1911 Skool: Barrel Vertical Engagement Quik-Chek

John Travis

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In order to avoid getting stuck with one of the subjects of the previous threads, there's a quick way to check for vertical barrel lug engagement. There aren't many of them left in the pipelines, but one does occasionally show up. It won't be precise, but it will let you know if there's a problem.

It requires a popsicle stick and a dial or digital caliper. This will work on any pistol with the Colt-Browning tilting barrel locking system.

Measure the depth of the first lug.

Trim the popsicle stick so that it fits the slide's breechface. Insert it between the breechface and the end of the barrel hood and let the slide go to battery sharply. Not full travel slidestop trip, but from about a third of the way back.

Using the depth gauge on the caliper, carefully measure the distance from the top of the slide to the top of the barrel chamber. Take three measurements to make sure your readings are consistent.

Remove the popsicle stick and let the slide go to battery and measure again...three times.

If the two measurements match or closely match the first lug's depth, you've got full vertical engagement, or at least nearly so.

Even if there's up to a .005 inch difference, the gun is viable. Not ideal, but it will do.
 
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