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Fitting a match barrel

Most of the time a 1911A1 pistol is fairly accurate if all the components are assembled at the same factory. But sometimes people just want to wring the most accuracy they can from their pistols. So today I installed a Wilson Combat match barrel on a Colt pistol.



I started out by attempting to fit the barrel into the slide, mostly so I could see where I needed to start fitting. here the hood is a bit too wide to go into the cut on the slide for lockup. The length of the hood seemed to be fine with no loose breech. So I lightly filed off a very tiny thousandths of an inch on both sides….




Match barrels are purposefully left wider here on the barrel. This allows you to fit the barrel to the bushing very tightly.



The locking lugs seemed to go into place fairly snug. But the front of the barrel wouldn’t slip into the front part of the slide. So a little work here does the trick.



The barrel link is a crucial fitted part. Too long or two short causes problems with the slide. Without going into too boring details, let’s just say the nominal size for Colts is .278 ” center to center on the link pin holes. So I cheat a little by using a barrel link kit. It comes with 5 different sized links, 2 below nominal, 1 that’s .278 “, and 2 larger than nominal. In this case you just ” try it until one fits “. In gunsmithing, time equals money. I could machine one from steel but it takes too long sometimes. This link swings the barrel down and back away from the slide during cycling…. when the slide closes it forces the locking lugs on the top of the barrel up into the slide and into the recesses in the underside of the slide.



Ahhh yes, the barrel bushing !  It is oversized on the outside to be fitted into the slide and hold the barrel in place. Also, the barrel fits tightly so the inside has to be worked over too. ALSO, the proper angle has to be cut on the inside — to allow the barrel to have enough room to unlock from the slide by tipping down and back.



This work was done to a really nice Colt Gov’t model, series 80 pistol in stainless steel.



Here’s a pretty neat place to stash a laser to help aiming the gun in low light conditions. Keeps everything trim and has nothing protruding to snag on clothing. The switch was a bugger to install as it is now built into the slide stop / release lever on the side of the frame.


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