Failure to Feed w/Handloads

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Apr 16, 2008
I took my 1911 to the range yesterday to put some rounds through 'er after finishing some smithing on 'er. I had just fitted a new hammer, sear, trigger, and grip safety.

Since I did not change anything (other than the hammer) that might affect my gun's cycling, I didn't expect to see any problems with feeding. If I found any problems, I expected them to be with the action/trigger system.

I had no trigger or action problems at all, but I did have some FTF's.

However, yesterday was the first time that I had shot reloaded ammunition through my 1911. And it was ONLY with the reloads that I got the feed issues.

I fired about 150 rounds total, 100 of which were reloads and 50 were FMJ factory ammo.

I got 0 FTF's with the 50 rounds of Winchester FMJ hardballs, but I did get about 5 Failure to Feeds with the reloads I was using.

My reloads were loaded with a standard charge and 230gr Lead Round Nose ammunition. The lead balls are a bit rougher and 'grabbier' than the FMJ's since the lead is soft. So, I figured that this was causing the issue. But I wanted the advice of those here to be sure.

Each of the failures were identical. One round would fire and the next bullet would load ALMOST all the way. In fact, the barrel looked like it was seated and in battery, but you could tell that it wasn't, because the slide failed to shut all the way by about 1/4 of an inch.

Any suggestions for what to look for?
Could be caused by the case mouth, try just a little more taper crimp and see if that resolves the issue.
If the problem loads were loaded by you then follow frogomatic's advice. If you bought reloads don't buy that brand again. Not all commercial reloads bring the round back to factory spec's........
Take and "color" one of your tight reloads with a Black Magic-Marker.

Then try to chamber it.

Wherever the black scuffs off is the problem!

Yes, they were my reloads. And I'll give that a try, rcmodel.
When reloading a stright wall case like the 45acp I find a factory load that works well and then trim my brass to that length and make my over all length (AOL) the same, I match the diameters as well, then its only the powder charge and primmer to worry about.
I had a similar problem with my 1911, it turned out that one brand of brass was a little thicker than the others and would not go into battery. After inspecting all the ones with the problem and eliminating that brand I did not have further problems. I also started using the Lee Factory crimp die as the final step, it has a carbide ring to do a final resizing so that the round is the proper diameter.

Another thing to check on is the sizer die going all the way down? You could be leaving a slight bulge at the base that is giving a bit of difficulty in the chamber.
What jtburton and Chawbaccer said. I had an occassional failure to feed with my .45 acp loads. Using my calipers, found the case base was a little bulged on the FTF rounds.

Bought the Lee 4 die set with the 4th stage carbide sizer/crimp die. Fast forward about 1,000 rounds later and NO PROBLEMS. As pointed out, always ensure the 1st stage sizer die is adjusted as low as possible without creating a bind on the press up-stroke.
Case gauges are fine but using your barrel is better!
Remove your barrel and clean the chamber area well.
Drop your rounds into the chamber. They should fall easily in with a 'thunk'.
Rub your thumb over the case head and insure it is flush or slightly below the end of the hood.
Now invert the barrel and the round should easily fall out.
Serious competition shooters check each and every round in this fashion.
I hope this helps!
Ah, yes, I recognize the A-MERC headstamp. I throw away any I find. Although the Lee die will resize them so that they will feed, I toss them just in case one misses the Factory crimp die.

Claude Clay,

Absolutely for me. I posted on this in a previous thread. Every friggen' A-merc case I reloaded would not feed in any of my 45's.

Never figured out why, just chunked them.
Like RCmodel said...

All this talk about brass brands and such.. You know, people shoot and reload A-merc and tens of other brands all the time. As long as factory loads feed/fire/shoot fine, then your reloads most likely have a sizing issue. Whether it's the brass, crimp, (head space) bullet diameter or seating depth.

So like RCmodel said, take one of your reloads and paint the whole thing with a magic marker. Chamber it in the barrel (removed from the slide)... You'll probably be able to see where the tightness is.

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