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Thread: 1911 Pistol w/ LONG barrel, any issues?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    1911 Pistol w/ LONG barrel, any issues?

    Friend asked if putting a LONG barrel on a 1911 (think his is a Commander? Uncertain tho.) would cause any problems; I told him I didn't know of any potential problems but that I'd ask around. Might cause a little bushing wear eventually? But I'd think it would be OK? Anyone know more on this? Thank you!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I've seen it done. If it was me I would get a second bushing and fit it for the long barrel.

    At one point one of the gun parts company's was offering 12" barrels for .45acp quite reasonably.

    Would turn a 5" 1911 into a different sort of beast.
    The only reason I did not do it was I did not have the tools to cut a dovetail or mount a good front sight on the end of the barrel.

    Added weight would absorb recoil, extra length would given you more speed and I suspect it would cut muzzle flip. It just would not be ideal for confined spaces or working around corners.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    You would also encounter change in bullet impact location due to barrel time, and different weights and velocities. In the world of shooting sports, I have to think that if it was a good idea, a lot of people would already be doing it.

  4. #4
    How long of a barrel are you talking about? I'm a bullseye/precision pistol shooter and my 45 wadgun has a 6" barrel in a 5" slide. For accuracy, the part of the barrel that mates with the bushing needs to have the proper fit. Otherwise your groups could look like buckshot patterns.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Plate plinker's Avatar
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    Many compensated guns are done in this manner. It works.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Guess it will depend upon the definition of "long" barrel, or "longer" barrel. There was a mention of a 12" barrel early on but not by the OP.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    The longer barrels may create some small function issues due to added weight, timing. On a 8"+ barrel the added barrel in front of the bushing can have an effect on the chamber / hood dropping down to unlock from the slide. On a long slide with full length slide this weight leverage of the barrel is negated by the full length slides having the bushing back just behind the muzzle. But then the heavier slide may require a different recoil spring to fully function.
    My 1911 wadcutter gun in 38 spl has a 6" barrel with 1" in front of the bushing. it feeds and functions great accuracy is top notch. the recoil spring on this lock up 38 spl is 6 lbs.

    With a recoil operated system there is a point where added barrel length is going to be unlocking with some pressure still present.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    The longer barrels may create some small function issues due to added weight, timing. On a 8"+ barrel the added barrel in front of the bushing can have an effect on the chamber / hood dropping down to unlock from the slide. On a long slide with full length slide this weight leverage of the barrel is negated by the full length slides having the bushing back just behind the muzzle. But then the heavier slide may require a different recoil spring to fully function.
    My 1911 wadcutter gun in 38 spl has a 6" barrel with 1" in front of the bushing. it feeds and functions great accuracy is top notch. the recoil spring on this lock up 38 spl is 6 lbs.

    With a recoil operated system there is a point where added barrel length is going to be unlocking with some pressure still present.
    It would have to be a very long barrel. On a standard length barrel, the bullet is gone before the slide begins to open.
    Here is a link to a slow motion video of a 1911 45acp firing a 230 gr Winchester round. The pistol starts to recoil and the bullet exits the barrel before the slide start to move.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F506XIMEz0M

    With the bullet traveling at 800fps(easily achieved) at the end of a 5 inch barrel, an additional 12 inches of barrel would be traversed in less than 1/800th of a second. I believe it would take much longer than that for the slide to unlock according to the video..
    Last edited by tazman; 07-08-2018 at 05:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Keep in recoil and muzzle flip. And remember I mentioned "barrel time" Quite evident with contenders who have no barrel movement or barrel unlocking. It all has an effect on bullet impact. Still no verification of the actual barrel length contemplated?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Since the added length adds weight and slows rearward slide velocity, the gun really cannot unlock with any practical barrel length with pressure present. To understand otherwise is really misunderstanding how the pistol works.

    Back in the day Jim Boland would make carbine length barrel 1911’s. They had no functional issues and did not unlock with “pressure present.”

    The slide does start to move when the bullet does.....but again, the added weight of barrel sees to it a longer time is needed to reach the link down point, which counteracts the short additional time needed for the bullet to traverse the longer barrel.

    Worry not about that.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    A 16 inch barrel only adds 150 to 200 FPS in .45 ACP. If I were to go from a 4" to 5" or a 5" to a 6" inch 1911 it'd be for the extended sight radius as much as the small FPS change.

    On your average 1911 the barrel is slightly thicker at the muzzle were it fits with the bushing. A longer barrel would need to have this thicker portion match up with bushing i.e. You can't take a 5" barrel and just expect it'll work on a Commander sized slide.

    FWIW the slide absolutely does start to move at the exact same time the bullet starts to move. The dramatic weight difference between the slide and bullet means the slide only move a small fraction of an inch and the video linked to in post #8 is not slow enough to show it. If the slide remained stationary while the bullet was in the barrel what makes you think it'd move once the bullet leaves the barrel? The slide and barrel do remained "locked" together until well after the bullet leaves the barrel, but they are moving in unison until barrel and slide unlock. Any sensible length and you're probably fine but you'll run into problems eventually.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    It is hard to imagine where any barrel length would cause a problem. A 100 foot long barrel would be so heavy and slow the slide so much any effects would counteract. In addition, even if it would unlock expansion of the gasses would be so great residual pressure would drop to near nil levels anyway.

    Ego.....no problem no matter what. A long enough barrel would eventually add enough mass the gun would not cycle, but this would occur at a length where the gun would resemble a pole vaulting apparatus rather than a recognizable firearm.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Iver Johnson got it working for a 16" carbine.
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I'd figure how much weight you're adding. Silencers additing more than 6oz require a booster (aka Nielsen device) to counteract the additional mass. My Octane 45 weighs 12oz. Additionally the added length can add leverage to the weight, so you may need to consider a stronger recoil spring if it's more than a few inches. Lastly, the additional mass often causes additional wear and tear, which should be a consideration.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Right now I am just learning theory / info, have thought of getting a longer than stock barrel if I eventually get a suppressor, so it could be threaded (by someone competent to DO that LOL) - I know that the sight radius wouldn't be lengthened, and if the suppressor's larger diameter it'd be in the way of the sights, so I'm working through the parts of the puzzle as I get time when I can't do other things but can think and ask questions. (Messed up knees can mess you up!) Thank you all

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Start with the existing spring and adjust if needed. If not, just have fun.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    When the extra barrel lengths were all the rage in 9mm, there were a lot of failures to feed caused by “limp wristing,” which was essentially holding the gun in the way that one did with the shorter barrel. You had to stiffen your wrist to take more of the recoil, or the slide wouldn’t come back far enough to pick up a new cartridge.

    Don’t know if this is a problem in .45 caliber, but you might keep in mind that a change in hold may be necessary.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    A 100 foot long barrel would probably result in a stuck bullet in the barrel.

    Just say no! Lol.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35remington View Post
    A 100 foot long barrel would probably result in a stuck bullet in the barrel.

    Just say no! Lol.
    But your groups at 35 yards would be awfully impressive! Just line the barrel up with the bullseye and pull the trigger.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    No hole, no score or group though!

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