1. Get Gear'd Up! Enter to WIN $1000 in gear!

    Please Click Here for full details and to enter. You will need to be registered and logged in to view the details and to participate.

    Thanks and good luck to everyone

Swenson barrel fitting problems

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Bindernut, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    ND, USA
    So, another PT1911 followed me home a couple months ago.
    Another victim of bubba...they left the trigger alone on this one but they must've attacked the feed ramp with the coarsest dremel stone they had in the drawer! It'll feed hardball okay, but not lead or HPs.

    So, not having a lot of cash in the toy fund I decided to pick up a Swenson barrel & bushing along with some new springs.
    Midway had the barrel on sale for $40 last month so I figured what the heck, it might be a good cheap project. Cheap, yeah...good, I'm not so sure.

    It sure looks to me like the barrel hood is machined WAY off center on the new barrel. Everything else measures out within spec, except the hood is real narrow and offset to the right. I'd have to trim right around .0625" off the right side of the hood to get it to fit the slide.
    Tried the barrel in both the other PT1911 and my Springfield...same thing, the hood is offset too far for the slide to lock up.

    Any other suggestions on fitting?
    Or should I just have spent more on a better barrel right away? :)



    See the attached pics. First shot is the new Swenson barrel, second is the factory Taurus barrel.

    Attached Files:

  2. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,151
    I'm just over on MidwayUSA right now and I see the Swenson drop-in barrel for $39.99.

    I have no experience with Swenson parts, but I have found that drop-in barrels are rarely, if ever, "drop-in" - contrary to what reviewers tell you on MidwayUSA.

    If you want a new barrel, it definitely is better to get a match-grade oversize one and fit it. The only barrel I have found for my gun that is really a true drop-in fit was a Series 70 Colt barrel.

    If you want my two cents, I would see if there's any chance of returning it, and I would recommend a Kart NM barrel. You will have to go through Brownells to get one though as I don't think MidwayUSA carries it.

    Wilson Combat's NM barrel is practically the same thing as a Kart NM barrel, merely restamped and sold for a bit more money and MidwayUSA does carry those.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  3. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    ND, USA
    Thanks for the reply hogger!

    This isn't my first go-round fitting a new barrel so I'm aware that fitting is needed.
    I don't have access to a reamer or all of the jigs needed to work on 1911s anymore so I went with a semi-dropin (not a full dropin).
    I've had fully oversized hoods where I've needed to fit both sides to the slide. On this one the hood (or the lug) is just plain offset.
    I wasn't expecting a National Match spec barrel for $40, but over an 1/8" offset of an undersized hood is just plain silly.


    Since I already had reamed the link hole, fitted a link in the barrel, and scuffed the finish up a bit during the pre-fitting I decided to play with it anyway. Doesn't hurt to sharpen up with a dud part before working with a good one anyway.
    I had to dress up quite a bit of flash on the forging to fit the barrel to the slide.
    Trimmed the right side of the hood to clearance the barrel in the slide, leaving a 0.106" gap on the left side...

    Took it to the range for a quick test.
    Off the rest:
    First round manually cycled into the chamber is POA @ 10yds.
    Shots cycled in by firing would randomly string down and right about 6" from there.
    Pretty much what I was expecting except not as bad as I thought it would string.
    I dropped the factory barrel back in and it'll go right back to nice round groups...but they're about 8" @ 10yds.
    With the factory barrel and a new bushing, I dropped group sizes down to around 3". BUT...I can't run lead or HPs with that barrel so it's still worthless to me.


    I was just gonna keep this one as an ugly farm beater but if I drop enough good parts into it, I'll refinish it and make another "good" 1911. :)


    I'll keep Kart in mind too. My original plan was to put a Bar-Sto in my other Taurus and swap it's factory barrel into this one but since they've been out of stock for a while now I just plain got antsy and cheaped out with this Swenson.
  4. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,151
    Yeah Bar-Sto is another really good one and I see you're in ND (Bar-Sto I think is in Sturgis, SD), but they're expensive and always out of stock.

    I had to wait two weeks when I ordered my Kart barrel. Make sure you get the NM one too, not the EZ-Fit.

    Then JLA put it in for me and recommended I use a Briley Spherical barrel bushing 0.001" over the OD of the barrel.
  5. Cuba

    Cuba New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    Why would you have to change the barrel if the feed ramp was buggered up ?,
    I think that if the barrel is damaged I would try to send it back to Taurus for a replacement. Just saying. :)

    shoot safe, shoot straight, and have fun
  6. H-D

    H-D Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,336
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I have used one of those barrels I was not impressed, but it wasn't off like yours is ! Sarco has rock island armory barrels for about the same money
  7. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    ND, USA
    Have you ever dealt with Taurus customer service?
    Basically, it goes something like this...if someone other than an authorized Taurus service tech worked on it, you're SOL because we won't touch it.
    Don't get me wrong, I still like Taurus and I've owned a half dozen of them over the years. I don't blame them for having that policy even though it was a PitA when I sent in a 669 that they didn't want to work on because it was drilled and tapped for a scope mount.

    That rider on Taurus' lifetime warranty, and a couple of overzealous bubbas, has gotten me two very reasonably priced Taurus frames to build up the way I want them.


    On this one, the feed ramp was "polished" by some yahoo with a die grinder. But they removed too much metal and rounds from the mag will strike the frame. That makes a no-feed situation with lead or large HPs.

    I bought this one as a builder, knowing the barrel had been butchered.
    I enjoy building them just as much as I enjoy shooting them. :)
  8. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    ND, USA
    How good have the Rock Island barrels been for fitting? Enough extra meat on em to fit it tighter or are they GI-spec?

    I'm still probably going to go with a Bar-Sto in PT1911 #1 since I've used em in the past and I know what I'm getting.
    #1's barrel is a tight fit in this new slide so I've got room to fit it and hopefully see better than factory groups. If not...then I'll do it again. :)
  9. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    ND, USA
    Yup, Bar-Sto is in Sturgis.
    I had a chance to go through their shop a few years ago when visiting a cousin-in-law that works at Dakota Arms. Nice outfit and like everyone else I've ever known from "west-river", they're real personable folks too.
    When I built up my first 1911, my mentor was a firm believer in Bar-Sto barrels since they're semi-local.

    I'll keep that Spherical bushing in mind too.
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    18,271
    Location:
    Heart Of Texas
    That hood is short and narrow. Looks like its for an enhanced slide.

    Get a Kart barrel and have it fit to the slide. Drop in fit barrels are ok, they are cut to maximum specs and may requre a few light file strokes to get them to fit. it is a good way to get a better barrel but not the best. the best is to have one 100% fit the the gun. Point being you want to need a bushing wrench to field strip it if you want one holers..
  11. H-D

    H-D Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,336
    Location:
    Mississippi
    The foster industries frame I'm building now was cut for a para ramped bbl, I bought a used para barrel that had been tigged up and fit to my frame and slide and a brown bbl bushing that was oversized, you have to use a bushing wrench to strip it now, after truly fitting a bbl I'm hoping for extreme accuracy, I would get an oversized barrel and fit it if you want a tack driver
  12. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2001
    Messages:
    9,902
    Those Swenson barrels aren't much but it can be saved by welding the hood and link legs and recutting. Then polish the throat. But you can do the same with the stock barrel. After a proper fitting and match fit bushing, will drive tacks.

    And +1 on the Kart barrel. Fred makes the most accurate barrel out there.
  13. Cuba

    Cuba New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    I guess you have your terminologies mixed up cause the feed ramp is located on the frame not on the barrel, unless your speeking of a ramped barrel. :D

    I was always taught that there is no worst opportunity than the one you don't take advantage of, if your Taurus barrel is not functioning for you what would it hurt to send it for replacement a few stamps, and I have dealt with Taurus customer service and they have always been accommodating. Try it you might be surprised. ;)

    shoot safe, shoot straight, and have fun
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  14. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    ND, USA
    Yup...terminology scrambled on my end. Sorry bout that.
    The barrel throat is what's causing the feed hangups.
    I spend more time wrenching on rifles so to me the throat is the front of the chamber (I.E. the leade).


    I bought this PT1911 as a builder. I have no intention of sending it to Taurus for a factory replacement barrel that I know from past experience they won't install anyway because of what a PO did. Taurus will NOT touch a modded pistol. Been there, done that, with my scoped 669.

    I'm building it up with what I want, not what comes out of the box. Otherwise, I would have bought new.
  15. Cuba

    Cuba New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    I'm not suggesting that you send the whole pistol, but just the barrel, they will probably send you back a replacement barrel that will be a true drop in, what would you have to lose or cost you, a few stamps ? worst case scenario they send it back to you as is, best case scenario you end up with a new barrel.

    shoot safe, shoot straight, and have fun
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The 1911 Forum Swenson question. Mar 6, 2012
The 1911 Forum Choosing Bullet Weight Based on Barrel Length- Nov 11, 2011
The 1911 Forum 1911 barrel choices Aug 3, 2011
The 1911 Forum 1911 barrel bushing vs. bull barrel Aug 2, 2011
The 1911 Forum 4'' vs 3" barrel Kimbers Jul 11, 2011

Share This Page