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Posted: 12/20/2005 3:42:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 4:44:40 PM EDT by lu380]
Earlier today, I was unloading my WW2 Springfield when I noticed that the safety wouldn't disengage. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the plunger was resting under the thumb safety, and the plunger tube was pulled away from the frame. I had to push the plunger in with a small screwdriver in order to push the safety down so I could clear the chamber. I was carrying the gun for a few days before I noticed the problem. It would have been useless if I needed it for self-defense because there was no way I could disengage the thumb safety to fire the weapon.

Out of curiosity, I checked my 1981 Colt series 70. The safety works just fine, but hot damn, the plunger tube has a gap between the frame and the tube. I noticed that the plunger is about 1/1,000 of an inch from slipping under the thumb safety, which would create the same problem as with my WW2 Springfield if I continue to let it go.

I now have serious doubts about the suitability of 1911's as carry guns. If I personally own 3 1911's, two of which have loose plunger tubes, then there are probably many others out there with the same problem.

I'm reluctant to send the Springfield to the factory for repair. If they did it wrong the first time, they'll do it wrong again. The gun is less than a year old. At least the Colt lasted 26 years until the problem became evident.

Anyway, this is just a heads-up to fellow 1911 owners. I personally feel that the design of the plunger tube is flawed and should be checked frequently for looseness, or else you might wind up with a handgun-shaped club when you need a handgun.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 4:23:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 4:31:49 PM EDT by SGB]
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 4:29:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SGB:
There is nothing wrong with the design. The problem is that the plunger tube wasn't staked properly or had legs too short to be properly flared.

Easy Fix

Yost-Bontiz

Wilson Combat

Nowlin

Ed Brown



Thanks for the link. Don't get me wrong, I'm definately a BIG 1911 fan. It's just that having 2 out of 3 plunger tubes from two different manufacturers loose is not a confidence inspiring thing.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 5:17:14 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:01:57 PM EDT
that sucks, but it's an easy fix.

But a brief hijack, has anyone paid the $25 for the intergral plunger tube on the Caspian frames? Are their any down sides to doing that?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:16:37 PM EDT
I put a couple spots of weld in mine before from inside the magazine opening. That will NEVER come loose, but you can dremel the welds off if you need to take it off for some reason.

I also have one of the stakers mentioned above. It works really well, but I still like to put some Loc-Tite cylindrical bonding compound on the studs before installtion. That stuff will hold the plunger on staked or not. You can heat the part up to 250 degrees to get it off.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:47:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 3:45:19 AM EDT by hobbs5624]
.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:49:20 PM EDT
I've had plunger tubes come loose before, so when Novak's (Joe Bonar, RIP) built four (4) 1911's for me a decade ago, he silver-soldered the plunger tubes to the frames.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:51:16 PM EDT
Are you keeping you thumbs on the tube while firing?

Two out of three; I'd first look at what I was doing wrong before blasting the pistol design.

Not to cut on you, But for some reason this makes me think of the hot coffee spilled on lap so sue McDonalds for serving hot coffee..


Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:53:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 7:55:30 PM EDT by JasonBurton]
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:04:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lu380:
I'm reluctant to send the Springfield to the factory for repair. If they did it wrong the first time, they'll do it wrong again. The gun is less than a year old. At least the Colt lasted 26 years until the problem became evident.



I think you are worrying yourself unnecessarily. The SA GI is the cheapest 1911 they sell, and you have just discovered one reason why. Whether SA fans want to believe it or not, corners do get cut.

Still, it's an easy fix that is a 2 minute job for any decent pistolwrench, and it is also something you can do yourself just about as easily.

Regarding the Colt, as others have said, the 80s were not the best years to count on consistency from Colt's assembly line. Even then, it took a quarter of a century to become a problem.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:06:25 PM EDT
the tube on my Series 70 Colt Govt model came loose, had a smith restake it or put a new one on, forgot which, happened years ago
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:32:03 AM EDT
Both my Colt's had loose plunger tubes, one made in the 70's and one in the 90's.

Neither affected function because, as mentioned the grips should keep them in place.

I replaced both tubes and bought the "tool" to install them...easy to do. But, agree that it shouldn't have to be done. Caspian offers some better "options" with the "tube" I think. EGW offers one that is "screwed on", so to speak.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 8:34:17 AM EDT
I've encountered loose plunger tubes before, once on my Colt Defender and either once or twice (cannot remember which) on my Kimber ProCDP. My gunsmith tells me that checking the plunger for tightness and even occasionally having to tighten one is just part of what he considers routine maintenance for a 1911.

Brownells sells this thing that looks like a vice grip - well, hell, it IS a vice grip - with the pins to make the repair. It takes me all of sixty seconds to re-tighten the plunger tube, and that's because I go rather slowly.

On this thread you have been given some GREAT recommendations to preclude all of this in terms of quality plunger tubes and how to mount them. If loose plunger tubes concerns you, those suggestions are the way to go.

Mike
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 8:46:38 AM EDT
This is why I shoot Glocks.


<flame suit on>

Link Posted: 12/21/2005 11:49:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 11:56:36 AM EDT by fxntime]

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
This is why I shoot Glocks.


<flame suit on>




So do I, I can hit them pretty well at 25 yards.

I doubt if I would blame Colt for a part that loosened up after 25+years. I always put a SMALL drop of red loc-tite on my 1911s plunger tube stake. I usually heat it a bit to let it run a bit [frame] and I've never has a problem. I always check to make sure it's staked OK before I do this. I clean off the excess, let it set and go shooting. After many years of doing this and shooting 1911s I've never had one come off or loosen up. A soldering Iron tip on the part will heat it enough to be able to pop if off if you ever need to.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 12:49:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 1:48:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JasonBurton:

Originally Posted By lu380:
... I now have serious doubts about the suitability of 1911's as carry guns. If I personally own 3 1911's, two of which have loose plunger tubes, then there are probably many others out there with the same problem.



I would submit that it is hardly fair to blame a gun’s design (and obviously one that is tried, true, and worthwhile) for what is obviously a defect in assembly. No need for everyone to run and check their plunger tubes and even if they did come loose it’s not the end of the world… there are simple and easy fixes to a problem such as this, like re-stake the tube.

Additionally, even if they came loose, when used with proper fitting stocks it is possible that the plunger tube can still be retained enough to let the gun function properly… maybe not always but it’s possible.

Now that you mention it, I removed the left grip panel from my Series 70 Colt, and the plunger tube came loose that extra 1/1,000,000th of an inch and I can't disengage the safety. Even with the grip panel on, it was dangerously close to being out too far to function properly, but it held the tube on just enough.

Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t think the plunger tube should be an issue for a 1911 at any price point, but it is still an unfortunate fact of life in the ever increasingly competitive 1911 market. Especially when you consider that the same people who complain about poor QC and poorly fit parts are the same people who can’t understand why a 1911 costs more thank a Glock.


Originally Posted By lu380:
Thanks for the link. Don't get me wrong, I'm definately a BIG 1911 fan. It's just that having 2 out of 3 plunger tubes from two different manufacturers loose is not a confidence inspiring thing.



Again, I would say that more appropriately you should not be inspired by your particular guns, not the design. I have calmed down a bit since yesterday, and I'm feeling the love again for my 1911's! I just happen to have the worst luck in the world with EVERYTHING.



I guess I'll buy the staking tool and a couple of plunger tubes. Do Springfield and Colt make plunger tubes to different specs, or is a plunger tube a plunger tube?
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 3:20:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 5:18:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SGB:

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
This is why I shoot Glocks.
img.photobucket.com/albums/v392/adairtd/kb1.jpg

<flame suit on>









www.thegunzone.com/1911a1-kb.html

Link Posted: 12/21/2005 5:35:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:

Originally Posted By SGB:

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
This is why I shoot Glocks.
img.photobucket.com/albums/v392/adairtd/kb1.jpg

<flame suit on>







www.thegunzone.com/images/colt45-40b.jpg

www.thegunzone.com/1911a1-kb.html




And you will notice that bubbas gun shop been at that gun quite severely. I'd blow myself up also if I had to wear a trigger shoe, OH the shame!!!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 5:41:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 5:42:24 PM EDT by Mr45auto]
what the hell is that sticking out of the barrel?
( I think it committed suicide, that's one fugly 1911)
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 6:35:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 7:02:53 PM EDT by SGB]

Originally Posted By Mr45auto:
what the hell is that sticking out of the barrel?
( I think it committed suicide, that's one fugly 1911)




I believe that would be the casing of the .40 cal cartridge that was previously fired.... and then subsequently lodged in the bore... just before the next .45 cal cartridge was chambered and fired.



Doh!

I cant tell you how hard it is to find internet pictures of a 1911 k'boom.


Doh!

I cant tell you how hard it is to find internet pictures of a 1911 k'boom.




ooops ......
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:01:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 7:03:26 PM EDT by SGB]
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:14:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SGB:



Doh!

I cant tell you how hard it is to find internet pictures of a 1911 k'boom.








You editing MY posts tough guy?
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 1:04:48 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 1:21:39 AM EDT
I have a 1911 with probably 75,000 round thru it, it has had three rebuilds and during its life it has had exactly ONE plunger tube, securely staked to the side. Restake the thing, write a nasty letter and feel better. The design in a hundred years old, survived two world wars, countless conflicts and insurrections, beloved by criminals and cops alike, target shooters have enjoyed it for 80 years.

Maybe you just have bad taste in guns?
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 6:53:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SGB:

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
You editing MY posts tough guy?




I hit the wrong button, my apologies............. as you might note I corrected the mistake as quickly as I could.



IM sent. As usual... my humor is misunderstood. I thought you would be able to tell I was messing with you, and wouldn't take it so seriously. My apologies.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 10:31:25 AM EDT
This is the most consistent issue with 1911s next to improper extractor tuning that I hve seen with 1911s....IMO.

If everyone who reads this thread checks their plunger tubes tonight I think everyone would be suprised at how many were at least "slightly" loose...

I have a friend with a plunger tube stake kit and every 1911 I get, gets the plunger tube restaked right after I run a dab of MEK thinned Permatex Perma Lock along the base of the plunger tube.

That being said, if you are REALLY into 1911s and own ( or plan on owning ) more than two or three, I would personally get the Brownells GI plunger tube assembly/stake kit. Worth it's weight in gold and with it you can also make new friends and influence people.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 11:41:05 AM EDT
I've owned at least 15 1911s (was down to 4, now up to 8), and I've had one plunger tube come loose. Easy fix by the gunsmith, but this is something very imp for a social gun and an extra bit of prevention never hurts.

As to Glocks, I recently sent a G22 back to Symnra because the two pins in the frame kept drifting out after firing only a magazine or two. They had to replace the receiver because the holes were oversized and there's no fix for that (tried peening the pins, didn't work)

Don't even get me started about broken trigger return springs and broken guiderods.

Having said all that, 1911s and Glocks are the only guns you'll find me using.



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