06 May 2012
Self Education
or The School of Hard Knocks ...

A while back a couple pair of ZippsGrips (Maple Burl) were won on ebay auctions. These were purchased for the pair of PT1911's my brother and I picked up on a 'deal'. While Zipp probably wasn't too happy at the selling price (around $40 shipped for both pairs), I personally was delighted. Unfortunately we don't like them much, since the pistols came with slim grips. These stocks make them feel like Glocks compared to the originals.

So a bit of sanding was begun on my set. Now being a very unaccomplished wood-butcher this was quite an undertaking for me (as can be seen by the poor fit in the pictures). After slimming these to 'almost' the thickness of the originals, they had to be fitted by re-cutting the ambi safety and plunger tube relief.

Since they are flat bottom stocks, an S&A Magwell Funnel w/Arched Mainspring Housing was ordered. This was done to make it match the stocks better, and because I tend to shoot better with an arched mainspring for some inexplicable reason.

This is my first 1911. I have absolutely zero, zip, nada experience with them. What turned out to be a relatively simple procedure to change out a MSH, became an adventure that was not only frustrating at first but highly educational. It can be done quite simply without tearing the pistol down, simply by capturing the grip safety with a plastic coated twisty-tie, like from a bread bag or something similar.

I didn't know this of course, having zero, zip, nada knowledge of 1911's. Pulled off the MSH and the sear spring came out ... OK. With a bit of difficulty it was wiggled back into place. Put everything back together, and sat there beaming in delight at my pistol, like a proud Father watching his kids first bicycle ride after pulling off the training wheels.

That's when things really got out of hand ...

The damn hammer followed thru when cycling the action. Sitting there perplexed, the google search began. Two-fold. After figuring out how to actually tear it down correctly, now armed with schematics, videos, gun forum advice etc., got the spring back in correctly. The spring had been under the sear instead of on top. Apparently that seems to be a common newbie mistake. My bad ... After re-assembling everything it worked fine.

Kinda. Now the damn thing will fire without the grip safety being depressed. Now WTF ?

So i fiddled with the sear spring tension a bit thinking that when it first came out, i had somehow reduced the tension. Or something. That didn't help at all. That's what i get for thinking for myself apparently. Just about doubled the trigger pull, and the damn thing still fired with out the grip safety being engaged. Dammit.

After more videos, gun forums and other related posts the problem was finally nailed down. The MSH had to be fitted to engage the grip safety correctly. There was approximately .040 difference in the mating surface of the two MSH's. Chucking it in a table top vice, enough of the MSH face was removed to get it back to the dimension of the original.

Now everything functions the way it should, except for the gawd awful trigger pull. Had to re-tune the sear spring to get it right. I hope. I'm a newb at this after all, having zero, zip, nada knowledge of 1911's. It's a little stiffer than it was, but i'm not about to lighten it any more till it's gone thru it's paces at the range ...

Welp, at least now I can tear a 1911 down to the frame and reassemble the entire pile of parts into a functioning firearm. That's certainely an improvement ...


posted by Johnnyreb™ at 1:07 PM | Permalink |


At July 1, 2012 at 8:07 PM, Anonymous Theresa

If you want to do a rebel yell, get your props out first. Buy something along the lines of a Spyderco Resilience Sale. It is just the one you’ll like for keeps.


At July 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM, Blogger Johnnyreb™


How 'bout you, Theresa, send me one to T&E for a review instead of spamming the comments for free advertising ...


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