I was at the range with a buddy who has a Nighthawk with a bull barrel. We swapped pistols, just for grins, and I could not believe how soft the recoil was. I thought I had fired a squib load or something. Remarkable reduction in recoil, apparently from the weight of the bull barrel.
I'm not in the mood to drop three grand on a new pistol, though; and I have plenty of 1911's. I'd rather just buy some parts for one of the 1911's I already have. Brownell's sells a bull barrel for $160. My question is: What do I need to to about the recoil spring? With the bull barrel, there is no bushing. With no bushing, there is nothing to hold in the GI spring & plug.
When I order the barrel, which recoil spring assembly do I need to buy?
Also, I shouldn't have to do any modifications to the frame or slide, right? I'd like to be able to replace the original parts.
I don't think it's quite that simple, unfortunately. From another shooting forum:
To be able to use a bull barrel in a 1911 slide the recoil spring plug area of the slide has to be machined to allow the use of a reverse plug (one that slides in from the back) because there is no bushing used to capture it. You may also have to machine the lock up area of the barrel or slide to get a proper fit.
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Yes - usually for a bull barrel to work well, it needs to be fitted to the individual slide that it will be going into. And yea, things are done differently for the recoil spring - I've had a 1911 with a bull barrel before _ I prefer it to the bushing set up personally.
Bull barrel - UPDATE
OK, I checked with local Famous Gunsmith, who said a "pre-fit" barrel would probably drop right in, without any gunsmithing required. Might not be a one-holer out of a machine rest, but still minute of bad guy out to any reasonable pistol range.
Originally Posted by Mike Barham
He also said I'd need a reverse plug to retain the recoil spring. Requires facing off the back end of the recoil spring plug channel (the bottom part of the slide), which he says is a minor operation. He says no problem switching back to the original parts, but the cut will be just barely visible at the front edge of the frame, if you look for it.
So, I got online to Brownells and ordered a Storm Lake pre-fit bull barrel, and a Briley reverse plug. When they get here, I'll take them to Famous Gunsmith and have him do the whittling on the slide. I'll post pics and range report when it's all finished.
OK. Got the Storm Lake "pre-fitted" barrel and Briley reverse plug from Brownell's. Barrel was almost perfectly fitted, but not quite drop-in. Famous Gunsmith spotted the one problem area instantly, and fixed it by filing off a jillionth of an inch in just the right spot. I never would have found the problem area, and would probably have destroyed the barrel trying to fix it. Famous Gunsmith milled off the rear of the recoil spring plug housing on the slide, and then beveled the circumference to match. Took him minutes. Would have taken me hours, and I would have destroyed the part.
Anyway, to the range. No significant difference in accurary. Storm Lake barrel initially shot to the left of the factory barrel. Had to adjust the sights to get it centered. Therefore, can't just swap out parts occasionally; need to re-sight each time.
Couldn't use an electronic timer, because on an indoor range, everybody's shots trigger the timer. All I could do was set the turning target on 2 seconds (no fractions of seconds available), and shoot pairs, to get an idea of recovery.
No real good objective proof, but subjectively, yes, I can feel a real difference, substantially reduced recoil (and easier/faster recovery) with the bull barrel. Figure $300, parts and labor. Worth it? Yeah, I'm glad I did it.
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