Plunger tube dent! Best way to fix?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Bindernut, May 25, 2010.

  1. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Maybe should've titled this "My PT1911 Nightmare". :D

    I've got a PT1911 that I've been working up for the past year or so. Slowly getting around to installing some new guts in it.
    It hasn't had that many rounds through it, but some poor bubba attacked this thing with lord-knows-what-all. It was a problem-child and I got it for cheap as a project gun.
    This poor thing suffered from a super-light pull and the hammer would sometimes drop when the safety was flipped off. After getting inside it, I could see why. Attack of the dremel tool & crocus cloth...and the guy was a spring snipping fool too. Mainspring, action spring, plunger spring, about the only one he didn't get was the mag release spring!
    Luckily and surprisingly, he left the feed ramp alone!


    Long story kinda short...okay, not so kinda short...
    I noticed right away that the extended safety lever was tweaked in just a hair and rubbing on the plunger tube. Not a big deal, I was intending to replace the safety with a narrow extended anyway instead of the factory wide-extended.

    I was working on installing the new plunger/spring setup tonight and found that the new plungers wouldn't slide into the tube more than 1/4". Right about where the safety lever was rubbing the tube. Sure enough, you can see a slight dent inside the tube.


    What would you guys do to repair this? Find the right size number drill and pin-vise it through the tube to remove the displace metal?

    Attached are a few pics of the mess.
    The frame. Showing the nice bend in the safety lever.
    The plungers. Showing the exquisite dremel work (and Sharpie marker blue job!) in crafting the new rear pin. The new set is included for comparison.
    The safety itself. Showing the marks from the fine tools used to try to straighten out the lever.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I'd replace the tube.
  3. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Given the tools I've got on hand, I'm really trying to avoid replacing the tube. That was the first thought that I had when I noticed it.
    That would mean trying to match up the finish or a complete refinish job.
    Also no staking tools made up for this task...but that would give me an excuse to do more shopping or fab work! :)

    The dent is really small and it wouldn't take much to clean up the inside of the tube. I'm not out much if it doesn't work...just a bit more time in the shop and a few more bucks.

    Next order of business is getting the hammer strut pin out. Taurus sure did a good job staking it in place. I should've looked closer at it too & ordered a new hammer strut while I was getting the other parts.
  4. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    drill bit would work but the brittleness of them you may end up busting one off in the tube then you got more work. Get some 01 tooling steel rod from mcmaster the exact size of the tube and round off the end. Use it to slowly tap out the dent like a mag tube dent. I had to do that with a AMT hardballer. It worked pretty good.

    Sorry I have to edit this but those pictures make me want to puke.
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  5. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Now that's a better idea Helix. I think that'll be a better plan of attack.
    The dent is small enough that I could probably just lap it out using a bit of cutting compound on some pin stock too. I might try that first.

    I'm still too busy laughing about what bubba did to really be too worried about it...especially for the price I paid. After all, I bought it as a project knowing it had issues and I had plans on replacing the internals anyway.
    I haven't built up a 1911 in several years so this was a cheap way to get some practice on an "ugly" pistol. :)
  6. SmokyBaer

    SmokyBaer New Member

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    You probly already got'er done but no worse than that dent looks, I believe just tapping an old drill bit backrds would pop it out just fine. If it stuck, tap it out from the other side with a smaller bit. ;)
  7. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member

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    Just be sure to hold thumb pressure on the plunger tube before tapping the dent out. You don't want it to come unstaked. :)
  8. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    Very true, my only thought on this is that smaller bits are shorter, if ya break one off, tapping it out would be hard to do w/o striking the side of the fame every now and then.
  9. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    I did the get plunger tube fixed.
    Mic'd a few drill bits until I found one that was a couple hundred thousands bigger than the new plunger. I needed 0.1070" and found a #35 bit that measured out 0.1076"
    One quick spin of the drill bit by hand got the dent shaved out on the inside...told ya it didn't need much! :)

    Back to getting the rest of the parts laid in and set up now...

    Thanks for the tips and support guys!
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I believe Brownell's sells a swage for that purpose, but I never used one, the drill bit works just fine for most cases and if it doesn't, the tube should be replaced.

    FWIW, the spec is .109"+.006" at the rear and .091"+.004" at the front; the plungers are .107"-.004" with the front of the slide stop plunger being .0895"-.003". When reaming those tubes, always be careful not to remove the shoulder or you won't be able to get the slide stop in without using a screwdriver.

    Jim
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    jesus. he musta been under the influence. Or the worked on it while riding a rollercoaster. the bent safety indicates it was dropped on a hard surface. perhaps a covered garage floor since the marring is seemingly minimal... I cant figure out what he was trying to accomplish by modifying everything. i kinde gat the trigger and mainspring work but plunger spring and detents? WTF. you are lucky he didnt go after that feed ramp with his exquisite skill. he would have ruined the frame for sure...
  12. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the dimensions Jim.
    I guess I could've dug around in the blueprint pages but I went more by the seat of the pants on this one since the dent was about 1/4" inside the tube and I don't have a mic that can reach in that far anyway.
    And no I didn't take the slide-stop plunger step out of the tube. Man would that ever be a boo-boo! :)

    JLA, I'm not sure what the deal was with the homemade plunger either...I'm guessing he made that new one so that it would fit freely in the dented tube but who knows?!?
    When I first picked the gun up, I noticed that the trigger had been reworked VERY light (too light) and it had almost no travel at all before it broke. When that safety got boogered up, I'm guessing it bent far enough to allow the sear to disengage if the trigger was pulled with the safety on and the hammer was just resting on the safety itself until you flicked it off.

    This has been an interesting project so far.
    "Bubba's" next overkill was the grip safety that had been trimmed down so that it doesn't engage the trigger bar at all. I haven't decided what grip safety lever I want to run so that hasn't been changed yet.
    Lastly...he polished the bluing off of the grip safety, safety levers, and slide stop. the rest of the gun still has the matte oxide black factory finish. I kinda like that look so I'm replacing those parts with stainless.

    I should've taken some before pictures! Maybe I'll stuff the old parts back in for a bit to do that. Would make for an interesting write-up.
    I keep waiting for the original owner to stumble across this online and chime in on this thread. But...if it was me I would be WAY too embarrassed to post! :D
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