Loose Fitting Slides VS Tight Fitting Slides

This is a discussion on Loose Fitting Slides VS Tight Fitting Slides within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The two "Schools Of Thought" have always been that a loose fitting 1911 slide will allow the pistol to function flawlessly when extremely dirty & ...

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Thread: Loose Fitting Slides VS Tight Fitting Slides

  1. #1
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    Loose Fitting Slides VS Tight Fitting Slides

    The two "Schools Of Thought" have always been that a loose fitting 1911 slide will allow the pistol to function flawlessly when extremely dirty & that as long as the "barrel to slide" fit is good the pistol will still be quite accurate.

    The "Tight Fitting Slide" folks state that a tight fitting slide will prevent the dirt & debris from being able to infiltrate in the first place.

    I am somewhere in the middle & think that a "butter smooth" traveling slide that is neither too loose nor too tight is best.

    Is there any advantage at all to installing a lighter weight Main spring ~ NOT Recoil spring...mainspring ???
    I really don't think so since I have always been able to get a very acceptable trigger pull on a defensive 1911 with the standard factory weight mainspring.

    Are you able to tell that I am going to be working on another Colt Carry Pistola very soon?
    Right now I am shopping for parts.

    Forum Moderator Bud White got me motivated to start working on a new .45 Slab Sides.

    I am THINKING about giving one of the WELD ON magazine well units a shot since I'll be working on a full size pistol for carry.

    The disadvantage of the "weld on" mag well is that the pistol butt needs to be cut & carefully shortened by .25" ~ careful work & no Boo-Boos are acceptable or the frame will be ruined.
    Also the frame will need to be refinished but, mine needs to be refinished anyway so no problem there (for me)

    The advantages of a weld on over an "add on" combination mainspring housing & mag well opening like the Smith & Alexander are slightly reduced weight & No Length added to the pistol butt.

    Hummmmmmmmmm my first little decision to make.

    Ideally what I would LOVE to be able to remember / find / locate is the name of this one custom gun-smith or company...don't remember?? that HOT FORGED FLARED the Colt Pistol Frame Mag Well Opening.
    Nothing added & Nothing Welded On & No Added Length to the pistol butt.

    Here was the basic process:
    The guy would "jig up" the pistol frame & then heat the Mag Well Opening area to cherry red heat & then quickly drive in a specially shaped wedge that perfectly flared out the mag well opening & still allowed the use of a standard Colt Mainspring Housing.
    It was a Very Clean Looking PERFECT Job!

    If any member comes across that advertisment in any old gun ragazines then shoot me a Private Mail with an address or a phone # & I'll call him & see if he is still doing that modification.
    I am going back "quite a few years" ~ so the guy might not even be alive anymore...or may have moved...but, I'm willing to try to track him down. Thanks!
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    The Lighter mainspring will allow the pistol to run faster. I have heard this can cause the slide to overrun the rounds in extreem cases.

    I dont know who would do the flaring but Caspian makes frames with the magwel built in ..


    I like a slide that doesnt have to be super tight but that when you strip the frame and just barly tilt it the slide will run back and forth like 2 pieces of glass or as you say BUTTER smooth not par-kay but real Butter.

    All them late night Pm's Got ya wanting to do some Slabside work Huh ? Glad i inspired ya


    Gonna do Stainless or Blue

    Commander or 5"

    I would love to build one my self then have it nickel plated.

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    Member Array Glockman21's Avatar
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    Loose or tight slide to frame dosn't concern me, it's the lock up that matters. My XSE commander has some rattle when shaken, but produces results that a custom 1911 would have to work to compete with.
    As far as the mag well, well if you become 1 with it you won't need a mag well. I have seen some mag well's on some STI frames you could park a car in, but they are not for me, I like the classic lines of the 1911 have become proficent enough to do a mag change without needing the mag well, or even looking at the gun for that matter.
    I wouldn't go to light on the mainspring as bud said it will cause issues, try to stick as close to JMB's design as possible if you want a reliable sidearm.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    qk iirc Nastoff, Sharp and in the past Heinie all did forged magwells. hope that helps ring bells for you

    edited to add

    Personaly i would just chuck the frame into a mill and mill out a magwell as the easy route lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

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    Thumbs up

    Yep...you guys know that Bud is working on one.

    I like the Caspian frame but, have two more Colt (frame only) here that really are begging to be made into shooting pistolas. My last two frames & THEN maybe I'll buy a Caspian.

    Stainless Bud. All of the carry guns that I work on from this point forward are going to be Stainless. No sending any more guns out for reblue for me...I'm done doing that.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    qk ya could allways park it at home , the formulas are simple
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Redneck...it might have been Nastoff.
    The other two are not ringing any bells in my head.
    Thanks.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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    OD*
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    Hope you have a ball building it QK!
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

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    Thanks OD !
    This is going to be a fun one.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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    Member Array Dan Burwell's Avatar
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    As for frame to slide fit it doesn't really matter to me. I do not think you gain any reliability by making it loose nor do you loose very much accuracy. If I am building a gun up from scratch you can bet the slide to frame fit will be very tight unless customer specs otherwise. But I don't see putting a load of time and other peoples money into tightening up an existing fit just to do it. Not to say that I won't do it if asked.

    As far as mg wells go the weld ons are very nice if you have a milling maching and can weld. The heinie mag wells also do not add any lenght the the frame but you still have to do some machining. I also like this one I just did for a guy using a Legacy custom mainspring housing.

    it opens the hole up a good bit but you can still use standard grips. I could have gone a little more crazy when I did the sides of the well but the customer still wanted a beefy lower edge.

    enjoy,
    Dan

  12. #11
    Member Array George Hill's Avatar
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    Tight to Loose... that's really not the question. If it's fit right, it will not be loose at all, and it wont be tight either. There should be no rocking of the slide on the frame... and that doesn't mean it's too tight, it just means it fits.
    Take a look at a Rock River. No rocking, and it's not tight. That's a good fit 1911. Kimber and Springfields... even the Kimber Raptor II... there is a little rocking. That means it's not quite fit right. But then again, for a production gun like that, that means the gun is affordable in the same way the RR isn't.
    You also don't want any play in the barrel to bushing fit. That doesn't have to be tight to be a good fit either.
    Tightness is also a sign of a bad fit, just like a sloppy rocking slide is.

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array dimmak's Avatar
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    Good luck QK,
    As far as magwells go, I prefer to flare mine out a bit on the interior with a file and go with a Bobtail MS housing....
    Concerning the slide fit, I like mine "tight" (snug) with a good lube.... Never had a failure yet due to slide clearance, however I must admit that I've not dropped a 1911 in dirt or mud either....(Sigs and glocks different story)
    My 220ST is tight as a drum after ~1500 rds without any hiccups, just hard to retract slide when my left hand was broken, so I just resorted to the 226 then....
    BTW, good luck on the build.....
    Those Colts are hard to beat!
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    Thanks dimmak

    I sure am going to try to "Make A Nice Job Of It"

    I'm going to open up a "Watch QK Mess Up His Doggone Pistol" thread once I actually get started.

  15. #14
    OD*
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    "Watch QK Mess Up His Doggone Pistol"
    Oh, I'll be watching for that thread!

    'Cause I don't believe you'll do it (mess-up that is).

    How many have you built QK, I thought I had read you've done a few? I have only done one, didn't turn out too bad, a local gunsmith bought it.

    Fooled him.
    Last edited by OD*; June 21st, 2006 at 06:03 PM.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

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    Member Array Glockman21's Avatar
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    Be sure to keep us up to date with progress pics.
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