Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

1911A1 Problem, Help Please

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by azwizard, Jul 26, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. azwizard

    azwizard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Formerly AZ, Now Northern MI
    Hi All,

    I need some help with a problem that surfaced this past week on my govt surplus 1911A1 Ithaca. Had an accidental discharge while chambering the first round from the magazine. I don't use the slide stop to release the slide I pull back on the slide and release it that way and this time the hammer followed the slide fwd and fired. I unloaded and tried to repeat and initially couldn't. However if I make the grip safety and release the slide with the slide stop lever it happens 100%.

    I tested about 100 more times the way I normally chamber a round and it will happen once in a while, I.E.. every 40 tries or so, but 100% of the time if I use the slide stop lever.

    Which part/parts should I start with replacing.

    Thanks
     
  2. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,669
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    I would change out the firing pin spring.

    If it was strong, the forward motion of the slide would not be enough force to let the firing pin fly forward.

    As you know, the reason they call if an inertial firing pin is that the overall length of the pin is too short to reach the primer. The force of the hammer drives it forward against the spring, and the spring is strong enough to carry it back.

    In your scenario, the pin is reaching the primer.
     
  3. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,211
    Location:
    S.W.Michigan
    Sear.

    Hey there;
    You have a bad sear. The disconnect could be bad. But sounds like tha hammer and sear are not talking.
     
  4. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,669
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Yup, sear is the better idea.
     
  5. Kman

    Kman Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    450
    If the hammer is riding the slide into battery stop using the pistol immediately. Sear isn't engaging the hammer hooks, it could simply be the hooks are too worn to hold properly or the sear edge has chipped. Could also be that the sear spring is too light, if I remember correctly it's the far left leaf of the mainspring, either way you now have a full auto pistol. If you have to ask this question, the pistol needs to see a smith, you are about to get into the guts of this 1911. P.S. Ithaca's are for collecting, get a cheapo 1911 to shoot!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,751
    That gun should not fire from firing pin "creep". That only happens (and then rarely if the safety is not engaged or there is no FLGR) if the gun is dropped muzzle first onto hard steel or concrete from six feet or more.

    A hammer followdown will not usually fire the gun. Unless the gun has been treated to a "trigger job" by an amateur, either the hammer or sear is in bad shape. What happens is that the full cock engagement is too light, and the half cock notch is not engaging at all. The result is that when the slide slams into battery, it jars the hammer off the full cock notch and it falls all the way, firing the gun.

    Jim
     
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Messages:
    11,352
    Location:
    London, Ont.
    What ammo? High primers in reloads might do it. Mind you, Jim has a good point too. An improperly done trigger job can make any pistol unsafe.
     
  8. azwizard

    azwizard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Formerly AZ, Now Northern MI
    It's not new/used, I've had it for almost 20 years. It just started this. Haven't done anything to it in all these years. It isn't per se a full blodded Ithaca it had some colt parts in it as well. I'm guessing it was like the ones on my ship when I was in the Navy. After firing they all got stripped down and cleaned in a big bucket of parts and then reassembled by the ships armorer piece by piece.

    Also since I break it down completely pretty much the same way to clean it I wouldn't really hesitate to attempt replacing the maligned parts, I either manage to fix it my self so that it's safe or I buy another set of parts and have a smith install them for me.
     
  9. Kman

    Kman Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    450
    You could do it, if ya like to tinker, take off the slide and grips, then punch out the mainspring housing pin, the rest of the information is on-line. Take a close look at your hammer, sear and mainspring. If the trigger was light to begin with it could just be the mainspring is getting old. My bet is the hammer hooks are worn or the sear edge has chipped. Look closely to examine the pins that hold these parts for excessive wear. Replace if necessary, the pin holes should be perfectly round, make sure they aren't wallowed into ovals. Hold your hammer and sear together to make sure they mate together well, sear should engage both hooks, not just one side. You should have found your problem by now, good luck! P.S. the hammer strut pin is small and has a tendancy to get lost as it falls out easily, watch for it. The pin that is holding tension on your thumb safety is also spring loaded and can fly three to four feet, so when your wiggling that thumb safety loose watch for it to come out. Get proper fitting punches as well, we don't want to gouge the frame. You get done with this job and you will have an intimacy and confidence with 1911's that only comes from experience.
     
  10. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,211
    Location:
    S.W.Michigan
    How old is this thing?

    Hey there;
    My books don't show this gun. How old is it. Maybe you should get it repaired and put it away.
     
  11. Kman

    Kman Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    450
    He has an Ithaca, WW2 sidearm, and rare as heck.
     
  12. mtngunr

    mtngunr Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    458
    Location:
    SEUS
    It's a WWII shooter-grade....it needs to be fixed, then shot....nice gun, enjoy the tinkering, and keep the parts replaced, especially if the hammer is bad....try www.amhurst (or amherst)depot.com for a spare hammer if needed....they also have/had other GI small parts.
     
  13. mtngunr

    mtngunr Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    458
    Location:
    SEUS
    They made over 335,000 guns...
     
  14. Kman

    Kman Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    450
    {It's a WWII shooter-grade} So you have seen this pistol? 335,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of RR's, not quite as rare as Union S&S, but still costly to replace.
     
  15. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,795
    Location:
    TEXAS
    hammer and sear, also the sear spring.

    if i took it down far enough to do that i would also go ahead and replace the main spring too.

    if i did all that i would just finish the tune up with recoil and firing pin springs.
     
  16. azwizard

    azwizard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Formerly AZ, Now Northern MI
    Guy's it's a shooter. I carry it while hunting small game, and mild range practice. It is old, s/n# on the frame is 393XXX and a NM Barrel s/n# 145XXX.
    My CCW piece is my H&K P2000 in .40 S&W. I just want to fix it so that it's safe to shoot again. I'll bet I only shoot 300 rounds a year thru it, just enough to stay proficient so I don't waste ammo when I shoot at a bunny/squirrel. Did get a turkey with it once though.

    Someone asked earlier about the ammo, It was Factory Remington 185 JHP. I normally shoot my reloads, 200 gr. SWC @ 900 fps., really accurate and never a fail to fire or feed in 20 years.

    I'll take it apart again tomorrow and check the sear/hammer notches, replacing the springs was something I was already considering, I've never replaced them to date, but it was shooting so well I didn't want to mess with anything yet. Maybe I'll order a whole spring kit to make sure I get everything.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far.
     
  17. chieftain

    chieftain Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,264
    Location:
    The Free State of Arizona
    It is not about ammo, or firing pin springs.

    As several here have mentioned, you have a sear and/or hammer problem.

    One thing you can check before you replace either the sear and or the hammer is the sear spring.

    I have seen some 1911's reassembled improperly and the sear spring is impinged in some way an not working properly. Or the sear spring has lost much or all of it's tension and is not keeping the sear under pressure.

    If you replace either the sear and/or the hammer, I would replace the sear spring too, if you haven't done it recently.

    The other folks here have described the sear/hammer situation well enough. Just don't forget the sear spring too.

    And, forget what anyone tells you. It is your weapon, sounds like you are using it as it was intended to be used.

    Good luck

    Fred
     
  18. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    There's the clue.

    As Mr. Keenan noted...a simple followdown won't fire the gun, even if the firing pin spring is weak. The hammer is being tripped...jarring off the sear when the slide slams into battery.

    When you "make" the grip safety, the trigger can reach the disconnect, which in turn presses on the sear. So, Problem One is caused by inertial trigger bounce nudging the disconnect.

    Problem Two is that...when the above occurs, the sear usually moves just enough to let go of the hammer hooks...resets quickly...and grabs the half-cock notch, stopping the hammer. That obviously isn't happening.

    That means that either the sear spring isn't applying enough tension on the sear to reset it in time to make the half-cock...or something is interfering with it so that it can't reset. It may be badly gunked up, or it may be the fault of the sear spring.

    Because the trigger is nudging the disconnect under inertia...it suggests that the sear spring is either badly worn/weak...or that somebody has "tuned" it for a lighter trigger action. I suspect this one, since that entails bending both the sear and trigger/disconnect legs of the spring...and you have both issues in play.

    Replacing the sear spring with an OEM Colt spring...available from Brownells, listed in the Colt factory parts section of the catalog...will likely solve the problem.

    Of course, this doesn't mean that you don't also have bad hammer/sear engagement. If the problem occurs after a thorough cleaning and replacing the sear spring...it's time to have a look at the hammer, sear, and disconnect...as in replacing the parts.

    Replace the mainspring while you're at it. Wolff. 23#...and clean the mainspring's channel in the housing.
     
  19. chieftain

    chieftain Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,264
    Location:
    The Free State of Arizona
    Tuner,

    As usual you know the whys and wherefores, and of course you say it real pretty too.

    Thanks.

    Fred
     
  20. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Thankee, chief.

    awizard...if you don't know the detail strip procedure...sing out. It's pretty easy on a stock GI pistol.
     
  21. azwizard

    azwizard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Formerly AZ, Now Northern MI
    Thanks Tuner, Been waiting all night for you to show up on this.. Yea, I detail strip every time I clean it. I'll pick up a new sear and recoil spring Monday. P.S. the gun had already had a trigger job before I bought it, part of the selling point all those years ago it's about 3 lbs...
     
  22. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Oh, Lord...

    The issue may be with the hammer hooks, too...and probably more of the bug resides there than with the sear.

    Has the half-cock been altered?
     
  23. azwizard

    azwizard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Formerly AZ, Now Northern MI
    Tuner, I didn't do the trigger job, I believe a smith did it but I couldn't tell you for sure. Seems like the guy told me he'd paid $80.00 for the trigger job. And there's no telling how long before I bought it that he'd had it done.

    Anyway Half cock is still there and functions correctly, as does the thumb safety. I'll bow to your expertise but wouldn't you think after 20 years and 8-10k rounds that I've shot, it could just be the sear spring as you suspected?

    I'll check out the Sear and Hammer hooks as soon as I can, I work Nights 6pm-6:30 am and today I have to take my wife to work as the youngest has her truck, hence I'm up early today. But while I'm out I'll swing by my local shop and see if they have a sear/recoil spring or if I have to wait to get them tomorrow.

    Thanks again.
     
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Possible...especially seein' as how it started suddenly. Also possible that the hammer hooks have worn.

    Original spec hooks were long by "trigger job" standards...and undersquare...providing a captive engagement with the sear. Hammers that have been prepped for trigger jobs such as the one that your pistol has are cut square and shortened, providing a neutral engagement.

    As they wear, they become oversquare, and the engagement becomes negative.

    With a positive/captive engagement...pulling the trigger causes the hammer to move backward...overcocking it a few thousandths.

    With oversquare/negative engagement...the hammer will move forward a few thousandths as the trigger is pulled. This is a dangerous condition as the force of the mainspring works to squirt the sear away from the hammer and out of contact with the hooks.

    You can see which yours has by mounting the gun in a vise and using a dial indicator on the hammer to see which way it moves when you pull the trigger slowly.
     
  25. azwizard

    azwizard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Formerly AZ, Now Northern MI
    Ok, Update... Thanks for all the suggestions and here's what I've done.

    I striped it down and inspected the sear/disconnect and hammer hooks under my lighted magnifying glass and all looked good as I compared it too some of the visualization drawings on the Brownells web site. I replaced the recoil and firing pin spring with the Wolff set @ 18.5 lbs (all they had in stock) and replaced the Sear/Main spring with the Clark Custom 4 leaf spring. Those new springs sure looked and felt better.

    So far that seems to have fixed the problem, the hammer isn't following the slide down at all but I haven't shot it yet. I should shoot it about Thursday and I'll probably go a head and put 150 rounds thru it before I call it good.

    Tuner, That also raised the trigger pull to 4 lbs 3 oz..... Still fine as far as I'm concerned. :D

    Hopefully nothing comes back.:)
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page