how often do you field-strip your 1911

This is a discussion on how often do you field-strip your 1911 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Just days ago I acquired my first handgun, a used Springfield 1911 compact. After some range time I decided to learn how to clean it ...

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Thread: how often do you field-strip your 1911

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    Senior Member Array Moga's Avatar
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    how often do you field-strip your 1911

    Just days ago I acquired my first handgun, a used Springfield 1911 compact. After some range time I decided to learn how to clean it properly by field stripping it and cleaning its parts separately.

    Boy, what an interesting endeavor that was. I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to get the slide-stop back in. After a while I was beginning to anticipate the humiliation of taking my newly acquired survival tool in a heap of parts back to the place from which it just came for help.

    I'm surely glad I learned how to do it on a used firearm and not on a new 1911, cause I scratched the frame something good. If it had been the Kimber I have my eyes on next I would prolly still be hot under the collar. It's alright though on my carry piece-- gives my new friend character.

    For any other new shooterts out there, if your wondering what it means when it's said that a little gun oil goes a long way, it means just what it sounds like. LOL.

    Anyhoo, I was wondering about the consensus on whether it's necessary to disassemble/clean/reassemble every time the sidearm needs cleaning. Do some people clean it fully assembled and reserve the field stripping for periodic use? Or is that generally regarded as a disservice to the life of the firearm?

    And what does it mean for a 1911 to have a full guide rod? What advantage does that serve?

    Thanks for the insight.
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    And what does it mean for a 1911 to have a full guide rod? What advantage does that serve?
    Full-length guide rods aid extraction and feeding.















    They extract money from your pocket and feed it into someone else's.
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    IMO the basic field strip is exactly what is needed for a proper clean - without that you cannot properly clean and inspect all the areas required, in particular regarding relube (minimalist) after the clean.

    Folks clean guns between two extremes - hardly at all - and for a hobby!!! I do not think you'd need to clean after just shooting a few rounds - but a major range session of 100 or more then yeah - get rid of the soot and crud.

    Your learning curve may have been steep but I'll all but guarantee - in no time flat you will have a 1911 in bits and back together quicker than your burger will cook!!

    It is one of the nicest semi's to take down and reassemble - in fact even a strip to all discrete parts is not too bad once you know the internals.

    Beware of course the escaping spring syndrome - have a plan before these disappear into the unknown - and maybe even drape a sheet over you and the bench while working. The replacement spring you order from Brownells will usually guarantee on arrival that the one you ''lost'' turns up on the floor same day!
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    Senior Member Array Moga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Beware of course the escaping spring syndrome - have a plan before these disappear into the unknown - and maybe even drape a sheet over you and the bench while working.
    LOL as I read your recommendation. I sure could have used that info last night!

    One other question I have. Clint Smith from Thunder Ranch advises his viewers on Self Defense TV to visually check the firearm to confirm that its unloaded before cleaning by pulling back the slide and looking into the action. Good advice, no doubt. But when he does it on his XD, he is able to easily grasp the slide with his non-shooting hand under the frame then retract the slide with very little effort.

    Man, the slide on my 1911 is a struggle to manually retract unless force is applied in a pulling motion on the rear slide. It definately requires a firm grip with the non-shooting hand on top of the frame for the grip and force required to complete the motion. What gives?

    Is the visual check in general easier to perform on smaller caliber weapons? Or is the difference in effort required due to design?

    Just curious.
    Last edited by Moga; November 4th, 2006 at 09:29 PM.
    2nd Amendment: because personal violence never makes an appointment.
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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Each time I shoot it

    I have several 1911s, and I field strip and clean them after each time I shoot them. It takes about 10 minutes per gun, and I do it over the kitchen sink, with the window open next to me (because of Hoppe #9 fumes). I just don't like to put guns away dirty.

    You're right that field stripping and reassembling a 1911 is more involved than for many other semiautos. Glocks and Sigs are especially quick and easy compared to 1911s. For a conventional 1911 with barrel bushing, the process is easier if you first remove the bushing and recoil spring/plug. That takes the compressed spring out of the equation and makes everything come apart easier. Then reassemble the bushing and spring last when you put it back together. Just make sure you keep your finger over the recoil spring/plug when you rotate the bushing, or it will shoot out of there and across the room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moga View Post
    Just days ago I acquired my first handgun, a used Springfield 1911 compact. After some range time I decided to learn how to clean it properly by field stripping it and cleaning its parts separately.

    Boy, what an interesting endeavor that was. I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to get the slide-stop back in. After a while I was beginning to anticipate the humiliation of taking my newly acquired survival tool in a heap of parts back to the place from which it just came for help.

    I'm surely glad I learned how to do it on a used firearm and not on a new 1911, cause I scratched the frame something good.....

    .....I was wondering about the consensus on whether it's necessary to disassemble/clean/reassemble every time the sidearm needs cleaning. Do some people clean it fully assembled and reserve the field stripping for periodic use? Or is that generally regarded as a disservice to the life of the firearm?

    And what does it mean for a 1911 to have a full guide rod? What advantage does that serve?
    A lot of people scratch the frame or slide trying to get the slide stop back in. Just take your time & it does help to have the parts wells lubed.

    As to cleaning, I field strip for every cleaning. Also, as needed, I do a detail strip. That is far more work since you remove every part. I don't do the detail strip every time, but usually every other or every third.

    Full length guide rod.....I have both kinds, with & without. Some full length rods make disassembly a little harder, since you may need another tool (like a paper clip or Allen wrench) to aid you.

    Without a full length rod, the gun may feel harder to cycle (this is due to the recoil spring bunching up & twisting against the bottom of the barrel & dust cover when slide goes back), but it doesn't HELP ME with accuracy. It is also easier to do a 'press check', by pressing the recoil spring plug.
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    If I Shoot It...

    I clean it...completely!
    The KelTec's, Glock's, and Beretta's are easy, but the Kimber's take a little more time.
    I cannot put away a gun that's taken a trip to the range!

    OMO

    Keep it clean...stay safe!

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    Full length guide rods are said to prevent the spring from binding, although noone seems to have ever heard of a spring binding with a regular guide rod.

    They do add more weight to the front of the pistol, which some people find helpful.

    They also prevent a conventional press check, complicate disassembly, and limit the options you have for one-handed manipulation.

    It is worth the time to disassemble and clean a carry pistol at least once every week or two. It may save your life.
    Last edited by joker581; November 4th, 2006 at 08:58 PM. Reason: to answer original question

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    I'm anal.....I love cleaning my guns (And I love the smell of Hoppe's 9). I had aSig P229 and that thing would come apart in literally 5 seconds. My Kimber Ultra Carry 2 is a little more involved and requires a paper clip or the infamous Kimber tool. The slide stop was tricky the first time but now is fairly easy. The rest is gravy......neat design that 1911. Glad I bought it.

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Depend on if its a carry pistol or nto if it is i will check it out once a week and if to dirty field strip other wise once a month

    The full length guide rods serve no purpose except as OD said

    The one piece guide rods ill usually keep but 2 piece ones go in the garbage

    Springfields can be tough to get the slide stop back in

    Buy this tool from brownells it works wonders

    http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...TENT+DEPRESSOR

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    LOL everyone i know scratched the 1911 with the slide stop at one point or another , dont worry about that .. as to the question my feeling is a field strip , ie remove the slide , and major components to clean should be done once a week if not shot , every time shot for a carry gun . detail stripping can go months withour worry . Welcome to the world of 1911s and look foreward to learning , since on that model you never learn it all 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 .
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    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    I field Strip mine every session, which is about 200-400 rounds of LSWC reloads. Every 1000 I remove the extractor and FP and clean those areas. Every 3000 I replace the recoil spring and FP spring. I detail strip and clean at 5K intervals when I swap out mainsprings.

    The carry 1911 also gets shot frequently, so it goes through the same routine.

    Although the 1911 is a little more difficult to field strip, due to the bushing and slide-stop, it's probably the easiest pistol to detail strip

    IF God had wanted the 1911 to have a full-length guide, then JMB would have put one there. IMHO think they’re a solution in search of a problem. None of my 1911s have ever had one.

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    VIP Member Array maclean3's Avatar
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    I field strip and clean my 1911 after each range trip (usually an average of 200 rounds fired) and I'll also field strip and do a basic clean/relube if it's been a few weeks since it's been fired. I try to do a good external wipe down every week or so to clear accumulated dust and fingerprints, etc.. It sounds like a lot of cleaning but it really isn't that bad and, since I carry my 1911 daily, it picks up a fair amount of lint and debris just from being used.

    As to the force needed to retract the slide: The 5" 1911 uses a factory rated recoil spring of 16lbs., the 4"/4.25" uses an 18.5lb recoil spring and, IIRC, the 3"/3.5" uses a 20/22lb. spring as std. Now, add to that the fact that when manually cycling the slide you're compressing not only the recoil spring but the hammer/mainspring as well and you get an idea what you're up against.

    Try this: (With you finger off the trigger, of course) Grip the rear of the slide with your support hand. As you start to retract the slide, use the thumb of your firing hand to cock the hammer back. It makes a big difference in the amount of force needed to cycle the slide as now you're only working against one spring instead of two.

    If your gun didn't come with an owner's manual go to the Springfield Armory website and order one. I did just that when I bought my used Mil-Spec. When the order processes, it'll show a $5 fee for shipping+handling charges but that'll be removed by SA and you'll get it free of charge.

    I also highly recommend the Kuhnhausen 1911 Shop Manual (volume I is the one you want, vol. II is detailed gunsmithing info). This is the Holy Grail of 1911 info and will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about functioning, field stripping AND detail stripping. Worth every penny of the selling price - and then some! Check Brownell's or MidwayUSA, they usually keep them in stock.

    I agree with the others about the full length guide rods - I've got no use for them whatsoever and think they add unnecessary complications to the design.

    Welcome to the world of the 1911. They're addictive for sure and many of us STILL feel they're the finest combat handgun to ever be produced.
    Jack

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Just as a side note ... the 1911 is the only design i know of that can be detail stripped using only its self , if done properly the pistol its self will provide all the " punches " " screwdrivers " ect you need to get it to " pins and springs " Lets see your glock , sig , or kahr do that 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 .
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Beware of course the escaping spring syndrome - have a plan before these disappear into the unknown
    I usally do this step on the floor sitting on a sheet, the little buggers travel alot farther than you think. I have 2 springs now, lost one ordered one found the one I lost. I clean it every time it is shot.

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