1911 feed problems-- mags, ammo, or gun?


September 20, 2010, 05:55 PM
I bought this Springfield 1911 brand new. It had no feed problems even during break-in. Then I had some jams at an informal competition-- I chalked them up to poor quality magazines that I bought just for the event. I have since junked them, but I am still seeing an alarming number of jams even with the factory mags.

It seems the rounds are not making it up the feed ramp for one reason or another (see attached picture).

This also happens with a Chip McCormick mag that I have. Should I spend money on different high-quality magazines to see if that resolves the problem, or should I focus on broadening my ammo choices? It seems to me the factory mags should work, especially with ball ammo.

I've seen this happen with 3 brands of ammo so far (American Eagle, Remington Golden Saber HPs, BVAC), and reloads.

At what point should I call Springfield and have them take a look at it?

Approx. 750 rounds through the gun.

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September 20, 2010, 06:14 PM
My Springers have always worked with factory mags. I assume you have tried cleaning/lubing the gun AND mags?

September 20, 2010, 06:15 PM
Don't buy any more mags yet. It's time to call Springfield. They're a good company, and will take good care of you.


September 20, 2010, 06:17 PM
Is the slide stop engaged? Your pic looks like the slide is locked back, with rounds in the mag.

Jolly Rogers
September 20, 2010, 06:23 PM
The photo shows a round positioned forward in the mag but the slide rail that kicks the round out of the mag isn't close to the round... what mag is in the gun in this pic?
It looks like an inertial feed with a weak mag spring or a over lubed mag. Possible over sprung wrt the recoil spring causing the slide to jerk the round out of place.

September 20, 2010, 06:23 PM
I cannot remember if I locked it back as a safety concern before taking the picture. However the ammo wedged itself against the feed ramp in that position in the mag.

Edit: mag in the pic is the Chip McCormick. Next range trip will be with only factory mags. I fully expect the next jam to be < 50 rnds in as it's happened before, but I didn't take a pic.

I'll contact Springfield to see what the service procedure is.

September 20, 2010, 06:28 PM
Was the slide behind the round (in the proper position), or was it over the round?

David E
September 20, 2010, 07:01 PM
take a pic of the ACTUAL jam for the sake of clarity.\

It's odd that the gun used to work just fine, and now suddenly doesn't.

September 20, 2010, 07:07 PM
it almost looks like a mag spring problem but I would call springfield...


September 20, 2010, 07:15 PM
Don't send it to Springy yet! This is a great time to learn about 1911 TS'ing. As long as you have other weapons available, of course.

I actually call that a fail to return to battery, its trying to feed, it just didn't get all the way into battery. Usually I call a FTF, what happens when there is no round in the chamber, slide closed.

Check extractor tension. Load a round, rack into camber, drop mag, lock slide back. Shake gun gently, deos the round stay or just falls off? Deos it stay on too well? Extactor tension can cause FTRTB. Be careful, use a dud If you have one.

-Watch your grip, are you hitting the slide stop lever and causeing friction?
-Polished ramps are allways a good thing, no harm in trying that.
-Going to need Tripp/Wilson mags in your collection eventually.....
-18 lb Wolff recoil spring time? Stock Springy/Kimber R springs die an early death sometimes.
-How wet? Time to lube?
-mag spring
-polish the mag feed lips

September 20, 2010, 08:50 PM
Any time there's a feed or return to battery problem, the magazine is always the first suspect. Always.

Going to an overly strong recoil spring is never the answer. Never.

Since the gun started out okay, and started choking later on, we know that the gun is okay.

Something has changed, and that something is most likely the magazine spring. For your 7-round OEM magazines, order Wolff 11-pound/7-round springs. Be sure to get the right ones. The +5%/8-round springs won't work in the 7-round magazines.

Remove the extractor and clean it and its channel thoroughly...just for giggles. Be careful of the firing pin spring. You can put your eye out with that thing.

September 20, 2010, 10:20 PM
Thank you to all who have commented so far.

I suppose I had already decided to troubleshoot (rather than send it back) the moment I thought to ask for advice on THR-- I anticipated the knowledgeable advice I would receive.

I am more inclined to agree with those leaning toward a mag spring issue. The McC magazine is an 8 round and the follower requires less force to push down than the OEM mags. The jam happened on the 5th or 6th round, and the first few rounds are very easy to load. This would account for the inertial feed and the slide locking back.

Several posters described other jams I have experienced. I know I haven't seen the slide lock back on the factory mags, but I have seen several failures to return to battery-- some by only a few mm. Could that be the extractor failing to hook on the newly loaded cartridge?

I had a few stovepipes, factory mags. I believe the failures to eject were caused by limp-wristing. I have never had a failure to extract. My recoil spring is factory.

My error so far was failing to isolate single variables. I plan to run another 100-150 rounds using only factory magazines with one brand of ammo.

Jolly Rogers
September 21, 2010, 12:43 PM
Could that be the extractor failing to hook on the newly loaded cartridge?

That ain't the way it works Alec. The round is slid forward by the slide rail. It hits the release point (determined by the mag dynamics, good or bad) and slides up behind the extractor. The extractor is not supposed to snap over the case rim. The process is supposed to be controlled feed. The round is not released until the next phase of movement has control, mag lips,dimple on the follower, frame ramp, all maintain contact until the next control point takes over. This allows the round to glide up under the extractor and tip up into the chamber. Tuner is much more eloquent than me but if the round escapes control you have push feed which is hard on the hardware.

September 21, 2010, 01:42 PM
Hello 1911tuner! where have you been?? I would listen to 1911tuner,He know all about 1911 and I mean every thing, he helped me one time a couple of years ago when i was starting the addiction to1911, he is a nice guy too..

September 21, 2010, 03:27 PM
Been kinda layin' low, vik. Keepin' up with the dogs has me busier'n a cross-eyed cat at a rat killin'.

September 21, 2010, 03:45 PM
Well, the shooter and magazine variables can raise their heads at the most inopportune moments. ;)

If you first experienced this issue when you were engaged in an informal competition, would you consider it possible the slightly increased stress of the moment might have adversely influenced your skills and handling? Not exactly unheard of, you know. Standing comfortably and shooting at a slow pace can be a bit different than trying to meet the demands of remaining within time limits and changing body positioning and balance. Sometimes it may have an influence on grip techniques which may not be recognized at the time.

Also, magazines are at the very heart of a pistols optimal functioning, and especially so with the 1911 platform.

If it were me, I'd inspect the magazines to make sure they're clean, dry and in proper condition (springs, feed lips, etc), clean and lubricate the gun and then use one brand of ammo to establish a baseline for feeding, moving on to another brand/style of load as the first one demonstrates proper feeding & functioning in the gun.

September 21, 2010, 05:21 PM
Well more knowledgeable guys than I have responded now but magazines or more specifically magazine springs would have been my guess. Makes it much easier to trouble shoot when you have multiple mags laying around. Thats a nice gun though, if it were me I'd buy some Wilson mags as well as new mag springs for the oem mags.

September 21, 2010, 05:27 PM
+1 with 1911 tuner.
"Something has changed, and that something is most likely the magazine spring. For your 8-round OEM magazines, order Wolff 11-pound/7-round springs. Be sure to get the right ones. The +5%/8-round springs won't work in the 7-round magazines."

I had similar malfunctions with a couple of 8 round Kimber mags. I replaced the original springs with Wolff 7 round replacement springs and the problem never resurfaced.

September 21, 2010, 06:14 PM
I had similar malfunctions with a couple of 8 round Kimber mags. I replaced the original springs with Wolff 7 round replacement springs and the problem never resurfaced.

With the OEM followers?



September 21, 2010, 07:15 PM
What purpose does the dimple on the follower serve? I notice some mags do not have it.

September 21, 2010, 08:11 PM
Call Springfield. They will take care of you on their dime and in a timely manner. I was very satisfied with their CS.

September 22, 2010, 09:07 AM
I have a strong preference for colt's hybrid magazines, you can read about them here---> http://how-i-did-it.org/magazines/gross-anatomy.html

In a previous springfield 1911 I owned the OEM mags felt rough feeding and then switching to the Hybrid lip mags it felt as smooth as could be. There was just no longer any feeling of hesitation during the feeding process. That made me a believer.

Also check out to see if you extractor is on the tight side for tension.


All credit of course goes to the authors of those articles.

September 22, 2010, 12:16 PM
I've had the same thing happen with a SA 1911 Mil Spec when I tried to shoot hollowpoints. I had a failure to feed at least once or twice every fifty. The gun had 300 rounds. I bought it new. It didnt matter what brand of hollowpoints. I only shot 230 grain hollowpoints. I bought an 8 round Wilson mag that my local gun store had in stock for about thirty bucks and ran 50 rounds of cheap winchester hollowpoints 230 grain and 20 rounds of Winchester PDX hollowpoints 230 grain. Problem fixed with the Wilson mag I'm assuming.

September 22, 2010, 01:10 PM
Yes, I used the original followers. After 25,000+ rounds through these 2 mags the problem never resurfaced.

For Bullseye shooting I use 2 blued mags for slow fire at 50 yds, and the 8 rounders I mentioned for all my 50' indoor and outdoor 25 yd sustained fire. I have put over 38,000 rounds through my wad gun at last count and most of my shooting is indoors over the winter.

I think the 8 rd springs were just too light for reliable feeding. Just my opinion, but it sure has worked for me.


October 18, 2010, 02:47 PM
After shooting the gun some more with only OEM mags, the malfunctions I've been seeing look like this.

The round gets chambered, but the gun doesn't fall into battery. If I pull the slide back, the round stays in the chamber. The extractor is not hooked to the rim and there appears to be some damage to the rim of the cartridge (no deformation, just a slight ding).

October 18, 2010, 03:57 PM
Weird that it deosn't pull the round out if you rack it.

Bad extractor? Burr in the chamber?

October 18, 2010, 05:51 PM
I think it's not being pulled from the chamber because the extractor is not hooked on the round. I can lock back the slide, lift the muzzle end up and the round will fall right out.

I have read quite a bit on the controlled feed of the 1911 but can't quite grasp what's going on in my case.

It almost looks as if I had placed the round in the chamber and dropped the slide.

January 1, 2011, 07:53 PM
Just an update. I got the pistol back from Springfield-- so far, so good (200 rnds). According to the paperwork they reamed the chamber, polished the feed ramp (it looks the same to me), replaced the recoil spring (standard weight, but it feels slightly stiffer now), and replaced the extractor.

I removed the barrel and dropped a round in. It moves ever so slightly in the chamber. If accuracy is reduced, I haven't noticed as it's still more accurate than me.

They also must have tightened the slide to frame fit, because there's no longer a bit of play in it. That wasn't noted on the paperwork.

A+ for their customer service. It was back to me in a week and a half.

January 2, 2011, 09:56 AM
Could it be that the extractor was not properly rounded on the bottom or somehow got dinged up during the course of shooting?

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