Posted: 2/26/2005 10:07:29 AM EST
[Last Edit: hobbs5624]
I'm posting this just to illustrate how a simple thing can cause a bunch of problems. The following malfunction was caused by turning in the overtravel screw on the trigger too far. It made me think about how often I see people adjust out too much of the overtravel in their trigger, which could be a very bad thing in a defensive gun.
I built a gun for a good friend. It started out as a stock NRM Colt Commander. Here's a pic:
He took it to Robar, and had to take it back since they messed up the finish. I asked him to bring it by me for a final inspection before he shot it, but he was anxious to shoot it and went straight to the range. Between Robar and my work, he was without this gun for a year, so it was understandable.
He tells me the gun fell apart. Apparently, he was shooting it when suddenly the gun would give intermittent clicks instead of bangs. When it went click, he would thumb back the hammer, fire and it would go off. At one point, he had a click, emptied the gun, and dry fired it. He then loaded it and had a FTF when chambering it. The gun was now stuck open. While trying to beat the gun open, the firnig pin stop, firng pin plunger, and plunger spring all fell out.
It turns out that the firing pin was stuck forward. I could not imagine what would cause all this except a buildup of material inside the firing pin tunnel during refinishing. Then he told me he adjusted all the overtrtavel out of the trigger before shooting, which explained a few things. This caused trigger to not have enough rearward travel to reliably puch the FP plunger all the way up, hende the erratic failure to fires. The rest happened when he dry fired (the FP squeezed past the plunger during feeding but was not able to return, and then got stuck forward, causing a failure to feed and everything to drop out the rear.
Anyway, it's a long story to iilustrate a point. For those who do not understand the mechanics of adjusting out the overtravel to almost nothing, this is a worst case scenario.
The way to properly adjust the overtravel on a gun with an adjustable trigger is this: with an empty gun, turn in the screw to the point that the hammer willnot drop when the trigger is pulled. Start backing it out until the hammer falls. Holding the hammer, pull the trigger, holding the rigger down and slowly letting the hammer down. If you feel the hammer make contact with anything prior to reaching the firing pin, you need to let out the screw a little more. Keep going until there is nothing felt (if there is not enough overtravel, you can feel the half cock notch rubbing the sear). At this point, back out the screw about a half turn, and you're good to go. I personally apply locktite at this point.
Anyway, I'm not sure if this thread has a point that is usefull to anyone, but I do see this problem a lot. Usually it does not have such a bad effect, but who wants to chance it.
[Last Edit: desertmoon] [#1]
and THIS is why I will NEVER have a trigger with one of those dumb assed, God forsaken things in ANY OF MY FIELD WEAPONS! Period.....nearly as useless as a full length guide rod.....and much more dangerous.
ETA....excellent post Hobbs, well written and an excellent topic.
Thanks. I locktite mine, but I'm going to try the solid EGW trigger next, which has a bunch of material to get a perfect fit in the back, and no screw. Funny how we all accept full length guide rods and overtravel adjustable triggers as almost necessary in a 1911. Nice to see guys like you who go against conventional 1911 thinking.
I am sooooo Old School that only Methuselah thinks I'm ahead of my time. I have tried all the tricks and the gimmicks and have found the JMB pretty much did it right the first time....the little things the Army added later was about all the 1911 needed. I'm the same way about the AR and the M14....and the Stoner 63 and the Browning HP.....
Again, great post.
I agree. The only "gimmick" I've got on my 70 series "repro" is a Wilson beavertail (needed because I shoot "high thumb" and have the hammer-bite scar to prove it! LOL). Had to swap out the hammer by default....so I used a NOS Colt "commander" ring hammer (that was still sealed in it's 70's vintage package!).
No lowered/flaired ejection port.....
No extended safety.....
No extended slide stop.....
No "guide rod".....
.......and the funny thing, she runs like a Swiss watch!
[Last Edit: hobbs5624] [#5]
Well, here's one that's a little more old school. I got this one cheap, and it had a few mods done to it. Among them were the grips and the grip screws. It also had a Greider trigger, a Yost Bonitz retro sight, an Ed Brown extended safety, and an extended mag release.
I replaced the front and rear sights with plain black factory sights, replaced the factory Colt plastic mainspring housing with a steel Ed Brown arched MSH, replaced the safety with a factory one, gave it a good dehorning by hand, replaced the trigger with a stock Colt unit that I swaged to be a bit oversized, did a trigger job, crowned the barrel, and tuned the extractor. After that I bead blasted it.
I have some original Colt checkered walnut medallion grips a fellow ARFCOMer is sending me. Once I get them, it will be done. I know it's stainless, but it's still about as plain Jane as it gets. It works great, and is very simple. As heavily as I dehorned the grip safety and hammer, I can still use a high hold without getting pinched or cut. I love this gun, and if it was blued, it would be even better.
Dude, for all the metal on that gun it gives me serious WOOD!!!
I have just dropped off my NRM Gov't Model to a perfectionist buddy of mine who does outstanding dehorning work. I'm having the hammer bobbed back four notches and getting a full frame dehorn. Only add ons are a Robar heavy duty GI rear site, Cylinder and Slide extractor, Hex head grip screws ( only cuz they look nice on the rosewood ),Wolff springs and an Ed Brown extended mag latch. This is one of the few "extended" things that I like as it doesn't over do it but adds just the right amount of metal to get the job done easily...but not TOO easily.
Here's a pic of her early days last fall:
Sounds gorgeous!!! Ya know, I thought that a beavertail and "Commander" hammer was a necessary thing for years ( as have many of us ) but a buddy of mine has convinced me that all ya gotta do is chop the standard spur hammer back a bit ( four notches as said in my above post ) and dehorn the rear of the frame and standard grip safety and you have the equivalent of a beavertail gun with almost none of the cost and no frame cutting. Wish I coulda learned that a long time ago.....yet another reason why gun rags cause more trouble than good.
Nonetheless some "beaver" guns are pretty sexy in their own right and I bet that S70 of your is sweet as sugar!!!! Any pics?
me neither....can you beleive I am actually kind of sick that she isn't at home with me.....I dare not tell you what 1911 brand is sitting next to me right now.......but here's a pic, this is a work in progress.....I call this one, the Bitch.
The Pony grips were recently replaced with a pair of Hogue flat panels.....thank God.
I had thought about "bobbing" the hammer, but couldn't find one done that looked "quite right" to me. Besides.....I was real curious how "drop in" Wilson's drop in beavertail was. Turns out it fit like a friggin' glove and required NO FRAME MODS!
Only other thing I did was add a "vintage" Vediki trigger (needed somthing longer than the "short" 70 Series unit).
I'll try to get photos up one of these days!
I, also, have seen so many issues with the stops that I will not use one on a serious carry gun. A bit of overtravel is, for me, well worth the risk traded off for more reliability...although if stuck with one, I would, as does Hobbs, locktite it.
Excellent post Mr. Hobbs!
I had that happen, firing pin sticking out, and it's not a good thing!
What happened to mine was the plunger "appeared" to be a bit higher than it should and a bit crooked. Later on, I realized that the hammer and plunger tube were contacting and I assume the "contact" finally beat up the plunger enough to cause a problem.
The hard part for me, since I'm not a gunsmith, is to determine the cause. Perhaps, the over travel screw started to move, reducing the levers movement over time...wearing the plunger??
Plunger out of spec? Could a sloppy slide/frame fit cause too much contact between the hammer and plunger...that was getting beat up by a gradual mistiming?
I did have some light hits on the primers, but I was trying diferent primers and they must be seated properly, so my "reloading" masked the problem that was coming. No excuse, but when you shoot a reliable gun like this for so long, I look at the ammo first.
Don;t take any of this the wrong way. I'm just a little confused by your description, and need a little clarification. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the plunger sticking up too high, and by contact between the hammer and plunger. Also, the plunger tube is the tube that rund between the safety and the slide stop on the left side of the frame.
When you say the plunger appeared to be a bitt too high and crooked, was the slide face up or face down when you were looking at it? If would look at the slide turned upside down, so that the bottom was facing you, are you saying the plunger was stuck inside the slide a little? IF so, this makes sense to me. If not, are you saying it was hanging out a little too much?
Regardless, if it was inside the slide more than it should be, it was probably hanging up on the firing pin. Colt used to make three different plunger lever sizes in their frames to compensate for slide to frame variations, but they no longer do that.
I highly doubt that your frame and slide are out of spec. It's probably exactly like you said. The screw worked itself back over time, or dirt just built up. You got less lever lift over time, and eventually your firing pin plunger only had enough lift to barely let the firing pin by. As time goes on, the firing pin batters the plunger, and things just get worse.
A lot of people put an adjustable overtravel trigger in their gun, and adjust out all the overtravel. Then they put in just enough to trip the sear. Some will put in a little more overtravel. If you do not have sufficent overtravel, you run the risk of the firing pin battering the plunger. At first it will be no big issue, but as more burrs are raised on the plunger, your firing pin indents will get lighter from the added resistance.
The best way to adjust the thing, short of removing it, is to start by adjusting out all the overtravel. Then, back it out until it trips the sear. Then, holding the hammer all the way back, pull the trigger and hold it down. Gently ease the hammer forward, and if you feel the primamry hammer hooks bump the sear, you need to keep adding overtravel. You'll feel this bump at the very beginning when lowering the hammer. At this point, I give the trigger screw two more turns (not 30 degree turns, but two turns of the allen wrench on one side of the trigger guard).
Thanks for the reply and no offense taken. After re-reading my post, it was unclear and poorly written.
When I wrote "plunger tube", I mean't the firing pin plunger.
Looking at the bottom of the slide, the firing pin plunger "appeared" to be a bit higher and a little crooked in the hole than what I was accustomed to seeing. It was looser in the hole than the new one I put in. You could wiggle it around and move it side to side. I was thinking the battering between the firing pin and firing pin plunger caused a "worn" FP plunger tube.
Then I noticed some "dings" and abrasion marks on the right side of the hammer, if you are holding the gun in your hand to fire. It appears the hammer and FP plunger tube were also contacting/battering each other a bit. I've never seen or read about that type of problem so it caught be by surprise.
Regardless, I replaced the FP plunger tube, firing pin and the "lever" and all is well now. Also redid the trigger stop...thanks for the description on that. By the way, C&S does sell a lever with a little more(earlier) lift to it. I believe it's marked with a "N".
Nah, it wasn't poorly written. Trying to describe 1911 parts is not always easy. C&S also has titanium nitride coated stuff, which makes for a slightly better trigger pull. I love their stuff. I'm glad it worked out for you!
This is a total n00b question,but....what is overtravel? And what does adjusting it do?
Overtravel is movement of the trigger after the sear has released. For target work it can result in reduced accuracy.
Adding an overtravel screw to the trigger halts all rearward movement after the sear releases. There still needs to be some clearnace though, or things can start to drag on each other and cause problems.
For combat work it is one more thing to go wrong. Alibis work on the range, they are rarely issued in real life.
I had the pleasure of shooting a series 80 and a series 70 side by side, along with being the original owner of both weapons. Both weapons were unmodified, new, modern production, and I was using the same ammunition. The series 80 was more accurate, but the trigger reach on it being a bit longer made me choose the 70 for the keeper. The range of accuracy on the series 70 at 10 to 25 feet, (self defense range) was better because of the trigger reach. At 150 yds the series 80 was right on, but I couldn't get closer than 6 feet to target at that distance with the series 70. Both weapons were stainless steel and 5" barrels. I just can't imagine the scenario that would have me in a perfect shooting stance, defending myself out to 150 feet.
The frequency that this forum is posted on is at best. I'll have to peek in once a week or so.
Funny thing about trigger overtravel screws they can provide some funny moments.
I was shooting in class, prone at 50 yds. All of a sudden I go full auto. Instructor
ambles over, and says "hmm problem maybe?" I respnded yup, and the next thing he
says is, "well when we look at the targets I guess we should see a nice 9 shot group
right?" yeah right....
At lunch break, I broke the pistol down, I'm expecting a lost sear, broken mainspring,
something along those lines. what do I find, the damn overtravel screw had gone missing.
I guess it decided to tie up the hammer or the sear.
If you are going to use one, either locktite it, or even better, stake it.
Well well well, I wouldn't have any adjustable triger in any of my 1911 colts or sti clones.first they are too heavy too long and and fit badly. you can use the one thats in the pistol by simply cutting the front bow of the trigger twice to come up with a .030tang bend it foward until getting the desired travel you want. It's permanent, not easy to do but the nnly way to go.h.gif
Trigger over travel screws yeah, great things.
During handgun class, we were prone at 50 yds. The command to fire was given, next thing I felt was 8 rounds going downrange, in a full auto fashion.
Range master walked over, and remarked, "I expect to see 8 rounds in a nice tight circle", yeah right, maybe if I knew it was going to happen.
It turned out the the over travel screw which a gunsmith had not staked, or loctited, walked out of the trigger, lodged between the frame and the sear leg of the mainspring.
Never in my carry weapon will I have an adjustable trigger.
Originally Posted By desertmoon:
Originally Posted By SrBenelli:
I was perusing this thread the other night and was bumming about how much Hobbs was such an integral part of this forum so I thought I would make a post for the first time in this thread in about five years.
As has been discussed, overtravel screws have screwed many of us. It seems that lately you can't even walk without tripping over a trigger with one of those damn thing in it. I was bummed when I found my new Combat Elite had one.
Here was the VERY first mod that I did. I doesn't have to be super pretty as it is hidden, it just has to WORK.
Soooo....out came the staking punch and the Perma Lock. I thoroughly washed the trigger in soapy water with a brush and then flushed it with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol. After drying with compressed air a put a couple of drops of PermaLock on the threads of the screw and a drop on the threads in the hole and then threaded the scrwe in until it was flush with the back surface of the trigger. I see no reason why you couldn't have it protrude the teeniest bit, say the depth of the chamfer on the point of the screw. I put the face of the trigger on a 1/8 inch thick delrin pad on my steel work surface and staked it in place. One hit on the left and one on the right with just enough force to displace metal. These are aluminum so that is easy with my 4 ounce peen.
This little bastard will be going nowhere. I don't know if any of you have used PermaLock when you meant to use LocTite but PermaLock is mean stuff. It can still be heat removed if necessary, of course.
Here be a pic of the aftermath:
R.I.P. Hobbs5624....you are sorely missed!!!! You should have seen how my new Combat Elite turned out...you would have been proud, Dude!!!!
Sign up for the ARFCOM weekly newsletter and be entered to win a free ARFCOM membership. One new winner* is announced every week!
You will receive an email every Friday morning featuring the latest chatter from the hottest topics, breaking news surrounding legislation, as well as exclusive deals only available to ARFCOM email subscribers.