Love-Hate 1911's... Help!


February 15, 2003, 06:59 PM
You know the old "love-hate" thing?

Well, as for 1911's, I am in the "new-infatuation-head-over-heels-madly-in-love" phase as far as the trigger, weight, grip, pointability, manual of arms... I just love the ergonomics on these things.

But the malfunctions are driving me insane.

I've been into SIG's and CZ's and rifles (addicted High Power shooter here), so I'm just not used to this "My Gun Doesn't Work" kind of experience.

I got a Springfield Mil-Spec a few weeks ago, just to see what all the 1911 enthusiasm was about, and right away, I found agreement with both the 1911 lovers and the 1911 haters. Lots of treat things about this design; too bad it doesn't work.

Still, I was infatuated with the 1911 enough to pick up on a good deal I stumbled into on an old, minty, Series 70. It has a nicer fit-and-finish, nicer trigger and sights... but the same &^%$?!@ malfunctions.

Here's what I'm getting:

For the first three-four magazines I shoot, everything functions perfectly. Then I start getting malfunctions -- several variations on the same theme -- the spent case does not eject and the gun tries to jam the spent case in on top of the new cartridge that is feeding into the chamber.

Both pistols are doing the exact same thing, at just about the same interval of good function before the wierdness sets in.

My Uninformed Theories:

1) The Ammo is not hot enough to make the guns work right.
Not sure if I believe this, because both pistols do the same thing whether it is my own reloads or factory ammo. I chrono'ed my own ammo, and it was around 800 fps in 10 degree weather. A 230 gr bullet going 800 fps ought to be enough energy to make the gun work, I think: 800 fps is well within specs.

2) The Ammo is Too Dirty
This one could make sense, given that the malfunctions don't start happening until after I've been shooting a while. However, the guns don't seem very fouled when I go to clean them afterwards. My reloads, in particular, seem to be very clean-burning.

3) Something about the Magazines
Doesn't make sense, given that the same mags work just fine initially. However, I have noticed, the malfunctions are less frequent with my Kimber mag, medium-frequent with the Colt and Mec-Gar mags, and most frequent with the Springfield mag.

4) They're 1911's, and neither one of them has been properly blessed by an Ordained 1911 Gunsmith; therefore the Sprit of John Moses Browning is Displeased and the guns will continue to be posessed by Evil Spirits until the necessary Appeasement Rituals have been performed.

I have tried the "extractor tension trick" recomended here. Both pistols failed the test initially, then I bent the extractors to where they passed the test, and I am still getting the same malfunctions.

Please, folks... help me take the "Hate" out of my Love-Hate infatuation with 1911's.

You've got a potential convert here, but not if I have to keep putting up with these *&%$&*^( malfunctions!

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February 16, 2003, 09:29 AM
It could be the gunk building up after firing a large number of rounds. You did not specify bullet material. Jacketed and plated bullets tend to leave a gun cleaner than lead. I have found that lead bullets leave a gun very dirty and the gunk tends to be sticky and will eventually cause malfunctions. This gunk can build up under and around the extractor and diminish it's reliability. Also, a build up of residue on the frame and slide rails will slow the slide and prevent proper functioning. This is most noticeable with tightly fitted frames and slides.

Magazines are also susceptible to a build up of residue. Dirty magazines can cause all sorts of problems. I find it best to start with quality magazines and clean them often. Do not oil magazines, as this will lead to accelerated accumulation of residue. I just clean mine with Hoppe's Number 9 and leave it at that.

February 16, 2003, 11:02 AM
4) They're 1911's, and neither one of them has been properly blessed by an Ordained 1911 Gunsmith; therefore the Sprit of John Moses Browning is Displeased and the guns will continue to be posessed by Evil Spirits until the necessary Appeasement Rituals have been performed.

This is it. Did you first sacrifice a polymer gun on a mesquite fire?:evil:

Seriously, some new guns need a few hundred rounds to work out the kinks. Or, you could polish the chamber and feed ramp or throat. What antsi said. Stronger mag springs can help, also make sure your mags are clean and lubed a bit. Ejector "grip" angle (for lack of the proper term) can be a factor. (I'm not a 1911 'expert', btw). Having a good gunsmith look at it is a good idea, particularly on a used gun.

February 16, 2003, 11:08 AM
Lots of treat things about this design; too bad it doesn't work.

now that's the funniest thing I evuh hoid :rolleyes:

February 16, 2003, 12:01 PM
It actually sounds a bit like you are shooting with a wrist that is a little soft. Has anyone else shot the pistols and had the same result? You may need to go with a little softer recoil spring if your personal style is a little soft wristed. It could also be lube related, heavy oil in large amounts will cause what you are having too.

Here is what I know for sure, the case is not getting to the ejector. If it was it would be out of the gun or at least sideways/angled up when the slide closed on it. It is getting back past the mag or the next round would not be trying to get into the chamber. You are having a short recoil type of malfunction, the number one cause is a soft wrist, two is ammo that is loaded down, three is a recoil spring that is too hard, four is a dirty/heavily oiled gun. From what you reported the ammo is not a suspect, mags are not suspect either. Use lube sparingly, and have someone else shoot them when they start acting up.

This is in no way intended to be a flame on you, but two quality guns and at least 4 different mags that won't work with RN ammo is really strange.

The last thing is parts, you do not have shockbuffs, or full length guide rods, or group grippers or anthing like that installed in these two guns do you?

February 16, 2003, 04:05 PM
A few random thoughts

--Mags are a constant source of heartburn. ALL my FTE / FTF's ceases when I used Wilson mags.

--Since your heartburn seems to be time related, take a look at your stance in general and your wrist strength in particular. A weak wrist will show up as a gremlin. Try shooting off a rest and see if the gremlins occur at the same point. I shoot full power 230 grain hard ball and after one box I have to concentrate on my form. A 1911 does make you work.

--A 1911 would really have to be cruddy to have a FTE / FTF due to crud.

--What brand of ammo are you using? Is it reloads. If you are perhaps using AMERC ammo you just screwed up. Bad stuff.

--Consult an ordained 1911 smith. He may be able to provide helpful hints.

Keep us posted. I'd hate to lose a 1911 convert.

February 16, 2003, 06:04 PM
Guess I'm lucky so far, it's been all love and no hate. Bought my first 1911 a few weeks ago, a Kimber Custom II. I've put approx. 700 rounds through it, all but 50 have been reloads. I use the factory 7 round Kimber mag & a Chip McCormick Shooting Star 8 rounder. No malfunctions to report.

February 16, 2003, 07:21 PM
I must have been blessed by JMB. I get 1911's to run for me, when they will not for the owner. I can even do this with stock mags...go figure.

Agree with HSMITH--again no flame intended.

I do see failures due to "fixing a gun" that doesn't need fixing. Someone, some magazine, somethng caused a person to "fix" a gun...doodads, gimmicks, gadgets. Bad mags, I use 47D's or CMC Powermags, never had a problem with these and have seen these cure some ills. Bad ammo, (why do people spend $ on a fine firearm and use cheap ammo?) Overlube...dripping soppy wet. Compulsive maintenance--buy this I mean--excessive take apart and put back together...oops where that part belong along with improper re-assembly. Limpwristing.

Dunno...had a guy bring a out of the box SA Mil-Spec to the range, hadn't even cleaned the factory protective coating yet, using factory mags, and some old 'flying ashtrays" , the gun fired 3 mags for me( all we had of those) --owner can't get through one mag of FMJ...we cured the limpwrist that day though.

February 16, 2003, 07:30 PM
Thanks for the suggestions all.

I am going to investigate the limp wrist theory. It does fit the facts, if the limp wristing is maybe some kind of reflex I start developing after I have been shooting for a while.

It is generally true, when I first get to the range I am more focused on my form and technique; more concentrating. If I do get sloppy or get into bad technique it is usually later in the range session.

I'll also try some modifications on how and how much I lubricate them.

I will save the "expensive mags" and "pay a gunsmith" theories for later, if none of the other ideas work.

PS: they are both bone-stock. Having wierd aftermarket parts on them would be my first suspicion with any kind of malfunction.

4 eyed six shooter
February 16, 2003, 10:00 PM
I think HSMITH hit the nail on the head. Other things to check would be that you have correct extractor tention. The extractor should hold a loaded round against the breach without the round falling out. You may wish to try an extended ejector. I have them in all my 45's and almost never have a jam. One advantage to the extended ejector is that you can file the end to eject the cases at an angle that is pleasing to you (ie- to the front, side etc.) When shooting make sure your wrist and arm are locked up solid. Good info given by all.

February 16, 2003, 10:31 PM
WHEW!!!!!!! I was afraid I would offend you with my thoughts. Thanks for being able to listen to the ramblings of a couple other guys that have been there and done that!! Keep in mind that YOUR personal style of shooting the 1911 might be a tad different from the other guys. There is NOTHING wrong with dropping spring rates by 2# if it makes sense for the way YOU shoot. Try to identify the way you will shoot most of the time, and particularly the way you would shoot under stress. If a common thread is found we could talk about that and maybe come up with some things to try to make the 1911 fit YOU, not the other way around.

BTW, if you are shopping for new mags I really like the Shooting Stars for the money. The Wilsons are darn good indeed, but for my dollar the Shooting Star is the one to buy.

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