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  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 1:03 AM
NuGunner NuGunner is offline
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Default Is this an issue with my 1911?

Background: Springfield 1911 Long Beach Operator with wilson combat mags. Purchased less than 6 months ago.

So I was practicing some speed reloads and was noticing that when loading a empty magazine into my 1911, I can't manually drop the slide with my (left) thumb only. If I seat a loaded mag in she functions fine. I'm thinking A) the mag is doing what it's supposed to by keeping the slide locked and B) well, they are fairly new mags. Also the slide will slide home with the empty mag in, I pull the slide back with my left hand hold the slide lock down with my right thumb.

Last edited by NuGunner; 01-04-2013 at 4:55 AM.. Reason: because my gear whore of a buddy pointed out a mistake lol
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2012, 2:33 AM
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It's normal, especially with new magazines. And of course, you don't want to let the slide drop with no magazine or an empty magazine anyway, except for when doing a function test for safety after detail cleaning or modification.
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2012, 2:56 AM
stevie stevie is offline
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Another vote for normal. Mine all all like this.
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  #4  
Old 12-06-2012, 6:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuGunner View Post
Background: Remington 1911 Long Beach Operator with wilson combat mags. Purchased less than 6 months ago.

So I was practicing some speed reloads and was noticing that when loading a empty magazine into my 1911, I can't manually drop the slide with my (left) thumb only. If I seat a loaded mag in she functions fine. I'm thinking A) the mag is doing what it's supposed to by keeping the slide locked and B) well, they are fairly new mags. Also the slide will slide home with the empty mag in, I pull the slide back with my left hand hold the slide lock down with my right thumb.
Not only is this normal, it's how the 1911 was designed to operate.

If you take a magazine out and look closely, you'll see a small surface below the level of the magazine follower. When the last round is chambered, this surface contacts the interior face of the slide stop, pushing the slide stop up. As the pistol recoils and the slide moves backwards from the last round being fired, the slide stop is pushed up into the slide stop notch on the slide as the slide goes by.

Most (proper) 1911 magazines will not easily allow the slide stop to be depressed at this point - the bearing surface on the magazine follow would have to tilt slightly. This should be the case (and proper function) regardless of whether the magazine is old or new.

When the magazine is holding at least one round, the contact surface on the follower is well below the level of the slide stop's interior surface, hence the reason why you can easily depress the slide stop down and cause the slide to go forward and into battery.

As for dropping the slide on an empty chamber or slingshotting the slide when there is no magazine in the gun, that debate will probably rage on. The primary problem with dropping the slide on an empty 1911 has to do with sear engagement on the hammer hook. If you have a close tolerance sear-hammer fit, repeating dropping of the slide *could* damage that nice engagement surface over time.

Assuming you have stock fire control parts and a properly set-up sear, it's not going to harm anything. What you don't want to do is pop a round in the chamber and then release the slide. That will screw up your extractor in short order (push it out of tension, break the hook, damage the radiused surfaces, etc.
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2012, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardm View Post
Not only is this normal, it's how the 1911 was designed to operate.

If you take a magazine out and look closely, you'll see a small surface below the level of the magazine follower. When the last round is chambered, this surface contacts the interior face of the slide stop, pushing the slide stop up. As the pistol recoils and the slide moves backwards from the last round being fired, the slide stop is pushed up into the slide stop notch on the slide as the slide goes by.

Most (proper) 1911 magazines will not easily allow the slide stop to be depressed at this point - the bearing surface on the magazine follow would have to tilt slightly. This should be the case (and proper function) regardless of whether the magazine is old or new.

When the magazine is holding at least one round, the contact surface on the follower is well below the level of the slide stop's interior surface, hence the reason why you can easily depress the slide stop down and cause the slide to go forward and into battery.

As for dropping the slide on an empty chamber or slingshotting the slide when there is no magazine in the gun, that debate will probably rage on. The primary problem with dropping the slide on an empty 1911 has to do with sear engagement on the hammer hook. If you have a close tolerance sear-hammer fit, repeating dropping of the slide *could* damage that nice engagement surface over time.

Assuming you have stock fire control parts and a properly set-up sear, it's not going to harm anything. What you don't want to do is pop a round in the chamber and then release the slide. That will screw up your extractor in short order (push it out of tension, break the hook, damage the radiused surfaces, etc.
+1 ^^^^

OP: you need to invest in some quality training classes. Be safe,

-Freq
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freq18Hz View Post
+1 ^^^^

OP: you need to invest in some quality training classes. Be safe,

-Freq
I'll go one better than that. Get yourself a good breakdown diagram (the NRA published a small 8.5x11 pamphlet some years ago that is very good at showing complete takedown of the 1911 - don't recall if they lifted it from another publication, and I'm not able to go dig out my copy...), get a set of brass punches, and take that sucker apart down to each little piece.

Study the parts, see how they fit together, how they move together, how they interact and reassemble. Do that a few times and you'll 'know' the 1911 platform quite well.

Keep in mind that some 1911's do not adhere to the 'true' 1911/1911A1 mechanicals. For example, series 80 pistols have a firing pin block that is released by a small lever and bar assembly actuated by the trigger pull. Other 1911's, like Kimbers (not all, but many) have a similar setup, but the FP block is disabled by a small arm that is pushed up against the stop by depressing the grip safety. Then of course you have some (Sig, IIRC) that use external extractors (Boo! Hiss! ).

But overall, you will learn valuable knowledge by tearing the thing apart. Do not let it intimidate you. You will get it back in one piece and working properly. Also check out some of the dedicated 1911 forums on the 'net. There are some old hands out there who live, eat and breathe the 1911 - nothing seems to stump them.

Just wait until you have your first malfunction. When you ask about it, you're going to get 10 or 12 BS answers as to the cause and fix, and 1 old codger is going to give you the answer you don't like (but it will be correct).
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:25 AM
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Due to the slides increased velocity from not feeding a round, dropping the slide on an empty chamber hits the barrel mating surfaces with approximately 20% more force than it encounters during normal operation. Feeding the round from the magazine slows the slide considerably.

If you are ok with repeatedly doing that on your pistols it's ok with me. I see no reason to do it personally other than for function testing as appropriate.

Also reference was made that whether the magazine is old or new it should be as difficult to push the slide stop down with an empty magazine in place as the follower would have to tilt to let it pass; actually the follower is usually just pushed down in the magazine tube, not tilted (some followers; i.e. most good ones, don't allow tilting) and they do get easier as the magazine spring looses strength through cycling.
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"What we get away with isn't usually the same as what's good for us"
"An extended slide stop is the second most useless part you can put on a 1911"

"While Ruger DA revolvers may be built like a tank, they have the aesthetics of one also,
although I suppose there are a few tanks which I owe an apology to for that remark"


Last edited by redcliff; 12-06-2012 at 10:49 AM..
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2012, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardm View Post
Assuming you have stock fire control parts and a properly set-up sear, it's not going to harm anything. What you don't want to do is pop a round in the chamber and then release the slide. That will screw up your extractor in short order (push it out of tension, break the hook, damage the radiused surfaces, etc.
That i've seen happen first hand, thankfully not to me. Thanks all for your responses, very informative and on point. Time to invest in some snap caps.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2012, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcliff View Post

Also reference was made that whether the magazine is old or new it should be as difficult to push the slide stop down with an empty magazine in place as the follower would have to tilt to let it pass; actually the follower is usually just pushed down in the magazine tube, not tilted (some followers; i.e. most good ones, don't allow tilting) and they do get easier as the magazine spring looses strength through cycling.
I think you missed my point on this.

Take a decent 1911 magazine, empty and push down on the edge of the bearing surface that contacts the slide stop internal lug. The follower is going to want to tilt(down and forward). In a well-constructed magazine, it won't tilt much (i.e. a WC47D), and the slide stop won't release the slide with an empty magazine.

As for dropping the slide with no round to strip off the magazine, the risks would be to the slide stop cross pin holes (wallowing them), running a flat spot on the cross pin itself where the lower lugs ride the pin (NOT talking about the barrel link pin) and one the upper lug surfaces (beveled edges on the upper barrel lugs, whether fore or rear, depending on if your lockup timing is correct.

The barrel hood-to-breechface interface is also another area that can make unpleasant contact.

But, and this is a big but, you're going to have to do this quite a bit to ruin/break something. And since at least 50% of the 1911's I see out of factories (don't care who builds them) don't even come with proper barrel and lockup timing, dropping the slide is the least of my worries.

But, you want to know why the factory manuals tell you not to do this? Get some machinists marking fluid or a sharpie or some lipstick and paint the upper barrel lugs on a few factory new 1911s. Assemble and work the slide. Your lug engagement is going to be at or near bare minimums (0.040-0.045). I've worked on a couple that came out of the factory in the low 20's. A good engagement is anything over 0.045, and I try to get 50-55. Couple that minimal engagement with questionable cross-pin diameters (usually under-spec, rarely over) and the factory playing "whack-a-mole" with the right barrel link length (going down the lockup timing road) and sure, you can screw something up.

If they'd build them right to start with, it wouldn't matter. I've been lucky enough to learn from those who had the opportunity to learn from and shoot with Bob Chow.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2012, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardm View Post
I think you missed my point on this.

Take a decent 1911 magazine, empty and push down on the edge of the bearing surface that contacts the slide stop internal lug. The follower is going to want to tilt(down and forward). In a well-constructed magazine, it won't tilt much (i.e. a WC47D), and the slide stop won't release the slide with an empty magazine.

As for dropping the slide with no round to strip off the magazine, the risks would be to the slide stop cross pin holes (wallowing them), running a flat spot on the cross pin itself where the lower lugs ride the pin (NOT talking about the barrel link pin) and one the upper lug surfaces (beveled edges on the upper barrel lugs, whether fore or rear, depending on if your lockup timing is correct.

The barrel hood-to-breechface interface is also another area that can make unpleasant contact.

But, and this is a big but, you're going to have to do this quite a bit to ruin/break something. And since at least 50% of the 1911's I see out of factories (don't care who builds them) don't even come with proper barrel and lockup timing, dropping the slide is the least of my worries.

But, you want to know why the factory manuals tell you not to do this? Get some machinists marking fluid or a sharpie or some lipstick and paint the upper barrel lugs on a few factory new 1911s. Assemble and work the slide. Your lug engagement is going to be at or near bare minimums (0.040-0.045). I've worked on a couple that came out of the factory in the low 20's. A good engagement is anything over 0.045, and I try to get 50-55. Couple that minimal engagement with questionable cross-pin diameters (usually under-spec, rarely over) and the factory playing "whack-a-mole" with the right barrel link length (going down the lockup timing road) and sure, you can screw something up.

If they'd build them right to start with, it wouldn't matter. I've been lucky enough to learn from those who had the opportunity to learn from and shoot with Bob Chow.
What's your take on doing a "fluff and buff" on any new 1911 I might pick up? Is this advised for the novice?
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2012, 1:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraviwannabe View Post
What's your take on doing a "fluff and buff" on any new 1911 I might pick up? Is this advised for the novice?
Let me make something clear, because I did not before - I do not consider myself a 1911 expert. John Browning was a 1911 expert. There are a few others out there in little shops and garages who *are* 1911 experts. 10 years on, and I'm no expert. I know some things, but I know not enough to be an 'expert'.

That said, don't be a "Dremel Dan". If you want to polish your parts, that's fine. Polishing should really remove no material or almost none. Flitz and cloth of various coarseness is your friend. I might stretch that to a flannel dremel wheel, even, but no more.

If you're considering sandpaper (of any grit), you need to be sure about what you're doing or else ask lots of questions before going to it.

My suggestions:

Polish:

Feed ramp
Barrel throat
Barrel hood
Full-cock notch on the hammer
Frame rails
Slide rails

I generally start with a bottle of Flitz (use your non-grit metal polish of choice) and coarse terry cloth. From there I'll continue with a coarse flannel and then end with a nice soft cloth (whatever I have sitting around).

That takes off some of the machining grit and excess finishing material. If you want to talk about removing tooling marks (actual removal of not insignificant amounts of metal), drop me a PM and I can give you some pointers.
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2012, 3:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardm View Post
I think you missed my point on this.
Take a decent 1911 magazine, empty and push down on the edge of the bearing surface that contacts the slide stop internal lug. The follower is going to want to tilt(down and forward). In a well-constructed magazine, it won't tilt much (i.e. a WC47D), and the slide stop won't release the slide with an empty magazine.
I must still be missing the point, or perhaps you're wrong. I can release the slide stop on any of my empty magazines from CMC, Tripp, Wilson, Checkmate etc on any of my 17 1911's. Maybe after 38 years of 1911 shooting my thumb is super strong, I dunno.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardm View Post
As for dropping the slide with no round to strip off the magazine, the risks would be to the slide stop cross pin holes (wallowing them), running a flat spot on the cross pin itself where the lower lugs ride the pin (NOT talking about the barrel link pin) and one the upper lug surfaces (beveled edges on the upper barrel lugs, whether fore or rear, depending on if your lockup timing is correct.
The barrel hood-to-breechface interface is also another area that can make unpleasant contact.
But, and this is a big but, you're going to have to do this quite a bit to ruin/break something. And since at least 50% of the 1911's I see out of factories (don't care who builds them) don't even come with proper barrel and lockup timing, dropping the slide is the least of my worries.
But, you want to know why the factory manuals tell you not to do this? Get some machinists marking fluid or a sharpie or some lipstick and paint the upper barrel lugs on a few factory new 1911s. Assemble and work the slide. Your lug engagement is going to be at or near bare minimums (0.040-0.045). I've worked on a couple that came out of the factory in the low 20's. A good engagement is anything over 0.045, and I try to get 50-55. Couple that minimal engagement with questionable cross-pin diameters (usually under-spec, rarely over) and the factory playing "whack-a-mole" with the right barrel link length (going down the lockup timing road) and sure, you can screw something up.
If they'd build them right to start with, it wouldn't matter. I've been lucky enough to learn from those who had the opportunity to learn from and shoot with Bob Chow.
Versus
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardm View Post
Assuming you have stock fire control parts and a properly set-up sear, it's not going to harm anything. What you don't want to do is pop a round in the chamber and then release the slide. That will screw up your extractor in short order (push it out of tension, break the hook, damage the radiused surfaces, etc.
Wouldn't it of been easier to just agree theres no good reason to drop the slide on an empty chamber anyway unless doing a function check?
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"An extended slide stop is the second most useless part you can put on a 1911"

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although I suppose there are a few tanks which I owe an apology to for that remark"

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Old 12-06-2012, 3:41 PM
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Per Heirloom Precision:

While an occasional or accidental occurrence may not damage ones pistol the repeated act of the slide slamming closed on an empty chamber can have an adverse effect on the pistol's hammer and sear geometry as well as cause battering between the frame, slide stop, and barrel feet. Whenever possible ease the slide home when not chambering a round.
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Old 12-06-2012, 4:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyc Wid It View Post
Per Heirloom Precision:

While an occasional or accidental occurrence may not damage ones pistol the repeated act of the slide slamming closed on an empty chamber can have an adverse effect on the pistol's hammer and sear geometry as well as cause battering between the frame, slide stop, and barrel feet. Whenever possible ease the slide home when not chambering a round.
Unless you want to pull the trigger once and empty the mag
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Old 12-06-2012, 4:31 PM
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Your 1911 is defective. Send it to me and I will see to it that is disposed of properly.
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Old 12-06-2012, 5:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcliff View Post
I must still be missing the point, or perhaps you're wrong. I can release the slide stop on any of my empty magazines from CMC, Tripp, Wilson, Checkmate etc on any of my 17 1911's. Maybe after 38 years of 1911 shooting my thumb is super strong, I dunno.
It could be that. You may want to check the engagement of the slide stop with the slide though. Using slide stop to release the slide generally isn't the recommended method. It's better for the gun if you rack the slide because it prevents the slide stop or the notch in the slide from rounding.

Quote:
Wouldn't it of been easier to just agree theres no good reason to drop the slide on an empty chamber anyway unless doing a function check?
I believe that this quote referred to not dropping the slide on a round inserted in the chamber. M1911s should strip the round off the magazine to prevent damage to the extractor.
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Old 12-06-2012, 7:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrippledPidgeon View Post
It could be that. You may want to check the engagement of the slide stop with the slide though. Using slide stop to release the slide generally isn't the recommended method. It's better for the gun if you rack the slide because it prevents the slide stop or the notch in the slide from rounding.


I believe that this quote referred to not dropping the slide on a round inserted in the chamber. M1911s should strip the round off the magazine to prevent damage to the extractor.
My slide stops are fine, but thanks for the suggestion. I remove my magazines anyway when I'm handling my 1911's, my response was only due to the allegation that you shouldnt be ABLE to release the slide with an empty magazine in your pistol via the slide stop.

And yes, I agree that one should only feed a round via a magazine and have posted so many time in the past.
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"What we get away with isn't usually the same as what's good for us"
"An extended slide stop is the second most useless part you can put on a 1911"

"While Ruger DA revolvers may be built like a tank, they have the aesthetics of one also,
although I suppose there are a few tanks which I owe an apology to for that remark"

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  #18  
Old 12-06-2012, 7:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuGunner View Post
Background: Remington 1911 Long Beach Operator with wilson combat mags. Purchased less than 6 months ago.

So I was practicing some speed reloads and was noticing that when loading a empty magazine into my 1911, I can't manually drop the slide with my (left) thumb only. If I seat a loaded mag in she functions fine. I'm thinking A) the mag is doing what it's supposed to by keeping the slide locked and B) well, they are fairly new mags. Also the slide will slide home with the empty mag in, I pull the slide back with my left hand hold the slide lock down with my right thumb.
whats a remington 1911 LB operator is remington the ammo u are using
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  #19  
Old 12-06-2012, 8:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardm View Post
Let me make something clear, because I did not before - I do not consider myself a 1911 expert. John Browning was a 1911 expert. There are a few others out there in little shops and garages who *are* 1911 experts. 10 years on, and I'm no expert. I know some things, but I know not enough to be an 'expert'.

That said, don't be a "Dremel Dan". If you want to polish your parts, that's fine. Polishing should really remove no material or almost none. Flitz and cloth of various coarseness is your friend. I might stretch that to a flannel dremel wheel, even, but no more.

If you're considering sandpaper (of any grit), you need to be sure about what you're doing or else ask lots of questions before going to it.

My suggestions:

Polish:

Feed ramp
Barrel throat
Barrel hood
Full-cock notch on the hammer
Frame rails
Slide rails

I generally start with a bottle of Flitz (use your non-grit metal polish of choice) and coarse terry cloth. From there I'll continue with a coarse flannel and then end with a nice soft cloth (whatever I have sitting around).

That takes off some of the machining grit and excess finishing material. If you want to talk about removing tooling marks (actual removal of not insignificant amounts of metal), drop me a PM and I can give you some pointers.
Thanks for your considerable wisdom on the subject, if not expertize!
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