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My Combat Commander is jamming.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by SunnySlopes, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Well-Known Member

    I took two 1911s to the range today. One was a heavily modified Mark 4/series 70 that was customized by Clark Custom Guns.

    The other is a Colt Combat Commander.

    I fired 200 grain SWC bullets. Some with 5 grains Unique. Some 6 grains. And also some WWW 230 grain factory ammo.

    The Mark 4 did fine.

    The Commander had frequent jams. Some on the feed ramp. A couple of stovepipes.

    I even used the mag out of the Mark 4, and it still jammed.

    Suggestions? It's mostly a stock gun. The only thing I did was to put an ambi safety on it.

    Would polishing the feed ramp help?
  2. jogar80

    jogar80 Well-Known Member

    Have you tried running fmj or jhp through it?
  3. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    I suspect the barrel hasn't been throated like your Clark was.

    SWC's don't feed in all guns, and they're probably reloads. 1.250" is a good overall length, but maybe 1.265" would work better.

    Regardless, the first thing I'd do is try factory FMJ using multiple magazines to see if it's the gun or a bullet compatibility issue.
  4. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Well-Known Member

    Stovepipes can be often traced to weak magazine springs that do not lift the round into position fast enough to be picked up by the slide returning to battery. This is exacerbated in the Commander since its recoil stroke is shorter than a Government Model.

    The first, cheapest, and fastest potential fix would be to replace the recoil spring with a 16lb Wolff and/or replace the magazine spring with an extra power Wolff. While you're at it, replace the hammer spring with a 23lb Wolff and make sure the Commander doesn't have a shock buff installed.

    Feed ramp jams is a little too vague to be able to pin point the cause. A picture would help. Generally feed ramp jams can be the result of improper internal geometry caused by out of spec manufacturing or poor extractor fitting.

    You may find this video to be of some interest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3UVLm2GajI
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  5. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    OP, dont do anything to the feed ramp of the pistol. Nothing at all. Look at the load first. Try different ammo before you do anything, then look at other things.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2013
  6. Kp321

    Kp321 Well-Known Member

    +1 on trying different mags first. If you do replace the recoil spring, be aware that the commander uses a sorter, stouter spring than the Govt model. The 16 # spring would be correct the the Govt while the Commander needs a 18# minimum.
  7. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Let's not start dinking around with spring rates until we know exactly what's happening.

    First...If the gun is right, it'll run fine with a 14-pound spring. Personally, I like 16 pounds for a Commander.

    Second...In testing springs in many NIB Commanders over the years, I've never found one to go over about 16.5 pounds...and OEM Colt Government Models usually run around 14.

    If the "Stovepipe" he's describing is a live round stovepipe...aka "Bolt Over Base" misfeed...part of the problem is that the slide is outrunning the magazine. Too much recoil spring is a contributor if not the actual cause of that.

    Remember the cardinal rule.

    With any feed issue, the magazine is always the first suspect. Always. If it's a failure to go to or return to battery...and the slide can be pushed into battery...look to the extractor.

    Let's see if we can get some pictures, or at least some more detailed descriptions.

    And yes. Leave the feed ramp alone.
  8. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    In this case, I suspect the ammo first, the mag(s) a close second. But since he tried both mags and the other gun worked correctly, I'm looking real hard at the ammo which, as I speculate, are reloads, strengthening the ammo suspicion.

    Buy factory ball and test it before doing anything else.
  9. btg3

    btg3 Well-Known Member

    There, fixed it for you.
    FWIW, I agree with your signature... It [really] isn't hard. ;)
  10. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    Lee Factory Crimp Die as the last step in your reloading sequence, try that before anything else. I have been down the same road as you with 1911s, and the Factory Crimp Die was the cheapest fix.

    Just my .02,
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Since we can't seem to get much in the way of detail, let's take it from the top.

    The feed ramp or the barrel ramp? The barrel ramp is sometimes incorrectly called the "throat" even though the real throat is forward of the chamber.

    When you shoot hardball through it...and you release the slide on a full magazine...do you hear and/or feel a distinctive "Ka-Chunk" as it goes to battery?

    Tell me, do...

    Have you polished the feed ramp with a Dremel? If you have, does your feed ramp look anything like this? Note that the rounding of the top corner doesn't have to be nearly this radical in order to completely screw up the works.

  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    The SWC bullets you're using...

    Do they have a short, stubby nose section or a fairly long, tapered nose with a truncated cone shape? It makes a lot of difference. The former is one of the worst feeding designs for a tilting barrel auto ever to come down the pike, while the latter...a design based on the excellent Hensley & Gibbs # 68...will usually feed in anything that hardball will feed in, including original, unaltered USGI pistols.

    When you say "Stovepipe" are you having an empty case stand up in the port or a loaded round? The two malfunctions have vastly different origins.

    And now, we wait.
  13. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Well-Known Member

    I had a Colt Combat Commander. First the hammer followed and I shot a hole in my bed. It broke the barrel bushing and spit the plug and spring down range on its first range trip. After that was fixed I took it to the range again and the slide stop broke. I replaced all the internals with high quality parts and sold it as soon as I could. The only 1911 I've ever owned that was even close to reliable was an American Classic 1911. I sold it to get a S&W 3913. I couldn't be happier. I like shooting a lot more than fixing. 1911s are a thing of beauty and one that works is a great thing but if someone asks me the only sure way to get your 45 running right is to sell it and get something else. My next 45 will be a S&W 4566 or a 4516.
  14. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    Don't shoot Remington +P's thru it.
  15. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Well-Known Member

    I wasn't planning on it but I have no doubt it wouldn't be a problem if I did. I don see why an all steel 45 couldn't handle the small increase of pressure. Besides the same platform is used for the 10mm so I don't know that you are talking about. There are too many fine modern choices than to go back to the 80s to shoot those anyhow.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  16. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    Yeah, i just posted that, specifying a particular brand and load type for no reason whatsoever......:rolleyes:
  17. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Well-Known Member

    I'm not going to feed the troll. Add one to the ignore list. I have no more to add to the conversation other than 1911Tuner will tell you how to get your Commander running right. Good luck. My Commander was a thing of beauty. I REALLY wish it would have worked right. The American Classic 1911 I had was actually flawless but I finally realized as good as the 1911 platform is it just isn't for me. The only reason I add that fact is just that some people don't realize that the 1911 can be a sensitive mistress and sometimes its better just to find another woman and settle down no matter how cute she is.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  18. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    The only problem I can think of with the 1911 is that it's been around a loooooong time, a lot of different companies have made them and people (who usually don't know what they're doing) can't seem to resist tinkering with them and swapping parts without proper fitting, etc..

    My experience is not as deep as the heavy weights on the forum, but my SWC reloads feed more reliably when seated a little onthe long side (~1.26").

    As Tuner described.... feed issues have a LOT to do with timing, and with the shorter barrel models, the sequence of events gets compressed.

    No one appears to have asked, but was the misfeed on the last round of a Colt factory 8-round mag?
  19. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    Interesting that the OP hasn't made a second appearance in this thread....
  20. tipoc

    tipoc Well-Known Member

    I've owned many Commanders over the years. I've never had a problem keeping them running right.

    Mostly though they are Colts.

    I don't shoot anything but ball through them. If they run right with ball then I can move on to other ammo types. If they don't run right with ball I'll fix the problem before proceeding.

    Before swapping out parts make sure the gun runs right.

    The op gives little information to work with.


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