Colt MSH

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by razorbacker, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. razorbacker

    razorbacker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 2, 2011
    I have not owned a Colt 1911 but a friend told me that some Colt models have composite/plastic MSHs. Is that true? If so it surprises me.
  2. Yoemen66

    Yoemen66 Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2017
    Its called Delrin, the plastic that the msh is made of. Very hard stuff. A lot of manufacturers use weaker stuff. Colt has used it since 1986.
    WC145 likes this.

  3. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Yes indeed have had 3 of em come through the shop in the last 3 months. A little harder than Kimber’s plastics but still kind of crappy housing.
  4. El Perdido

    El Perdido Fictional Western Sage

    Oct 3, 2011
    That being said, one of my range buddies has an early 1991a1 with the Delrin housing and he has many thousands of rounds downrange and that crappy housing still keeps housing the mainspring without fail.
    WC145 likes this.
  5. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Yep they work just wouldn’t be my choice of materials
  6. Yoemen66

    Yoemen66 Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2017
    Yeah I have a friend who has an early 90s ORM 1991. He has put so many rds through it, he is on his 2nd barrel. He has worn out various parts, but he laughs about the "plastic msh" people complain about just keeps on ticking.

    Brent has commented before that for the complaints on forums for plastic msh and mim parts, those parts very very rarely ever failed for warranty work.
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  7. Yoemen66

    Yoemen66 Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2017
    Why, its a production gun. It saves money and saves weight and as you admit completely fulfills it's role?

    I have colts with steel and plastic msh's and it isn't a noticeable difference.

    People complain that a government model is too heavy for an EDC with the plastic msh.
    WC145 likes this.
  8. razorbacker

    razorbacker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 2, 2011
    Hmm, I'm familiar with Delrin. We purchase blocks of it from time to time and machine biological research devices. It is hard stuff, machines nice and clean. I know MSH is a low pressure/wear part, still kind of surprised Colt would use non metal parts in their guns. The Delrin we buy is fairly expensive. I wouldn't think there would be much savings over metal, maybe a few cents per unit. I guess it's more of a psychological issue for some of us. Even though it may wear as well as metal it's kind of disappointing to learn Colts have plastic parts. I do have a few Kimbers by the way.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
    Steve Owens likes this.
  9. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Agree, while it is relatively low pressure when you take one apart and reassemble it you can see it change color where the spring and cap apply pressure at the pin. There is a stress point there and metal is a much better choice imo.
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  10. Don_P

    Don_P Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 4, 2018
    Both of my Colts and the Kimber all came with plastic MSH's. They were replaced very easily.
    Steve Owens likes this.
  11. samuse

    samuse Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2013
    The only thing I don't like about 'em is how slippery they are. Smooth steel has better grip for some reason.
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  12. BR549er

    BR549er Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2018
    Here's a photo of one in the wild. I pulled it out of its natural habitat, the Serengeti Junk Drawer. Stock on a 2017 Colt Competition. Replaced after 2000 rounds only because I wound up with an extra S&A magwell. Had no complaints except it didn't help improve the grip like checkered steel does, to echo samuse. 20190401_071143-1.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  13. dakota1911

    dakota1911 Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    Never had any problems with the Colt ones and I have them in Colts as old as 1988. Did have a Kimber one crack in my 2005 Grand Raptor. Here is a comparison with a steel one in a 2015 Gold Cup Trophy (GCT) on the left and a Delrin one in a 2018 GCT Lite on the right. Took the picture to show the difference in mag wells.


    I did replace one in a 1991 SS Commander I got used as it was sort of dirty and I could not get it real clean so I replaced it with a SS one from EMC (bought through Brownells) and it went right in with no work. Could not say the same for the Wilson I put in the Kimber. It took quite a bit of removing metal off the top of the MSH.

    That brings up another point. A few years ago Kimber wanted about $30 for a replacement plastic housing but I could buy the Colt one for about $11.
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  14. bgw45

    bgw45 Member

    May 31, 2013
    Plastic on a Colt denies the history and nostalgia of the company. Sure, it works. So does a Smart Car. Replaced the one in my Competition first thing.
  15. razorbacker

    razorbacker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 2, 2011
    You put in words exactly what I've been trying to express.
  16. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Well the MSH issue is a cosmetic issue at least now unless using one of the heavy MS for a 10mm for example, wait 100 years and depending on many things some as simple as UV exposure, may break down the composite. Remember the collet bushings used in the 80's? Now those were a functional problem given enough cycles and could render the pistol a trotline weight when one of the metal petals broke off---:) ask me how I know:). Colt saw the light on that one doubt that the MSH will change though.

    Delrin is used extensively in automotive interiors. Ever notice on older vehicles how many of the parts exposed to UV and heat cycles fade and have embrittlement problems? I DO agree with Steve plus for me even if they are acceptable from a normal performance perspective they look and feel cheap to me.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  17. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Well one of the issues is because of the "texture" of the backside of a metal MSH it is against your hand. There were issues with the blued ones because some people when wiping down the guns did not get oil and clean the sweat and body oil residue out SO it rusted. Colt had a lot of complaints. So it is not quite as simple as it might seem on the surface---now on a SS frame why not--comes down to $$$$$'s only on that one.
    limbkiller likes this.
  18. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    I keep one on hand with no internals when working on fitting a trigger or changing out a thumb safety. They slide in and hold the sear spring in place well while I am assembling the thumb and grip safety back into the gun. I don't have to worry about them scratching anything, or getting scratched.
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  19. switchback

    switchback Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2014
    I actually like them, especially on a LW. Never had a colt version break, kimber not do much. And while I'm here STI a much more expensive 1911 than a colt, also has used plastic msh on at least some models. A colt Mark4 repro has a steel msh, so not all Colts ship with the delrin version. Way too easy to replace to get excited, I prefer front strap treatment to match my MSH texture. So if it does save me the buyer a bit I'm likely going to replace so it all matches. Unless I leave it alone like a new L W cmdr which has a serrated front strap for a bunch of old school cool.

    Sorry about spelling, I hare spell check .Way too much work and I actually spell quite well
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  20. Josh_Putman

    Josh_Putman Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    My Colt 1991 A1 I bought brand new in 94 had the flat plastic housing.

    One benefit is I decided to try an arched, and being they are so cheap I could buy one and try it without much expense.

    I since went with an S&A arched and checkered magwell housing. I probably wouldn't have spent the money on it if it wasn't so cheap to buy and try the polymer ones.

    Sent from my LG-SP200 using Tapatalk
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