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  #1  
Old 07-25-2011, 11:03 PM
MrTwister MrTwister is offline
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Installing a New Barrel Bushing




Hi folks, I have a question regarding some amateur gunsmithing work I'm doing to an old 1911 I have. I'm trying to install a "drop in" Ed Brown stainless barrel bushing and recoil spring plug. The plug fits fine, but the bushing is very, very tight. I had to dremel and polish the bushing lug so that I could even twist the bushing inside the slide. However, the barrel fit is so tight that I can barely rack the slide. The bushing moves up and down the barrel, but it's very tight. Should I a) polish the inside of the bushing with 1500 grit paper, b) keep racking the slide to wear the bushing and barrel in together or c) take it to a real gunsmith. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Note, this is an old Charles Daly that I've been working on, so I'm not too worried about doing the work myself. I've already installed an Ed Brown match grade trigger (which required a few hours of hand fitting) as well as some other minor work. I'm trying to learn as much as I can from this "project" gun.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:15 PM
old cop old cop is offline
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That sure doesn't sound like a "drop in" bushing.

It sounds like it is too tight on the barrel but it really would be better to get someone who knows to check it first.

Without the proper tools it is hard to "polish" an inside surface and remove metal evenly
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:17 AM
StrikerDown StrikerDown is offline
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Sounds like a drop in to me, considering many "Drop In" parts don't drop in!

Best way might be to use a "B" size adjustable reamer to ream the ID for correct clearance.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:16 AM
Magnumite Magnumite is offline
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MrTwister, test for barrel spring first. Slide removed from frame, only the barrel and bushing in the slide. Turn the slide upside down and put the barrel in battery. Push down on the barrel feet and release it. If the barrel pushes back up, the bushing needs to be relieved. I am sure yours does from your description.

I don't have any reamers to speak of, so here is what I do if you need to relieve the bushing ID.

Use a punch or dowel that is smaller than the ID of the bushing. You can use somewhere around 150 to 320 grit to start. You'll be a long time with 1500 grit. Then wrap it with emery or machinist cloth to where it will just fit inside the bushing while being twisted. Keep the dowel aligned with the side to side centerline as the bushing is installed the gun. However, you'll need to tilt the dowel to the top of the bushing in the rear as it is installed in the gun to relieve the front lower and rear upper areas of the inside diameter of the bushing so the barrel can tilt in lock up. Then twist lightly a few times. When it just cycles and locks up smoothly, touch it up with your finer grit.

As a test when you are done, with unloaded assembled pistol, pull the slide back and slowly allow it to move forward into lock up. If it stops just short of lock up, push on the front of the barrel. If the slide snaps into battery, relieve the bushing a little more as before. It won't take much at this point, so go slow and try it a couple times.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:45 AM
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Yeah, you shouldn't be using rotory tools to fit this. Dowels with sandpaper or the proper reamer should be used.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:09 AM
WESHOOT2 WESHOOT2 is offline
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:42 AM
MrTwister MrTwister is offline
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Thanks for all the information guys. This definitely helps. I think I'll give it the dowel rod and emery cloth treatment this evening. If that doesn't seem to work maybe I'll try an adjustable reamer. How do those work by the way? Do you need a drill press or can you just use a hand drill?
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:49 PM
MrTwister MrTwister is offline
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Ok, I used some crocus cloth and a dowel rod to relieve the inside diameter of my new bushing. After a lot of polishing and several test fittings, the slide now racks a little easier but it's still a lot harder to rack than with the old bushing. It's a pretty tight fit and seems to get hung up a little at first when the barrel lugs are still slightly engaged. On the slide return, the slide snaps forward all the way without hanging up at all. I'm going to keep polishing until the slide racks back in one smooth motion, and then take it to the range for a test run...

Last edited by MrTwister; 07-26-2011 at 09:10 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2011, 09:15 PM
MrTwister MrTwister is offline
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Well, I've polished the ID quite a bit now but I still can't rack the slide easily without cocking the hammer back first. Once the hammer is cocked it racks fairly easily. I've read where others have had this problem after replacing the recoil spring with a heavy duty spring, but mine had a standard 16# recoil spring and a reduced power 19# mainspring. Does anyone know if this is a problem? I want a tight fitting barrel bushing for tight groups, but I also want a reliable gun. Should I just keep polishing the ID until I can rack the slide without having to cock the hammer first?
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  #10  
Old 07-27-2011, 07:56 AM
Magnumite Magnumite is offline
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Welcome again to drop in parts...yarrite!


Remove the slide but keep the barrel and bushing installed. Push the barrel back in battery while holding the slide rightside up. Then allow it to just hang down in the slide. Does it seem to drop significantly, as it would in the frame? I probably will but just a check.

Then change back to your original parts, one at time until you replace the part that causes the greatest change back to the original racking force.

It sounds like you might have a mispackaged spring, or the original was highly fatigued. You should have 30 - 32 coils on your original recoil spring. If you have several less, it may have been clipped and that would decrease racking effort.

I dare say if you change just the spring, you'll recover the original racking effort. A hammer face that is very square with the firing pin stop and/or a small radius firing pin stop will cause harder racking of the slide. I've never had a properly fitted bushing cause that much of an issue with racking the slide.

If the spring change does make the slide easier to rack, then I would put the new spring back in, shoot it and see how it does.
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Last edited by Magnumite; 07-27-2011 at 08:08 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-27-2011, 04:47 PM
MrTwister MrTwister is offline
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Thanks Magnumite. The recoil spring and mainspring worked fine with the old bushing, so I went back and polished the new bushing some more. After relieving the ID a little more, the pistol now racks smoothly without having to cock the hammer first. I'm pretty happy with the final results. Now, it's time to head to the range this weekend to see how she shoots.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:09 PM
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:16 PM
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:43 PM
MrTwister MrTwister is offline
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Thank you, thank you very much - I'm here all week
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