AR15.Com Archives
 Cheapest way to accurize 1911/ measuring bushing ?
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/14/2011 9:19:23 PM EST
Bought a RIA government model and was looking to see the best and cheapest way to accurise it. Besides good ammo, or training. I would think the barrel bushing would be a good place to start. I'm not looking to replace the barrel and a bunch of parts, just a little tune up. I've Dan Wessons and Colts, etc, so I've had some good shooters, just wanting to tighten this one up a bit. Right now, free hand, I'm getting a palm sized 8 round group at 15yards, but with my Para, and with my other guns, I could do about half that size at an extra 5-10 yards. I was looking at the EGW bushing that you special order with your barrel and slide measurements. Not wanting to spend a ton of cash. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks
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FrankSymptoms  [Team Member]
3/14/2011 9:56:07 PM EST
Several (like, 25) years ago I bought a .45 Ithaca, which had been returned from WWII loan to China. I wanted to make a good shooter out of it. I was advised to get Hallock's .45 auto handbook. Best investment I ever made! It is very readable, and presents all the **basic** info you need to start this project.

There's another very good book about .45 gunsmithing by Kunhausen.
Shadow4Golf  [Team Member]
3/14/2011 10:16:12 PM EST
Okay, push down on barrel hood. Does it move down? If not, you have a good lower lug/link pin. If it does, you need to get the lower lug sorted out...in which case, it might be cheaper to send the pistol back under warranty.

Does the barrel move around in the bushing with the slide forward? Left-right-up-down? If not, you've got a properly fitted bushing.

The best and cheapest thing you can do right now is nothing. Just shoot the pistol. Get it nice and broken in, shoot it enough to learn it's quirks. Use quality magazines. Don't skimp on holsters and mag pouches if you are going to carry it.

Get out and shoot.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/14/2011 10:28:29 PM EST
Thanks, I had forgotten about Kunhausen, and I will check the other book out. What do you think about the AGI videos. Not the simple ones, but the more in depth ones. Their gunsmith is very, very knowledgeable, and seem to have a good ability to pass his knowledge on to others. Well, checking the website, I see that Gene Shuey does the 1911 stuff. I was thinking Bob Dunlap did them. I watched a 30-40 minute discussion on extractors with him, and it wasn't the least bit boring. I was wanting to get the gunsmithing course many years ago, but didn't have the funds. I can't go to college on campus, so that would be my only way to do it.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/14/2011 10:40:33 PM EST
The barrel is good and tight when pushing down. There isn't any flex in the bushing that I can tell. I have Chip McCormick mags. I have a Crossbreed Supertuck, a Biachi IWB, and a Galco open carry. I have 200 and 225gr LSWC handloads, 230gr XTP handloads, amd 230gr Hornady FMJ handloads. My son shot the rest of my PMC 230s today. Just wanting to tighten things up a bit. I thought maybe there were some standard things to go over. The slide to frame fit is good as well.
wetidlerjr  [Life Member]
3/15/2011 1:32:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Cheapest way to accurize 1911...
Before all the other things...
Shoot it a lot.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 2:02:11 AM EST
barrel bushing is the cheapest. In short order you can over what a better quality 1911 would of cost and still may not reach the accuracy potential of that better 1911.

Measure your barrel and bushing now, see if it is worth it to replace. Feelings are for dogs not machines, always go with the numbers.

the more items that return to the same spot after firing the more accurate the gun will become.
FrankSymptoms  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 2:02:22 AM EST
Originally Posted By wetidlerjr:

Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Cheapest way to accurize 1911...
Before all the other things...
Shoot it a lot.


This will help a lot.

As I remember, the 2 major places to work on to improve accuracy are the bushing and the rails.

If there's any slop in the rails, that will reduce accuracy.

But before you do any work on the gun, try to do some shooting off of a rest, to make sure that it is the gun, and not the shooter, that needs work. The stories are legion about people who shoot well with all their other guns, but poorly with a new gun.
WIZZO_ARAKM14  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 2:17:02 AM EST
Measure your barrel OD and Bushing ID and see what the difference is. If it's more than .003 or .004", I'd suggest getting an EGW bushing.

Their bushings shrunk the groups of the 2 pistols I put them in by half in one case and almost half in the other at 15yds (but Springfield is notorious for shipping pistols out with crappy fitting bushings on their N models).

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POLYTHENEPAM  [Member]
3/15/2011 4:03:10 AM EST
If your loading your own, the least expensive way to get better accuracy is to find the case/bullet/powder/charge combination which works best in that particular pistol.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 7:00:42 AM EST
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
If your loading your own, the least expensive way to get better accuracy is to find the case/bullet/powder/charge combination which works best in that particular pistol.


RELOADS HELP, BUT PROPPER FITTED PARTS GO MILES FARTHER.
POLYTHENEPAM  [Member]
3/15/2011 7:29:56 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gregory_K:
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
If your loading your own, the least expensive way to get better accuracy is to find the case/bullet/powder/charge combination which works best in that particular pistol.


RELOADS HELP, BUT PROPPER FITTED PARTS GO MILES FARTHER.


He wants to know the "cheapest" method.
Developing a load for the pistol will increase accuracy. Sometimes the effect is dramatic. I've cut the size of groups by 50% with the right load.
Total parts and labor cost = $0.
You can't get any less expensive than that.
As an added benefit, a properly developed load doesn't have an adverse effect on reliability.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 7:52:27 AM EST
Correctly fitted parts will shrink groups for all loads not just one.

better return on cost.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 7:53:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
Originally Posted By Gregory_K:
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
If your loading your own, the least expensive way to get better accuracy is to find the case/bullet/powder/charge combination which works best in that particular pistol.


RELOADS HELP, BUT PROPPER FITTED PARTS GO MILES FARTHER.


He wants to know the "cheapest" method.
Developing a load for the pistol will increase accuracy. Sometimes the effect is dramatic. I've cut the size of groups by 50% with the right load.
Total parts and labor cost = $0.
You can't get any less expensive than that.
As an added benefit, a properly developed load doesn't have an adverse effect on reliability.



you missed the part where he said besides good ammo.
Danno_man  [Member]
3/15/2011 8:45:01 AM EST
as the others said, the barrel bushing is the most cost effective way to get better accuracy.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 9:03:03 AM EST
I will try and bench the gun today. I will also measure the barrel and bushing.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 9:09:15 AM EST
Don't foget the ID of the Slide.
ken_mays  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 9:50:56 AM EST
How's the trigger? I find it difficult to shoot good groups when I'm dealing with a 7 pound trigger in a 1911.

Shooting it from a rest may help eliminate that variable to some extent.
POLYTHENEPAM  [Member]
3/15/2011 10:05:05 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gregory_K:
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
Originally Posted By Gregory_K:
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
If your loading your own, the least expensive way to get better accuracy is to find the case/bullet/powder/charge combination which works best in that particular pistol.


RELOADS HELP, BUT PROPPER FITTED PARTS GO MILES FARTHER.


He wants to know the "cheapest" method.
Developing a load for the pistol will increase accuracy. Sometimes the effect is dramatic. I've cut the size of groups by 50% with the right load.
Total parts and labor cost = $0.
You can't get any less expensive than that.
As an added benefit, a properly developed load doesn't have an adverse effect on reliability.



you missed the part where he said besides good ammo.

You're right, I did miss that. Probably because I would never consider attempting to improve the accuracy of a pistol until I had developed a load which maximized the accuracy of the piece.
That's counter productive.
But then I've never seen a properly made 1911 that wasn't worn out that needed anything more than easier to see sights, (usually) a trigger job and some load development to make it more accurate than 90+% of the shooters out there.
But using that approach doesn't let you brag to your friends about all the custom work you had done or the custom parts in your pistol, does it?

ken_mays  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 10:17:29 AM EST
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
Originally Posted By Gregory_K:
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
Originally Posted By Gregory_K:
Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
If your loading your own, the least expensive way to get better accuracy is to find the case/bullet/powder/charge combination which works best in that particular pistol.


RELOADS HELP, BUT PROPPER FITTED PARTS GO MILES FARTHER.


He wants to know the "cheapest" method.
Developing a load for the pistol will increase accuracy. Sometimes the effect is dramatic. I've cut the size of groups by 50% with the right load.
Total parts and labor cost = $0.
You can't get any less expensive than that.
As an added benefit, a properly developed load doesn't have an adverse effect on reliability.



you missed the part where he said besides good ammo.

You're right, I did miss that. Probably because I would never consider attempting to improve the accuracy of a pistol until I had developed a load which maximized the accuracy of the piece.
That's counter productive.
But then I've never seen a properly made 1911 that wasn't worn out that needed anything more than easier to see sights, (usually) a trigger job and some load development to make it more accurate than 90+% of the shooters out there.
But using that approach doesn't let you brag to your friends about all the custom work you had done or the custom parts in your pistol, does it?



It's easy to handload fairly accurate .45 ammo –– by which I mean ammo that will shoot into 1.5" @ 25 yards if the gun is up to it. If your handloads won't do that, it's time to get busy figuring out why. Mostly I see crimp issues, inconsistent powder charges, and inconsistent OAL causing wildly inaccurate ammo.

Most often, when we're talking about 1911s, it's the gun that's the problem. You might not be able to hold 1.5" at 25 or 50 yards, but it's comforting to know your gun will when you're shooting at a 8" steel target at 25 or 30 yards.
brickeyee  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 10:34:52 AM EST
Originally Posted By wetidlerjr:

Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Cheapest way to accurize 1911...
Before all the other things...
Shoot it a lot.


Shoot it until you can shoot better than the gun.

THEN have it tightened up.

If you cannot shoot as good as the gun you are wasting your money improving the gun.

PRACTICE.

ken_mays  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 11:05:52 AM EST
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By wetidlerjr:

Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Cheapest way to accurize 1911...
Before all the other things...
Shoot it a lot.


Shoot it until you can shoot better than the gun.

THEN have it tightened up.

If you cannot shoot as good as the gun you are wasting your money improving the gun.

PRACTICE.



This works if you have at least one accurate gun as a benchmark. Otherwise, how will you know you are capable of outshooting the gun?
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 11:09:32 AM EST
Best you could ever do is equal the gun, never out shoot it.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 1:38:49 PM EST
Thanks for the responses. First of though, let's get something straight. I excluded ammo because that variable has been taken care of already. I have handloads of various bullets and various powders with various charges and CCI and WInchester primers already loaded on hand constantly, and use them anytime I get a new pistol to test accuracy with. I have found what this one likes. After about 20,000 rounds of pistol ammo loads in .45acp, I have that figured out. SO let's get away from the ammo question. And no, I DON'T give a rats ass about go fast tactical parts or this or that so that I can brag about it. If those parts make the gun better, then yes, I will go that route. I would rather shoot a decent gun really well than a high end gun decently. I've seen too many times where a guy buys a $1500-2000 gun and can't shoot for shit. I'm not that guy. I've been shooting since I could walk almost. From the time I was three I was shooting .22lr rifles, and by the time I was five I was shooting pistols, and I have never slowed down. I would never say that I was the best out there, far from it, but I will say that I am more than capable of wringing enough accuracy from a pistol that I know when the gun can be pushed to do better. I'm all about spending time shooting and getting better, not buying the latest and greatest just because some gun rag guru says it hot shit.

So, to the point again. I will get to measuring the dimensions that I need to check on the bushing. The other point, I know it could use a better trigger. It does have more creep than I'm used to on a 1911 trigger, and that is something I plan to replace, but it's repeatable, and I can get by with it for now. The sights could be improved, but I can see them well enough that it isn't going to affect me shot to shot. I think the bushing is first, then the trigger, then the sights.

My groups are all exactly the same pattern wise, and size wise. There is no pulling, pushing, anticipating recoil, jerking or anything else. I figure once that is accomplished, you can then move on to accurizing the pistol itself.
I will look into the things you guys have suggested. Thanks
WIZZO_ARAKM14  [Team Member]
3/15/2011 2:11:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By POLYTHENEPAM:
You're right, I did miss that. Probably because I would never consider attempting to improve the accuracy of a pistol until I had developed a load which maximized the accuracy of the piece.
That's counter productive.

No, what's counter productive is trying to get a load to shoot well in a gun that's not put together right.

That's like putting 93 octane through a motor that's not timed right. Sure, you'll get better results than 87 octane on the dyno, but making sure the motor is timed right will go a lot further towards getting quality results.

Besides, $30 spent on a properly machined bushing isn't like you're spending $150 on some fancy spray paint coating.
captain127  [Member]
3/16/2011 4:37:16 AM EST
I do not mean this to be insulting but I think it is not realistic or worthwhile to try to accurize an RIA. You take a 400 gun drop hours of work and 400 in parts into it without a real gain in value- it will probably shoot better, but it would be less painful and more useful in the long run to just get a target quality gun. Look at it this way- does it make more sense to buy a car capable of 0-60 in 5 seconds with 20K in money or buy a car for 10K that is not capable then spend 6 months work and 10 k to make it go 0-60 in 5 seconds- at the end of the day which car will be more valuable/ resale capable if you want something different, and have more prestige as an object of quality? this is an example of the old cliche of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/16/2011 4:57:39 AM EST
Originally Posted By captain127:
I do not mean this to be insulting but I think it is not realistic or worthwhile to try to accurize an RIA. You take a 400 gun drop hours of work and 400 in parts into it without a real gain in value- it will probably shoot better, but it would be less painful and more useful in the long run to just get a target quality gun. Look at it this way- does it make more sense to buy a car capable of 0-60 in 5 seconds with 20K in money or buy a car for 10K that is not capable then spend 6 months work and 10 k to make it go 0-60 in 5 seconds- at the end of the day which car will be more valuable/ resale capable if you want something different, and have more prestige as an object of quality? this is an example of the old cliche of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.



If I did the Labor, I would feel better about the 10k Kcar I put 10k into, Paying someone else I would look and feel like a fool.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/16/2011 5:49:39 AM EST
No insult taken Gregory. I don't plan on spending a ton of money on this gun, and I don't expect to make it a world class shooter. I just want to tighten it up a bit, that's all. I really don't want to put more than $100-$150 in it. Combat accuracy is all that I'm after. If I can bench the gun and get 3-3.5ninchb groups at 25 yards I'll be happy.

I plan to build a 1911 as a project throughout the next year or so. I will probably give this one to my son at that point. He's hoping that Spikes builds a reasonable 1911 like they're talking about though, to go with his AR 15. I'm wanting one of the Keltech bullpup shotguns too. Back to the 1911, I have good mechanical skills, but I just don't like to jump into something new to me without being sure I'm able to do it right the first time. I have a few tools and jigs to buy before I start that as well.
smoketheresfire  [Team Member]
3/16/2011 6:11:08 AM EST
IMO, it comes down to these:

1. Quality barrel and bushing
2. Trigger job
3. Tighten slide to frame (least bang for buck)

At that point, I think you would have taken a RIA about as far as you can reasonably go.

brickeyee  [Team Member]
3/16/2011 12:37:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By ken_mays:
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By wetidlerjr:

Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Cheapest way to accurize 1911...
Before all the other things...
Shoot it a lot.


Shoot it until you can shoot better than the gun.

THEN have it tightened up.

If you cannot shoot as good as the gun you are wasting your money improving the gun.

PRACTICE.



This works if you have at least one accurate gun as a benchmark. Otherwise, how will you know you are capable of outshooting the gun?


When you can fire repeatedly accurate groups are they no longer get any smaller.

How do you think bullseye shooters know when to have the gun worked over?

If you KNOW the sights are on the target when the hammer falls since you can see them at that moment.

It takes a LOT of practice to not blink on every shot and see exactly how the sights are pointed as the hammer falls.

I had a neurologist think I had a diminished blink reflex in an exam.
He said "Try not to blink." and tapped the bridge of my nose with the hammer.

I did not blink.

He tapped again.
Still no blink.

Then I told him why.


Many years of Bullseye shooting practice.


ken_mays  [Team Member]
3/16/2011 1:01:19 PM EST
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By ken_mays:
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By wetidlerjr:

Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Cheapest way to accurize 1911...
Before all the other things...
Shoot it a lot.


Shoot it until you can shoot better than the gun.

THEN have it tightened up.

If you cannot shoot as good as the gun you are wasting your money improving the gun.

PRACTICE.



This works if you have at least one accurate gun as a benchmark. Otherwise, how will you know you are capable of outshooting the gun?


When you can fire repeatedly accurate groups are they no longer get any smaller.


It's a lot easier for someone to diagnose themselves as the problem when they have a gun that they know will shoot tight groups. With an off-the-shelf standard production rattletrap, most average shooters don't know where their problems start and the gun's problems begin.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/16/2011 4:24:33 PM EST
I'm capable of calling my fliers each and every time. I'm confident that I'm at the limit of what this gun can do with my level of skill. I will hopefully continue to improve, but after years and years of doing things the right way, and lots of practice, that I will see only gradual improvement in those skills. My big jumps in skill building came earlier in my life as I learned better techniques and found what works for me out of the different methods out there. Lots of dry firing, hours and hours with the money drill, etc, and many, many thousands of live rounds each year. At this point I want to do small improvements that will help. I'm not expecting anything dramatic here. Just a combat accurate handgun, maybe a tad better, but that's it. As far as my own skill sets, what I need is combat type training. That's where I lack. I have the stationary target thing pretty well down. Movement and reaction training, awareness, stress shooting etc.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/16/2011 4:47:44 PM EST
OK, I just went and measured several, ( 7 total , the last 7 I fired) of my groups. The average was basically about 3 1/2x3 1/2 inches. The best four were under that, with a best of 2.6 inches wide and 2.04 inches high. These are full mags, 8 rounds, standing freehand at 20 yards, using Hornady XTP Handloads, the closest to POA, left by 1/2 inch and the next to best, and 200gr LSWC middle of the road and just left of poa, and 225gr lswc best accuracy and dead center. I still haven't benchrested it, but I think with it being a cheap RIA that I'm pretty well as good as I'm gonna get with it until I do a few things to it.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/19/2011 3:55:28 PM EST
I measured the barrel bushing ID/OD, the barrel OD, and the slide ID. Before I post the measurements, I would like to know exactly where on the parts to measure. I'm pretty sure I got it right, but want to be positive. Does someone have a diagram they can post? I will look online in a bit but I have to cook supper and eat right now. Internets was really iffy all day today until now, and a storm is coming up now, and that usually means an iffy or lost connection for me.
Thanks guys.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/19/2011 6:37:54 PM EST
Measure the areas of overlap when the pistol is in battery.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/19/2011 7:56:25 PM EST
Thanks for the help. That is what I measured. Here's what I came up with. I had a problem with the slide reading, I got two different ones. I will measure again tomorrow. I did clean the pistol before the measurements.

Barrel O.D. .580
Bushing I.D. .583

Bushing O.D. .6955
Slide I.D. .702 or .705 In don't know if there is a gouge or a nick in there that the caliper was getting in or not, but on 10 separate readings I got an almost even number at the exact same spot.

Let me know how these numbers sound. Also, in manufacturing, there is tolerance stacking, so would these numbers added together be more than you would want? Thanks guys.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/20/2011 6:09:06 AM EST
Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Thanks for the help. That is what I measured. Here's what I came up with. I had a problem with the slide reading, I got two different ones. I will measure again tomorrow. I did clean the pistol before the measurements.

Barrel O.D. .580
Bushing I.D. .583

.0015 I would not worry about.
Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Bushing O.D. .6955
Slide I.D. .702 or .705 In don't know if there is a gouge or a nick in there that the caliper was getting in or not, but on 10 separate readings I got an almost even number at the exact same spot.

Worst Case .005, I would change it if I was not getting a group size that I was looking for.
Originally Posted By pavlovwolf:
Let me know how these numbers sound. Also, in manufacturing, there is tolerance stacking, so would these numbers added together be more than you would want? Thanks guys.


If you going to order a bushing might as well remove all play, note you may have to fit the bushing a little if you order it.

pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/20/2011 3:31:40 PM EST
I really don't want to order special tools or fixtures at this point. What should I ask for exactly that would be an improvement but wouldn't require me to remove so much metal that I would need a jig to keep the shape and angles of the parts? Would EGW be the go to company for this? Thanks Greg.

As far as group size, I don't know what I should be looking for out of an entry level 1911 like this. I would think it's doing ok as is, but I'm one of those guys that like to get the most out of everything. I really need to get out and bench rest it tomorrow if I get the time, from sandbags at 25 yards. I need another box of XTPs, I only have three mags left of them, and that's my carry gun. I honestly don't expect to get what I got with my Dan Wesson. I could get 5 shots less than 1 inch rested on bags regularly at 25 yards with 225gr lswc handloads with it, best was about .550 with it. If I can get two inches with this or a tad less I'll be satisfied. I only have a few 225gr lwsc left, but I can try the 200gr lswc that I have about 400 of. I don't think it's as accurate with them though. Thanks Gregory.

Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/20/2011 7:24:28 PM EST
really no special tools needed, just some sand paper, maybe a wooden dowel, to remove any material on the bushing if it is to tight.

no idea on what a good group would be for a RIA, but a well fitted bushing improve group sizes over a sloppy Joe.

When I ordered mine for the Colt I went .001 undersize on the barrel id and .001 over on the slide OD. Groups were cut more than half, but I could also freely move the barrel in the old bushing. Note the Gun failed to go into battery a lot for the first 100 rounds after installing the bushing, but now it is trouble free. Parts had to wear in.
pavlovwolf  [Team Member]
3/20/2011 7:38:39 PM EST
Thanks. I was concerned about the tightness causing the firearm to bind somewhat. I know there is a fine line. This gun is basically a carry piece, so I want the reliability to be there. I just would like to have that extra edge in accuracy as well if I can get it. You've been a big help Gregory, thanks a bunch.
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