Breaking in a 1911? Why waste the money?

Discussion in '1911 Forum' started by icallshotgun88, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    It wasn't too long ago I bought my first 1911...

    I heard it a million times thy I needed about a 250 round "break in period".

    So I did it. I would bring my new 1911 and blow through 250 rounds.

    Then I thought, what the HECK is the difference between shooting $100 worth of ammo to break in your 1911 versus just racking the slide 500 times?


    The whole point of the break in period is to make it more reliable be mending the frame and the slide and maybe breaking in the recoil spring...

    Those can be accomplished by racking the slide fast and hard a couple hundred times?

    Why waste the ammo?

    Idk. Maybe this is a stupid question..

    Sorry :)
     
  2. BillDeShivs

    BillDeShivs Member

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    Racking the slide doesn't feed rounds into the chamber, doesn't use the extractor or ejector or firing mechanism. Recoil springs don't "break in."
     

  3. KG7IL

    KG7IL Active Member

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    The answer is clear to me.
    Shooting it is more fun.
    What I never understood was the folks that said to lube it up real good.
    Why not break it in with very little lube! Now that's for me!..

    Anyway you do it, it's worth the accuracy and trigger that few auto-loaders can acheive.
     
  4. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    You may be right. When fitting a slide and frame on a 1911 the rail grooves on the slide are narrowed down and the slide is hammered onto and off of the frame several times. Then lapping compound is used and the process is repeated.

    Firing the gun with ammo will cycle the slide, frame, barrel, hammer, disconnector, all at once. At the same time you would be running ammo through the mag, up the feed ramp, into the chamber through the throat, and also running the case head and rim up the breach face and under the extractor. You also wear in the trigger parts.

    All the while you are familiarizing yourself with that particular gun. You may identify ammo that it doesn't like, changes in point of impact between different loads, etc.

    You're going to run the rounds through anyway. No one says you need to break it in all at once. Do regular 50 round range sessions if you want. Cycle it and dry fire with snap caps when you don't shoot it.

    If it is a carry gun or defensive piece, how soon will you be confident in reliability with your chosen defensive ammo?

    Just a few thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  5. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    Very good points

    Didn't think about the trigger and what not, although that wouldn't necessarily have to do with reliability

    But I do agree that the most fun about breaking it in finding the perfect match of ammo and magazines, etc.

    I also agree that if it is a carry gun, racking the slide wouldn't give me enough confidence to instantly carrying the gun.

    I bring this up because with the first 1911 I owned I decided to just go straight to the range and blow through a bunch of ammo...and only after the break in period did I really start to try to identify the perfect combination for reliability.
     
  6. CaptMidnight

    CaptMidnight New Member Supporter

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    If a firearm does not function when you purchase it some thing is wrong. This "Break'in", excuse is a new trick. In the past legitimate gun dealers offered to return the failure to the manufacture. :(
     
  7. KG7IL

    KG7IL Active Member

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    You new here? ... ...
    We revere our 1911 here. If you want to bash a gun, head over to the Glock SubForum... :)

    The 'break-in' is not a excuse, but becomes part of the over-all gun's fit and function. Mine work fine from the factory, but the smoothness you find only in a 1911 is acheived by use.. Even a $275 pair of Italian shoes, like a bit of a break in. Even a $19 pair of Wrangler Jeans likes a break in. (and I like 'em better after they are broke in).

    If you don't own one that smoothed out, then you'll never understand.
    Many are content with the boing-boing of a Glock. I cannot be!
     
  8. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    I didn't read quite that much into Capt Ms reply. If there is an obvious defect, then yes, warranty work is to be considered.

    My Fusion 1911 that I put together from a slide and frame has been riable since the first round. But you are right. That tight fit remains, but it has gotten smoother and better as it has been fired.
     
  9. KG7IL

    KG7IL Active Member

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    I am with both of you, solidly, on this aspect.

    I was reading into the 'break-in excuse' part.. If 1 round in 50 has a failure, I say... Continue with the 'break-in'... Grip, Bullet nose shape, rough spots in the feed system, magazines can all be a factor in function, so 250 rounds may or may not solve a problem. But the effort will not go unrewarded when the 'other' problems are solved.
     
  10. CaptMidnight

    CaptMidnight New Member Supporter

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    I expect that many of the members on the forum have different opinions on their 1911 handguns. No one has to leave a forum for having a different experience.
    I would also disagree on the break-in solutions. A well lubed handgun has long been used for the first 150 rounds. Be careful, of any handgun that fails to function properly. A few failures may be acceptable. Recognizing tolerance and fit differs from improper machining.
     
  11. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Buy a new vehicle, and you are advised to be gentle with it until it is broken in.

    Keep the speed reasonable, don't slam on the brakes, don't rev the engine too much.

    Things need some time to "mesh" together. Brake pads, rings, cam, transmission parts.

    You don't race right out of the show room.

    So goes with the fine piece of equipment called a 1911.
     
  12. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    Okay.
    I got it.
    So load up a bunch of magazines with snap caps and rack the slide and pull the trigger, etc. a few hundred times and it could be a solid break in...

    Then again, with my 5 snap caps, that could take 6 months!
     
  13. Seargent_York

    Seargent_York New Member

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    It should not take 500 rounds to break in a 1911. Unless you have a 1911 with tolerances so tight (Kimber cough cough) that it isn't able to function well until the contact surfaces have been worn. In which case, Kimber and anyone else who claims you need to 'break in' their gun should start ponying up for the 500 rounds when you buy the pistol!

    45s (ie the real ones, ie: combat) are known for their generous tolerances. Like an AK 47 handgun. And just like an AK, once you start tightening things up and it does not work as well.

    IMO manufacturers that sell guns not ready to work 100% out of the box are not worthy of my attention or my money. There are so many good choices today why settle for BS?
     
  14. KG7IL

    KG7IL Active Member

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    There is no doubt that a 1911 design will generally cost more to manufacture and finish than one of the newer striker fire plastic guns.

    It is the goal of most manufacturers to attempt producing a product at the lowest cost with the highest quality.

    Molding is generally cheaper than machining. Loose gritty parts are cheaper than smooth, well fitting parts.

    Many people are satisfied with a cheap plastic gun with loose, ill fitting parts. I have a couple..... but I'm not satisfied. I appreciate the design and function of the 1911 but didn't pay top dollar for a custom. I run a few rounds through 'em and find that I am satisfied.
     
  15. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    I am with Doc on his advise! 50 or 100 rounds at a time would be my suggestion. However a well built 1911 Pistol lubed properly and with a good magazine and ammunition should function right out of the box. All the time here, we hear of guys thinking they need to break in their AR-15s as mentioned in their threads. Never had that problem with a good gun built properly once again as long is was properly lubed, had a good magazine and good ammunition. If it is a weapon I might depend upon for my life I do not want to have any doubt if is it going to function properly or if it could have possibly have a hiccup?
    I have three good quality 1911s and all three functioned flawlessly right out of the box. Did I tear them down first, clean and properly lube them before their first session? "You bet I DID! I did have a Colt Gold Cup that had an issue with HP Ammunition but that was understandable since they the ramps are designed to shoot ball target ammunition. With a little polishing it later did shoot HPs just fine. So ammunition can have a definite effect depending on the 1911. Also for example, if the guide rod soring is designed for full power duty rounds, shooting light loads like target ammunition can be a problem causing malfuntions.

    03
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
  16. CardiacColt68

    CardiacColt68 New Member

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    I would not trust ANY pistol or rifle that I didn't put some different rounds through before using for SD. I have a new AR that I haven't shot yet. It will most likely work fine from round 1, but if I need a rifle for something important I am grabbing my used and trusted AR. Why would a 1911 or striker fired weapon be any different?
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
  17. formerCav

    formerCav Member

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    :) funny you'd mention that about an automobile.
    I remember years ago I bought a muscle car and the owners manual said "to vary the speed for the first 300 miles, and to keep it under 60 for the first 50 miles, and that (get this) BRIEF full throttle accelerations are advisable after the first 300 miles but OBSERVE all local laws.

    I bought my CCW weapon used from a fellow, a kimber polymer target 1911 that holds 14 + 1 of 45 aCP.
    He sold it to me as "it didn't work"
    I cleaned it, took it to the range with some quality factory loads, and some of my practice reloads and put about 200 rounds through it, and never had a problem.
    Be sure to replace your RECOIL spring about every 2000 rounds or so.
    I CCW this every day. Awesome weapon
     
  18. Wallace

    Wallace New Member

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    I am 500+ rounds into my 1911 past the "break in point" and I'm still having problems with my hammer going to the half cock position rather than the fully cocked position. It ejects and feeds fine with 230 gr. Ball ammo, the only problem is that two or three rounds out of every mag will send my hammer to the half cocked position. I have shot many different brands and still my problem continues. I'm shooting an auto ordinance 1911A1 for all you who were wondering with Wilson combat mags.
     
  19. BillDeShivs

    BillDeShivs Member

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    Wallace-
    Your hammer IS going to the full-cock position, but it's falling to half-cock.
    Shooting the gun won't fix this. It's not a "break-in" issue-it's a "broken" issue. Take it back where you bought it.
     
  20. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    That is broke.

    For the fun of it, replace every spring (recoil, sear, and main).