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Old 12-23-2023, 10:20 PM
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Exclamation Briley Bushings - Might I have a word

Briley Bushings, one of the features of those wonderful pieces crafted by the Performance Center. Back when 'crafted by the Performance Center' actually meant something ahh but I digress...

I've had a couple pieces come across the healing bench recently with some pretty severe issues with the Briley Bushing so I thought I would post some info here for the 3rd gen crowd to better equip you in the care & feeding of Briley Bushings.

So what is a Briley Bushing in the 3rd gen world? What we have here is a two piece barrel bushing assembly consisting of the bushing proper which is threaded into the slide and a spherical ring which fits into that bushing. Together they providing a tilting barrel design a nearly friction free non-springing pivot point at the muzzle...



The Bushing is machined with a very shallow ACME thread and a mating thread is machined into the slide. Bushings are screwed into the slide, aligned across 3 & 9 o'clock then secured with a retaining compound such as Locktite 680. Essentially glued in place. Then once the retaining compound has cured, any excess is wiped up and the spherical ring is installed.

And that leads us to a couple issues...

How to ensure the bushing stays put and, how to get the spherical ring out and back in for routine cleaning, without wrecking it.

For the first issue, how to keep the bushing in place, you must avoid using any penetrating fluids, sonic tanks, or strong solvents when cleaning. Especially anything containing acetone, xylene, or methylene chloride. Stuff like spray brake cleaner, gasket remover or gunscrubber is a no no. Any of that stuff will break down the retaining compound and your bushing will come loose.
I've had one or two here that I could unscrew by just sticking a finger in the bushing, the retaining compound being looong dead.

If the bushing ever were to come loose, it's not a big deal to fix that, just a bit tedious. Every bit of the old rotten adhesive has to be cleaned outout of there before re-installing the bushing...



And that brings us to the little gold ring...

The Spherical ring is sized nominally to be 0.001" larger than the barrel's OD.

The spherical ring is machined from an alloy called "Stressproof".
Stressproof is a specialty steel that is extensively cold worked to remove any and all internal stress from the material. This is so when machining little tiny parts to very precise tolerances there is no internal stress in the steel that will cause your part to change in shape or dimensions as it's carved out of the billet.

The rings are coated through the PVD process with Titanium Nitride and that's what lends to gold color. What's important to know about Titanium Nitride is that it's very VERY hard. So hard in fact that it's clean off the Rockwell C scale and has to be measured on the Vickers Hardness scale. To illustrate, a typical premium knife steel is around 60 on the Rockwell C scale or about 740 Vickers. Titanium Nitride hardness is between 1800 - 2100 Vickers.

Now as to why I bring all that up. It's because when one goes about poking around in there with some kind of tool to remove the ring you run slam into the "eggshell effect". You see, the stressproof steel is relatively soft compared to the TN coating so when you grab it with pliers or pry or poke at it with some other tool you break the coating. And that lifts up a bunch of ridiculously hard/sharp edges that absolutely shred the...Well it scratches up the barrel pretty good and that's in addition to the ring being bent out of round.

Let's take a look at a couple. This is the ring out of a compact 945, I see a very odd uneven wear pattern and a bunch of scratches and tool marks...




And on the pointy end of the slide I note a rolled edge where I surmise a tool was planted to pry with. I also see the Bushing looks slightly proud of the slide, some adhesive residue that looks suspiciously like superglue, and it looks like the bushing has been sanded or polished somewhat, the interior of the bushing is pretty scratched up too...




The fellow who owns this reported he couldn't get the barrel out of the slide. I found out why after I got it apart and measured things. The ring was bent out of round into an egg shape and would bind on the barrel's muzzle end. Once I got it all apart I could not get that ring to slide onto the barrel at all where it should be a close but smooth slip fit.

Here's another ring, this one is out of an, as told to me, unfired CQB and except for the damage to this ring the gun is in utterly perfect condition...



Looks like something I'd find in my gravel driveway under the truck. Barrel finish badly scratched up and it was so bad that once in battery, you had to bang the muzzle against the edge of the bench to get it to unlock. Could not pull the slide back by hand without banging it on something first.

Anyway, the fix on both of these guns was to spin up the barrels and polish out the damage to restore the original finish. Then measure for fitting of new rings.

Fortunately, for the 45 caliber pieces, the spherical rings are still available from Briley. they are the exact same rings dimensionally as used in the current production Briley Bushings for 1911 pattern guns.

Just measure the muzzle end across vertical and horizontal, average the two values and order a ring that's .001 bigger.

Now about getting the ring in and out without wrecking the thing.

Back to our subject 945 compact, how do we get that ring outa there?



Well, first of all ya gotta remove the barrel. Then you're gonna need a tool. I'm gonna use this, (the non-fuzzy end)...



Take and gently push on the ring from the side to tip it out...



Only from the side, left or right doesn't matter, just NOT from the top or bottom, it will bind up...



Sometimes it will go only so far then stick. Don't go for the visegrips just yet. Just reach across to the opposite side and lift up gently...



Keep at it until you have the ring turned out 90į...



At this stage just reach in there and grab it. Rotate it 90į to align with the slots across 3 & 9 o'clock then lift it out...



Reverse the steps to install the ring. Drop it in...




Rotate 90į and flip it into position...



Then it just needs a wee bit of adjusting to ease installing the barrel. Push it in slightly at the top edge just below the front sight. This sets the ring up to align with the barrel as you drop the barrel in...



That's about it.
Key points: never force the ring & no metal tools. If it binds, back up and start over, perhaps from the other side. Always flip it out from the side starting at one of the cutouts in the bushing. Never from the top or bottom.

Ok then...

Merry Christmas all!

Cheers
Bill
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Old 12-23-2023, 10:45 PM
BigBoss3006 BigBoss3006 is offline
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This is an excellent visualization, thanks Bill

I do wish that the bushings themselves were available, as i believe Briley will still make custom spherical rings upon request for those needing replacements for 9mm guns. I’d love a bushing or two to put into some project slides
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Old 12-24-2023, 01:07 AM
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Great tutorial thanks.

Iíve been told that watching it done is easier than doing it but I think seeing it done is most helpful. (ďItĒ can be anything.)

I remember reading years ago how difficult disassembly/assembly was with the Briley bushings but luckily Iíve not found that.

I have a question though. Do the bushings need to go in the same way they came out? Should the same side be installed directionally as it was? Iíve always done it this way but thatís just me.

I have a 9 Recon that has most of the TiN wore off the bushing at the muzzle but otherwise intact. I thought Iíd flip it around because the back side is still perfect. It will not and does not go in reversing the original position. Even with everything cleaned and lubed itís the tightest one I have. It doesnít need to be forced itís just way tighter than the others. Everything functions perfect when assembled as I originally got it.

Jim
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Old 12-24-2023, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMCM View Post
Briley Bushings, .....
Key points: never force the ring & no metal tools. If it binds, back up and start over, perhaps from the other side. Always flip it out from the side starting at one of the cutouts in the bushing. Never from the top or bottom.
Cheers
Bill
Very nicely done! Mods - shouldn't this be a Gunsmithing sticky?
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Old 12-24-2023, 01:37 AM
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Great tutorial thanks.

I have a question though. Do the bushings need to go in the same way they came out? Should the same side be installed directionally as it was? Iíve always done it this way but thatís just me.

Jim
The TiN spherical ring you mean? I like to differentiate that from the bushing proper which is threaded into the slide.

I see no issue with flipping the ring. Whenever it's pulled, stick it back in the other way just to even out the wear.

Cheers
Bill
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Old 12-24-2023, 01:49 AM
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Very nicely done! Mods - shouldn't this be a Gunsmithing sticky?
Tryin' to get me dinged are ya?

The PC guns weren't supplied with operator manuals specific to their unique features. Just the generic semi auto op manual.

I do not view this as gunsmithing.

Shoot the gun enough and that spherical ring is gonna get snotted up and will need to be taken out cleaned and lubed. This is guidance for performing that routine maintenance on these special guns so that one will not break anything and then need the services of a gunsmith.

Cheers
Bill
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Old 12-24-2023, 10:32 AM
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Great thread, thank you!
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Old 12-24-2023, 10:53 AM
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Great piece you did here Bill. Thank you. I did call Briely earlier this year and they said they would make me anything I wanted. Had to send the gun though. In my case I wanted a spare for my 5906 PPC.
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Old 12-24-2023, 02:57 PM
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Default Cudos to BMCM!

As you can see from all the Thank You replies there are a bunch of us who do appreciate your taking time to explain the inner workings of the Briley Bushings and the proper method to remove them. Your examples of the incorrect method are also very enlightening so please accept my thanks for your willingness to share your knowledge and your expertise with the S&W Semiauto Pistols. Keep it coming and have a Very Merry Christmas!
Actually, Merry Christmas to All!
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Old 12-24-2023, 03:22 PM
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Thank you. Your Knowledge is amazing! Merry Christmas
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Old 12-24-2023, 03:43 PM
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Now I know! But now my forehead is flat and painful from all the slapping!
Thanks for the education.

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Old 12-24-2023, 03:58 PM
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Now THIS is why we can't have nice things. Great post. I have a Briley's that I installed in an early Smith 1911. The gun has about 100000 rounds through it and the bushing is as tight as it was when I installed it. There is almost no wear on the TIN coating. The only time I ever needed anything other than one of my digits to take it out is when the gun was crudded up badly. Then I got out the tooth pick. I never felt the need to take a screw driver to it. I do keep it lubed well with either RIG or M-Pro9 synthetic grease. Some people shouldn't be allowed near tools.
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Old 12-24-2023, 03:58 PM
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That post took a lot of time and effort, between writing the narrative, taking the pictures and getting it formatted and posted.

Thanks for your work helping the gun owning community.
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Old 12-24-2023, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for the effort Bill! Very informative and well done.
I donít own a S&W semi-automatic pistol of any kind and I throughly enjoyed it. I did save it for future reference in case I do. 😎
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Old 12-24-2023, 07:39 PM
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I will be keep an eye on this as I somehow suspect that my future involves similar efforts.
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Old 12-24-2023, 09:28 PM
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Bill , as always , a great job . Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us amateurs . As the saying goes , a little knowledge is a dangerous thing . And now you've given us just enough for us to be a danger to ourselves , and our PC children ......
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Old 12-24-2023, 09:57 PM
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Well done sir!

What may seem obvious to most of us is lost on the home smiths who grab pliers when there is something stuck.

Never had an issue with mine but I'm happy to read about the correct procedure one needs to follow.

Thank you for taking the time to post.

Bruce
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Old 12-29-2023, 05:56 PM
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Bill,

Great writeup. I just took apart my new to me shorty 40 and the bushing collar was actually loose and came right out. There was no adhesive or anything on the threads. The inner ring looks good. What should I put on the threads to put this back together? Is there a proper way to grab the collar when screwing it in to tighten it?
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Old 12-31-2023, 12:03 AM
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Thanks for the thread; great info, appreciated.
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Old 12-31-2023, 12:55 AM
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Default Does it adhere?

I think I am understanding the wiki on the PVD process (uhh..I think.)
I wonder how does the tinite adhere to the bushing?
Is it flaking off in those pictures? One article suggests that thicker coatings will flake but the thinnest coating will not.
The eggshell analogy was very interesting. It sounds like the TiN cracks under the force of the pliers and is not actually adhering to the steel?

Thank you BMCM for your kindness in teaching us!
BrianD
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Old 12-31-2023, 09:55 AM
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When I start shooting mine, I'll be aware.
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Old 12-31-2023, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transamconvert View Post
Bill,

Great writeup. I just took apart my new to me shorty 40 and the bushing collar was actually loose and came right out. There was no adhesive or anything on the threads. The inner ring looks good. What should I put on the threads to put this back together? Is there a proper way to grab the collar when screwing it in to tighten it?
Clean everything thoroughly and wipe down with acetone.

Now, bear in mind you are NOT going to torque the bushing in tight.

After cleaning, trial fit it dry. You'll want to screw it in dry first to see where it's at when tight then back off until the cutouts for the ring are aligned across 3 and 9 o'clock. That is where it should be when installed.

Loctite 680 Retaining Compound is what you're going to need.

Give the slide & bushing one more wipe with acetone then make sure it's completely dry free of any contaminants. Coat the first couple threads in the slide with a bead of 680. Likewise on the bushing, a bead of 680 of the first couple threads. Then screw the bushing in to where you noted during the dry-fit. You want to see 680 squeezing out both inside and on the outside. You can use the nitrided ring or a nickle as a tool to screw the bushing in and tweak the alignment across 3 & 9 O'clock as needed.

When it in and aligned correctly, set it aside until tomorrow. When you come back to it take some swabs or patches, wipe up the excess 680 and put it back together, you're done.

Warning! Do Not! use any Loctite primer compound such as SF7649, it will cure the 680 before you get the bushing in all the way. Ask me how I know that

Cheers
Bill
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Old 12-31-2023, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Parrish View Post
I think I am understanding the wiki on the PVD process (uhh..I think.)
I wonder how does the tinite adhere to the bushing?
Is it flaking off in those pictures? One article suggests that thicker coatings will flake but the thinnest coating will not.
The eggshell analogy was very interesting. It sounds like the TiN cracks under the force of the pliers and is not actually adhering to the steel?

Thank you BMCM for your kindness in teaching us!
BrianD
The TiN isn't flaking off, it's just broken. It's a very hard material applied on some relatively soft material. In general the harder a given material is the less ductile it is. In tooling such as drill bits this is illustrated by the difference between tool steel drill bits and solid carbide drill bits. You can use tool steel bit in a hand drill with no problem because they are somewhat ductile. Solid carbide tools, on the other hand, are not ductile at all. The least amount of deflection and the tool will fracture. And in accordance with Murphy's Law it'll snap off down in that hole you were drilling. Drilling with carbide bits requires solid fixturing on a mill or drill press with the work in a vise. Otherwise...Kerschnapp! followed by lots of colorful language.

TiN is extraordinarily hard wear resistant applied coating. However, being extraordinarily hard also makes it brittle. Grab the part with a pair of pliers or pry at it with some other tool and the underlying soft ductile material deflects allowing TiN coating to fracture. Adhesion is not the issue. Grabbing it with vise-grips is. And in those two cases above, the shredded TiN layer was only a small part of the issue. The more serious problem was neither of those rings were round anymore.

Cheers
Bill
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Old 04-10-2024, 01:41 PM
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Stressproof steel has a max hardness of Rockwell C 20 (B97). I am surprised by the softness of the substrate.

Thank you BMCM for you excellent write up!
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