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  #1  
Old 05-02-2012, 06:58 AM
locsmb locsmb is offline
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Question to WCR on Heavy Flanged Cone Barrels




Hi! First of all, apologies if this post runs a little long. I am seriously considering a WC pistol for the next addition to my 1911 collection. Conseqently, I have been reading up as much as I can on base gun variants to make the most informed decision possible. I am particularly interested in two models with a Flanged Cone Barrel (depending on availability with my local gun dealer) --- the Tactical Elite and the Elite Professional.

A key variable I in my decision process is the desire to have the pistol running for many, many years into the future. My constraints are the uncertainty of local availability of specific parts (e.g. flange barrel in the extremely rare event it will need replacing) and the improbability of being able to ship the pistol back overseas to have Wilson work on the pistol for any issues that may arise. I seek clarification/answers to the following:

1. My understanding is the flange of the barrel that sits against the slide effectively performs the work that a bushing would otherwise perform to seat the barrel properly (apart from the barrel link and the slide stop crosspin). Is my understanding correct?

2. In the unlikely event that the flange barrel ever needs replacing (after many, many years and tons of ammo) and a similar barrel proves impossible to obtain from my end, is it then possible to convert the slide set-up to use a normal match grade barrel with a bushing? If yes, I assume this will still involve some gunsmithing or armorer work to ensure proper fit?

3. I assume slide lengths for the Elite Professional would be a standard commander length slide which could then accomodate a match grade barrel with bushing set up for a similar 4" commander sized pistol. Or alternatively, the tactical elite's government sized slide (for 5" barrels) can likewise be converted to accomodate a match grade barrel and bushing set up for a similar sized pistol? Or would I have to replace even the slide under such a scenario?

4. I would like to confirm that shok-buffs are not absolutely necessary to keep the pistol running particularly if the pistol is used primarily for carry rather than as a regular/frequently used competition/range pistol (I seem to recall reading a thread somewhere in this forum on this matter) --- I am as yet uncertain on the local availability of shok buffs.

5. Both the Tactical Elite and Elite Professional (as shown in the 2011 catalogue) use FLGRs with reverse guide plugs. I assume the springs are the same length as those used for the regular 5" barrels using a standard guide rod in the case of the Tactical and those for the 4" barrels in a Professional using a standard guide rod?

I look forward to your answers as it will help me decide whether I should limit my choices to pistols in your product line that use only the traditional match grade barrels with bushing set ups as those can readily be services/repaired locally and replacement parts especially the barrels themselves should be easier to obtain. Or alternatively, if I push through with the purchase of the two pistols earlier mentioned, it will help me decide how frequently and to what extent I should run rounds through the pistol (a ton or half ton of catridges )
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2012, 08:20 AM
Mujahideen Mujahideen is offline
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I would think that the gun's slide to frame fit and other aspects would wear out long before the barrel did. This would not effect accuracy as much as worn out rifling though.

IMO Wilson builds one hell of a gun, you should not be afraid to order any of the models.
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:24 AM
43074 43074 is offline
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I am looking forward to answers to your questions. I too have been looking at the pistols with the heavy flanged barrels. My interest in them is for the lighter recoil and accuracy. Since the flanged heavy barrel is supposed to increase reliability, i would take that to mean it will last longer than a regular barrel and should last several lifetimes of shooting, but i don't "know" that for a fact. Maybe a wilson rep will chime in.
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:37 AM
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Army Chief Army Chief is offline
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I'll wade-in briefly to get things started ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by locsmb View Post
1. My understanding is the flange of the barrel that sits against the slide effectively performs the work that a bushing would otherwise perform to seat the barrel properly (apart from the barrel link and the slide stop crosspin). Is my understanding correct?
Yes. Flanged pistols are fitted much like bull barrel models, and employ no separate bushing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by locsmb View Post
2. In the unlikely event that the flange barrel ever needs replacing (after many, many years and tons of ammo) and a similar barrel proves impossible to obtain from my end, is it then possible to convert the slide set-up to use a normal match grade barrel with a bushing? If yes, I assume this will still involve some gunsmithing or armorer work to ensure proper fit?
WCR can address specifics, but on current models, the flanged portion is integral to the barrel, and not a separate part. If you shot out a barrel over the course of many years, the best course of action would obviously be to purchase a replacement flanged barrel from WC and have it fitted. Barring this, a bull barrel would probably be a more realistic avenue of approach than trying to retrofit a bushing, though I have never seen/heard of such a substitution being attempted, nor do I have any particular insight into the technical challenges associated with attempting it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by locsmb View Post
3. I assume slide lengths for the Elite Professional would be a standard commander length slide which could then accomodate a match grade barrel with bushing set up for a similar 4" commander sized pistol. Or alternatively, the tactical elite's government sized slide (for 5" barrels) can likewise be converted to accomodate a match grade barrel and bushing set up for a similar sized pistol? Or would I have to replace even the slide under such a scenario?
Just to maintain perfect clarity, a Commander is a 4.25" gun, and none of Wilson's 4" models conform to those particular dimensions. So no, a bushing and 4.25" barrel would not be reasonable replacement. A Wilson 4" bull might be (see above), but it would still make by far the most sense to just get your hands on the correct part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by locsmb View Post
4. I would like to confirm that shok-buffs are not absolutely necessary to keep the pistol running particularly if the pistol is used primarily for carry rather than as a regular/frequently used competition/range pistol (I seem to recall reading a thread somewhere in this forum on this matter) --- I am as yet uncertain on the local availability of shok buffs.
Not absolutely necessary, and not even recommended for sub-5" models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by locsmb View Post
5. Both the Tactical Elite and Elite Professional (as shown in the 2011 catalogue) use FLGRs with reverse guide plugs. I assume the springs are the same length as those used for the regular 5" barrels using a standard guide rod in the case of the Tactical and those for the 4" barrels in a Professional using a standard guide rod?
Weights may vary, depending upon your applications, but the lengths are the same (Full-Size and Compact/Professional -- I believe WC also sells a separate Commander-length spring, but as an aftermarket replacement for other models).

AC

Last edited by Army Chief; 05-02-2012 at 10:38 AM. Reason: Corrected punctuation for easier reading.
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:57 AM
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Talking about this with Ricky T away from the thread, we're kind of at a loss to figure out why you might have a strategy for purchasing the pistols themselves, but which would not be equally effective in replacement parts at some (much) later date. Granted, it might not be especially practical to just return the guns to Wilson for servicing in this situation given import/export complications, but as one who has lived abroad for more than a decade, I don't completely understand the concern over accessibility to parts. Does a gun barrel carry some special significance under local laws? My gut tells me that anyone with the discernment and drive to get a Wilson pistol into the P.I. with the intention of firing it for tens of thousands of rounds ought to also have some fairly effective ways of getting the correct replacement parts if/when the need arises. What are we missing?

Bottom line? These are proprietary guns, and it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to move in this direction if you are concerned about being able to put standardized components on/in them in the future.

AC

Last edited by Army Chief; 05-02-2012 at 10:04 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:20 AM
shootumup shootumup is offline
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Why not get 2 Flanged Cone Barrels fitted for your pistol at time of order? I'm sure that this can be done. Then you would have a spare if/when needed.
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shootumup View Post
Why not get 2 Flanged Cone Barrels fitted for your pistol at time of order? I'm sure that this can be done. Then you would have a spare if/when needed.
Almost went there myself, but as the heart of the weapon, this would probably be cost-prohibitive. It's not like tuning a spare extractor; that said, if the circumstances were truly that dire/restrictive, I'm sure that Wilson's could try to figure something out.

Of course, we've sort of glossed-over the fact that one would have to accumulate one heck of a round count to shoot out a Wilson barrel ...

AC
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:31 AM
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There are plenty of industries in the P.I. that can make replacement coned barrels, RIA, Armscor, ATI, etc. They can whip one up in no time. Imagine a Wilson Elite with an Armscor barrel.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2012, 12:03 PM
locsmb locsmb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Army Chief View Post
Talking about this with Ricky T away from the thread, we're kind of at a loss to figure out why you might have a strategy for purchasing the pistols themselves, but which would not be equally effective in replacement parts at some (much) later date. Granted, it might not be especially practical to just return the guns to Wilson for servicing in this situation given import/export complications, but as one who has lived abroad for more than a decade, I don't completely understand the concern over accessibility to parts. What are we missing?
AC
Importing the replacement part is not impossible, it will just be a rather difficult and lengthy process. The original flanged/cone barrels are very rare here as compared to the usual match grade barrels that are used with Bushings. As it is, I only know of two dealers that carry very limited stocks of the sub-custom guns such as Wilson, Baer or EB, likely because they are slow moving due to their price which limits it to a very small market. This is especially since the broader market would tend to buy products a third to half the cost and slowly upgrade them particularly those made by local manufacturers such as Armscor or Metro Arms. Others would purchase established or widely marketed production pistols such as Para Ordnance, Colt or Kimber.

This is why I am trying to decide whether I should stick to the WC variants with the regular/standard shape (such as the base protector model) for which replacement parts are more readily available.

One option is to immediately place an order for a spare barrel as soon as I get the pistol so it arrives way before I have need of it. That is primarily the part that concerns me.

Actually Ricky T had an interesting idea to see if I could get Armscor to make me one. Which is something to think about.

In truth, I don't think I will bring the round count up to a level where it may wear out the barrel so soon after i've purchased the pistol. I am just the type who seeks to hold on to a pistol till I can hand it down yet I would still like to be able to shoot it as often as i can. I suppose I am just running through the scenarios of what I will have to contend with should I have the misfortune to experience the need to replace the barrel. I want to work out if i can live with the possible major contingencies since it is a rather large investment to put into the piece. That said, I am really intrigued by what i have learned on the protector elite and it is certainly one variant that my dealer had in stock when I last checked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Army Chief View Post
Does a gun barrel carry some special significance under local laws? What are we missing?
AC
Under local laws all parts from springs, firing pins, safeties, magazines that are integral to the operation of the firearm (defined as those without which the unit will not function) can only be legally imported by a licensed firearms dealer. If i am not mistaken a spare barrel on its own, if the rules are strictly enforced has to be licensed separately. Meanwhile, dealers tend to limit stocks of parts perhaps because they make less margins on these as opposed to the pistol units themselves.
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2012, 12:07 PM
locsmb locsmb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky T View Post
There are plenty of industries in the P.I. that can make replacement coned barrels, RIA, Armscor, ATI, etc. They can whip one up in no time. Imagine a Wilson Elite with an Armscor barrel.
This is an interesting suggestion that is worth exploring. I didn't think of that but it has some very distinct possibilities.
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2012, 01:53 PM
dockoff dockoff is offline
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I have a few thoughts for the op. A bull barrel is not the same as a flanged cone barrel. They both place weight forward and change the guns balance and perhaps ones shooting skill, but there is no measurable difference in the gun's accuracy. The weight distribution of the Wilson bull barrel is said to assist in unlocking better than conventional barrels and that directly impacts reliability. In my own experience with my coned barrels vs. bull barrels, the bull wins and a bull would be much easier to replace should you ever get 50 to 60000 rds. through one. Even then the accuracy (group size) would be more than adequate for social security. The gi rod and a bull barrel is the least troublesome system to service and would seem perfect for your plans.

Now on bushings: More things to break and or repair. A bushing cannot confer accuracy, but can reduce a given barrel's accuracy. A perfectly fitted bushing can allow the same perfect barrel to perform at its inherent level. Again, if you have limited access to services and warranty work, get a bull barrel and a gi rod option.
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2012, 03:39 PM
WilsonCombatRep WilsonCombatRep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by locsmb View Post
Hi! First of all, apologies if this post runs a little long. I am seriously considering a WC pistol for the next addition to my 1911 collection. Conseqently, I have been reading up as much as I can on base gun variants to make the most informed decision possible. I am particularly interested in two models with a Flanged Cone Barrel (depending on availability with my local gun dealer) --- the Tactical Elite and the Elite Professional.

A key variable I in my decision process is the desire to have the pistol running for many, many years into the future. My constraints are the uncertainty of local availability of specific parts (e.g. flange barrel in the extremely rare event it will need replacing) and the improbability of being able to ship the pistol back overseas to have Wilson work on the pistol for any issues that may arise. I seek clarification/answers to the following:

1. My understanding is the flange of the barrel that sits against the slide effectively performs the work that a bushing would otherwise perform to seat the barrel properly (apart from the barrel link and the slide stop crosspin). Is my understanding correct? Kind of-the cone of the barrel determines lock up, the flange just adds extra weight.

2. In the unlikely event that the flange barrel ever needs replacing (after many, many years and tons of ammo) and a similar barrel proves impossible to obtain from my end, is it then possible to convert the slide set-up to use a normal match grade barrel with a bushing? If yes, I assume this will still involve some gunsmithing or armorer work to ensure proper fit? You could use a standard Compact 4" tapered cone barrel as a replacement although I am pretty sure you will never wear out your flanged barrel.

3. I assume slide lengths for the Elite Professional would be a standard commander length slide which could then accomodate a match grade barrel with bushing set up for a similar 4" commander sized pistol. Or alternatively, the tactical elite's government sized slide (for 5" barrels) can likewise be converted to accomodate a match grade barrel and bushing set up for a similar sized pistol? Or would I have to replace even the slide under such a scenario?

4. I would like to confirm that shok-buffs are not absolutely necessary to keep the pistol running particularly if the pistol is used primarily for carry rather than as a regular/frequently used competition/range pistol (I seem to recall reading a thread somewhere in this forum on this matter) --- I am as yet uncertain on the local availability of shok buffs. We don't recommend Shok Buffs for carry in sub 5" barrel guns as they reduce some slide travel. OK for practice, not recommended otherwise

5. Both the Tactical Elite and Elite Professional (as shown in the 2011 catalogue) use FLGRs with reverse guide plugs. I assume the springs are the same length as those used for the regular 5" barrels using a standard guide rod in the case of the Tactical and those for the 4" barrels in a Professional using a standard guide rod? 5" guns use "Government" springs, 4" guns use "Compact" springs.

I look forward to your answers as it will help me decide whether I should limit my choices to pistols in your product line that use only the traditional match grade barrels with bushing set ups as those can readily be services/repaired locally and replacement parts especially the barrels themselves should be easier to obtain. Or alternatively, if I push through with the purchase of the two pistols earlier mentioned, it will help me decide how frequently and to what extent I should run rounds through the pistol (a ton or half ton of catridges )
Hope this helps.
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2012, 11:00 PM
locsmb locsmb is offline
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Originally Posted by WilsonCombatRep View Post
Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:04 PM
locsmb locsmb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dockoff View Post
I have a few thoughts for the op. The weight distribution of the Wilson bull barrel is said to assist in unlocking better than conventional barrels and that directly impacts reliability. In my own experience with my coned barrels vs. bull barrels, the bull wins and a bull would be much easier to replace should you ever get 50 to 60000 rds. through one. Even then the accuracy (group size) would be more than adequate for social security. The gi rod and a bull barrel is the least troublesome system to service and would seem perfect for your plans.

Again, if you have limited access to services and warranty work, get a bull barrel and a gi rod option.
Thanks. This is very helpful.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:59 AM
blr blr is online now
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Originally Posted by Army Chief View Post
Almost went there myself, but as the heart of the weapon, this would probably be cost-prohibitive. It's not like tuning a spare extractor; that said, if the circumstances were truly that dire/restrictive, I'm sure that Wilson's could try to figure something out.

Of course, we've sort of glossed-over the fact that one would have to accumulate one heck of a round count to shoot out a Wilson barrel ...

AC
I went that route - a 40/10mm TE. Was a $1k option. In hindsight, I'd have been better off just getting two pistols...
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:31 AM
WilsonCombatRep WilsonCombatRep is offline
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I went that route - a 40/10mm TE. Was a $1k option. In hindsight, I'd have been better off just getting two pistols...
I have gone down that road and agree..multi caliber is tough because in many cases you really need to change out hammer springs and potentially firing pin stops/extractors for optimum function between different calibers.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:25 PM
kennethhardy kennethhardy is offline
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Has bill himself even out shot a Wilson barrel. Haven't heard of this being done.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:33 PM
WilsonCombatRep WilsonCombatRep is offline
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Has bill himself even out shot a Wilson barrel. Haven't heard of this being done.
Yes-his Compact had the barrel replaced at 75K rounds I think.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:44 PM
kennethhardy kennethhardy is offline
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75k. I would think it would more in the 100k range for a good quality barrel. Hate to drop the NH bomb here but I know someone who has 150k thru their predator, or at least thats what they say. Does the fact that its a compact lessen the barrel life or was he shooting really rough loads.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:58 PM
WilsonCombatRep WilsonCombatRep is offline
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75k. I would think it would more in the 100k range for a good quality barrel. Hate to drop the NH bomb here but I know someone who has 150k thru their predator, or at least thats what they say. Does the fact that its a compact lessen the barrel life or was he shooting really rough loads.

There are many, many variables to barrel life.

Caliber. Lead bullet vs. jacketed. Type of powder used.

We have lots of guns out there with over 100K on the barrels but usually you will start seeing real accuracy degradation before that regardless of whose barrel you use.

As far as your friend's barrel, I guess that anything is possible.
Storm Lake makes a good barrel.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:24 PM
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Also depends on what you consider "shot out" means.

For Mr. Wilson, "shot out" might mean "I want a new barrel."

I, personally, have never seen a bbl I would call "shot out" in 45ACP. Short of people who get free ammo and get paid to shot it, I doubt such a thing actually exists.
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Last edited by blr; 05-03-2012 at 06:27 PM.
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  #22  
Old 05-04-2012, 09:12 AM
Tom R Tom R is offline
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WCR,
Sumpun go whizzing by here? Storm Lake makes Nighthawk barrels? Wilson barrels are made by..... Wilson?
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