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Plunger tube coming off

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by DeRoy, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. DeRoy


    Aug 21, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    Been lurking for a while now, but I don't post very much, so "Hello, all!" Here's a quick question:

    The plunger tube assembly is started to wiggle out of its place on my SW1911PD. The whole thing will just start to creep away from the frame when I work the safety a bit until the plunger will eventually pop over the safety itself. I can even pull it off the frame fairly easily when I strip the gun (and take the grips off). My questions are "Is this relatively common?" and "Is there a simple fix for this?"

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.
  2. Magus

    Magus Deo Vindice

    Jan 24, 2009
    Not a totally uncommon 1911 issue to have a loose plunger tube. I have a Colt right now that has one and I'll be getting it repaired soon.

    What I do know though is that it's not all that hard to fix.

    If you've got a competent gunsmith in your neck of the woods they can probably fix it for you. If the plunger tube was installed correctly in the first place, it is possible to tighten it back into place.

    If it wasn't installed correctly, it's probably just best to get a new tube and have it installed.

    S&W would probably cover that repair under warranty, but keep in mind the turn around time involved. You could probably take it to a local smith and have it done the same day for very little cost whether they tighten it or replace the whole tube.

  3. Ruggles


    Jun 13, 2005
    Not common really. It is not suppose to do that of course although 1911 grips are designed to set over the plunger tube to hold it on the gun as a emergency stop gap measure as well as to protect it from damage.

    I would contact S&W as their customer service is second to none. As for a simple self fix I guess you could try so locktite I beleive the red color is the one you want as it is stronger than the other color locktite.

    Somebody else may be better able to direct you here or try they have some knowledgeable 1911 folks over at that forum.

    There are many more threads over there but these are a few.

    Good luck
  4. drc767

    drc767 Navy CSAR

    Dec 30, 2007
    I have had it happen before. I invested in a plunger tube staking tool from Brownells and save the trip to the GS. It is a pretty simple deal to fix.
  5. 50GI-Jess


    Jun 23, 2010
    Hi there,
    Also, worst case scenario with a loose plungetube, could render your gun "out of order". If in condition #1, the springloaded plunger would very likely block the thumbsafety from downward movement, and the gun would still be on safe mode.
    Should the thumbsafety plunger completely fly out of the gun, the now lose fitting slidestop could lock your slide back, as if indicating empty with cartridges left in it, trying to feed another round.
    As noted by drc767, the correct fix would be staking the plunger tube in place. when doing that, it's highly recommended to make sure it's sitting completely rock solid against the frame, with no light visible between the two. Countersink the holes in the frame, and flare out the prongs on the plunger tube, before staking it in place. Use a drop of Lok-Tite 271 on the prongs too in this process.
    If being a newly build gun..and not damage repair, remember to do this task after finish has been added. If it's chrome, park, melonite, ion-bond etc. the glue will cook off.
    Good luck with getting your slabside back in business.
    Jess Christensen
  6. DeRoy


    Aug 21, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    Thanks, everybody. I love this gun and look forward to getting this minor issue hemmed up!
  7. pistolwrench

    pistolwrench Dremel jockey

    Jul 27, 2009
    In my experience, a 'properly' installed plunger tube is NEVER a problem.
    I just spent some time detailing my installation procedure only to have my post disappear into the netherlands of Al Gore's world wide web.
  8. drc767

    drc767 Navy CSAR

    Dec 30, 2007
    Jess is correct. The last time it happend on one of mine, it blocked the thumbsafety and made the pistol inoperable. If I were in a active shoot, I would have been it big, big trouble. Maybe if the BG was close enough to me, I could have used it as a hammer to the forehead or something. It was certainly a reality check that things can, and usually do go wrong when you least expect them to.
  9. ILikeFtLbs


    Nov 4, 2002
    I've had it happen an a few 1911s. It takes about 5 minutes to fix with a tool or 10 minutes if you have to replace the tube and internal parts. Do it the right way, and don't just glue it on!
  10. ranburr1


    Apr 19, 2005
    Very common today with mass produced 1911s. The problem is that they are using Loc-Tite instead of staking them. Have it staked correctly and it will never be an issue again.
  11. Yep. I did the same thing. They have several different staking tools and everything else you would need to work on a 1911.
    I had mine re-staked in a matter of minutes.
  12. DeRoy


    Aug 21, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    Hmm...Sounds like we think alike. I would prefer to just do it myself. On the other hand, I may just have my nearest GS give it a quick fixin' so I'm back at the range sooner than waiting on the Brownell's order. Thanks again for your help. I'll report back on how long it took the smith in case anyone else is interested.