Sunday, January 25, 2009

Finally; 1911 breakdown

Ok; this is the long awaited 1911 detail strip post I've been promising for a long, long time. And to lead in, a little nongun.

The little clamp worklight had been bothering me a while because it's so hard to put it anywhere useful. today, I remembered one of the incomplete tripods I had in the basement. A little mod here and there, and I've got a portable 100W floodlight.

Here are some better photos of SpaceGun

For the uninitiated, that's a MechTech CCU on top of a RIA Hicap 1911 frame, set up to run 10mm, with an el-cheapo Chinese Docter sight replica on it.

As you can see, it's a little difficult to force my camera to focus infinite on command.

The interface:

You can see the base of the bolt here, and the disconnector notch. The safeties remain functional on these units.

Chamber interfaces fairly well with the frame's ramp.

It's all held together via rails and the factory slide pin.

And now to the feature presentation: detail stripping a 1911. Yes, I know it's a hi-cap, but it's close enough.

First thing to do (besides remove the grips) is to knock out the mainspring housing pin.

For this you'll need what I forgot at first: TOOLS. The block of wood is important, with the double stack 1911 frames you can easily warp it if you just lay it flat and start hammering.

Pin's out. Note the notch; there's a little extension piece under the mainspring that falls into that notch, even if the spring were loose in the housing it couldn't fall out.

The mainspring housing is on it's own set of rails, and slides out effortlessly.

Note the notch at the top, and that now the grip safety is beyond it's normal travel. The top of the mainspring housing retains the base of the grip safety.

Everything stretched out for viewing. At this point the sear spring has shifted and must be fiddled with to put the gun back together.

Sear spring. Three fingers for three different purposes, on one spring. Nifty.

The sear spring is located in the frame by a slot and notch. Remember this.

With the sear spring out, put the hammer and grip safety in a position that allows you to move the safety lever to where the "point" is on the plunger, and push upwards on if from behind (or pull). It should begin to lift out of the frame.

And removed. You can now see the part that blocks the hammer and sear from moving when placed in the safe position.

Where the safety interfaces with the hammer and grip safety.

The safety lever also holds in the grip safety, which may now be removed to the rear.

The hammer pin is a loose fit, retained by the safety lever, and will simply lift out of the frame.

Hammer removed, and hammer pin. The hammer strut remains attached (no good reason to take it off, really)

Half cock notch and hammer hooks

Better view of hooks, sear interfaces here to hold hammer in cocked position.

Here we see the sear and disconnector relation. Remember this, you'll need it. The pin is another loose fit pin, retained in this case by the grips. You'll need to remove the grips if you haven't already.

Pin lifted free, and sear with disconnector still in relation to each other as they were in the frame.

Alternate view. The "polished" surfaces towards the right are where the trigger bar pushes against them.

Parts separated

Another view of disconnector (l) and sear (r)

Sear surface. This surface interfaces with the hammer's hooks. And boy, that's an ugly surface. This gun has a surprisingly good trigger for such sloppy stoning.

Mag release. This is not a screw, but a toggle cam.

Push the mag release button, and give the slot a quarter turn or so counterclockwise. This releases the tab from the slot in the frame that holds in the mag release button

Push a little harder on the button and the assembly will come free.

Magazine release assembly. This was removed because...

... it holds in the trigger bar assembly. JMB was a clever designer.

Push the trigger into the frame and note that the trigger bar is now protruding.

Trigger bar removed out of the back of the frame. Note the shiny surface on top; this is where I had to do cleanup work with a file to solve the mystery malfunction I was having. The trigger bar was binding in the frame.

REASSEMBLY. Hold the sear and disconnector in the position they'll hold in the frame.

Insert the top of the disconnector through the hole in the frame; the disconnector will stop the sear from falling though. The holes will *not* be lined up, use something small to manipulate the sear until the sear pin drops into place.

Note the placement of the sear spring fingers; this must be held in place while putting the grip safety back into position. It's very easy to let the spring flip sideways or out of position.

Heh, skipped some steps. Assembly is pretty much just the reverse of disassembly though.

The RIA Hi-cap is *rough*. It reflects it's price for sure, but it is definitely functional. I will slowly be doing some cleanup work on it and parts replacement where possible, but none of it is required, as I said, it works fine.

And so ends the story. Now I need to come up with some ideas for what to do for the next big picture post...


Blogger Gene said...

Amazing Dr. StrangeGun, you have nicely explained to disassemble 1911. But I think this also teach us to assemble it. So it is dangerous for us bcoz now any person can make firearms like this and misuse it.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Dr. StrangeGun said...


Think about this. Browning figured this pistol out more than 97 years ago. The world isn't any more dangerous than it was before my post. Hell, you can do pretty well with a capped iron pipe, a marble, some homemade black powder, one hole, and a match.

Information isn't dangerous. Objects aren't dangerous. People are dangerous.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Worth the wait. I've been messing with 1911 innards for years, but I still consider this a clip-and-save. For one thing, I'll start with it when I try to teach someone else how to bench strip the 1911.

(it's linked from my place.)


6:10 PM  
Blogger hpcc19 said...

Careful when removing thumb safety.

If plunger tube is smooth inside and lubed and plunger assembly is smooth, the plunger spring assembly will shoot about 16 feet across the room and it is really hard to find. Point the back strap of the frame down towards the worktable when removing the thumb safety.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Vote For David said...

GI guns have the spring intentionally bent to prevent it flying out when you remove the thumb safety. You could do the same to yours.

Just sayin'.

10:02 AM  
Blogger hpcc19 said...


I learn something every day. I never did know why some of the springs are kinked and some are straight.

10:57 AM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

I learned a lot! I've never seen the guts of a 1911 before, thank you very much.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Johnnyreb said...

Cool post ... I've often wondered if the RI widebody could be mated to a MechTech. Bet that it's a handy lil' blaster!

11:37 AM  

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