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Problems with new 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by ArthurDent, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. ArthurDent

    ArthurDent Well-Known Member

    Hello all

    I need some help! Any advice from 1911 experts would be appreciated. Please reply.

    Last month I bought my first 1911. It is gorgeous! :)

    It is a Sprinfield "Loaded" Model PI9132LP. Here are some links for this model:http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=24, http://www.springfield-armory.com/assets/pdf/SPRINGFIELD_Book_armory_PI9132LP.pdf

    I finally got to the range today, and immediately had problems with it. It did not make it through the first two magazines before I stopped and put it away.

    The gun fired and had reasonable groups, but it did not cycle properly. I had 3 or 4 malfunctions in the first 12 rounds. A couple of times the slide would be blocked open by the spent casing. These were not stovepipes... the casing was still aligned with the bore, and the mouth of the casing was resting on the chamber. A couple of times the slide either didn't cycle, or else the brass didn't eject and the empty casing was re-chambered. In all cases, the brass (when I could find it) was exceedingly dirty on the outside, and the mouth seemed to have had a shiny edge rubbed into a ring around the edge, about 1mm wide.

    I was using Winchester white box.

    After I got home I did a field strip and ran across an interesting effect. Can some of you tell me if this is normal? (Sorry, I don't know... its my first 1911.) I took out the barrel and bushing and slide spring and guides and all. I just put the naked slide on the frame. It slid beautifully and freely up until it got to the sear disconnector. That seemed to block the slide, and it was about as hard to push past that as it was to cock the hammer with the slide... maybe harder. It is hard to move the slide in either direction. I tried testing the normal 1911 feature that If you have dropped the hammer and hold the trigger in while you cycle the slide it should hold the sear disconnector down inside the frame. This function does work on this pistol, but even with the disconnector held mostly inside the frame it is still very hard to move the slide over it. I'm wondering if this might have blocked the slide and prevented or slowed normal cycling.

    Other than that, everything looks pristine. I don't have any snap-caps to play with chambering and cycling, and I'm not about to test it with live rounds. But the extractor and ejector look fine at first glance. Also, the slide spring seems awfully stiff, but I'm comparing it to smaller caliber guns so it might be just right for the 1911.

    Here's a little more background information that probably has nothing to do with this problem, but I'll throw it in anyway. This gun was not "new" when I bought it, but it sure looked that way. I bought it from a local dealer who specializes in estate sales and downsizings. He seems like a standup guy. This gun had all the features I had been wanting, and I had not seen this model elsewhere. The 1911 looked brand new... never fired. The dealer said he suspected it had been bought and put away in the safe and never used. Before I took it to the range, I did a field strip and lubed everything well with Rem oil. I did not take apart anything on the frame. While I was doing the initial cleanup I did notice some dirt on the breach face that indicated it had been shot, at least at the factory. There was an outline of the base of a round, and a light ring around where the primer would have been. Other than that, the whole gun looked brand new.

    If you're still with me, thanks for reading! I'd appreciate any help you all can offer.

  2. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    Is the gun all original? Could be the mag. Could be the extractor. Could be the recoil spring. Could be the slide stop. Does the gun feed rounds from the magazine when you hand cycle the slide? Does it eject them? Do the bullet noses hit the slide stop on the way into the chamber? Remove the slide- can you slip a round under the extractor easily? Remove the recoil spring, reasemble the gun, dry cycle it- does it hang up anywhere as the barrel locks/unlocks?

    WWB is dirty, that's normal.
  3. ckone

    ckone Well-Known Member

    Almost sounds like one of the sear spring's legs are caught under the disconnector or something with the fire-control not being installed correctly...?

    If you're familiar with 1911's, I'd detail strip it and then reassemble it to make sure it's right, or get someone who knows how to do it take it down and then reassemble it to be sure it's put together correctly, and I'd have them show you how to do it too so you'll know how, they're simpler than you may think...

    Until you verify that the fire control is correct, looking at the extractor or recoil-spring is kind of pointless as they won't be doing or showing you what they're supposed to be doing if they're fighting a stuck disconnector (though most factory guns come over-sprung from the factory, going a few pounds lighter will only usually make it run better, ignore those who mention frame-battering as it's mostly an internet myth as I've seen dozens of excellent USPSA shooters with guns that have zinged 20,000+ rds through them using 14lb recoil-springs without the slightest sign of it).

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  4. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Concentrating on what is known, that spent brass is not being ejected consistently, I'd recommend first ordering a new 14 lb. recoil spring so you know what's in there and check extractor tension. If that does not work I'd consider checking the chamber to insure it isn't too tight.

    Don't touch that disconnector, at this stage it's above your pay grade. Good luck and enjoy that Springer.
  5. ckone

    ckone Well-Known Member

    Oh, wanted to add: pretty sure those Springfields have an Intrnal-Locking-System built into their main-spring housings... if yours has one, I'd make sure that sucker is 100% disengaged as that might muck up an otherwise "mechanically sound" 1911.
  6. Magnumite

    Magnumite Well-Known Member

    Seems like an extractor issue. Typically brass left in the gun like that is the extractor not maintaining control of it back through ejector striking event. The lower round is pushing case up off the extractor because of insufficient tension.

    Take the pistol to the range. Load up a mag, insert it in the pistol, then remove it. Shoot the pistol. Monitor the brass ejection with your periphial vision. It should be tossed out about 3-6 feet. Run a couple mags through it like this. If it dribbles out or falls through the mag well, then your extractor needs tensioning (and maybe tuning). You can remove the slide from the frame and insert a loaded round into the breech of the slide. It should remain there given a nice nonviolent shake. It won't if its dropping case through the mag well when shooting as described above.

    What you are feeling with the disconnector on the slide is normal. It wouldn't cause a problem unless it is completely flat on top, with is highly unlikely. If you installed a stronger than stock mainspring you could be causing the pistol to short stroke, i.e. not cycle completely back. This would cause the malfunctions you are experiencing. So would underpowered ammo, though I haven't experience that with WWB.
  7. ckone

    ckone Well-Known Member

    Ridiculous, I cannot agree. In the age of YouTube and Google, or resources like Brownell's "Gun Tech" videos out there, most anything assembly/reassembly-wise on a 1911 short of cutting a sear or recutting hammer-hooks or building one from the ground up from a raw frame/slide/barrel is very do-able for someone who's fairly bright and mechanically inclined.
  8. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Playing with fire control parts is dangerous and is not part of the solution here. If YouTube dispensed worthwhile advice, wisdom and ability I'd wager no one would be typing here but as it does not I vote for safety.

    The factory mainspring weight for a Springfield with the ILS is (depending on source used) 28 or 30 lbs. Unlikely anyone opted to change it out with a heavier one but used can come with stranger alterations than that.
  9. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    I would suggest before you go messin' about with the hard parts that you give another ammo and a different shooter or two a shot at it first.

    Not poohin' on any of the above suggestions, just saying: new gun, one type of ammo (WWB at that) and a single shooter. I've never had a semi auto anything that I did not anticipate break in functioning issues relative to the firearm, ammo and myself.
  10. Fleet

    Fleet Well-Known Member

    It sounds to me like it's being limp wristed.
  11. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    That was just one of the bushes I was beating around myself. Point being - don't go dickin with it till you remove a couple of variables first.
  12. rellascout

    rellascout member

    Don't be a bubba.... LOL. If you do not know what you are doing messing around with the fire controls of any gun is not smart IMHO. YMMV It has been my experience that when you are having feeding issues in a 1911 the first 2 places you go are the mags and the extractor.

    First what mags are you using? I suggest using Chip Mcmormick Power mags, Metalform, Checkmate, Wilson or Tripp Research. The key is to test your gun with a mag that is known to to be 100% in a functioning 1911.

    You said the extractor looks ok but did you test the tension? Here is a good video from Wilson on how to check it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_ybp51lx6w

    Here is a detailed write-up http://www.m1911.org/technic2.htm

    This is easy to do and you are not in any danger of buggering the pistol . If you feel that you understand the concepts of how the extractor works if it is incorrectly tensioned you can adjust it accordingly.

    Next step is to have an experienced 1911 shooter shoot a couple of rounds with the WWB and another ammo brand like RWS to see if it could have been shooter error.

    If you have stoppages take pics. Cell phone are perfect for this. Post those pics here and people like 1911tuner will be able to tell you what is going on.

    Now if all of these check out call SA and send it back to them. They will fix it even if you are not the original owner and as long as there are no aftermarket parts or mods causing the issues.
  13. moxie

    moxie Well-Known Member

    Ditto what Fleet said!

    Last range trip I let a guy shoot my Commander, which is 100% reliable with me shooting it. Wouldn't shoot two rounds in a row. Jams like the OP described. Figured he was limp-wristing. I took it and it shot just fine. That would be my first guess. Try a firm two-handed hold and see what happens. Also check to see, with the muzzle pointed downrange of course, that it will feed and eject several rounds in a row, just manually cycling the slide. If it won't cycle and won't shoot with a firm grip go to a gunsmith. You will save money in the long run, IMHO.
  14. xx78

    xx78 Well-Known Member

    If the 1911 is brand new I would field strip it, clean, and lube the pistol. Then take it to the range and shoot at least 100 rounds through it. If the pistol still malfunctions then find the problem and repair. A few of my 1911s did the same thing until it broke in.
  15. WC145

    WC145 Well-Known Member

  16. Magnumite

    Magnumite Well-Known Member

    A model such as the SA Loaded shouldn't be magazine sensitive. It should feed with virtually any good magazine. If it doesn't, then there is a gun problem. Also, feeding is not an issue here, extraction/ejection is.
  17. ArthurDent

    ArthurDent Well-Known Member


    Thank you!

    Good advice, one and all. (Even when the advice differs, I see the merits of both sides.)

    The first thing I need to do is get some snap caps in 45 to try these experiments. I also remembered a friend who had offered to help me build a 1911 from pieces/parts. It might have been a little cheaper and more fun, but then I wouldn't have this lovely Springfield. I need to get with this friend and compare differences with his 1911s

    It was a personal goal of mine to buy a copy of this masterpiece by Saint John Moses Browning during its 100th anniversary year. Springfields are one of my very favorite makers of this model. 2011 was one of the worst years of my life, but at least I got the 1911. :)
    I have studied the 1911 for a couple of years now and I think I have some understanding and can give a basic explanation of every part of it, including the fire control section. However, there is always a lot more to learn! Also, I do know to never do any work on the trigger section myself! If any gun needed that kind of work I know of a good gun smith. So I do realize that there is stuff here that is well over my pay grade, even though I may think I understand it.

    918v: as far as I can tell, the gun was un-shot and un-modified, just as it came from the factory. I even have the shipping ticket.
    ckone: yes, it does have the integral locking system on the main spring. It's the one feature I don't like. I should look into that, even though I didn't notice a problem with primer ignition.
    Thank you for that! The disconnector holds back the slide more than anything I've felt on any other gun, but it does have the proper, two-sided "wedge" shape on the part that sticks out.

    ApacheCoTodd / Fleet: I like the idea of getting a different shooter and ammo. I've seen plenty of strange things happen here. I doubt I'm limp wristing, but it is possible. This was slow, deliberate fire, two-handed, and my fore-arms were rested on a bench with my wrists locked. I normally have absolutely no problems with limp wristing and I've shot 1911s before. However, the springs on this gun are a LOT stronger than what I was expecting.

    rellascout: Heh! I definitely do NOT want to be a bubba on this! One time I helped Mom buy a used Seecamp from a reputable dealer that had been "bubba-ed" so badly it had to go back to the factory. Both the shop and I missed it until I took it apart after the failures on the first range trip. The insides were hideous! Larry Seecamp and company fixed it right up. I can't say enough good things about them!

    The magazines that came with the gun do not seem first rate. I knew this going in, and other folks on teh interwebz have commented about it.

    Since Magnumite said the disconnector sounds normal, I'm thinking the extractor should be my main focus. I'll try your experiments.

    Thanks again! :)

    I'm still listening...
  18. rellascout

    rellascout member

    This statement sort of jumps out at me. Are you referring to the recoil spring? It is heavier, harder to rack the slide, than other 1911s you have shot?

    Could the original owner have swapped the recoil spring for a heavier one?
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Reassemble the gun and hand-cycle it again...this time with the trigger pulled and held.

    Is the slide harder to move than with the trigger not pulled?

    If it is, it sounds like the center leg of the sear spring is bearing on the disconnect at a lower point than it should. Check the center leg for a slight kink about 1/8th inch from the top. Also look at the disconnect where the leg bears on it to see if it looks "dished."
  20. ArthurDent

    ArthurDent Well-Known Member

    Yes, I was talking about the recoil / slide spring. It is a lot stronger than those on the polymer frames I've been messing with. I have no problems at all with any of the polymer frames I've played with, but this slide is so stiff that I almost have a hard time racking it.

    It has been a while since I've shot a 1911, though, so perhaps their springs are stronger than I remembered.

    The main / hammer spring is also strong, but I expected that.

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