1911 Bolt Disassembly Guide by Roy Headrick

Pull bolt handle back, push bolt release down, and
withdraw bolt from receiver. Wipe off any external

The 1911 bolt as removed from rifle. Note flange with slots 90 degrees apart.

Holding the bolt in one hand, pull back on the
cocking/safety ring with the other until the sear
clears the rear face of the bolt, then rotate
clockwise 45 degrees, so sear is halfway between
"Fire" and "Safe" positions. Let sear down against the
flat face on the rear of the  bolt.

The ring has been pulled back and rotated 45 degrees, between "Safe" and "Fire".

An upside-down view of the disassembly position.

 Rotate the locking lug-cam groove sleeve in the middle of the bolt roughly 90 degrees clockwise, pushing the operating rod all the way forward. 

Locking lug/cam groove sleeve rotated, operating rod forward.

Pull operating rod off sideways, making sure the little lug at the rear is out of its dovetail groove.

Operating rod removed. Note cam groove "C" and dovetail slot "D".

Now grasp the safety ring, rotate back to the "Fire"
position, and ease forward. Holding the back of the
bolt in one hand, unscrew the long-nosed bolt face
extension with the other, (regular RH threads) and
withdraw the bolt nose along with the locking lug

Bolt face extension unscrewed. Threads shown, male "M" and female "F".

Separate the sleeve from the bolt nose, and
set aside.

Wipe the oil off the back part, spring, and pin.
Holding the back end of the bolt in the left hand, use
the left fingers to compress the firing pin spring
just clear of its seat against the long firing pin
tip, then remove the firing pin tip at the doll's head
joint. Ease the spring off gently and set aside. Pull
the back half of the firing pin out backwards by the

Sleeve separated from bolt nose, and firing pin tip removed.

Clean and dry all parts. Take some time to dry-fit the
parts together (less firing pin spring) and become
familiar with the fit-up. Imagine all the machine work
it took just to produce a bolt assembly, and this on a
mass-produced military rifle!

To remove the extractor, you will need two small,
thin-bladed screwdrivers. Hold the long bolt nose in
your left hand, bolt face under your thumb and the
threaded end sticking out the bottom. Use the left
thumb to push the extractor hook slightly away from
the bolt body, and with the right hand, slip one
screwdriver tip between bolt body and extractor, about
1/2 inch back from the boltface. Careful not to
scratch the surfaces. The extractor must come up about
.040", to clear a lug underneath.

Extractor removal - bolt face "B", extractor hook "E", threaded end "T".

 At the rear of the extractor is an undercut, like the one vent in a  shotgun rib. As viewed from above, slip the other screwdriver tip into this clearance from the right.

Bolt nose from above, second screwdriver, and rotation.

Lift up gently, to clear another lug underneath, and
pry gently to the left, so the extractor will rotate
on it center, clockwise. the spring tension will
release after a few degrees. 

Almost off, loose now. Note front and rear lug seats "S".

Turn to 90 degrees, where the extractor will be free to lift up and out. After cleaning and lightly oiling, replace the
extractor center pivot into its cutout. 

There it goes. See the lug and it seat in the middle.

From above, with the bolt nose to the front, away from you, the hook end will be 90 degrees to the right. Rotate
extractor counterclockwise, and pop it into place with
opposed thumb pressure. **Black T-shirt, Camo BDU,
Full-Auto types without opposable thumbs will have to
have help here. ;)

To reassemble, lightly oil the firing pin shaft/ring
and reinsert into the back part of the bolt, in the
"Fire" position, and all the way forward. Slip the
firing pin spring over the firing pin shaft. Compress
the spring as before and hold it trapped, while
re-joining the long firing pin tip at its joint. Relax
the spring to its seat on the pin tip. Put a drop or
two of oil on the spring coils, and a  light film on
the pin tip, and set aside. Put a little light oil on
the bearing surfaces of the bolt nose body and locking
lug sleeve. Assemble sleeve to body, with the lugs to
the front.

Now, slip this assembly over the firing pin and into
the back end of the bolt, and tighten clockwise until
the threads stop, it doesn't actually get tight. Pull
the cocking/safety ring back out to the 45 degree
position, halfway between "Safe" and "Fire". Align the
cam groove in the bolt lug sleeve with the groove in
the inner bolt body. Put the front lug of the
operating rod into the cam groove, and push it all the
way forward and in. The smaller rear lug on the
operating rod should line up with its dovetailed track
on the back part of the bolt. Holding the operating
rod to the bolt body, pull the rod backward, engaging
the rear lug in its track and rotating the locking lug
sleeve. Put the front lug into its little catch at the
back of the cam groove, then rotate the safety back
into the "Fire" position, and ease it forward,
tensioning the whole system. Put a little light oil on
the locking lugs and their sleeve, and the operating
rod, including the groove in its underside.
If the bolt assembly "de-cocks" itself, pull the ring
back to that 45 degree position, and get the front
operating rod lug back into its little catch notch at
the rear of the cam groove, then turn the ring back to

Replace the bolt into the receiver, holding down first
the bolt release lever, then the magazine follower, to
allow the bolt to close. I prefer to ease the firing
pin down on an empty chamber for storage. (Double
check for empty!!)
Good Luck and Good Shooting!!


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