proper timing of Series 80 parts on 1911 - Pistolsmith

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Old 01-11-2003, 06:04 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 27
proper timing of Series 80 parts on 1911

Distinguished Master 1911 smiths,
What is the remedy for setting up the proper functioning of timing with the series 80 parts. My pistols in this configuration function well but the evidence of improper timing is present in the form of dings around the base of the uppper part of the the plunger which rides in the slide and blocks firing pin movement until released by the trigger and releveant 2 levers. Can someone alos define "timing" in the 1911 as pertaing to this area of the weapon. Thanks very much,
Mark Avery
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Old 01-11-2003, 06:29 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,559
There are 2 ways to get the Series 80 firing pin plunger raised high enough so it completely clears the firing pin:

1. Allow more trigger overtravel (if your trigger has an overtravel stop).
2. Replace the plunger lever with a higher one (This is the lever that raises above the top of the frame and lifts the firing pin plunger). These levers have the number 1, 2 or 3 stamped on them. The bigger the number, the greater the lift. There is a height that this lever should raise above the frame but I can't find the measurement right now. Hopefully someone else has that height and will post it.

Option 2 is the preferred method since it's possible to pull the trigger back enough to drop the hammer but stop before it reaches its overtravel stop.

BTW, I've almost out of my taller levers and Brownells only lists a #1 in their catalog. Does anyone have a source for these?
Old 01-11-2003, 08:03 AM   #3
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Dave -
2 and 3 levers are hard to come by. I pre-load the system by either bending the short end of the trigger lever upward slightly, or by welding up the surface that touches the back of the trigger, and reshaping it to add apx. .020". Both are done with the same goal in mind. When the trigger slack is completely taken up, and the sear is still in contact with the hammer hooks, the lift height of the plunger lever should measure at least .080". This is easily measured with the slide off. You'll know if you've adjusted the system too much if the top of the plunger lever is elevated when the trigger is at rest - also easily verified with the slide off. Just allowing more overtravel may not raise the plunger in sufficient time to clear the firing pin.
Old 01-11-2003, 10:32 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info Ted. Does Colt sell the oversize plunger levers? Maybe Para Ordnance? If not, I'd better get my new Tig machine fired up.
Old 01-14-2003, 02:40 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Western SC
Posts: 77
For what it's worth, Ted's doing just this sort of thing to my S80. At least, he will be when he gets done fixing the grip safety buggered by someone pretending to be a smith.

It's gotta suck fixing problems other people make. Sorry for the bother, Mr. Yost. :wink:
Old 01-23-2003, 03:39 AM   #6
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Location: Pipersville PA
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Colt 80 series

The best way to solve the timing problem with 80 series parts is to take them out only using one of the parts as a spacer for the sear. The 80 series was a problem from day one
Old 01-23-2003, 07:01 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Southwest, US
Posts: 6
Colt 80 Series timing

According to Cylinder & Slide the highest lifting plunger lever is the one called the National Match plunger lever and it's available from them. When I would send my Para Ordnance pistols into them for warranty work they would install them.
Old 06-22-2003, 12:51 PM   #8
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 10
This is a subject that I think is extremely important. After all if the series 80 parts are not timed correctly then you have a serious reliability problem. I have held many custom guns, some by the industry leaders. In my opinion some of these high budget custom jobs had bad series 80 parts timing. I would like to keep my method of manipulating the levers a secret but I will share my procedure for checking proper timing. By the way any series 80 parts can be manipulated to work properly with out buying different numbered parts or wielding. The timing check is as follows. Take your grip safety out and screw in you over travel screw till the hammer will not fall. Make sure the over travel screw is just in far enough to not let the hammer fall and not any more. Be careful when you do this and don’t let the hammer fall on half cock. You should be able to set the screw so close that you can see the hammer move but not fall. With your finger off the trigger push on the back of the firing pin. (Use a pencil or punch or what ever you want) The plunger must be blocking the pin from moving forward. Now with the trigger depressed once again push on the firing pin. (Remember the hammer must not fall). The pin should go all the way home with no resistance from the plunger. If your 1911 passes this timing test you can be assured that no matter how tight your over travel screw is set that if your hammer falls the series 80 parts are timed correctly. Reset your setscrew or better yet if you are able to set your trigger over travel with your grip safety arm then simply remove your setscrew. Useless the grip safety has just been installed you will probably have to use your over travel screw. But make sure the over travel screw is secured and will not move. (loctite, stake, what ever is your method). For those who have set there trigger pretravel to zero the test will not work. But in my opinion any 1911 set up like that should only be used in competition and not carry so the series 80 parts would probably be removed any way. (I think zero pretravel is a very bad idea in any circumstance) I truly believe series 80 parts timing is way over looked but shouldn’t be because of the reliability issues that can arise from poorly timed parts. How to perform perfect series 80 timing is another subject. Any way that’s my opinion and my method of checking series 80 parts timing........TGR
Old 06-22-2003, 10:51 PM   #9
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I hope I am not overstepping my bounds here, but, I have a BCP Series 80 gun with the parts still in it, and it has at least 5k worth of rounds through it without a failure, with the exception of a mag problem. Now, having said this I realize due to Dane building the gun it wouldn't have any problems anyway. I carry this gun on duty so you can imagine it is important that I have confidence in the gun.
Not trying to be a total wise ass, but TGR if you are that educated on the Series 80 parts and their timing, and have posted other threads on your work you need to register under your own name as a professional. Not to mention you just told Ted Yost, Austin Behlert, and Dave Berryhill how to tune a Series 80 gun, and that is okay if you register under your name. Like I said I'm not being an ahole, it is just the rules. As for me, thanks for the education.
Old 06-23-2003, 05:26 AM   #10
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Posts: 687
I test for it more or less like TGR, but when there's no overtravel screw I just do the trigger pull with my trigger finger sticking through further so I can use the finger tip as a stop. My cure is to simply take the plunger out of the slide, and remove metal from the lower shoulder of the turned-down area, the area where the dents will be present if it's been just edging by. I do this until it clears upon hammer drop and then some. The other methods are entirely fine too-- I got a little education here as I never knew there were different levers available.

In the short time that the Kimber Series II and the new SW1911 have been out, I've seen a lot more problems and potential problems with them. Actually, I don't think I've seen one of either yet that was timed right, but that's a small sampling only, of 3 SW1911's and maybe 6-8 Kimber II's. They are easier to check at least, just carefully push in the grip safety until you can feel the trigger free up, and push on the firing pin. The Kimber is harder to fix though, the way I've done it is to take the plunger out of the slide and machine the blocking area to get out of the way sooner.

Thank God though that the lawyers have made these guns safer..... for anyone in front of them.

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