Certain Mag Followers eating Aluminum 1911 frames?


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Amish_Bill
January 11, 2004, 08:41 PM
I just got linked to a forum at a 1911 site that had an interesting warning. It appears in the context of flat-fronted McCormick followers and Kimber aluminum frame 1911s, but I have to assume that it applies to ALL aluminum framed 1911s and flat fronted followers. ???

Apparently, some mags that have followers with no front support are eating frames. The sharp front edge of the follower is said to be being pushed forward and hitting the feed ramp.

Let me see if I can find the linky.... Yes... Here it is. McCormick Style Followers having Aluminum Kimbers For Lunch. (http://www.1911forum.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=61318)

Has anyone here seen this themselves?

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Sean Smith
January 11, 2004, 08:52 PM
I've heard that before. Never saw it firsthand, though, since all my 1911s have been steel framed.

Note that some hollowpoints can chew up aluminum feed ramps, too, which is why some folks just have steel ramp inserts installed in their alumimum-framed guns.

esheato
January 11, 2004, 10:44 PM
Here's the final word on aluminum framed guns.

Yes, the aluminum frame is soft....COMPARED to a steel frame. When you buy the gun, you have to understand that it has a shorter lifespan than a similar sized steel one. Hell, even a steel frame can have a short lifespan if it's not properly hardened, cured, whatever you want to call it.

Yes, they're great to carry. No, they shouldn't be a competition gun that will be shot daily for practice.

Now, I'm not one to follow my own advice. I have a Kimber Pro Carry with the aluminum frame that I carried daily. When I first started shooting IDPA, I used this gun as it was the only 1911 that I owned. For over 10 months, I was shooting 2,000 rounds of reloads per month. I used McCormick mags (PowerMags actually) and within 2-3 weeks, I noticed gouging of the feed ramp. The gouging was from the bottom lip of the follower. There's a small section that is pointed and it was digging into the frame. How do I know this? Take off the top end and insert a magazine. The gouge and the magazine fit together.

Two minutes with the Dremel rounded out the follower and the wear has not increased even though I use the same McCormick mags.

I'd say I used the Kimber for around 10 months of shooting, four times a week, 2,000 rounds a month. The gun has been put through it's paces.

I eventually acquired a steel framed govt model and that is now my primary competition gun, while the Kimber has been a strictly carry piece. I shoot it maybe 15 rounds every month just to make sure it still works.

If you want pics of how I changed the follower on my mags, I'd be glad to post one fo ryou.

Enjoy the pics.

esheato...

http://pic4.picturetrail.com/VOL60/919855/3159588/42596167.jpg

http://pic4.picturetrail.com/VOL60/919855/3159588/42596186.jpg

Amish_Bill
January 11, 2004, 10:54 PM
I'd love to see pics of what you did to your mags. any chance of before & after shots?

esheato
January 11, 2004, 11:13 PM
I don't have any unadultered magazines to show you. I only have 2 and have modified both of them.

If someone else out there could photograph a closeup of the original CMC PowerMag follower that would be great.

http://pic4.picturetrail.com/VOL60/919855/3159588/42600263.jpg

http://pic4.picturetrail.com/VOL60/919855/3159588/42600250.jpg

The bottom lip of the follower was what I modified. I just ground them round.

esheato...

Amish_Bill
January 11, 2004, 11:28 PM
The only pics I've seen of the CMC mags were from the side. The perpective you shot those from is a good one to illustrate the issue.

As I follow it, the lower arm of the follower was originally straight across, and your mod was to round off the edges, right?

esheato
January 11, 2004, 11:39 PM
It's been a year or two since I modified them. The bottom of the follower was not straight across. I believe that the original part was partially rounded yet protruded more. I wish I had a new one here to photograph them side by side.

As you can see from the feed ramp photos, the mags were only gouging the ramp on the left side (looking from the back of the pistol). IIRC, the left bottom side of the follower was the culprit.

I've got my fingers crossed that somebody will help me out with a new mag photo.

esheato...

Andrew Wyatt
January 12, 2004, 12:58 AM
Yes, they're great to carry. No, they shouldn't be a competition gun that will be shot daily for practice.

Dad's commander was his competetion gun when he was still active in IPSC and SWPL. It has upwards of 25,000 rounds through it, and the feedramp is still pretty much pristine, the frame isn't cracked, and the gun still goes bang every time.

1911Tuner
January 12, 2004, 01:23 AM
Yes, certain magazine followers will eat into your feed ramp. 8-round
magazines come with a couple of penalties. A shortened follower and
a spring with fewer turns. The room for that extra round has to come from somewhere. This is addressed to magazines with shortened sheet metal followers, either the Devel design or the conventional type.

What happens is that the rear leg of the follower isn't as stable as the longer 7-round follower. The standard follower has 3 of the spring's coils
against it to keep it in place against the back wall of the empty magazine, while the shorter 8-rounder has only two. When the last round feeds, the follower gets pushed forward and down in a nose-dive attitude. The front of the follower makes contact with the feed ramp, and if frame is aluminum, a gouge begins to take shape. Polishing the feed ramp will remove the
hard anodizing and accelerate the process.

Some hollowpoint ammo will also mark the ramp, but not to the degree
nor as quickly as the follower. If the magazine is right, the bullet nose
shouldn't make more than light contact with the ramp anyway. If the round
nose-dives into the ramp before it enters the throat, the magazine spring
is weak, or the follower is set at the wrong angle. Hardball, with its
round ogive is more forgiving in this circumstance.

On to...the spring issue. The shortened magazine spring won't be as
strong as a standard spring, all else being equal. It will also get tired
sooner and start to exhibit magazine timing problems. Rideover feeds,
Bolt Over Base...Push-feeds/extractor snapover feeds. Most of these
occur on the last round, while the other indication is the top round
nose-dive. Wolff 11-pound springs will usually cure the timing problems,
but won't do much about the short follower's instability and forward rock.

8-round magazines come with a price. No such thing as a free lunch, I'm afraid.

Cheers!

Tuner

esheato
January 12, 2004, 01:31 AM
Dad's commander was his competetion gun when he was still active in IPSC and SWPL. It has upwards of 25,000 rounds through it, and the feedramp is still pretty much pristine, the frame isn't cracked, and the gun still goes bang every time.

I'm not saying that they're brittle. I'm not saying that they're worse than steel framed 1911s. Just that they're different, and are created for different situations...At least in my head :D the aluminum is more suited for carrying lots, shooting little and vice versa for the steel models.

I probably have upwards of 20,000 through mine, and it wouldn't be in such a dilapidated condition if I would have caught the mag problem earlier.

esheato...

BluesBear
January 12, 2004, 02:03 AM
Here's a pic of one of my Colt 8rd magazines. They come with a CMcC follower.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=720958

The bottom shelf on the follower is about 3/16" longer than the top.
My Mec-Gar 8rd flat bottom mags have a similar follower except the point is rounded off and it's only at most 1/8" longer than the top.

My Mitchell 8rd is shaped exactly like the CMcC.

DDGator
January 12, 2004, 03:16 PM
Excuse me if this is an ignorant question, but...

For occasional use of CMC mags in aluminum guns, is the problem entirely avoided by not shooting the mag dry (i.e. -- in IPSC I usually do a tac reload before the mag is empty)?

1911Tuner
January 12, 2004, 03:21 PM
Gator asked:

Excuse me if this is an ignorant question, but...

For occasional use of CMC mags in aluminum guns, is the problem entirely avoided by not shooting the mag dry (i.e. -- in IPSC I usually do a tac reload before the mag is empty)?

Not an ignorant question Gator. A very valid one, and the answer is no...
not as long as the last round doesn't feed. One round in the tube keeps the follower too far down to make contact with the frame OR rock forward.
Up until that point, the follower behaves the same as a standard follower,
or very nearly so.

Cheers!
Tuner

DDGator
January 12, 2004, 03:38 PM
Thanks Tuner. I figured that might me the case.

I occasionally use my carry gun (with aluminum frame) for IPSC, just to keep sharp with it. But, to get through a whole course of fire, I need to use my collection of CMC Shooting Star mags that I use with my all steel gun.

Fortunately, each stage is 6 rounds, so I usually do a tactical reload with a round or two left in the mag when it drops. I didnt want to have to worry about new mags or conversions for this type of limited use.

In the future though, all my officer size mags for my carry gun will be Wilsons.

Marko Kloos
January 12, 2004, 03:45 PM
Another solution would be to go to an alloy-framed 1911 that has a ramped barrel, like the Springfield Lightweight models.

Mine has a ramped barrel, but I only use 7-round Metalforms anyway.

Wildalaska
January 12, 2004, 04:03 PM
I use a steel feed ramp in my Defender, and in fact thats what we do to all of our custom 1911 lightweight carry guns

WildsoftaluminumAlaska

DDGator
January 12, 2004, 04:06 PM
I am using a Kimber Ultra Carry II. I don't have it on me now at work and I can't remember if it is a ramped barrel or not. I am sure someone here knows.

1911Tuner
January 12, 2004, 04:28 PM
Mark said:

Another solution would be to go to an alloy-framed 1911 that has a ramped barrel, like the Springfield Lightweight models.

That'll work. For .45 caliber pistols, a better approach is the steel ramp
insert. Ya gotta cut the frame for the ramped barrel anyway, so why not?
Ramped barrels are uniquely suited to the smaller calibers, and are almost
a necessity for function with hollowpoint ammo is some .38 Super/9X23
pistols.

Mine has a ramped barrel, but I only use 7-round Metalforms anyway.

Double protection. Not a bad idea for a really good pistol, and worth the
cost, I'd say.

Albert Shear
January 12, 2004, 07:06 PM
I took the pics of some of the mags on the 1911 forum to use in aluminum frame guns. If concerned you can change followers and springs or get new mags. I have two aluminum frame 1911s, a Colt Officers which Wilson mags are used (polymer followers) and a Kimber Tactical Custom II. After testing several different mags I have found(my opinion only) that Ed Brown have worked the best. The follower is recommended for aluminum frame guns, it has the large base pad for the mag well and it fed with 100% reliability.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid97/p8e44fd2fb245e13673d47c1c07a49601/fa07811c.jpg

1911Tuner
January 12, 2004, 07:23 PM
Albert, that's a Metalform with their proprietary round follower. As
delivered from Metalform, they need a little stiffer spring, and the
spring is a lot like the ones meant for the Wilson 47s in that just any
service replacement spring won't work. I think Metalform will upgrade
that magazine with a correct 11-pound Wolff spring for a nominal extra
cost...maybe 2 bucks. The magazines are available in carbon and stainless.

Tune on!

Tuner

Albert Shear
January 12, 2004, 07:30 PM
They fed fine thru 500 rounds. So, does Metalfor or Wolf sell the 11# springs ?

Albert Shear
January 12, 2004, 07:36 PM
PS to the previous, curious as to why it needs a stiffer spring spring to begin with. Please enlighten me.

1911Tuner
January 12, 2004, 07:52 PM
I think Wolff makes them expressly for Metalform. The reason for a stiffer spring is for Commanders with their heavier recoil springs and reduced
slide travel. I noticed an occasional last round Bolt-Over-Base with the stock springs. After I modified a standard Wolff spring to work, the malfunctions stopped. It was a magazine timing issue, and the heavier springs speed it up. They work fine in 5-inch guns with 16-pound recoil springs. After they get a little tired, they may not.

You may be able to order them directly from Wolff, but the cheapest
route is to call Metalform and talk to Jenny.

Luck to ya!

Tuner

Albert Shear
January 12, 2004, 07:56 PM
Thanks,
Al

Wildalaska
January 12, 2004, 09:38 PM
Heres a Picture (http://www.wildwestguns.com/feedramp.jpg) of a steel feed ramp in a aluminum frame gun. You can see how its machined in (note that the ramp looks lower than the frame becasue of the poor photographer, me)

WildarrownotincludedAlaska

Albert Shear
January 13, 2004, 02:41 PM
Tuner, I just checked the follower follower and spring situation and sure enough as always you are right. I had to place an order for the shop anyway with Brownells so I went ahead and ordered the 11# Wolfs and some Metalforms. Thanks for the info.

1911Tuner
January 13, 2004, 04:42 PM
Mighty welcome Albert.

So...Brownells carries the 11-pound Wolff springs that are compatible
with the round Metalform follower? Awright!

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