Contour orientation discrimination accuracy is determined by the orientation bandwidth, response variance and response strength of single units that code for orientation. We measured the latter three properties for V1 cells of monkeys which were performing an orientation discrimination of the grating stimulating the cell under study. We recorded from 285 cells, of which 76% responded to the grating. The orientation bandwidth, measured as full width at half height of the tuning curve, varied over a wide range amongst cells. The median bandwidth was 41 degrees. The response variance of the cells also varied considerably between cells; on average it was about two times the response strength. We also studied the temporal properties of the responses. Most of our cells had a latency between 40 and 100 ms. The response variance was found to be smaller in the initial phases of the response than at the later response stages. In some cells the orientation tuning varied in successive stages of the response, while in others the orientation bandwidth and preferred orientation remained stable throughout the response. However, all orientation sensitive cells were orientation tuned from the start of the response, a property which contribute to the fast and reliable coding of contour orientation. These results provide for the first time an estimation of the orientation tuning properties of V1 cells during visual orientation discrimination. They will be very useful to compare single cell properties of other areas to as well as in simulation studies of models of primate visual discriminations.