Monday, February 22, 2016

Tolerances Again

So I went on and on about tolerances a few posts ago, with regard to the 1911.

Then I showed that series of relaxing clock making videos.

We have an airplane machinist in IN CLASS.  He is always wondering why we couldn't incorporate more machinist operations into a build.  Maybe with CNC! 

And you know...  Browning designed this so it could be made from parts, with tolerances set at what HE specified to assist with ease of production...

And in class our parts are a grab bag of companies.  Wilson has some good thumb safeties, but not the best extractors.  EGW makes some really snazzy parts, but their extractor is also a bit wonky, even to my eyes.  Same with Ed Brown and Caspian and STI... etc.  We are trying to pick the best of the bunch, but those parts weren't designed under collaboration to work great together.  And even if they were all from one source, they factories didn't set out to make sure all their parts stacked well with all their other parts, yet still maintained tight tolerances.

But what if one company did?

There is reputed to be a company that did do so.  Made M1911A1 so well they were FIRED from making them, after just a handful.  The customer said their talents were wasted on making mere pistols and there were more important projects for them to work on instead.  But the already made guns would make great examples to show the other companies the right way to do it.

I refer to, of course, the legendary Singer 1911s.

Is all this hype true?  Or are they just valuable because there were only about 100 of them surviving and thus rare?  How bout both? 

Of course I can't test this.  No one would ever let me touch a Singer pistol, and I'd want Sam the Gunsmith to do all the inspections while I watched him, anyway.  My guess?  They are indeed very good factory pistols, in reality.  With exceptionally high tolerances.   And when Singer was kicked upstairs their pistols were sent to other makers so they'd have a model to measure off of, reportedly.

But it's been 80 years, and there is no one alive to tell us how they had the floor set up.  You could at great expense reproduce such quality today.  If I won a billion dollar lottery I would consider such madness.  The pistols produced at 'my' factory would probably cost $20k to make.  Each.  And I'd never sell enough to justify the project.  It would be fun, yes.  And making a profit wouldn't be my point.  And the pistols?  Still wouldn't be Army Marksmanship Unit guns able to shoot inside a 0.6 inch circle at 50 yards without a lot more work done to them.

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