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Kimber failure to go into battery

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by mountaindrew, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    I just purchased a used Kimber, a Custom LW full-size with an aluminum frame in .45 acp. I shot about 100 rds through it this weekend. I had a malfunction twice, the same failure to go fully into battery. Now, this was NOT a failure of the round to go into the chamber. both times the round was seated fully and squarely in the chamber and flush with the extension/ hood on the top of the barrel. the slide stopped about 1/8 of in inch out form closing completely and was stopped hard. Pushing forward would not close it. and oddly, the extractor hook was not hooked on the case rim but pushing up against it. I believe the barrel was refusing to cam upwards into its locking lugs, but I dont know this platform well. I could not disassemble there as I was shooting in the middle of a snowy field with to table,
    I cleared the jam by locking the slide back and dropping it. It forced the barrel closed.
    later disassembly did not reveal any obvious blockages or damage to the barrel link, and it shot many rounds normally before , between, and after the two failures.

    Any suggestions what might have caused this?
     
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  2. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    Yes - this:
    The top round in the magazine stack is supposed to slide its rim under the hook during feeding ('controlled round feed'), and instead the round wound up loose in front of the extractor. There is not enough energy in the feed cycle to both chamber the round and to snap the extractor over the rim (which it's NOT supposed to do!), so it didn't.

    There are numerous reasons for this, and many possible fixes. The easiest fix is to NOT use the Kimber magazines but to switch to a better style. Seeing as how the Kimber is (from memory) not using a ramped barrel, getting a magazine with a bullnose follower would seem a good idea as well.
     
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  3. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    I forgot to mention, i was using two brand new Wilson combat 8rd magazines.
     
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  4. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    By the way - my answer to most any 1911 mag-related question has historically been this:

    https://gunmagwarehouse.com/check-mate-1911-45-acp-8-round-hybrid-magazine-w-ext-removable-base.html

    Roger. The Wilson's use 'wadcutter' style feed lips, meaning that the feed lips are parallel and short, and are intended to pop the round out of the magazine early - hopefully with the rim under the extractor hook. If the round pops out too early, then it winds up in front of the hook. My solution was to use a hybrid of the original magazine design, which uses tapered feed lips to raise the rear of the round before letting it go completely.

    The purpose of the bullnose follower is to keep the traditional split follower from dinging the feed ramp under recoil. (In recoil, the gun moves back but the follower does not, due to inertia, and 'dinks' the feed ramp.) That wasn't an issue with a steel frame 1911, but with an aluminum frame, well, the follower is now harder than the frame and can chew it up.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  5. earplug

    earplug Member

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    A full magazine with new springs might have been enough to slow the slide enough from fully going into battery if the recoil spring is weak.
    I'd look at the extractor and recoil spring.
     
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  6. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

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    This is a classic symptom of an inertia feed where the cartridge scoots forward and out of the magazine before the slide comes forward to strip it out of the magazine.

    As earplug points out, this pistol is used. Step 1 is to do a detailed disassembly, inspection, and cleaning. Step 2 is to replace all the springs with new ones. A 5" 1911 should run perfectly with a 16lb recoil spring, a 23lb mainspring (hammer spring), and an extra power firing pin spring. Wolff includes an extra power firing pin spring with every recoil spring.

    As others have pointed out, you'd be well served to buy a new magazine or three. You could also replace the magazine spring with a new one since, if this turns out to be an inertia feed induced malfunction, it will do a better job of keeping the cartridges from slipping forward and out of the mag.
     
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  7. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    I’ve never been impressed with Wilson Combat followers, but do like the Colt followers with the dimple. For 8 round mags, I like the Checkmates, with the hybrid followers.
     
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  8. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Note, Wilson includes instructions with their magazines. If you haven't read them...

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/wilsoncombat/files/47Series.pdf
     
  9. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    ... and clean very, very well under the extractor. Check the extractor hook over carefully - if the previous owner had the same problem, he may have tried to dress the extractor with a file or something. Wouldn't hurt to put a new one in. My only comment from the above posts is the one about Kimber mags. I have numerous Kimbers and have had zero problems with their magazines. In fact, I prefer them over many of the aftermarket mags, especially Wilson. I'm sure I'm the odd-man-out, but I've never had great luck with Wilsons in any 1911 I've owned. As it happens, I also have a Kimber Custom LW and it functions fine with Kimber mags, as well as Colt mags and my absolute favorite - Shooting Star mags.
     
  10. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    The Chip McCormick line-up of mags or any other mag with the Devel follower are generally the only mags not recommend with an aluminum framed 1911.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  11. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

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    It's very rare to be able to drop a new extractor into a 1911 and have it fit correctly. This LINK may be of some use to the OP if he chooses to replace the extractor.
     
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  12. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

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    Agreed. I ran CMC mags for a decade or more during my IDPA competition days without a problem, But they did ding the steel feed ramp. Not enough to cause any damage but I will not run them in an aluminum frame 1911 for fear of damaging the ramp. The issue is that the Devel style follower tilts forward as the last round in the mag feeds. This causes the tip of the steel follower to bang into the frame ramp. Checkmate also uses a Devel style follower but has included legs the extend downward to prevent the follower from tipping. I like these followers and use them with all 1911s.

    Here's a pic of a disassembled Checkmate magazine in which you can see the legs that prevent the follower from tilting. A clever design that works well.

    rR5P4w1.jpg

    Here's another look at the front leg.

    Nq8PQtR.jpg
     
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  13. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    I prefer the mec-gar magazine & follower. Improves function & rises perfectly level. I have found it superior to the kimber mag & the Wilson. Problems like this have ceased since using them.
     
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  14. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    Thanks. Something new learned today. I'm going to go play with the Chip McCormick (Shooting Star) mags I have, just to see exactly what's happening. I'll refrain from using them in the LW Kimber. As a weird aside, one of my favorite OLD magazines is a Marlin mag from a camp carbine (1911 pattern). I've had it maybe 20 years and it still functions perfectly. It has a follower unlike other mags, and it does have a "skirt" on it that keeps the follower from tipping. I don't know who made those mags but for some reason it never fails.
     
  15. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    Can you provide a picture?

    Smiles,
     
  16. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    Checkmate hybrid followers are nice, anti tilt, bullnose design, with the dimple:)
    CF1A718A-92C8-4C2E-813F-8A42CD440EE5.jpeg
     
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  17. Driftertank

    Driftertank Member

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    I went through a period of "out of battery" malfunctions a few years ago with my Stainless TLE II. I did several rounds of thorough cleaning and oiling, and even did some light polishing of feed ramp and breach face, to no avail.

    Then someone recommended changing out the recoil spring, saying they should be changed about every 3k rounds with a typical 1911.

    Got a couple sets of Wolff springs, they were pretty much dirt cheap. The new recoil spring was about 3/4" longer than the one that came in the gun (uncompressed) fron the spring sag that around 5k rounds had induced.

    Gun has run flawlessly since, and i still have 2 spare spring sets.
     
  18. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    JTQ is 100% right. I just pulled out my identical Kimber Custom LW that the OP has, and a bunch of 1911 magazines. All of the mags with CMC (Shooting Star)-type followers, including SOME Colt, as well as other manufacturers, have followers that can tip forward and touch the loading ramp of the receiver. I don't know for sure they do that in operation, but it is indeed possible. If you take the slide off of a 1911 and put an empty magazine in the receiver, it's easy to press the nose of a follower and see which ones can touch the loading ramp of the receiver. From now on, I'll be careful which magazines go in which 1911... something I've never worried about. In looking at the ramp on my Kimber however, there are no corresponding marks showing any damage to the finish yet, but it looks like the possibility is there.
     
  19. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    Why do I see so many negative opinions of the Kimber magazine? Why would Kimber include a magazine with thier pistol that wasn't optimal for function? The cost difference isn't very great.
    I do like that the Kimber magazine fit flush with 8 rds and even still inserts easier than the wilson's that stick out farther. If I knew them to be good I would buy at least a couple more.
     
  20. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

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  21. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    As Steve alludes to, a flush fit 1911 mag was designed to hold 7 rounds. If you can squeeze 8 rounds in a tube of that length the manufacturer has compromised either the follower or spring, or probably both, to get that extra round in the tube.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
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  22. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    My Kimber 5” works flawlessly with Wilson mags. But it is steel and doesn’t perform well without adequate lubrication.
    Lubrication is where I look first if it doesn’t go to battery
     
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  23. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    A pair of pliers will do wonders correcting1911 magazine problems. And most 1911 problems are magazine related. Do not do this unless you are good at figuring out what’s wrong with the feeding.
     
  24. Bacon buster

    Bacon buster Member

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    Sometimes the extractors need a little tuning. You can find a lot of videos that will show you how. It’s fairly simple to do yourself. Also you can measure the feed lips on your mags that you have any failures with. Too tight or to lose can cause issues. 1911 are more like a hot rod. When they are right it’s a great experience but if something’s out of tune it can leave you scratching your head. If you’ll take time to go through it and check it out thoroughly you’ll get to know your pistol and future failures will be easier to diagnose. Maintenance is a big requirement with 1911s particularly the ones that are tight.
     
  25. webrx
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    webrx Contributing Member

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    As silly as this sounds, make sure the slide lock is properly engaged into the barrel link. I had a similar issue and what was happening is the barrel link had a rough spot on it so when I put it back together, the barrel link did not slide back far enough to be engaged by the slide lock pin. it would shout a mag or sometimes 2, then fall to go into battery. I took it apart manipulated all the parts and found the barrel link would get jammed and not go all the way back due to that rough spot. cleaned it up with some diamond files, lubed it, put it together making sure the barrel was captured by the slide lock and the 1911 started working beautifully. not saying it is not a mag issue, just another possibility.

    d
     
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