General extractor question


DC Plumber
July 21, 2012, 12:27 PM
Hi folks,

I've read that with a 1911 style handgun, never drop a cartridge into the barrel and then release the slide. Apparently this causes the extractor to engage with the cartridge rim in a manner for which is was not designed to do, and will/may cause extractor damage.

I've manually loaded my Ruger M77 in this fashion. Is that also a bad idea?

It seems that if an extrator is present, it should alway load the cartridge from the magazine.

Thanks in advance for any information.

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July 21, 2012, 12:39 PM
Some extractors are more flexible than others. For instance on the beretta 92 series, the extractor is external and spring loaded so if you load a round directly into the chamber, it can bend "around" the rim of the cartridge, no problem. In the 1911 it is an internal extractor (well some have external but most internal) and it can't really bend as much, so in order to not break the rim, or the extractor, or both, the cartridge has to be loaded from the magazine so it slides up and under the extractor.

July 21, 2012, 04:02 PM
The 1911 uses what is known as "controlled round feed". That means the round has to slide up under the extractor and into the hook from the magazine. The 1911 extractor is essentially a long solid spring. It can lose it's temper and even break if the hook is forced over the rim by repeatedly dropping a round in the chamber and closing it. Most modern guns use a spring loaded pivoting extractor. They can swivel over the rim with no damage. If you can see the extractor on the outside of the slide then it is the pivoting type.

July 21, 2012, 06:06 PM
I never knew that. I thought the 1911 extractor worked just like the one on my CZ75.

Ive done the tube drop a few times when loading for carry, now I know not to do that anymore :D

Jim K
July 21, 2012, 07:14 PM
Whether the M1911 should be single loaded or not, of if that should be done repeatedly or not, the fact is that it was intended that it could be loaded that way. The Army was concerned that if the magazine were lost the gun would be useless, so they rejected the idea of a magazine safety as well as making sure the chamber could be loaded without the magazine.

To say that it might not be a good idea is one thing; to claim that it cannot be done or that Browning never intended it be done is not correct.

FWIW, the old spring steel extractors work just fine in single loading and will do it OK for a long time. It is the modern cast extractors, made from cheap "mystery metal" that give trouble if flexed.


July 21, 2012, 07:38 PM
It's not the flexing that gets'em as much as it is the impact.

As Jim noted, they were designed to allow single-loading in an emergency...which is why spring-tempered steel was originally specified...but it was primarily meant to chamber a round from the magazine.

DC Plumber
July 22, 2012, 04:43 PM
Excellent stuff guys!


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