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Okay, I've handled a Les Baer before and I could barely rack the slide without showing effort. I understand that most "semi-custom" 1911s come this way. Now I owned a SA 1911-A1 and can rack the slide back and forth with great ease.

My question is what is the point of having a tight slide to frame fit and why do most 1911 owners prefer it that way? Does it make the gun more accurate?
 

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Theoretically, you gain a small accuracy edge by having everything (including the frame and slide) fit to extremely tight tolerances. This also makes the gun more reliable under "ideal" conditions, since the preformance of the moving parts is more uniform. However, extremely tight tolerances also make the pistol more intolerant to adverse conditions because a relatively small amount of dirt, gunk, etc. can hopelessly sieze up the mechanism.

The general concensus is that almost all accuracy is determined by the barrel and how well it is fitted to the slide; slide-to-frame fit isn't so important unless we are talking about extreme degrees of sloppiness.
 

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CastleBravo hit it pretty much right on the head. Kuhnhausen thinks a tight slide might give you 15% more accuracy. I'm not sure I would agree entirely. I figure maybe 5-10 percent is closer. That would be from a good fit to a tight fit.

What a nice tight working fit does give is that bank vault feel to the gun. Asthetically pleasing, and it may inspire more pride in ownership for sure.Maybe thats enough to warrant it.

I' just guessing here, but i figure a gun with .003 clearance would be about as reliable as one with .001 clearance.

I can tell you this, my Baer feels "right" when I manually work the slide.
 

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This is a comment from my web site about frame to slide fit.

Frame to Slide Fit
Subject: Re: 1911 slide to frame fit.
Date Nov. 7th 1997


Chris,


J. Kuhnhausen says in his shop manual on 45s that 15% of the accuracy of the pistol comes from slide fit. I believe it is a lot less, may be 5%, if that. Correct tightening of the slide to frame fit will make the gun more reliable because the parts work the same way every time, but less tolerant to dirt and powder residue. If you don't wallow in the mud and clean your gun every 1000rds or so it shouldn't be a problem. If the gun is too tight, reliability suffers.

If your gun will shoot 1 1/2" at 25 yd in your hands that is better than 90% of the custom $2000 guns out there. Barrel and bushing fit IMO are 95+% of the accuracy in a 1911. It really helps to have a GOOD barrel but that is a given. I have found that the Kimber barrels are GREAT. They are also available from McCormick. If a Kimber barrel won't hold 1.5" @ 25 yd I have found that a new barrel crown usually solves the problem.

In 1985 I had a comped 45 Colt I built with a LE type cone comp with a Wilson barrel. I was always changing something on the frame so this top end was used on 3 frames as I remember. None of them had been fitted. The final frame (a Colt) that I used to compete with would shoot into 1.5" at 50 yd and it would rattle when shook, the fit was so loose.

The 9x23 single stack I shoot now has *0* tolerance in slide to frame and prefect barrel fit (Bar-Sto) and it to will shoot into 1.5" at 50 yd and a little better, but shit who can hold that! I do have the witnessed targets up in the shop to verify my fish stories.

You have got to look close for the powder burns :smile:.

DB

On Tue, 11 Nov 1997, Chris V. Gayagoy wrote:

> I've got one of the first Kimbers put out 12XX serial number. I just
> stopped by the gun shop and checked out some of the newer ones and found
> that the slide to frame fit is alot tighter than mine. I can get 1.5"
> groups at 25' with Kimber using 235gr. HydraShoks. Will sending my Kimber
> in to get the slide to frame fit tightened give me any more accuracy. How
> much does slide to frame fit contribute to accuracy and reliability? So far
> I've had zero stoppages in 3000 rounds will tightening the slide to frame
> fit affect reliability?
>
> I'm still quite a novice to customizing the 1911, what are the main factors
> that contribute to accuracy? Tight slide to frame fit, tight lock up,
> tight bushing, etc etc.... What qualities should a custom 1911 have. Last
> but not least how tight is too tight??
>
> Thanks,
>
> Chris
 
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