1911 feeding question


Walrus Waffle
October 30, 2006, 11:49 PM
I have an issue regarding whether my 1911 has a feeding problem because of the ammo being hollow point, or the "creased" (best way I can find to describe it) casing on the ammo.
The weapon is a US Army M1911A1 manufactured 1944. I currently have loaded some 185gr winchester silvertips. The casings on these are not entirely smooth; there is an indentation along the middle. On a full magazine, the top round does not always feed properly. The reason I am not sure if it's the hollow point or the casing is this:
1. The problem only occurs on the top round on a full magazine.
2. It feeds consistently only if the slide is pulled back as far as it goes, and is released extremely quickly for maximum push on the round being fed.
3. When loading the magazines, the rounds catch on the crease quite easily.

I'd appreciate all feedback since I would like to decide whether I need to buy some hollow points with smooth casings or if it cannot reliably feed even those. Also, it does feed smooth cased FMJ perfectly, so I know it can feed some things.

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Steve C
October 31, 2006, 01:55 AM
Sounds like the magazine spring is still new and hasn't been broken in yet. The magazine spring will loose some of its strength after some time of use and the problem you are having with the first round should disappear.

To take care of the problem now you can load the magazine with one less than it can fully hold. That should ensure proper feeding in the immediate future.

Chuck Perry
October 31, 2006, 02:10 AM
It feeds FMJ flawlessly, right? Are the Silvertips factory or reloads? I'm not sure what you mean by a crease around the case. Since it feeds FMJ, I would be inclinded to think the pistol is having a problem with the hollow tips. Has the pistol been altered at all? Typically vintage military guns such as yours will not feed hollow points without some tweaking. Usually the feed ramp needs to be relieved and polished to allow proper feeding with anything but FMJ.

October 31, 2006, 03:53 AM
This "crease" that extends around the middle of the brass case is a design of the brass. It isn't seen on all brass.

Government models of that time period and age may not feed hollowpoints reliably. When was the last time that gun has seen a new recoil spring?

October 31, 2006, 06:55 AM
The indentation around the side of the case is called a cannelure, and its purpose is to prevent bullet setback when feeding. The case is actually crimped at the base of the bullet.

While we encounter some of the older pistols that won't feed hollowpoints reliably, this is generally the result of a mismatched pistol or a bad magazine.
If the gun is "right" it should feed. Winchester Silvertip is one that's given
some problem in the unaltered USGI pistols.

First...Let's sit down, take off our shoes, and define our terms.

A failure to feed is a different malfunction that a failure to go to/return to battery. Sometimes the causes are related...sometimes not. A true failure to feed results in the round not getting into the chamber. If it enters the chamber...even just a little...it's technically a failure to go to battery.
Describe your stoppage in detail...

Next...Which type of magazine are you using? Is the extractor channel clean?
Have you bent the extractor to increase tension? Have you replaced the extractor recently?

Leave the feed and barrel ramps alone. If Dremel Dan has already attacked either one...you may have a wall-hanger unless the damage isn't so extensive that the gun can't be massaged back into line.

Standin' by...

Walrus Waffle
October 31, 2006, 12:48 PM
Thanks for the replies. Sometimes it is a failure to feed, sometimes it is a failure to go to battery. If I'm lucky it will enter the chamber, otherwise it will just sit in the magazine and hold the slide back. The magazine I am using is the default Army issued. Extractor channel is clean and unbent. The entire firearm is unmodified, so I haven't messed it up with tampering. I have two of the same magazines and neither change the frequency of the problem.

Edit: I just found some FMJ buried in my closet with a cannelure. It does not feed reliably either, but a bit better than the hollow point. Could it be a combination of hollow point and cannelure that is causing the problem?

October 31, 2006, 02:59 PM
With the slide off the frame...lay the barrel in the frame bed with the slidestop pin through the link. Push the barrel down and back and look at the bottom of the barrel ramp in relation the top of the frame ramp. Does the bottom of the barrel sit flush at the rear...or is it slightly forward of the top corner of the frame's ramp? Does it overhang into the magwell slightly? Pictures of this area would be a big help.

A true failure to feed can be traced back to the magazine about 90% of the time...and you can have two bad magazines. Are the magazines in good shape, or do they look like they've been damaged at all? Weak springs can
contribute to your problems.

Remove the extractor and see if the failure to go to battery on the top round changes or even goes away. If it does, it's an extractor problem. Either too much tension or a misfit or out-of-spec part.

Breechface clean and smooth, or does it feel rough or obviously damaged?
Check for a burr around the firing pin hole.

Walrus Waffle
October 31, 2006, 03:57 PM
Well after following your advice, it turned out to be an extractor problem. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take the firearm to someone that knows more what he's doing and get it fixed. Thanks again!

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