Full lenght guide rod, pros/cons?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by todd51, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    What are the pros and cons of using a full length guide rod in a Colt 1911 style pistol?

    I have a Colt Mk IV Series 70 that I shoot frequently, mostly with target loads. I also have a Wilson full length guide rod and plug. I have not used it mainly because of the necessity of using a bushing wrench. However if the advantages of the full length rod are worth it the use of the wrench is not that big a deal. Does the full length rod have advantages with different power level loadings? If you were me would you use it or leave well enough alone?

  2. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    I have the one of the old style spring and bushing, and a two piece rod which requires an allen wrench and a one piece that requires a bent paperclip. I dont notice any difference when shooting. The old style I can take down in about a minute and the others take longer.

  3. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    Thanks Clinger for the info. The one I have is the old style one piece. I installed it one time and of course could see no difference in a very limited trial. There are what ? millions of 1911 style pistols out there with the standard short guide rod and I am not aware of problems they might have. I notice that several of the clone manufacturers are equipping with full length rods. I don't think I would mess with the hassle of a two piece unless it showed proven advantages. Wondered to if it became necessary in the comp guns firing thousands of rounds. Part of it maybe that we just can't leave old slab sides along and have to tinker with it. Part of the fun too. Thanks again.
  4. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Maybe some of the experts in 1911's can enlighten us but I dont see any difference in any of the configurations but then again I am but an ametuer.
  5. Slabsides

    Slabsides Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    I'm sure I will ruffle some feathers with this, but here goes...

    I do not see any advantage to full length rods. They have absolutely no impact on accuracy as that depends on barrel-to-bushing and bushing-to-slide fit along with proper and consistent lock-up. The only advantage to them lies in preventing bunching of the recoil spring. I've never had one bunch with standard rods as I replace any springs that show signs of distortion.

    They have served us well for almost 100 years with standard rods and I have not heard of them failing our troops because of standard rods. To quote Mas Ayoob: "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.......or John Browning."

    But thats just me...I do not believe in messing with things that work well. You know, the whole "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" thing.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  6. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    Slabsides you won't ruffle my feathers (what few I have left). I can't ague with your position at all. I have shot my 1911 for over thirty years using the standard guide rod. But I came into possession of a long rod and plug and just ask the question to see what was the opinion on them. I guess it will stay in the parts bin. But man you got to tinker with them just a little bit once in awhile. :eek:
  7. williamd

    williamd New Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    SLABSIDES ... ditto. I have eight 1911's of variuos types from year make 1916 to 2009 and all now have one piece, short 'standard' guide rods. Saw no advantage to the long one piece or long screw-apart two piece. Never have had a recoil spring problem.
  8. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    The full length guide rod is like the fishing lure designed to catch fishermen.
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    But there is a full length guide rod that makes a huge difference... 30% group size reduction when used in conjunction with a fitted bushing, by my tests. It is the Dwyer Group Gripper as sold by Wilson through Brownells:


    Here's the concept:

    THE PROBLEM.... When a 1911 recoils and then goes back into battery the parts and pieces reposition themselves in the gun. Because of the looseness of the fit of the slide to the frame, the barrel to the bush, the slop in the link, and the fit of the barrel to the slide, it doesn't happen exactly the same with every shot. A tuned gun takes all the slop out of the gun and sometimes some of the reliability too. The barrel and slide and frame all have to end up in exactly the same place every time or the accuracy is impacted adversely.

    THE SOLUTION.... The Group Gripper (GG) is a special full length guide and spring plug that includes a very strong little spring that pokes out of the back. The GG includes a special link that is made so that the guide spring can force it up in the rear of the barrel, pushing the barrel into the locking lugs all the way and pushing the whole slide up against the rails. The result is the back of the barrel is pushed into exactly the same place with every shot making all those relationship the same with every shot. Control of the front of the barrel with a better fitted bush puts the icing on the cake.

    THE RESULTS.... I saw a 30% reduction in group size with my Colt Delta Elite 10mm as measured in tests. I since have installed it in a 45ACP Rock Island project 1911 and the gun ended up very accurate indeed. The RI was done recently and the Colt done perhaps 15 years ago. This mod makes a measurable difference.

    So if its a full length spring guide you want, get the one that does make a difference, along with a fitted bushing. You will see the difference.

  10. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    Different animal. The guide rod in question was designed to prevent spring bind. There isn't enough room inside a dust cover for the recoil spring to bind so the "fix" is to a non existent problem. The FL guide rod comes in quite a few configurations. One piece, two piece, tungsten...to add weight and even a mercury filled guide rod to reduce felt recoil. Do they work ? For me, no. But shooters still buy them, mostly for the "cool factor".

    The difference for the Group Gripper is that it does work if you can't perform the the fitting. It's simple to install and less expensive than having a pistolsmith do the fitting necessary for tack driving accuracy. Don't expect the same result but as LD stated, a 30% improvement is about average.
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    I agree the Group Gripper is a completely different animal. But if a person were considering a full length guide (I don't know why as it does no good, in my experience) the Group Gripper is a much better choice and actually does something if you include the fitted barrel bush. And it is not the fitted bush that makes for the better performance, as I installed that first with little improvement.

    For the money the combo of a fitted bush and the Group Gripper I think gets you the most accuracy bang for the buck. It flat works.

  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I have not noticed a difference between to two as far as function is concerned, buuut the full length just looks cool under the barrel after slidelock:D
  13. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I have said this before, but the only real advantage of the FLGR is that it aids in extraction - the extraction of money from some sucker's pocket and into the pocket of the guide rod maker.

    Another not always recognized problem is that it makes it more likely that a gun without a firing pin block can fire if dropped on the muzzle. With the standard guide rod, the slide will move back and absorb the blow; with the full length rod the slide cannot move back and the sudden stop can allow the gun to fire from the momentum of the firing pin.

  14. bntyhntr6975

    bntyhntr6975 Member

    May 5, 2009
    Wichita, Ks.
    I really don't find any pros with the full length guide rod either, except for the comestics. But, heres a con to consider: Suppose you happen to be in a gunfight (many of us carry a 1911 for SD) and you become reduced to the use of only 1 hand. How do you plan on racking the slide if need be? Normally, you could push the weapon against an object to push the slide back. That will not be able to be done with a full length rod.
  15. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    Thanks fellows for all the info, it was just what I was looking for. Looks like I will be putting that LGR in the box with those pink fishing lures:)
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