1911 Gunsmithing

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1911 Gunsmithing

Postby ArmedAviator » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:06 pm

So I am a complete novice to gunsmithing but I do enjoy tinkering with and learning new things.

I have a Remington 1911 R1 and I like it, but I decided to change the trigger as my first project. I already took the pistol apart completely once to figure it out so this change should be pretty straight forward. The trigger and a trigger channel stone should be arriving Monday from Brownell's.

After watching a bunch of howto youtube videos, I think I am building up the confidence to buy the other pieces required to do a sear and hammer job. The trigger has a bit of creep and it is just enough to annoy me.

Has anyone ever tackled this without any other gunsmithing experience? I understand the risks involved and I don't want to take it to the extreme. I'm looking for a clean, crisp, 4 pound trigger pull as my EDC.

If I go to tackle this, it is my understanding that all I'd need is a good 6x.5x.5 ground stone, the Ed Brown sear jig & .020" shim, and a backup sear spring. Sound about right?
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby BobK » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:17 am

Home gunsmithing also requires liberal use of a Dremel.
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby Brian D. » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:19 am

BobK wrote:Home gunsmithing also requires liberal use of a Dremel.


I'm not sure if you say that with tongue in cheek. A Dremel is a quick way to take too much material off as well as just the right amount.

ArmedAviator, do not change the angles of either sear or hammer, do not polish through the heat treated portion of same, and proceed slowly,
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby Quack » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:48 am

yep, i've done plenty of home smithing.

I still need to finish this up, then re-blue it.

Image

I used the Brown sear jig and it works well. for sear springs get a Colt sear spring, as it's the easiest to tune.
4# can be achieved by cleaning up the factory parts. If you mess up, you can always upgrade.
if done properly, you can't tell that the R1 has an 80 Series safety in it.
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby ArmedAviator » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:57 am

I don't see why a Dremel would be needed for a sear job.... Seems kind of dangerous to me for reasons stated above. Maybe it'd be useful if I wanted to install the beavertail safety like Quack.

I was going to stick to the grind stones and file down the hammer hooks to .020" and to polish the contact surfaces. The sear jig and shim should get me the desired contact surface angle on the sear, no?

I've seen some videos mention rounding off the corner after you set the primary angle on the sear. Good or bad idea?
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby Quack » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:05 am

ArmedAviator wrote:I don't see why a Dremel would be needed for a sear job.... Seems kind of dangerous to me for reasons stated above. Maybe it'd be useful if I wanted to install the beavertail safety like Quack.

I was going to stick to the grind stones and file down the hammer hooks to .020" and to polish the contact surfaces. The sear jig and shim should get me the desired contact surface angle on the sear, no?

I've seen some videos mention rounding off the corner after you set the primary angle on the sear. Good or bad idea?


Yes.

Use stones. take your time since it's your first time. use a marker on the sear nose to make sure you are making even contact. the relief cut on the sear nose should be about 1/3 of the primary angle. only stone in one direction and not back and forth. once that's done, you can use the .020" shim to level out the hammer hooks. also lightly polish the hammer hooks where the sear mates. prep the disconnector by removing burrs. prep the sear spring by breaking the edges that contact the sear and disconnector.

once you are done with the prep work, mark the sear nose again when you intall the parts in the R1. dry fire the R1 a few times and dis-assemble. look ans see that the hammer and sear are engaging evenly, if not, return to working on the sear or hammer hooks.

BTW, if you saw the youtube video of Terry G (Impact Guns) don't use that as a reference. after that video, Nutnfancy had to go back to stock parts because the trigger job TerryG did was doubling.
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby ArmedAviator » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:15 am

Thanks Quack.

I found the most in depth howto (I think) from this guy: http://youtu.be/sOfKdYNs1R4
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby Quack » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:18 am

i usually refer people to this page.
http://www.blindhogg.com/gunsmithing.html
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby BobK » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:18 am

Brian D. wrote:
BobK wrote:. . . liberal use of a Dremel.

I'm not sure if you say that with tongue in cheek.

You should know me better than that! :lol: You can be certain the tongue was firmly planted in my cheek.
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby ArmedAviator » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:25 am

That's a good read there.

I just ordered a black medium-fine stone, the Ed Brown sear jig with .020" feeler, and 2 spare Wilson Combat "factory plus" sear springs. The Colt springs with out of stock. The parts should arrive Thursday.

Here's hoping that I don't screw up!
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby ArmedAviator » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:01 pm

I did it!

The tools came in a day earlier than expected from Brownells.

I changed out the trigger and deburred the trigger channels, although not a perfect job - I may replace this again in the future with a different one anyway.

I set the sear angles per the article posted above.

I filed down the hammer hooks to .020" and squared it off with the stone.

Changed out the sear spring with the Wilson Combat mil-spec "plus" spring. This spring had quite a bit more tension on the grip safety which I had to work out. The trigger felt fine with only a little bit of changing the middle tang on the spring.

Overall, it may not be a 4 pound trigger pull (I don't have a gauge), but it is indeed a crisp and clean trigger pull and break.

All I have to do now is test fire it and loc-tite the trigger overtravel screw. I hope I can get to the range soon!

I'm very satisfied and glad I tackled this myself! Now I have the tools and knowledge should I do it again - and I probably will.
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby Jake » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:01 pm

It's darn rewarding doing improvements by yourself.

Resources found online make it a whole lot less frustrating.
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby ArmedAviator » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:31 pm

An update....

After the fact, I noticed an issue. The hammer dropped when the slide was racking and the finger was off of the trigger :shock: . I took it back apart and checked the sear and hammer engagements and found the sear was not completely even accross (using the Sharpie method). I evened it back out and I could not make it repeat that.

I then noticed that when the thumb safety was engaged, the sear was able to move very slightly when the trigger was pulled :evil: .

So I ordered a new extended thumb safety and a new Nighthawk sear. I did a light cut on the sear like before, checked for proper and even engagement on the hammer and reassembled. Trigger was still like butter and around the same 4 pound trigger pull.

I used some more Youtube videos to figure out how to file down the thumb safety. Not too difficult to understand, but a PITA to get it right. Taking it on and off many many many times.

In the end, this 1911 feels so much more enjoyable to me. The trigger pull is lighter and has no creep. I have an extended thumb safety. I also installed a cheap set of grips...meh....I see why they're cheap. I'll be replacing them with much better ones!
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby ArmedAviator » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:37 pm

I suppose I spoke too soon. Although the upgrades are all working properly, the series 80 plunger in the slide is stuck in the depressed position.

I have no idea how that happened or even when that happened. I removed the firing pin block and firing pin, wiggled around the extractor and gave the slide a few good whacks on a wood surface (with a towel between the 2 to protect finish).

Any idea on how to get this series 80 plunger unstuck?

In the grand scheme of things, it will leave me with a working firearm as a series 70 is. I just want all of the components working appropriately.
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Re: 1911 Gunsmithing

Postby TJW815 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:53 pm

After reading of ur troubles upgrading your R1, I wonder if I would have the same problems adjusting my enhanced R1. I have the adjustable trigger but it still has some wiggle to it.
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