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1911 worn out sear?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by OrdellRobbie, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. OrdellRobbie

    OrdellRobbie Member

    I just inherited a colt national match 1911 45. Its engraved with Clark heavy slide. I believe it might be before the Gold Cup as it doesnt say so. serial number 58**. New to 1911s but i have found that when using the slide release the hammer follows to the 1/4 cock, not all the time but most. the trigger is very light,crisp, and zero creep as it was used for Bullseye competitions. It hadnt been used in years and upon cleaning it i noticed the sear doesent appear to have flat angles on it at all. It looks mirror smooth but rounded. Instead of playing with the sear spring it came with i bought several to experiment with 2 colt and 2 wilson hardcore. The pull is dramatically more and i still have hammer follow with the new springs. The gun was owned by a serious competitor with a high respect for precision and safety so i doubt it was a botched home gun smith job.

    1 do 1911 sears wear out?

    2 if that is what it appears i have would buying a sear and hammer already polished be an option or could a smith fix this sear?

    3 i read a post that said it used to be common for light trigger 1911s to have to pull the trigger in after inserting a mag and then push the mag release to keep the hammer at full cock. Sounds sketchy and unnesessary.

    4 also read that it might not do it with full mag in from the extra weight but...

    I havent decided if im going to shoot this yet but if i do i will be doing the load 1, load 1 load 2, load 2 technique to check for full auto.

    Im looking to leave this gun as close to the way i received it as possible but it was made to shoot and thats what i want to do with it. It wont be used for self defense or carry so the light trigger is okay with me.... even though i probably wont be able to appreciate it!

    as always i thank you for the advise.
  2. BBBBill

    BBBBill Well-Known Member

    1. Yes they do, but it takes a very long time/lots of use.
    2. Possibly, but it may not really be bad. Always assume that any new part will have to be properly fitted by a qualified smith.
    3. That was common wisdom back in the day, but we have advanced beyond that. However, you should never drop the slide on an empty chamber. The feeding cycle cushions the slide closing. Without a loaded magazine in place, the force is higher than a finely fit hammer and sear can take.
    4. See above. It ain't the weight.
    Sear springs can be tuned. No need to keep swapping unless the original has lost its ability to hold an adjustment.
  3. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Likely the sear spring...center leg. With the slide locked, pull the trigger and hold it. Use the slidestop to release the slide. If the hammer doesn't follow...it's the spring. If it does, you've got other problems.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    WHat they said.

    And don't do that!

  5. OrdellRobbie

    OrdellRobbie Member

    thanks for the quick replies

    Bill ive heard that your not supposed to use the silde release on an empty chamber before but no one has ever explained it to me before. Im stubborn but what you said makes since about the bullet chambering cushioning the impact. I guess in my silly little mind i was thinking that the slide would be moving more violently when actually firing a round. thanks for making me a believer.

    So now it seems i should go test it at the range cause it sounds like it might not do it if im actually chambering a round, right?

    Also how much damage do you think ive done to it by hitting the slide release while emty? I hate to say it ive done it probably 20 times. Sorry dont yell a me!!

    Maybe this thing is fine for a paper puncher and i can quit tinkering on it! but it fun learning even if its the hard way!!

    thanks again.
  6. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Well-Known Member

    You have a jewel. I used to shoot a Clark long slide 45 and a standard Clark Bullseye 38 spl with extended front sight in NRA CF pistol. Let them slip away... :( Those guns were set up with light triggers with exotic sears and they don't do well getting banged around. More than once I saw (and heard :cuss: ) guys drop their slides on a chambered round (not in the mag) and get a surprise fire. But yours deserves a trip to a good 1911 smith to get cleaned up and fine-tuned. It's not a carry gun, or anything of the sort. It's a specialty pistol, and one of the best. Take care of it!
    George J.
  7. OrdellRobbie

    OrdellRobbie Member

    Alright so i finally got to go to the range and it shot better than i can! I tested it for awhile to make sure it wouldnt go auto on me and was able to load it up. It never fell to half cock while shooting but would still fall after inserting a full mag. This is the most accurate pistol ive ever shot. thanks again
  8. BBBBill

    BBBBill Well-Known Member

    Does it fall when your mag is about half way inserted?
  9. OrdellRobbie

    OrdellRobbie Member

    I know its been awhile but I finally got around to getting it fixed. First I tried a Power custom series I stoning fixture and just barely cleaned up the sear. Lined it up with the existing lines and just lightly "buffed". And the hammer would still fall but not as much. So being just a range gun I was okay with it, but I changed out the hammer spring to 23# and put it back together and dropped the slide and it stayed. Pulling the hammer back you can feel a huge difference compared to the old one. Im thinking the old hammer spring was just so old and weak it wasn't pushing down enough on the sear.
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Say WHAT??

    It doesn't work that way at all.

    Whatever the problem was, or is, it wasn't that.

    Either the sear spring was incorrectly bent to hold the sear against the hammer notch, or keep the disconnecter in place, or out of place depending on where in the cycle the slide was?

    Or the sear was rounded off.

    Or the hammer hooks are worn and rounded off?

    Or both?

    Or all three?

    But the weight of the mainspring had nothing at all to do with it.

  11. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Well, the hammer spring (mainspring) weight has an influence because it increases the friction between the hammer and the sear. If the hammer notch is properly cut at the right angle, an increase in mainspring weight will increase the trigger pull and prevent jarring off. (If the notch is cut at a negative angle, it can reduce the trigger pull, perhaps to a dangerous level).

  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    These old style pure bullseye guns typically had reduced sear engagement.
    If it is a GCNM (1957-1970 models were not marked Gold Cup on the slide, just in the catalog and literature.) it has a wide heavy steel trigger, which increases the risk of hammer follow, especially if the gunsmith took out the little sear depressor while doing what Col Askins called a go-to-hell trigger job. (Did you see it while working on the gun?) The heavy slide conversion does not help, either.

    The usual recommendation for these guns was to HOLD BACK THE TRIGGER WHILE LOADING!
    That would engage the disconnector in the same position as while firing.
    Or to hold back on the hammer spur.

    Glad you got it recut and resprung to straighten it out, but it is still not good practice to slam the slide of a target pistol on an empty chamber.

    Confirm a serial number in 5800 range. Does it have a NM suffix?
    Or a C or No prefix?
  13. velocette

    velocette Well-Known Member

    Jim Watson has it right!
    Bullseye shooters know not to drop the slide on an empty chamber. Many of them will pull the trigger back before dropping the slide on a loaded pistol.
    The real problem is when you have a very carefully prepped match grade trigger on a 1911, if you allow the hammer to follow by dropping the slide on an empty chamber or for any other reason, you will damage that very finely prepped sear face as the hammer is caught by the half cock hooks. Bye bye to your expensive trigger job.

  14. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Well-Known Member

    Why would the hammer fall and miss the half cock when the slide was released with a fresh mag. resulting in a discharge?
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Failure of the sear to properly reset.

    A slam fire or burst fire event requires that the hammer hold full cock and be jarred off as the slide hoes home. A simple followdown won't do it unless the firing pin is seriously out of spec too long.
  16. RogersPrecision

    RogersPrecision Well-Known Member

    insufficient trigger pretravel.
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Yeah, that'd probably do it, too...especially with a ticklish trigger action. I don't have to worry with that on account my not fiddlin' with those trigger pretravel takeup whimmiediddles...or ticklish triggers.
  18. OrdellRobbie

    OrdellRobbie Member

    Jim Watson

    the serial is in the 5800 range and has NM after.

    Thanks again

    RC model
    Im sure you are right as I trust ur opinion but having trouble wrapping my head around how the hammer spring has no effect. In my mind im thinking that if the hammer is pushing harder on to the sear it would catch better. What am I missing?

    And I know ur not supposed to drop the slide empty but seems like u have to check it at least once or twice after performing work right?

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