My 1911 hates wudcutters...


August 9, 2004, 05:52 PM
Recently I had very embarassing moment at the range. I purchased 250 .45ACP rounds, wudcutters - just because they had a good deal on those. FMJ ammo was twice more costly. After that I took this whole box to the range with my buddies, and we shot a lot of different guns. My 1911 would have 1-3 failures to feed per magazine with that ammo. And I had to keep shooting, cause that was the only .45 ammo we had... The rest of the guns were all 9mm and .38 special, and had no failures of any kind. Now I have shot hundreds of FMJ and JHP rounds from my 1911 without any problems, and the guy at the store told me that I would not have ANY problems with those wudcutters in my Springfield Loaded... I had nothing BUT failures to feed with this ammo. I had to explain to my friends that this is ammo related, but what difference does it make if it was getting stuck every freaking magazine they tried to shoot? As far as I am concerned the gun supposed to eat any ammunition designed for its caliber, never mind the brand. My BHP will eat anything I feed it, the Makarovs will even eat empty brass. Why are 1911s so freaking picky?

I also noticed something about Makarov and BHP. Those two will feed ammo regardless of the speed of the slide. You can ease slide very slowly and quetly, and they will pick up ammo and put it right in the chamber. If you try to do that with 1911 it will get stuck every time, with every 1911 I tried. You have to let the slide go, and it has to slam that round into the chamber, you can't ease the slide down. Why is that?

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Dave Sample
August 9, 2004, 05:59 PM
Most stock 1911's will NOT feed semi-waddcutters. That is why we throat barrels. We also polish feed ramps to help these get in the chamber and do what they are supposed to do. Who ever told you they would feed was not telling you the truth.

Dave Sample
August 9, 2004, 06:10 PM

Throated barrel.

Check for headspace.

August 10, 2004, 12:43 AM
I'm not a gun smith, but isn't the "throated barrel" pic you posted there doing about the same thing as the "glock 40 kaboom problem" claimed to be caused by an unsupported cartridge because they taper the barrel like that as well?

August 10, 2004, 01:42 AM
Rival, are these rounds factory or are they somebodies reloads? Because if they are somebodies reloads that alone could be the problem. Overall cartridge length could be the problem plus sometimes with reloads the case can get a slight bulge from when the bullet is seated in the round. I run all of my rounds through a factory crimp die that crimps the round and resizes the case removing that bulge. If I don't I will get some failure to feed with my 45's. Try a box of black hills 200swc's and I bet you will find that those will work in your pistol. They are made just like factory spec ammo even though they are reloads.

August 10, 2004, 03:00 AM
"Doc, it hurts when I do this..."

"Well, don't do that!"

August 10, 2004, 08:03 AM
Sounds like very poor reloads.:confused:

Old Fuff
August 10, 2004, 09:38 AM

I think you had problems for one or more of three reasons. First, the ammunition. Most so-called wadcutter cartridges have a shorter overall length then regular 230 grain hardball, and the bullet's profile is different. Second, the magazines. If the lips on the magazines are made to feed hardball they may release the wadcutter loads too late and cause feeding problems. Third, S.A. guns often have problems with extractors because of poor material and fitting. This too may play a part in your problem.

I doubt very much that your barrel need to be throated or polished. These days they come from the factory that way. Doing more work on a barrel that's already throated could cause a dangerous condition.

I have pistols (older Colt's) that will hand feed empty cases as well as wadcutter and ball loads - even though the barrel has an older style "hardball throat." Why? it's all in the magazines and extractor.

August 10, 2004, 09:41 AM
Howdy Rival,

The Springer should feed the rounds if all is well. As Dave mentioned,
the barrel needs to be correctly throated. Other things could have played a role in the failures. Although the throat in your Loaded Springfield could probably benefit from a little attention to detail, it has a pretty decent throat as delivered, so it's not likely that the factory throat is the whole problem.

Cartridge overall length is one. The 1911 is much more forgiving of
OAL variation with hardball ammo than with the semi-wadcutter bullet.
Factory ammo is a compromise. If you handload, you can play with the
OAL in either direction a little to tailor the ammo to the gun. I've seen
as little as .005 inch make a world of difference.

Magazine release timing is one. Wadcutters need to be released from the magazine a little earlier than ball or ball-shaped hollowpoints, and just because your magazine has a new, high-grade magazine, it's no guarantee that the release timing is right for YOUR gun with THAT particular
lot of ammo.

Cartridge rim diameter is one. If the cartridge rim is nearly as large as the breechface, it will cause feeding to be erratic. Sometimes reloaded cases
have rims that are out of spec due to being previously fired God-only-knows how many times.

Extractor tension and prep is another place to look...Rim diameter and OAL again.

Barrel throat overhang at the top of the ramp is a potential trouble spot.
Even if the barrel throat is flush with the top of the ramp, it can hang up
a wadcutter while hardball will probably slip right on by it. The bottom of the barrel should be about .030 inch forward of the top edge of the ramp.
it can be a little more, but not less.

Condition of the breechface is another place to look. The wadcutter profile
may be slowing the feed just enough that a tiny burr on the breechface
is enough to bring it to a stop.

The condition of the top of the chamber is one to consider. Is it smooth and

It's unlikely that any single issue that's causing the problem.
More likely that it's a combination of several little things that are working together to stop the gun. It's the little things that getcha.



R.H. Lee
August 10, 2004, 09:43 AM
The 1911 was designed to use 230 gr hardball, except for the Colt Gold Cup which will reliably feed semi wadcutters. Whenever you stray from the original configuration, you are asking for problems.

August 10, 2004, 09:56 AM
Try getting some oil in there. My 1911 loves oil. If the rounds are well lubed it sometimes helps in feeding problems without removing material from gun.

Master Blaster
August 10, 2004, 09:56 AM
I'm not a gunsmith or an expert like the other folks who have posted.

For the last five years I have been reloading semi wadcutters of the 200 grain LSWC and copper plated variety. I have loaded and fired about 20,000 of them out of :

1977 colt government model.
1994 colt officers acp
1999 kimber custom classic target
1999 colt goldcup
2003 springfield milspec
2003 kimber TLE II

The only problem I have had were the first 50 I loaded when my oal was too short. I now load them to 1.252-1.255. I use only 16 lb recoil springs., and the mag springs that came with the magazines. mecgar, wilsons, colt kimber springfield magazines. The loads: 4.0-4.5 gr titegroup, 4.0-4.5 gr n310. Target loads.

I would guess that the semiwadcutters you bought were out of spec probably too short., or too lite a load for the standard recoil spring.

Some of my barrels are throated some are not.


August 10, 2004, 10:23 AM
My experiences mirror MASTER BLASTER almost exactly.

Except I load to 1.250". ;)

Vern Humphrey
August 10, 2004, 10:32 AM
I'm not a gun smith, but isn't the "throated barrel" pic you posted there doing about the same thing as the "glock 40 kaboom problem" claimed to be caused by an unsupported cartridge because they taper the barrel like that as well?

Short answer, yes.

However, the M1911A1 will not fire out of battery, and that's what causes most Glock KBs. At standard SAAMI pressures, the M1911A1 is perfectly safe. For higher pressure loads (like the .45 Super) you need stronger brass, since there is a section of the case which is unsupported near the head.

August 10, 2004, 08:27 PM
Try getting some oil in there. My 1911 loves oil. If the rounds are well lubed it sometimes helps in feeding problems without removing material from gun.

Uhhhh.... don't do that! Lubricant oil is fine on the moving parts, but not on the ammo or in the chamber or bore. Lube in these areas will attract tons of dirt, a nice film of oil in the chamber and/or bore can also greatly increase operating pressures because it effectively reduces the diameter of the chamber and bore. Oil on the ammo can potentially leak around the primer pocket and deactivate the primer.

I have loaded 255 grain LSWC's in 45 ACP, but my barrel was set up specifically for this bullet. My rounds would not fully chamber and I did not want to seat them any deeper. The forward edge of the bullet's driving band was wedging into the rifling at the chamber throat. I had the throat reamed to increase the free bore distance.

I don't mess with 255 grain bullets in the 45 ACP anymore. I think the ACP really tops out with 230 grain bullets.

August 10, 2004, 09:34 PM
When you shoot other then Factory 230gr FMJ Ball Ammo. your on your own. Not saying a 1911 can't be setup to shoot other Ammo. But the Factory 230gr FMJ Ball Ammo. will almost always work.:)

August 11, 2004, 09:40 AM
My new Loaded is still completely stock, and it's running my SWC reloads through it just fine.

August 11, 2004, 11:12 AM
Why are 1911s so freaking picky?
Hmmm...non of my Kimbers had problems feeding wadcutters...but my friends Sig 220 didn't liked them at all. I found that in the 1911 style Colt's & Kimbers are the most reliable brands...your result's may vary...

Dave Sample
August 11, 2004, 03:14 PM
I am not a gunsmith , either. I am a Pistolsmith. My Gunsmith is Dave Mazy and he tweaks my rifles and shotguns. I take my guns to him and I build my own pistols. I have throated hundreds of barrels and I think I know what I am talking about. The idea that you never need our services is not valid. If it were, we would not be in business. There are some tricks to throating a barrel and it can be over done in a heart beat. The 45 ACP case in very thick where it is unsupported :ie: the hood and throat. There simply is no pressure there unless it is a bad job. I have an over throated barrel in the junk parts place that I had to replace in a Colt Commander that I rebuilt. It was done by a so called smith who thought it was wonderful. There is a sharp edge at the top of the throat that needs to be addressed, and that will allow the shorter semi waddcutters enter the chamber. It also makes it feed any ammo better. I re-chamber and throat every one of our PATRIOTS and they all run 100 % with any kind of ammo. Part of my Reliablity tune up is addressing the feed ramp and barrel throat along with other problem areas. I would never buy re-loads from anyone, BTW. 45 ACP's need a Taper Crimp and many people who reload do not know that. The ammo could be the factor, but without having the gun here, it is a WAG.

August 12, 2004, 02:33 PM
Your are very correct about the taper crimp. I have a WWII Remington Rand with the factory GI barrel. As long as I taper crimp each lead SWC handload, they feed pefectly every time.

Dave Sample
August 13, 2004, 06:04 PM

Here are three throated barrels and one stock throat.

The first one is mine. Number two is OK Number Three is over throated. Number four is a stock 1954 Colt Commander Barrel.

Ala Dan
August 13, 2004, 06:29 PM
Greeting's All-

1911 Tuner many thanks for the quick education. My 1911A1
Springfield WW-II Mil Spec (GI version), seems to like an OAL
of 1.250. The SIG P220 is even more finicky, when shooting

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

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