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Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by cameramonkey, May 26, 2004.

  1. cameramonkey

    cameramonkey Well-Known Member

    A few weeks ago a posted a topic asking for firearms purchase advice: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=81857.
    I ended up getting a Spingfield Loaded Stainless 1911 (in .45 ACP). It seemed to have the normal teething problems that a 1911 has. It had a few FTE and a few failure to feed problems in the first 200 rounds (Remington UMC ammo). All ammo was FMJ. But all other functoning seemed proper. However, on it's 2nd trip to the range, it had the same problem: another 200 rounds (this time PMC ammo) and more random FTE and failure to feed problems. I had the a buddy try the gun who is a very good shooter, and he had the same problem, so I don't think that I was limp wristing. He was using the same ammo in his Sig 220 and didn't have any problems. So, I took it home and cleaned it. I went back again. 250 rounds later and I still had the same problem. I'm very discouraged. I primarilly bought this handgun to be a home defense weapon. Right now, I don't trust this gun and honestly, I'm a little disappointed and frustrated with my purchase. :banghead:

    I really wanted out of the box reliability in a weapon but the history and legend of the 1911 seemed to sway me more in my decision. Right now I feel like I made the wrong purchase. Every time I walk past the Sig 220 or 226 and the glock 17 that I was considering, I feel like they are laughing at me. I feel like a "traitor" admitting this about the 1911 and would never put them down (I don't get into flaming an individual's personal choice or favorite weapon, especially 1911's), but at the same time I am very underwhelmed by the Springfield. I do not trust it right now as a functional tool for defense. I know that I will take a loss if I sell the gun, but I'm wondering if one's faith in the functionality of a handgun is worth the price to be paid if it ever truly needs to be used defending oneself. :confused: What I'm really asking is, should I trade it? Any advice from all the trade-in gurus??? Or... 1911Tuner could sell me his Springfield...;)
  2. RRTX

    RRTX Well-Known Member

    I've got a springfield loaded 1911 and after approx. 700 rounds I have had zero problems. I've put about 300 thru it now without cleaning and still zero problems. I read occaisonally of people having some out of the box problems with them but it seems pretty rare. Sounds like you got a gun made on a friday lol. I'm pretty new to 1911's myself so I can't really help you with the issue, but I bet 1911tuner can :D
  3. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Have you tried calling Springfield customer service?
  4. Wayward

    Wayward Member

    First thing I'd do is try a variety of magazines. I recommend Wilson 47D's.
  5. cameramonkey

    cameramonkey Well-Known Member

    Actually, I did buy the Wilson magazines. I bought them with the gun. Sorry, I forgot to mention that. They didn't help..... :( I haven't called Springfield yet. I'm kind of leery of doing that. I really don't know what they'll do except tell me to send the gun to them.
  6. cameramonkey

    cameramonkey Well-Known Member

    I was just wondering.... Has anyone else had a 1911 that had problems w/ it when they bought it that was able to be fixed? How has it been since the repair? Do you still have faith in the gun? Were you glad that you kept it? On the flip side, has anyone had a negative experience even after the attempt to fix the problems?

    In regards to selling, has anyone ever sold their 1911 and regretted it or were you glad to see it go/replaced?
  7. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    Since you are having FTE then there's no need to look at the mags. Your extractor is probably the culprit and needs tuning.
  8. George Hill

    George Hill Well-Known Member

    Call Springfield. They will tell you to send it back. They will give you a shipping account number to use and the RMA number... it wont cost you a dime.
    Springfield will sent it back to your door. Again, no cost to you.

    When the gun returns - it will be BLESSED. It will not only run, but it will run better than you would expect from a box stock gun... A step up you might say.
  9. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Springfield Issues

    Majic said:

    Since you are having FTE then there's no need to look at the mags. Your extractor is probably the culprit and needs tuning.

    Replacement, more likely. Going on what I've seen with the GI Mil-Spec that I just got through with, and from what I've heard from several others,
    Springfield's extractors still won't hold tension for more than 2 or 3 hundred rounds. Toss it, get a Brown Hardcore. May require tuning.

    That'll solve your extraction/ejection problems...Describe your feeding problems in detail.

    Yes! They can be fixed and run like a greyhound forever more. Most
    functional problems with a 1911 are simple, assuming that the gun isn't badly out of spec. Good magazines...A good extractor...and good ammo usually "cures" about 98% of'em. And yes! The Wilson magazines might be part of the problem. Seen that happen more than once.

    Standin' by...

  10. Dienekes

    Dienekes Well-Known Member

    I started a thread addressing duty pistol reliability at another site a while back as I have seen a LOT of this over the years. You are not alone. I am among the perplexed, and I have been at this a long, long time. The consensus from my thread was that the reliability we were used to many years ago is just not there as a general rule. I basically started out with GI 1911s and can only recall one failure in those early years--a FTF which, as nearly as I could establish, was simply a bad primer.

    I carried a LW Commander for work for a time which was also reliable, but was required by my agency to go to to a wheelgun and spent many years as an LEO and instructor with a .357 (which I still carry in retirement). Some years back I pulled the Commander, which had by then cracked the frame, out of mothballs, found a new Colt frame, and sent it off to a renowned smith for assembly into a totally reliable gun. Upshot was that it never made the grade and would only feed hardball--and not always that.

    My GI based 1911s have always been more reliable than newer ones as a rule. About a year ago I bought a stainless SA Mil-Spec ; promptly returned it to SA for a better barrel as the leade was extremely rough. To their credit, they paid shipping both ways, replaced the barrel, and the gun is percolating pretty well now. I had some failures to feed with Shooting Star magazines, and dug out some old GI magazines--end of that problem.

    I could cite other things, but as things stand reliability and quality seem to be sometime things these days. I have seen Rugers, Glocks, and SIGs choke, and oftentimes the exact cause is hard to pin down.

    Semiautos have their place--but if it isn't 100% reliable with a proper cartridge, it isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit. Personally I want a gun that is monotonously reliable and accurate, and for my money that is more easily attainable with a good wheelgun than anything else.

    Maybe Toyota will get into the gun business someday.
  11. schromf

    schromf Well-Known Member

    Cheer up, your problem is probably very simple. First thing I would do is check your extractor, it probably doesn't have enough tension on it. Dissemble your pistol, and remove the extractor, if it slides right out it is a sure sign there isn't enough tension on it. You should need to push it slightly sideways to get it to slide out. If you don't have enough tension you can fix this yourself by bending your extractor just a little ( a little goes a long ways ). I am not a big Springer fan so somebody who owns one needs to tell me what they are made from, if it is MIM adjust it, then work on replacing it. If its tool steel adjustment is all thats required. Remember the extractor on original 1911's was made from spring steel ( hence tension). I don't think anybody makes a 1911 with spring steel extractors anymore, but it is my first choice for replacement parts when required ( my oldest 1911 is a 1913 and it still doesn't "need" a new extractor ). Cylinder and Slide makes a springsteel extractor, Wilson Combat, and Brown also make good toolsteel parts.

    Definately tweak before replacing, and I would check before sending it in for warranty, my feeling is why send my gun away for a couple of weeks at least for something I can remedy in about 5 min. Here is a link with good information: http://www.m1911.org/technic2.htm

    Your feeding problem is something else, some 1911's need a 100-200 rounds to get over this ( none of my new Colts though ). First put the factory stock magazines back in and give them a try, replacing your mags right off might not have been a good thing. While your checking your extractor check out your feed ramp ensure it has no burrs, or obvious defects like the mill operator was drunk or smoking crack ( it happens just check it ). This shouldn't be a problem and if it is send it back for warranty. I actually go through a complete cleaning, take down and inspection on my new 1911's ( or new to me for that matter ) before I fire a shot, and both the extractor and the feed ramp ( and about a dozen other QA checks ) have been sized up before I take it to the range.

    OK all of the feedramp inspections look OK, what next.....Mags and ammo two biggest issues with any auto pistol. Some brands of 1911's are notoriously fussy on mags, good choices in mags are: Wilson 47D, Metalform and Chip McCormick's.

    Ammo: Work on getting your pistol to reliably work before getting exotic, use FMJ round nosed ammo until you get this sorted out, once you got it working then start using different ammo. Ok brand names, there are personal choices, lies, damned lies, and gospel all mixed into this subject. Most shooters are looking for cheap, reasonable quality, available, and clean ammo. Remington UMC and PMC are not my first choice of ammo on any day. Both are real dirty ammo so I don't like them much as they leave my guns filthy. I have shot a fair amount of PMC but mostly in my Glock 9mm's which are not fussy, but I know its not very good ammo. I have had good luck with Winchester White box, Fiocchi ( one of my favorite cheap ammo's), Federal American Eagle, MagTech and occasionally Blazer. I usually shoot Fiocchi and buy it on sale it works for me, Followed by American Eagle and Win White box. I would get a box of all three and try them all, keep track of your ammo and mags try different brands ammo in different brand mags.

    If after you tried some of these simple fixes and your still having problems there are some other serious stuff that are warranty related. Don't bugger up your extractor adjusting it, if the link I gave you above looks greek, opt for the Warranty Work. I have heard that springer is a little slow but does good warranty work.

    Your problem is pretty common on a lot of the new 1911 pistols, across many of the brands, most times it is very simple to resolve. Remember Labor is very expensive today and 1911's can't be put together by monkey's they need a certain amount of fitting ( particularly the extractor) and most of the companies today are trying to build the super spec part that can be thrown in a 1911 and it will work. Sometimes it does, many times it doesn't and it slips right through QA, and customers like you feel the pain. The only real answer is throw more labor at the guns and charge more, but that isn't a very satisfactory answer either. Me I have had a lot of 1911's, and have learned to check things closely before I buy, and do some smithing on my own, I haven't needed to have anything fixed in around 15 years on my 1911's ( but I putz around continually with them for non functional issues ), once you get yours sorted out you should see years of good service, your just being annoyed right now.

    Hope this helps, a good source of 1911 information is the 1911 forum, there is a wealth of information posted, definately worth your time if you have a 1911.
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    As Tuner knows, most of the older Colt commercial and USGI guns didn't have these problems. Recently Tuner tested a MIL-Spec Springfield and it worked like a champ - after he replaced some parts and did some tuning and adjustments.

    Of course there are some (usually expensive) exceptions to the rule, but it seems that a reliable out-of-the-box .45 is getting to be scarce, if not rare.

    As Tuner pointed out the extractor is likely trash, and the slide stop may be too. You can return it to the maker, but what ever they put into it will be that same that it has now. This is a sorry situation for which I have no good answer. The best I can advise is to have a qualified gunsmith replace the same parts, and make the same modifications that Tuner did. In the long run you will win and overcome this. But for the moment you have a right to be totally disgusted.
  13. cameramonkey

    cameramonkey Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all of the responses. I know that it may seem crazy, but would it be worth it to "step down" to a Springfield Mil-Spec? If it's more likely to be a better defense gun, that's what I want!

    I'm definitely a tinkerer, but I'm a little hesitant to try and fix my 1911 myself. But if sending it back to Springfield is just going to result in a temporary fix (the tension on the extractor will fall out of spec again, or replacing the sucky part with the exact same new sucky part, etc.), I might as well pay to get a gunsmith to fix it or sell it/ trade it for something else.

    Not to go on a rant here, but if this whole, sad, production line 1911 thing is industry-wide, why doesn't someone step up and make an affordable 1911 the way that they should be made? I mean come on! Just put the parts in there that should be in there!! Make it the right way!!! It's a big deal for me if I'm putting out all this $$$ to get a tool that I might possibly have to stake my life on. To me, maybe I'm to demanding, this is just unacceptable. And in regards to Old Fluff's comment's, I guess they just don't make 'em like they use to make 'em ......... end of rant.
  14. carpettbaggerr

    carpettbaggerr Well-Known Member

    Norinco does, but they can't be imported anymore. :(
    If you're looking for a reliable defense piece, you should get a Glock, Sig, or HK. Or a good revolver.
  15. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear you have problems with yours, must be some kind of fluke- I would send it back and have Springfield make it right.

    I got my loaded model in Feb, I've put probably 600-700 rds through it so far without a hiccup- I never expected it to perform this well, but I would bet that it still has its first ftf or fte long before my Beretta 92 does. There might be an easy fix to your pistol.
  16. IndridCold

    IndridCold Active Member

    1911 buyers remourse

    I paid around $520 for a Kimber BP Ten II and I'm having problems as well. Mine have all been FTF problems and I've heard everything from the mags, to using liquid graphite. Frankly I feel like selling the damned thing and buying a Sig. I guess you do have to pay out the a$$ to get a reliable 1911.
  17. Top_Notch

    Top_Notch Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about your teething problems with your pistol. You can try fixing it yourself, or send it back to SA. Don't give up on this pistol. I have the same model (PX9151L) and it has been flawless from day 1. I'm sure once SA tunes the extractor you will love yours as much as I love mine.
  18. Jim PHL

    Jim PHL Well-Known Member

    I guess we do hear more about 1911's needing tweaking than other guns out of the box. I have two, both Springfields, a full-size Loaded Stainless and a two-tone Micro-compact. No problems with either save for one (failure of the slide to fully close) which happened somwhere within the first 60-70 rounds on the full size. Completely reliable since then and well within what you could call a 'break-in' period.
  19. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

    I just got a GI mil-spec -- turned out to be a lemon. Sent it to Springfield two weeks ago or so, and still waiting on it to get back.

    I'm not too terribly concerned though.. all companies put out a lemon now and again, and so far Springfield's customer service seems top notch. Now, if I hadn't already been through a Kimber Classic I and a GI Remington Rand, I might be more inclined to be concerned about the 1911 platform. But well.. I've had other 1911s that worked fine, I know lots of folks with 1911s of all sorts of makes of modern vintage -- including Springfield -- and problems seem minimal and easily corrected as a rule.

    Guns are machines. Factory tooling setups are machines.
    Machines break. Tooling wears out.

    Another vote for just sending your pistol in to be corrected. :)
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    >> Not to go on a rant here, but if this whole, sad, production line 1911 thing is industry-wide, why doesn't someone step up and make an affordable 1911 the way that they should be made? I mean come on! Just put the parts in there that should be in there!! Make it the right way!!! <<

    Some guns are built like Swiss watches with finely machined parts. Others are made with investment castings (Ruger) and or CNC machined slides, “plastic†polymer frames and punch-press stampings (Glock). Many more fall between these descriptions.

    So is the “Swiss watch†gun better and more reliable? Not necessarily, if (and this is the important “ifâ€) the newer models are designed to use more modern manufacturing processes in the first place. They cost less to build, and the important bottom-line is that they usually work, and work well.

    That said, there is a certain pride of ownership in owning a fine watch (or gun) as compared to a plastic cased/battery powered one bought for $25.00 or less at Wally-World.

    Because of it’s history, reputation, mystique and perceived advantages many people understandably would like to own some version of John Browning’s most illustrious service pistol – the model 1911 Government Model. At the same time they’d like to buy it for prices that are competitive with other pistols that do not entail the high production costs that are necessary if the older gun is built in the same way it originally was.

    Older Colt’s and USGI guns were made out of high-carbon steel parts. The main ones – frame, slide and barrel – were made from machined forgings. Some lockwork parts were made from forgings, others from bar-stock. All were fully machined and usually heat-treated. The only parts that were punch-press stamped were the main spring strut, firing pin stop (in some cases only) and trigger components, although prior to World War Two even the trigger was made from a solid piece of machined steel, not a bow and fingerpiece that were stamped and then brazed together. Absolutely no parts were made from investment casting or by metal injected molding.

    Now by today’s standards all of this is extremely expensive. It is in fact the most costly way to make a gun. But when John Browning designed it, a forged-steel, fully machined and hand fitted pistol could be produced that was affordable. So he designed the gun to be made the way guns were made at Colt in 1911, not 2004.

    Gun manufacturers are in business to sell guns. If they don’t they won’t be in business for long. Those that make the 1911 and clones are trying to keep their costs down, especially on lower cost models. To do so some have tried to employ alternative methods to replace machined steel parts. Sometimes this has been successful, and sometimes not. They have also tried to eliminate much of the hand-fitting that went into the original guns, and this has been a major contributor toward reliability issues with some currently produced guns. These manufacturers speculate that some of their products won’t work, but that some will. For them it is cheaper to fix the bad ones rather then assume the expense of making all of the guns right in the first place. This is not reassuring to someone who might have to defend their life with the gun, but it is still a fact of life in today’s marketplace.

    No manufacturer can produce a precision “Swiss watch†and sell it for the same price as a $25.00 Wally-World special. The same applies to 1911 style pistols – If such pistols are made exactly the same way as the original ones. Does this mean that ownership of such guns must be limited to those with a big bank account? Not necessarily. There is no reason that a less expensive, single-stack, single action pistol can’t be made for competitive prices that is just as reliable as the 1911. For examples look at a Ballester-Molina or Star B-series guns. But market studies have shown that you, the gun buyer don’t want a substitute, you want the real thing, for the kind of money you’re willing or able to spend, and unfortunately that isn’t likely to happen.

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