Getting hit on the face by brass


July 6, 2006, 12:08 PM
I was shooting my friend's new Colt 70 series 1911 pistol thi smorning and I noticed that the spent brass was ejecting directly on my face or top of the head. It didn't happen on every shot but it did happen on about 70% of times. My friend and I were told that the reason maybe that the extractor has too much tension on the brass and that It should be bent back a little to relieve some tension.

Does that sound right?

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1 old 0311
July 6, 2006, 12:34 PM
The fix for this , on CZ's, is to file a different angle on the ejector.

July 6, 2006, 01:33 PM
I'm far from an expert, but tuning the extractor on a 1911 is a little more involved than "bending it back" a little. Have your friend take some time on one of the 1911 Forums (like or and check out the tutorials and get some advice from guys who have been doing it for decades.

Just my $0.02...


July 6, 2006, 01:51 PM
Nothing like getting hit square in the middle of the forehead by .44 Magnum brass ejecting from a Desert Eagle. Definitely a character-building experience!

I've found that a thorough cleaning sometimes fixes the problem with a DE, it must have something to do with the timing of the slide coming back and how the rotating bolt/extractor/ejector work together. Sometimes a particular load will produce this result with some consistency, i.e. the old Remington 210gr SJSP loads used to do it every single time.

July 6, 2006, 03:53 PM
My experience with brass hitting you on the head comes from two causes.

1. The recoil spring is not matched with the ammo that is used. As an example I have found that the standard 16 pound spring is not strong enough for the +P 45 ammo, especially the the 'lighter' 185 Gr. bullets. I prefer 230Gr bullets anyway, but is another descussion.

2. The extractor is a not holding te casing tight enough for the ejector the punch it out the ejection port. What happen is then is that the slide, on it's way back, catches the case, normally on the rim, and lauches it straight back. Here you will see the tell tale sighs of the slide marks on the expelled casing.

I hope this will help you get to the cause of the cases hitting you on the head.


July 6, 2006, 04:40 PM
Hehe, my Firestorm 1911 likes to do the same thing at least once per range trip.The wife gets a kick out of pointing out the half moon shaped black mark on my forehead when I get home. :)

July 6, 2006, 05:11 PM
I have this problem with a new CZ75B I acquired recently.

It should be ejecting to the 3 O'clock position, like my other CZ (a 97B) does. Instead, it's ejecting somewhere between 5 and 6 O'clock. Usually over my right shoulder, over my head, and occasionally in the face.

Someone on a CZ forum said file a new angle on the ejector. Excuse me, but aren't these all pretty much the same at the factory? and he never said whether to make the angle sharper, shallower or anything, just file it. Well, that's a change you can't just "undo". I have a recoil buffer spring (it replaces the standard guide rod) which makes the slide very hard to pull into the locked open position, which I am thinking of installing to see if it makes a difference. I, too, had thought maybe the recoil spring was too light, but it never occured to me that the slide might actually be hitting the brass as it exits and flinging it rearwards. Now that makes total sense.

I'm hoping to give it a shot this weekend and hopefully have some good news to report.

July 6, 2006, 07:08 PM
Limpwristing will also cause the brass to hit someone on the head, but this situation does not sound like it.

July 6, 2006, 08:48 PM
When a 1911 extractor is properly tuned all your brass will fall into a pile, or at least be close. Never over or into your head, by the way.

With the slide removed from the frame, and the barrel removed from the slide, can you insert a loaded round from beneath the slide and it still be held in place? Side tension by the extractor hook should not allow it to fall back out. It should not be touching/hooking the case rim, rather it should be pressing against the forward angled part of the case rim.

Go to and read what 1911Tuner has to say about proper extractor tension in the FAQs.

And good spring steel extractors are more tunable than cheap ones.

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