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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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

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