Springfield Magnaflux Report


June 29, 2004, 08:13 AM
As promised...FInally!

Parts magnaflux tested were:

Slidestop Recoil guide rod Hammer Hammer strut Sear Disconnect Firing pin stop Hammer and sear pins Mainspring housing pin Magazine catch
Slide Frame Grip safety Thumb safety Barrel.

The slide showed light stress risers in sharply machined corners at the
junction of the rails and plug housing. No fracturing was iminent. The breechface showed light, spiderwebbed stress risers in the corners. No fracturing was iminent

The frame showed light stress risers at the junction of the dust cover and
frame rail on the right side. No fracturing was iminent.

The firing pin stop showed stress risers in sharp corners and possibly the
beginning of a light fracture in the edge of the firing pin hole at 8 O'Clock.
Light, spiderwebbed stress risers were noted in various areas, due to hammer impact. No other fracturing was noted.

The Hammer showed light spiderwebbed stress risers at the radiused
underside of the spur. No fracturing was iminent

The sear showed a stress riser that ran diagonally from the top to the
left side. The riser was contained without running to either edge. Fracturing possible within 2500-5000 additional rounds, and probable
within 10,000 additional rounds.

The disconnect showed no signs of iminent fracturing or wear. Light
stress risers were noted in the corners at the top of the paddle at the
junction of the stem.

The recoil spring guide rod head showed spiderwebbed stress risers
throughout. Fracturing not iminent within 10,000 rounds.

The hammer strut showed light stress risers that ran longitudinally
from the pin hole to the middle, and from the tip to a point just below the
flat.. Fracturing probable within an additional 5000-10,000 rounds

The slidestop pin showed longitudinal stress risers and a light fracture that didn't terminate. No fracturing was indicated at the junction of pin and arm. Light stress risers were noted in the backside of the engagement lug, likely due to impact during the slidelock function. No fracturing was

Light stress risers were apparent at the front and rear of the lower lug and barrel junction. No fracturing was iminent. Upper lugs showed light
stress risers in the corners at the junction of lug and barrel on the
number 2 and 3 lugs. No fracturing iminent.

The grip safety showed light stress risers in sharp corners. No others
were noted and no fracturing was indicated.

The thumb safety showed light stress risers in the corners. No fracturing
was indicated.

Hammer and sear pins showed light stress risers on the flared ends. No
fracturing indicated

Mainspring housing pin showed light stress risers in the groove. No
fracturing indicated.

The magazine catch showed light stress risers throughout with no fracturing iminent anywhere.


The presence of stress risers in corners and sharp terminal points are normal and present in all sharp corners after stress loads are appled to
steel. If a crack is going to appear, these are the areas that they will
show up first.

The longitudinal stress risers and light fracturing of the slidestop crosspin
is indication of a void or flaw in the casting. A longitudinal fracture here isn't likely to cause a problem by itself, but it the fracturing begins to
travel perpendicularly to the original crack, failure can occur.

The diagonal stress riser in the sear would likely result in a failure. This
was likely due to a void or flaw in the part during the injection molding

The titanium firing pin was not tested due to being non-ferrous and not
responsive to the magnaflux process.

The barrel bushing was not tested due to early replacement. Looseness in the slide dictated that it be replaced to prevent possible damage to the lug recess in the slide. The replacement bushing was an MGW drop-in.
The slide's bore diameter was close enough to require light lapping of the
bushing. A slight improvement in accuracy was noted due to the bushing's
fit in the slide and to the barrel's OD.

Final assessment:

The GI Mil-Spec is a very good bargain, and shows much promise...but
still not quite up to snuff on the small parts issue. There are good steel
parts available on the aftermarket at reasonable and competitive prices, especially when ordered in bulk. Springfield could upgrade this pistol and keep the costs low enough to make it attractive to the buying public. For about 500 dollars, the gun could challenge the Norinco for durability. I'd guess that if the Norinco was still available, the price would be very close to that figure today. (The overall first impression of this pistol was that it was a much more nicely fitted and finished gun than the average Norinco.) For that matter...so could Colt, and the boys in Connecticut could take a lesson from Springfield on fitting the slide and frame to acceptable specs.



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Silent Bob
June 29, 2004, 09:17 AM
Thanks for the report! I had been looking forward to the magnaflux testing of the gun.

June 29, 2004, 09:45 AM
Good stuff to know..thanks for all the effort and time...

Silent Bob
June 29, 2004, 09:52 AM
Were there any stress risers around the ejection port opening?

June 29, 2004, 10:16 AM
Bob asked:

Were there any stress risers around the ejection port opening?

Only in the corners at the rear where the barrel hood fits...which is
characteristic of corners after any machining operation. The risers
were minor and not a cause for concern at the level of use. Anywhere
that you have a corner or sharp edge, there will be indications of stress risers in the steel. Radiusing, breaking sharp edges, and polishing
relieves these risers and delays or prevents cracking. Glass beading prior to finishing relieves risers in surfaces also, but this may not always be possible. Remember to polish or stone with the grain of the steel, and
never across it if possible.

Stress risers were also apparent at the broached hole where the front sight tenon went through, and at the rear dovetail. Also normal.

Wish I had been able to do a magnaflux check prior to the torture test
so that a comparison could have been made as to before and after.


June 29, 2004, 11:16 AM
Did you magnaflux the original extractor? I would've been interested in seeing how SA's primary problem child would've done.

June 29, 2004, 11:34 AM
Delayed reaction asked:

Did you magnaflux the original extractor? I would've been interested in seeing how SA's primary problem child would've done.

Nope. I gave up on the extraqctor a little past mid-ways through the test
because it required retensioning and poor performance due to being slightly out of spec...I think I remember Old Fuff askin' about the specs.
It was a little too narrow and the hook wasn't deep enough to do its
job correctly. I canned it...As far as I was concerned, it wasn't even fit for
a range spare. I replaced it with a used, tweaked Brown Hardcore, and
eventually settled on a modified C&S extractor for the final 500 rounds or so. No other extractor problems occured.



June 29, 2004, 02:04 PM
my milspec ejector lost tension after 100 rounds and decided to replace also. otherwise i think they are very accurate and will probably get another soon.

June 29, 2004, 05:07 PM
How do you tune an extractor?

July 1, 2004, 04:40 PM
1911 Tuner: Thanks for posting these test results!
Question regarding the possible future fracturing of the sear: would this fracture cause an accidental discharge when it happens?(if the pistol is cocked and locked). Or would there still be enough of the sear left to catch the half cock?
My Kimber Series 1 Compact (when assembled without the sear as an experiment) pushes the thumb safety off when the hammer is released from full cock. The thumb safety slows the hammer fall some, so I believe (hope) there wouldn't be enough force to ignite the primer. So complete sear failure should prevent an AD. Am I right?
I've never personally heard of a 1911 AD from parts failure.
Thank you.
Best regards from eastern NC,

July 1, 2004, 05:41 PM
Howdy Cherokee, and greetings from the Piedmont/Foothills.

To answer your question...no. I don't think that one corner of the
sear fracturing completely off would have caused the pistol to fire
form Condition One.

A few months back, I ran a series of tests on the cocked and locked
issue in which I removed 1/8th inch from the sear nose to simulate
a total failure of the sear. The half-cock stopped the hammer. It
was a full, captive notch, and not a stop shelf like on the Springfield.
In fact, with the sear nose removed, the hammer hooks still engaged the
sear and held the hammer, and released with about a three-pound pull of the trigger. Racking the slide briskly didn't produce a hammer followdown, and neither did chambering a round from slidelock, finger off-trigger.

Then I removed the hammer hooks, overcocked the hammer and let fly.
The half-cock stopped it cold. Then I removed the half-cock, Held the
hammer back and applied the safety, and let fly. The hammer pushed the safety off, but what was left of the half-cock...basically a stop shelf... and
the hammer made it to the firing pin, but without enough force to fire
an empty, primed case in the chamber. If I remember correctly, it took
36 or 37 attempts at the same primer to get it to fire.

Note that Federal primers are the softest and most sensitive that I'm
aware of. CCI are the hardest, and Winchester falls between the two.

The original Springfield firing pin spring and titanium firing pin would
make a discharge even less likely, but would probably require a heavy
mainspring to reliably bust a cap. Something on the order of 28 pounds.
Something to consider if you swap out the ILS system for a standard mainspring housing and related parts.



July 1, 2004, 05:57 PM
That was amazing. I didn't understand all of that, but it was all interesting to read.

If you can I would edit your original post to maybe give some of us some background on how a mganaflux works and what it tells you. Until reading the whole post I really didn't have any idea what a magnaflux does. After reading about the parts you tested I can deduce what it is used for, but some might not be so lucky. You should always assume you are talking to people that don't have a clue what you are talking about.

Thanks Tuner

July 1, 2004, 06:34 PM
Thanks Tuner!
Very interesting experiments--I always knew cocked & locked was safe!:)
PS We've magnafluxed crankshafts on airplane engines to check for cracks--must be done on certain engines every 100 hours accoring to the FAA--fantastic process.

July 1, 2004, 08:06 PM
Howdy Doug,

Since Cherokee does this on a regular basis, maybe he can give you the intricate details on Magnaflux testing, but basically it subjects the part to
a magnetic field with a reactive compound that, when viewed under an
ultraviolet light, shows up cracks, voids and other flaws within the steel
as a bright area that closely matches the shape of the flaw.

Non-ferrous metals...ones that aren't magnetic...must be X-rayed for flaws.

I never performed a magnaflux test myself...and I don't know all the
ins and outs of the procedure. When Mike tested the Springer parts, I wasn't there, so he marked the parts with a grease pencil wrote down the results/descriptions for me. Cherokee? Jump in and educate us!


July 2, 2004, 01:47 AM
A very interesting report. You are certainly dedicated to checking every corner of the Mil-Spec. I hope when I become old and grey I'm as lively as you seem to be. :D

For that matter...so could Colt, and the boys in Connecticut could take a lesson from Springfield on fitting the slide and frame to acceptable specs.

HIDE! Run for the hills, the "If it's not a 'youknowhat', it's just a copy" people are coming. They're waving torches and heading to Tuner's house!

July 2, 2004, 07:08 AM
Yes I'd like some explaination. A lot of mention of stress risers. In my experience magnaflux detects cracks not stress .

July 2, 2004, 07:22 AM
Why, you young whippersnapper! If I was 25 years younger,
I'd...I'd...uh...hmmm. Dang! I forgot.:D

mete...I'm only goin' on what Mike told me. I wasn't there for his test.
He may have called'em risers when he meant the beginnings of
surface fractures in the corners and or edges, which is where risers abound and cracks usually start.

I believe his words were..."Evidence of Stress Risers in/around"....
so he may have X-rayed some parts. He didn't have a lotta time to
go into details, and I didn't wanna wear out my welcome.

If I can catch him idle in the next few days, I'll corner him on it and
report back. Lotta racin' goin' on around here these days.

Later on!


Old Fuff
July 2, 2004, 09:58 AM
Your excellent and inclusive report confirmed for the most part what I expected. MIM parts may be fine if they are perfect, but potential death traps if they have flaws, air pockets, or seams. A part failure may not result in an accidental discharge, but it will likely disable the pistol until repairs are made, and this could be after someone’s funeral. Using x-ray or other processes can discover flaws, but since the goal in the first place was cost savings additional inspection aren’t likely to happen. Parts made from “solid steel” can and do fail sometimes, but I think the likelihood is much less, and you have effectively demonstrated that MIM or cast extractors are pure junk.

Basically, the Springfield, and other similar pistols from different makers are “builders,” that any serious user should modify by replacing certain key parts and having them fitted by someone who knows what they are doing. Browning never intended to have the pistol made by the “drop it in, and it’s good to go” process.

Your suggestion that the makers should return to forged steel or machined bar stock for critical parts is right on target, but I highly doubt it will happen, and if and when it does the resulting product will have an MSRP around or exceeding $999.98, which is sad.

They (the gun builders) will depend on the fact that only a handful of their potential buyers know what the interested and concerned members of this forum do. Consequently they will not be penalized in the marketplace.

July 4, 2004, 10:59 AM
Happy 4th of July all!

http://www.magnaflux.com/magnaglo.stm describes this process better than I ever could.
I can tell you that once an aircraft crankshaft is checked by this method, we have complete confidence in the airworthiness of the plane--the process is that good. If there were undetected cracks in the end of the crankshaft, the propeller could depart the aircraft in flight. Rare, but it has happened.
Based on comments in this thread and others, I'm definitely going to replace the mim parts with solid steel. I replaced the extractor in my Kimber with a Wilson Bulletproof part (unreliable ejection, even after tuning). Excellent now.

July 5, 2004, 05:34 PM
Why don't you penetrant test that titanium pin?
How much is the inspector getting paid for mag particle testing the gun?

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