Friday, July 6, 2012

1911 Care & Maintenance

Did your 1911 come with instructions on how to take care of it when you first got it? Chances are it didn't. So here is the lowdown on how to properly maintain your prized possession. I got this from our friends from


Field-strip, clean, oil every 500 rounds (Jacketed ammo)
Field-strip, clean, oil every 250-500 rounds (Cast lead reloads)
Detail strip,clean, examine for wear or impending parts failure every 2,500 rounds (Jacketed ammo)
Detail-strip, clean, (Might as well check the parts) every 1,000-1250 rounds for Cast lead reloads.
Recoil spring replacement...2500 runds
Firing pin spring replacement...5,000 rounds
Sear spring replacement...10,000 rounds
Mainspring replacement...20,000 rounds
Plunger spring replacement...If/When needed
Firing needed, indicated by wear or damage.
Plunger detent needed, indicated by wear or damage.


Link and pin...Recoil guide rod head...Front frame rails and impact surface... Slide (cracks) all corners and in the ejection port...Extractor tension check... Firing pin stop (cracks) in the corners and in the firing pin hole...Firing pin, for signs of wear or deformation on both ends...Plunger tube for looseness... Perform all safety checks...Locking lugs in barrel and slide for any signs of radiusing, flanging, peening, or obvious deformation...Lower lug for cracks at the front and rear adjacent to the barrel...Lowr lug feet for signs of peening and/or deformation...Slidestop for impending failure at the junction of crosspin and arm...Barrel bushing for signs of cracking at the junction of the tube and flange, peening and/or deformation of the lug.


Don't over lubricate. Oil is a dirt/girt magnet and the result is an effective lapping compound. A little is good...A lot is NOT gooder.

Two drops in each frame rail...A drop on the cocking/disconnector rail in the slide...A drop between the cocked hammer and frame for the hammer hooks and sear...A drop on the link...A light smear on the bushing OD and ID...A drop on the thumb safety lug(when removed) A drop on the slidestop crosspin...A drop on the top of the disconect...A light smear on the trigger bow(When removed) Push the mag catch button and put a small drop on the right side and work it in...Firing pin...LIGHTLY..with slightly oily fingers...Firing pin spring...LIGHTLY...with oily fingers...A light smear on the extractor with oily fingers...One drop in each locking lug in the slide...Wipe the surface down with a lightly oiled cloth, and follow with a dry cloth. Yes. Stainless pistols too. Lightly oil all pins whenever the pistol is detail-stripped. If you don't know how to detail-strip the gun...learn to. I can help.

Carry guns should be maintained each time they are fired. Though detail-stripping each time isn't necessary, do it at 500 rounds or quarterly..whichever comes first. Cheap insurance. Carrying a gun concealed exposes it to a lit of lint and dust. Lightly re-oil the frame rails weekly.

Safety/function checks:

Hold the trigger to the rear and hand-cycle the slide briskly. Release the trigger and listen for the disconnector to reset. It will be a light click. Engage the thumb safety, and pull the trigger with about double the amount of force needed to cause the hammer to fall. Hold the left side of the gun to your ear and slowly pull the hammer past full-cock. No click should be heard. A click means that the safety isn't blocking the sear correctly. With the hammer cocked, push the slide rearward an eighth of an inch and pull the trigger. The hammer should not fall. This can be done with the recoil spring out.

Point the gun straight down and perform grip safety check by pulling the trigger without depressing the safety. Hammer should not fall. If it does, the right leaf of the sear spring is allowing the safety to disengage by gravity and should be fixed. Holding the gun parallel to the floor doesn't give you a true test of the grip safety because the gun isn't carried that way.

Load one dummy round in the magazine & release the slide with the slidestop. Repeat by releasing the slide by hand. Hammer should not fall.

Lower the hammer to half-cock...empty gun please...push on the hammer fairly hard. The hammer should not slip past the half-cock notch/shelf.

After detail-strip cleaning, put a new pencil in the bore, eraser first. Point the gun straight up and pull the trigger. The pencil should be propelled from the bore approximately 1-2 feet. Repeat 3-4 times to get an average.

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