What have y'all found is the cause of most problems in the 1911?


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jlbraun
February 29, 2008, 01:30 PM
Just asking, I'm interested in what the design's strengths and weaknesses are.

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JoeHatley
February 29, 2008, 01:32 PM
Most problems: reloaded ammo

Design weakness: grip screw bushings should be left hand threads

Joe

AK103K
February 29, 2008, 01:52 PM
Seems like the "main" most common I had issue with the last couple was the extractor not being correctly tuned.

Mags are also a big issue. Some mags are the issue, some guns are the issue. I've had high dollar Wilsons work fine in one gun and not all that great in another. The best luck I've had with mags, has been stock Colt mags and GI contract mags. The seem to work in any gun I put them in.

Springfields frames are very inconsistant. They make up their own specs as they go, and they can vary in the same serial number run on the same model. I've had issues with their slide to frame fit too.

My Kimber UC's feed ramp was boogered up by the followers of the Kimber mags to the point a groove was worn into it. The grip safety was also non functional on it. I've had that issue with a couple other 1911's too over the years. Dont trust them till you prove they work, and even then, watch them.

Staked on aftermarket sights are a joke. They dont usually stay on all that long. Dovetailed front sights are one of the better design changes for the 1911.

Thumb safeties either to tight or to loose.

Plunger tubes that fly off.

Grip screws and bushings that come off with the grips.

FLGR's causing troubles.

FLGR/double spring set ups on the short guns.

Hoppy590
February 29, 2008, 01:54 PM
i voted for magazines in total (springs, lips, followers etc)

but the real causes are crap ammo and loose nuts behind the gun

CountGlockula
February 29, 2008, 02:02 PM
Too many sharp edges.

Every time I shoot, clean, repair a 1911A1...I always get cuts.:fire:

rcmodel
February 29, 2008, 02:04 PM
The biggest problem by far is that, everyone & his dog have built 1911 design guns & magazines over the years.

A true mil-spec gun will have very few if any problems.

But all the other clones & copies may have any number of things wrong with them right out of the box.

Like:
Out of spec pin holes.
Improper parts fitting.
Improper barrel fitting.
Improper feed ramp cuts.
"Improved" extractor designs that aren't.
Glued in ejectors.
Glued in grip screw bushings.
And on, and on!

Don't blame the 1911 design for most problems today.
Blame the cost cutters that tried to build them without following the well-known directions!

rcmodel

10X
February 29, 2008, 02:13 PM
I voted for feed lips and extractor.

I have become a big believer in Colt 7 rounder hybrid feedlip mags.

TAB
February 29, 2008, 02:20 PM
The user

Old Fuff
February 29, 2008, 03:22 PM
I agree with rcmodel. You forgot to add in your poll, "thoughtless manufacturing using questionable parts and materials, combined with a total lack of inspection and quality control."

Walkalong
February 29, 2008, 03:28 PM
I agree with rcmodel and Old Fluff.

Ghost Tracker
February 29, 2008, 03:41 PM
Yep, the rabid proliferation of 1911 designs & manufacturers have given the beloved old warhorse a blackeye or two. I've had several from most the major players & the FIRST thing I do is pitch the new factory mags into a shoebox on my shelf. I've been so completely pleased over the years with Wilson Combat replacement mags that I've decided buying them for all my 1911-style pistols is as important as my other favorite necessity, a new holster!

Moonclip
February 29, 2008, 05:52 PM
Not much, bad magazine which makes 0 sense as quality ones aren't too expensive. Extractor can be a weak point, I voted on that. Crap ammo. Remember I'm mainly speaking on modern quality 1911 pattern psitols. The part that can cause headaches also is the plunger tube up above the left grip.

On guns I've examined and owned but mainly 1911 sorta clones like Llamas, this often seems loose.

HM2PAC
February 29, 2008, 07:22 PM
User malfunction.

Guitargod1985
February 29, 2008, 07:46 PM
I don't own any 1911s, so forgive my ignorance. Are the bushings for the grip screws supposed to be welded in place?

AK103K
February 29, 2008, 07:48 PM
Some are screwed in, some are staked in. Either way, they seem to come out on a fairly regular basis.

Technosavant
February 29, 2008, 08:47 PM
1) Bad magazines in general
2) Plunger tubes. They eventually come out.
3) Incompetent gunsmiths.

GaryP
February 29, 2008, 09:52 PM
Magazine issues of one kind or another!



:evil:

1911Tuner
February 29, 2008, 10:06 PM
Time remaining before somebody posts:

"Get a Glock!" "Get a Sig!"

10...9...8...7...

Old Fuff
February 29, 2008, 10:35 PM
6...5...4...3...2...1...

An older, built-to-print, with parts meeting the original specification for workmanship and material, and magazines made like they used to be... REAL 1911 platform pistol... :neener: :evil: :neener: :D

Jacka L Ope
February 29, 2008, 10:52 PM
Magazines. I can the stockers in favor of stainless steel.

1911Tuner
February 29, 2008, 11:22 PM
An older, built-to-print, with parts meeting the original specification for workmanship and material, and magazines made like they used to be... REAL 1911 platform pistol...

Yea, verily. Sad that so many of the younger 1911 fans have never had a chance to handle a real one.

Anyway...On topic! Most problems are eliminated by Magazines...Proper extractor setup...Ammunition. In that order. The rest comes from bad specs. Tweakable, but headachy at times.

1911 guy
March 1, 2008, 08:50 AM
Magazines.

I've only had one 1911 that was a genuine POS, a "Barely Ordnance". Everything else runs with good mags. Sure, I've got my preference in pistols, but almost all will run if given good ammo, good care and good mags.

Quote:
Too many sharp edges.
Every time I shoot, clean, repair a 1911A1...I always get cuts

Maybe a little hard work will toughen your hands up! :D

The Bushmaster
March 1, 2008, 10:09 AM
1990 Colt Series 80 1911 modified using Wilson parts. Has never failed to send them down range. No failure to fire. No jams of any kind. And no parts failures in 18 years of service...

SuperNaut
March 1, 2008, 10:58 AM
In another recent thread the plunger tube was discussed as well as failure to activate the grip safety. Which led to discussion of the merits of an integral plunger tube and the staking or removal of the grip safety.

However IME, mags are the biggest issue.

DMK
March 1, 2008, 11:00 AM
I have never had a 1911 issue that changing the magazine didn't fix. I don't bother trying to diagnose mags beyond replacing the spring. Mags are consumable item IMO.

(knocks on wooden skull)

Of course, my three 1911s are Colt, Sistema and Sistema.

DMK
March 1, 2008, 11:07 AM
Design weakness: grip screw bushings should be left hand threadsWow, ain't that the truth.

Drail
March 1, 2008, 11:30 AM
Owners with Dremels.

gc70
March 1, 2008, 11:49 AM
It is not on the list, but home gunsmithing gets my vote.

Gun owners who would hesitate to change a spring on a Glock or Sig (:neener: snuck that in, Tuner) are happy to embark on wholesale butchery of a 1911.

rcmodel
March 1, 2008, 03:00 PM
Are the bushings for the grip screws supposed to be welded in place?1911 grip screw bushings are supposed to be threaded into the frame.
Then, they are supposed to be staked in place from the inside with a staking tool to keep them from coming out.

The problem comes with the plethora of after-market grips of varying & out-of-spec screw hole depth.

When the screw hole counter-sinks in the grips are too deep, the screws tighten down against the bushings instead of the grips.

If over-tightened, they get stuck in place on the metal to metal contact and turn the bushings out with the screws the next time the grips need to come off.

Modern manufacturing methods by some companies have skipped the "staking in place" part and resorted to Lock-Tight, or nothing at all, making the situation even worse.

rcmodel

Peter M. Eick
March 2, 2008, 08:13 AM
I did not see the operator or bad ammo.

Those should be the first choices and then everything else in my opinion.

Ala Dan
March 2, 2008, 12:20 PM
Yep, "loose nuts operating the firearm" are of a major concern~! :uhoh:

You know, that group that wants the extractors tuned just so, as for
all the spent brass too land in a certain area; or the novice home gun
smith try'in to install after market parts with little or NO knowledge, and
not having the proper tools~! :eek: :D

AK103K
March 2, 2008, 01:53 PM
I can see bad ammo being an issue, but if the gun is within basic specs and operating properly, unless they are really inept, I really dont understand how the operator would be an issue. A true to spec 1911 is pretty straight forward to work and easy to shoot well with.

The real problem here is, the originals were not broke, and didnt start having troubles until people started trying to "fix" them, or worse, re engineer them. Its been all pretty much been downhill ever since.

SouthpawShootr
March 2, 2008, 01:59 PM
The over-abundance of crappy mags seems to be the biggest problem with 1911s these days, IMO.

tbtrout
March 4, 2008, 07:11 AM
The user with a dremel.

2nd 41
March 4, 2008, 07:35 AM
Never had any problem with my 3 Gold Cups.

Will Fennell
March 4, 2008, 07:43 AM
Bad magazines are without a doubt the biggest offenders....followed by bad or improperly fit extractors. But one not mentioned here that I have had quite a bit of trouble with myself, especially with 1911's in chamberings other than .45 acp, has been non fitted or out of spec slidestops.

Long live .45 acp Colt or Checkmate Hybrid lip, dimpled follower, 7 round magazines:) As someone on the mentioned, they are like Viagra for your 1911;)

skinewmexico
March 4, 2008, 09:14 AM
Owners with Dremels.

I don't think that is limited to just 1911s. Or even pistols.

GunTech
March 4, 2008, 09:25 AM
No selection for 'ammo'.

The 1911 has it foibles, many of which have to do with design. It's a 100 year old gun, and materials, engineering and manufacturing technologies have made an advance or two. The fact that the 1911 still makes the short list of serious combat pistols says a lot, and the designs that dominate today all own a debt of gratitude to the old slab side. The best designs correct some of the 1911's peccadilloes.

My take is that if you build a milspec gun and feed it ball, it has very little in the way of problems. It was designed to be reliable with ball ammo as it's basic criteria. Now we try to make it shoot cloverleafs and feed wadcutters. That's probably asking a lot, and no one should be surprised if it needs some tweaking. Most modern autos were designed to function with HP ammo.

The weaknesses I see in the 1991 are the feed ramp - which require perfect geometry and a good finish if you want reliable feeding with ammo that's not GI spec ball. The Extractor, which must be properly tensions since it is both extractor and extractor spring all in one, and the barrel lockup system which is overly complex and difficult fit for both accuracy and reliability. The bushing system works fine, but is a bit of an annoyance.

Modern makers (some, anyway) have done a great job in maintaining the original design while getting it to work with ammo it was never designed for, and give levels of accuracy never specified in the original requirements.

GunTech
March 4, 2008, 09:29 AM
BTW, what do you consider the 'best' 1911 manufactured today? After owning Kimbers, Springfields, a Les Bauer, several hand built customs, many Colts and a GI Remington Rand I just picked up a SiG GSR. Haven't shot it yet, but it looks good.

RobertFBurnett
March 4, 2008, 09:46 AM
Yea, verily. Sad that so many of the younger 1911 fans have never had a chance to handle a real one.

I recently got to!!! It was real nice, another member of my shooting range (He's probably in his mid-50's+-) inherited a pre-wwII 1911 from his father in law, and while he was putting some rounds downrange in a H&K USP he let me fire off a few rounds, it was real nice, I'd need to get used to those sights, but it was nice. Did not catch details, I was so excited to shoot it I wasn't looking for stampings.

Only bad part of the story is a week later I tried out the ranges Springfield "Mil-Spec" thinking they'd be similar...if theres a way that two 1911s that are supposed to be similar could be more far apart I think I found it. That Springfield was not nice, not nice at all. Felt real slim and "bony" in my hand. Nothing against Springfield's in general, the Trophy Match I shot was nice;)

RFB

yongxingfreesty
March 4, 2008, 09:52 AM
feedlips and extractor. that was the problem, almost fixed it, but still wouldnt run 99%

TimboKhan
March 4, 2008, 09:53 AM
Extractors break. Thats just a fact of life. I don't know how more or less true this is for 1911's than any other gun, but it is just something that happens. They are cheap and easy to replace.

I maintain that magazines are the single biggest contributor to problems in autos there is. I guess I have never really sat and figured which part of the magazine and have instead just considered it as a whole, but in the end, the magazine is the first thing I check. More often than not, thats all the problem is.

sm
March 4, 2008, 10:11 AM
teh Intrawebz .

I mean the 1911 was rocking and rolling along pretty good until teh Intrawebz come to be.

Even the special Bulls-Eye guns and those altered from Combat Weapons shooting gun games were doing fine.

Then, along come teh Intrawebz. and another great equipment race was born.

0's and 1's got mixed up and Clones come to be. Everybody had to have a clone...
Line extension hit, and everyone wanted a piece of the pie...and come up with pcs of pie to have a pc of.
So the original combat weapon was fine, it worked, it was proven, and still proves...
Clones do not always work, and cutting corners on mfg end, specs, metallurgy and ...

teh Intrawebz. causes most problems...*yep*

jgo296
March 4, 2008, 10:20 AM
is ancient pistol design not up there?

asknight
March 4, 2008, 10:43 AM
I voted slide because the biggest problem I see is companies are trying to put a slide that's too short for reliability on the 1911. :scrutiny:

JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
March 4, 2008, 11:07 AM
I voted slide because the biggest problem I see is companies are trying to put a slide that's too short for reliability on the 1911.

Huh? Let's see, I've got thousands upon thousands of rounds through my Colt Officer's ACP. Only a 3 1/2" barrel. Slide is pretty short 'by your remark'. I've never had an issue.

Ammunition is the biggest problem in my book. The 1911 was designed to feed 230gn ball ammo. It does quite well. People loading bullets intended for the .45LC or SWC's that are too light/short are what I see as the big issue. Still, most can be adjusted in the loading process so they feed reliably.

There's too much talk about magazine tuning. I have four different brands of magazines. They all work great in my 1911's. Kimber to Colt!\

-Steve

asknight
March 4, 2008, 11:47 AM
JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone, no need to take offense. Just because your Colt Officers Model is an exception doesn't mean that the problem is nonexistent.

Feanaro
March 4, 2008, 12:10 PM
One hundred and fifty five percent of all 1911 problems are caused by people.

1911Tuner
March 4, 2008, 05:19 PM
JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone, no need to take offense. Just because your Colt Officers Model is an exception doesn't mean that the problem is nonexistent.

I'll second that. I have an early 1991A1 Compact/OM that has been 100% from Jump Street...,at least so far. I also understand that I'm lucky. Of all the functional issues that I see and correct with the 1911 platform, the sub Commander-length pistols account for the majority, and when they do have problems...are usually a lot more persnickety to tweak than with their larger cousins. The main cause seems to be lack of slide mass, and the necessary overspringing of same...with the resultant increased slide speeds.

Extractors break. Thats just a fact of life.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. I replaced two OEM Colt extractors on my beaters during a rebuild that had over 75,000 rounds apiece through'em...and not because the extractors had failed. They went into my range box as emergency spares, and one has since been installed in another guy's pistol after his failed to hold tension at a match. As far as I know...it's still shuckin'em out. If it wasn't, I'd have heard from him by now.

Stevie-Ray
March 4, 2008, 07:43 PM
Magazine feed lips, feed ramp, followed by my personal favorite, the ejector. Still can't get my Mark IV to consistently keep the empties off my head, even with a Wilson extended.

possum
March 5, 2008, 05:23 AM
i agree with the above poster bad reloads, and mags would have to come second to that. the biggest issues that i see is rds that have to long oif overall lenght.

Tom Fury
March 7, 2008, 04:51 AM
Mags: Why God created Wilson Combat. My 1911s deserve them.
(Like their extractors, too).

User attitude: 1911 is eminently fixable or improveable; If you learn to love it, instead of demand it be perfect, it will reward you.

Boxes should come with a "WARNING:learning curve" sticker on them.

Its' not a novices' handgun and is better suited to more mature expectations.

Sometimes you get lucky out of the box; but mostly, after 20 years or so and I hate to count how many 1911's, I still own three and can think of two more at the top of my list of guns to acquire next. I have and do own other guns, but only think of the 1911's with affection.

Cheers: TF

Old Fuff
March 7, 2008, 09:17 AM
Its' not a novices' handgun and is better suited to more mature expectations.

Gee, I never knew that... :what:

How the heck did we ever get through World War Two, not to mention the first one, Korea and Viet Nam?

Boxes should come with a "WARNING:learning curve" sticker on them.

Maybe that should be engraved on the side of the slide, but if your experience exceeded 20 years you'd know that it didn't used to be necessary.

Mags: Why God created Wilson Combat. My 1911s deserve them.
(Like their extractors, too).

I don't know that God had anything to do with it, but I do know that we got along fine from 1911 to the mid 1960's (mid-1980's in the military) using the magazines that came with the pistols.

I admit that the pistols being made today often don't measure up to what was made during the past when it comes to reliability. I also know that older buyers wouldn't have put up with the junk being made today. :uhoh:

Tom Fury
March 7, 2008, 05:49 PM
I don't need a 1911...

I need a time machine.

Cheers, TF

Old Fuff
March 7, 2008, 06:31 PM
Ah.... no....

Ya' don't need a time machine, but you do need to save your pennies and then shop around. "Real" 1911 pistols are not rare, and I have seen decent examples selling in the $600 range.....

Carl N. Brown
March 7, 2008, 08:47 PM
I guess my problems have been minority ones: (a) weak mainspring sometimes requiring re-tries to fire some ammunitions, and (b) an overly stiff recoil spring.

Swapping out the hammer spring was an interesting experience (as in once is enough thank you). I had three weights of recoil spring: a light one for 185gr target loads, standard and a heavy spring. The standard for 230grFMJ standrad loads worked a lot better with 230grFMJ standard loads. (I think I had the heavy spring in when I was shooting IMI almost exclusively).

Tom Fury
March 8, 2008, 11:08 AM
Agreed on that; I really miss an early Combat Commander I had; would only feed hardball. Wish I'd had the patience to keep it and send it to Novaks or somebody who could fine tune it; I will purchase a vintage lightweight Commander when I'm stateside again and have the $ (?)...
Cheers, TF

hanno
March 8, 2008, 12:40 PM
Another vote for mags. My new Dan Wesson PM7 works fine with Colt, GI, Wilson Combat ETM, and CMC mags but the slide will not lock back with the Wilson Combat 47Ds.

The 47Ds (and all the other listed mags) work fine in my Colt and Kimber.

Not a big deal, now that I know which mags will work in the DW, those are the mags I'll use.

f4t9r
March 8, 2008, 12:49 PM
extractor and magazines are the problems

dirtdog
March 8, 2008, 12:57 PM
Put a 18 pound spring or a 20 pound spring in your 45 acp and you will be surprised at the reliability factor .

I poo poo those that say it increases wear and tear.

1911Tuner
March 8, 2008, 06:06 PM
Put a 18 pound spring or a 20 pound spring in your 45 acp and you will be surprised at the reliability factor .

I'd have to note that many of the reliability problems that I run into are brought on by overspringing.

If you need an 18 or 20 pound recoil spring to get your gun to feed...your gun needs work.

I poo poo those that say it increases wear and tear.

Poop away, sir! :D

Old Fuff
March 8, 2008, 07:30 PM
Yup, the Olf Fuff is used to being poo-poo'ed and doesn't give a rip.... :D

So long as dirtdog puts those heavy springs in his gun. They won't be found in mine... :scrutiny:

Kevin108
March 9, 2008, 10:41 AM
Time remaining before somebody posts:

"Get a Glock!" "Get a Sig!"

10...9...8...7...

I have 2 of the former already. What we REALLY need is to be able to buy a Tuner 1911. :D

dirtdog
March 9, 2008, 02:17 PM
1911 Tuner --

I did check my Springfield and it did have the 20 lb spring in it - it has been fired so much I changed out to a 18 1/2 pound spring.

Have yet to test shoot it , but I think it will work fine.

I am going to stay with he 18 1/2 pound spring as my friend Rob Leatham suggests that set up is the best .


http://www.robleatham.com/answers040602.htm

texagun
March 9, 2008, 02:45 PM
1911 Tuner --

I did check my Springfield and it did have the 20 lb spring in it - it has been fired so much I changed out to a 18 1/2 pound spring.

Have yet to test shoot it , but I think it will work fine.

I am going to stay with he 18 1/2 pound spring as my friend Rob Leatham suggests that set up is the best .


http://www.robleatham.com/answers040602.htm

I went to the link you provided, and I didn't see where Rob recommended an 18 lb. spring for 1911's.
Did I miss something?

dirtdog
March 9, 2008, 03:06 PM
He said that for the 40 S&W he recommends 2 pounds over stock

1911Tuner said that the stock spring for a 1911 was 16 lbs - I say it is 17 lbs

18 1/2 is a good compromise.

1911Tuner seems to know a bit and we are argueing a small thing here

1911Tuner
March 9, 2008, 03:27 PM
1911Tuner said that the stock spring for a 1911 was 16 lbs - I say it is 17 lbs

I said that the standard has become 16...but I don't know when, where, or how that came to be. The original spec spring for the 1911 was more like 14.5 or 15 pounds. It was never specified in "pounds" per se.

It was specified that 32 and 3/4ths turns of .043 diameter music wire be used. If we compare that with a modern spring made by Wolff...that works out to about 14.5 pounds.

It was later changed to 30 turns of .044 diameter wire...essentially a Wolff 16-pound spring with two coils lopped off...and that works out to be in the neighborhood of 15 pounds.

Over the years, I've tested a lot of NIB Colts, still wearing their original springs. I haven't found one yet that makes it to 16 pounds. I haven't found one in a new Commander that will go much more than 16...yet 18 pounds is what is accepted as "Factory Standard."

Overspringing a pistol is not the way to address feeding problems. If it won't feed and go to battery reliably with a 10-pound spring...the gun needs attention.

Pat-inCO
March 9, 2008, 04:26 PM
What a poll! Misses the most common failure with 1911s, the dummy holding it!

Yes, there are failures with 1911s, but the most common one of all, is the guy/gal holding it. :rolleyes:

1911Tuner
March 9, 2008, 04:37 PM
What a poll! Misses the most common failure with 1911s, the dummy holding it!

No...That's been covered three times now...and I disagree, by the way. The 1911 was designed to issue to Army conscripts, none of which had ever fired one in their lives until they entered the Army.

Hunter0924
March 13, 2008, 12:08 AM
20 pound recoil spring in a Government Model, not good.

BikerRN
March 13, 2008, 04:21 AM
The cause of most problems with the 1911, or any other "bottomfeeder" is:

Gun Butchers that think they are Gunsmiths.

BikerRN

DawgFvr
March 13, 2008, 10:47 AM
Actually they did not work all that well when I was in the Army...nor did my Father like it during WWII...he carried a .38 special. (I'll have to post that photo of him carrying it on here some time) Sand, dirt and the elements in general affect the 1911 design just like any other weapon...only more so in my opinion. Damn shame that somebody has to spend over $1000 for a weapon or at least that much to get an inferior version to function properly. Ah...but everybody likes nostalgia...kind of like the old school...old tech Harley guys touting how much superior that ancient cast iron engine is to a BMW. Christ..wonder why some of you don't run around with rapiers or long bows...cuz they worked so well in the past.

texagun
March 13, 2008, 12:01 PM
Actually they did not work all that well when I was in the Army...nor did my Father like it during WWII...he carried a .38 special....Sand, dirt and the elements in general affect the 1911 design just like any other weapon...only more so in my opinion.

That has not been my experience. I carried one in the military for 4 years in the 50's and the ones we carried were so old and well used they rattled when you shook them. They were WWII leftovers and were all randomly assembled from big barrels filled with solvent and gun parts. We shot them regularly and I don't ever remember one having a malfunction in 4 years. The ones I have had problems with have been with those of recent manufacture that weren't built to specs or had an improperly adjusted extractor or that came with a magazine that was a piece of junk. As far as sand and dirt, I would much rather drag a 1911 through sand and dirt than a .38 Special revolver. I'm pretty sure the 1911 would be more likely to function after such abuse. The 1911 design has been around for over a 100 years now, and has served well in 4 major wars, so it must have something going for it.

sturmgewehr
March 13, 2008, 01:05 PM
The user
Care to elaborate?

sturmgewehr
March 13, 2008, 01:07 PM
What a poll! Misses the most common failure with 1911s, the dummy holding it!

Yes, there are failures with 1911s, but the most common one of all, is the guy/gal holding it.
Again, please elaborate. Are you saying if held incorrectly the 1911 doesn't work?

sturmgewehr
March 13, 2008, 01:10 PM
Put a 18 pound spring or a 20 pound spring in your 45 acp and you will be surprised at the reliability factor
As already noted, if you need a 20lbs spring in your 1911 your gun in is desperate need of a gunsmith's attention.

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