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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a great conversation today that has furthered my understanding of the 1911. Furthered my understanding by an inch so don't expect enlightenment. The conversation and demonstration led down the dangerous path of reliability. in this conversation I was shown slide length and rearward travel coupled with flat springs wire springs and right before my beady little eyes I saw that the commander length slides do not allow for a good amount of rearward travel. As this is where the conversation and "slide show" came to a fork in the road. From what I was shown and the construction of the slide it would seem that if a full size is cut down to a commander length, then it will have the same travel as the full size and allow the engineering to function at it's best operation without the changes that occur in a commander factory built. So, there now arises a few questions from this. Does one go the chopped route and spend the money up front for the smithing to have the theorized better reliability potential or does one buy a commander model because all the manufacturers are building them and the users are using them well enough.

THIS THREAD HAS MANY FACETS TO IT. I look forward to the thoughts of smiths and enthusiasts alike.

Please wait for me to dive in my fox hole first.
 
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The Tinker
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I prefer chopping a gov slide. I don't like the idea of a shorter stroke, primarily because I'm a fan of 10mm. I know of at least one well known smith that does this (chop a gov slide) so if it's good enough for them... ;)

Full disclosure: It's easier for me to make this decision because I can do the work myself. If I had to have it done, I might change my mind. I honestly don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you created one for yourself?
 

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The Tinker
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Have you created one for yourself?
I have. I've done several actually, but the only one I have left is my 2011. I didn't originally intend to build it as a short gun, but I added the shortened barrel just because I could.

719468


719469


It had seen a fair amount of abuse when these pics were taken. TBH It's spent more time configured with the longer 5.75" top end as I'm faster and more accurate with it. But now I have options. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@pistolwretch With more slide length movement, how is it less room for a recoil spring? By looking at the side by side comparison, it looked like more room. Would you mind elaborating?
 

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The Tinker
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@pistolwretch With more slide length movement, how is it less room for a recoil spring? By looking at the side by side comparison, it looked like more room. Would you mind elaborating?
Shorter slide, shorter spring cap/plug, which means less room for the spring. I just use commander springs. But maybe I'm not doing it right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have to apologize for my ignorance on this. It was very intriguing to me to hear of this. My lack of having examples in front of me and pictures is limiting my ability to understand and to point out my own logic to see where there is either merit, theory, or BS.
 

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The Tinker
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I have to apologize for my ignorance on this. It was very intriguing to me to hear of this. My lack of having examples in front of me and pictures is limiting my ability to understand and to point out my own logic to see where there is either merit, theory, or BS.
If you cut 3/4" off a gov slide, then stick in a reverse spring plug (typically used with bull barrels) the plug will stick out the front of the slide. I use a commander reverse spring plug so it doesn't extend beyond the front of the slide. That reduction of the length of the plug means there is less room for the gov spring, and it will go into coil bind before the slide gets all the way back on the frame. Using a shorter spring intended for a commander will allow the slide to go all the way back.
 

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I have both and do not see a real advantage to a sawn GM, my Commanders are fine.
I think Cabot makes them both ways.
The flat wire recoil spring is a big help in the cut down guns.
There is also the decision between bull and bushing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you folks, as the learning increases, so do the questions. So I was assuming that after cutting down a full to a commander, the barrel/ bushing would have to be addresses I imagined by using a commander barrel, or going the bull/ or cone barrel. The recoil system was then something that would be more of a tailored fit since it does not meet the parameters of the commander dimensions nor a full size anymore. Am I correct or in the ball park on this so far?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Jim, do you see the noticeable difference when racking the slide? I realize we are talking a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of movement and that may not seem like a lot on the grand scale, but the previously mention "short stroking" the action to provide the extraction process less time and space to rid itself of the spent cartridges seems like a large gain at the micro level of the operation of using this platform on the job. Outside of the suck it up and carry the full mentality, There is an advantage to carrying the smaller framed firearms and in my police career all function nicely and I feel confident that they will go bang when I pull the trigger, and can take the sweet-spot shot with all of the ones I see functional and reliable to carry on and off duty. This is what led me into the conversation with this gunsmith this morning and now in this group whom I see and read well thought out answers.
 

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I had a great conversation today that has furthered my understanding of the 1911. Furthered my understanding by an inch so don't expect enlightenment. The conversation and demonstration led down the dangerous path of reliability. in this conversation I was shown slide length and rearward travel coupled with flat springs wire springs and right before my beady little eyes I saw that the commander length slides do not allow for a good amount of rearward travel. As this is where the conversation and "slide show" came to a fork in the road. From what I was shown and the construction of the slide it would seem that if a full size is cut down to a commander length, then it will have the same travel as the full size and allow the engineering to function at it's best operation without the changes that occur in a commander factory built. So, there now arises a few questions from this. Does one go the chopped route and spend the money up front for the smithing to have the theorized better reliability potential or does one buy a commander model because all the manufacturers are building them and the users are using them well enough.

THIS THREAD HAS MANY FACETS TO IT. I look forward to the thoughts of smiths and enthusiasts alike.

Please wait for me to dive in my fox hole first.
If reliability is your concern, just buy a commander from a reputable company. Don’t spend a ton of money and roll the dice on a hatchet job of a Frankengun.

Unless you’re just into tinkering vs having a reliable firearm, just buy it.

Hats off to the guys skilled enough to do the work themselves. But that doesn’t sound like you, and any screw up is just a requirement for you to spend more money.
 

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Dremel jockey
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In this first pic we see a stock Colt 5" slide and a stock Colt 4 1/4" Commander slide.
The recoil spring tunnels are 1.680" and 1.260" in length respectively.
We can deduct approximately .100" of available spring room from each due to the cap thickness of the spring plug.



In this pic we can see the spring tunnel of the shortened 5" slide is now only .890". Deduct the .100" for the cap thickness and we are left with only .790" of available room for the spring.
A stock Colt Commander spring has 24 1/2 coils of .044" diameter wire.
It will stack solid at 1.078"



There is a deficit of .288" of room for a full length commander spring.
Shortening the spring by 6 1/2 coils with greatly reduce the 'in battery' force as well as the life of the spring.




Stopping slide travel on a solid compressed spring will damage the bushing and in some cases the slide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@pistolwretch That was great! Thank you for taking the time to set that up for me. So the spring requires more of a channel to allow for a more controlled compression?
 

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Dremel jockey
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SJ,
Sorry, but I do not understand your question?
I thought my explanation above was pretty clear.
But then again, I'm VERY uncomfortable from my oral
surgery earlier today.
Darn docs are VERY hesitant to prescribe useful pain meds.
Ibuprofen, Tylenol and ice is what they suggest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Your description was excellent. I was inquiring about the importance of the length of the channel and hoping my question was formulated more as a confirmation from your description but I could have botched it as I wrote it.
 

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Dremel jockey
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In a nutshell, more spring is always better.
Officers length springs are notorious for problems and very short life.
The newer flat springs do a lot to help but more is still better.

"They ain't no substitute for cubic inches."
 
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