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  #1  
Old 11-13-2008, 03:58 PM
BigJon BigJon is offline
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"Idiot Marks" - What They Are, and How to Avoid Them




You should never cause idiot marks, and you won’t cause them if you re-assemble your pistol correctly. Of course, we should never wreck our cars either when we're first learning to drive, but many of us did despite our best efforts. It's the same way when you're first learning how to disassemble and re-assemble these guns - you may flub up and mar your gun despite your best efforts and hear someone call the blemish an “idiot mark.” If that happens, realize that they’ve probably done the same thing at some point (I certainly have), and that “idiot” in the context of “idiot marks” is not a derogatory accusation but just a shared "Doh!" over a mistake we now both have in common.

If you already know what Idiot Marks are and why they happen, skip to the next post.

What “Idiot Marks” (a/k/a "Idiot Scratches") Are: There are generally two types of idiot marks: curved scratches below the slide-stop window in the frame, or on the slide above the window, and gouges in the bottom edge of the slide-stop window in the frame. Both are shown in the following photo.



Slide-Stop Installation - 3 Stages: The slide stop is installed in three separate stages:

Stage 1. Insert the slide stop through the left slide-stop hole in the frame and the link, and into the right slide-stop hole in the frame until it stops when the slide-stop lug meets the tip of the plunger
Stage 2. Apply upward and inward pressure to the slide-stop lug to start the plunger moving back
Stage 3. Apply pressure straight in on the slide-stop lug to finally seat the slide stop.

Why Idiot Marks Happen:

Curved Scratches - Stage 1 Error: Curved scratches on the frame below the notch, or on the slide above the notch, can occur when the slide stop is not kept under control during Stage 1.

Gouges - Stage 2 Error: Gouges in the bottom of the window generally happen when the slide stop is not kept under control and pressure applied in the correct direction during Stage 2. The back, inside face of the slide stop lug is sloped for a reason: to act as a ramp that will push the plunger pin back during final seating of the slide stop.



In the next two posts, I'll cover how to avoid idiot marks through proper installation technique, and also through parts modification.
Attached Thumbnails
Slide Stop Function 1 LMM.jpg   Idiot Marks LMM.jpg  
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Last edited by BigJon; 11-04-2009 at 11:16 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2008, 03:59 PM
BigJon BigJon is offline
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If you already know how to avoid making idiot marks when you install a slide stop, skip to the next post.

Reassembly Technique for Avoiding Idiot Marks

Curved Scratches - Stage 1 Error: As I mentioned, curved scratches on the frame below the notch, or on the slide above the notch, can occur when the slide stop is not kept under control during Stage 1. To keep the slide-stop under control when initially inserting it, hold the stop by its lug. That way, you can guarantee that the lug goes directly to the plunger tip and is not free to put curved scratches on your frame and slide. Once the lug is in place against the plunger tip, hold it there with your right thumb, and once your right thumb gets there, it stays there applying constant pressure until the slide stop lug until the slide stop is fully installed. At some points thereafter your left thumb will be there too, but your right thumb will be there the whole time.

Gouges - Stage 2 Error: As I mentioned, gouges in the bottom of the window generally happen when the slide stop is not kept under control and pressure applied in the correct direction during Stage 2. To avoid these, use both hands to control the slide-stop lug as you simultaneously apply pressure upward and inward to start the plunger moving back.

Two Ways Folks Commonly Finish 1911 Reassembly

A. Recoil-Spring Plug Last: Installing the recoil spring last is the way most of us initially learned to reassemble a 1911. When done that way, we are free to use both hands during Stage 2 because the recoil-plunger hasn’t been installed yet, and the spring isn’t trying to push the slide forward while we’re installing the slide stop.

B. “Captive Reassembly” (Installing the Slide Stop Last): This is the way many of us eventually end up reassembling our pistols. The difference is that now you’re trying to install the slide on the frame when the recoil spring is under pressure because the recoil-spring plug is already installed. Since that's the case, you may ask, "If the slide is under the pressure of the recoil spring, how do I use both hands to push the slide-stop upward and inward to start the plunger going back?" I’ll show you how that’s done and how to avoid idiot marks when reassembling this way.















Do you see how this lets you use both thumbs to start the lug pushing the plunger back? The key is in the Step 5 slide: Rather than trying to hold the slide against the spring’s force while positioning the takedown notch AND start the plunger back at the same time, split Stage 2 into two separate stages – with the slide all the way forward, push the slide-stop lug up and in as far as it will go, grip the pistol with your left hand and hold the lug in place with straight-in pressure with your right thumb. Then, use your left hand (now free) to run the slide back. When the assembly notch reaches the lug, the slide stop will pop the rest of the way in, and you’re assembled.
Attached Thumbnails
Reassembly 1.JPG   Reassembly 2.JPG   Reassembly 3.JPG   Reassembly 4.JPG   Reassembly5.jpg  
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Last edited by BigJon; 11-05-2009 at 06:21 AM.
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2008, 03:59 PM
BigJon BigJon is offline
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Parts Modification for Avoiding Idiot Marks - The “Log Man Modification”

The Log Man Modificatoin avoids Stage 2 idiot marks completely because only inward pressure is required to seat the stop, and the stop is modified so that the stop sorta guides itself into position. Log Man cuts a groove in the angled face of the lug where the lug meets the plunger pin. Here's what the Log Man Mod looks like:





In a nutshell, a slide stop with this modification allows the groove to be used instead of the “sloped surface” to back the plunger pin up. The groove removes the need to press upward on the stop at all, and it also acts as a kind of guide for the stop lug as you push it in to greatly reduce the chance that it'll slip off the pin and drop down and gouge the window.

One More Thing About the “Log Man Modification”: To shortcut any rants, let me explain why I named this modification the “Log Man Solution.” As for the “Log Man” part, he’s the one I learned it from. In fact, I had never seen the mod posted before log man did so. Even so, he will be the first to tell you that he was not the first person to ever come up with the idea. However, he did discover it for himself, and yes, there is a distinction, which I have heard described as follows: “New ideas are not truly invented, but only discovered since they concern things that already exist. Accordingly, even though a new idea can only be initially discovered once, it can still be independently re-discovered by others.” For the combination of those reasons, he should be credited with it as much as anyone else. As for the “Modification” part, I was going to call it the Log Man “Answer,” until I realized that someone else already had a product called the “Answer” and that person definitely has deeper pockets than I do.

Hope this helps folks who didn’t know what idiot marks are and how to avoid them. I’ll also attach the photos so that if Photobucket ever blows up, they’ll still be available.

Best,
Jon
Attached Thumbnails
Reassembly 6.JPG   Reassembly 7.JPG   Log Man Mod 1 LMM.jpg   Log Man Mod 2 LLM.jpg  
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Last edited by BigJon; 03-11-2010 at 09:59 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2009, 01:37 AM
tanner tanner is offline
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plenty of detail and well presented. Thank you.
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  #5  
Old 11-05-2009, 02:33 AM
dmr400 dmr400 is offline
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Can we get a sticky on this please? Thank you sir! If the finish on my 1911 survives the first few rookie dissasemblies I'll name it's firstborn after you I've done a few searches trying to find this exact info without success.
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  #6  
Old 12-14-2011, 12:10 AM
GunBit45 GunBit45 is offline
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"Idiot Marks" - What They Are, and How to Avoid Them

Great post. Some know where they are supposed to go and almost fall in by
themselves. Then there are the others. I am certainly going to give it a try.

Thanks
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  #7  
Old 12-14-2011, 05:33 AM
thedub88 thedub88 is offline
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Dont twist it in
PUSH it in Dah!!
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  #8  
Old 12-14-2011, 10:53 PM
Earlsbud Earlsbud is offline
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Thank you BigJon for your contribution of time and effort. Now what about the idiot marks on my ego? Will they fade with time? I sure hope so.
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2012, 07:41 AM
eklat eklat is offline
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I agree with 'dub88, line it up in its right position (horizontal) and push it in straight in the hole, don't twist by positioning from below the hole pushing it up and down to the hole, that's where the scratch is produce.

Lining it up in its right position and pushing it straight in may be resisted by the slide stop plunger, just push it in straight, that plunger spring will give in.

Learned it the hard way.

Last edited by eklat; 07-01-2012 at 07:45 AM. Reason: added more comment.
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2013, 07:35 PM
zel_man zel_man is online now
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Excellent

Thanks for the great explanation and the photos! Base on all the buzz, it sounds like this mod is well worth the time and effort. Your pictures and explanations really make it easier to understand why I would want to do this mod in the first place.

Thanks again.
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:27 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Hello...

You do realize you're thanking a man who has been gone for a year.

He made this thread 5 years ago.
But folks keep pulling it out of the grave
to thank him for it out of kindness, I suppose.
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  #12  
Old 02-02-2013, 08:21 AM
BigJon BigJon is offline
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Most welcome, zel_man. Glad it helped.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:30 AM
1saxman 1saxman is online now
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Captive reassembly probably causes more trouble than it's worth for the casual owner. Even captive disassembly is beyond most people. The best way to avoid scratching the gun is to use the regular method of removing recoil spring tension before messing with the slide stop on disassembly and installing the pin before springing the slide on assembly.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:12 AM
CWarner CWarner is offline
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Earlsbud, somehow I think you will survive.


The forum would stop dead in its tracks if it were not for new 1911 shooters and answering the same questions repeatedly.

BigJon, Glad to see you , thought I had been communicating with the netherworld....lol
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2013, 09:23 AM
SCPistolero SCPistolero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
The best way to avoid scratching the gun is to use the regular method of removing recoil spring tension before messing with the slide stop on disassembly and installing the pin before springing the slide on assembly.
Its the way I do it and I do not have the scratch on either of my two pistols.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:36 PM
BigJon BigJon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWarner View Post
... thought I had been communicating with the netherworld....lol
What has happened to assuage that suspicion?

"Heeeeere's JOHNNY!"

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Last edited by BigJon; 02-02-2013 at 02:23 PM.
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  #17  
Old 02-10-2013, 09:56 AM
Buck1947 Buck1947 is offline
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BigJon....I've looked at the LogMan mod and I'm trying to understand how that's done.....with a needle file? Line up with the slide stop tunnel, mark and file?

thanks in advance

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What has happened to assuage that suspicion?

"Heeeeere's JOHNNY!"


Last edited by Buck1947; 02-10-2013 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:09 AM
drail drail is online now
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I never understood why most Colts have the notch cut in the slide stop lobe at exactly the right place and depth so that when the lobe goes past the plunger the plunger slides right into the notch locking the slide stop halfway into the slide. Most other brands do not do this. You must hold the stop up as high as it will go and most of the time it will still have the plunger drop into the notch. Anyone else notice this? Buck, I use a small round needle file to cut Log's "notch". If you look at the rear face of the slide stop lobe you shuld be able to see exactly where the plunger will bear on the stop lobe. File carefully on that point. When done correctly it makes installing the slide stop child's play. It also helps to have a nice radius on the plunger's tip. Some come with a flat tip with almost no radius and will not readily push the plunger out of the way. Those are the ones that cause people to have problems and make idiot marks.

Last edited by drail; 02-10-2013 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:34 PM
BigJon BigJon is offline
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Buck - Sorry for the late reply. Just saw your post. You and drail summed the method up nicely. Different folks may do it different ways.

Best,
Jon
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Last edited by BigJon; 02-10-2013 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:42 PM
Buck1947 Buck1947 is offline
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great and thanks. any particular size on the needle file? I'm thinking it's a "guide" quality and not necessarily the length and depth....or "easy goes a long way?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by drail View Post
I never understood why most Colts have the notch cut in the slide stop lobe at exactly the right place and depth so that when the lobe goes past the plunger the plunger slides right into the notch locking the slide stop halfway into the slide. Most other brands do not do this. You must hold the stop up as high as it will go and most of the time it will still have the plunger drop into the notch. Anyone else notice this? Buck, I use a small round needle file to cut Log's "notch". If you look at the rear face of the slide stop lobe you shuld be able to see exactly where the plunger will bear on the stop lobe. File carefully on that point. When done correctly it makes installing the slide stop child's play. It also helps to have a nice radius on the plunger's tip. Some come with a flat tip with almost no radius and will not readily push the plunger out of the way. Those are the ones that cause people to have problems and make idiot marks.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:51 PM
Buck1947 Buck1947 is offline
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thanks Jon.

btw, I spent some quality time marveling at the tips and work addressed on 19911Pro.com. Most of it was way over my head, but I'm beginning to get a surface understanding of the experience and education some have committed to mastering these weapons. thanks for sharing your skills and talent.

Buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon View Post
Buck - Sorry for the late reply. Just saw your post. You and drail summed the method up nicely. Different folks may do it different ways.

Best,
Jon
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:36 AM
BigJon BigJon is offline
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Buck - I am absolutely in the student category too! Pretty cool that we chose 1911 tinkering as a hobby - skilled folks actually willing to freely share their knowledge with us.
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  #23  
Old 02-25-2013, 04:35 PM
bimmerland bimmerland is online now
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Is there a post on the correct technique to polish out or remove a mild "idiot" mark? Thanks
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:52 PM
Buck1947 Buck1947 is offline
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http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=293795

take the slide off and grips. they recommend 600 grit wet-dry sandpaper... wet with a good oil and sanding in one direction only (not back and forth) lightly---don't press hard, let the sandpaper/oil do the work. I'd suggest using a barrier to guide for your hand so it's consistent. shouldn't take long at all.

don't try using a dremel....too much, too fast, sometimes too shiny

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Is there a post on the correct technique to polish out or remove a mild "idiot" mark? Thanks
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  #25  
Old 02-25-2013, 05:13 PM
bimmerland bimmerland is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck1947 View Post
http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=293795

take the slide off and grips. they recommend 600 grit wet-dry sandpaper... wet with a good oil and sanding in one direction only (not back and forth) lightly---don't press hard, let the sandpaper/oil do the work. I'd suggest using a barrier to guide for your hand so it's consistent. shouldn't take long at all.

don't try using a dremel....too much, too fast, sometimes too shiny
Thanks. The mark is on the frame just below the slide stop plunger. I wish I could use my dremel cause its real tight working in such a small area but I'll give 600/oil a try.
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