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1911 feeding question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by ATLDave, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    So given 1911Tuner's responses, I'd like to know if you typically experience this issue with the last round or second to last round. You mentioned that the problem occurs with more than one magazine but don't mention when the problem occurs.
  2. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Well-Known Member

    I am just fascinated by all the naunces of the 1911's operation and I've learned even more about what goes on in a 1911 by reading this thread. Thanks for the informative and easy-to-understand answers!

    Carry on. :)
  3. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Might be nice to know what brand 1911 we're talking about as well as there are several known for issues with the breech face, among them the old (and possibly new???) Auto Ordnance and S&W, though they don't hold exclusive patent on machining errors. Any pictures of the brass?
  4. il.bill

    il.bill Well-Known Member

    I purchased several 'Colt' branded magazines from Robertson's expecting to see dimpled followers, but it was not the case. I read one time 'there is no such thing as a dumb queation', but I realize a dumb guy like me can still ask a question, so here goes: Can a properly located to specs dimple be added to the follower carefully using a center punch struck from the bottom?
  5. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    You probably ordered 8-round Colt magazines, which are nothing more than Shooting Stars with Colt's pony on the baseplates. A picture will tell more of the story.

    No. It's a punch and die operation.

    Here's a picture comparing the three basic feed lip designs.

    On the left is the original "Hardball" type with full tapered feed lips and late, gradual release.

    On the right is the "Wadcutter" type, with parallel lips and early/abrupt timed release.

    In the middle is the "Hybrid" which combines the feed/release characteristics of the other two.

  6. il.bill

    il.bill Well-Known Member


    Thank you for the photo. That picture is easily worth a thousand words. I would like to save that on my computer for reference, if you do not mind.

    I purchased five 7-round NOS 'Colt' magazines from Robertson's Trading Post for $75 delivered a while back. They say 'Colt 45' on the base plate, but there is no Prancing Pony nor follower dimple anywhere to be seen. Two or three do not lock the slide back when empty, but they feed reliably so far.

    Thank you again for sharing your knowledge so often for the benefit of so many of us. Keep up the good work!
  7. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Those are counterfeits. The manufacturers get around the infringement question by not using the horse logo, and lead uninformed buyers to believe that...because it says COLT.45 or COLT 45 Auto...that it's a Colt magazine.

    I used to see these a lot at gun shows selling for as little as 5 bucks a copy. Many of them were actually pretty decent magazines after changing the springs. I had one that lasted for years before the baseplate welds finally failed. Others that were outwardly identical weren't worth bringing home.

    Incidentally, Colt hasn't made magazines in house in over 50 years. They contract for them made to their specs...usually Metalform, Check Mate, and OKAY Industries...but recently, they've bought them from others.
  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    I haven't noticed a pattern to it yet, but I'll start paying attention and report back if it manifests again.
  9. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    Kimber. No brass pictures at the moment, but is there something you're looking for?
  10. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    An flat indentation on the base of spent brass caused by machining errors in the area above the ejector. My S&W after initial clean up (later scraped smooth by a smith).


    The AOs were cut with an angle rather than a radius at the J Cut (port side when in hand) but neither of these errors would be common with a Kimber. That makes magazines/springs the primary suspect, with a more remote chance of breech angle running a very remote second. Still something to look for.
  11. Powderpacker

    Powderpacker New Member

    I have had this problem at times. My magazine springs have never been replaced. 1911Tuner, whose springs do you recommend?

    I have a series 80 Gold Cup. I shoot 200 grain LSWC's over 5 grains of W231. I think the Gold Cup uses a 16# spring. Would I be better off with a 14# spring?

  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Wolff, but be sure to order the right spring. If you're not having any problems related to the spring, there's really no need to replace them, other than as a preventive measure.

    Recoil spring: As long as the slide makes full travel rearward and goes to battery reliably, either one will do.
  13. gym

    gym member

    It's nice to see true "genius" explain things we take for granted. It's amazing how something that looks so simple, could be that complicated. Great job explaining the nuances of the extraction issue.
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    I have a recurring, sometimes maddening habit of asking "What is it for?" It's made me unpopular in certain circles and in certain situations, because there is just as often no practical answer to the question.

    We can often determine the answer to that question by studying and thinking...by asking of the designer as if he were standing there: "Why did you do that?" What is its purpose?" "What is it FOR?"

    In the case of that little dimple, I asked that question several years ago, and...being unable to sort it out or get Johnny Browning to answer me...I decided to embark on an experiment with a pistol that had long since proven its dead-nuts reliability.

    I removed it from the followers of a half-dozen magazines and started shooting. Almost immediately, I started observing two intermittent problems had hadn't been present with the dimples in place.

    The first, and most frequent, was the slide locking open with the last round loose on top of the magazine lips. The other, less frequent, but still repeated often enough to draw a conclusion...was the round chambered ahead of the extractor, stopping the slide out of battery...but there was a variation that wasn't readily apparent and one that I noticed quite by happenstance.

    Whilst preparing the fired brass for reloading, I noticed a sharp burr kicked up on the edge of a few case rims, along with a telltale mark further inboard that matched the shape of the extractor nose. A mark and a burr that I'd never noticed before...leading me to coin one of my favorite and oft-repeated axioms...

    "Just because it's functioning is not proof that it's functioning properly."

    Curious, I pressed on.

    I started single-loading the pistol by locking the slide to the rear...chambering a round by hand...and dropping the slide, forcing the extractor claw to snap over the rim. Of course, the burr and mark were reproduced on every case.

    Before long, I noticed a loss of extractor tension. Forging ahead after resetting it...it happened again. Shortly after the 4th retensioning cycle...the extractor hook snapped off flush with the breechface.

    You may draw your own conclusions.
  15. Krogen

    Krogen Well-Known Member

    1911Tuner: I'd sure like to see you write a book! I'll place my order right now, pre-publication!

    As to "what is it for?" we have a practice at work called Five Whys. You can see where it might lead. Simply keep asking why for every answer to the previous why. Of course, it doesn't have to stop at five, but must not be fewer than five whys. This can get comical, intense, annoying etc. but it makes people think; and some folks angry. I believe I'll add "what's it for" to my repertoire!
  16. tipoc

    tipoc Well-Known Member

    A good thread and good posts.

  17. RainDodger

    RainDodger Well-Known Member

    Yes - this is all excellent info for 1911 magazines!

    I have a number of 8 round Sig mags. ONE of them (the others appear fine) tends to lock my slide back prematurely and the round in the mag is partially pushed forward but not free of the mag's feed lips yet. It's still captive, but the slide locked back.

    Is that sounding like a weak magazine spring? The dimples are present in the follower and the other Sig mags work okay. I'm running these in a Springfield TRP with an 18 lb. Wilson recoil spring. Thoughts about it?

    Thanks a lot.
  18. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    The obvious question here is did you test each of the magazine feed lip styles described above? Did you observe the same failure with all three feed lip types?
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    At the time, all I had was WW2 era USGI magazines, so no.

    I've noticed the same failures in several modern "wadcutter" type magazines with smooth followers.

    And I'm havin' a little trouble wrappin' my head around why different styles has anything to do with it. The problems were never noted with the stock followers, and immediately appeared when the dimple was removed with a file, and then went away again when the followers were replaced.

    That pretty much only leaves room for one conclusion.
  20. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    I've no doubt the dimple on the follower is important for the last round. But I'm having a very hard time seeing how it can have any effect if the push feed is happening with three or more rounds left in the magazine.

    I was having some ignition problems with Tula primers in a 9mm 1911 and went to a 26 lb hammer spring. Made the pistol push feed city! Went back to the stock spring and things seem back to normal. Same as too strong a recoil spring the recoil foce doesn't decouple from the frame and basically leaves the round sitting there with the magazine and gun moving out from under it. With a loose enough grip I could watch it eject the top round and feed the one underneath.

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