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Llama Max-1 problems

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by crazyjennyblack, Dec 15, 2008.

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  1. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    To put it simply, my Llama Max-1 is giving me trouble. When I take it to the range, it jams every two two three rounds. THe spent case sticks and doesn't fully come out of the chamber, and the next round pushes it up against the top of the slide so that the only way to clear it is to remove the magazine first, and then rack the slide, but the magazine is difficult to remove under these circumstances. I have replaced the recoil spring and the extractor with ones bought from "E-GunParts.com" and it still jams. I have one magazine that came with the gun, and I have four "Chip McCormick" brand magazines. All of them give the same performance. In order to figure out if the magazine was the problem, I put a thin strip of electrical tape along each side of one of the Chip McCormick magazines, and it offered no better performance. I use Winchester white box ball ammo.

    Is my problem the gun itself or the magazines? How do I fix this? THe problem has stumped five of my friends, two of whom are familiar with pistols and three of whom are police officers.
     
  2. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Has the gun always done this, or did it just start?

    The first advice in this kind of condition is to change ammo. If that doesn't work, or if the gun has always had an extraction problem, the chamber might be rough or dirty. The solution to the latter problem is obvious.

    But if everything is clean, and as a last resort, you might try polishing the chamber using some 600 grit or finer paper on a split dowel rod chucked in a hand drill. Go easy, it won't take much to polish the chamber enough and you don't want to go too far.

    Jim

    P.S. I have had a couple of those guns apart and consider them well shaped and pretty junk. The outside is nice but the internals show signs of a lot of handfiling; in spite of (or because of) that, fitting is sloppy.

    Jim
     
  3. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    I bought the gun used for pretty cheap, and it has always done this. None of my tinkering with it has changed what it does. Any suggestions other than polishing the chamber?
     
  4. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    Some thoughts:
    Any burrs (or other imperfections) on the extractor or the cut for it in the slide that could cuase the extractor to hang up?
    Did you replace the extractor spring when you replaced the extractor?
    Perhaps the extractor needs some adjustment/fitting; these instruction apply to the internal extractor on a 1911, but I think the guidelines they provide in regards to the function of correct tension and positioning of the extractor would still apply (in your case, there will be different methodology involved if adjustments are needed, but they should still give you an idea what to look for) : http://www.m1911.org/technic2.htm.

    Regards,
    Greg
     
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    "I bought the gun used for pretty cheap..."

    Now you know why.

    Jim
     
  6. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    It's two months later, and I'm going to resurrect this thread. I've polished the chamber and examined for stuff that might be hanging up the extractor. The spring is good, but the gun still won't cycle properly. Anything else that could be the problem that I haven't thought of already? A friend of mine suggested simply replacing all of the upper parts, including slide and barrel, but this sounds a bit extreme. What should I do now?
     
  7. Hungry Seagull

    Hungry Seagull member

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    Toss the gun and get another GOOD gun.
     
  8. wrc376

    wrc376 member

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    have you tried a new extractor or increasing tension on the old one? its possible the extractor claw is worn or broken... just thinking out loud...
     
  9. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    H.S. - I'd rather not do that. I prefer to try to fix the things I do have than buy new. I don't intend it for a self-defense firearm. I use revolvers for that because I know they work. I mainly bought the Llama as my "token" semi-auto, and it was cheap, but I'd like it to work properly.
     
  10. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    Does it feed and extract when operated by hand? What do the fired cases look like,... any abnormal marks, swelling?
    Regards,
    Greg
     
  11. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    When operated by hand, it feeds and extracts better than when fired. When I first bought an aftermarket magazine for it, I tested the magazien with some orange plastic dummy rounds, and it fed and extracted just fine with those. With the original extractor, the rim of the cases had a ripped notch in them, presumably from the extractor, but with the new extractor the marks have mostly disappeared, but the problem remains.
     
  12. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Member

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    Have you tried it with other ammo?
    Have you let anybody else try it? Preferably someone who has 1911 experience.
     
  13. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    I have let a friend of mine shoot it. He is one of the aforementioned people who are stumped by the way this gun behaves. He has his own 1911 too and shoots it regularly, but he still can't figure this out.

    I've tried two different kinds of ammo, actually. American Eagle 230 gr. roundnose .45 ACP, and Winchester white box bulk 230 gr. round nose .45 ACP. I've heard that Llamas shoot best with ball ammo, so ball is what I've bought.
     
  14. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Member

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    If you go to the trouble to fix the problem you will have gained twice. You will have a good functional reliable all steel handgun and the developed understanding of what makes one work well.
     
  15. EmGeeGeorge

    EmGeeGeorge Member

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    I've noticed the magazines with those sit slightly higher when all the way in...almost imperceptably... this combined with a "sticky'chamber maybe the problem,as the rounds still leftin mag are slightly higher, pushing up somewhat more on the casing to be drawn out of the chamber post-firing... two things to try...polish chamber with find steelwool... also, wrap rubber bands around bottom of mag so it is harder to seat magazine... (so you really gotto push in in the get it to lock... if this is the case you may want to look for some actual llama mads orget weaker magazine springs forthe chip mccormicks... my two cents.

    the rips in the spent casing are from the extractor "working harder" to pull the casing with resistance from both the magazine rounds and subsequenlty the top of the chamber where the brass is be pressed more against...
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  16. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    matthew - that sounds like a good idea. I remember that when the gun jams, the spent case is always stuck just forward of the nose of the next round. Maybe if the rounds weren't as high up in the gun, the problem would be solved?


    Anybody else got an opinion on this idea?
     
  17. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    Just a thought about the maazine idea as described above - if I put the rubber bands (or something like them) on the end of the magazine to lower the rounds a bit, would the magazine still click into place?

    (I'm wondering because I'm not home right now, and won't be for a few days, so I have a few days to think about this before getting the chance to do it.)
     
  18. bircky311

    bircky311 Member

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    It sounds to me like a tolerance stack (a few things being a little out of whack to make the end result a lot out of whack). I own a Llama Max-I. I've had to shim here, and take off there. I'm actually addressing similar issues right now. mine ejects EVERYWHERE. Best advice I can give you is to hit M1911.org and do some reading on how these great guns are SUPPOSED to work. Theorize from there with the pistol in your hands. My 4 cents. (to long to be 2 :p )
     
  19. EmGeeGeorge

    EmGeeGeorge Member

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    a weaker magazine spring may help too... or put a "slight" bend in the magazine spring so there is less up-pressure on the forward part of the rounds..

    thin rubber bands...
     
  20. bircky311

    bircky311 Member

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    ok. I don't want to make anyone mad here, but a weaker mag spring will make things worse. A lot of common problems in 1911s are associated with WEAK MAG SPRINGS. A most common suggestion from "tuners" for feeding and cycling problems is STIFFER MAG SPRINGS. Honestly, it's a 1911. EVERY part must be fitted to YOUR gun. Logically, there is a tolerance issue with the extractor. It's not grabbing the case hard enough. Same issue I had with mine, though not as extreme a case. Check out http://www.m1911.org/technic2.htm ... is a very helpful article written by Bill Wilson.
     
  21. EmGeeGeorge

    EmGeeGeorge Member

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    calling a llama a 1911 is like calling a taurus 85 a model 60... I know what u mean though...

    I had one, there were counter-intuitive things I had to do to it to get in running reliable, in reference to other guns I had...
     
  22. larryh1108

    larryh1108 Member

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    Laugh if you want or just ignore this but with my full size Llama .45 I actually turned the mag spring around when inserting it in the mag. The High side rests against the back of the mag. It seems to lower the tip and raise the rear ever-so-slightly. Try it! You have nothing to lose. If it's the same or worse, put it back the other way. Just a hint that worked for me.
     
  23. Rex B

    Rex B Member

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    Despite the mostly undeserved reputation of Llama pistols, those Max-1s are known as reliable and accurate, especially for the money. You have received some pretty good advice here. You can also search 1911-specific sites and forums, lots of great diagnostic info for 1911s.
    One thing that happens a lot with Llamas is incorrect homebrew repairs. People don't mind tinkering with a $200 gun, but they might take an $800 pistol to a pro. Maybe the previous owner installed a new barrel incorrectly, or even a barrel link of the wrong size.
    One area that is worth looking at is the gap between the chamber entrance and the feed ramp machined into the frame. You would think it should be a continuous smooth ramp with no transition. But the experts have decided there needs to be a 1/32" step there. The barrel/chamber edge just a little ahead of the top edge of the frame ramp.
    Load an empty case in the chamber by sliding it under the extractor. Make sure the extractor can hold the case in place against the breechface - it should be able to. Then run the slide slowly forward so the cartridge seats in the chamber. Insert mag with a dummy round in the top. (A dummy round should have a real 230 gr bullet in an empty case) Then retract the slide slowly, watching the case to see if it hangs anywhere or does any unexpected movement. See if it contact the ejector at the right place in the cycle and makes the empty case point toward to the port.

    Hope that helps. and good luck
     
  24. ocharry

    ocharry Member

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    crazyjennyblack,,,will this gun function with out the mag.???

    put the mag into the gun load a round ,,take the mag. out and fire the gun,,will it eject the fired case???

    if it doesn't then you may have a mechanical problem,,,if it does then you may have a mag problem,,just something to try,,to narrow the trouble shooting process

    my .02

    ocharry
     
  25. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    It's been a while since I looked at this thread, but to answer ocharry's question, the pistol ejects the fired case perfectly when a round is in the chamber but there is no magazine.

    So does this narrow it down to a magazine problem? I tried matthew's idea with small rubber bands and tape, to keep the magazine from riding so high, but when I did that the mag refused to click in place.

    Should I try buying a different brand of magazine and see if that helps?

    Any other suggestions?
     
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