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1911 80% Tactical Machining Build, Part 4: Basic Fitting


My parts list in Part 3 of this guide minimizes the necessary fitting of parts to the frame and each other, but there’s still a lot to do for a 80% 1911 project.  I’ve gone ahead and done all the fitting possible while I wait for my Tactical Machining 1911 80% Jig.

For more help, I’d check out the book & DVD I listed.  Disclaimer again.

Barrel Bushing to Slide Fit

I started blogging after I did this, so some of the pictures are “after” pictures.  My apologies!

The combo of a pre-fit Lake Storm barrel and my Fusion Firearms slide was perfect.  The barrel fit so exactly that I was actually kind of scared something was over-sized, but I just had to get it in the exact angle.

1911 Storm Lake Barrel Fitting
1911 Storm Lake Barrel Fitting

The barrel bushing was already pre-fit snugly to the barrel so all I had to do was see if the bushing fit into the slide.  It wasn’t going in easily so I just kept at it for 5-10 minutes until the entire bushing could go down.  I didn’t want to file/sand anything unless I had to.

Locking the bushing looked like it needed some filing.  I double-checked by turning by hand as much as possible.  There were some shiny parts on the bushing which told me one part was too thick.  I then used some Sharpie (or Dykem) to see where the color wore off.

1911 Barrel Bushing Fitting
1911 Barrel Bushing Fitting

I used one of my flat files and went at both sides a little, then repeated the Sharpie procedure.  This went on for about 30 minutes.  You can see by my handiwork I didn’t exactly keep everything level.  The next time I would probably vise the bushing.

Completed 1911 Barrel Fitting
Completed 1911 Barrel Fitting

Trigger Fitting

Edit: Article on Installing and Fitting 1911 Triggers.

The Wilson Ultralight Match Trigger was not going in so I did the Sharpie method and ended up filing a decent amount off the top and bottom, and a little off the sides.  From the videos, you could also possibly see some resistance from the trigger bow.  I also sanded the inside of the frame a little since it looked like there were some sharp burrs.

1911 Trigger Fitting
1911 Trigger Fitting

The trigger fits very snugly now and doesn’t seem to have any drag.  I finished with increasing sandpaper grit to smooth out all the trigger surfaces I filed.  There are still some minor streaks that mark up the trigger but I’ll deal with any final finishing after I know the pistol works.

Completed 1911 Trigger Fitting
Completed 1911 Trigger Fitting

Beavertail Fitting

I originally got a Wilson Drop-In Beavertail but it left a quarter-inch gap on the TM 1911 80%.  I exchanged it for a regular Wilson Beavertail which fits well enough to not need filing for proper function.  But a properly blended beavertail is really one of the marks of a custom 1911.  I’ll leave it until I get the jig and make the frame 100% first…just in case.

1911 Beavertail Fitting Top
1911 Beavertail Fitting Top
1911 Beavertail Fitting Bottom
1911 Beavertail Fitting Bottom

Next Lesson

Part 1: Intro (Finding the 80%)

Part 2: Tools

Part 3: Parts List

Part 4: Basic Fitting

Part 5: Cutting the Slide Rail

Part 6: Barrel Seating

Part 7: Hammer & Sear Pin Holes

Part 8: Fitting the Slide

Part 9: Assembly & Fitting

Part 10: GunKote Application

Learning Resources

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2 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    Hi did u go with the Ed Brown Grip Safety? I read your article it said u went with a Wilson but that doesn't look like a Wilson. I just bought a Smith & Alexander 250 Grip Safety n it won't work, either My Tactical Machining Frame or gripSafe is out of spec

    April 13, 2015 2:00 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Hi, thanks for your question. Looking again at my current setup it does look like I went with the Ed Brown safety since it has the "speed bumps" at the bottom. I did have to fit it to the frame with a good amount of grinding on the bottom and even a little on the side. I'm thinking yours needs to be fitted as well. Only the "drop in" beavertails don't need fitting, but they will likely leave some extra space that will work fine but will look a little odd.

      April 13, 2015 3:14 pm