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Old 04-14-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
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Default 1911 Plunger tube assembly falls off...

Help! I recently bought my first 1911, a Kimber Eclipse Custom, for a 460 Rowland conversion project. The project has been a failure so far, but that's another topic. One of the problems was the 460 knocked my plunger tube assembly clean off... So for now I've decided to convert it back to 45.

So I ordered a Wilson plunger tube and spring assembly, and reassembled it (I lost the original Kimber plunger tube when it was blown off). FYI I'm no gunsmith, but I thought I was handy enough to get it back to 45 configuration. But on its first outing after the reassembly, the new Wilson plunger tube assembly came clean off again, after just the 5th round.

So how do I get it to stay? Can I loctite it or something, or should I try another Kimber tube assembly?

Thanks in advance,

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Old 04-14-2009, 10:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
Plunger tubes just don't "Fly Off" without reason.
They do if they are not staked!

MidwayUSA - Strobel Plunger Tube Staking Tool 1911

You need a staking tool to do it right or you can chamfer the inside and peen the tube to the receiver.

This is an excellent handbook, U.S. MARINE CORPS TECHNICAL MANUAL TM 00526A-24&P/2 ORGANIZATIONAL AND INTERMEDIATE
MAINTENANCE MANUAL INCLUDING REPAIR PARTS LIST PISTOL, CALIBER .45, MEU(SOC) (1005-01-370-7353)

see page 6-38

http://www.specops.com.pl/download/files/MEU%20SOC%2045%20Pistol.pdf



From Small Arms Essay Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun
FLAWS IN THE BASIC DESIGN AND A PROPENSITY TOWARD SMALL PARTS BREAKAGE (Well worth the read!)

THE PLUNGER TUBE:

The plunger tube that runs between the slide stop and thumb safety is a notorious weak spot in the basic 1911 design. This tube contains two little plungers and a spring, the power of which serves both to hold the slide stop in the down position until operated by the follower of the empty magazine as well as to hold the thumb safety lever in the safe or fire position. This is a high-stress area of the gun; every time you flip your thumb safety on or off, you apply force to the plunger tube. Unfortunately, the plunger tube is held to the side of the gun only by two small studs that pass through holes in the frame. It is not at all unusual for one of these studs (almost invariably the rear one) to snap off. I've had this happen myself while shooting, and I've seen it happen to other shooters. When this happens, your thumb-safety lever will wind up in a half-on/half-off position. In an emergency, it would be possible to physically hold the safety lever down in the fire position and still shoot the piece. However, for all practical purposes, the gun is disabled until the plunger tube is replaced.

There's really nothing you can do about this problem except to keep a close eye on your gun's plunger tube for signs of looseness. Some folks say that if your plunger tube is loose, you should simply have it restaked. I don't know about that. If the plunger tube has been loose for any amount of time, that rear stud has probably been abused enough that I'd probably feel better myself simply replacing the tube with a new part.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:56 PM   #3
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So I ordered a Wilson plunger tube and spring assembly, and reassembled it (I lost the original Kimber plunger tube when it was blown off).

,
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Originally Posted by canebrake View Post
I missed that part of the first read through. Good catch Cane...

JD
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:59 PM   #4
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Damn Cane, I'm going to have to start paying you for all of your great advice, thank you. I did do some research after my original post and found that Brownells makes a similar tool but it is $100... This Strobel looks a little wimpy compared to the Brownells one but if it gets it done for $70 less then thats great... I also found a few referring to the use of Loctite as an effective yet "ghetto" workaround.

Thanks again man,

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Old 04-15-2009, 02:59 AM   #5
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Damn Cane, I'm going to have to start paying you for all of your great advice, thank you. I did do some research after my original post and found that Brownells makes a similar tool but it is $100... This Strobel looks a little wimpy compared to the Brownells one but if it gets it done for $70 less then thats great... I also found a few referring to the use of Loctite as an effective yet "ghetto" workaround.

Thanks again man,
The Strobel is anything but wimpy! It will last you a lifetime and save you the 70$ in the process.
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:32 AM   #6
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Whenever I have a plunger tube come loose, I have it brazed back on. Then it will never come off again. The plunger tube is my least favorite thing about 1911's.

I had one loosen up on the first day of a pistol class once, and put it back on with red loctite and clamped it overnight with a pair of visegrips that I always keep in my truck. It may have been "ghetto" but it got me through the class and never came loose again.

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