Merits of Bushing vs Bull Barrel on a Professional/Commander Model - 1911Forum
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View Poll Results: Bull barrel or bushing on a Professional Model
Bull Barrel 23 43.40%
Bushing 23 43.40%
I like pie (no opinion/who cares?) 7 13.21%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-22-2019, 06:57 AM
panzerr panzerr is offline
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Merits of Bushing vs Bull Barrel on a Professional/Commander Model

Heya all,

I've got the bug again and am specing out another Wilson Combat, this time in 9mm. I've had two Wilson's in the past, both in 45 ACP and both of which I sold several years ago (got tired of picking up 45 ACP brass every time I shot).

I've defaulted to the Professional Model as the base model for my new 9mm, which of course has the bull/bushingless barrel. The two Wilsons I had before were both bull barrels and I have never owned any other 1911, so I haven't had one with a bushing.

My question is, with the 4" slide, what are the merits or drawbacks of each? Do bushings need to be changed every so often? Does the slide on barrel friction cause issues over thousands of rounds? All else being equal, which do you 'like' better for any reason? I typically put several thousand rounds through each of my pistol each year so I see this as a 100,000 round gun over it's lifetime.

Thanks for your input/comments/banter/memes.
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2019, 07:28 AM
bradsvette bradsvette is offline
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The bushing barrel is easier to disassemble/field-strip for me.
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  #3  
Old 03-22-2019, 07:39 AM
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apipeguy apipeguy is offline
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The 4” Wilson’s are all bull barrels. Only the Commanders and 5” guns have bushings. I only have one Commander length Wilson and like it very much. My 4” bull barrel guns are also excellent. Can’t say I prefer one over the other. Some say that the bull barrel guns are more accurate but my most accurate 1911 is a 5” with a bushing. Others have at time made comments worrying about the bull barrel to slide becoming loose and hindering accuracy but I have never heard of an actual case of that and certainly it has not happened to mine.
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  #4  
Old 03-22-2019, 09:27 AM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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Bushings are harder to take apart and more likely to be damaged and worn out by incorrect handling, they also are less reliable and have more recoil. I always perfer a bull barrel when legal for competition due to the speed advantage and also for reliability.

My few bushing guns are not as reliable in the same size class as my bull barrel or flange/comp barrel guns and always have worse control. In my fullsize guns the bushings work fine but require extra care when taking them apart to avoid wear. It’s also just flat out more difficult to disassemble them sicne you have to do the bushing twist dance with the slide pulled back partially to preserve the fit. That or you have to control the spring as you remove the slide and carefully allow it to decompress it will fly off.

With a bull barrel gun you just slide the top end off. From there the Wilson “flgr” can be titled out with the spring easy to control and the barrel goes right out the front. No messing with a bushing.

From personal experience 15k rounds will not even begin to wear out a bull barrel.
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  #5  
Old 03-22-2019, 04:08 PM
Mike Boufford Mike Boufford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsvette View Post
The bushing barrel is easier to disassemble/field-strip for me.
And this is the gist of it. I have bull barrels and bushing barrels with no discernable difference in accuracy or reliability. The flatwire springs that I have installed on the shorter barrels make assembly and disassembly a little tougher but not impossible.
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  #6  
Old 03-22-2019, 04:44 PM
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Grandpas50AE Grandpas50AE is offline
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We had a thread recently in which there was a link posted to a video of Greg Martin at Wilson Combat showing disassembly/reassembly of a 4" 1911 - no tool needed; using that method, a bull barrel gun is at least as easy to disassemble/reassemble as a bushing gun.

As others have stated, I have seen no difference in accuracy between the two methods, and I have plenty of each type. All my 4" 1911's have the flatwire recoil spring and guide rod, including the Kimbers that I converted to it, and all function just as well as the standard GI set-up.

I don't know of anyone making a bushing-ed gun in 4" or less, but bushing-ed or bull makes no real difference to me either way. I suppose the bull barrel has the advantage in timed rapid fire if having weight added to the muzzle to reduce muzzle flip, but an offset to that is the slow-fire advantage of the 5" having a longer sight radius. Seems like a wash to me unless you have a specific purpose for the gun that those two pro/con attributes would lend and advantage to.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:13 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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There's probably someone, somewhere, who has built a 4" barrel 1911 with a barrel bushing.

But I'm not aware of any current builders. Not saying they don't exist; only that I'm not aware of such.

4.25" is, of course, a different subject. The 4.25" barrel length seems a significant boundary line for traditional 1911 barrel bushings, so to speak. The 0.25" difference between Commander and 4.0" compact seems significant.

----

As to reasons why, I think one would wish to consider both (1) the higher angle of barrel tilt and (2) the increased stresses on the bushing's legs when considering progressively shorter 1911 barrels.

There will always be someone who says it can work (with barrel bushing); that these two above concerns can be worked around.

But most 1911 builders appear to have decided otherwise (in regard to barrel lengths shorter than 4.25"). And I'm in agreement with them (no matter which design is easier to dis-assemble/re-assemble; the latter doesn't make much difference to me; I'm perfectly o.k. with dis-assembly/re-assembly of either design).

----

Personally, I don't wish to push engineering factors. While I like barrel bushings in a 5" 1911 chambered for normal .45acp loads (or 38 Super or 9mm), I don't like to push the limitations of the tradition 1911 barrel bushing to more demanding circumstances.
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Last edited by chrysanthemum; 03-22-2019 at 10:02 PM.
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  #8  
Old 03-22-2019, 09:22 PM
tjpaxton tjpaxton is offline
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I have both, they are equally accurate, but it's just easier for me to disassemble the bushing style. The Professional is my preference for EDC.

Edit: I have no idea why some of my photos load upside down sometimes. If you right click on the photo and open in a new tab, it opens correctly.

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Old 03-22-2019, 09:24 PM
tjpaxton tjpaxton is offline
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:37 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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^^^^

As one who is internet photo-posting "challenged", I can relate.

I've kind of given up on that. Otherwise, I enjoy photography
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  #11  
Old 03-22-2019, 10:07 PM
aaronsappl aaronsappl is offline
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I have both. All my 5 inch and 4 1/4 are bushing. My Pro, which is 4 inch is of course bull barrel. I cannot tell any accuracy or reliability difference.
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  #12  
Old 03-22-2019, 10:09 PM
CyberDyneSystems CyberDyneSystems is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
There's probably someone, somewhere, who has built a 4" barrel 1911 with a barrel bushing...
I've got a 3.5" with an EGW "Officers Melt" bushing.


http://www.egwguns.com/1911-parts/of...shing-melt-ss/

Works great, but I was shocked when the slide came with a bushing slot.
I wouldn't argue it being superior, just pointing out they do exist.
Attached Thumbnails
Officer 20180530 small.jpg  

Last edited by CyberDyneSystems; 03-22-2019 at 10:12 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03-22-2019, 10:26 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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I figured/guessed that one (or more) could be found somewhere. Someone will always take on a challenge!

And Thank You for sharing.

It's too late at night for deep thinking on my part, but I'll be curious to learn what I can about this design this weekend. Couldn't find it,
at least not straightaway on the Para website, although I did find the 3.5" bull barrel. Maybe discontinued? Just curious; part of the "wannabe" 1911 engineer in me.

Of course, EGW parts are pretty well regarded. Probably a very solid, machined-from-barstock part.
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  #14  
Old 03-22-2019, 10:32 PM
Ytown1911 Ytown1911 is offline
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Personally prefer bull barrel for added weight and easy is disassembly. Also, less moving parts to fail (not by much, mind you, and it is an academic point... though bushings DO fail we all know it’s as rare as a blue moon). Also, I would add the flanged barrel if you could. Only 1/10” longer but huge didference in recoil mitigation and sight tracking.

I, like many, have both types. And pie too...love pie.

Recently acquired a 1911 with a BULL 4.25” .45 ACP barrel. Great shooter and nice to have that barrel in something other than a bushing.
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:35 PM
CyberDyneSystems CyberDyneSystems is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
I figured/guessed that one (or more) could be found somewhere. Someone will always take on a challenge!

And Thank You for sharing.

It's too late at night for deep thinking on my part, but I'll be curious to learn what I can about this design this weekend. Couldn't find it,
at least not straightaway on the Para website, although I did find the 3.5" bull barrel. Maybe discontinued? Just curious; part of the "wannabe" 1911 engineer in me.

Of course, EGW parts are pretty well regarded.
I believe it is actually a copy of the Colt Officers,. which also has this bushing. Perhaps it was designed by Clark, as the recoil spring plug is referred to as a "Clark" plug. Anyway, some Colt's with this recoil/bushing assembly can be found here;
https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=987070
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Old 03-23-2019, 12:13 AM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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Originally Posted by CyberDyneSystems View Post
I believe it is actually a copy of the Colt Officers,. which also has this bushing. Perhaps it was designed by Clark, as the recoil spring plug is referred to as a "Clark" plug. Anyway, some Colt's with this recoil/bushing assembly can be found here;
https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=987070
That makes sense. Thanks again. Oftentimes, we learn the most from examining designs that explore how far away one can go from JMB's original and still have a functionally solid gun. And what adjustments were made in order to make it work.
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Old 03-23-2019, 05:22 AM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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Especially on a shorter slide gun, adding weight via a bull-barrel is a plus for your shooting. Take it the next step by getting the 4"EP which adds more weight right at the muzzle via the fanged barrel. And finally even a further step by getting the Wilson carry comp which has a comp which adds weight as well as compensation reducing the recoil. This is about shooting faster and having less recoil into your body. Each option above does this with affect more and more...Looks, disassembly, and all that other stuff is secondary imo.
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Old 03-23-2019, 06:36 AM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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Originally Posted by combat auto View Post
Especially on a shorter slide gun, adding weight via a bull-barrel is a plus for your shooting. Take it the next step by getting the 4"EP which adds more weight right at the muzzle via the fanged barrel. And finally even a further step by getting the Wilson carry comp which has a comp which adds weight as well as compensation reducing the recoil. This is about shooting faster and having less recoil into your body. Each option above does this with affect more and more...Looks, disassembly, and all that other stuff is secondary imo.
Not just that, the locked weight of the slide and barrel with a 4 inch bull are closer to a full length. Helps with timing as well. Reliability is also much higher with bull barrel compact guns, my NHC T3 is a 4.25 bushing and aside from way more flip it canít run more than 900ish before weird errors start happening. The bull barrel guns just keep working.
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:22 AM
Hopknockious Hopknockious is offline
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I believe solidly the choice of most manufacturers use of bull barrels in 4in and shorter guns is rooted in reliability. If bushings are breaking more often 4in and smaller guns, please provide some examples or posts supporting that claim.
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:30 AM
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If you really want to argue about it bushings can fail
I see no cons to the bull barrel
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:11 AM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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If you really want to argue about it bushings can fail
I see no cons to the bull barrel
Cost and serviceability. You canít fit a bull at home unless you have machine tools.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:28 AM
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On a shorter slide I prefer bull barrel for reliability & better controlled pairs.

Pie is good too!
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:54 AM
Bigdaddymike Bigdaddymike is offline
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Have both, love both, get one (or more) of each, you'll be HAPPY!
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:19 AM
US1911 US1911 is offline
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
Cost and serviceability. You canít fit a bull at home unless you have machine tools.
^^^Excellent point!

Barrel bushings can be affordably fit by Pros (and DIYers) to improve accuracy. If it wears out, fit another. Barrel accuracy being equal, how can a bushingless pistolís accuracy be improved without an oversized barrel or milling a new slide. When accuracy declines on a bushingless pistol, itíll be more costly to correct. Not like it really matters for SD accuracy purposes, but I suspect the difference between bushing and bushingless pistols, has more to do with reliability from shorter barrels.

Iím not technical enough to know exactly why most sub Commander size 1911ís are bushingless, but I suspect that part of the equation is the shorter barrel length as it relates to barrel rise out of battery. Seems like the shorter barrel has less room to complete its cycle, with a bushing, combined with a weak recoil spring, that could increase the potential for malfunctions (less room for the slide to gain momentum).

I dig barrel bushing myself, but if a manufacturer chooses to forego bushings on certain size pistols, then I assume they have a very good engineering reason for doing so. In which case, if I dig their pistol, Iíll buy it, regardless of whether or not it has a barrel bushing.

A personalization advantage of the barrel bushing, is that you could have ďStrikerĒ engraved on it.
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:43 AM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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Originally Posted by US1911 View Post
^^^Excellent point!

Barrel bushings can be affordably fit by Pros (and DIYers) to improve accuracy. If it wears out, fit another. Barrel accuracy being equal, how can a bushingless pistolís accuracy be improved without an oversized barrel or milling a new slide. When accuracy declines on a bushingless pistol, itíll be more costly to correct. Not like it really matters for SD accuracy purposes, but I suspect the difference between bushing and bushingless pistols, has more to do with reliability from shorter barrels.

Iím not technical enough to know exactly why most sub Commander size 1911ís are bushingless, but I suspect that part of the equation is the shorter barrel length as it relates to barrel rise out of battery. Seems like the shorter barrel has less room to complete its cycle, with a bushing, combined with a weak recoil spring, that could increase the potential for malfunctions (less room for the slide to gain momentum).

I dig barrel bushing myself, but if a manufacturer chooses to forego bushings on certain size pistols, then I assume they have a very good engineering reason for doing so. In which case, if I dig their pistol, Iíll buy it, regardless of whether or not it has a barrel bushing.

A personalization advantage of the barrel bushing, is that you could have ďStrikerĒ engraved on it.
Iíll fully admit the ďBROWNĒ and ďWILSONĒ on the end of my fullsize guns is a badass touch. Great points on the above, I also donít care too much as evidenced by the fact I have a bunch of bushing and bull guns. I DO perfer bull/comped guns though if given a choice but I have carried a bushing gun for a while. The T3 to be exact while my Wilson was having the comp added, I just made sure to keep it wet and if you that it runs 100%.

Best in terms of flexibility would be a threaded bushing barrel since you can add a comp or can as wanted as I do on my Browns Ultimate in flexibility and recoil IMO would be a threaded bull barrel.

Last edited by Striker2237; 03-23-2019 at 11:51 AM.
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