1911Tuner, Weird Extractor Problem


May 4, 2004, 06:44 PM
Tuner, I have a NRM Colt with the older MIM extractor. I bought an
Ed Brown "match grade" extractor to replace it. The FPS plunger absolutely
will not go in the slide with this extractor, no matter what position
I put the extractor in. The MIM Colt extractor lets the plunger in the
slide with little effort. Is this common with Ed Brown extractors? Also,
I tried to install the firing pin stop with the extractor in and it practically
had to be hammered in. What is your experience with the Wilson
Combat extractors? Do they normally fit better than the Ed Browns?
And do you think I should leave the MIM extractor in it? It is
working fine by the way.


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May 4, 2004, 07:34 PM
Howdy huduguru,

1911 extractors come in two flavors...Series 70 and Series 80. If you
got the Brown Series 70, it doesn't have the cut that lets the firing
pin plunger go into the slide.

If yours is for a Series 80, you can turn the slide upside down and look through the plunger hole to see what position that the extractor has to be in to let the plunger in. You'll have to position the extractor, slip the
plunger in, and push the extractor forward to capture the plunger.

If it's a Series 80 extractor, and the plunger won't go in no matter where
you position it, the cut-out is probably out of spec.

The firing pin stop will have to be filed to fit. The Brown extractor probably
has a shallower slot for the stop to fit into. There's also a chance that the
thickness of the stop is larger than the slot. You'll have to determine which
dimension needs filing. Check the fit of the stop with the extractor out of the slide. If it slips in, the stop is too wide.

Remove material from the right side of the stop by laying it flat on a file and drawing the stop toward you. The file will only cut in one direction. It'll
be a trial-and-error operation, so be patient. When the stop will go in with a little finger pressure, and will let the firing pin snap into place, it's perfect.

If you have to adjust the thickness, lay front side of the stop on the file and draw it. (The side that the hammer doesn't hit) Deburr the hole
by hand with a countersink or tapered stone after you're through.

Wilson Bulletproof extractors usually require fitting the stop. Brown Hardcore extractors usually don't. Don't know about the Brown Match Grade...never used one.

Hope this nails it...




Wheah AH mah mannahs? Welcome to The High Road!

May 4, 2004, 08:20 PM
Appreciate the quick reply. I did position the extractor while looking
into the hole and lined it up perfectly but the plunger still wouldn't
slide in. I'm a little surprised that this thing would be so far off spec
considering Ed Brown products are supposed to be high quality.
Maybe I'll send it back to them and exchange it for the Hardcore.
I have been lurking here for a long time and really enjoy your posts.
I especially liked the one where you said the 1911 would function
pretty good even without an extractor. I thought that was
pretty cool and just proof of the reliability of J. Browning's
design. :)

May 4, 2004, 08:39 PM
You said:

I did position the extractor while looking
into the hole and lined it up perfectly but the plunger still wouldn't
slide in.

Try pulling the extractor backward just a little more. The cutout has a tiny
shelf in it that captures the plunger. You may need a flashlight to look into
the plunger hole to see exactly where the shelf is. Try putting light pressure on the plunger while you slowly lever the extractor backward and see if it will find the sweet spot. Ed Brown extractors usually don't
fit flush with the back of the slide when installed, so you can't use that as a location index for the plunger cutout.

If it still won't drop through, the shelf may be too wide, or on the high end of tolerance. If the hole is positioned about .003 inch off location, the tolerance stack can work against you. It may be that a light scrape and check, etc on the edge of the shelf will let it work. Be aware that if it doesn't, the warranty on the part is history.

Standin' by...


May 4, 2004, 11:38 PM
Tuner, I tried the Ed Brown extractor again using the technique
you mentioned. Still no go. I think I'll just take it back to the store I bought it at and order a Wilson through the mail. I believe you are correct that the plunger hole is out of spec. Live and learn I guess. One more question,
are the firing pin stops on stock Colts fairly loose? Mine is with the
stock extractor. When I push in the firing pin, the firing pin stop will
fall out if I shake the gun a little. Just curious.

Thanks :)

May 5, 2004, 05:34 AM
Howdy hudu,

If the hole is mislocated, a different extractor may not do any good.

I'm bettin' that it's the exctractor that's catty-wampus. Compare it with the
original...with measurements if possible...and see what the difference is.

Standin' by...


May 5, 2004, 10:29 AM
I compared the Ed Brown extractor to the stock mim part and the
plunger hole is way smaller than the Colt part. I think I just got
a bad Ed Brown extractor. I could probably file it to fit but
I think I'll just return it. Are the firing pin stops on Colts normally
kinda loose? Mine seems to be. Thanks for your help. I'm glad
I have a resource like this. What would we do without the internet?

May 5, 2004, 02:02 PM
hudu asked:

Are the firing pin stops on Colts normally
kinda loose? Mine seems to be.

Yep. Most are...and if the firing pin spring gets tired, the stop can drop out of place and tie up the gun when the bottom edge catches on the hammer spur. I've seen a few fall clean outta the slide and spit the firing pin and
spring into the shooter's face. One guy got a tooth chipped. Bad show!

Keeps us posted on how this turns out.

Dave Sample
May 5, 2004, 08:33 PM
You are in good hands with the Tuner. I do not understand the terminlogy here. I have never heard of the "Plunger" that you are talking about. Go get him , Tuner.

May 5, 2004, 08:45 PM
Dave said:

I have never heard of the "Plunger"

The plunger in the slide on a Series 80 (NRM) Colt. Some folks call it a
thingamajig or a whimmie-diddle.:cool:

May 6, 2004, 05:40 PM
I have other terms that I use for the series 80 plunger, but I can not repeat them on a family oriented forum.:cuss:

Fortunately my Delta Elite is the only example I have to fool with. Got to be a real pain when I was having so much extractor troubles.

I find it amazing that as simple a thing as an extractor can cause such a wide variety of problems, all at the same time. Replace it, get the tension set right, and lightly polish it, and all the problems go away simultaneously!:D

I fooled with it so much during that process, I even learned how to handle that :cuss: plunger. Though I often felt like :banghead:

In the end, it was worth it.;)

Dave Sample
May 6, 2004, 08:49 PM
I was sitting on my front porch today contemplating the ruby in my naval, and It Came to Me like a flash of bright light! This person has an '80 series with the Lawyer Parts in it! Woe is me to be so ignorant! I hope you will not think too badly of me. On my 1911's and in my world, there are four parts that we stuff in the back end of slides. We insert an extractor, a firing pin and spring, and a firing pin stop. That's It! I have just assembled four out of eight 1911 PATRIOTS that came back from Gunsite Tuesday and I was not able to think in the terms of 2004. They are now flat back and three are in the air on the way home and my heart was in the highlands, not on the High Road. One other thing that threw me was the little plunger retainer that Bidwell and I would sometimes install right above the firing pin hole in the firing pin stop so that it would never leave you in a gunfight. I may do one of those to my Colt Commander some day and if I do, I will show you some pics of it. It is quite clever. I just could not picture one in a current 1911 since he quit building guns several years ago. The mystery of the weird plunger is solved to my satisfaction. I do have a few of these plungers in little plastic bags out in the shop somewhere. That is where I like to see them. But never in a 1911 fighting hand gun.

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