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Brass in the face - possible fix?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Greg45, May 24, 2004.

  1. Greg45

    Greg45 New Member

    I have a full size 1911 I bought used, approximately 9 years old. It doesn't look like it has been fired much, but probably every other round hits me square in the head. Also lots of brass marks aft of the ejection port.

    Is there a list of things I can do to try to correct this problem before I trot it off to the smith?

    It does have a shock buff installed. I did just recently purchase a 16 1/2# Wolff variable power spring, but haven't installed it yet. I'm thinking of removing the buff and installing the new recoil spring, but I haven't yet as I would like to get a few more rounds down range before I strip it down. (Manufacturers recommendation)

    Anyone have other ideas as to what I might try?
  2. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    Ejector to long or improper angle

  3. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith New Member

    It might be because the extractor is rotating about its axis or sliding back & forth, randomly causing spent cases to hit the ejector wrong and bean you in the head. This could be caused by firing pin stop being too loose, and thus not fixing the extractor in place.
  4. stans

    stans New Member

    Weak or rotating extractor, improproperlly tuned ejector, slide is short cycling due to the shock buff and the round is getting bumped by the top rear edge of the ejection port.
  5. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

    I can't help until I know what kind of 1911 it is. 9 years old doesn't tell me much. I would guess that a new firing pin stop would help. Oversize and fitted. The shok buff should not have anything to do with your problem, but the new recoil spring can't hurt. This is the one we use in our Caspian Patriots.
  6. Greg45

    Greg45 New Member

    It's a Les Baer Premier II. I hesitated to name the manufacturer.
    It's otherwise a great gun tho. No problems in 200 rounds, other than a brass kiss every other round. Kind of annoying.
  7. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Howdy Greg, and welcome to The High Road.

    Gettin' beaned by ejected brass is one of those things that REALLY
    ticks me off...Sometimes the cure is easy, sometimes frustrating.

    Extractor tension plays a role. If the extractor is clocking, that can do it too,
    but a clocking extractor generally produces a crunched case on the last round out.

    When a case ejects straight back in your face or over your head, it's usually
    being knocked backward by the slide. Look for the brass tracks around the port. The brass can bounce more than once before it heads for your face.

    MOST OF THE TIME...it strikes the port low at about 3 O'Clock, and bounces up while the slide is still movin' backward. At that point, the edge at the top of the port hits it while it's in the air, and kicks it straight back.

    The key is to get the ejector to send the case in a more upward direction than sideways. This sounds backward, but it took me a while to figure out
    exactly what was goin' on.

    Rule of thumb:

    The higher on the rim the ejector hits, the more straight up it will eject it.
    The lower it hits...the more straight out. Playing with the shape of the
    ejector nose can angle it sligtly backward...forward...or at 90 degrees to the slide.

    The extractor hook can have an effect too. If the bottom corner of the hook is square and sharp, it tends to send the brass straight up and delays the release a little. I've found that a slight radius or bevel on
    the bottom corner vectors the brass out at 90 degrees at about 2 O'Clock...which is ideal...assuming that the ejector isn't striking the case too low.

    If the extractor hook is too long (too deep from the wall to the tip) it
    can get the case rim in a bind with the ejector...especially with an extended ejector.

    If the recoil spring is too heavy or too light, it can have an effect too. If
    you have a shock buffer in a gun with a Commander-length slide, it can
    cause your ejection pattern to go haywire. It will change the ejection pattern even on a 5-inch gun, though not as dramatically as with a shorter one. I run a buffered recoil system of my own design in my three range
    beaters. There's a lot of difference when I shoot'em with a standard
    recoil system...and the brass isn't being hit by the slide with either one.

    My guess is that your ejector is striking the brass too low, and possible that your extractor needs more tension...easy does it. Too much, and you'll
    get failures to go to battery. Check the bottom corner of the hook. If it's
    square, radius it a little on a stone.


  8. Greg45

    Greg45 New Member


    Thank you very much for your warm welcome and your lengthy reply.

    One thing I forgot to add, was that I didn't think to look at the spent cases for marks or crushing of the case mouths, to see if that might lead to some kind of a clue.

    I will probably take it back to the range later this week and shoot some more rounds thru it before taking it down. I will at that time change the recoil spring, give it a good cleaning, remove the shock buff, and possibly even radius and/ or tension the extractor.

    I'm sort of leary about taking it apart for fear I'll never get it back together again. I'm not a 1911 newbie, but this is a pretty tight gun, and I'm not the best at getting 1911's back together, even when they're loose.

    I could always send it back to LB, as I've already talked to them, but wanted to see if it was something I could do easily myself.

    BTW, I thought the folks at LB were very polite and helpful. I was hesitant to name the manufacturer, as I didn't want this to turn into a gun bashing thread that I'm so used to seeing.

  9. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Howdy Greg,

    Takin' the gun apart is part of it! Jump in and if ya get stuck, we'll
    walk ya through it. I'll even go to the phone with ya if need be.
    Just wait'll we talk ya into a complete disassembly! If you can put a
    model airplane together, you can detail-strip and reassemble a 1911.


  10. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

    Great post by Tuner! I know more than I did and now have a better picture of what is going on. Look at the ejector and see if it has a very slight edge beveled on the INNER Edge of the square point. Look and see if the tip is square. This is an ejector problem but I can't help much without seeing the 1911 in person. If I could, I could solve it in about one minute. This is a very good vintage for these high end guns. Good luck with it.
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Brass in the Face

    Wanna see one go bonkers with the ejection pattern? Stick a Commander
    top-end on a Government model frame with the standard ejector and have at it. It'll spit'em out like popcorn. One caveat...Wear safety glasses.:D
    Go ahead...ask me how I know about THIS one...:rolleyes:


  12. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

    Commanders are erratic even when they are well done! Tuning ejectors is not for the faint hearted and I mostly leave them alone or replace them with one of my choice. Thay can drive you nuts!
  13. stans

    stans New Member

    I would recommend a full face shield! Been there, done that, and no, it did not work well at all!
  14. Greg45

    Greg45 New Member

    A couple of quick side notes:

    I field stripped it, installed the new recoil spring, removed the shock buff, and cleaned the firing pin and extractor tunnels. Boy, having a Series 70 is a breeze compared to the Series 80. The old spring was about 1/2" shorter than the new one, so I went ahead and replaced.
    I will hopefully get to the range tomorrow or Saturday and try it out again.
    Dis-assembly and re-assembly wasn't too bad except I ruined a bushing wrench. Now have an aluminum one from Brownells on order.

    One thing I did notice concerning the firing pin stop is, that there is some play betwen the back of the gun and the stop ( the thickness) probably .003-.005", maybe a little less.
    Is this normal? I checked Kuhnhausens book, and they weren't real specific.
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Fp Stop

    One thing I did notice concerning the firing pin stop is, that there is some play betwen the back of the gun and the stop ( the thickness) probably .003-.005", maybe a little less.
    Is this normal? I checked Kuhnhausens book, and they weren't real specific.

    Pretty much par for a production gun. I like a light press-fit to keep the
    stop from dropping down and tying the gun up, but keeping a fresh firing pin spring in it about every 4 or 5 thousand rounds will do the trick.

    If you should have the slide to stop about an inch out of battery...look to
    see if the stop has dropped and caught on the top of the hammer.

    You can fit an oversized stop if you like. Not a major job, and the stops
    don't cost much.

    Standin' by for the range report...

  16. Delmar

    Delmar New Member

    Greg-most 1911 firing pin stops are a slip fit to the slide. I just bought a new Wilson's bullet proof extractor and had to very lightly file the the right side for it to fit, as well as tension the extractor which is easy and took no tools. A tighter firing pin stop will keep your extractor from "clocking" or rotating, and should make for a more consistent ejection of your brass.

    See Tuner? Ya taught me gooder:D
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Delmar said:

    See Tuner? Ya taught me gooder...

    You have learned WELL, grasshoppah. :cool: Now! Just as quickly as you
    can...snatch the slidestop from my hand!

    Delmar's right. The width of the firing pin stop plays a role in keeping the
    extractor in position. A clocking extractor can cause erratic brass ejection, but it will usually tip its hand with a crunched, jammed case on the last round...at least occasionally. I've also seen a "clocker" actually stuff the empty round back in the magazine.

    Good call Del! Sometimes I overlooks the obvoius.:rolleyes:
    (Ain't gettin' old a pisser though?:D )
  18. Delmar

    Delmar New Member

    Well, good and bad about that-the good part is the good Lord has given me many years of walking the earf and learning about the 1911. The problem now is remembering what all you did learn on the journey! Still, seeing threads like this and reading the posts of the Tuner and many others has brought back the details I once knew and many technical aspects new to me.

    Sure gives you a renewed respect for JMB's genius.

    Greg45-listen to the voices in your head.....need to go shooting:evil:
    play hookey..........

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