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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a Colt WC government model that I'm going to send out for some custom work. The slide to frame fit is pretty loose; it rattles when I shake the pistol. This doesn't really bother me, but how does this impact the longevity and reliability of the gun, if at all?

I shoot well, but not well enough where I could take advantage of some crazy accuracy guaranty at 25-50yards. I am purely after reliability and longevity. Having said that, should I have the slide to frame tightened? If tightening the slide to frame and fitting a Kart barrel only adds to the life of the gun, then I'm all for it.
 

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I did this on a Wiley clapp Government. Had it welded and refit. The gun shot no different. It was a waste and to be fair about it Rob from Alchemy did the work and he advised me against doing the work because it would show little gain. Also...unless you are going bullseye shooting with it I wouldn't replace the barrel either. Colt uses a good barrel. I did the refit because I wanted it perfect...I know better now. Most of the rattle you hear in this gun is the grip safety and the trigger.
 

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1911 Pistol Smith
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A gun can rattle and still shoot with tremendous accuracy if it has a properly fit barrel and bushing. Reliability of the gun has more to do with the proper tuning and fitting of the ejector, extractor, breach face angle etc.. So, in short the slide to frame fit has very little to do with anything..

I do however believe that a better fitting slide to frame aids in the feel of the gun when you shoot. A tremendously loose slide to frame fit does affect the way the gun feels when you shoot it to a degree imo.. When you have a good fit on slide to frame everything just operates more smoothly and deliberately. But, again slide to frame fit has 0 to do with reliability and accuracy unless it is grossly loose and completely out of specs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice, gents. If the looseness of the slide to frame does not impact the longevity of the gun, I will probably not opt for tightening. I 100% agree on a tight-fitting slide to frame aiding in the feel of the gun when shot. I've had plenty of hard fit guns that felt great when cycling the action and shooting it, but as you guys mentioned, I can shoot this Wiley Clapp as well as my most accurate custom 1911. Results would probably be different in a ransom rest. I'm just not capable of shooting 1" at 25yards. bnaples, I've seen those Clapp's on this site and they look awesome. My build will more than likely resemble yours.
 

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The case colored gun was my first gun I had work done on. I made a bunch of mistakes and spent money where I shouldn't have and left other areas un worked. The all blue gun was close to perfect as I didn't spend on refitting the slide and spent that money in the trigger job and components. They both had excellent fitted bushings and colts barrel is very good so both shot quite accurately. Realistically...they are all steel Government guns. You wont wear them out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since you have experience with your two WC governments, I'd like to share what I plan on doing to it and let me know what you think. Is there something else I should consider?

- Action + reliability
- complete dehorn
- Match bushing?
- medium length Videcki style trigger (trigger already feels great)
- Wilson beavertail. (The stock beavertail is fit horribly from the factory. one side of the beavertail looks like Ray Charles attempted to blend it with the frame.) Tangs will need to be welded up to make the new beavertail work.
- Single side Wilson speed safety
- Fit oversized firing pin stop
- Fit extra extractor
- Fit extra slide stop
- Reblue polished flats and bead blasted rounds.
 

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If it were mine?
Definitely a thick egw bushing and flush cut and crown the barrel.
French border on the slide.
Extended mag release if going with full thickness grips.
Front sight change to gold instead of brass.
Heinie ledge rear sight...made for Novak cut.
Grip bushings that come on it are thin. May think about changing them to chalis bushings if you are going thicker.

Just my opinion and suited to my taste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm glad I asked for your opinion. Def going to do the Heinie rear with a gold front. Ditch the Novak and brass. Going to do the EGW bushing and challis grip bushings. I never heard of them and had to look it up. The hex drive bushings are genius.. I've stripped so many heads off slotted bushings in the past.
 

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1911 Pistol Smith
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Thank you for the advice on the Bunker Arms bushing. I'll check them out!
Not to disagree with Bnaples the EGW was the go to for a long time, but the bunker arms radial bore bushing has just come about in the last year and they provide the tightest muzzle to slide fit possible down to the .0001 or .0002 clearance without any binding provides a guaranteed 100% lock up at the muzzle end of the pistol.. Can't get any closer than that.. ;)
 

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The Tinker
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My Kimber will rattle a little if empty and I shake it. I recently fitted a new barrel bushing and threw it in the bag to give it a quick test at the range. Loaded three rounds, and off-hand at 10 yards, put all three rounds in a hole that I covered with a nickel. Figured that was good enough for this old man.

And as a reality check I gave it a shake as I was putting it in the bag. Yup, still rattles. :D

I was taught that tightening the slide to frame fit was more for smoothness of cycling and feel of the pistol during firing. But that was long ago and opinions change on things from time to time.

Next time I may have to try that Bunker Arms bushing, just to see what all the hub-bub is about. :)

EDIT: I did find one case where slide-to-frame fit had more effect on accuracy: On competition pistols where the optics are frame mounted instead of slide mounted.
 
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