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Old September 08, 2011, 17:10   #1
longhair51
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1911 plunger tube install

The plunger tube on my Colt Mk4 ser 80 has come loose after almost 25 years. I'm going to install an Ed brown tube. My question is how much force is needed to peen the legs when attaching? Does it need a little tap, a small amount of force, a skosh, just look at it REAL hard?

I have already made a UHMW support for the tube, and an offset hammer with an 8-32 pointed set screw to do the job. Also red loctite will be used.

What say you all?

Thanks
Don
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Old September 08, 2011, 18:39   #2
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Careful you don't squish the tube, obviously, so good job on the support tool.

Chamfer the inside edges of the holes on the inside of the frame so the displaced metal has a place to go to after staking - then degrease the area, apply some red loctite and squish away; doesn't take a lot of pressure.
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Old September 08, 2011, 20:09   #3
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As Andy stated; I just use a **FIRM** tap on the hammer.
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Old September 08, 2011, 23:35   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by AndyC
Careful you don't squish the tube, obviously, so good job on the support tool.

Chamfer the inside edges of the holes on the inside of the frame so the displaced metal has a place to go to after staking - then degrease the area, apply some red loctite and squish away; doesn't take a lot of pressure.
What Andy said. When I worked at Pachmayr back when they still had some of the best 1911 smiths in the country working for them, one of the guys made a tool for installing plunger tubes. He took a pair of inexpensive pliers, ground a little bit off of one of the jaws, then drilled a hole through the face of the plier jaw and tapped it for 8-32 threads and put an 8-32 set screw in the hole and secured it with a lock nut.

When installing plunger tubes, they'd chamfer the inside of the hole, then use the tool to crimp the legs of the plunger tube. They didn't even use the loctite, although that's a good idea just for a little extra insurance, and to my knowledge, none of the plunger tubes that they installed ever came loose.
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Old September 09, 2011, 10:37   #5
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I am a tool slut, and time = money, so I bought the modified vise-grips from brownells.

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=9...R_TUBE_CRIMPER
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Old September 09, 2011, 10:57   #6
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A hammer is not a tool to use on the plunger tool. A special tool is made for these little rascals. It looks like a pair of plyers with a peg in one side. A firm squeeze is all thats needed. As stated above only three things need to be avoided:
don't crush the tube,
don't crush the tube,
don't crush the tube,

You can dent these tubes looking at them the wrong way.

Good luck with your project!


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Old September 09, 2011, 13:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by gunplumber
I am a tool slut, and time = money
I am also a "valued" member of the "tool slut" club. I have more time than money right now, so I made the tools to do the job.

I might modify a pair of pliers or vise-grips though. As stated, they would be safer to use.
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Old September 09, 2011, 15:33   #8
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The tool from Brownell's is WORTH IT!

Bought mine a loooong time ago, and it has paid off, just with a few personal Colts, and a few friend's Colts and other brands too.

The standing joke is, if the plunger tube comes loose after 500 rounds, you know it is a genuine Colt!

The Ed Brown tube with the longer rivet legs is the one to use.
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Old September 09, 2011, 16:19   #9
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As others have said, you MUST chamfer the inside holes to give the metal that you swage somewhere to go. If you don't chamfer the holes, your magazines may have a problem being inserted and the plunger tube will not be solidly secured in place. I use the smallest ball end cutter that Dremel makes to chamfer these holes.

I have used this tool with great success on a number of plunger tubes. Less than half the cost of the vise grip version, if that's a consideration.

Plunger tube staking tool
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Old September 09, 2011, 16:22   #10
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"The standing joke is, if the plunger tube comes loose after 500 rounds, you know it is a genuine Colt!"

Oddly, of the multitude of 1911's I have owned and the thousands of rounds fired in them, the only plunger tubes I have had come loose were both on lightweight Commanders. Both were stainless steel tubes on silver anodized aluminum frames. The same stainless tubes have never loosened on my stainless steel frame Government Models, or on the blue steel guns, either. I wonder if the lighter weight of the aluminum frame guns, with their resulting increase in felt recoil, is a contributing factor.

I understand the plunger tube on the new Ruger 1911 is cast as part of the frame. If you have cast frames, this seems like a good feature.
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Old September 09, 2011, 16:58   #11
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Just the short, most recent list of plunger tube replacements-

3 Combat Commanders [ steel frame ]
2 1918 production 1911s
2 Argy ' sistema' models
1 ' Model of 1927 ' Colt


My 1914 production Commercial has its original tube, and is still tight!
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Old September 09, 2011, 23:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by tdb59
The tool from Brownell's is WORTH IT!

Bought mine a loooong time ago, and it has paid off, just with a few personal Colts, and a few friend's Colts and other brands too.

The standing joke is, if the plunger tube comes loose after 500 rounds, you know it is a genuine Colt!

The Ed Brown tube with the longer rivet legs is the one to use.
Mine hasn't done too bad, with maybe 8 to 10 times that many rounds. Yeah, it's a little loose, but it is minute of bad guy accurate and 101% reliable.

The reason I bought the Ed Brown was for the longer legs. If their too long I'll just grind them down after crimping and the loctite sets up.
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Old September 10, 2011, 00:26   #13
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While on the subject on plunger tubes, has anyone tried any of the 'new-and-improved' ones, either with four legs or one that is screwed in place?

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=2...Y_PLUNGER_TUBE

Just curious; if you take the time to chamfer the holes on the inside, I've never had one come loose after several thousand rounds. I don't know that any other method is necessary, but one never knows.
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Old September 10, 2011, 10:30   #14
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Quote:
Just curious; if you take the time to chamfer the holes on the inside, I've never had one come loose after several thousand rounds. I don't know that any other method is necessary, but one never knows
Quote:
As others have said, you MUST chamfer the inside holes to give the metal that you swage somewhere to go. If you don't chamfer the holes, your magazines may have a problem being inserted and the plunger tube will not be solidly secured in place. I use the smallest ball end cutter that Dremel makes to chamfer these holes.
This, plus loctite 640 or 609.

Plunger tube install 101, Class of 2011, hereby dismissed
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