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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:25 pm 
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I started some threads about 1911’s that get used pretty hard:
“23,000 and lessons learned” (November 2006)
http://forum.ltwguns.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4364

“Lessons learned after 12K rounds” (September 2006)
http://forum.ltwguns.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4079

“High mileage comes to town” (July 2010)
http://forum.ltwguns.com/viewtopic.php? ... gh+Mileage

The first one is about a 1911 belonging to a guy I called “Rod”, because I didn’t think it a good idea at the time to use his real name. His real name is Rob Donaldson. I spent the last few days with him and Jeff Chudwin, me filling the role of assistant to the assistant instructor and class armorer. Rob and Jeff were putting on a CQB class for Chicago-area police officers.

I did some minor work on this gun for Rob a few years back—it was to be his workhorse gun. If you read what I wrote about Rob before, you know that he is a true shooter, a real hard charger. His is a protégé of Jeff and also of Henk Iverson and in addition to being a police officer, is doing training for Strike Tactical Solutions, a company that Henk originally got rolling.

So now this Operator is at 50K rounds. Here’s what it looks like:

This Kart barrel is the third for this pistol. Rob felt the first was worn at about 10,000 and had someone else replace it. I did not see the first one at 10K and I’m guessing it may have still been OK. Barrel number two simply was not fitted right nor throated or chambered right. Rob struggled with it for a thousand rounds and then brought the gun back to me and I put in this Kart Easy Fit. It has held up extremely well to the 30,000 rounds he’s put through it. Rob tells me that maybe 1% of those were jacketed, so maybe 29,700 were lead semi-wadcutters with a 5-point-something load of 231. With his very packed training schedule, he is shooting more these days than ever before, and it was a lot before. He reloads to keeps costs down.
Image

The frontstrap checkering has taken a bit of a beating……
Image

Overall right side. One version of my Shield Driver sight, made from a Yost Professional, before I started making them from scratch to my mid-eighties design. All other bits are stock Springfield except hammer and sear, plus the slide stop is not stock but neither of us remembers changing it. I believe the S&A magwell was stock on this but not sure.
Image

Even the original MIM ejector is still there. I must say this Springfield has held up exceptionally well. The frame rail cracked above the slide stop window—common and no big deal….. that’s all there is for cracks.
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The breech face—not as worn and dimpled as I would expect with this round count, regardless of the loads used.
Image

Like I’ve said, Rob runs the guns and gear hard. Not an abuser by any means, in fact he’s a rare bird in that he really dotes on his guns in terms of maintenance and lube, but—he doesn’t baby stuff. He uses his equipment to the max. I’ve had to TIG on several stops on his Wilson ten-rounders—see how this one is about to get slammed off? And the base pad saw this and took a hike!
Image


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:45 pm 
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Ned-

I really enjoy threads like this. It's nice to see a pistol that gets used...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:18 am 
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Assume RH shooter as the ambi has lasted 50k....crazy

Good stuff Ned

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:41 am 
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Agreed, Bob, and indeed he's a righty.

This class is exciting and not easy to pass..... there are some different techniques that make sense, are easy to understand and do..... until the pressure is on, then one tends to revert "what I've always done".

Rob's been a friend for a long time and we've worked together but this is the first time I've been able to observe him in the role of primary instructor or co-instructor. He gets it across. Jeff and I have been friends for decades now and he would not tolerate me saying it in his presence but he is a training legend at least in his neck of the woods, and has been an incredible leader, no, wait-- a tireless campaigner-- in officer safety and education on anything and everything related to shooting or use-of-force.

I know this is a post about the gun but I think some background on the owner helps frame it.

The above "High mileage" post is about one of Jeff's 1911's BTW. Rob, a high-volume 1911 shooter? Definitely. And I would bet that Jeff's volume is higher by a good margin. Thanks to guys like this we can find out in months, not years or decades, how things hold up or don't hold up!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Re: the Wilson bureaucrat magazine. Clearly, Bill Wilson and crew came up with a insertion stop that works for most users. And just as clearly, Rob is on the far right end of the curve when it comes to abusing magazines.

Even I haven't busted one of those off yet.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:11 am 
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That is a good post. I know I have one I have carried for 22 years now and on a second barrel, but not a 1911. Department did not allow single actions. But a well used tool attests to the maker as well as the user. Robar did mine 21 years ago.

Hopefully some of the pieces built by these craftsmen will show up in a few other threads after use. Lots of use. I would think that is the ultimate compliment. Using one of these pieces for its intent.

I current have one built my Heirloom that has several thousand out of it. Frame and slide started as a REAL 1911. Serial number 191111. Used to be my demo before Heirloom got it. Now its a "sleeper" keeper. Soon as the digital camera gets retuned I'll get some posted.

Again thanks for showing us this thread.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:39 am 
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These threads seem pretty popular! I find them interesting too.

I've TIG'd the stops on maybe a dozen of those mags for Rob and one other guy. Bring one to class, Patrick, let's see what it takes!

I'll bet this Kart barrel will still shoot an inch or better at 25 yards given good eyes and a sandbag rest. Probably better out of a machine rest. I had one year ago but it just seemed like more trouble than it was worth for my purposes. Although Rob's training is mostly about gunfighting at grappling distance, he can do the accuracy thing with the best of them and will be quick to notice a pistol that is not up to snuff in this department.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Very cool! Cool indeed. As soon as I find time ( has anyone seen it? ) I am going to finish up my own commander build which I plan to track and record 100,000 rounds on. Will take some time (again, anyone?) to get there, but I think will make for a cool thread.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:07 pm 
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Ned,

I very seldom post anything on the internet, but this brings me to do so. Thank you for this post. I get so tired of the "how to cure the idiot scratch" posts on some forums. This is the type of information that I want to know. Makes me rethink MIM parts when you discussed the ejector. Thanks again.

Tim


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:09 pm 
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Tim, just for fun I need to check his pistol for idiot scratches..... let's see if a non-idiot can get to 50K and never make the scratch!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:17 pm 
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Thanks for taking the time to document everything. Finish is still chrome sulfide? The slide is looking better than I'd have expected.

How about the plunger tube and ambi safety? Loosening up yet?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:22 pm 
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The chrome sulphide was on Rob's stainless gun in one of the other threads. This one had Springfield's green Armory Coat on it..... when I got done with the metal work I just shot some Brownells Baking Laquer over the green and the bares steel and baked it.

Plunger tube isn't even loose! To my great surprise. Ambi has not broken nor even gone loose.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:56 am 
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Love to see a great build that actually gets used.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:53 pm 
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It is truly fascinating to see high round count pistols. This operator looks like it has a great life.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:41 am 
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Real sorry we lost the pics, but I was with Rob again this week at a class and snapped a few. He keeps accurate round counts and says he's now at 82K plus or minus 1500. Only 6000 +/- 1500 of those were jacketed (stats corrected from 80K and 2500 on 7/8/13. from notes taken at said class).

I'll just say this, I have no doubts whatsoever as to his round count. He is very meticulous about that kind of thing.

Could not get great pics in the bright sun as I could not see the screen on the back of the camera. I lament the passing of a regular old viewfinder on these dang things.

We chatted while shooting together at 300 meter pop-ups. Now that's what I call interesting conversation. Neither of us connected though.

Image
Image

The black / green coloring is due to the fact that it came from SA in OD green Armorycoat. When I worked on it I just shot black over the bare frontstrap and the rest of it as opposed to making it a complete re-finish. So in some spots the black has worn through to the green..... we figured the black Backing Laquer might not get the most optimal adhesion going over the already-used and oiled green; I dried it off the best I could and went for it. Good 'nuff in this case, a high-use and well-maintained 1911.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:40 am 
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Now, those are great pics of a great 1911.

The glamour shots are nice, but the impromptu pics of working guns are my favorite.

Thanks Ned.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:38 am 
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Rob's carry gun. A Commander-length originally made on a frame made from a Gov't frame..... this just is not optimal. We fixed it some time back and added the rear sight, the name for which came from a conversation with Rob who at the time was the shield driver for his team.

Top pic shows the frame dif where the recoil spring guide and slide bottom out. This shortens the stroke.

Image

Fixing it:
Image

Overall. Only thing left is to shorten the slide stop shaft as Rob prefers.
Image


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Rob came for a visit today.

The Operator is at 88,000 rounds now. Probably would have been more but he's in a new situation and the shooting has had to be curtailed somewhat.

We were looking at another project and I asked if he brought the Operator..... he did. I proceeded to take it apart just to see if there was anything picture-worth. Boy, was there. Glad I had a chance to look into it in detail-- this might have been discovered the hard way.

More later, but this is not the fault of the barrel.

Image
Image
Image


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:42 pm 
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Looks like you found that one just in time, Ned.

Your posts are AWESOME!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:11 pm 
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WOW I assume that is not the original barrel?? Cant see any barrel going 88k rounds.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:28 pm 
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Wow, that could have turned out to be a very bad day at the range; glad it was discovered during the inspection...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:48 pm 
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Interesting stuff Mr. Christiansen!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:20 am 
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So, why did this happen?

Let's define the part hanging down under the barrel, that has the link in it, as the barrel foot. That's generally what it's called.

The rear, vertical surface of it impacts the frame every time the pistol is fired.... every pistol design has some version of this-- something to stop the rearward movement of the barrel.

As the barrel links down it hits the vertical impact surface in the frame. If I doesn't hit it, it is the barrel link that stops the barrel and it (the link) will soon break. If this vertical impact takes place "too soon", there is probably going to be some interference in the cycle and the pistol ain't gonna work right.

But neither one is what happened here. That vertical impact surface in the frame, it is preferred to have it relieved toward the bottom so that the barrel foot impact occurs close to where the barrel foot "grows" out of the barrel body. As an alternative, sometimes you'll see the barrel foot itself with a step in it, preventing any contact toward the bottom. A great may 1911's don't have this relief and as you can see, it's hard on the barrel.

Another factor would be not having a decent fillet where the barrel foot joins the barrel body. I've seen some that were pretty sharp and they weren't breaking but it really should be there. Talking here about a small fillet like maybe .015. Usually if they have anything it's more than that like .030. This Kart barrel had it.

Now, I did not fail Rob in checking this the first time I worked on the pistol-- I made the relief cut in the frame. I know I did because the tool I use, which I made, leaves a little telltale standing nub in the center. The nub is smaller in diameter than the slot in the barrel foot that accepts the barrel link, so there's no issue leaving it there. This nub is still present in this pistol but at almost 90K rounds, the impact surface has been battered back so that the barrel was once again making contact down low. It's simple-- each impact has leverage when we have that low-end contact. When it's up high toward the barrel body, it's shear forces only and the barrel foot can take it.

As I say, many, many 1911's have this condition. Might not be a problem if the user is not shooting tens of thousands of rounds. On Rob's gun obviously this condition re-appeared gradually over 88K rounds... I just wish I'd been more diligent in checking it for him on those occasions where I have access to the pistol maybe twice a year, but I'm sure I probably glanced in there and said, yup, there's the nub, we're good.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:46 am 
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A close-up, showing the barrel had decent root fillets.
Image


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:21 pm 
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So, to recap; you want the barrel foot (or bottom lug) to be the contact point on the frame, but you want that contact to be high up, near the chamber?

When the contact is low, down near the tips, the leverage becomes great enough to break the barrel?

And on this one, it simply peened the frame at the top, until it had set back to where it could hit the barrel foot at the tips?

I've got a barrel around here that I did that to, but found it the hard way (a week before Second Chance) when the whole foot sheared off.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:37 pm 
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Yes on all, and me too, the ones I've seen fail were straight shear, not a tearing-out-by-the-roots like this one.

Top, the barrel that broke. I was thinking it had 38K through I but it's 68K... its good condition inside is due to he rounds in question being lead SWC loads, no sure what his load is but it feels like my 4.7 grain o Bullseye load. No wimpy, not smokin' hot.

Bottom, the new barrel unfired.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:40 am 
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I would love to have such kind of information. 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:32 am 
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Top, bowtie cut having been made but surface pushed back from high round count, to where the bottom of the barrel foot was once again impacting.

Bottom, bowtie cut remade and a few thou filed off the lower part of the barrel foot's rear surface for added clearance / life.

I always thought the bowtie cut seemed marginal in terms of impact area but this is the first time I've seen it do this. I like the added area of just relieving the back of the barrel foot but that is removing metal in an area that is already less than beefy. Unless by EDM it's hard to get in there and make a "D"-shaped cut in the frame.

And yes, once it was back too far, you could be stopping barrel rearward movement with the link which is not good. That's a borderline theoretical problem and in this case I was still OK

Image

Image


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:19 pm 
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Ned,

This thread is amazing. In a discussion I had with Bruce Gray the issue you show here is why he does not do the bow tie. His approx quote was: the bow tie tends to coin in high volume round count 1911's of which he had some experience. He prefers to relieve the bottom of the VIS as you discuss.

It was interesting to discuss and now to see a real world example is very cool.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:44 am 
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Update, I assisted Rob and Jeff in a class the last two days and had a chance to check on the Operator, which Rob was using for instruction.

"Now at over 98000" and he says he's ready to stop keeping a good count. I'm going to convince him otherwise. After a certain point, actual wear slows to a crawl except for certain parts. For example yesterday I found his extractor to actually have a small conical wear spot where it contacts the forward part of the extractor groove. He'd had a failure to extract earlier in the day so I just crisped things up with a file a bit and let the extractor in a little further, no further probs.

RD at 98K
72: You can see here where the checkering is down to bare steel where his fingers rest.
Image
77, 78: Original MIM’d firing pin stop and ejector are still in use.
Image
Image

(Update 1.5.2015, now at 103,000 rounds, saw the gun the other day and the slide was cracked....)


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