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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few years ago I bought an IAI commander pistol to use in IDPA. I used it for about 4 yrs for the second gun match. I liked the way the pistol was trimmed out with the extended safety and mag release, and it felt good in my hand. I liked the way the gun pointed as well. The trigger----that's another story! It was heavy, but even worse it was gritty beyond belief. A month or so ago, I disassembled the lower with the intention of doing some stoning on the action to smooth it up a bit. The inside of the gun had numerous metal chips and grindings along with a substance that could only be described as goo. I cleaned the frame and all the internals with brake parts cleaner and a brush and picks. To keep the internals from rusting I sprayed them with CLP and left them in the sun to dry. I threw the parts in a box and forgot about it for a while. I decided to reassemble the gun the other day before the parts got lost, and guess what? Just by the cleaning and lube the trigger pull weight has dropped a couple of pounds and is almost smoooooooooth. How often do the rest of you guys do a complete disassembly for a clean and lube?
 

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How often do you strip and clean your 1911

When I was in the military, the match shooting boys used to field strip and completely immerse their receivers/slides/barrels in paint thinner or parts cleaner, drain, blow out with compressed air, and re-lubricate with aerosol lubricant (WD-40) or CLP.

The Navy SEALS would regularly rinse off their salt-water immersed weapons in hot running water, and spray on CLP, and wipe down. No rust and minimal malfunctions, even after crawling thru sand, mud, and salt spray.

Detail stripping of the M1911 receiver is essential when doing (as you noticed) a trigger job, or that once-a-year cleaning. Unless the gun is dropped in mud or sand or blood, it's not needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How often do you strip and clean your 1911

John,
I agree that once a year should be enough on the average. Unfortunately I went a little longer than that. I wish I had done it when I first got it. Apparently the QC @ IAI is a little lax. The gun should have not left the factory in that condition.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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Detail Stripping 1911s

hello, I'll admit to being anal with any gun I'm using for CCW and detail strip, clean and inspect all the internals after each range trip.
Over the years I've had a couple extractors fail and since then have invested in high dollar AFTECs just for Mr. Murphys sake.
My game guns get stripped,cleaned and inspected before each match.
I use the lazy mans techique with an ultrasound tank and a home solution of Dawn, white vineger, ammonia and hot water.
 

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How often do you strip and clean your 1911

To me, it depends on frequency/amount of shooting. I will field strip the gun, spray out with solvent and re-lube with a spray oil after every shoot, because it could be a year or more before I shoot again. Also, I know I can leave the guns in the cabinet without worry, knowing they're clean and oiled. If I were to be in a routine of regular shooting, the gun would probably have to be cleaned after 100 to 150 rounds. It's been my experience that problems can start after that many rounds without cleaning. During a 200 rd break-in, I may have to spray some oil around and brush out the chamber and bore about halfway through. If FP-10 is used to oil after the cleaning, frequency of cleaning could very well be reduced, because carbon just turns to black oil and can be wiped out with a dry cloth, and the steel still looks wet under it. You still would have to clean the bore and chamber. Clenzoil is my favorite for old, seldom-used guns, because it's good for the wood as well as the metal, and contains no synthetic metal treatment that tends to fill up the pores in the metal and make matte finishes glossy. FP-10 has such synthetic metal treatment, and that's why it's so good in automatic guns as well as any other kind. If it gets on a matte surface, you can blot it off with solvent on a cloth.
I'm amazed that Savage's gun kept working for four years without a cleaning. In my book, that's abuse of the equipment, but I wouldn't expect everyone to agree or be as picky about their guns as me. Different strokes for different folks. I bought an old Colt Government Model the other week and couldn't wait to get it home and get into it. I was not surprised to find that it apparently had never been cleaned in 50 years, but it was still in perfect condition (mechanically) under all that grime. The bore was so dirty it looked like it was rusty and pitted, but turned out to be like a mirror. If the guy had taken an hour to clean the gun up and put some decent grips on it, he could have sold it for $200 more. I'm glad he was lazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How often do you strip and clean your 1911

For the record, my IAI didn't go 4 years without cleaning! After each range session I would field strip and clean the gun normally. The lower I sprayed out with brake parts cleaner and then relubed with Rem Oil or CLP then blew it dry and reassembled. What I didn't do was detail strip the lower and clean. I thought the way I was cleaning the lower was adequate. Apparently there's a lot of grunge that you can't get out with that process. The worst part was the left over machining residue from the factory. Maybe the new ones need to be stripped and checked before they are fired initially?
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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Cleaning your lowers

Savage: When I first purchase any handgun, I first strip it completely, clean it dry and reassemble it. Then I work the action for feel, strip it back down, stone what I need to smooth out, lubricate what I need to lube, and go to town. My preference for lubrication is 20-50 motor oil. I shoot steel or aluminum framed guns and motor oil seems to work best.

I have tried to locate some of the molybidum (?) disulfide lubricants some of the other fellas mentioned to give it a try but all I was able to find was some foul smellin' axle grease with the moly in it. I don't know about you, but the smell of that stuff almost makes me sick and I wouldn't doubt that any animal in the world could smell you coming a mile away if you had used that on your firearms. I think I need to find some of the moly bullet lube and see if that adds any smoothness to the works.

But to answer your question about how often I completely strip and clean my 1911 frames - it will depend on how much shooting I have done. If I have lubricated my upper parts and slide to frame match and go shoot some new ball or otherwise clean ammo, I can go for a number of range sessions like that until I can feel the gun starting to slow down a bit, unless I've shot the darn thing until she is too hot to stuff back into my belt, then I will clean and lube the lower end. Otherwise, with normal (100-200 round range session) useage, about once every two or three sessions. Again, it depends on the 'feel' of the gun and whether or not it is beginning to 'slow down'.

When I was in the Army, a typical range session would get the pistol stripped to the grips (grips off), and then dunked and swished around in a tank full of bore cleaner. We would wipe off the excess, shake off the rest, reassemble the piece from the different piles of parts, put it back in the rack and leave it until the next range session. If the bore cleaner didn't stink so much I would still be doing the same thing but I wouldn't want to do that now and then stuff something that smelled so badly bak into my belt. Hope this helps. Mikey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How often do you strip and clean your 1911

Mikey,
Wish I did that! Truth is the guns I shoot a lot don't get detail stripped untill their performance tells me something's wrong. My duty guns and CCW guns get a complete dissassembly and cleaning at least every three months regardless if they are fired or not. Routine cleaning and exam once a week. This includes visual inspection of the ammo and mags. Never had anything break and shut me down, of course I carry Glocks a lot!!
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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How often do you strip and clean your 1911

Savage; I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you were saying. I'm surprised there was that much gunk in the gun after spraying it out with solvent, but your experience will keep us all mindful of the need to detail strip more often if we shoot regularly.
 

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How often do you strip and clean your 1911

I've put tens of thousands of rounds through my Kimber Custom Classic, and tens of thousands of rounds through its predecessor (an M1927 Argentine.)

I field strip only, clean with brake cleaner, let dry and spray lube the lower, and use Ed's Red on the upper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How often do you strip and clean your 1911

Vern,
Same story with my Kimber Stainless Classic Target----many, many, thousands of rounds without a complete strip and cleaning. Allthough I suspect my IAI came from the factory gunked up it's got me thinking about the inside of the others. Laziness has kept me from going in to the Kimber. I bet I get inside it soon though! Good time to inspect the internals for wear or damage before I have a failure. I suspect if you start with a clean gun from the factory and clean it as you do, it will run a long time. Looked like some of the residue in the IAI was hardened maching fluids. I sometimes carry the Kimber as a duty gun and a failure could be more than an embrassment.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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How often do you strip and clean your 1911

I agree that there's no reason NOT to fully strip a gun at least once -- who knows what you'll find in there.

I don't strip mine routinely though, because experience shows it works fine without it -- and being retired Army, I saw many a gun ruined by continual stripping and over-zealous cleaning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How often do you strip and clean your 1911

Vern,
I agree to some extent with the old "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. I also believe one should have an intimate familarity with the tools one trusts with his life. The only way to clean one throughly is to disassemble it completely. I have little doubt that the Kimber will run for my lifetime without disassembly and cleaning. I just think it might run a little better.
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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How often do you strip and clean your 1911

My approach to learning about the M1911 was to build one from scratch -- using a Fed Ord "kit" where every part was unfinished.

In the end, I wound up with a gun that still had some sub-standard parts (the firing pin tunnel was bored off-center) and a lot of money invested in other parts -- but I learned about the M1911. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
How often do you strip and clean your 1911

Vern,
What ever works for you! This experience has taught me the value of periodic detail cleaning. I sprayed that IAI out a hundred or more times prior to disassembly. Mine won't go more than a year without detail cleaning again!
Stay Safe,
Savage
 

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Several special op friends recommended

just spraying the lower out with a carb-n-choke cleaner. I thought it sounded a little off but it works really well. Lee, said you're crazy not to do when ever you put the gun up. It only takes 30 seconds and prevents anything from accumulating on the inside. The build up is the real problem.

fyi
Doc
 
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