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  #1  
Old 04-12-2007, 12:32 AM
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Default Two Problems with my 1911s

Ok, so I went shooting the other day (in place of my bachelor party) and two of my pistols had problems, and coincidentally they were both 1911s. I think I know the problems, but I want to hear some advice from some people who may have had the same problems but a different diagnosis before I go and throw money at the problems.

First was my Springfield Armory Mil-Spec. Everything is still factory and nothing has been replaced or worked on since I purchased it (it was my baby - bought it on my 21st birthday and haven't wanted to touch it in anyway); it also has (in my estimation) less than 5k rounds but over 2k. What happened was my brother was shooting the pistol and placed the gun down after letting the slide lock home on an empty chamber. So I pick it up and let him know that he should set the pistol down with the slide locked back. I pick it up and start to draw the slide back and it is VERY stiff and sluggish. It feels almost like the spring is not compressing, but rather flexing and trying to make a C or S shape and only starts to compress when it runs out of room to flex, but is still rubbing heavily on the walls of the dust cover. I instantly thought I had spring failure as it seems too new to be worn and I'd imagine the spring would become 'lazy' and compress more easily rather than nearly lock up the slide. To give you an idea it feels like there are some heavy duty rubber bands around the slide and frame, so it takes a good deal of force to get moving but once it's started it moves, but still under heavy resitance. The hammer cocks just fine by hand, which lets me know the mainspring spring is ok so I am thinking recoil spring needs replacing. I figure I might as well get a Wolff or Wilson Combat replacement spring kit while I am at it just for the hell of it (if one fails, the others may not be far behind so might as well replace them preemptive).

Second was on my Colt series 70 Combat Commander in 9mm. I just picked it up, and as far as I can tell everything is factory except the grips (some weird wrap around rubber things with checkering and a cowboy riding a horse for the logo - like a knock off Colt logo but with a rider). It would shoot and partially extract but not all the way, maybe 1/4" from the open mouth of the case it would just let go and leave the case hanging in the chamber, jamming up as the slide could catch the round below it in the magazine and try to feed it up into the chamber, crashing into the empty case, and stopping the slide in it's tracks. It seems to be shot very little so I am triyng not to read too heavily into it, but I'd imagine I have a faulty extractor. From the looks of it it seemed like their might be some rust frosting on the underside of the extractor so I am thinking the rust caused a raised round edge that didn't grip heavily. Solution is either cleanup and possibly slight metal removal of the extractor or replace it entirely. Some of the springs seemed soft and irresponsive (especially the hammer which seemed to '...click...' rather than 'CLICK!'. I figure a good new set of springs would be in order for this as well and might as well grab a new extractor while I am at it.

So what do you fellow shooters who know your 1911 think? Sound about right? Just some bad springs and a bad extractor face that alteration/replacing? Maybe something else? My .45 1911 also seems to shoot 6" low at 25 yards but only for me, I think it's a conspiracy.

ETA: Oh yeah, the ammo was NOT reloads but was bought from the range. I think it was Lawman or something like that. It was a blue and white box.
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Last edited by NeoWeird; 04-12-2007 at 12:35 AM..
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2007, 1:56 AM
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Default

Your diagnoses sound correct to me, I'd strip both for a detailed cleaning and most likely replace the recoil spring on the SA, and clean up and consider replacing the extractor on the Colt. The extractor issue sounds fishy but from your description it is probably just a little rust causing the extractor to stick.
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Old 04-12-2007, 4:36 AM
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Default Observations

With respect to the Springfield problem, you describe what it feels like from outside the gun, but you didn't indicate that you stripped the gun to look at the internal parts, especially the recoil spring. I would do that first, and see if any parts appear to be damaged.

With respect to the Colt Commander, you are having "stovepipe" jams, in which the old casing is not being forcefully ejected so that it is caught by the closing slide and stops the slide. Usually that means that you need a new or a heavier recoil spring, which will slow down the slide a bit and allow the old casing to fully eject before the slide closes. In a 1911 the recoil spring strength must be somewhat proportional to the power of the ammo used. Colt 1911 Gold Cups are sold with two recoil springs in distinct colors - one for lighter practice ammo and one for regular full power ammo.
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Old 04-12-2007, 6:02 AM
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Your Colt could be your extractor is worn out/broken, needs tuning, your ejector is broken, or I'd say too much spring and the spring isn't letting the gun cycle all the way through.

Cycle the Colt by hand does it extract and eject the case?

Inspect the hook on the extractor is it chipped or broken?

Inspect the ejector I believe the ejector should be extended.

It would seem unlikely a worn spring would cause the problem on your SA. Unload it first. Take the barrel bushing out and remove the spring does it cycle freely now? Weather it does or doesn't continue to field strip it and inpsect put it back together without cleaning maybe just a bit of lube then cycle it by hand.

Then take it apart clean and relube and try it.

Let us know what it was.

Good luck
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2007, 12:55 PM
JiminCA JiminCA is offline
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Above advice is good. My guess is that your colt likely needs more extractor tension. Odds are good that the extractor itself is OK - just needs a tweak. Polish it up and check tension and try again.

Sometimes a lot of crud under the extractor can cause the same thing. The case is dropping out of the extractor hook before ejection can take place.

Hard to tell from your description what is wrong with your Springfield. If it is still the original spring it is time to replace it anyway. Take it apart and look it over really good. You can often see unusual wear marks from something binding.

Last edited by JiminCA; 04-12-2007 at 12:58 PM..
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2007, 3:20 PM
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It's time to replace the spring in the SA but a worn recoil spring won't make the gun hard to rack. Take a good look at the guide rod head and see if it's rubbing on the slide. Also take a look at the slide stop for any unusual wear marks.

I'd agree the Colt problem is the extractor. You may not need to replace it, just adjust it. If it's not smooth and beveled under the locator pad, then reshape it.
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  #7  
Old 04-12-2007, 8:45 PM
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SA, possible spring binding. Short guide rod, weakened spring.
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2007, 1:49 AM
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OK, sorry, been real busy trying to get ready for later today.

So I think I figured both problems out. The Springfield, I had taken the slide off and stripped it down (at least field stripped) and didn't see any additional wear or rubbing marks. I had cleaned the rails and oiled it before coming here. I hadn't done much 'work' as I had pretty much assumed it was the spring and left it at that. I was wrong. Turns out it was a binding disconnector/sear that was putting excessive force against the slide. At it's top position it wouldn't want to move, giving that flexing feeling, and then as it finally budged and dropped a bit it would slide but under heavy tension, which gave that forced spring compression feeling. I cleaned the bind and it functions fine now. I need to strip it down to pieces and check and make sure no mating surfaces, especially on the disconnector, sear, and trigger are all fine.

I had only taken the slide off the 9mm Colt because I didn't want to damage it. Before I had come here I had just looked at the extractor while in the slide and that was it. After coming here I figured it was best to take it out (I was very reluctant - it's in such good condition I didn't want to have the chance of harming it). So I go to take the extractor out....and it's bent. I can't get it out in the normal manner. I am going to have to get something to depress the hook towards the outside wall while prying it out. Either way, I'd imagine a bent extractor could easily cause problems with extracting so I think that solves that problem....well at least solves what was causing the problem.

I'll get on stripping, inspecting, repairing, replacing, etc when I get back from the honeymoon.....assuming I am tired and/or she isn't home.
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2007, 7:37 AM
randy randy is offline
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NOOOOOOOOO the bend in the extractor is supposed to be there. That's how spring tension is put on it to extract the case. Now there may be too much or not enough. That is part of the tuning process. Pull it out clean it and the channel might as well clean the FP while you're in there, no oil.

To help getting it out you might have to spin it 180 in the channel then slide it out.

Check the hook on the extractor cycle dummy rounds by hand watch what's going on.
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2007, 10:35 AM
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You need to put the end of a punch or screwdriver in the extractor slot where the FP stop goes and pry gently. Once it starts to move out you can pull it out with your fingers.

To check the tension, put a loaded round under the extractor with the slide removed. Slip it up so the primer lines up with the FP hole in the breechface. You can slip it up further but you don't want to.

With the round under the extractor, shake the slide (not too hard.) The round should wobble but not fall out. It should not be flush against the breech.

Tension is adjusted by bending the extractor. If it isn't bent, it isn't going to work and can cause both feeding and extraction problems in a 1911.
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2007, 10:11 AM
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I have a Para set up to shoot 9mm. I've found I can induce a stovepipe FTE with an improper grip. For some reason, I have to think about my grip when shooting a 9mm 1911 a lot more than when shooting a .45 acp 1911. My 9mm and 38 supers are set up for action shooting. My .45's are primarily for bullseye.

There may be nothing wrong with your Colt.ust give it a good platform to function from and see what happens.

I've experienced a similar problem with my Mil-Spec if I don't properly reinstall the sear spring. Sometimes a leaf of the sear spring slips under sear and causes the disconnector to bind. You can usually tell before complete reassembly of the gun. I'm suprised your brother was able to fire the gun if this was the case. Check the sear spring to make sure one of the leafs isn't too short or too long.

BTW, setting you sear spring properly can help reduce your trigger pull by a couple of pounds without doing anything to the sear/hammer engagement.

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