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  #1  
Old 01-31-2010, 10:04 AM
bad86ta bad86ta is offline
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Full length guide rod vs. short length guide rod




Hi, I am brand new to the 1911 scene and just purchased my first about 2 weeks ago, a RIA 1911 tatical.

currently the gun has a full length guide rod and reverse recoil spring plug, I was looking to switch it over to a short guide rod and a regular spring plug.

My questions are....
Will this hurt or help performance in any way?
Is this simply just a parts swap or is more required?
Should i swap the recoil spring as well?
should just about any guide rod, plug, spring work?

Thanks in advance!!
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2010, 10:35 AM
log man log man is offline
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It will be a swap of parts, and lighten the front just a smidgen. I like the FLGR and consider it easier to deal with when stripping. My bushings require a wrench due to being fitted and by trapping the recoil spring with a take down wire through a hole drilled in the rod it is easier, zero chance of the plug getting away from me. And it then comes out the backside before ever touching the bushing. If the rod doesn't have a hole they are easy to drill, lock the slide back, mark just in front of the plug.


This is not a reverse plug of course, but shows how easy it is.

LOG
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Last edited by log man; 01-31-2010 at 10:43 AM.
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  #3  
Old 01-31-2010, 10:35 AM
Pacman Pacman is offline
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Why do you want the short guide rod? I know most people say that full length guide rods are unnecessary but, I have in fact had recoil springs get bound and broken from short GI guide rods. I will never run a short guide rod in a 1911 again. However, to each his own.

Is your barrel a bull barrel or bushing? If it is a bushing barrel then you probably don't have a reverse plug and can just get a short guide rod and standard recoil spring cap for a direct swap. Or, if you have a bull barrel then you may be able to just use a short rod with your reverse plug. I've never actually tried that combo. My short guide rods both came with bushing barrels.

Either way, you don't have to change the recoil spring unless you just want to.

Chris
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:47 AM
bad86ta bad86ta is offline
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I was looking to change it just because it seemed like no one liked the full length for some reason, everywhere I read people wanted to change them or said they were a PIA.

This is a bushing style gun and from what I have read it has the reverse recoil spring plug, althogh due to my inexperience i could very well be wrong.

Would pics help?
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  #5  
Old 01-31-2010, 10:55 AM
log man log man is offline
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Pictures always help.

A reverse plug must come out the backside of the spring channel, as that is why it is called reverse. It is possible to have a reverse plug that has the collar for the bushing, but very unlikely that is what you have. Also your spring tunnel may have a skirt at the back and not allow a plug to come out the back, until machined out. With a reverse plug the plug has a collar that keeps it from coming out the front. I'd leave it as is.

LOG
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  #6  
Old 01-31-2010, 12:25 PM
zenbiker zenbiker is offline
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Log man has got the ticket as usual. This method makes both dis and reassembly a piece of cake because nothing is done under spring tension so the slide stop goes out and in without scratches (because you can use two hands) and no fighting the recoil spring back in. It goes in already compressed over the guide rod as a unit.
This should be standard for all 1911s IMHO. To me, this is the biggest advantage of the FLGR.
I use the Dawson Tool Less guide Rod which essentially works the same way but without the need for a paper clip. Check it out.
Ready for the incoming!
http://www.dawsonprecision.com/Produ...002-1126315802

Last edited by zenbiker; 01-31-2010 at 12:30 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-31-2010, 12:28 PM
aric aric is offline
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.

Last edited by aric; 03-27-2011 at 01:53 PM.
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  #8  
Old 01-31-2010, 01:15 PM
Pacman Pacman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aric View Post
Full length guide rod has no effect on function or accuracy.
Just changes the takedown, looks cool and sells parts and options.
I disagree. I shoot single stack 1911 in USPSA and have had short GI guide rods bind and break recoil springs on more than one occasion. So, a full length guide rod does in fact give you a functional benefit. I would never run a GI short rod in a 1911.

However, use the right one. Either a one piece STI style with the take down hole as shown by Log above. Or, a two piece threaded rod like the Wilson but be sure to screw the front of the rod in tight so it doesn't loosen on you. A press fit two piece rod like the tungsten rods are not a good idea.

Chris
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  #9  
Old 01-31-2010, 02:25 PM
Sam Sam is offline
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Here is very good information on the subject by John Harrison of LTW
http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=178205
Sam
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2010, 04:46 PM
bad86ta bad86ta is offline
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for breakdown the rod, spring, barrel, etc come out the front of the slide assm. so if i am understanding things right it would NOT be a "reverse" plug.

Can i use a standard plug (no hole) in this being that my current plug has a hole in it for the guide rod to extrude from?
It doesn't seem like it would work...

This is not my gun but is the same setup as mine....



This is my gun with the guide rod shown...



Sorry if this does not make sense, as i said Im a newb
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  #11  
Old 01-31-2010, 04:54 PM
log man log man is offline
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The rod will not come out the front, the head will not let it. The picture shows what may be a "full" length Dawson GR and should have a hole. If not, you should be able to compress the plug enough to rotate the bushing when the slide is off the frame and the guide rod will come back just a bit more. Look for a hole when the slide is full retracted.

LOG
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:05 PM
harmonii harmonii is offline
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+1 for Wilson FLGR

I use the Wilson one-piece FLGR in all mine, they don't have a hole and you don't need a wire to disassemble it, you do however have to use a bushing wrench, as it is hard to compress the plug with your fingers. It then comes off just like a short guide rod and re-assembly is the same way. -H
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:10 PM
bad86ta bad86ta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by log man View Post
The rod will not come out the front, the head will not let it. The picture shows what may be a "full" length Dawson GR and should have a hole. If not, you should be able to compress the plug enough to rotate the bushing when the slide is off the frame and the guide rod will come back just a bit more. Look for a hole when the slide is full retracted.

LOG
Ah, yes you are right sir, the plug and spring comes out the front, after that the guide removes from the back side...

I don't think Im wording my qestion right.... Can I use a solid, no hole spring plug?

The current plug has a hole in it that the rod extrudes through and it would seem to me that the slide would not be able to be racked if I had the plug with no hole in it on...

Last edited by bad86ta; 01-31-2010 at 05:17 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:37 PM
log man log man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bad86ta View Post
Ah, yes you are right sir, the plug and spring comes out the front, after that the guide removes from the back side...

I don't think Im wording my qestion right.... Can I use a solid, no hole spring plug?

The current plug has a hole in it that the rod extrudes through and it would seem to me that the slide would not be able to be racked if I had the plug with no hole in it on...
Sorry! That's true! The no hole plug only works with the short rod, mostly referred to as the GI rod and plug.

LOG
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  #15  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:45 PM
bad86ta bad86ta is offline
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thanks!
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  #16  
Old 01-31-2010, 07:56 PM
Kamerer Kamerer is offline
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Quote:
Full length guide rod has no effect on function or accuracy.
This is not correct. It improves function and accuracy on guns that have loose tolerances elsewhere - particularly a loose slide/frame fit that allows a fair degree of movement. It won't improve function or accuracy of all guns. That statement would be true.

I agree to leave it as-is unless there's a compelling need to remove it - for example, you need to field strip the weapon daily or very frequently. Other than this, and very, very few people can conceivably need to do that, there is no real "downside" to a FLGR. Detractors tend to ignore that they offer real advantages for some applications, and they are also taken as a standard feature on most modern SA handguns. Retrofitting the concept to the 1911 design increases field stripping and re-assembly marginally, but not unreasonably.
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  #17  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:24 AM
84BravoJ8 84BravoJ8 is offline
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I too agree to leave it as it is if it works well for you.

I have both 1911's that have a full length guide rod, the GI set up and the reverse plug in them. There is no difference in accuracy and function between them!

What does matter is the barrel and bushing fit, mated with the slide and a good trigger job!

I have seen 1911's that rattled like a tank that shot great.
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2010, 01:23 AM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Where's our sense of curiousity and adventure? That's what 1911 is all about.

Why are we discouraging him? Why are we telling this curious new 1911 owner to leave it alone and not experiment? Why not get a GI guide rod? Try it both ways, just like we all did.

That's the beauty of the 1911 design, and all the goodies currently made for it. You can experiment all you want. You decide for yourself.


Bad86ta: The GI guide rod is cheap and plentiful. If you find one, try it. In many cases the same plug works, but just to be certain that your spring remains captured a GI type plug is also cheap and plentiful. Both types of guide rod use the exact same spring.

Shoot it both ways, brother. Be curious. Try an experiment. Just like the rest of us did, you make up your own mind what you like best.

Don't listen to nay sayers, who just tell you to shut up and sit down and be happy with what you got.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:04 AM
russel5150 russel5150 is offline
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i have had it both ways, and i like the GI set up better.

as a note, someone mentioned the same plug would work, thats true except that you have a hole in it where the guide rod moves through it and if you plan on leaving it the Gi way, you wont want a hole for crap to get inside.


i have never had a problem with a Gi set up, didnt have a probem with the FLGR either, its just personal choice.

experiment and see how you like it, opinions vary. its one of the easiest things that you can fix if you decide that you dont like it because there is nothing modified.

good luck.

the debate goes on and on, join the crowd.. lol

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  #20  
Old 02-01-2010, 06:44 AM
Col. Colt Col. Colt is offline
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Put me in the very strongly "FLGRs are generally a detrimental modification to a good 1911" opinion category.

As a 1911 enthusiast since 1974 who has shot, tinkered with, gunsmithed and competed with the 1911 platform extensively since then I have cause for my opinions - and my opinion is to change any non-racegun 1911 Recoil System IMMEDIATELY back to John Moses Browning's original design, when physically possible. I have worked in an American Pistolsmith Guild Gunsmithy, where we customized hundreds of 1911s for customers, and we built "magazine feature guns" you have seen if you read American Handgunner and a couple of other famous gun rags. For most customers it was "stylish", but a waste of money and an inconvience you were paying to add!

I have personally used the FLGR in IPSC competition and on the shorter 1911 carry guns, and after many years of observation come to the conclusion that it is undesirable except in certain, very limited circumstances that don't apply to most, normal use guns and owners.

Testing by numerous commentators have shown zero to negligable benefits of installing a FLGR. There are no accuracy or reliability benefits that were not reflective of another problem in the subject weapon. I have been doing this a long time, and I have never seen or heard of a legitimate case of the claimed problem of spring breakage mentioned here, and I would assume any such weapon must have some tolerance/machining/material defect to produce this result. Well over 5 million weapons of this basic design type are in use around the world - if this was a real problem it would have become known as such sometime in the last 99 years of actual use - and would have been corrected sometime in the 75 years the 1911 was US military issue.

What are the negatives of the FLGR? Difficulty of disassembly without a tool, usually requiring a bushing wrench or at least a paper clip for takedown. In the woods, or after getting the weapon wet in salt water, or dusty/sandy I want to clean it NOW, not a week from now when I get home to my toolbox. And no, I don't take my gun box, a bushing wrench or a paperclip to the woods or on the water. All of my bushings are deliberately fitted to allow removal without a bushing wrench, even if "snug". (Allen headed grip screws fit this same category of pretty but really hard to find a wrench in the field when you need one.) My guns are tools, not toys, and functional and servicable in all situations matters to me. I prefer a gun that requires no tools to fully disassemble and reassemble in the field - like the original 1911.

In a Law Enforcement or self defense context, the full length guide rod prevents one handed operation of the 1911. If you have a hand injured or occupied (say with a flashlight) and you have a malfuntion with a standard, full sized 1911, you can push the bottom edge of the slide against any hard surface (or your boot) and cycle the action with the shooting hand only. The guide rod prevents this. If you have a square rear sight - not a Novak style - you can substitute this as your charging handle, although it is hard on some sights. If you have Novaks and a guide rod, it is pretty near impossible to clear the weapon effectively without two hands. (If you attend realistic training with photographic or anatomical targets of "bad guys" with weapons in hand, at the end of the day you will see that there are a lot of rounds clustered in and around the hands and weapons - the subconcious mind aims for the threat, even if the concious mind thinks it is going for center mass. The likelyhood of injury to the hand in a gunfight is much higher than generally understood.)

Where could I see a use for the FLGR? In a competition gun, where the extra weight (particularly if made of a heavy (expensive) metal like tungsten would put weight on the muzzle and help with recoil and muzzle rise. I would not care to carry that extra weight on my belt everyday, however, and I prefer to train with the same tools I might have to fight with.

In the shorter 1911 lengths, particularly the 3" class of weapon, the guide rod is necessary because of the bull barrel design - it simply can't be helped if you want the weapon to work in the small configuration. Bull barrelled 5" competition guns also require the reverse plug design, but again, these are generally race guns - not for "real use", and again, too heavy for carry.

The standard 1911 JMB design supports all but about 3/8" of the installed length of the spring at all times anyway, between the length of the recoil spring plug and the length of the recoil spring guide. What are FLGRs for? Mostly, as a fad, "to sell" to those who don't know any better. Except in the few and rare noted exceptions above - run your 1911 the way God and John Moses Browning intended! Just my opinion, but an experienced and reasoned opinion. CC
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:03 PM
bad86ta bad86ta is offline
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Great info guys, this would NOT be for competition.
It would mainly be used for just target shooting with my friends, nothing real serious. I would prolly carry this on my property up north as well, you never know what you'll run into in the middle of nowhere in the woods.

I was also on the thought process of... Even with a full length guide rod it seems like you could get a fair amount of small debris in the hole at times (my guide rod is not flush with the front of the bushing, instead in is recessed a litle bit)

Maybe ill give it a try, maybe not... I guess we'll see

Last edited by bad86ta; 02-01-2010 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by log man View Post
It will be a swap of parts, and lighten the front just a smidgen. I like the FLGR and consider it easier to deal with when stripping. My bushings require a wrench due to being fitted and by trapping the recoil spring with a take down wire through a hole drilled in the rod it is easier, zero chance of the plug getting away from me. And it then comes out the backside before ever touching the bushing. If the rod doesn't have a hole they are easy to drill, lock the slide back, mark just in front of the plug.


This is not a reverse plug of course, but shows how easy it is.

LOG
That's interesting. The slide has to be modified to allow for that type of take-down. I have two guns with rods like that, but with stock slides, you have to pull the spring off the rod and out the front of the slide for take-down, and that's a big pain.
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  #23  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:56 PM
log man log man is offline
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That's interesting. The slide has to be modified to allow for that type of take-down. I have two guns with rods like that, but with stock slides, you have to pull the spring off the rod and out the front of the slide for take-down, and that's a big pain.
Some slides have the skirt and some don't, but it isn't hard to remove it and use this method that I first heard about from Don Williams I believe. All my 1911's have this option. I first realized how easy it was to strip a bull barrel gun with the reverse plug, and then the idea of not turning the bushing under tension in bushing barrels lead to this method which is both fast and controlled. Changing or cleaning the spring is easy to control as holding the plug isn't as much a stretch as holding a plug in the slide while lining a wrench up with the bushing. Never had a mishap more than a plug across the shop before, but no problems with this set-up.

Here's the tool I use to remove the skirt. A 1/2"x 90° carbide cone and a ¼"x½"x1" bronze bushing that keeps it really straight as it fits snugly in the spring channel. Cost of this assembly is less than $20.



LOG
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Last edited by log man; 02-01-2010 at 02:26 PM.
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:11 PM
rustygunner rustygunner is offline
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I replaced my factory FLGR with a GI-type from Fusion. Shot myself in the eye with the plug too
No discernable difference as far as reliability or accuracy, was mostly for looks.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:11 PM
TheSorb TheSorb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenbiker View Post
Log man has got the ticket as usual. This method makes both dis and reassembly a piece of cake because nothing is done under spring tension so the slide stop goes out and in without scratches (because you can use two hands) and no fighting the recoil spring back in. It goes in already compressed over the guide rod as a unit.
This should be standard for all 1911s IMHO. To me, this is the biggest advantage of the FLGR.
I use the Dawson Tool Less guide Rod which essentially works the same way but without the need for a paper clip. Check it out.
Ready for the incoming!
http://www.dawsonprecision.com/Produ...002-1126315802
So, let me get this straight...if I replace my FLGR with this tool-less guide rod, I'll then be able to disassemble/re-assemble my Kimber Stainless Raptor II with no fear of scratching the frame every time I replace the slide stop? Man that would be a relief!

BTW...the link you posted is no longer functional. Is this the part to which you referred? Thanks very much for your help!
http://www.dawsonprecision.com/Produ...BA6-1266962268
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