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Which is better: the factory short or the after-market full length rod? Will the full length add anything in the performance area? I've read and heard different stuff but don't know where to draw the line between fact & hype.
 

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Guide Rod

The guide rod helped me on my Colt Gunsite CCO, I was in my first 500 rounds with the gun and was not feeding the 7th round much of the time, I installed a Wilson guide rod (one piece), and the 7th round only a couple of times has failed to feed, I'm not too upset about such an expensive design not feeding, I'm hoping it's just still being broke in.

I have another, parkerized 80 series Commander it will feed anything, I don't think I've failed to feed anything through that one.

The point is, it depends, your weapon may not need it, and then again you may have one were it may help. One thing I do like about them, when you pull the slide back with one installed, it sounds and feels smoother, because the spring is not being scrunched, it's form is being maintained during compression with the rod, that in itself may be worth it to you.
 

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Which is better: the factory short or the after-market full length rod? Will the full length add anything in the performance area? I've read and heard different stuff but don't know where to draw the line between fact & hype.
The guide rod simply helps to keep the spring from binding up as it gets compressed. If your spring is in good shape and is not binding any, the rod may not help anything. It will not hurt anything either. Another advantage is that it adds some weight in the front. Some like the feel of the forward weight. They also come in tungsten for even more weight.
 

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The only guide rod I've installed on a 1911 was in my little Colt Compact (Officers, but steel frame). It came from the factory with a short rod, a double spring setup, and a spring plunger with a tiny tab waiting to break. The whole setup was a ticking timebomb IMO. I replaced it an Ed Brown reverse plug two piece guide rod and heavier spring and it's been a gem ever since.

I've also got a Kimber TLE (black, internal extractor) which came with a guide rod. I've left it alone because it works flawlessly and I'm not one to mess with success. If having a gun built to my specs, I would order a short guide rod however.
 

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The additional muzzle weight is a valid point, but IMO that's all guide rods are good for. Regardless of spring condition, there's really no where for the spring to go inside the gun------the channel it rides in is just the right size for the spring. Assuming the short (standard) guide rod has the normal rounded end so it won't catch on the spring coils, the pistol should run just as smoothly with the standard rod. I think it's largely a marketing feature to "catch the fisherman," while having very little real value.
 

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Assuming the short (standard) guide rod has the normal rounded end so it won't catch on the spring coils, the pistol should run just as smoothly with the standard rod. I think it's largely a marketing feature to "catch the fisherman," while having very little real value.
You mean like the front cocking serration's?

Doc
 

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My Para-Ordnance P14.45 came with a full length guide rod as standard equipment. I am NOT used to this stuff. So, I got a replacement, "standard" length guide rod and plug from Brownells. It works just fine. :)
 

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Guide Rod

In my Colts, Springfield's, and Wilson Combat full size models I have always had or added the full length guide rod (two piece). It doesn't seem to add anything to the actual function of the gun, and the added weight is so small as not to matter. So why do I always use one,,,,,,,,,, you can feel a difference in the action when you rack the slide. The slide feels like it is moving smoother, and if I can feel it, maybe the gun is better off for having it.
The only down side I see with a full length guide rod is that it adds a step, and an allen wrench, to the disassembly of the gun.
John Q.
 

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For what this is worth....

Here is a couple of paragraphs on the topic from Dave Lauck @ D&L Sports. Dave is a master craftsman, and his weapons are highly regarded, whether or not they are worth what he asks for them is up to the person buying it. In any event, he is seen as one of the absolute top 1911 makers in the country, so when he has an opinion, people listen. These are his thoughts on a full length vs. less than full length guide rod:

"Special Note regarding recoil spring guide rods and the 1911 autopistol:
The controversy continues about what type of recoil spring guide rod to use in your 1911 autopistol. there seems to be about an even split beteen those who prefer a short rod and those who prefer a full length recoil spring guide rod. People on each side of the issue insist their position is the 'right' position. Here is some information from Dave Lauck on the matter:
- The short spring guide rod and standard spring plug allows the pistol to be a little easier to disassemble. This system is used on D&L service model 1911s for those who may be a little less experienced with the 1911.
- A full length guide rod is used in the D&L Professional model because it does offer some benefits. (The FLGR setup is also simple to disassemble by those with a little more experience with the 1911.) The benefits of the FLGR system include smoother and more consistant tracking of the slide on the frame for each and every shot. More importantly the FLGR stops the live round in the chamber from being extracted from the chamber and ejected from the pistol if the front underside of the slide is slammed into a solid cover object during live fire when the thumb safety is off. Without the FLGR in place the slide will go back far enough to eject the live round from the chamber, but not nessessarily far enough to pick up the next round from the magazine. You can wind up with an empty chamber when you need it if this happens. A FLGR can prevent this occurance, which of course, could be a critical factor in a live situation.
- Can you still chamber a round one handed, and conduct chamber checks with a FLGR in place? Yes on both.
- Does Dave Lauck use a FLGR in his personal full size carry 1911s? Yes."
 

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The only guide rod I've installed on a 1911 was in my little Colt Compact (Officers, but steel frame). It came from the factory with a short rod, a double spring setup, and a spring plunger with a tiny tab waiting to break. The whole setup was a ticking timebomb IMO. I replaced it an Ed Brown reverse plug two piece guide rod and heavier spring and it's been a gem ever since.
I have a lightweight Officers Model with the stock spring plunger. Several years ago I tried installing the reverse plug and it wouldn't fit. I was later told that this requires some machining on the underside of the slide to make proper clearance for it. Was yours machined or is there a newer style that dosen't require it anymore?
 

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I've read all the posts in this thread and I've followed this debate for years. One side says that if it needed a full length rod, JMB would have designed it with one. The other side says it makes the slide move smoother and more linear on the frame. However, nobody mentioned the two-piece type FLGR with its own internal spring. I installed one of these in my Colt Combat Target Stainless (made in 1997 only) and it definately offers the benefit of reducing battering to the frame. When the slide moves back and reaches the last 1/2" of travel, the guide rod begins to compress against its internal spring to further slow down the slides rearward velocity. I'm convinced that this will greatly add to the longevity of the gun and it also reduces felt recoil in the hand.
 

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This Is My Full Length Rod On The Colt Officers ACP

I installed the Cominolli Full Length Frame Saver Rod on my Colt Officer's Acp; It too required the fitting of the reversed recoil plug. Ed Brown once did an article on how much to remove from the slide for the tapered shoulder on the plug. I simply filed back the same thickness of the plug's shoulder to accommodate the fit on the slide. Another important thing is to make sure the recoil spring compresses fully into the plug when the slide is recoiled.One way to check this out is to place the recoil plug on the muzzle end of the slide, with the bushing and barrel removed, and push the rod and spring through the plug by pressing the rod head against a table top.

You will also notice this rod has an Inner and an Outer shok buff; This provide buffers to the slide and the frame, totally eliminating the metal to metal battering from this shorter recoiling pistol.





 
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