properly?


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Old 06-09-2021, 8:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
You have to cut the frame rails back as well as the recoil spring tunnel for the commander top end.
Then to use a government top end you have to cut the 5” barrel lower lugs like a commander as well as a few other things but you can have a switch top frame that will be both commander and government.




Quote:
Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
The real question is how many smiths can do this properly?
None of those cuts are particularly difficult from a machining standpoint.
It's more a matter of understanding everything well enough to do the cuts correctly.

Here is a picture showing the range of Colt frame sizes and their associated rail and dustcover lengths when you stack them all together by the slide stop pin hole:

Quote:
The frame on the left is from a 2013 SS Series 70 Gov.
Next is a 1991 SS Commander.
Then a 2000 Compact (like Officers ACP).
On the right is the Aluminum alloy frame from a 2002 Defender.
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Old 06-10-2021, 5:18 AM
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Thanks CifaldiPrecision and Ar15barrels. After Cifaldi posted his description, it took me a while to figure out what he was describing with the legs. I have two brands of aftermarket Commander barrels, and only one has the proper shape according to the pic that Ar15barrels posted. The other brand has the same shape as for a standard FS barrel.
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Old 06-10-2021, 5:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post





None of those cuts are particularly difficult from a machining standpoint.
It's more a matter of understanding everything well enough to do the cuts correctly.

Here is a picture showing the range of Colt frame sizes and their associated rail and dustcover lengths when you stack them all together by the slide stop pin hole:

While this seems very straight forward to you think of how many other “smith’s” work you’ve fixed over the years. You’re a machinist. You understand it and do good work.


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Old 06-10-2021, 6:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
While this seems very straight forward to you think of how many other “smith’s” work you’ve fixed over the years. You’re a machinist. You understand it and do good work.


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I would expect that Springfield would know how to do this properly. I suspect I could do it myself but buying the tooling required for the job would probably cost more than just paying someone else to do it. It's also easier to let an expert handle it and not worry.


I'm open to discussion via PM if either you or ar15barrels think you'd like the job.
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Old 06-10-2021, 9:48 AM
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I can not take on the work right now. I’ve been out of the game since covid started because I’ve been stuck home schooling my 2 elementary school aged kids. Now that summers starting I need to clear out all the work of the customers who chose to wait before I take on anything else. I can still share my knowledge of how to do these things though.


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Old 06-10-2021, 10:18 AM
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I can not take on the work right now. I’ve been out of the game since covid started because I’ve been stuck home schooling my 2 elementary school aged kids. Now that summers starting I need to clear out all the work of the customers who chose to wait before I take on anything else. I can still share my knowledge of how to do these things though.


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Fair enough.
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:54 AM
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If you have a 9mm 5" 1911 already why dont you just cut 3/4" off the front of the slide? That way you dont have to do any modifications to the frame. Remount the front sight and put a bull barrel in it cut to length.
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Old 06-10-2021, 2:24 PM
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If you have a 9mm 5" 1911 already why dont you just cut 3/4" off the front of the slide? That way you dont have to do any modifications to the frame. Remount the front sight and put a bull barrel in it cut to length.
Lots of cutting and welding involved with that and it alters the existing slide to something "different than as manufactured."

Technically, swapping the slide is also "different than as manufactured" but since I plan to use unmodified factory parts, then it's really only cosmetic as it doesn't change the function, caliber, or require specially made custom parts for repair/maintenance.

The ultimate deciding factor is my ability to answer the question of: WHY Mr. rplaw, did you modify your handgun before you decided to cold bloodedly murder my client's deceased loved one with it?

Tough question to answer under any circumstances but it'd be a lot more believable if I said that the factory changed the slide for me because of functional issues related to carrying the firearm. That's more likely something a jury will accept than me having to explain why I "sawed off" the barrel to make it "shorter" and "easier to hide."

Plus, like I said, if I buy a commander slide/barrel and have them put onto the frame then I get to keep the top end I already have and maybe do an 80% build (for educational purposes only) in the future with it. It'll be tough, but I'm sure I can figure out a use for a Ghostgun 2011 in 9mm.
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Old 06-10-2021, 3:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
While this seems very straight forward to you think of how many other “smith’s” work you’ve fixed over the years. You’re a machinist. You understand it and do good work.
It's certainly not hammer/punch/file work!
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Old 06-10-2021, 6:10 PM
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Only machining is slide length and dovetail for front sight, no welding involved.
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Old 06-10-2021, 8:08 PM
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Pic is of a standard Government .45 ACP slide on the right and a special limited production run "commander" length slide on the left to fit a Government frame.
This short slide goes back past the mag well just a little farther than a standard commander frame and slide set-up, but not as far as the Government slide.
Maybe of some relevance here.



Government on Government:


"Commander" on Government:
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Old 06-10-2021, 8:24 PM
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Default Slide swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by USPSA GM View Post
Only machining is slide length and dovetail for front sight, no welding involved.



Cutting a government slide down to 4.25” you’ll need to recut the sight dovetail, recut the slide to accept a barrel bushing or use a bull barrel, cut the slide for a reverse plug, make a reverse plug from scratch, ensure the guide rod doesn’t hit the plug, ensure you have full travel and no spring bind. These are things you’ll run into doing it this way. Or do as I mentioned above and set the frame up for a commander slide. I have a government gun that I cut down to a 4” gun. It was a project I did as an apprentice, it is not a straight forward thing and it’s a royal PITA but it is do able. I wouldn’t want to do either route without machining equipment.


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Old 06-10-2021, 9:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
Or do as I mentioned above and set the frame up for a commander slide.
I have a government gun that I cut down to a 4” gun.
It was a project I did as an apprentice, it is not a straight forward thing and it’s a royal PITA but it is do able.
I have done a few and I agree with your PITA assessment.
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Old 06-11-2021, 7:03 AM
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It's certainly not hammer/punch/file work!
Wait! I have a Dremel too!

Seriously, I could probably do it myself since I'm not a stranger to a machine shop or the equipment in there. The sticking point is fitting the barrel and getting proper lockup. Not having done that, having no tooling to do it with, and the fact that this is going to be an EDC, I'd rather let someone who knows the intimacies of 1911's do it.

The bad part is that when it's over I'll have spent the equivalent of buying something semi-high-end but will only have a Springfield Armory 9mm. Which is financially irresponsible, but I want what I want and if it's not available then I have to figure out a different way to make it happen.
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Old 06-11-2021, 7:15 AM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
Cutting a government slide down to 4.25” you’ll need to recut the sight dovetail, recut the slide to accept a barrel bushing or use a bull barrel, cut the slide for a reverse plug, make a reverse plug from scratch, ensure the guide rod doesn’t hit the plug, ensure you have full travel and no spring bind. These are things you’ll run into doing it this way. Or do as I mentioned above and set the frame up for a commander slide. I have a government gun that I cut down to a 4” gun. It was a project I did as an apprentice, it is not a straight forward thing and it’s a royal PITA but it is do able. I wouldn’t want to do either route without machining equipment.


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The Springfield Target also has front cocking serrations that will need to be welded/filled then cleaned up so it doesn't look like some kind of biology experiment gone wrong.
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Old 06-11-2021, 7:25 AM
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Easier to machine them down to a carry cut.


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Old 06-11-2021, 7:56 AM
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There you go making me think my Dremel and a few files is all I'm gonna need...

Realistically, I see how it can be done. What I don't see is how the reverse barrel bushing makes it all work, unless it still requires a new barrel.
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Old 06-11-2021, 6:41 PM
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Originally Posted by rplaw View Post
What I don't see is how the reverse barrel bushing makes it all work, unless it still requires a new barrel.
A reverse plug installs in the slide from the REAR instead of the front.



It's used when you don't have a bushing to hold a standard spring plug.
When you get rid of the bushing, you have to go to a bull barrel which fits in the slide without the need for a bushing as a bull barrel is roughly the same size as the inside of the slide.
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Old 06-11-2021, 7:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
A reverse plug installs in the slide from the REAR instead of the front.



It's used when you don't have a bushing to hold a standard spring plug.
When you get rid of the bushing, you have to go to a bull barrel which fits in the slide without the need for a bushing as a bull barrel is roughly the same size as the inside of the slide.
So, basically the barrel uses the slide as the barrel bushing? Which means in a couple of tens of thousand rounds, instead of buying a new bushing, you buy a new slide and shorten that one too? Hopefully before the wear on the slide lets the recoil spring launch the loaded and tangled mass of metal in your hand down range. Or worse, back into your face if the link pin fails. Egads...
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Last edited by rplaw; 06-11-2021 at 7:29 PM..
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Old 06-11-2021, 7:23 PM
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It's certainly not hammer/punch/file work!
Unless you're Mosinvirus - I'm convinced that dude could build an airplane with a file.
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Old 06-12-2021, 5:04 AM
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So, basically the barrel uses the slide as the barrel bushing? Which means in a couple of tens of thousand rounds, instead of buying a new bushing, you buy a new slide and shorten that one too? Hopefully before the wear on the slide lets the recoil spring launch the loaded and tangled mass of metal in your hand down range. Or worse, back into your face if the link pin fails. Egads...

Why would you need to replace the slide?


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Old 06-12-2021, 6:08 AM
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Originally Posted by CifaldiPrecision View Post
Why would you need to replace the slide?


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When the slide and barrel go into lockup there will be some wear on the muzzle end of the barrel. Eventually, that wear will allow the barrel to be sloppy affecting POI. Without a "bearing surface" (bushing), what's the solution except to replace both the barrel and slide after tolerances become too great?


I also have to admit that in my prior post, I was thinking of something else in the way the slide and barrel lock up. I overlooked the fact that the slide can't go forward uncontrolled if the barrel is still held in place. Also, a failure of the link pin can happen to any pistol so that's not exclusive to a cut down and bushingless slide.
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