The Challis System

switchback

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Apr 29, 2020
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280
ok, like a lot of you I suspect, I've used challis grip screws here and there, I've used challis grip screw bushings on occasion and also used their grip O ring bushings. Thats quite a hodgepodge I will admit. I finally commited to changing my 1911s to the complete challis system. All of them, now I haven't got near as many 1911s as some of you, and may have more than a few of you. Its not the quantity that this post is about, its the complete challis "system". I realize some of you likely made this move years ago. I'm in the don't fix what isn't broken camp. And all my bushings remain in fine condition.

So today my Brownells order arrived. a small order at that, these challis parts don't take up much room in Brownells standard shipping box. I received bushing O-rings - they install on frame side of bushing and tighten down in a small V-groove, these keep the bushing tight and don't allow the frame scratching movement or the grips to work loose.

Hex- head bushings , these are the cadillac part of the system, in my opinion. Using the Challis complete system, one only tightens the bushing to a specific torque value, different for carbon and stainless , as well as aluminum frames.

And finally the Challis grip O-rings to complete the system (unless you needed grip screws as well). I've bought O-rings at our local Tractor Supply and Napa but were never quite the right size. Challis has these manufactured specifically for the 1911 and it uses a long lasting material.

On to the install. If you've ever collapsed a bushing you know the oh shit feeling. I've changed a lot of bushings for shooters and friends in my area, I do a bit of 1911 work. I'm NOT a gunsmith and do not proclaim to be but I can fix a few issues and usually can make a 1911 run. The Colt staked bushing is the one that makes me cringe, absolutely hate it. I use a ball head on a rotary tool to make removal easier. I know some say, just unthread it, another oh shit moment is when threads pull out with the bushing. Then you get to drill and tap for an over-sized bushing. One time and one time only, so I relieve with the ball head cutter. Fortunately, I no longer have 1911s with staked bushings, so I got a pass on this.

Another pet peeve is lock-tited bushings. Bushings are manufactured soft so as to not destroy the frame but rather the bushing. A little lock-tite goes a long way. Lord help you if someone used red!! I use a soldering iron a heat up the bushing to melt the glue, most standard bushings easily remove after the heat, slim bushings? Not so much. Patience and heat. I will admit to needing the help of left hand drill bits, easy outs and the like. Terrifying.

Once the old bushings are removed and threads cleaned the work is done. ( not a bad idea to chase threads here) Slip proper O-ring on bushing and install. I use my fingers because no cross threading allowed. Once all 4 bushings and their O-rings are installed and properly torqued. You're nearly home. Set grip in place and after placing proper screw O-ring on grip screw, I again start screw with my fingers, no need to botch a nice job. Challis recommends torquing the grip screw a little at a time and evenly bring grip to frame.

Once both O-rings are compressed, easy does it here, your grip will not work loose, grips won't chaffe at frame and cause damage there (we've all seen that) and the job is finished. I didn't intend for this to be so much a tutorial as a "this is a great set-up when used as a complete system". Easy to do , a nice upgrade and as Ron White might say " its a kit"!! Sorry for the lack of pics, none came out worth posting and most of the parts are not seen upon install.

I'm very satified, happy I made the switch. Now everything matches, or it will soon. I have no affiliation with the folks at Challis. Just passing on a great and simple upgrade

edit: be sure to read post #7 as I posted incorrectly, post #7 is the correct way to install the bushing O-ring
 
Last edited:

Babboonbobo

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Love the Challis bushing system and I get their stylized grip screws also. Have them in most but not all of my guns.
 

HooDoo Man

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I will just add my 2 cents. When it comes to changing grip bushings, thin to standard or whatever. I do not even mess with a bushing bit or wrench to take them out. I just have new replacement bushings on hand. There inexpensive. I use and easy-out, the proper size(small) with a tap driver(wrench) and carefully back them out. No worries about striping the bushings because you have the new ones on hand and your not yelling at the dog. Works every time.
 

CECannonJr

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Messages
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ok, like a lot of you I suspect, I've used challis grip screws here and there, I've used challis grip screw bushings on occasion and also used their grip O ring bushings. Thats quite a hodgepodge I will admit. I finally commited to changing my 1911s to the complete challis system. All of them, now I haven't got near as many 1911s as some of you, and may have more than a few of you. Its not the quantity that this post is about, its the complete challis "system". I realize some of you likely made this move years ago. I'm in the don't fix what isn't broken camp. And all my bushings remain in fine condition.

So today my Brownells order arrived. a small order at that, these challis parts don't take up much room in Brownells standard shipping box. I received bushing O-rings - they install on frame side of bushing and tighten down in a small V-groove, these keep the bushing tight and don't allow the frame scratching movement or the grips to work loose.

Hex- head bushings , these are the cadillac part of the system, in my opinion. Using the Challis complete system, one only tightens the bushing to a specific torque value, different for carbon and stainless , as well as aluminum frames.

And finally the Challis grip O-rings to complete the system (unless you needed grip screws as well). I've bought O-rings at our local Tractor Supply and Napa but were never quite the right size. Challis has these manufactured specifically for the 1911 and it uses a long lasting material.

On to the install. If you've ever collapsed a bushing you know the oh shit feeling. I've changed a lot of bushings for shooters and friends in my area, I do a bit of 1911 work. I'm NOT a gunsmith and do not proclaim to be but I can fix a few issues and usually can make a 1911 run. The Colt staked bushing is the one that makes me cringe, absolutely hate it. I use a ball head on a rotary tool to make removal easier. I know some say, just unthread it, another oh shit moment is when threads pull out with the bushing. Then you get to drill and tap for an over-sized bushing. One time and one time only, so I relieve with the ball head cutter. Fortunately, I no longer have 1911s with staked bushings, so I got a pass on this.

Another pet peeve is lock-tited bushings. Bushings are manufactured soft so as to not destroy the frame but rather the bushing. A little lock-tite goes a long way. Lord help you if someone used red!! I use a soldering iron a heat up the bushing to melt the glue, most standard bushings easily remove after the heat, slim bushings? Not so much. Patience and heat. I will admit to needing the help of left hand drill bits, easy outs and the like. Terrifying.

Once the old bushings are removed and threads cleaned the work is done. ( not a bad idea to chase threads here) Slip proper O-ring on bushing and install. I use my fingers because no cross threading allowed. Once all 4 bushings and their O-rings are installed and properly torqued. You're nearly home. Set grip in place and after placing proper screw O-ring on grip screw, I again start screw with my fingers, no need to botch a nice job. Challis recommends torquing the grip screw a little at a time and evenly bring grip to frame.

Once both O-rings are compressed, easy does it here, your grip will not work loose, grips won't chaffe at frame and cause damage there (we've all seen that) and the job is finished. I didn't intend for this to be so much a tutorial as a "this is a great set-up when used as a complete system". Easy to do , a nice upgrade and as Ron White might say " its a kit"!! Sorry for the lack of pics, none came out worth posting and most of the parts are not seen upon install.

I'm very satified, happy I made the switch. Now everything matches, or it will soon. I have no affiliation with the folks at Challis. Just passing on a great and simple upgrade
You convinced me. I checked out the design and I think it's genius. I just ordered 2 kits.
 

AZ Husker

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Phoenix
The first thing I do with any 1911 is changing to the entire Challis bushing setup. Especially with nice wood or ivories, they really protect the grips and the screws never loosen. I just checked their website for the cutaway photo how their combo works, but can't find it. But there is one very important error in the OP...the bushing o-rings do NOT go between the bushing and frame. You install the bushing like any other then slip the larger o-ring into a groove on the bushing to sit against the inside of the grip panel. The smaller o-ring goes on the screw, thus sandwiching your grips between the two o-rings. Since I change the o-rings every time I remove my grips I suggest buying a larger bag of both sizes.
 

switchback

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Apr 29, 2020
Messages
280
my bad, and of course AZ Husker is correct. I just took 1 of the 2 I had completed apart and yep, incorrect! I couldn't find a cutaway either and since my reading comprehension sucks, well I just hope I didn't cause anyone to follow my bad instructions.
Sorry ya'll
 

AZ Husker

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Phoenix
Every time I order more normally they include a cutaway photo I mentioned. I have to admit the first set I tried I did it wrong also! Guarantee you will love them, but shipping can get expensive ordering one set at a time (that could be mailed for the cost of a first class stamp). So I'd suggest biting the bullet and buy the 24 pack, and the 100 packs of both size o-rings if you have more than one 1911 (and you will if not yet). Also very important is to order the correct size bushings, thin or standard. The Challis bushing removing tools are also very nice to remove old fashioned soft slotted bushings.
 

CECannonJr

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Thanks fellas. Your conversation has helped make sure I install them right the first time when they arrive. Good thing that I'm reading this...I'm prone to doing something wrong the first time myself.
 

AZ Husker

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Phoenix
I did just find the photo of the cutaway. Go to Challis.com then click on "who we are" arrow to the right a couple times.
 

switchback

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Apr 29, 2020
Messages
280
The 2 I thought were complete, are now corrected and completed. Thanks to AZ Husker for pointing out my error. It's the internet but not everything is correct!! When I tore my 2 completed 1911s apart, the bushing had destroyed the O-ring. As I was doing the first 2, I had a thought that something was incorrect, well it certainly was. Thanks again AZ Husker

You'll love the system, especially installed correctly!!
 

switchback

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Apr 29, 2020
Messages
280
And there it is, the cut-away. Thanks again

Fortunately for me, I hate shipping costs, I did order many of both kinds of O-rings. Now I have 8 fewer bushing O-rings. They were quite destroyed.
 

Sculptor

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Joined
Dec 25, 2020
Messages
1
Sorry folks for not making the installation sequence clear on our website. And thanks to AZ Husker for making me aware of the confusion. The cutaway is one of the photos on each of the bushing pages, but has to be selected to see the large image.

I will work on getting it put in a more obvious spot. Make note that I am always willing to take a phone call if there are questions about installation of our parts.
Brian Challis
 

switchback

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Apr 29, 2020
Messages
280
Brian,

Not sure if you check these threads or not, but had I searched your pages I would not have made the error I did. And in my elation I posted incorrect info. My bad. What a great product. Much continued success.
 

CECannonJr

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Brian,

Not sure if you check these threads or not, but had I searched your pages I would not have made the error I did. And in my elation I posted incorrect info. My bad. What a great product. Much continued success.
Switchback. If you had not made the error, you wouldn't be the expert on the Challis system that you now are. That's what us humans do, we make mistakes, learn from them, and become subject matter experts. I'm an Engineer by training and we have a saying among us. " If you don't ever make mistakes, it's because you aren't doing anything." (I cleaned it up some)

Thanks for introducing me to the Challis system and allowing me to learn from you before the bushings arrive. There's no telling what I would have done when they got here without the prior learning.:oops:
 
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