Let’s get very serious about a very basic fact. You may love your 1911. It might be the prized possession of your collection. You might even have several. But if you aren’t a competitor, and you don’t burn upwards of 60,000 rounds per year. You will probably not, in your lifetime, need to replace your 1911 barrel because of issues associated with ballistic performance or accuracy.
Does that mean you shouldn’t consider a new barrel one of the most impactful 1911 parts in terms of upgrades? Does it mean you shouldn’t replace your stock 1911 barrel with a match-grade model? Absolutely not.
For one thing, a lot of 1911 owners replace their old barrels simply because a new barrel will look shiny and cool. It’s your gun, decorate it as you please. Plenty of other upgrades are cosmetic anyway, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But let’s talk about performance. Every time you pull the trigger and send one of those venerable .45 ACP rounds downrange, the slug will carry away with it an infinitesimal amount of metal from the lands of your barrel’s rifling. It’s too little to measure on a shot-by-shot basis, but it still occurs.
Over time – and by over time, we mean after 50,000 rounds or more (realistically, 100,000 and up) the wear on the inside of your barrel’s rifling will start to produce noticeable effects in accuracy. Here’s the kicker – by noticeable effects, we’re talking about shifts in accuracy that are measured in a few minutes of angle. Groups that were within an inch might suddenly jump to an inch and a half.
This would never register for casual shooters, plinksters, and practitioners of range therapy. Even for those who carry a handgun for self defense, this downgrade in performance is negligible. However, for competition shooters, this shift in accuracy, however minimal, is devastating, and nothing can be done to rectify it except to replace the affected barrel.
There is one situation which can further exacerbate the deterioration of a barrel, which could put the need for replacement well under 50,000 rounds or so, and that is improper maintenance. Powder, primer and copper fouling can all wreak havoc on a gun’s bore, and over time, corrosion will put the brakes on accuracy – hard.
Replacing a worn barrel can literally breathe new life into a pistol that you’ve noticed leaves you a little to desire on the grounds of accuracy. Whether it’s for your own personal reasons or you actually have worn out the rifling in your 1911 to the point that a replacement has become necessary, it’s worth the investment, and can be an easy upgrade to make.
Whatever the case a new barrel, such as a match grade barrel, can restore flagging accuracy to a 1911, and for that reason, if for no other reason, is one of the most important 1911 accessories you can buy. New grips and sights are nice, but for the most part, they just aren’t necessary. You’re getting them to personalize the gun – which is fine, but has little to nothing to do with performance.
At any rate, if you’re looking for the 1911 parts you need to make replacements such as this (barrel or otherwise) visit Sarco Inc., at SarcoInc.com. They’re all readily available right on their website, but if you need help or have questions you can get in touch with them directly by phone at 610-250-3960. Alternatively, for a more edifying experience, visit them in their physical storefront in Eason, Pennsylvania.