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 Building a 1911 from scratch, got some questions => "Done" 
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I bought a 1911 government kit & frame from Sarco, and both showed up today. I've started putting the pieces together, but have run into an issue I'm not sure how to fettle. I know my way around a 1911 to detail strip, clean & reassemble, but this is only the second time I've tried to build one (and the first one from scratch), and the first one had all the parts well worn together (1943 Colt I built onto a Filipino frame).

The thumb safety plunger (part #51 in the diagram below) won't fit into the plunger tube (#37). If I turn the plunger around and put it into the tube just to see where it hangs up, it'll go about 3/4 - 4/5 of the way and it stops. I suspect there may be a bit of flash on the end of the tube, but I can't see anything obvious. My inclination is to gently use a fine, round diamond file to remove a bit of metal, but wanted to see what you guys have to say. It just dawned on me, does it go in from the other side? On all of my other 1911's, the two plungers and the spring are all attached so they're sort of like one piece of an assembly, instead of the three pieces it is now.

The magazine spring (#27) and the plunger spring are roughly the same size, but it looks like the longer one is the magazine spring in the diagram. Is this correct? Does the magazine release lock (#26) fit inside the spring?

Can the ejector just be pressed into the frame (and the pin inserted)? I was sort of expecting to have to tap it in with a mallet, but I was able to simply press it flush against my bench with some force.

Similar question with the plunger tube, just pressed in, or do the legs need to be peened once it's flush?

I'm ordering the book by Jerry Kuhnhausen so I'll have a reference, but it's not here yet.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!



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Last edited by delliottg on Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:38 pm
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Plunger tube goes on correctly only one way. If you have it on backwards and try to install the plunger tube spring assembly correctly, it shouldn't work. The tapered end pin of the assembly goes in first, from the rear. It's also possible that your plunger tube needs to be reamed. You need to dogleg the spring so it doesn't shoot out the tube like MadPick's 1911...more on that later.

To correctly install the plunger tube, you need to degrease the frame and tube. You may choose to use a Loctite activator with this process.
Dremel with carbide cutter in the frame and relieve the holes a bit for more space to flare the staking. If you're not OK with this, skip it....most people do. I don't. Wipe it clean. Apply your optional activator, red loctite, install the tube. Let it setup over night. The next day you'll need to stake the plunger in place. Brownells sells a tool kit for this.

The magazine spring definitely does not fit either the plunger tube, nor the mag catch/release. I know what you meant but, I had to say it. :bigsmile:

The spring for the mag catch/release is not the same spring as the plunger tube spring.

26 goes into 25. 27 goes into 26.

Depending on how your frame and ejector were machined, the ejector may drop right in. You may need a bevel at the top of the holes for the ejector to seat correctly. You also may need to notch the front/longer leg of the ejector if it's not already done. You need the notch or else the pin won't drift in.

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Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:36 pm
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Thanks Dana, I was hoping you'd respond. I'd assume the plunger tube could be staked after the fact, like say if somebody brought their new 1911 to the NY Shoot, and someone else brought their staking tool?

It didn't occur to me to look for a notch in the ejector leg, so I'll have to see if I can get it back out to look. It went in relatively easily, but not sure what it might take to get it back out to check for/cut the notch.

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Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:41 am
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delliottg wrote:
Thanks Dana, I was hoping you'd respond. I'd assume the plunger tube could be staked after the fact, like say if somebody brought their new 1911 to the NY Shoot, and someone else brought their staking tool?

It didn't occur to me to look for a notch in the ejector leg, so I'll have to see if I can get it back out to look. It went in relatively easily, but not sure what it might take to get it back out to check for/cut the notch.


You're welcome.

If I can make it up there, I will definitely bring it. You need something to mount a small bench vice, or a big one, size doesn't matter, to use tool. They are staked by applying pressure from the tool, like a vice handle, not blunt force like staking the grip screw bushings. ACTUALLY, one person could hold the tool while another person did the staking....it's really not the pro look BUT, there are guys in other countries making 1911 style pistols on different floors without power tools....as Olydemon pointed out.

Which kit did you buy? I bought one a couple years ago and paid WAY TOO MUCH for it on GunBroker. I was ignorant and didn't know any better. Sarco was out of the parts kit and I didn't know what I was paying for was nearly the price of getting all Wilson Combat parts. But guess what....even though I replaced all those parts a few months ago, I still use them to test other peoples guns. So they do come in handy. Example, I have one of USrifles' pistol on the bench, it has disconnector click and it was driving me bonkers. There are a few ways to address it one being to stake around the disco hole in the frame and swage it out to the size needed for the disconnector head to keep it from moving too much. Well...this pistol has an aluminum frame and I'm not keen on staking it. I replaced his disconnector with a Sarco disco, one with round ball head. Click went away, trigger pull weight went up a half pound. Now I'm not about to start replacing customers parts with Sarco parts but, EGW makes the proper replacement part to the tune of about $25.

Edit, yes I'll be there and will bring the tool.

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Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:09 am
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I bought the Sarco kit with a RIA frame (also from Sarco). I've had good luck with their parts repairing one of my other 1911's, and the price was right ($230 for the kit, $120 for the frame, with shipping, handling, tax & receiving fees, I'm into it for about $395 total).

I have a small clamp-on vise with leather lined jaws I can bring, and we can clamp it to the winch platform on my truck (I think, I'll check over the weekend to make sure, otherwise I'm sure we can find a bench top there to clamp it to).

Regarding the grip screw bushings, can those be staked with just a small punch & mallet? I'd assume those get Loctited as well? I found some accelerator here at work, so I'll bring that home with me to at a minimum get the plunger tube installed. I'm kind of assuming the accelerator is just a CA glue accelerator similar to what I use when I'm turning pens, and cleans up easily?

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Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:59 pm
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That will work. Your frame won't be in the vice, just part of the tool.

The bushing stake is yet another tool and a punch. I'll bring it. There's differing opinions on Loctite or some kind of thread locker and grip screw bushings. I'm not putting any thread locker on anyone's grip screw bushings. The Tincancanbandit can tell you about getting them out on a Ruger with thread locker. As for the accelerator, I used a cotton swab for application.

I'm glad you got a good price on the kit....I payed a lot more for just the parts without a frame.

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Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:12 pm
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I have the carbide bit and plunger staking tool if you need to borrow them. I am in Snohomish

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10073 ... -tool-1911


Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:19 pm
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capincurt wrote:
I have the carbide bit and plunger staking tool if you need to borrow them. I am in Snohomish

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10073 ... -tool-1911

Thanks Curtis, Dana (dreadl) is going to bring his staking tool for both the plunger tube and grip screws to the NY Shoot. On the off chance we don't make it or he doesn't, I'll get in touch with you.

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Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:32 pm
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No problem it will be a fun project and was quite a learning experience when I built mine.


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Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:39 am
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Well, the pistol is finished for the most part. There are still things to do like staking the plunger tube and grip screw bushings which'll happen at the NY Shoot. A friend of mine flexed the extractor for me, and showed how the gauge he has insured the correct amount of flex. I also tapered the bottom edge of the extractor with a diamond hone, just enough to ease the round coming up from the magazine into the extractor. My next problem was fitting the barrel to the shroud. That was more work than I thought it'd be, but again with the super fine diamond hone I slowly got the barrel to fit. It took quite a while because I was taking so little metal off each time. It's still very-very stiff going into battery and I haven't tried to load any ammunition into it. I'm borrowing a friend's snap caps this evening so I can test it before I put any live ammo in it.
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Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:25 pm
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Are you talking about fitting the barrel hood when you say shroud?

How much upper lug engagement are you getting?

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Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:01 pm
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dreadi wrote:
Are you talking about fitting the barrel hood when you say shroud?

How much upper lug engagement are you getting?


Probably, I don't know all the correct terminology yet. It's where the barrel lugs engage the slide. It looks to me like it's going fully into battery, I can see no light between the barrel and the bolt(?) face (where the firing pin hole is in the breech), and the barrel appears to be tight up against the inside of the slide. When I take it apart, I see a bit of Parkerizing missing from the forward barrel hood lug and similar wear on the barrel lugs.

I'm not sure that answered your question or not.

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Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:12 pm
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barrel lugs aka upper lugs because the barrel also has lower lugs. The lower lugs are the radiused area where the barrel link is pinned. upper lug engagement is the difference between the barrel in and out of battery.

There is no bolt. What you’re referring to on the slide is the breach face. The barrel hood has to be fitted to that area. A little light is fine. It depends on what you’re going for in fitting. Some people swear you have to have to have it so tight you can’t see light. Some people are into just a little bit.

Do you have a depth mic or calipers?

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Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:33 pm
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I have calipers as well as a dial indicator. I ran some snap caps through it last night without problem.

Yeah, I know there's no bolt, I just didn't know what to call it.

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Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:46 pm
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Now that I'm not typing from a phone and instead of re-typing what's all ready been typed before, here's the lesson from my guru. http://www.1911forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=338198

That should get you on your way for checking upper lug engagement.

Edit: Just now saw the picture. Good job!

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Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:45 pm
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