Thursday, January 31, 2008

Full Sistema ahead part I

That's such a bad pun, sorry.

Fact is, the Sistema project is underway. You can go back and see where it all started here if you like. Be sure to read JPG's comment as well.

Back? Good.

In all honesty, I did write that post a bit tongue-in-cheek. I've never owned a 1911 before, but I read about them a bit. It seems every article tells you how you need this or that modification in order for the pistol to function. I honestly don't think all the mods are needed, and some of them may even be a detriment.

So, I started on a different path. I asked my self, "What is wrong with this pistol?" It was actually a short list:
Poor accuracy- with the issue barrel, it shot into about a 24" group at 25 paces.
Poor fit- I have small hands, and the 1911 just felt to long from front to back.
Poor grips- this is partially the cause of the poor fit, the grips were in very poor shape, and somewhat deformed.
Poor sights- tiny A1 sights.
Poor finish- as in non-existent. This pistol, and many like it had been worn a lot. The blued finish was completely gone.
Tight Magazine fit- had to push in and pull out. No drop free here.
Hammer bite- it got me several times while shooting.

I guess maybe it's not such a short list after all. However, all that can be fixed fairly easily.

The pistol was reliable, at least with the FMJ ammo I tried with it. No problem functioning at all with either the original magazine, or the new Chip McCormick Power Mag.

I tried to address the accuracy first. I read over on Xavier's blog about his Sistema, and getting a new barrel. Sounded like a good idea. I looked at barrels from several manufacturers. I decided on a Storm Lake "drop in fit" match barrel and bushing. My main reasons for the choice were the reputation, and the price. The barrel came "throated" for hollow points, which I understand the GI barrel wouldn't feed well. It was about $50 cheaper than the next "Drop in fit" barrel.

Of course they didn't drop in. The bushing was quite tight, and I had to work in in with a bushing wrench several times. The barrel didn't want to lock up completely. I couldn't figure it out at first, but it turned out that the OD of the hood area of the new one, was just a bit larger than the same area of the old one. I used a bit of sandpaper and carefully removed a few thousandths. That did it. Where previously I could move the barrel by pushing down on the hood, now I couldn't. Also with the old barrel and bushing, when it was locked up, I could take a finger on the muzzle and wiggle it in the bushing a bit. That no longer happens either.

At this point I had got a good look at the internals and springs. Lots of gunk inside. Instead of putting it back together and seeing how it shot, I decided to go ahead and order the rest of the parts for the rebuild.

Next time: Picking the parts

stay tuned

Mr Fixit

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