1911: Failure to Feed First Round

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Gary H

Dec 25, 2002
I had some problems with my Valtro at my last IDPA. So, I fully stripped and cleaned/lubricated the gun. I'm still having problems with failure to feed on the first round when shooting from a locked back slide. Springs are new and of standard weight. All of my reloads go into a chamber gauge prior to use. I'm using West Coast Plated 230 RN bullets seated with an OAL is 1.262. Brass is trimmed IMI. The magazines are eight round Wilson. Upon removal of the offending round, I find that the plated bullet has a small triangular flat area. The rounds hang when I use the slide release and when I pull the slide back for release. This isn't consistent, perhaps hangs on 40% of first round from an open slide. I would appreciate any feedback.
Gouged Bullet Nose

Howdy Gary,

Sounds like maybe a barrel fit problem.

Field-strip the gun, lay the barrel in the bed and install the slidestop crosspin through the frame and link. Push the barrel down and back. The bottom of the barrel throat should sit forward of the top of the feed ramp by a 32nd...or roughly .032 inch. It can be a little more than that...but not less. If it sits dead flush...or worst case...overhangs at the top of the ramp, the rear of the barrel,
(or rather the lower edge of the barrel face) can be set forward a little with a flat mill file and the throat reshaped. There's a limit as to how far forward you can reset the throat and regain the correct angle without undermining the case head support at the bottom of the chamber though, so be careful if you have a go at it yourself.
if you've never done it, I'd advise letting a smith look at it...and pick one that understands the 1911 design.


Is the top round nose diving into the frame feed ramp or is it trying to feed and catching on the barrel feed ramp? I have found that 8 and 10 round mags will often suffer from nose dive jams, 7 round mags rarely suffer from this problem.
Thanks for your help.

It looks like the distance comes in at around 0.42".

These magazines were working fine. It looks to me that the top round is catching above and not below. It is as if it were feeding overly nose up rather than diving into the frame ramp.

The problem seems to be tied to the ammunition. I shot some LRN today without any problems. The COL (1.231 NOT 1.262) for the plated bullets was substantially shorter than the COL for the LRN. So, that seems to have been the issue. I must have been using ammunition that I loaded years ago when I was loading short and light.
I got here too late to say, "Check some other ammo" before you go off the deep end. Re loaders are often the problem. Of course, I would not have a Wilson Magazine as a gift, but I know that I am wrong about that. The first thing I look at is ammo, then mags. After that, we go to Tuners Post. Glad it wasn't serious.
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