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Colt 1908 .380 - Jamming

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by otisrush, May 31, 2019.

  1. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    I recently acquired a Colt 1908 in .380. It's a really fun gun. It shoots well. I am not planning on shooting it a lot. I got it from my father-in-law. I'm enjoying it for the history and to shoot occasionally.

    I've had issues with it jamming, so I came over here to learn more about it. I have found threads that just generally refer to "the '08 jamming problem" - but I haven't yet found out what typically happens. In my case if I put the magazine in with the slide open, releasing the slide almost always results in a jam. However if I load the mag with the slide closed, and cycle the slide by hand, virtually always the first round loads just fine out of the mag. From that point on it operates flawlessly. (Also, it doesn't lock open after the last round. Not sure if that's normal or not. I presume it's not.)

    Any insight/guidance? If y'all said "That's the way she is." I can easily live with it. I'm just trying to learn a bit more about this pistol.

    Thanks!

    OR
     
  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    check the transition from the mag to the ramp and into the chamber.
     
  3. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    These guns usually need new springs installed periodically. Something average owners don’t do so it is usually a good idea upon taking possession of one to swap them out.

    Don’t forget the magazine spring.
     
    entropy likes this.
  4. jar

    jar Member

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    Yup. First a new recoil spring then new magazine springs. Wolff sells a recoil/firing pin spring kit for about $8.00 IIRC and also has magazine springs.
     
  5. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    Thanks all. This is really helpful.

    I'll look at replacing the springs.

    OR
     
  6. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Yeah. I have some old handguns like that, and the first thing I do is replace the springs.
     
  7. bumbazine

    bumbazine Member

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    I have a M1903, (.32acp) and a vest pocket .25, and neither locks open after the last round. I'm told that's the way they work.

    You didn't say what kind of ammunition you were using so I'll just put this out there; These pistols were never designed to use hollow point or even flat nosed FMJ bullets.

    If that's not the case, I'd look to your magazine spring, and/or feed lips. I have a Triple K magazine for my 1903 that jammed a lot until I reshaped the feed lips.

    Good luck. These pocket hammerless Colts are great pistols and fun to shoot.
     
  8. priler

    priler Member

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    I have no experience with the Colt 1908 but it sounds to me that, with the slide back, the top round is moving in/to a wrong position, perhaps nose-diving or some other wrong angle. just for testing, try inserting the loaded mag very gently and then again normal.

    I would also guess feed-lips and spring. the follower is less likely but not impossible.
     
  9. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Sounds like the first round is nose-diving, and the recoil spring is on the weak side, also. As has been recommended, replace the recoil spring and the mag spring. And has also been mentioned, FMJ works best. I shot Glasers out of mine with perfect (and spendy!) function. I carried mine with an FMJ in the pipe and the next two, then Glasers for the rest.
     
  10. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    Thanks for the additional info.

    The ammo I have been using is commercial 95gr FMJs. However I'm planning on reloading for it.

    Anyone here have experience with coated lead bullets in these things? That has been my plan (haven't bought them yet). But based on what has been reported here it sounds like I should stick with FMJs.

    Thanks again.

    OR
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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