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Are you a 1911 owner who dislikes external extractors?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Boats, Jan 14, 2004.

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  1. Boats

    Boats member

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    I wanted to make sure this didn't get lost in the larger thread on the topic.

    Here is the absolute best money you will ever spend for a tool for maintaining your own 1911.

    eat1.gif
    Extractor adjustment tool

    For a mere thirty dollars you take all of the guess work out of tuning an extractor because you get a consistent bend every time across the entire length of the extractor. Coupled with a true spring steel extractor such as sold by Cylinder and Slide, you get a combination that can't be beat by the manufacturing "solution" to the 1911 clone companies' "1911 extractor problem" that they entirely created by saving a buck not using spring steel internal extractors in the first place.

    Good shooting.
     
  2. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    *Shrug*

    I've never had a 1911 extractor need tuning. Old Kimber and new Colt .45s didn't need it, and my 10mm Colts got AFTECs. The one thing that the Para I had would do reliably was extract.

    "Tuning" is kind of a misnomer, it makes the gun sound like an old Hemi with dual carbs that need synchronizing, or maybe a violin that sounds wonky. The reality is, either they installed the part properly at the factory or not. Either the part is a junk part, or it isn't. QC did ther job, or blew it off. We aren't talking about elaborate artisan operations being done to make and maintain your $600 Kimber here.
     
  3. dbshabo

    dbshabo Member

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    I prefer the external extractor myself. I'm not a 1911 purist however, if a good platform can be improved with a little redesign I'm all for it.

    Shabo
     
  4. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    As long as it is working properly, I don't have a preference. Have a Springfield with internal extractor and a Llama (not a true 1911, I know) with an external extractor. Both do what they are supposed to do.
     
  5. Boats

    Boats member

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    Sean, I didn't set out to make the 1911 sound like a 60s muscle car, but the inescapable fact I have identified in the marketplace is that external extractors have become all the rage primarily because OEM extractors began to be made of barstock with inconsistent performance in the role or MIM or some other metal other than intended by JMB, mainly to save one buck per pistol. A correctly installed part that is made of crap will not be improved by QC inspections.

    I too have older Colt's that have never needed any extractor tweaking. My friend had one two years ago that broke three MIM extractors before he gave up and bought a Wilson Bulletproof, which if even if it is made of barstock, comes with a lifetime guarantee. The one Kimber I have had through my hands needed a new extractor. I replaced the one on my Springer with a C&S out of preference after it would extract everything but some once fired reloads.

    So no, since I don't need to replace the extractor on most of my 1911s, but I might actually desire to, and especially since I had $30.00 laying around, I am happy to have a tool that will give me a geometrically correct bend, rather than risk ruining a new extractor torquing it improperly, or laying out the money for a spring driven AFTEC. After all, when I install something myself, I am the factory and the QC guy. Better to get it right the first time.
     
  6. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Ex-Tract-Ers

    May I?:)

    The external extractor, well made of good quality steel and correctly
    installed is probably better than the internal for a couple of reasons...
    and not as good for a couple of other reasons. Each one has its pros
    and cons.

    The external requires no tweaking. The "tune" is in the spring that
    drives it.

    The external allows for easier, less stressful (for the part) single
    loading directly into the chamber, and for those odd times that the
    round gets ahead of the hook and forces the hook to climb over the rim.
    They'll all do that sometimes. Look for the dings and burrs that get kicked up on the edge of the rims if you doubt it.

    It's cheaper to make. Fewer machining operations, and it can be made
    of almost any steel...including case-hardened 1018 (cold rolled) I
    made one from 1018 once for a Llama...and as far as I know, it's still there.

    It's easier to clean with aerosol cans of Crud'n'Cack dissolver.

    The exteral is here to stay. Might as well get used to that. The internal
    extractor equipped 1911 pistols will stick around, mainly to meet the
    demands of the purists...of which I are one.

    The internal has its advantges too.

    Assuming a good extractor, one tweak is likely all you'll need. You'll
    go broke trying to put enough factory ammo past a good extractor to
    break it, or even take the tension out if it's a true spring...or at least
    modified to behave like a spring:D

    Easily removed for cleaning and service in the field without tools.

    No small parts to lose. The external usually has a small pin that requires a
    drift or punch to drive it out...and there's the matter of that little coil spring.
    Those things have a way of gettin' away from you at the worst times...
    and good luck on your search when it does. Lively little buggers.

    Plenty available if one does happen to break. Just call your friendly neighborhood Brownells rep. Speakin' of which...why not just keep a
    spare on hand? That way, no waiting for the UPS man.

    Tuneable. Playing with a few key areas on the thing can alter the timing and direction that the brass leaves the port. You can put a little less tension on it for the chopped-slide pistols when the extractor causes a RTB issue. With the external, you're pretty much at the mercy of the spring...and they do vary. Anybody wanna try for a miniature spring gauge?

    In the final analysis, they're both good. Either one will do its job, and it's
    mainly a matter of layin' down your money and makin' your choices.

    For me, I'll stick with the internal...and mainly for reasons of practicality.
    The purist in me is alive and well, but if I see a better way, I'll take
    function over form every time, but a "New and Improved" way is viewed
    skeptically until it's put to the test...and when I test, I wring'em out hard.

    Just FYI...I have a couple of GI extractors that have probably been through
    400,000 rounds in various pistols over the years. Pistols that have been rebuilt over and over and finally shot to destruction. They haven't failed. They have only required resetting the tension when going to different pistols than their originals, and not every one of those. They are 60 years old, and still on the job. Would I pay 50 bucks for a new extractor like that?
    You bet I would. Wouldn't you? Wish I'd bought up all the GIs when they
    were 10 dollars a dozen in the good ol' days...Gun show vendors couldn't
    give'em away.

    Cheers!

    Tuner
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2004
  7. 45auto

    45auto Member

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    I'm not a purist and I think the external will probably dominate 1911 sales in time, but I would wait until enough of them have been out and tested for long term durability before I bought one. They had better work well and long.

    It may be a better mouse trap in today's 1911 word...we'll see. There seems to be different designs out there( which one is better, etc?) and I'm not crazy about buying a "proprietary" part (critical part to boot) from a single 1911 manufacturer. Not to be nasty ;) , but they are not considered the "brightest stars in the sky" in the gun manufacturing world I would guess.

    IMHO, internals work well, you can buy from multiple, competitive sources and you have people like Tuner who has the knowledge and inclination to help someone fix/modify an internal if needed.

    If you have a problem with an external, are you going to call Kimber...send the slide back?
     
  8. 9x19

    9x19 member

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    Boats,

    I've had one of Jack's tools and gauge sets (bought it on a whim when he made a discount offer on the 1911Forum once) for a good little while, and it is the bees knees for consistent and repeatabe extractor adjusting.
     
  9. Climb14er

    Climb14er Member

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    I absolutely love my external extractor in my Dan Wesson Patriot .45ACP

    No ftf's, no misfeeds, no blips, nada!

    CMC Powermags also help.
     
  10. sm

    sm member

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    Internal Extractor
    All I have, all I ever want.

    I don't know the last time I "tuned one", maybe years ago for spares which once tested are still sitting in their tubes, along with other spare parts if ever need. I didn't have a spl tool, still don't. I use the "do this, do that" method.

    1911 Tuner can probably give a better scientific name and explanation.

    :p
     
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I, too, wonder why folks go into rant mode when someone mentions external extractors for the 1911 type pistol. Unless that is all you own, you probably have one or more pistols with external extractors and few give any problem.

    As to the idea that the "sainted" JMB used an internal extractor and that we cannot allow deviation from the master's work, that is absurd. Browning used both types in guns he designed, and used an external extractor in several guns designed before the 1911. The military requirement to be able to extract short rounds was certainly one reason for sticking with the internal extractor, but the fact that it worked was surely another.

    The advantage that the M1911 internal extractor can be easily removed may have been a factor, but not all internal extractors are easy to remove (the 1902/03/05 extractors are no easier to remove than most external extractors).

    In short, count me among the ones who has no problem using external extractors as long as they work.

    Jim
     
  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Scientific Extractor Tuning

    T'was said:

    1911 Tuner can probably give a better scientific name and explanation.

    Yep...Bend it and straighten it. Repeat 'til it works.
    :neener:

    Cheers!

    Tuner
     
  13. Stasher1

    Stasher1 Member

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    I prefer the internal extractors, but's not a function issue. I'm more concerned with being able to get parts if/when I need them. Gun companies come and go, and the owners of pistols from long-gone companies often have a hard time finding parts.

    I think the external extractor is a good idea, but I think it would be a better idea if there was some kind of industry standard size/shape.
     
  14. Boats

    Boats member

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    I am with Stasher on this one. On a 1911 the internal extractor is eternal while the externals are all proprietary designs.
     
  15. Bren

    Bren member

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    I like the internal on a 1911, there is ZERO need for an external and they are much harder to "make right" than an internal which takes only a few minutes. (Tool or not)

    Also cleaning behind an external is more of a pain and it is more prone to have dirt/residue cause problems.

    Just another stupid mod IMO. Bren
     
  16. WhoKnowsWho

    WhoKnowsWho Member

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    Hey, if they work, it's all good. :D
     
  17. harrydog

    harrydog Member

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    I currently own three 1911's - two have internal extractors and one has an external. All 3 of them have worked flawlessly so far. Since I'm not a purist, I have no preference as long as they work.
    One thing that I wonder about...why did most manufacturers move away from spring steel for their internal extractors? Spring steel is not expensive to produce as far as I know. In fact, I would think that something like a 4340 heat treated barstock part would cost at least as much as a tempered 1095 or 1075 spring steel part. But I could be wrong.
     
  18. Mute

    Mute Member

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    Aesthetically, I prefer an internal for a 1911. From a function, point of view, either/or.

    As for that tuning device. Need little gadget, but I've never found tuning a 1911 extractor to be either voodoo magic nor rocket science. Who knows? That's just me.
     
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    No Spring

    harrydog said:

    I would think that something like a 4340 heat treated barstock part would cost at least as much as a tempered 1095 or 1075 spring steel part. But I could be wrong.

    The cost difference wouldn't be great, but corporate bean counters are paid ridiculous salaries to find a way to save a dime per part, and since
    the government contracts for the 1911 ended sometime in late '45 or early '46, once the stocks were exhausted, Colt began looking for
    ways to increase its profit margin. No more of their new pistols would be
    going to war, so there was really no good reason to spend the extra
    dime or two that consistent, in-spec spring steel extractors cost.

    Sad...There ought be a law!

    Tuner
     
  20. MoNsTeR

    MoNsTeR Member

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    If the internal extractor weren't a weak point for one reason or another (yes, cost is a valid reason), neither externals nor the Aftec would have been invented. Personally, I long for the day when I never have to worry about 1911 extractors ever again, and as long as they stay internal that day will never come.
     
  21. Boats

    Boats member

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    That last bit is not necessarily true. As long as the internal extractor is not made to specification, it will be problematic in some examples. All of the coil spring driven extractors on the 1911, internal or external, were created in reaction to an accountant driven crisis, not one inherent to the design.

    As long as my fingers will let me tear down a 1911 in detail with simplicity and ease, I will have no part of an extractor with little springs itching to be lost.
     
  22. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Infernal Internals

    T'was said:


    If the internal extractor weren't a weak point for one reason or another

    Not a weak point. If the proper extractor is available and correctly set up,
    it's one of the least trouble-prone points. How's a pistol that's gone through two rebuilds with the same extractor sound? It was adjusted once, and hasn't needed further attention in over fifteen years, other than
    periodic cleaning during the 2,500 round detail strips.

    If they build it, we will come...

    Be of good cheer and mindful of your muzzle!

    Tuner
     
  23. MoNsTeR

    MoNsTeR Member

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    You must be unaware of competition shooters' fondness for the Aftec (which costs $55-$65, hardly an accountant's wet dream). It's not liked because it's cheap, it's liked because it works. Just wait 'til external extractor slides are widely available with .40 and 9mm breechfaces.

    Aye, there's the rub. Kimber and Springfield will never again spend the necessary resources on a proper internal extractor. Given that they've decided to go cheap on this part, I'd rather they use a design that can work consistently when made cheap than one that's a crapshoot. Also, given a choice between two designs that accomplish the same task with the same aplomb, I'll take the one that doesn't require hand fitting.

    Also, the ease-of-field-stripping/losing-tiny-springs argument is a red herring. A proper extractor doesn't need to be stripped and cleaned more than, say, every 5000 rounds, or even 50,000. If I can run my Glock day in and day out and never think twice about removing the extractor for cleaning, and I can't do the same with my 1911, you tell me which design is inferior.
     
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Hmmmm

    Let's take it one point at a time...

    You must be unaware of competition shooters' fondness for the Aftec
    ---------------------------------------

    Yeah, and I'm also aware that:
    1. Competition shooters generally spare no expense on their toys...
    and that's what raceguns are.

    2. Accountants who crunch the numbers on complete guns aren't driven by the same concerns than the ones who crunch numbers on a part or
    accessory...and you can be sure that when it comes time for the contract
    renewal on those two little springs, the lowest bidder will get the contract.

    3. The aftermarket is driven by demand. If shooter A determines that the
    latest gizmo is what he needs, then that is what he will spend his money
    for. Shock buffers, full-length guide rods, extended slidestops, etc will
    bear this out.

    4. I've seen the AFTECS fail too...and when one or both of the springs go
    south, they can't be retensioned on the spot. Better have spare springs
    on hand and they'd better be the right length, or it's tuning time. Ask me
    how I know.

    -----------------------------------
    Aye, there's the rub. Kimber and Springfield will never again spend the necessary resources on a proper internal extractor.


    That doesn't mean that WE have to accept it. There are some good extractors available for the ones who understand them...and take the time
    to ask questions and learn to adjust them. It ain't exactly rocket science.
    --------------------------------------------

    I'd rather they use a design that can work consistently when made cheap than one that's a crapshoot.


    All good and well until we get a pistol with something out-of-spec...and
    that does happen. Then there's no easy way to adjust the extractor to
    accomodate for it. All it takes is for the tolerances to stack up against you to see the whole thing go wrong. Yes, there's the warranty, but if I have
    to choose between doing without my pistol for 6-8 weeks until they get around to it and a design that I can work with in 10 minutes, I'll
    take the do-it-myself route every time.
    ---------------------------------------------

    Also, the ease-of-field-stripping/losing-tiny-springs argument is a red herring. If I can run my Glock day in and day out and never think twice about removing the extractor for cleaning, and I can't do the same with my 1911, you tell me which design is inferior.

    Depends on what the pistol's duty is, and where. There's a vast difference
    between a street cop's sidearm, or a range queen that's shot under clean,
    dry conditions, even day in and day out...and being carried in all kinds of
    weather day in and day out. There is also a world of difference between
    having plenty of time to disassemble the slide on a bench and having to
    do it in semi-darkness...in the rain, or when the people who want to kill you
    are over in the tree line. At that point, the tiny parts and springs become
    the fly in the ointment, and far inferior to the internal, spring steel extractor.
    ------------------------------------------

    Do I have a real, pressing need for a pistol that can be easily serviced under those conditions. No. Not any more. There have been times, but that's another story from another world, and I do like the option if ever
    the need arises.

    The point is just this: The 1911 was originally designed for the eventuallity
    of going to war. War never occurs in ideal places under ideal circumstances. The gun has been used as a toy or a recreational arm
    for so long, that this point has been forgotten. It was never intended to be an LEO's sidearm, nor was it meant to be a target pistol. It was designed to be carried into awful places, and it had to work in those awful places. Men could die if it didn't. They could die if a tiny spring or pin was lost.

    They could die it the weapon couldn't be disassembled/reassembled in
    the dark. They could die if a part couldn't be replaced in 5 minutes.
    Get a glob of mud in that exposed spring and see how it works. Get
    the 1911 full of mud, and you can detail strip it, swish it around in water,
    wipe it dry, oil it and have it up and running again in 7-10 minutes.
    Less if you've practiced it a few times. I've got a friend whose 12 year-old
    girl can strip one and put it back together in 3 minutes flat, excluding
    the grips.

    The external will do well in all but the most extreme of circumstances and when we have the time and the necessary tools to maintain and repair it when we need to. The internal will also do well when properly adjusted. I don't have a problem with those who prefer it. I prefer the internal, and
    for more than just the reasons stated. Beyond personal preference, there's really no further point to the debate. Ya lays down yer money and
    ya makes yer choices.

    Cheers!

    Tuner
     
  25. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Member

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    I've long had standard internal extractor 1911's. Never had a problem with any of them. However, after having my first external extractor one, via my Kimber TLE/RL and my Kimber BP Ten II, I will do my best henceforth to have external ones on all my 1911's. I really like both its looks, and its performance.
    The external extractor, to me, will be more reliable under field type conditions, as it being open, allows it to push dirt and crud out of the way, whereas the fairly closed design of the internal one, gives stuff no where to go. The internal keeps crud out longer of course, but, once it gets in there, and it will, it is stuck.

    Just my $.002 observations. :cool:
     
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