View Full Version : 1911 gunsmithing
I have a question about 1911's. My gun loads and chambers FMJ round nose ammo perfectly fine, but it's not so reliable with SWC or lead reloads. What type of work is needed to get a 1911 to load and chamber different types of ammo reliably? Is is just a matter of polishing the feed ramp or changing the barrel?
a feedramp cut and polish is likely all it needs.
Take the slide off the frame and then install just the barrel and slide stop. Make sure that the barrel is all the way locked back and you can see where the bottom edge of the feed ramp forms a little step. Run your finger up the frame and you can feel where the rounds are catching.
Normally the start of the ramp is cut down to take that "step" out and the ramp is tapered up to the top and polished. Do not cut any from the top of the ramp (bottom of the chamber) as there is enough unsupported case as it is.
08-10-2007, 6:00 PM
Your feeding problem could be magazine related. Original GI magazines are designed for hardball. Try a Wilson Combat or Chip McCormick mag. They are designed for semi-wadcutter and hollowpoint ammo.
Take note of the shape of the feed lips and the mag follower. Some mag followers are flat, others have a convex hump, and others are convex. It affects the height of the round as it hits the feedramp.
See if you can borrow some magazines and see if it helps.
NRA Life Member
I have a question about 1911's. My gun loads and chambers FMJ round nose ammo perfectly fine, but it's not so reliable with SWC or lead reloads. What type or work is needed to get a 1911 to load and chamber different types of ammo reliably? Is is just a matter of polishing the feed ramp or changing the barrel?
What brand and model of gun do you have? If it's an aluminum frame, don't do anything to the ramp unless you plan to have it reanodized.
08-10-2007, 8:16 PM
Yeah brand is important, is the feed ramp part of the barrel, or is it part of the frame. If it's part of the frame a lot can be done, if it's the barrel, you'd better go magazine shopping. Most feed ramps are on the frame, it's usually just the compacts that have it on the barrel.
A good gunsmith should be able to do a feed ramp mod in a couple days.
When properly done, a feed ramp mod can make it so the gun will ALWAYS feed empty shells with good mags (I personally only use colt factory mags, only ones I found that always work).
Be carefull here, the feedramp and barrel are NOT supposed to be one smooth blended ramp, there is supposed to be a step between the two. If they are blended together it won't feed right.
08-10-2007, 11:15 PM
Save yourself a bunch of $$ and spend the $$$ to get a good gun smith to make it work.
Thanks everyone for the advice. The gun is a Rock Island 1911. It's a GI model and the feed ramp is part of the frame. I'm using only Chip McCormick and Novak 8-rd magazines. I haven't noticed any difference in performance between the two types of magazines and both feed 230 gr. round nose perfectly fine. I don't think the magazines are the problem here. Anyway, with the advice here, I'll at least have a good starting point when going to a gunsmith.
08-12-2007, 2:42 PM
Ahh, you can make that Rock Island feed like a champ. The feed ramp on the frame needs to be widened and polished. I did this to my Rock Island before I sold it, and using Colt mags it would feed empty cases, and if it can feed empties it can feed anything.
And just so ya know, I tried getting it to work with the 8 round novak that came with the Rock Island, and it would not feed empties even after I modified the feed ramp, only the 7 round colt factory mags could pull that off.
08-12-2007, 11:07 PM
Also, just to add another option to your fix arsenal, I'm a big fan of Cor Bon's Pow'rBall. It has a shape like FMJ, but is a hollowpoint.
08-22-2007, 12:02 AM
Load a little longer as well and some of the issues may/should go away. SWCs are notorious in some guns while others eat them right up. If loading longer doesn't work, the look at polishing, throating and reaming.
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