Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Carry Ready Colt

OK, so I decided to make the Colt 1911 I bought recently carry ready. What does that mean? For me it means adding ergonomic features that ensure reliable operation of the firearm. I also had the loose plunger tube to replace, so last week I placed orders with Brownells and MidwayUSA.

First came the plunger tube, it was remarkably easy to replace with the Brownells tool and now I have a solid tube and a new tool. While I had the gun tore down, I replaced the trigger with a solid Ed Brown smooth, extended trigger to accommodate my big hands.

I don't have the heart to start carving on the Colt frame, so I purchased a Wilson Combat drop-in Beavertail grip safety to allow a higher and more consistent grip as well as prevent hammer-bite. The unit went in fairly easily, there was the usual fitting involved and the safety rubbed on the frame in a couple of spots, nothing a little abrasive applied judicously couldn't overcome. To match the new grip safety, I installed a Swenson Commander hammer after thinning it a bit and stoning the hooks down to .020. The trigger feels OK if not outstanding. The original sear was perfect, so I think smoothing up the hooks a bit would help some.

I then fitted the Cylinder and Slide extended thumb safety to the frame which pretty much completed my work, or so I thought. It turns out that the plunger tube I bought was oversized and that coupled with the extended safety meant I had to adjust the grips to allow for clearances, not a problem and easily done, but not expected on my part.

Whilst I had the gun completely tore down, I replaced nearly all the springs with new factory replacement Wolff Springs and adjusted the trigger spring to lighten up trigger pull a bit as well as cleaned out many years of gunk. The previous owner had not taken down the slide in a long time if ever, I think that's fine as far as I'm concerned, I know nothing's been monkeyed with. The oil inside the firing pin channel had actually turned to shellac, so a cleaning was indeed warranted.

I tested the function of the gun to make certain the disconnect does its job and that the safeties work properly and I even made certain that the firing pin would strike a primer by putting a pen down the barrel and "firing" it out of the gun. Everything seems great and I can't wait to get it to the range to function test it and make certain the modifications work and the plunger tube repair will hold. I'm confident in my work, but you don't know until you know.

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