Post 1911 Trigger Job Problems


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chiltech500
June 4, 2014, 12:42 PM
I had 2.5 lb trigger job on a Springfield Armory 9mm to use for Bullseye use. My intent was to use it as the base for a 22 Nelson conversion.

I had some issues with the gunsmith in getting my pistol back to me and don't want to name names, but I will doubt anything he says to me at this point, which is why I am asking for info. here.

I have shot the pistol in 9mm about 200 rounds, a few times after inserting a mag the slide snapped closed. I know the smith replaced a very stiff stock SA mainspring with a much lighter main spring.

I also have experienced what I believe are light firing pin strikes. The round doesn't fire and after exam there's a slight pin mark; then I have re-chambered the round and it fires. So I'm believing the smith used a lighter firing pin spring.

I believe he replaced the recoil spring with a lighter spring as well, ejected cases go almost nowhere (that's the sign of a light recoil spring right?)

Any opinions, thoughts ideas are welcomed.

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BBBBill
June 4, 2014, 03:14 PM
Slide closing on magazine insertion is usually due to the slide stop not being fully engaged with the slide stop notch in the slide. If the stop lug is not fully seated in the notch, the shock/vibration from seating the mag can cause it to slip out. If the angle on the back of the slide stop and/or the notch are incorrect, they can cam apart from the force of the recoil spring pressure. Both problems together almost guarantee it to happen.

Lighter mainspring won't cause that the slide to slam closed. It was probably changed if/when the SA ILS mainspring safety was eliminated. The safety uses a much stronger, shorter spring that is held captive by the lock, actuated by the spanner key shipped with the gun. I'm betting he eliminated that and converted it to standard 1911 parts.

Light firing pin strikes are not caused by a light firing pin spring. The FP spring resists the movement of the firing pin forward, so a lighter spring would provide less resistance. He probably left the titanium firing pin in.... or put in the wrong pin. It is a non standard 1911 part with little mass to transfer energy from the hammer (and mainspring). Better to replace it with a steel pin made for the SA sized firing pin hole if you wish to continue to shoot it in 9mm. Firing pin sizes are specific to caliber and manufacturer, so be specific when you order.

A lighter recoil spring will throw brass further, not dribble it out at your feet.

A proper trigger job starts with quality parts of the correct dimensions. Briefly (and incompletely) the hammer hook surfaces are stoned to a smooth finish without removing too much material. The hooks are cut down to .020" (never shorter than .018").The sear nose is stoned to the correct angle, polished, and a relief cut made on the back. From there it is mostly tweaking the two left legs of the sear spring. The mainspring can change trigger pull a bit and some do that, but it is not usually replaced just for trigger pull improvement. Only after all other fitting steps are done and usually for other reasons than trigger pull. The only reason yours would have been changed is to eliminate that abomination of a safety lock. Is your thumb safety is fit correctly? Is there any movement of the sear when you pull the trigger with the thumb safety engaged?


A really great 1911 smith who can straighten out you problem is about 3 hours from you -
Innovative Custom Guns, LLC
162 Moudy Drive
New Enterprise, PA 16664
email – jim@innovativecustomguns.com
phone – 814.766.3004

chiltech500
June 5, 2014, 07:42 AM
Lighter mainspring won't cause that the slide to slam closed. It was probably changed if/when the SA mainspring safety was eliminated. The safety uses a much stronger, shorter spring that is held captive by the lock, actuated by the spanner key shipped with the gun. I'm betting he eliminated that and converted it to standard 1911 parts.

He did return parts which I did not study carefully, among one of which looked like the back strap of the SA. I know the original mainspring was heavy, it was the most difficult hammer to pull back I have ever used.

I can't imagine why there would have been changes to the slide stop notch(?) or recoil spring.

I will have to try (pulling the trigger) with the thumb safety engaged? Is that what you mean?

I will send you a PM with the name of the gunsmith.

Thanks

Jim Watson
June 5, 2014, 09:33 AM
The slide "auto closing" is not likely connected to a change in mainspring, unless something really weird like friction between the hammer and the bottom slide rail is acting.
There are a LOT of pistols that will close the slide when a magazine is vigorously inserted. It comes from spring balance and the engagement angles of the slide stop lever and notch.
MY Springfield 9mm will, as will many many Glocks and S&Ws. We just consider it a time saver in IDPA competition. It is not likely to occur when you install your Nelson.

Misfires are probably from too light a mainspring in combination with the titanium firing pin and its stiff spring. You need either a stronger mainspring or an Ed Brown steel firing pin and regular Wolff XP firing pin spring... or both. I have not had a misfire from a 19lb mainspring (23 is GI, SA ILS is about 28) although 17 was not enough for Wolf primers in one of my guns. You may need a stronger mainspring for the Nelson .22 upper, rimfires are harder to ignite.

Mr Milks at Innovative was the house gunsmith at EGW before going into business for himself. He has a good reputation.

BBBBill
June 5, 2014, 10:45 AM
I'm thinking that the main issue is the firing pin and it's spring. Check to see if it is the factory titanium pin and heavy spring. Easy fix.
Identify the parts returned. That will help. As Jim said, many will auto close upon insertion of the magazine. The magazine itself can sometimes be the culprit. Recoil spring changes are sometimes necessary when changing mainsprings, especially the SA ILS mainspring. There is a range of workable spring rates, depending on the loads and individual gun. After all of the mods to the gun are complete, then you match the spring to the load. The slide stop may have been on the ragged edge and is just now manifesting the issue. Yes. Pull the trigger with the safety engaged. Look down into the gun in front of the hammer where the sear and hammer engage to see any movement of the sear.

chiltech500
June 5, 2014, 12:53 PM
Thanks for all the help.

The misfires were with 9mm as I have not used the frame with the Nelson conversion yet.

I will do the sear test and will take a close look at the parts returned. If I'm uncertain about which firing pin was returned I will take a photo and post it.

A lighter recoil spring will throw brass further, not dribble it out at your feet.

I'm shooting 3.4g Titegroup with a MBC 125 LSWC. Ballistics average 1050 fps from the SA.

Bill I bought a range of Wolf springs for 1911, I believe 11 or 12# thru 16.5#. Is it possible I need a lighter recoil spring yet - what would the negative impact be from having too light a recoil spring?

BBBBill
June 5, 2014, 02:12 PM
The spring must be strong enough to strip a round from the magazine and feed it reliably into the chamber. Lighter (or too light), the muzzle will flip up more in recoil, your brass will go into the next county. Heavier (or too heavy), the brass will fall at your feet, the muzzle will dip as the slide closes, and/or the gun might short stroke and fail to eject/feed. Shooters tune their gun within a range of workable recoil springs to suit their load, the way the gun is set up, and individual preferences for the feel of the gun depending on whether they're shooting bullseye, IPSC, etc.

How experienced are you at reloading? Any chance you primers were not seated well? Have you tried factory ammo in it yet?

chiltech500
June 5, 2014, 03:03 PM
I've probably reloaded over 8k rounds by now. I have encountered instances wherein I felt primers were "forced in" when using the firm CCI SPP's. There is a possibility that those 2 (I think it was 2) non-fires were where the primer looked a bit high. When reinserted both rounds that I can think of fired the 2nd go round. I believe both had a slight dimple from the first attempt to fire.

I'm wondering if the recoil spring is still too strong, with cases falling at my feet as you put it. I may experiment a bit. I will also have to see if these problems continue before jumping to conclusions.

The gun is for Bullseye use not one of the action sports.

chiltech500
June 6, 2014, 07:56 PM
What is this 1911 part? It was one of the items removed during the trigger job on my Springfield Armory 9mm 1911.

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j113/chiltech500/P6060638.jpg (http://s78.photobucket.com/user/chiltech500/media/P6060638.jpg.html)

rcmodel
June 6, 2014, 08:05 PM
Mainspring retainer.
It goes on the bottom of the mainspring and presses down into the notch in the mainspring housing pin to keep it in place in the frame.

See part 5b page 27 of the owners manual.
http://people.cs.clemson.edu/~westall/851/springfield_1911.pdf

If he left it out, you are losing mainspring power, and there is nothing keeping the mainspring housing pin from slipping out of the frame.

rc

BBBBill
June 6, 2014, 09:51 PM
Sounds like you need to strip the gun down and check for a missing part. Seems like you're new to 1911s. Have you learned to do that yet? If not, it is easy.

chiltech500
June 7, 2014, 06:09 AM
Thanks gentlemen.

I am new to 1911's and frankly have been leery of stripping the gun down alone. Fortunately an experienced 1911'er member of this forum lives half an hour away and offered to take apart with me.

The gunsmith said he replaced parts. He returned a mainspring housing, 2 springs (firing pin and mainspring I guess) the mainspring retainer and one more part I will post a pic of. Perhaps he used customized parts???

For one, I can't imagine why he would use a different mainspring housing? BBBBill you received my PM with info on who the gunsmith is?

Jim Watson
June 7, 2014, 01:47 PM
He used a different mainspring housing to eliminate the Springfield ILS key lock mainspring housing which has non-1911 internals. Was the odd part an L shaped rod only 3/4 or an inch on each leg?

chiltech500
June 7, 2014, 04:03 PM
Not that I noticed Jim.

The Smith did verify he re-used the titanium firing pin. I have ordered the Ed Brown 9mm firing pin from Brownells and have a kind member who will help me tear down and I will learn.

Coldfinger
June 11, 2014, 01:52 AM
The smith obviously did not check his work for safety and function following work witch is part of our creed. Based on that alone I would say he is hot garbage. Secondly never take another firearm to him.

JDGray
June 14, 2014, 08:13 AM
Did you have this issue before the work was done?(slide dropping on mag insert)
This can be done with most guns, and I like it!
The SA ILS system uses a short stiff hammer spring, so all the guts in the MSH should be changed when going to the longer, softer, Colt set-up.

log man
June 20, 2014, 08:09 PM
Not that I noticed Jim.

The Smith did verify he re-used the titanium firing pin. I have ordered the Ed Brown 9mm firing pin from Brownells and have a kind member who will help me tear down and I will learn.

Be aware that Springfield uses a proprietary size firing pin in all calibers, half way between the standard 9mm and 45acp. In the Ed Brown line the correct FP for an SA is the #826. The smaller 9mm pin will most likely allow what's called primer flow, and brass chips will clog up the firing pin. This is more of a problem with the higher pressure 9mm cartridge over a low pressure 45acp. So one problem will be corrected, and a new one started, if the wrong pin is used, it does make a difference.

LOG

BBBBill
June 20, 2014, 09:01 PM
chilltech, sorry I lost track of this thread. I haven't been on here much due to lots of other stuff getting in the way. Yes, got your PM. The smith is known to me. I believe that he is very knowledgeable and stands behind his work. Have you contacted him to discuss? If not, please do. No smith wants to leave a bad taste with a customer. The titanium pin will be OK with a standard firing pin spring, but not with the extra power spring that SA factory installed when using a conventional mainspring of normal strength. So it was not inappropriate to leave it in place.

Chuck Warner
June 20, 2014, 11:03 PM
Chilltech, sorry to hear of your frustration.

The mainspring housing was replaced with a standard bar stock unit, along with a 20lb mainspring. You also have a standard power firing pin spring with the factory Ti pin. This is a standard combination we use with the optimized hammer and TR sear.
Your hooks are cut at .020 thou. This is a standard combo here for a 2.5 lb trigger job. Never seen a misfire with factory ammo, but there can always be a first. I didn't have a steel pin in stock or available at the time to replace yours, or I might have suggested it. When you contacted me about the pin, I think we covered that.
As for having a problem getting it back, when you sent the gun in, I warned you about time frames due to our move, and I accepted the work on that caveat, and you were fine with that.
A phone call would not have hurt either, as a follow up to the steel pin question, something I recommended then as well.
We finished the move, and are back to reasonable turnaround on smaller jobs.
Your recoil spring was not changed, and without further info, it's hard to dial you in with the gun. Familiarity does help.
The parts you received back were the stock internals and those I replaced with new. You seemed quite ecstatic with the gun when you got it back, and the only thing I got was a question regarding the pin.
Any decent gunsmith can address your other issues, and as always, I'm only a call away.
Cold finger, hot garbage? Really? I assume by "witch (which?) is part of our creed" that you are a gunsmith. In being so, if that's the case, a lesson you might learn is not to jump too quick with out all the facts.
We test with 50 rnds of factory ammo. There might be the slight possibility it could be ammo related as well.....
Either way, it shouldn't be too hard to get to the heart of the matter with someone more familiar with the gun taking a peek.

Best,
CW

chiltech500
June 23, 2014, 12:12 PM
Chuck, I did not mean to have your name brought up in a public forum.

The pistol is fine really, the slide closing sometimes when inserting a mag forcibly is due to SA's cut on the lock stop - I don't usually slam in mags so it's not really an issue.

The primary reason for the trigger job was to use the frame for a Nelson Conversion 22 for Bullseye and I have had ZERO problems in that regard, so the titanium firing pin and that other stuff isn't really important in the bigger picture of things.

Then looking at the misfires, I use my handloads, and as I said the gun functions flawlessly with the Nelson Conversion. The 9mm was shot out of convenience but for whatever reason, the gun is not accurate - and it wasn't in 9mm before the trigger job.

So I am not terribly inconvenienced in any way - if I had been I would have called you Chuck. Do you recall I called and asked about the titanium firing pin? It's no problem, I ordered the "9mm" firing pin from Brownells and will install with some help. Besides, it will be good for me to watch and learn because I haven't toyed with any 1911 internals out of being careful not to mess things up.

chiltech500
June 23, 2014, 12:14 PM
Log Man, the Ed Brown firing pin I received is the 825 for: "9mm, 38 Super and 10mm" per the packaging.

log man
June 23, 2014, 12:44 PM
Log Man, the Ed Brown firing pin I received is the 825 for: "9mm, 38 Super and 10mm" per the packaging.

This is a very common mistake by inexperienced SA users, not having yet realized that SA uses the same proprietary size pin for both 45acp and 9mm, and everything in between. This standard #825 Ed Brown size 9mm pin will seem to work, as it is small enough to pass through the firing pin hole, and ignite the primer. However it is too small, and will allow the primer metal to bulge back into the excess space, and as the case is pulled down during recoil, particles of the bulged area will be sheared off. Might seem okay at first, but will result in failure eventually, especially when used in a high pressure cartridge.

The Ed Brown #826 is the correct size. Measure the tip diameter of the Ti pin in your pistol.

LOG

Chuck Warner
June 23, 2014, 06:44 PM
Chilltech,
I know you didn't, but as the last guy known to touch your gun, I'm always concerned when a problem develops. I hope the new pin cures that for you.
I try and be available to all of my customers on technical issues, related or not, to any work I do.

Let us know how that works out.

Best,

CW

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