Colt Defender woes


November 19, 2006, 02:27 PM
I had originally posted this incorrectly under the top "sticky," so I'm going to try to make some sense here. (An effort, I assure you.)

My Defender has been having problems. Bought new (seal still on case), it appears to be one of those Monday Morning jobs:

a) Magazine catch - mags needed to be "heeled" in. Removed catch, stoned off casting/machine marks. Now fine.

b) Usual break-in woes.

c) Extraction/ejection problems. (Had range members spot while I fired to see if I was limping it. No. Two others had same problems. Back to store, extractor tweak. I did a tiny bit of radius filing. Extraction/ejection now perfect.

d) Completely gagging on JHPs. Five or six types. Stem or stovepipe. Tried four types of mags. Not mag problem. Functions PERFECTLY, even under stress, with FMJs.

After babbling about this (as above), I looked up 1911Tuner's encyclopedic archive (!!!!) and learned more than I knew about anything to begin with.

I also checked the blueprints for the 1911, and found numbers that the Colt in my hand didn't agree with. Specifically, there was nowhere near 1/32" between the ramp and the barrel throat. I checked the numbers between two other 1911s I have (a 1943 Colt, and a SA 1911A1), and found that the 1943 and the SA agreed, but the Defender did not. The easiest dimension for me to take was the distance from the rear of the link ears to the edge of the throat.

The Defender even had a nice little throat "belly" polished into the bottom of the barrel --- but it was practically right on top of the ramp.

After picking at atoms and molecules on the throat (files, 400-grit on a dowel, and, finally, the D-word), it now looks like the original (mostly), but with a shallower "belly," a more even contour --- and set back several thousandths. The inside lip of the throat is just past the case bevel by a couple of thousandths. It would have to be, to make the minimum 1/32" from the ramp.

Before this, with the barrel assembled to the frame (without slide) and a magazine inserted, ball could be thumb-fed smoothly; JHPs consistently jammed at the ramp/throat juncture. Now, the JHPs actually feed. (Of course, I have gouges in my thumb from the ejector, but, so what?)

I'm looking at this thing and wondering. It's amazing how much a few thousandths of an inch can make you crazed. I'm also wondering if I'm going to blow my hand off with the danged thing. There's a fingernail's thickness of case visible, and I'm hoping this thing won't bite.

If it does, I'll have my fiancee type in the results, if I can't.

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November 19, 2006, 03:20 PM
And other sub 4-inch 1911 variants..

"A little girl, who had a curl, in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good she was VERY good,
but when she was bad...she was horrid."

November 19, 2006, 03:35 PM
I have to admit --- my father-in-laws 1911, from WWII, is about as flawless as they come. My SA GI, also. Don't know what got me so revved up over a micro 1911, but there we go ...

Funny thing is, this Defender is great shooter. It's like weight-lifting. A half-session with it, and the others find the bull by themselves.:D

If this works out, I will never, ever, ever touch it again, other than to clean it.

Thanks for not yelling at me "up top!"

November 19, 2006, 03:39 PM
51 said:

>Thanks for not yelling at me "up top!"<

Nah. Sounds like ya did good with the tweak.:cool:

November 20, 2006, 01:39 PM
After reading more and more and more, the entire situation becomes clearer (I think) to me.

JMB designed these pistols to fire ball ammo. They do it very, very well.
Looking back at my Defender's record, I have little doubt that it passed Colt's final QC --- everything worked.

The rough mag catch is not big issue. The barrel throat, well, that might have been a "correction" to fix some poor testing behavior. I do not know Colt's procedure. It woud appear that the barrel was throated to get the feed "to spec" --- which did not include JHP firing.

From what I can see/feel, things should work now, but there's no way of knowing until it's fired. Thumb-feeding rounds to find hangups isn't exactly as fast as what happens when firing occurs. I have hopes, though.

Test-fire probably tomorrow --- with everything it hated to begin with.

One thing that still has me peeved, is the smacks on the bottom of the ramp from the original followers. The impact points match the follower's bottom lip exactly. Again, going back to the slideless assembly, empty mag in place, it is easy to push the follower forward to make the match-up. I figure, if a 230gr slug is going out one end at around 850 - 900 fps, the immediate recoil of the frame has to be pretty brisk; the follower, being an independent object (more or less) would tend to slap the ramp pretty hard. I have no idea if this is common on alloy frame 1911s, but until I discover the True Meaning of the Dimple I'm going to try sticking to the Wilson (or other) followers.

Nothing like obsessing about this stuff ...

Jim Watson
November 20, 2006, 01:52 PM
Sounds like the barrel ramp (I refuse to call it "throat" the throat is the part of the chamber the bullet goes through between cartridge and rifling) is the Colt "dimpled" design intended to improve feeding. Sounds like it didn't work well with production line assembly and the steep locking angle of the stubby barrel. Glad you got it to where it worked.

November 20, 2006, 08:11 PM
Concur with Mr. Watson. It's the barrel ramp...not the throat.

Colt's new "Dimple Throat" was supposed to be a marked improvement over the second generation "Wadcutter" throat modification, which also happened to help feed reliability with hollowpoint ammo. Actually, the old ramp design appeared on the scene decades before .45 ACP hollowpoints did, and has pretty much been the factory standard since about 1983 or so. Prior to that, the modification was a custom order, or was included with aftermarket, match grade barrels. The problem was that it gave away a little case head support.

Enter the new and improved "Dimple Throat" pioneered and patented by Colt.
It has the wide entry with a narrower floor in order to provide feed reliability and maintain the original head support of the old "Hardball" ramp. When it works, it works very well. When it doesn't's pretty bad. It all depends on the gun's other specs. A proper 1911 will eat pretty much what you throw at it with the hardball ramp, assuming good magazines.

I've found problems with the new ramp design with about one pistol in five, and it's basically just a matter of the ramp angle being too steep, and/or the lower edge of the ramp not having the prerequisite 1/32nd gap. The cure is to simply recut the ramp to the older wadcutter contour, which may also include cutting and reshaping the lower edge to obtain the gap.

The problems have surfaced in all lengths, and don't seem to be specific to any one, though the shorter the top end, the more persnickety they are to
fine-tweak...but that's true no matter what type of ramp they have.

Feed ramp angle in the frame is also a player, and if the angle is too shallow, the pistol generally responds to exceeding the gap at the lower edge of the barrel and frame ramps. This is tricky territory, and easy to lose too much head support in guns with more than mid-spec headspace if the re-cut ramp is smoothly and correctly proceed with all due caution.

I never do barrel ramp work with power tools such as the Dremel, except for the initial roughing of the Dimple ramp...and never more than just the sides...stopping well before getting close to the final contour. I much prefer to hand scrape the final shape than to hurry-up with any 30,000 rpm moto tools. Those let you screw up at warp speed.

Mirror polishing is pretty much a matter of taste, but isn't necessary beyond reasonable smoothing with 400-600 grit paper on a fingertip. I never polish a feed ramp (frame) with a Dremel...not even lightly. In some guns, it can even be detrimental to reliable feed. In the guns that are well within correct specs, many smiths do it more because it's expected than out of necessity.
If mirror polishing corrects a feed or return to battery issue, there's still a problem with the gun, and it'll likely show up sooner or later.

November 21, 2006, 12:21 AM
I deeply appreciate the input.

I am amazed at the difference between ball and HP feed --- and I'm using Rangers as a baseline, since they seem to replicate the ball contours better than most.

I am not "Dremel-crazy." I rarely touch anything without 2x or 4x "goggles" on, and I'm very sensitive to finish surfaces.

I have a feeling I'm asking this particular Colt example to do more than I can properly expect. If so, so be it. A hardballer it will remain.

I know the ramp is part of the problem, but with the Defender's alloy/anodized frame, I figure there's waaaay too much of a limit for modification there --- like maybe .001 or so, not enough to help.

I thought, awhile ago, that I would part with this pistol --- but, no. It really is something like no other I have shot with. The weight, responsiveness, trigger --- jeez, is it slick! --- (I installed a short trigger --- stubby fingers), accuracy and power of this jewel cannot be denied. So, it may not wind up being everything --- but it is a lot of what it is.

So --- next question:
Is it worth doing a reset-angle steel ramp insert (setscrew/JB Weld) to diddle with it? (We're probably talking about less than a degree of angle here, but that's already alot.) I'm already annoyed with the ramp's reaction to the original followers, etc. As much as this gun cost, it would be worth some more to "slick it up." I think (NOT sure) that the resultant value (to me, and, eventually, to someone else) might be worth the "devaluation" of the frame cut and insert. Is it possible to re-cut the ramp, and re-anodize the frame? Is it remotely worth it?

I'm floundering here. I generally regard most of my guns as engineering exercises --- a small collection of purpose-built and - fulfilling tools. A Kel-Tec, a Sig, a couple of Springfields, a Ruger, a High Standard, another Colt --- but there is something about this particular gun that is seducing me into keeping it, even when I could sell and re-buy another.

I could sell my 229, and buy another a year later. I could do the same with my XD-9. My Mk III is exactly where I want it to be, but it could be replaced. (The WWII 1911 goes only when I do.) On and on. Cold, hard-metal preferences, and cold, hard-metal "feelings."

This one is different. Can't explain it completely. There are a few suggestions on this site for ramp jobs. Any help with this is, again appreciated.

I have gone from head-banging back to being a teenager trying to salvage a love. Sort of. Well, 1911-lust, at least.

November 21, 2006, 01:03 AM
If you can provide us with nice, clear pictures and some measurements, we can get this thing licked!
There is no reason at all that this little beast can't be totally reliable with aggressively contoured hollowpoints.

November 21, 2006, 01:58 AM
Gonna try it again tomorrow, most likely. See if my tinkering has helped. I know the barrel work has helped, but, as mentioned, I'm afraid the ramp is a hair steep. It's "sticky" with HP, slick as a mirror with ball. If manana has me tearing my few remaining hairs out, I'll de-gunk, photo, and plead! :D

November 21, 2006, 03:34 AM

Now, I'm beginning to wonder if there's ever been a case study correlating insanity with micro-1911 ownership. (No smiley available for this one.)

3AM. I can't figure out how to do this any better. I have:
1) removed the slide;
2) removed the firing pin and extractor;
3) loaded a magazine with Rangers;
4) replaced the slide (withOUT the pin, thankya verra mush);
5) inserted the magazine;
6) manually cycled the HPs over the ramp and out the schnoz.

Without a single hitch.

I figured that the down-pressure from the lug against the rounds and up-pressure of the magazine spring might have something interesting to show me. It showed me even more of how a 1911 works. I mean, I can close my eyes and see the exploded views (I actually DO exploded views, etc.), so this was a sort of mystical exercise in "what am I missing?"

Well --- sleep, mostly.

So I guess this just leaves dat ol' debil "stem lock."

And there's only one way I'm going to find that out.

If there is such a thing as the hereafter, I really do hope that JMB is getting a major chuckle out of this. I am, sort of. (If my fiancee weren't visiting her son tonight, she'd probably be packing and leaving me a note.)

This is sick. Stainless and aluminum seduction, that's what it is.

Or obsession.

I can't really tell, anymore ...

November 21, 2006, 03:55 AM
Ahhhh --- Alloy Frame Repair.

Very, very nice.

I have perhaps 250 rounds of Ranger and Federal that I've squeezed through. As in the other thread, my follower had pecked the lower part of the ramp, and I changed the followers early on. Which leaves me wondering if those little chips and fractures can spread?

The other guy (sorry, forgot the name) had a good point --- Colt should've molded the frame to take an insert to begin with.

Oops. Forgot. I'm asleep ...

November 21, 2006, 05:33 AM
Before you make any more modifications...have you tried a diferent magazine? Sometimes that's all there is to it. Wish I had a nickel for every
problem chile that I've turned into a productive honor roll grad with nothing more than that.

If you can induce the stoppage by hand-cycling it at full speed...remove the extractor and see if it helps. It may be there whence the stinkbug crawled.

Chuck is right. There's no reason that the gun can't be made to use hollowpoints. If stock 1918 and 1919 USGI Colts will, yours will.

November 21, 2006, 06:21 AM
I've tried Colt, Wilson, Springfield --- as of a few days ago, all produced the same level of wretchedness.:barf: I spent part of my evening miking up the differences between mags --- nothing that would seem to me to be weird, especially given the abuse these weapons were designed to withstand. (With one exception --- the Colt mag followers act like woodpeckers --- the others do not.)

It was after finding NO differences that I did my little pin-less slide-cycle of the live stuff. I could swear it's not the ramp. at this point --- but I've been in a few circles, here. It seems to me that live-firing is only vaguely reproduced by empty-slide cycling. My hands are reasonably quick for my age, but not ACP quick.

I don't mind going a step at a time, and I really do appreciate the level of knowledge and sympathy/empathy for my difficulties.

On the other hand, each "experiment" costs a bundle in live ammo. When I figure that when it can go through an entire box of HPs (a small test, but I can't afford 400 rds) --- it's like quitting smoking: you go for a year, have one, start over. Like that. Get it to fire 3, gag, start over. Fiddle, fiddle, get it to fire 4, gag, start over.

It was like this with the Kel-Tec (.380) at first. Patience, and, ultimately saying, "This is wrong" and having KT fix it (slide replacement --- no wonder the thing near took my wrist off. It was barely coming out of battery.

The extractor works like a champ. On anything that makes it through. That's on the extraction end of things. I could see where it might interfere with proper feeding, but I think I've gotten that devil out of the way. (Small radiusing replacing chamfer on bottom of inside of hook (easier cartridge rise), very slight undercut on hook (to make grip more positive). Probably unnecessary, but I can see why you wouldn't want to play with a few hundred thousand of these during a war or two. The extractor grabs the ball ammo cases and shoots hoops with em.

After reading and re-reading 1911Tuner's details on stem-binding, that would seem to be the culprit, now maybe cornered.

Wonder if I could get a grant for Stem Binding Research?:D

November 21, 2006, 01:59 PM
A couple of hours. Gonna try 230gr ball first (just to check everything out), then 230gr Rangers, then 165gr FedEMJ, then 165gr FedHydro.

I will be bringing my heavy buckskin gloves ...

November 21, 2006, 05:33 PM

By George, I think I've got it! This place is incredible. After picking through the local "encyclopedia," a lot of inner workings became clearer. And not necessarily intuitive things, either (like those shots of ramps and throats ground down together).

I think my Defender Woes may be over. (I am sure there is still a steel ramp in its future, though.)

After filing and sanding and cleaning and testing and (go back to start again), I got out to the local FFL and spent enough on ammo to buy a used KT. The order went something like this:
14 rds ball, slow --- to make sure that everything worked (without KBs!!);
14 rds Ranger, slow; (it had completely choked on even these);
14 rds Ranger rapid;
14 rds Federal Hydro, rapid;
14 rds Federal EMJ, rapid;
14 rds Cor Bon DPX, rapid;
14 rds 230gr ball extremely rapid;
21 rds Ranger, extremely rapid.


This gun has gone from "safe queen" to junkyard dog." It now eats everything.

Unbelievable. I've replaced parts and upgraded parts and cleaned rough parts up, but I've never tackled something like this.

I'm hoping it stays that way.

That way, you nice folks won't have to hold my hand. Thank you.

(Meanwhile, in the background, I can hear 1911Tuner saying, "Hmmm ... we'll see, we'll see ...)

November 21, 2006, 05:53 PM
Yeehaa??? Where'd a NY Yankee learn to speak Reb Bonics?:scrutiny:


Outstanding! It's usually somethin' simple. :cool:

November 21, 2006, 06:40 PM
I thought that had become Universal Intergalactic Terminology?

At least here :D .

Trust me on this one: I am extremely eager to move to a more "hardware-friendly" environment. You wind up developing into such a small sub-community that you feel like a, uh --- furriner, is that the word? ;)

On the other hand, with a few burglaries within a a couple of blocks, and a brand-new home invasion two blocks away, I'm willing to bet that I sleep better than most of my neighbors.

I'd say that I'm entitled to at least a "Yeee." I've worked hard at it, honest ;)!

November 21, 2006, 06:45 PM
Yee it is then! Ya get the "Haa" when ya move south and learn how to eat grits...:D

November 22, 2006, 12:31 AM
You can use Alodine chromate solution to duplicate the protection of anodizing. It's only drawback is it leaves a golden color. Many marine applications use Alodine prior to painting because it dramatically improves corrosion resistance and the resultant conversion coating allows paint to adhere far better than even a mechanical treatment of the surface. I would not recommend it for the ramp and assume those are not coated or anodized. This is a good touch up for a damaged aluminum surface that's exposed to a harsh environment and is good prior to painting.

November 22, 2006, 06:38 AM
Get a standard 7-round magazine follower and a Wolff 11-pound spring to replace the split Devel-type follower, and it'll stop dingin' the feed ramp on the last round. (Yep. The Officer's Model/Defender mags take the standard-length innards) It'll turn it into a 6-round intended...but life's fulla little tradeoffs.;)

November 22, 2006, 09:48 AM
The guy who showed me the Defender --- I won't say "sold," since all he did was put it in my hand :rolleyes: ; I did the selling --- told me about mag capacity. Actually, a couple of folks thought the Defender was a 6+1. The fellow at the store said that those orange followers had been modified from the original to allow some compression for the seventh round.

The springs that come with the Wilson followers are elongated and have slightly higher force. The setup allows 7+1, and works (so far :D ) without a hitch. The Wilsons don't have any metal near the ramp. I am, however, considering a set of Tripp followers, since steel reinforcement/slidelock contacts are appealing, as well as their general solidity.

My guns are not subjected to harsh conditiona (other than me :evil: ), and I inspect everthing carefully every disassembly/cleaning. A chipped or cracked follower would get yanked, pronto.

I don't know if this is too harsh, but --- I would never think of using a steel follower in an alloy frame again. Or, it seems to me that a formed steel skirt could have been devised, to prevent a surface, as opposed to an edge slapping into the frame. (Then again, the original didn't envision alloy frames, did it?)

If I find the ramp degrading from those first couple of hundred "woodpecker" folowr shots, at least I know I can get some rational, sane steel pinned in there.

Meanwhile, the gun is now the predictable, slick thing that it was supposed to be!:cool: I emphasize "now" because something else may react to any changes made --- like pulling a back muscle, then having the other side go out. I suspect that the extractor will be the next candidate --- if for no other reason than that it has been "tweaked" a couple of times. But everything is humming perfectly --- finally.

I've had an interesting side effect, though.

My shoulders and neck are killing me!
All the rapid-fire torture testing.
Opposite/equal reaction.
Approximately 410 ft-lbs/round, x 119 rounds = 48,790 ft-lbs., or 24+ tons.
I realize that a good part of the recoil is dampened, but, still ...
I remember an archery teacher a looong time ago, who explained that when you pulled a 50-lb bow 100 times, you've still pulled 5000 lbs. Your body is only marginally interested in how it was divvied up.

Short of finding(?)/buying(!!!!!) a Ransom rest with an auto-fire feature, I figured the best way to see if all was well was to make it as un-well, and as accurate, as possible. So, multiple strings of rapid-fire.

I've done this before ... but not with all .45, and this one hurt!

Worth it.

Old Fuff
November 22, 2006, 10:24 AM
When Browning designed the gun he had only one goal in mind - a military service pistol. When correctly manufactured using the right materials they run like a champ, even under the worst of environmental circumstances.

But when you knock off 2 or so inches at the front end a number of not-so-good things happen. The lightened slide runs at a much higher speed. You have less run-up (the distance between the side at its rearmost position and the back of the magazine). The recoil spring tunnel is shortened so a single spring won't work, and a more complicated multi-spring system becomes necessary. When feeding the barrel is at a sharper angle.

All of this doesn't mean that a gun won't run, or can't be made to. But it does make reliability a lot more of an "ify" sort of thing.

Your magazines become much more important, especially the springs. when you get down to the last rounds the spring is at its most relaxed position, yet it still has to get the cartridge into the correct position to be picked up by the breechface, and remember that breechface is moving faster over a shorter distance.

The original gun was not designed - at least in the way most people might think - but rather evolved over a 10-year period, with prototypes being built, tested, and until 1910, rejected. After a rejection a new prototype was submitted with improvements to address the shortcomings found in the last one, and so on.

The 7-round magazine carefully balanced the spring tension to match the slide's velocity, and 90 years plus of use has shown that it worked - at least most of the time. The follower's design also reflected the evolution process, and it was tweeked until it was right.

But some folks, who presume they know more then Mr. Browning, are determined to put 8-rounds in a box designed for 7, or 7 in a box that has been shortened and should hold no more then 6. Now sometimes this works, at least for a time, and sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't and you carry the gun as a weapon you may wish you'd stuck to a snubby revolver...

Anyway, your gun seems to be running, at least for the time being. But I wouldn't push my luck.... :scrutiny:

November 22, 2006, 01:02 PM
I've seen a few whacko hi-cap single-stack mags. Some were Colt; some were not. I don't think I've seen any 10+ 1911 mags that really worked properly. I've never had a problem with 7's. An old 'smith recommended that only 6 be kept in the mags for the 1943-model 1911.

I have a pretty good appreciation for the physics and compromises, I think. One of those compromises is the follower. After only 200 - 300 rounds, it looked like the original was trying to eat the ramp. So, another compromise.

Likewise the design for ball ammo. None of our contemporary defensive rounds were available; nor would they have been "legal" for military use; nor are they still. So, no specific design accomodation.

I have no doubt whatever that, if I'd sent this gun back to Colt, it would've tested out fine, or close to it --- with 230gr ball ammo. And that is pretty much the limit of their responsibility, as I see it.

It was actually when this Defender began choking on ball occasionally that I started to wonder. When it absolutely gagged on HP, I figured it was time for intervention.

Is is not, for me, a preferred carry weapon. (Uh-oh. Rumbles in the distance!) I have (what I believe) things that are better suited, at least for me. But I am not comfortable with any equipment that is a "sometimes" thing. This gun had been "sometimes" from the box. It got better; then worse. Now, it's better than it was.

I have little disillusionment regarding the recoil spring(s). I also think that a spare extractor might be handy. And an ejector.

I think the grips will hold up, though :D .

November 22, 2006, 01:16 PM
Cards wrote:

>I don't think I've seen any 10+ 1911 mags that really worked properly.<

The quick cure for those is to stick a standard 7-round follower and a Wolff extra-length/Extra-Power spring. I think they come with a couple extra turns to allow a trim to length operation. Might be three extra. I forget...but even standard length will do. It reduces the capacity by one round...but 9+1 is still pretty good.


An old 'smith recommended that only 6 be kept in the mags for the 1943-model 1911.

I still do it. The reason is simple. The two most likely places to have a misfeed is on the top round and the last. Maximum drag on the slide.(Top round) Minimum tension to time the round into position. (Last round) By carrying the gun as a 6+1, you're eliminating half of that...the most important half. More likely that you'll need the second round than the last round....and if you can't solve your problem with 7 rounds of .45 ACP, you'll not likely be able to handle it with 8 either.

November 22, 2006, 02:01 PM
Largely why I don't have a mag carrier for my 229 :D .

All of this explains (I think ...) why the Defender was gagging on the 2nd round. The slingshot #1 didn't have to cope with mag spring lift --- or lightspeed slide movement. (On the face of it, it would appear that the "slingshot" generates as much force --- but I'd have to think that there is some elastic collision transfer from shot #1 whamming the slide back, then to return to battery.)

I hope no one reads this and tries to put TWO mag springs in. :D

November 22, 2006, 03:12 PM
I agree with Tuner, once again.
The overwhelming majority of malfs I see on guns I build are directly attributable to magazines. More specifically, the mags ability to keep up with the cyclic rate. It's usually the last round, where spring tension is the least.
7 rd mags are definitely more reliable in the majority of guns. This is not to say that 8rd mags can not be totally reliable. Just the 'window of function' is smaller.
Many users try to eliminate friction where ever possible, how ever possible. Polishing the frame rails, using exotic zero friction lubes etc. I suspect a step in the wrong direction.

November 23, 2006, 01:03 AM
FIRST: Happy Thanksgiving, folks! You guys are tops!

Meanwhile ...

Choked on a Cor-Bon DPX tonight. Given the "weird" shape of the DPX, maybe that's not really upsetting. It's still eating everything else.

My guy at the store told me originally that he thought the Wilson followers would drop the mags back to 6; the Wilson literature says "no," 7. 7 do indeed fit. But I (and you) already knew that.

Magazine recommendations??????
Dump the COlts and go with ... which is "best" in the Defender?
Or, as has been noted, just go with factory 7-rd followers (NOT the Defender orange woodpecker followers) and drop to 6 rds?

I need to add here that I hear a lot of bad stuff about Colt mags.

I'd also like to mention something else --- for some reason, I shoot this thing better than any other gun I own. I suspect that part of it is the sights (my older eyes finding those white beads pretty well). But I figure there's more to it. One might start out thinking that the Defender would be a "punishing" pistol to fire --- extremely light, big fat rounds. But it isn't. Only my back eventually suffers. The "hand" of the gun is actually pretty near perfect --- and I have arthritis in my thumb bases, and have had four surgeries on my hands. So, try and figure out why this thing feels so good (aside from the 1911-type feel, which probably explains it). I know the flat tail helps (me, at least) because it's a perfect match for my hand. The other beavers and ducks are too rounded for me.

Like I've said before --- my Sig 229 is a near-perfect machine. I'd take the "Zippo bet" with it on a thousand rounds, easy. (Same for my XD-9.) The Defender, no. But I'd really like it to be ...

Therein lies the problem.

No "art" in the Sig or the XD. Should there be? Not the point, is it? Not much "art" in the purpose of a .45 HP, either. Again, not the point.

Tonight, my last sheet, offhand at 50 feet (7+1), held two solid 10's, one breaking the 10, two 9's, and three 8's on a 7" oval target. Not great, but for a creaky 56-year-old that's been glued back together a few times, I'll take it. My friend took the sheet off the clip, held it over his chest, and said, "I think your living room is probably safe." Which is the point.

What I'd like --- in a manner of speaking ;) --- is to be able to hit the thermostat at the other end of the house 1000 times in a row --- and have the misses be my fault.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. (Or y'all :D .)

November 23, 2006, 12:15 PM
Card wrote:

>I need to add here that I hear a lot of bad stuff about Colt mags.<

Send'em all to me...Metalform or Checkmate contract, as long as they're 7-rounders. I'll pay postage.:cool:

Extrapolating on what Chuck said...Magazines are at the root of nearly all feed-related malfunctions...with extractor setup running a close second for failure to go to/return to battery issues...and most magazine-related problems are traceable to the lack of enough spring tension. There's a limit, of course, and you can have too much...but there's a window of opportunity that lets you adjust a bit for that. Weak springs are pretty much useless.

On 8-round magazines. I've found that McCormick's Powermag to be the most consistently reliable of any out there...if you must have that extra round. I don't know if there's an Officer's Model/Defender flush-fit Powermag available, but the 7 rounders for that size can be turned into the equivalent by adding a Wolff 8-round extra-power spring designed for the standard-length GM magazine....provided that the magazine has the Devel-type, "folded" follower. Wilson-Rogers followers need not apply. That'll help a lot, but doesn't adequately address the
problem of controlling the last round, and preventing it from jumping the follower. More critical in the chopped variants because of the higher recoil spring rates...but workable.

I've never had a problem getting 8-round magazines to function. It's just that I've seen too many of'em run just fine for hundreds of cycles and thousands of rounds....puke once or twice...and continue run for hundreds of rounds/cycles without a hitch. Trust and confidence in the gun is the big question.

It's like a car with an electrical system glitch that shuts it down on the interstate once or twice a year. It's always in the back of your mind if this will be the day that it strands you again. Same with the pistol carried for an
"Up to your Patoot in Pit Vipers" moment. Confidence in your sidearm and in your abilities is the biggie.

So...I simply don't trust 8-round mags...or in your case, 7-round...enough to carry'em in my defensive guns. You may feel differently. My reasoning is that...if I should need to shoot for keeps...the winner and loser will likely be decided well before the magazine is empty...and I'd much rather have a higher chance of the second and third rounds that I probably WILL need as opposed to the last round that I probably WON'T need...and if I'm alive when the magazine is empty and need to reload, it would be good to be able to reload without having to clear a stoppage on the last round, which is where the extended magazines most often fall short.

It's not about guarantees, for nothing mechanical can be guaranteed to function as intended. It's about reducing the odds that a malfunction will occur at a critical moment. Chances...that's all it is. I try to stack the deck whenever possible by using the equipment that has been the most consistent
in my experience...and that's all I can do. That's why we maintain our defensive weapons and keep'em clean and increase the chances that they'll work when we NEED for'em to work in that awful split-second of time suspended...while life hangs in the balance.

Again...Your mileage may vary.

November 23, 2006, 09:31 PM
Before I tinkered it was almost always the second round. The Wilson springs are pretty long & strong, relative to the originals. If I could accurately measure the spring pressure on the top round of a full magazine, and compare that with an established number ... probably not even completely relevant from weapon to weapon.

When it's good, it's very, very good ...

[too much turkey...]

November 25, 2006, 12:56 PM
There's no end to all of the info you provide, Tuner!

So, you got me thinking --- I was visualizing the 1911 operating cycle, and thinking about the stem lock. About the timing. I started thinking about the link, looked it up, and lo! and behold, there was your analysis.

So, marker in hand, a -.005 link in a few days, and another try at force-feeding!

Now, after fiddling, one choke on DPX and one on a Ranger; obviously, not good enough. The current favorite flavor seems to be Fed EFMJ. If that's where it winds up, I'll live with it.

This has become a project. (As you've mentioned, absolute confidence is an essential ingredient. The ammo industry will be the chief recipients of my research endowment. Some boxes and boxes down the road, I might feel about the Defender the way I do about the Sig. Can't complain --- this is the only pistol (or rifle, for that matter) that has ever troubled me. So, I'm ahead of the game.

November 25, 2006, 01:08 PM
Whoa up there!:eek:

Juggling on-center lengths of the link can have some interesting results...some of'em not good. The link times the barrel's disengagement and drop, and increasing or decreasing that length can also keep the barrel from disengaging at all...which falls into the category of not good.

November 25, 2006, 01:30 PM
I understand.

With the slide off and the barrel pinned to the frame, there seems to be a lot of play when pushing the barrel forward. If I understand correctly, the loading cartridge strikes the rear of the barrel, pushing it forward during the loading cycle. As I've said, the distance from the ramp to the barrel was never close to 1/32". So I'm wondering if (assuming that it won't ride the pin) the barrel is starting out a) too far back; and b) is rotating up too much too soon.

Conceptually, it makes some sort of sense --- but I need correction if I'm going at it wrong.

Just to complicate things a tad, the extractor does clock slightly, but I don't know how much is unacceptable. The firing pin block is a loose drop-in/drop-out. No extraction problems --- but the extractor can interfere with proper loading, no?

(PS The last thing I want to do is have the barrel coming out of battery too soon.)

November 25, 2006, 02:05 PM
If the specs of the gun are right, the bullet nose shouldn't strike the barrel ramp, but rather glide over the top corner and put a light downward force on the barrel to keep it from moving forward and up as the slide moves to battery. The barrel shouldn't move forward until the breechface hits the rear face of the hood.

If the barrel doesn't sit far enough forward...viz a viz the mimimum 32nd inch gap...or the frame's feed ramp isn't steep enough to deflect the feeding cartridge high enough to glide over the top corner of the barrel's have the makings of a 3-Point Jam/Stem Bind...or worse. If the barrel is pushed into the slide too early, the corners of the slide and barrel lugs contact and the whole cycle stops in a hard jam. A simple stem bind usually goes to battery with a bump on the back of the slide. The hard jam between slide and barrel requires racking the slide to relieve the bind. If the barrel also rides the link during the feeding process...and the link is a little too long...the hard bind is almost a certainty.

The gap is important. The barrel ramp angle is important. The frame ramp angle is critical. 31 a half-degree/minus zip...with the barrel ramp being much more forgiving and much easier to correct in the event of an out-of-spec condition. There are limits, though.

When you release the slide from lock to feed and chamber a round...listen to the gun. If you hear a hard "Ka-Thunk" the bullet nose is hitting the barrel ramp. It may or may not cause a stoppage, depending on just how low it hits...but you can pretty sure that the bullet is being shoved deeper into the case, and it'll cause a stoppage sooner instead of later. If you hear a smooth, metallic "Schhhhlick" The gun is feeding correctly, and it will likely eat about anything that you feed it, assuming that the ammo isn't pure junk.

Early disengagement isn't the only problem with short-linking the barrel. It can actually prevent it feom getting loose from the slide at all. The upper lugs are still partially engaged...the lower lug stops hard against the vertical impact surface...and the barrel is trapped between the moving slide and the frame, with the upper and lower lugs taking the brunt. The same thing can happen with a link that's too long, but for a different reason. Here, the link delays linkdown until the barrel stops on the frame. It never swings far enough to make it to the correct position to draw the barrel downward. Long-linking problems generally don't happen unless you really go off the scale with the length, such as installing a .290 link into a gun that's dimensioned to time correctly with a .278 link.

A field expedient check for incorrect link is to flip the gun upside down and hand-cycle it briskly. If the slide cycles as smoothly as it does right-side up, the link won't cause any damage. This in no way suggests that the particualr link is optimum for the gun...only that it won't destroy the barrel when you fire it.

November 25, 2006, 02:22 PM
The hard jam between slide and barrel requires racking the slide to relieve the bind. If the barrel also rides the link during the feeding process...and the link is a little too long...the hard bind is almost a certainty.

Yes ... the kind of jam that you'd get in a nightmare if in a critical situation. The mag has to come out, then the slide wrestled with and the round dropping --- intact --- out the mag well. This is what happens most of the time, when it does happen. The fed round is either solidly pinned in place at the frame ramp/barrel ramp juncture --- or it pipes up.

Sometimes, it's a simple bind; but mostly, it's a hard lock.

It has improved immensley with the throat tinkering --- but I am not going to be removing any more casing support.

Am I correct in assuming that if If I install a "short" link and that in battery, everything still has some "wiggle" and "shake," in addition to the inverted-cycling, that I should be OK, at least in terms of basic function? (I understand that there are a few variables, so, no, I'm not gonna holler if I run into a jam :D .)

Hmmm ... maybe a Kimber ...

November 25, 2006, 02:31 PM
I have to say again here --- in all fairness to Colt --- that this pistol probably came off the line meeting every COLT 1911 standard, i.e., ball flies through it with happy abandon. I doubt that they run a few mags of HP through it on the way through QC ...

November 25, 2006, 03:36 PM
51Cards asked:

>Am I correct in assuming that if If I install a "short" link and that in battery, everything still has some "wiggle" and "shake," in addition to the inverted-cycling, that I should be OK, at least in terms of basic function?<

Probably...but there's also the issue of linkdown starting a little too early, while the bullet is still in the barrel, and the pressure still has the lugs horizontally locked.

Linkdown should about .100 inch of slide travel, and by .250 inch, the barrel should be fully down and have about .012 inch of clearance between it and the underside of the slide. The start of linkdown will vary a little, but generally, it's best for it not to start until the slide has moved rearward at least. 100 inch to give the bullet enough time to exit. FIguring that the slide and barrel together weigh over 38 times what the bullet does...and add the resistance of the recoil and mainsprings...the bullet accelerates about 45 times faster than the slide and barrel do for the first bit of travel. At .090 inch of slide travel, the bullet has moved 4.05 inches. A 5-inch barrel has 4.1 inches of rifling, which means that the bullet would still have .050 inch left before exiting...and the bullet must be out and gone before the breech can safely unlock...or you can have major problems of the kaboom variety.

These are estimates to illustrate the timing, but you'll find that they're pretty close.. It doesn't take a lot of difference in the link's on-center length to change the start of the linkdown phase during the slide's movement. .010 inch is about the equivalent of the thickness of two sheets of 20-bond typing paper. When things are moving this fast, a tiny change can make a lot of difference.

November 25, 2006, 04:10 PM
And, since this is a 3" barrel, there's about 2.17" of rifling ahead --- so there should be ample timing?

If these numbers apply to a 5" model, and we apply that to a 3" Defender Lightweight, then the gun has less inertia --- meaning that the bullet travels a shorter distance down the remaining barrel as the slide reaches .090" of travel? At 900fps (10,800 ips), 3" would take about .0003 seconds? I see what you mean about timing!!!

Now --- suppose I have -.005" on the link, but need -.003 to -.004"? I've read in your other material that a slight enlargement of the link hole can be utilized to alter the timing.

I understand that the lugs cannot be disengaged before the bullet exits the muzzle. So the critical factor here is the slide travel distance before disengagement.

The key question that comes to mind is how this affects this particular model. I am making the assumption (on paper, waaaay before anything goes into the tube!!!) that the timing and geometry of the 3" and 5" are virtually identical, except for the inertial difference between the gun weights.

Let me tell you again how much I appreciate your wandering through this with me! I'm starting to wonder how interesting this is to any of the other folks watching ...

November 25, 2006, 04:24 PM
Yes. The shorter barrels can start linkdown a little earlier than the 5-inch modeld...but it's not in direct proportion to the length. About 90% of the velocity and recoil impulse that the bullet will attain occurs in the first inch of travel, so the slide is well on its way by the time the bullet reaches the end of even a short barrel. To figure how much more time the bullet has before the start of linkdown, use your formula to figure the difference between the
5-inch barrel and the Defender's barrel. One point though...900 fps is an awfully high number for a .45 slug in 2.1 inches of barrel..even for a 185-grain bullet. Was that a ballpark estimate based on the published figures for a 5-inch barrel...or was it chronographed? The reason that I ask is that...the hot rod +p+ ammo typically uses slower-burning powders to get those velocities...and slower powders aren't generally as efficient in abbreviated barrel lengths, with much of the powder burning ahead of the muzzle in a huge fireball after the bullet is gone. Powders like that...and the ammunition they're loaded in...typically get most of their final velocities further along in the barrel...say at 1.5 inch or more of bullet travel, depending on the caliber.

Old Fuff
November 25, 2006, 05:06 PM
I'm starting to wonder how interesting this is to any of the other folks watching ...

Not to worry, we've been there before, and there are a fair nmber of previous threads on this subject. Poor Tuner has to keep reinventing the wheel as new members come along. :uhoh:

As mentioned earlier, the sub-compacts (those with barrel lengths under 4 inches) can present a lot of issues that don't normally effect pistols that have barrel lengths between 4 and 5 inches. Anything that is even so much as a little off can really mess up the works.

Most feeding/chambering problems not caused by magazines can be blamed on the substantial increase in slide velocity (things happen much quicker) and a decrease in run-up (the distance the slide travels from the point it stops its rearward travel to moving forward to the back of the magazine). Then the bullet hits the roof of the chamber quicker and the magazine lips and extractor must let it straighten out. This I think is the reason that some cartridges run while others don't.

Learning to get a full-sized gun to run is sometimes difficult. Starting out on a sub-compact may drive you to drink... :banghead:

November 25, 2006, 05:08 PM
Ballpark --- you nailed it --- based on 5" figures. Which means that Little Mr. Slug takes longer to get out. Lower developed velocity trading off against shorter barrel length. Without rambling through all of the math, it still looks like a slightly shorter timing window is still safe --- if I pay attention.

As far as +P goes, I don't see much need for it in this chambering and barrel length. I've put about 20 or 30 rounds of +P through it (for giggles :D ), but I don't think it's a really great way to treat this frame or my hand. Also, now that there's marginally less case support, it would seem that +P becomes even less desirable. (In spite of the horros you might envision while I grind-grind-grind :rolleyes: away, I really am pretty conservative.)

One of our range officers has a scandium/titanium Smith. Told me that the Defender with +P feels like a popgun compared to the J with .357s. I declined the offer to sample ...

November 25, 2006, 05:14 PM
Fuff ---

I never really had a problem with drinking to --- it's always come naturally, so to speak ;) .

My XD sub-compact never hesitates --- one look at the internal geometry tells a lot. The round doesn't have to do the mambo to get where it's going.

I realize that this is reiterative. :o There's a big difference between spending 100's of hours reading about something, and actually having to hold onto the thing you've just worked on. The hand-holding is appreciated. Hopefully, I won't have to be in a position where I can mail it to you :D .

November 25, 2006, 05:37 PM
>>Learning to get a full-sized gun to run is sometimes difficult. Starting out on a sub-compact may drive you to drink...<<


Old Fuff
November 25, 2006, 05:52 PM

I know..... I know...... :neener: :D

November 26, 2006, 01:51 PM
I'm reading and learning from all this.

I've probably read it before in some of the other threads.but with allmy other worries,I tend to forget things and have to relearn things like this!

November 27, 2006, 02:56 PM
OK, I have to bring up an ugly topic --- the "unsupported case."

With a standard load (not +P), how much of the case can be unsupported?

However, due to the low operating pressure of the .45 ACP, a small amount of unsupported case is not usually a cause for concern. (from Wikipedia)

So, what is "a small amount?"

(No, I am not trying to find the Outer Limit :what: . I'd just like to know what dimension is :cool: , and what is :what: .)

November 27, 2006, 04:31 PM
Anything more than just a smidgen past the web...:D

Seriously, it depends on several things, including the brass case itself. I've seen chambers with badly overcut ramps that caused cases to bulge almost to the point of failure...and practically zero bulging with other brands of ammo. Thick, tough brass...GI-spec...will tolerate it much better than some commercial brands. Federal and Remington-Peters are two brands that do best with a lot of support. PMC and Winchester are more forgiving.

Headspace is another factor. Excessive headspace can come from two causes. Deep chamber isn't dangerous. Worn, deformed, or out-of-spec
barrel to slide lug fit is. You can seat the round to the chamber stop shoulder and have a fully supported case, and if the locking lug fit throws the headspace too far out of tolerance, the case will back out under pressure
and cause the case to lose support. If the case is weak or brittle...or if the chamber has been compromised by over-zealous "throating" you can have a problem. Checking the amount of support by dropping a round into the chamber isn't a reliable litmus test. Neither is the fact that that same round
sits flush with the chamber hood.

Quick explanation:

If you start with a .010 inch short chambered barrel that has a theoretically perfect fit to the slide...and use a chamber reamer to deepen the chamber enough to allow the slide to just go to battery on a minimum "GO' gauge, you have all the support that the design will allow.

On the other hand...if you take that same barrel and file .010 inch of thickness off the front faces of the barrel's locking lugs, the slide will again just go to battery on the minimum gauge...but you'll have .020 inch of unsupported case...even though the headspace checks at minimum, and the barrel fit is theoretically "perfect."


Because with the second barrel...when the gun fires, the slide is driven rearward while the bullet passing through the bore holds the barrel forward until the locking lugs make contact. The case backs out of the chamber until it stops against the breechface, and the case loses that amount of support because the breech essentially opens .010 inch during the pressure peak.
Straight-walled pistol cases aren't nailed to the chamber walls like a high-pressure bottleneck rifle cartridge. They slip unless they have something behind them that holds them in place. In other words, the case follows the slide, and if the lug fit allows the slide and barrel to separate .010 inch before the lugs engage...the breech is open by that amount and the case head is kissing air instead of chamber.

November 27, 2006, 05:28 PM
Kinda makes you (me) appreciate JMB even more.

They call baseball "a game of inches." What an easy sport ... :D

November 27, 2006, 06:50 PM
Post #34 was a gem. I learn something every time I read one of your posts.

I wish you would write a book. I'd buy at least three copies. One for me, one for my 1911 enthusiast friend, and one ...just 'cause. :)

They call baseball "a game of inches."
Actually, football is called "a game of inches". Baseball is called...ah, never mind, this is The High Road, after all...:neener:

November 27, 2006, 07:24 PM
and some days, time at the range seems more like "a game of yards" :D

Funny --- one of the things I like about this place, things come to mind with everything folks say ---

--- like orionengnr's post about #34 above brings to mind another question, Dr. Tuner: With or without a link change, the field-expedient test makes sense; does it also make sense to live-test with the magazine out on the first round? If there's a cycling problem (or the K-word :( ), it seems like it might be better to leave things as open as possible.

Work for the best, plan for the worst ...

November 27, 2006, 10:09 PM
One more :D question (for awhile, I promise!!!):


While robust, the 1911 is obviously a creature of fine tolerances. I am fanatical about maintenance. I use oil on pivot points, TW-25B on slide rails and barrel. So the question is: Can a lubricant create "suction" or "drag" sufficient to put the timing out of tolerance? Can there be that fine a line?

I'm starting to get the feeling that what works for everything else might be different in these little 11s.

Old Fuff
November 27, 2006, 10:54 PM
The original 1911 and 1911-A1 USGI pistols often operated in harsh environments with no lubrication. I would hope that your Colt Defender would uphold the reputation. Special lubricants should not be necessary, and if they are the piece is not something you should want to stake your life on.

In many cases users over-lubricate the gun, and all that does is attract and hold fouling and carbon.

The reason the current crop has been found to be fussy is because the makers no longer come remotely close to the dimensions, specifications and materials that made the eariler guns what they were.

However if it makes you feel more warm and fuzzy go ahead and oil and grease it with whatever... :neener: :)

November 29, 2006, 04:47 PM
First, and foremost --- everything stayed in one piece. :D

I had a RO spot me during single-load firings, while I was reasonably safe firing from behind the alley divider. No one else was on the line. Short of a bomb disposl unit, I think the safety issues were covered pretty well.

I had reinstalled the original Defender springs and followers, having read more than I ever wantedd or intended to on the subject. Figuring Colt might have had some rationale here, they went back in.

After some delicate throating, HP feed has been considerably improved. Only Rangers are a little iffy (1 malf out of about 80), but the interesting thing is the ball. I had two FTFs (stovepipe) with American Eagle 230 FMJ, each on the same mag, but could not get it to duplicate again.

Federal Hydros and EFMJs fed flawlessly (50 rds each). Rangers were OK (whereas before, they were totally indigestible).

One of the thigs that occurs to me here is that, essentially, the gun is being "broken in" a second time. The subtle changes that have been made need to be accommodated by the rest of the system.

The next change will be the firing pin stop, to render a light press-fit (the original, like the original trigger, is a loose drop-in-drop-out fit) and eliminate extractor shift (clocking), which may be insignificant, but might as well be eliminated.

Again, with all of the new (and, admittedly frustrating) insights I've gained both here and "inside" the Defender, I am still left with the impression that Colt did their job --- no more, no less: JMB/FMJ.

Mag springs and a possible link swap are in the future.

One malf at a time ...:D

November 29, 2006, 05:34 PM
51Cards said:

> but the interesting thing is the ball. I had two FTFs (stovepipe) with American Eagle 230 FMJ, each on the same mag, but could not get it to duplicate again.<

That particular glitch is known as a Bolt-Over Base misfeed. Usually happens on the last round...though it can occur at other places too...and it's a magazine problem. Specifically, a magazine spring problem. The spring is too weak/slow to get the round into position before the slide gets there. Breechface rides over the rim and catches the case in the extractor groove.
Butt goes down...Nose goes up...Wham! A more severe example of the bolt-over misfeed is the rideover feed, where the breechface gets past the extractor groove, and crushes the side of the case, trapping it between the slide, magazine, and feed ramp...and usually producing a true jam.

November 29, 2006, 08:40 PM
I firmly believe the use of exotic lubes and greases, like TW-25B can actually impair reliability. How? By decreasing friction and increasing the cyclic rate!
I use FP-10, but any lightweight oil is more than adequate.
I have read quite a few posts where every attempt is made to eliminate ALL friction. Some will finely polish frame rails and slide surfaces to remove all tooling marks. A step in the wrong direction I think.
Anyways, food for thought.
It will be interesting to hear what Tuner has to say.

November 29, 2006, 09:05 PM
Concur again with Chuck. I think that too many people believe that the pistol needs to run as fast as possible, when what it actually needs to do is slow down a little.

I use either FP-10 or plain, old Mil-Spec LSA...and just a little dab'll do ya.

November 29, 2006, 10:58 PM
I understand that stainless alloys can require more lubrication (lower porosity, finer face structure), and that was part of my earlier question --- the equivalent of "oil whip" in some mechanical structures. In effect, friction is reduced, but viscosity increases drag. None of this "super-goober" stuff existed when the gun was designed.

The mag springs are relatively new --- they are the originals from Colt, with only a few hundred rounds on them. Again, the velocities involved may be higher than Colt designed for in the mags.

Judging from felt recoil --- admittedly a subjective measure --- a substantial number of high-pressure rounds have been fired. As mentioned previously, I have more or less quarantined this gun from +P, for reasons both structural (throating) and lack of need.

I think that this gun is coming close to being all that it can be. And, I believe that once I've understood its individuality, the piece can be maintained at its highest level.

What an interesting journey this proving to be! Take a Sig out of the box, it's a space shot. Take a 1911 out, and try to put your mind back to 1908 or so, and make everything function in 2006.

Mag springs are next, and back to good old gun oil. I have enough neo-guns to use the TW25 up on.

Only a couple of people I know can actually appreciate this experience. Nothing else like it. No golf club or tennis racquet compares --- although, to be fair, I'm sure there are vaguely similar challenges.

I don't venture into those forums, but I can say that this one is as supportive as one could ask for.

Thanks again.

We move onward!

November 30, 2006, 12:37 AM
I sense a pre-occupation with case support in your posts.
The 45acp functions quite well with very little pressure in ALARMINGLY unsupported barrels.
In my career, I've only rejected a handfull of barrels, due to over throating.
I do agree with Tuner, in that one should err with caution. But I've seen 1911's from one of the most reveared shops in the country, that were dangerously over throated.
If you were to provide us with a good, clear pic of a round in your barrel, and also an accurate measurement of hood to breechface gap.....
we could prolly give you relevant, accurate advice.

November 30, 2006, 06:03 AM
I'll work on those photos. I've been running on the cautious side because I had been removing material from the bottom of the berrel and re-blending the cut, exposing a bit more of the bottom of the case.

Originally, I was surprised at how little of the Magic 1/32 Inch there was on this gun. The throat was only a hair ahead of the ramp. From what I could see, the measurements from the rear of the barrel link ears was too high. That was when I started working on it.

My approach was to throat as delicately as possible, and to stop immediately when I had acceptable results --- there being no remedy for "Whoops! Too far!" Preoccupation? You bet! Horror stories abound :what: . The potential combination of lessened web support and headspace tolerances seeemed like a good thing to keep under control :uhoh: .

Yesterday saw WWBs, Fed Am. Eagles, CCI Blazers (aluminum) fired singly, then multiply, as a resistant-to-weak case start before approaching full defensive loads. I wound up firing about 40 rds of Rangers, 40 rds of Fed Hydros, and 40 rds of Fed EFMJ, with bo difficulties save my nerves, initially, the ball feed/battery failures, and the Ranger FTF --- all of which seem to fit 1911Tuner's descriptions.

My doctor once said, "Just because you have three different things bothering you doesn't mean that you have a complex issue --- it could simply mean that you have three separate things happening."

Since the stem lock was obvious even when hand-cycling, and was incessant in live firing, that was Problem One.

Since throating, that problem has virtually disappeared. Now, the more "garden varieyt" of stoppages have become more evident. It would seem that the magazine springs are Problem Two.

Problem Three may consist of "extractor clocking," which quite honestly I noticed beefore delving into 1911Tuner's (and others') archives. I don't know if extractor looseness is a major force here, but I do think that the extractor is not properly pinned in place. (In my 1943-vintage 1911, the pin stop has to be gently pushed from the FP grooves; this one simply rattles and falls out.)

Problem Four may consist of a link c-c/timing issue, which I will also approach with great caution (per Tuner's "Whoa, there!") and as a last resort.

SO ... back to case integrity ---I figured that the bull barrel in this thing could take a lot of abuse; but that I'd prefer to chase that aspect bit by bit. I think it is probably not necessary --- but prudent --- to avoid +P or +P+ pressure levels in a chamber that is slightly "loose" by design and now has a "dimple" impinging beyond the case web. No more stem lock means it ain't broke anymore, I think.

If I'm visualizing the remaining problem correctly (a la Tuner's observation), the ball ammo is now "ricocheting" up toward the hood and the slide is moving back to battery faster than the round can lift properly into position --- resulting in stovepiping OR RTB failure.

The end of the session saw smooth rapid-fire of Ranger/Hydro/EFMJ, so now whatever problems there are would seem to be simpler than the original ones. (I can live without Rangers; I'd rather not be forced to live with EFMJS.)

This pistol works, and works better than it did. As with the case support, my trick now is to find a "best" zone without swinging back and erring in some other direction.

Which is where the :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: :cuss: -ing would begin. Again.

November 30, 2006, 06:09 AM
Same page again, Chuck. As long as standard or even +p pressures aren't exceeded, the pistol does very well. Stir a little careless handloading or
excessive headspace into the mix, though...and things can get a bit dicey.
But...again...just because headspace is a little "loose" doesn't mean that it's dangerous. Depends on which direction it comes from.

November 30, 2006, 01:19 PM
Just got the Ed Brown "Hardcore Firing Pin Stop."

"*Made to max tolerance for precise fit. Some hand fitting may be required."

OK. So I figure I'm going to spend some quality time with a stone or two, a little oil, and squidge this sucker in for a nice light press-fit.


The "max tolerance" part is .010" narrower than the original. :cuss: :banghead: :cuss:

JB Weld it is. $16.79 FPS, it is not.

Old Fuff
November 30, 2006, 01:35 PM
It may be that your slide is out of tolerance. Maximum width on a standard USGI firing pin stop is .467" -.002"

Current pistol manufacturers tend to use parts with dimensions all over the ballpark. Some of this is because they accept whatever their suppliers send them, and part of it is because of "adjustments" they've made for their own reasons. If the slot in the slide is a little large it makes it all that easier for the hired help to quickly put the pieces together. Time is money you know…

November 30, 2006, 02:17 PM
I've figured that out, on this one:
Poorly-tensioned extractor (time).
Poorly-finished magazine catch (time).
Drop-in/drop-out FPS (time).
Extremely loose trigger (time).

The barrel is a dandy, though. Guess there's no way to dodge on that one.

It becomes painfully apparent that the entire setup on this pistol effectively replicates wartime assembly --- make it so that it "falls" together, never mind the fit, long as it (mostly) works. Which would be fine, with a few hundred thousand of 'em being loaded with ball and designed so that mud could be rinsed out with what-have-you :D

It's not so fine with a piece that is not wartime production, is not intended to have crud stuffed in it, and is intended to be competitive with other, more contemporary designs.

Incidentally --- the Ed Brown "max tolerance" stop is .465 --- which to me reads "min tolerance." :cuss:

November 30, 2006, 02:43 PM
The EB firing pin stop was too loose on my Colt also...just an FYI! ;)

Old Fuff
November 30, 2006, 02:47 PM
Incidentally --- the Ed Brown "max tolerance" stop is .465 --- which to me reads "min tolerance."

Then I would return it to the seller (or manufacturer) for exchange or refund. If it ain't right, it ain't... :cuss:

I keep blueprints handy so I can check such things...

Oh, and if the original firing pin stop is .475" (or .006" to .008" oversized) how big is the slot in the slide? :scrutiny:

November 30, 2006, 03:24 PM
The stop seat is a whoppin' .482". The original stop is .472".

With that kind of fit, you could pretty much play horseshoes with it and toss it in from across the room.

Clearly, the Gozinta Department is far down the hall form the Gozonta Department.

I may wind up lightly JB-ing both sides of the original stop, as well as the extractor groove. Needle files, needle files.

Are numbers like these very uncommom????

Just for laughs, I'm going to strip and dimension the WWII Colt. Be interesting to see how the tolerance issue compares with a "modern" item. As I recall, the whole thing fits together pretty nicely, with a healthy amount of rattle in the slide.

November 30, 2006, 03:28 PM
Relative thickness fo firing pin stops..

A previous post mentioned that his Ed Brown firing pin stop wasn't oversize as advertised. His experience appears to be tha same as the same as yours regarding the FPS.

Maybe someone who has an EGW oversize Firing Pin stop might offer the width dimensions of their FPS..?

I assume that the various retailers of aftermarket parts, don't necessarially use a micrometer to measure all of the parts that go to the outbound shipping dock, much less the inbound parts receiving area.

Because the label on the box says 'Brown, Wilson, Cylinder and Slide' does not mean that those suppliers receive perfect parts from their outsourced vendors.

Old Fuff is absitevly posilutly correct with his suggestion that you notify Brown that their 'oversize' part' is, actually, 'undersize'.

I dunno it its worth the effort and postage to mail the part back and forth, but I'd dang sure let them know.

I understand that this isn't the most pleasant experience that you've ever had, but look at all the fun that you're having..:D


November 30, 2006, 03:37 PM
Salty, I almost hate to admit it --- but you're right. ;) With all of the stuff going on with this (admittedly great-shooting) pistol, it's turned into some sort of weird final exam on 1911s.

Would I have been learning all of this if everything were perfect? Of course not. Does my fiancee think I've gone completely off the berm? You betcha. She is a patient woman ...

It's a $16 - $17 part, so it is worth returning. I expected to be stoning off six or so thousandths --- instead, I could tamp the thing in place with dental floss.

I wonder if Ed Brown makes "max tolerance" extractors? Like, maybe +/_ .013"? :D

Old Fuff
November 30, 2006, 04:27 PM
Are numbers like these very uncommom????

Unfortunately, no....

Both Tuner and I have a set of USGI blueprints, but they don't do much good so far as the current and recent past 1911 gunmakers are concerned because they seem to all march to a different drummer. :banghead:

USGI guns and parts are usually good dimension-wise, because the Army maintained their own inspectors at the contractor's plant. In addition the company also had their own (and usually large) inspection department. Today, in a cost-cutting environment, inspection/quality control departments are often the first to be cut back. Given the disparity in slides I don't know how any aftermarket slide stop provider can expect one size will fit everything. The same goes for other parts too.

December 1, 2006, 06:10 AM
EGW's square-bottomed firing pin stops average about .480 inch across. You'll need to radius the bottom corner. I recommend a .100 inch radius for the shorties.

December 2, 2006, 12:20 AM
HPs are now feeding great. Now, I'm getting slide lock in mid-magazine, only at times, and only with ball. This gun has a sense of humor, all right.

Nothing has been done to the slide lock --- yet. (Having reviewed the Diagnostics.)

Wolff mag springs on the way.

The Dimple. Even before this odyssey began it was clear that the follower dimple had to be there (on std. mags) for a reason. I mean, why go to the trouble if you don't need to? A little time playing with A-Zooms and paying attention, the last-round timing becomes more obvious. SO --- why NO dimple on the (orange) Defender followers???

(I sense that the answer has something to do with the fact that JMB passed before the Defender was born ...) :D

Does it make any sense to lightly polish the hammer face? The drag when the FPS rides over the hammer surface is palpable. Is this an intentional "braking" in the design, or an area of potential improvement?

(Slightly off the above --- why the heck does Springfield engrave the serial number on the lug --- where the raised edges can grind over the hammer face?)

Old Fuff
December 2, 2006, 01:08 AM
John Browning never did anything without a reason...

Over a 10 year period Browning, Colt, and U.S. Army Ordnance Officers worked together to prefect a “magazine pistol” for the military services. The pistol that became the Model 1911 was not laid out on a piece of paper and drawn up. It was rather an evolutionary development, where over the years prototypes were built, tested, and then evaluated. Then new prototypes were built to address faults found in the earlier ones, and the process repeated.

The final tests (or “Trials” as they were called) were conducted during March, 1911, and an Ordnance report noted that among the improvements that had been made one was: “12. A raised dimple was formed in the middle of the magazine follower to assist the last cartridge as it left the magazine.”

The purpose of the dimple was to prevent the last cartridge from being pulled forward and mis-positioned in the magazine.

There is no evidence that later designers of late 20th century “gamer” magazines bothered to find out why Browning did what he did, and circumstantial evidence that they didn’t have a clue.

December 2, 2006, 02:49 AM
Recently I've starting fooling around with a Combat Commander that I gave one of my sons pre Desert Strorm 1. I had forgotten how handy the Commander size pistols were, so I have bought myself replacement Commanders. Chuck Rogers at Rogers Precision has one and the other has been getting significant range time.

One of the things that I noticed early on was that when I shot the Commander one-handed Outdoor Pistol style, I'd occasionally get pre-mature slide lock. Finally figured out that, with the lighter pistol, and increased recoil, my right thumb was lifting the slide stop. Bill Wilson markets a 'Bullet Proof' slide stop that has a built in detent. # 414B. (The 'detent' is really a 'ledge'.)

I put away the OEM slide stop from the '51 Commander and substituted the Wilson replacement. The pre-mature slide lock problem has, so far, gone away and the slide locks back when it should.

'Limp Wristing' alloy frame 1911 pattern pistols can easily induce pre-mature slide lock.


December 2, 2006, 10:30 AM
I generally don't have a problem with limp-wristing, but after about 150 rds on this it is entirely possible that I llimp-wristed it. I need a break. It's been a lot of rounds in a short time, I'm beat. Funny, though --- the premature slide lock came on CCI Blazer rounds, not on Federal Hydro or EFMJ. I would have thought the "zippier" rounds would be more likely to induce that.

I don't recall ever having a problem with the last round being a problem in this pistol. Typically, it has been the second, next-to-last; and now, sometimes a mid-mag slide lock (which is probably me --- the plunger spring seems fine, not significant fouliing, etc.).

I'm hoping that the new mag springs will solve part of the problem.

December 2, 2006, 12:39 PM
'Limp-Wrist' seems to have some sort of negative msg involved that wasn't my intent.

It happens. Maybe at the range, maybe somewhere else.

You're not always going to be able to do the two handed 'turret', or 'Weaver', or 'whatever'.

Stuff happens...I just wouldn't count on everything happening the way you'd figure.


December 2, 2006, 01:08 PM
:D :D :D
Thanks! No, no negative message! Having wrestled with a Kel-Tec P-3AT, I know what too loose a hand can do. I've just never had it happen with anything else --- which leads me to think that hand fatigue might be the demon on this one.

I know when I get tired my groups start drifting to the left. It's subtle, but enough for a pal to tell me, just from watching the sheet, "Time for a break."

I've been pounding on this project a bit too hard. Every little thing that pops up, I start wondering if it's related. Of course, it doesn't need to be.

I'm thinking that the new mag springs and about five minutes of tinkering and I may be there, without having to swap out the link.

I've fired the Defender one-handed before (for the sake of the exercise --- it doesn't help with anything but freeing up your other hand :D ), so I can see what you mean with your Commanders.

I've shot this gun enough that I hadn't realized how much my whole body has become part of the act. That may sound silly, but I've found that a minor stance shift (with a fair number of rounds) can be a pain in the back. A grip shift can change recoil perception and recovery. Most of all, shooting a lot (for me) with a lightweight, relatively big bore pistol has developed a sort of "groove" where I'm as comfortably balanced with everything as I can get. It's become instinctual. So it's entirely possible that I've shifted to accommodate a few issues (hand injuries, age, fatigue, arthritis --- the joys of being "seasoned") and now I'm introducing some other problems into the mix.

Before I got involved in trying to "wring out" this gun (I had been going to sell it. Fat chance...) I found that the less I shot, to an extent, the better I shot. Lately, I've been shooting this particular gun a LOT, trying to tame it. We both need a break!

Gotta check out that Wilson stop. Thanks!

PS --- that "detent," or ledge --- is that on the rear face, engaging the plunger pin?

December 2, 2006, 01:39 PM
Somewhere up there...John Browning is lookin' down on all this and goin':

Three inches??? You've GOTTA be yankin' my chain!

December 2, 2006, 02:07 PM
Yeah, I know. Amazing, isn't it.

Wonder what he'd think of the EMP ...

December 2, 2006, 03:29 PM
Yessir, it is.

I was having similar problems and one of the possible solutions that was offered by another member of THR involved drilling/machining a detent in the rear face of the slide lock.

I promptly gave my trusty Dremel a lube and oil change and asked how much depth needed to be drilled into the rear face of the slide lock/release. I was also wondering as to just exactly how to do the 'teardrop' divot.

1911Tuner offered the suggestion that I dis-member the Dremal by placing the Dremel in the middle of a well traveled highway.

He stoped short of suggesting that the remains of the Dremel be buried in the dark of the moon at various locations.

He is the gent who first mentioned the Wilson slide lock/release. It was also mentioned that it just might be necessary to remove part of the ledge to insure that the slide would lock open on the last round.

That wasn't necessary.

Regarding my Commanders, I tried the Wilson replacement part mostly 'cause I vaugely remember Tuners suggestion and didn't really didn't want to bugger up the OEM slide lock.

Now I gotta try to find a Studebaker Commander so my Colt Commanders can go riding in style.


December 2, 2006, 03:42 PM
A Dremel with anything but rouge at low speed is a potential threat to life as we know it. :D

The bits themselves are neat as finger-spindle tools, in a pin vise. They're reasonably safe :rolleyes: .

I've used 'em for years on a variety of projects and sculptures, but the touch required with any of the cutting tools is insanely light. Dowels, a .223 casing, 200-grit, 400-grit, a smooch with the rouge. I'll have the pictures uploaded shortly.

Can't see the rear face of the slide lock in the product photos. I need to pulverize myself with this thing some more before I toss another $50 in. (Yeah, like that's ever been a real contest of will :D .)

I can't imagine what kind of detent you could get away with on that part (!!!!). It's just the plunger pressure that's tensioning it in. I have a Springfield GI with a safety that had a detent that needed a crowbar to budge it. That was relatively easy to grasp. The slide lock is subtler.

Old Fuff
December 2, 2006, 04:21 PM
1911 pistol makers have got it made these days… ;)

They are of course in business to make money, and this entails coming up with models that potential buyers will see as “sweet,” or “cool,” and of course “tactical.” When they’ve solved that issue it’s fat city…

What could be better then a neat, easy-to-carry model with a give-or-take 3” barrel? Oh it’s true that folks that are knowledge know these sweet, cool and tactical guns are often jam-o-matics from git-go, but that doesn’t matter. Very few buyers are so knowledgeable, and how many of them have a set of blueprints…? Besides, if the pistol won’t run the new owner will find tinkering with it to be irresistible. That should void any warrantees in no time. Then the tar baby’s all their responsibility and no ones else’s. Not too worry, they can always install a 22 pound recoil spring and do a fluff & buff job on the barrel and feed ramp… That’s what they make hand grinders for… :eek:

Full-sized guns may be a bit harder to sell, but if one adds enough gadgets and give them impressive names like, “Ultra-Terminator Mk. VI” they’ll go out the door like hotcakes on a cold morning. Sometimes the buyer can even be conned into putting 1000 rounds through the piece by telling them that this a necessary “break in” procedure. They of course, have to foot the ammunition bill. :banghead:

I should start up something called “Fuff’s Patent Gunworks,” and get in on this goldmine… :evil: :D

December 2, 2006, 04:36 PM
Hey! How much to join??? :D

Seriously, I was aware of a lot of potential glitches from the beginning; I'd looked at and shot Kimbers and Springers. I already had two 5" 1911s, so I got the itch for a peewee. Funny --- the Defender felt exactly like the Gov., with Hogues!

The ammo thing is the killer. Hard to assess things without the actual mechanical stresses of live fire. This also makes it darned obvious that a teensy-bit by teensy-bit approach is pretty much the only way.

Now, if you want to make some bucks, patent a series of snap-caps with schnozzes that replicate the popular JHP flavors. I mean, they cost a bunch to begin with. Imagine what you could rake in for .45ACP/Ranger Zoomies!!! :D

December 2, 2006, 09:14 PM
Hang on before you spend any money.

What I did was mainly because I had a spare slide lock and didn't want to file/stone an OEM part. There are other things that could be causing mid magazine slide lock.

1911Tuner knows more about such things than I'll ever understand.

I'm lazy and tried the easiest possible solution for me. Fortunately, it seems to have worked.

I'm also hanging onto the dang handle a bit tighter.

As always, your mileage may vary.


December 2, 2006, 11:59 PM
Gotcha. No hurry. never had this problem with any 1911 before, but this critter's different. Hanging on is my first choice. I think I might have the other stuff locked down.

I noticed something funny. Actually, i noticed it awhile ago, but failed to mention it. There is a chamfer around the chamber, and a "dimple" at the bottom of the barrel ramp. As I've "chronicled," this dimple and the bottom of the ramp had to be moved forward fractionally. (Yes, yes, pictures done, maybe upload tomorrow.) Thing is, the general chamfer or relief around the chamber has never been symmetrical, right-to-left, Kinda weird-looking :scrutiny: , but I don't think it has any effect.

I remember my Dad's Studebaker. Man, do I wish I'd inherited that.

December 5, 2006, 02:21 AM
Wolff springs in today ... the wire dia. mics up about .003" more than the Colt springs. They actually feel stronger ... but then, they're also new.

Looking at the premature slide lock thing, playing with the Snap-Caps again, I think I can visualize what's going on (aside from "limping" it, which I don't really think is the problem). I'm repeating all of the ground that Tuner, Fuff, et al have documented.

Way it seems, the slide distance isn't different, but the reduced inertia of the 3" means that the slide moves a teense faster. Each cartridge drags the "on deck" cartridge forward slightly. If the mag springs are even a hair soft, the action beats the following cartridge forward before the cartridge has had a chance to rise completely into position --- and the bullet nose strikes the slide lock lug, engaging it.

I think. :scrutiny:

I think it might be time to do some serious time with the Mk III for a wee bit ... while I can still afford it ... :D

Old Fuff
December 5, 2006, 09:57 AM
...but the reduced inertia of the 3" means that the slide moves a teense faster.

I have a news flash. That slide moves considerably faster, and when you combine that with shorter run up, the reason for so many functional problems with the sub-length guns should be obvious.

Largely through experimentation, Browning worked out the proper balance between his spring tensions and the mass/weight of the moving slide. Now comes the guys that think you can cut two inches - give or take - off the front end and it won't make any difference. Now this is true of revolvers, but it seldom works out with pistols. Also when you shorten the recoil spring tunnel by 1 1/2 to 2 inches it becomes necessary to create a Micky Mouse recoil spring system with more then one spring, and those are often overstressed and should be replaced frequently.

Tuner has gone to great length to explain all of this, and he has tried to find solutions when someone drops a sub-length on his kitchen table, and says - "can you fix it? It don't run..."

Do tell .... :banghead:

December 5, 2006, 01:33 PM
... the reason for so many functional problems with the sub-length guns should be obvious.:uhoh: :confused: :eek: :scrutiny:

Well, I suppose that's what this particular pistol has meant to me: disclosing the already-not-so-obvious, and trying to learn from it. And live. :D

There are far more subtleties in 1911s than in (my) other pistols, and far more in the 3". I'm reasonably certain that I've been cured of sub-4" 1911s. Great gun, though. :D

I'm so "spoiled," leaving Sig and SA mags loaded or rotating the loaded/unloaded ones. It seems to me that the Defender mags probably need to be left unloaded until needed, i.e., getting a second set, and springs, and alternating.

December 5, 2006, 10:33 PM
Old Fuff said:

"Tuner has gone to great length to explain all of this, and he has tried to find solutions when someone drops a sub-length on his kitchen table, and says - "can you fix it? It don't run..."

I'm just glad he doesn't toss them out the door and tell the owner:
If you kow what's good for you,you'll follow it............

December 5, 2006, 10:59 PM
The thing about these little blasters is that each one is a law unto itself. What the last two responded to, the next one lays there goin'::neener:

Some days, I's enough to drive a body to drink.:banghead:

December 5, 2006, 11:00 PM
Hey 51,
Here is a pic of a really small 1911 that actually functions!

:eek: :confused: :neener:


December 5, 2006, 11:07 PM
I have many distant memories of those little Detonics. Most of'em bad...:D

December 5, 2006, 11:27 PM
Shoulda just sent them my way for a little tweaking...........

December 6, 2006, 01:08 AM
Yeah, well --- if my latest "laboratory work" isn't rosy, I expect I'll be sending this one off for resuscitation. :D

I think the learning curve is actually an important component. I wouldn't want to tangle with the innards of my Sig (outside of drop-in stuff) --- but a 1911 is somehow "graspable," even if elusive. Once "right," I think these things are pretty much bombproof. Once "wrong," it's tail-chasing time. :banghead:

Funny, though --- if I take out the 1943 Colt, with the wartime mags, it runs like silk. (Ahhh --- but those mags are used little, and are left empty ...)

I think (shhh --- don't let the little darling hear this!!) that I'm down to tweaking. Compared to a couple of weeks ago, it's now a pistol, as opposed to being a noisy paperweight. :D

Old Fuff
December 6, 2006, 01:47 AM
Funny, though --- if I take out the 1943 Colt, with the wartime mags, it runs like silk.

Do tell... Who would have thought...?? :rolleyes: ;)

December 6, 2006, 06:57 AM
Raja said:

>Shoulda just sent them my way for a little tweaking.<

Was you tweakin' in '82?:scrutiny:

December 6, 2006, 09:27 AM
Chuck --- what year was that Detonics?

December 6, 2006, 10:34 AM
That is a current 2006 Detonics!

I was machining and 'hobby' smiffing in '82. Went full time smiffing in about '85.

December 6, 2006, 11:00 AM
Raja...We sold a buttload of those things at the shop I part-timed at early on. Everybody...and I mean EVERY-body wanted a "Mini 'Leven." The problem chillun showed up almost immediately. I spent many an hour on those things, just tryin' to get'em to run. That's pretty much when I figured out that short-barrelled 1911 variants were persnickety...but at least it gave me a leg up on the Officer's Models, et al when they second wave hit.

Almost turned me into an Excedrin junkie...:D

December 8, 2006, 07:10 PM
New Wolff mag springs in. Barrel ramp where it apparently needs to be. So ...

After three successive mags with stovepipes (shooting ball), all of a sudden --- everything --- smooooooothed --- out! Seven mags in a row, slick as can be.

Ran slick as, well, slick stuff.

We had a "substitute" RO today. Afterwards, he asked me what gun that was that was making all the racket. So I showed it to him. He said some very nice things about what I had been doing to the 50-foot targets, with a little 3" barrel. So I told him the story about this thing.

Nice ending (or what I hope is an ending) to this.

When I clean it I can feel a distinct rattle and twist in the extractor, which is probably my last necessary tweak. (JB Weld, a little filing, snug the sucker up.) And --- no "short" link, yet. :)

I figure, after the JB, get through a hitch-free box, life will be good(er)! :D

When spoiled rotten, this Defender has embarrassed a few folks with 5" barrels. For some reason, this little princess has defied disposal and resale by: a) being gorgeous; and b) being science-fiction accurate for a peewee barrel. Now, if my eyes and hands could do it justice ... :D

Again, thanks for all the hand-holding, advice, encouragement, and "whoas!" This little beast has been an education in itself.

One more range session, I figure I can stop boring you folks with all this!

December 8, 2006, 07:16 PM
51Cards wrote:

>New Wolff mag springs in. Barrel ramp where it apparently needs to be. So ...

After three successive mags with stovepipes (shooting ball), all of a sudden --- everything --- smooooooothed --- out! Seven mags in a row, slick as can be.<

Yep. It's usually somethin' simple. :cool:

Don't bother with the JB Weld. It won't last and it could crumble and fall into the lockwork and cause problems. Get an oversized stop and fit it...first to the slide without the extractor, and then with the extractor installed.

December 8, 2006, 08:07 PM
Now that its been all figured out and there just isn't that much fun left, I think that you should sell it and buy a NIB mini-blaster from a nationally known retail firm like Wilson, Kimber, or Brown and start over...

Think of it as a 'Continuing Education Program'.

Lookit at all the fun you'd have.

Been there, done that, and it looks as though I'll have to do it again. Something about Series 70 parts in a Series 80 frame Officers Model that was finally behaving nicely...



December 8, 2006, 09:32 PM
Salty ---

In a word:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :what: :what: :what: :what: :what:

December 9, 2006, 12:54 AM
Tuner, re the JB --- it looks like the extractor channel is set a bit to the right --- the left of the semicircular rear is not flush with the hammer recess. So I guess even with a snug FPS, there's still a teensy fit problem?

Can't believe only a couple of degrees of rotation on the extractor would make that much difference --- but then, my sense of belief/disbelief was suspended a long time ago with this whole thing :D .

Oh --- and I could swear it works better with plain old gun oil than with TW25. Imagine that! :D

December 9, 2006, 03:26 PM
Managed a couple of quick shots. This one shows what I'm done with.

Question: The line from Point A to B shows that the original chamfer is not symmetrical, right-to-left. ???? Why? (The hood is easily understood.)

The red ellipse indicates the area that I'd worked on. Regardless of reflections, etc., it is symmetrical relative to the breach bottom and is smooth. (The other tool marks are originals.) Unsupported case web is <=1/32".

It is this elliptically-defined area that had given me all of the JHP feeding headaches. (I have no "before" photos; and a "dimple" was there originally --- just so far back that it was virtually flush with the frame ramp when out of battery. :cuss: :banghead: :cuss: :fire: )

No more stem lock. (As I've noted ad nauseum! :D )

Onward!!!! :)

December 10, 2006, 02:41 PM
Thought this stuff might be of interest (now that I've taken the time to load this stuff).

Although the first photo is the only "directly" related on, this is an "I've got this old gun" story. My late father-in-law fought in Papua-New Guinea in the USAAC. Forced to bail out over the jungle, walked out. This gun was with him the whole time. I was given this pistol before I had received my Permit, had to surrender them pending receipt of Permit (Yay, NY!!!) and there is (of course) a story attached to my ultimate retrieval of these guns.

Late father-in-law's service pistol, 1943 Colt, carried in a P-47D (along with a few .50 Brownings :D ):

Lt. Adamow, with some of the natives who led him out of the jungle:

Joe's brother, Mike (upper left, MIA, presumed KIA months later) --- and yes, this is an original photo of one of the Midway B-17s:

Part of the story behind the gun:

There is, of course, a lot more to the story.

I also have the silk map, chits, and compass.

Sorry I didn't make it in time for December 7.

This Colt is retired, but has never missed a shot in the few hundred rounds I've fired from it. All the parts are original and correct, and will stay that way.

December 10, 2006, 02:57 PM
That's it! You're only allowed to bring a tear to my eye once a year and you've just used yours up!

Great story and great pictures. Tell us more...

Old Fuff
December 10, 2006, 03:03 PM
You have a neat gun, a neater story, and some interesting artifacts to go with it. If you will send me a P.M. with the full serial number I may be able to tell you when it was shipped by Colt, and to whom.

December 10, 2006, 03:41 PM
(If this is the wrong "room" for this, please let me know, and move it to the correct area.)

This whole episode has been incredibly impactful.

Since I was a boy, I've been a WWII history buff, especially the air war. And, believe it or not, I can actually remember tracing the cutaway view of a 1911 from a library book when I was in elementary school. Weird.

Imagine my surprise when my ex-wife's (oh-ho! more to the story!!!) dad passed away in the VA, and we eventually got around to digging through everything. (The ex and I remained friends, still are. She gave me title to the guns (1911, HS Model B, Winchester Model 71/.348) several years after we'd parted. She knew I would appreciate these more than anyone she knew. She also knows that the impact of all of the material, with provenance, is considerable.) I have some nice friends ... :D

The pistol
Original magazines
Shoulder holster (non-standard, with sleeves for two spare mags)
All of the flight calculators
Canvas helmets
Orignal Ray-Bans, in case
Survival compass
Silk survival map
"Blood chits"
Field manuals
Log books
Field orders
De-classified incident report
Stacks of Photographs
Piles of insignia, buttons, etc.

I turned the gun in to the locals, figuring a license was the best way to handle the disposition of the guns personally. And awaaaaaaaaaaay we go on The Story.

I figured, great, I'll wind up with a .45 and a .22, nice guns, too, what more could I possibly want or need? :D :D :D :D :D :D

And, obviously, got snake-bit. Need a bigger gun safe. :D (I'm sure no one else here knows what that's like ... :D )

It took me nearly a year-and-a-half to get the two pistols back from the local PD. Ultimately, I was forced to provide every piece of provenance, probate, and paper of all types before they were finally turned over to me. Largely, I have one particular Licensing Officer (T.H., if you see this, thanks mightily!!!!) for help in getting this resolved. In retrospect, I suppose there might have been a couple of folks who wouldn't have been too upset if this Colt had to be "re-dispositioned." The Properties Officer even commented, "Man, you've really gone to a LOT of trouble to get these back, didn't you?"

And I did.

MY L.O. told me, "Watch what happens, this gun will become your favorite." He was right. It doesn't get shot anymore, but the places it's been, the action it's seen, the fact that it made it through and back, along with Lt. Adamow --- well, that's something that way too few kids of the current generation can really get a handle on.

Even though Joe Adamow was quite incapacitated (non-war-related) when first I met him, we did have a couple of conversations. For one thing, I have a Private Pilot Rating. I learned to fly because I was so fascinated with things like P-51s, P-47s, P-38s, B-17s, B-24s, B-25s, B26s, and the like. I had to see what it was like to fly something. That's the only thing Joe and I were able to talk about, a little. After that, he was unable to communicate.

But he still does, in his way.

You know what I mean.

December 10, 2006, 10:22 PM
Thank you sir, for sharing.


December 10, 2006, 10:31 PM
Yes. Magnificent story and pistol. What an heirloom to pass along to your sons and/or grandsons. Make sure that they understand and appreciate exactly what they have.

I have the Colt that my father carried in the Ardennes, and a P-38 that he took from a German major at Colmar Pocket while initially covering him with the Colt. The German was actually relieved that the war was over for him and the too-young boys under his command...and they traded cigarettes and food for
other trophies. Since my only child is a girl who has absolutely no interest...and both her children are girls who will likely follow suit, I imagine that I'll leave'em to my ex-wife's sons. I raised'em, and they're as much my boys as they are anybody's. Kelie's son is in line for a few other treasures, and if we can keep him on the straight and narrow, he'll come into a few pieces of history himself.

December 15, 2006, 07:28 PM
All is running as it should --- finally!

With several successful boxes of assorted ball, 100 Rangers, and 60 Federal 165gr JHPs later, running like silk. :)

25 feet, 2 mags, 7/mag., 1 shot/1-2 secs.
Left target first, CCI Blazer; right target second, Federal 165 JHP.

Main problem with these targets, near-doubles get lost. Range pal watched it, knowing how crazed I've been with this Colt. He said there were 7 clear target fragments coming off each one.

Not my best groups, but for a 3" MiniBlaster, I'll take it!

:D :D :D :D :D

December 15, 2006, 07:35 PM
Outstanding! Glad ya got it sorted out. Accuracy is very good, and entirely adequate for what the little pistol was intended for. As the late Col. Cooper noted when discussing these pistols: (paraphrased) "Across a poker table, (sic) one does not need to be a virtuoso."

December 15, 2006, 10:36 PM
WE got it sorted out. I doubt that I would have gotten the nerve to hone things without the support I've found here.

Funny thing --- my 229 is a more "sophisticated" piece of machinery, but I've had a hand in how this particular 1911 works. And that makes a difference.

BTW --- the Ranger 230 is fine, but I think unnecessary. In the Government it feels like BBs now; in the Defender, it feels like it strains the machinery more than it's worth. I put it this way because I've been shooting a LOT of .45 in this little gun, and "felt recoil" has become something of almost detached reference. So, on top of having a Colt that's slicker than it was, everything else feels "easy" by comparison.

I've been able to compare the Colt Defender with a Kimber Ultra, a Colt Officer, and a Springfield Micro. Heavier, IMO, is not better with these little guys. They are what they are. Also, none of the others has been flawless in range sessions. Mine is close, now.

Now, when "Santa" brings my .22 "upper" for my Gov. Model, I can spend some "quiet time" with that and my Mk III. I figured I've earned it.

Thanks again, guys, for the .001-by-.001 encouragement.

I haven't any kids. My fiancee's older son has no interest. The younger one, well, he's not going to any range with me any time soon. I'm trying to get my future wife to get her paperwork done. Maybe I can pass some tradition on to her. Maybe I can create a monster :D .

December 15, 2006, 10:43 PM
51Cards said:

>WE got it sorted out. I doubt that I would have gotten the nerve to hone things without the support I've found here.<

One thing that I can tell ya about walkin' people through various repairs online is that...almost without exception...with page after page of step-by-step instruction, ya can't do the work unless you've got a little
"smif" in ya to start with. YOU fixed it. All we did was point ya in the right direction.;)

Beware. It's addictive. :D

December 20, 2006, 05:11 PM
1) The Dimple
The one on the mag follower. It's on the other models, not on the Defender. ???

2) Slide lock detent
The Springfield has a small detent dimple on the rear face of the lock, engaging with the plunger. The Defender does not. ??? (Seems like the l'il guy experiences more whammin' around.)

3) :D Re the "other post," does a 3" 1911 qualify as a "sub-atomic weasel blaster?" And if so, where can I find those weasels? :D :D :D

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