In 1990 I was issued an M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol that had been manufactured by Remington Rand during WWII. Though a stout and reliable firearm, my Colt had one limitation.
To put it mildly, I was surprised the bullets ever hit the ground. At 25m I had a shot group of around 2 feet.
Now, I was (and still am) by no means an expert on firearms, and stories abound regarding the inaccuracy issues of the M1911A1, but the one thing I did know was the .45 was, and still is, used extensively in pistol competitions, so I knew the weapon design was not the issue, nor was the ammunition, but I was at a loss as to why I literally couldnt hit the target right in front of me.
This went on for a year or so until we got a new Platoon Leader in our company who also happened to be something of a shade-tree gunsmith and a Colt collector. What he said was, no the weapons arent bad, and the ammunition, while not match grade, wasnt the cause, but rather, the Armys level of tolerance in key components. Bottom line, all my troubles centered on the barrel and barrel bushing. Upon further inspection it was noted that when fully seated (slide all the way forward) my barrel was still capable of movement, a LOT of movement, as was explained to me, which obviously was having an effect on my accuracy. Unfortunately, as the LT explained, that slop was still within Army tolerance, so technically there was nothing to be done.
Well, the next day what should appear but a Brownells catalogue, listing all the parts I would need to fix my .45. I purchased a barrel, barrel bushing, barrel link and pin (as well as a plastic deadfall hammer and some lapping compound to fit the barrel and bushing to the slide) and then spent the next field problem hammering the slide back and forth the fit them.
The results, however, were immediate and satisfying. My shot groups had collapsed to about 5 (good I thought, considering I was still shooting a stock slide and receiver.) The Lt., on the other hand, was shooting VERY good groups, but then hed gone the extra step to get a complete fitted slide assembly, to include adjustable rear sight; after qualifying hed just remove his slide, re-attach the Army issue one, and turn the .45 back into the arms room (which would explain why folk who checked his .45 out to qualify with didnt do so well.)
Anyway, that small investment on my part not only dispelled all those accuracy issues surrounding the .45, but also improved the quality of my shooting.
-- Eric Daniel