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  1. #1
    Marksman praff's Avatar

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    1911 Unlock Never Gets any Love

    People are always interested in how tight a barrel locks up. Most people really dont care about barrel unlock. While lockup is very important for accuracy. Where a barrel comes to rest at unlock is equally important to ensure the pistol stays reliable and doesnt have a failure of barrel, link, slide stop or even frame.


    I worked on a stock 1911 today and it was typical of most off the shelf 1911 and 2011 pistols. Almost everyone that has come accross my bench has had improper unlock. Even most of the so-called factory custom guns havent had the proper unlock.


    So how should a barrel come to rest after the pistol is unlocked??? Well, the vertical surface of the barrel feet should impact the vertical surface of the frame. Almost all of the ones i have seen come to rest on the frame horizontal surface and the barrel feet horizontal surface. The main problem with this is that the only thing stopping the rearward motion of the barrel (which is most of the energy) is the slide stop and link. Eventually one of these will fail.

    Pic of barrel and Frame showing horizontal surface impact








    So to fix it, we cut the horizontal bed of the frame down to allow the barrel to drop farther and subsequently move farther to the rear. Once you do this however, most modern ramped barrels will then impact the inside of the of the frame rails. Again this is not stopping the rearward motion of the barrel. So, we also increase the 45 degree chamfer on the inside of the frame rails so the barrel may drop far enough to allow it to impact the vertical surface.

    Pic of frame cut for clearance





    Once we get the vertical surfaces to impact, then we tune how they interface with each other. It is important to have nice even impact all the way across and most of the way down the feet of the barrel. If this isnít achieved, then we risk shearing off the feet of the barrel.

    Pic of proper vertical feet impact




    Last edited by praff; 04-17-2018 at 09:12. Reason: edited text size

  2. #2
    Expert Dean Crail's Avatar

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    Because a frighteningly large percentage has absolutely no idea how relatively intricate the 1911 really is unfortunately.
    Quote Originally Posted by MCgrease08 View Post
    Dude, from what I can tell from your photos, you don't do anything bargin bin.

  3. #3
    Plinker

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    Very good information, might have to get mine checked.
    Thank you

  4. #4
    I Care...Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Crail View Post
    Because a frighteningly large percentage has absolutely no idea how relatively intricate the 1911 really is unfortunately.
    If it runs for them I get it.

    I like everything to fit up like a Swiss watch.

  5. #5
    Marksman praff's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by churchmouse View Post
    If it runs for them I get it.

    I am actually amazed at what does run. Sometimes I even question how critical all of the things I do are. My theory is some of the stuff makes it through today due to better materials and suppliers of parts. I truly believe small parts like slide stops, links, ejectors, etc are made better, have better heat treat, and are more consistent today than they were 50 years ago.

  6. #6
    I Care...Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by praff View Post
    I am actually amazed at what does run. Sometimes I even question how critical all of the things I do are. My theory is some of the stuff makes it through today due to better materials and suppliers of parts. I truly believe small parts like slide stops, links, ejectors, etc are made better, have better heat treat, and are more consistent today than they were 50 years ago.
    I agree.

    As to what you do......I am the same when it comes to anything I build. Many years building horse power. Reliable horse power. I take that same approach with my 1911's. Anything I can not do AllenM has the skills to do. Just like what I see in your work.

  7. #7
    Master NHT3's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by praff View Post
    I am actually amazed at what does run. Sometimes I even question how critical all of the things I do are. My theory is some of the stuff makes it through today due to better materials and suppliers of parts. I truly believe small parts like slide stops, links, ejectors, etc are made better, have better heat treat, and are more consistent today than they were 50 years ago.
    They wouldn't run for long IF people actually used them but a huge percentage of firearms owners won't fire 50 rounds a year. Some won't fire that in a lifetime. Several years ago a co-worker found out I had been to the Glock armorers class. He informed me he had a Glock 30, bought it at Galyans when they were going out of business,sometime aroun 2001 I think. "Keep it under my pillow every night".. I asked when he fired it last? "Oh, I've never fired it". I hate to say it but this is probably the typical firearms owner.
    So if the barrel fit on most 1911s is a little shaky it probably won't make any difference.
    Any man can make mistakes but only and idiot persists in his error.. Cicero 200 BC

  8. #8
    Marksman praff's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by NHT3 View Post
    They wouldn't run for long IF people actually used them but a huge percentage of firearms owners won't fire 50 rounds a year. Some won't fire that in a lifetime. Several years ago a co-worker found out I had been to the Glock armorers class. He informed me he had a Glock 30, bought it at Galyans when they were going out of business,sometime aroun 2001 I think. "Keep it under my pillow every night".. I asked when he fired it last? "Oh, I've never fired it". I hate to say it but this is probably the typical firearms owner.
    So if the barrel fit on most 1911s is a little shaky it probably won't make any difference.
    definitely the norm for the masses. The one in this pic already had 4k through it. There were two other 2011ís that i worked on in the same shape with 10k+ through them. Crazy.

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