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View Full Version : Any Thoughts on Full Length Guide Rod?


Bruce Allen
November 19, 2015, 07:51
Some of you might have read a post of mine about recently acquiring a Kimber Raptor pistol.

It has the full length guide rod and all of the other 1911's I have ever owned have not .

After some extensive Internet searching most people's opinions state the full length guide rod does not serve any particular purpose.

I can tell a difference in the smoothness of operation in pistols without it.

Also found the pistol has a plastic main/hammer spring housing.. and am not impressed with that in an expensive pistol..

What do you guys think?

L Haney
November 19, 2015, 08:00
Also found the pistol has a plastic trigger spring housing.. and am not impressed with that in an expensive pistol..



Do you mean main/hammer spring housing?

Bruce Allen
November 19, 2015, 08:11
Yes Sir, I do. ... Sorry.. not fully awake this morning..

L Haney
November 19, 2015, 08:56
I have one of the 'Metrosexual Arms' 1911s from the Philippines. It has the guide rod.

Mostly just seems to complicate tearing the thing down when I clean it.

This one.

http://www.slickguns.com/sites/default/files/61673.jpg

ETA: That SIG 1911/22 I got just to put a suppressor on had a plastic main spring housing. I was horrified. I mean the rest of it IS aluminum, but damn! It got replaced with a steel flat one.

J. Armstrong
November 19, 2015, 09:20
Everything I have ever read seems to indicate that the guide rod serves no useful purpose. The pistol will feel a bit smoother as the spring is not bearing against the frame, but functionally that is of no importance. As noted, it bitch-ifies disassembly as well.

I'm pretty sure the plastic housing won't cause any problems, but I agree that it is annoying on an otherwise all metal pistol. I'd replace it for sure.

MAINER
November 19, 2015, 09:21
It's just the Main Spring Housing or MSH. No need to get all technical and stuff.
My basic Kimber Custom Classic came with one and got replaced with a steel Colt serrated style. Had not heard of any problems with the plastic MSH, but steel gives me a more comfy feeling.
I have heard of plastic MSH's coming apart, but they were not Kimber.

Agree the "Full Length Guide Rod" is another solution without a problem and likely a personal affront to JMB.
Some of my 1911's have them, some don't. As Lowell pointed out, a 1911 that is not accompanied by a toolkit would be best if it can be disassembled by hand.

That's a good looking 1911 there LH. except for the front slide serrations and sight. Ain't entirely sure about that hammer either. :D

gunplumber
November 19, 2015, 10:11
the "Full Length Guide Rod" is another solution without a problem and likely a personal affront to JMB.
Some of my 1911's have them, some don't. As Lowell pointed out, a 1911 that is not accompanied by a toolkit would be best if it can be disassembled by hand.

This. I also don't recommend anything but slotted grip screws, also for simplified disassembly.

L Haney
November 19, 2015, 11:05
I pull grip scales on a 1911 about as often as I do the butt stock on a FAL.

SAFN49
November 19, 2015, 11:28
Depends on the full length guide rod you use.

No tools necessary.

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s30/djm540idjm540i/20151119_102505_resized%201_zpsx1n6ooe4.jpg (http://s148.photobucket.com/user/djm540idjm540i/media/20151119_102505_resized%201_zpsx1n6ooe4.jpg.html)

L Haney
November 19, 2015, 11:34
Depends on the full length guide rod you use.



Almost. Depends on the definition of "full length". That one comes up just short.

Which is in my opinion, a better idea!

Bruce Allen
November 19, 2015, 12:03
My remaining older brother, who is 73, and I met yesterday for some shooting and eating and he has a new Remington R1 1911 (which is 70 style action).
His Remington is not their base model and has a fiber optic front sight plus no FLGR.
It was noticeably smoother when hand cycling the action and seemed like a really decent piece. It shot well.

Handling his pistol convinced me to go ahead and convert my Kimber to the original style guide and plug..

LH: what do you think about the fiber optic front sight?

L Haney
November 19, 2015, 12:12
LH: what do you think about the fiber optic front sight?

I was afraid somebody was gonna' ask!

Gotta' eat crow. Is it durable? Don't know. I ain't a commando. Is it ugly? Yep. Is it way different from what I'm used to? Again, yep.

Does it help these 55 year old plus eyes FIND THAT FRONT SIGHT in a hurry? Yes.

Bruce, I wanted to hate it and find an excuse for ditching the pimp looking thing. But I'd be lying if I said it sucks.

It's NOT a night sight. It ain't tritium. But it works surprisingly good for me.

idsubgun
November 19, 2015, 12:13
When you have weight on the end of the barrel, (i.e. compensator, suppressor, etc.) then a full length guide rod will help cycling of the slide during firing.
We had to install them in our build at Cylinder & Slide but was told they are a fad that people wanted, but useless without the weight on the end of the barrel. I tend to believe whatever Bill Laughridge says about 1911's.

FYI, I have several 1911's both ways and don't see a bit of difference. But I don't have anything on the end either. I did install a full length guide rod in the last Colt I built because I plan on building a suppressor for it.

So, if it came with it, just leave it. If building a pistol from scratch, leave it off useless you're going to suppress it.

nearmisses
November 19, 2015, 12:32
As for the full length guide rod, as others have said soloution to a problem that doesn't exist. The plastic mainspring housing isn't new, I believe Pachmayr did that first, they have been around awhile. Get a steel one if it bugs you. Flat or arched is the big thing for fit. Other than that Bruce, how does it shoot and operate? Can you make pretty smiley faces on the target with it?

L. Haney, how do you like your Metro? I have an Amigo and love the darn thing!

L Haney
November 19, 2015, 12:45
L. Haney, how do you like your Metro? I have an Amigo and love the darn thing!

I like it a lot. Got my first 1911 in 1975. The guys that built this thing seem to take QC seriously. It ain't stainless, it's industrial chromed.

Fit and finish are top notch. Slide to frame fit beat what Colt did for decades, discounting their custom shop. Trigger pull needs no attention. Off bags it will shoot two inches at twenty five yards with my twitchy ass holding it.

This isn't a high end 1911 knockoff, but I find it to be a more than workman like example of a modern expression of the design. Shot maybe ~1600 rounds through this one. Factory and hand loads. Zero malfunctions.

I think they did a fine job.

idsubgun
November 19, 2015, 15:10
Colt has gotten away from being the leader in the industry. There are some fine 1911's built by other companies. I buy Colt's most of the time to customize because I know their heat treat is second to none. Colt used to heat treat each end of the slide only until they came out with the 10mm. After 10mm's started hammering the sh*t out of the slides, they decided to heat treat the complete slide, and they are good at it. I don't know what other manufacturers do for heat treating. Plus, I usually don't buy 1911's with all the bells & whistles because I like to customize my own pistol. That being said, I've seen and shot several 1911's from companies that just got into the game, and they are well made. Even if their heat treatment isn't on par with Colt, how many of us actually run enough ammo through our 1911's to beat it up?

Forgot to tell you, Bruce. I like Smith Alexander mainspring housing, and am partial to flat. I've had carpal tunnel surgery and the arched mainspring housing tends to push on the scar.

http://www.smithandalexander.com/spr-housing.html

Another way to go is one with a mag guide. I'm thinking about adding these to a couple of my 1911's.

http://www.smithandalexander.com/guides.html

Bruce Allen
November 19, 2015, 15:28
As for the full length guide rod, as others have said soloution to a problem that doesn't exist. The plastic mainspring housing isn't new, I believe Pachmayr did that first, they have been around awhile. Get a steel one if it bugs you. Flat or arched is the big thing for fit. Other than that Bruce, how does it shoot and operate? Can you make pretty smiley faces on the target with it?

I have a flat steel housing in my parts box already!!
Ironically when shooting yesterday I actually did shoot a smiley face and dotted both eyes on a target with a photo of a man in a camo field jacket and a sawed off double barrel shotgun.. My brother and I laughed and laughed at that one..
I now have over 650 rounds thru it and there are no problems of any kind.

LH - my brothers Remington has a red fiber optic front sight and I shot the gun 4 different times and could not see it particularly well.. but I have an odd eye/glasses situation right now..

Bruce Allen
November 20, 2015, 00:25
Competed in an indoor action pistol match tonite at Allen Arms.
There were three 1911 shooters and I had the highest score of the three much to my surprise.
I say that because I have not fired in an action pistol match in 3 1/2 years.. and shooting is a perishable skill..
This is not to say I am satisfied with my performance, but the pistol was flawless and it's crisp trigger makes shooting a joy.

BTW - there were 15 to 18 shooters total .

It is hard to compete against 15 round mags when you have 8 round mags, but main point was to start re-honing my skills and gain confidence with my weapon.

Edited for clarity: I did not win, but was about 10 place, but still bested the other two 1911 shooters.

Retired Bum
November 20, 2015, 17:56
I have two stainless steel SW1911's which have the full length guide rod. Both of them cycle smoothly with the FLGR but are a bit more trouble to disassemble and reassemble compared to the six Colt 1911's I have which don't and never will have a FLGR.

About the only advantage to a FLGR that I can see is that it prevents the recoil spring from getting kinked during reassembly. What I would really like to see is a captive recoil guide rod and spring unit like the one on my SIG P210-6. But that may be asking for something that just isn't feasible with the 1911 design.

And so it goes.


The Retired One

rowjimmy
November 20, 2015, 20:33
Competed in an indoor action pistol match tonite at Allen Arms...
It is hard to compete against 15 round mags when you have 8 round mags,..

I think you'd still do OK. For most stages, you end up with one extra reload at most. Unless you're shooting 30+ round stages.

I don't usually beat people of my same skill level with a 1911 vs. Glock or M&P, but it has as much to do with the recoil impulse and ergonomics as much as number of reloads, but shooting against people whom I have a higher skill level than, I'll beat them hands down with the 1911.

Congratulations on your win.

Bruce Allen
November 21, 2015, 00:11
Rowjimmy: you are not welcome on my threads.
I thought that was made clear already..

rowjimmy
November 21, 2015, 17:18
Oh, and as to the full length guide rod, I have one on my Kimber but find it a PITA to field strip. I always have to use a piece of metal to push the plug down far enough to turn the bushing out. I'm not sure if it's intended to be done by hand. but I need something firmer than the flesh of my hand to push it in far enough.

Stoney
November 21, 2015, 18:01
get a bushing wrench

idsubgun
November 22, 2015, 05:16
get a bushing wrench

A bushing wrench will only work on full length guide rods like the one in the photo SAFN49 posted above. It has to recessed like that BUT most have the guide rod extended to the end, and you can't use a bushing wrench for that.
There is no plug in the end to depress, like an original 1911. SAFN49 has the advantage because of his short guide rod (insert puns here, lol), and he can use a bushing wrench to push that ring down like a conventional plug. A guide rod extended to the end is solid, and you won't be able to push that ring down.
I simply push the slide back to the position where slide stop will push thru, and while holding it there, I push the slide stop out, which allows the complete slide/barrel assembly to slide off the front.

I hate the damned things myself, and only added the one to my Colt because of a future suppressor. I have other 1911's with them but I wouldn't ever add a guide rod to ti have another bell or whistle on my gun.

rowjimmy
November 22, 2015, 07:21
A bushing wrench will only work on full length guide rods like the one in the photo SAFN49 posted above. It has to recessed like that BUT most have the guide rod extended to the end, and you can't use a bushing wrench for that.
There is no plug in the end to depress, like an original 1911. ...

Apparently I'm using incorrect terminology as mine is like the one in SAFN49's picture with a full length guide rod, but I thought it was still called a "plug".

I can not (easily?) remove the slide stop first as there is too much resistance to pushing it out (from friction with barrel link and slide stop created by the recoil spring still being in place?) So I just use a piece of metal to depress the recoil spring "plug" and turn the bushing out.

idsubgun
November 22, 2015, 08:52
Apparently I'm using incorrect terminology as mine is like the one in SAFN49's picture with a full length guide rod, but I thought it was still called a "plug".

I can not (easily?) remove the slide stop first as there is too much resistance to pushing it out (from friction with barrel link and slide stop created by the recoil spring still being in place?) So I just use a piece of metal to depress the recoil spring "plug" and turn the bushing out.

It's still called a plug. I was meaning one like the original recoil spring plug that JMB designed.
If your pistol is like SAFN49's, then you should be able to use a bushing wrench.

If it had the guide rod going out to the end, you can pull the slide back and push the slide stop out, like I described above.
This shows how I hold the pistol to push the slide stop out. I hook the base of my index finger into the ejection port to help hold back against the spring pressure. Sorry, I don't have a 1911 with the guide rod to illustrate this. I'm sitting in a motel outside Ft. Campbell, KY, headed to Georgia and am carrying my P-13 but you get the idea.

Out of here, and on the highway.
http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp40/bjplowman/Gunsmithing/0002_zpssmjrbk4l.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/bjplowman/media/Gunsmithing/0002_zpssmjrbk4l.jpg.html)

Bruce Allen
November 28, 2015, 19:04
Yeah, I went with the original design as it was a pistol designed for war: reliable and easy to maintain.
This pistol is my main house defense pistol and could be a carry piece.. so ease of maintenance is a must.

IMHO - the flgr is for a target gun not a carry gun.

Besides Is adhere to the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid..

Bought from Brownell's and the shipping was more than the parts!

Thanks for all the input, guys!!

SAFN49
November 28, 2015, 21:54
Step 1, Stop soaking you mitts in Palmolive and get out of the kitchen.
Step 2, Go to GNC and get some Ball Gain with Cocksidil and grow a set. :biggrin: (Just kidding guys)

Step 4, Insert middle finger in trigger guard
Step 5, Take thumb and depress recoil spring plug
Step 6, With your free hand rotate bbl bushing and take down pistol.

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s30/djm540idjm540i/20151128_204239_resized%201_zpsyoom06ni.jpg (http://s148.photobucket.com/user/djm540idjm540i/media/20151128_204239_resized%201_zpsyoom06ni.jpg.html)

Bruce Allen
November 29, 2015, 13:06
Well hell.. if I had hands as big as yours it would be a snap!!

yellowhand
November 29, 2015, 14:54
Well hell.. if I had hands as big as yours it would be a snap!!

Note from Doctor and an extensive DNA examination before we could call those hands human!:wink: