Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Every Gun Has At Least One Frustrating Part of Field Stripping and Assembly

Even the Government Model, which seems nearly flawless, if you are not holding down on the round thingy on the end of the recoil spring (the technical term) when you rotate the barrel bushing will find the far and dirtiest side of the garage.

On my wife's Colt Government Model .380, it is one weird little spring.  This neat little pocket pistol from the 1980s disassembles almost identically to a M1911.  One minor difference is that there is a tiny little spring just inside the recess on the left side of the frame where the slide stop sits.  It apparently decided to jump ship when I removed the slide stop.  I will hunt the work area again, but it seems to be truly gone.

It is a tiny little spring, whose purpose is unclear to me.  I managed to reassemble without it.  The slide locks open on an empty magazine, and the slide stop releases on a loaded magazine.  I can cycle rounds through the gun until the empty mag locks the slide open.  The safety works just fine.  It may not be needed at all, but I am trying to find a replacement spring, which I will Loc-Tite into its little hole in the frame.

Gun Parts Co. has it "Not currently available."  Cylinder & Slide has a number of parts for this cute little gun, but not the spring.  Brownell's has the part for the Mustang.  Not sure if this is the same part as its bigger sister.  Heck, it's $4.19.  At least I would have a spare for the Mustang, which has a probably identical ill-behaved spring.  (It looks the same.)

UPDATE: What does that slide stop spring do?  From browsing the Internet, it appears that it retains the slide stop if it isn't a tight fit in the frame.  I know that without that spring in the Mustang, it indeed falls out.  This does not seem to be a problem in the larger Government Model .380.  Everything seems to function okay. Perhaps it has a few thousandths of an inch larger slide stop diameter.

I ordered two of the springs from Brownell's for my wife's gun (always good to have a spare), and Woolf's stainless steel guide rod and spring for my Mustang,  The factory guide rod is plastic, and while it has never given me any reason to mistrust it, a solid piece of stainless feels better.  Also Woolf's guide rod has a single 11 pound recoil spring instead of the two stacked factory recoil springs.  The promise is more reliable feeding, although I have never had a failure to feed, fire, or eject.  Of course I have not fired thousands of rounds through it. 

I also ordered Cylinder & Slide's ambidextrous safety for the Mustang.  The claim is that there is no need to alter frame or grips.  If the minor fitting is not so minor, I will take it to a gunsmith recommended  by a friend.  It should fit my wife's gun as well.  $80 shipped is a reasonable price to make my favorite Hawaiian shirt carry gun ambidextrous.


  1. Looked at the schematic. The spring could be there to put downward pressure on the slide stop to keep it from moving up and engaging during recoil.

  2. Why don't you try to assemble the .380 Government using the spring from the Mustang before you purchase a spring that may not be the same. If it works, order a new Mustang spring. If it doesn't, then you need to keep looking.

  3. The spring might be used to keep the slide stop from engaging during recoil. It might not happen every time but on a defensive pistol it would be a little extra insurance.

  4. I once lost a spring in the trigger group of a Ruger Super Redhawk.

    I contacted Ruger asking how much it would be for a replacement spring. They asked for my home address, then told me no charge. An envelope with five of those springs came in the mail less than a week later. I still have four of them.

    It is worth the phone call to the manufacturer.