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SA Milspec 1911 will not feed hollowpoints

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by spiroxlii, Aug 1, 2008.

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  1. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    *EDIT* Everything about my first post is still true; however, I realized after doing some research on SA's website that my "Mil-Spec" is actually a GI.45 model. They are very similar, but not identical.

    Ok... for all of you rabid 1911 fans who seem to drip hate at those of us who say anything bad about your beloved 1911s, I just want to say that I do not have any bias against the platform.

    I was really excited when I went to the gun shop today to buy my very first 1911. I wanted something as close to USGI/Milspec as possible. At first, I was drawn to a no-frills RIA model, but the guy at the shop redirected me to a new Springfield Milspec that was about $500, which was within my budget.

    I was very excited to have a brand new SA Milspec. I thought it would surely be a nice gun right out of the box, plus it has a curved mainspring housing, which is more "authentic" for an M1911A1. I bought the gun, which came with one SA magazine, and I also bought one Kimber magazine to go with it. Then I bought a box of Remington 230gr JHP ammo for it. That's when things went bad.

    Sequence of events:

    1. Load magazine
    2. Insert magazine into pistol
    3. Pull slide to rear and release slide
    4. Notice that slide barely travels forward at all... no round is chambered.

    I looked into the ejection port, expecting perhaps to see a round jammed at an angle. Instead, I see that the top round in the magazine is jammed against the feed ramp almost horizontally. It's like the round is jammed straight forward, and as soon as the nose of the bullet hits the feed ramp, everything freezes. Instead of climbing up the ramp and sliding into the chamber, the round just sticks there, freezing the slide's forward progress.

    If I gently move the slide back and forth, I can coax the bullet to climb the feed ramp and slide into the chamber, but I can't be playing with the slide after every shot to get JHP ammo to work. The same kind of jam happens if I lock the slide back and release it after I insert the magazine, so I know I'm not just racking the slide wrong somehow.

    This is proof positive that not all 1911 pistols can function reliably with JHP ammo. Your "new in box" SA or Colt might. Your gritty, uncleaned WWI era 1911 might. My brand new SA Milspec does not. I haven't tried it will ball ammo yet, since I didn't discover that the thing won't feed hollowpoints until after the shops were closed. I will try it with ball ammo, and if it feeds those reliably, I will probably stick with those for now and try polishing the feed ramp before testing JHPs again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  2. TAB

    TAB Member

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    Give it 500 rounds.
     
  3. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    It's hard to put five hundred rounds through a gun that won't even feed the first round. :)

    Or do you mean give it five hundred FMJ before I try JHP again? I still haven't had a chance to check and see if it will feed FMJ, since I don't have any ball ammo on hand.
     
  4. TAB

    TAB Member

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    generally speaking if you have a feeding issue with any auto, give it 500 rounds or so and see if it goes away.
     
  5. VegasOPM

    VegasOPM Member

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    The "500 round" trick works- but only with hardball. The copper jacket will begin to polish and burnish the feed ramp. Keep in mind that mil-spec guns are designed to feed hardball- not necessarily hollow point. The enhanced guns usually have a finer polish on the feed ramp and a little more angle to them. Run your fingernail across the feed ramp and feel for tooling marks. If they are pronounced, the edges of hollow points will grab. Some non-invasive application of a Dremel with a rubber polishing tip will polish those tooling marks right out. Just make sure to avoid taking away material- that is a quick way to learn the definition and consequences of an unsupported barrel.:mad: (ask me how I know):banghead:

    The 500 rounds of hardball will do the same thing, only it will cost more and be a lot more fun.;)
     
  6. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    I can see that being very sound and practical advice for somebody who gets occasional failures (one or two per mag), but mine jams while feeding the very first round, and even if I coax the first round in, it'd jam on the next one too. :)

    I see now that you meant to try it with ball ammo, though. Hehe. I'm sure you guys are right. It's a milspec, and milspec ammo is FMJ, not JHP. I will try it with FMJ, and I am optimistic about FMJ feeding reliably.
     
  7. MicrometerMike

    MicrometerMike Member

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    keep er well lubed during the 500 rnd., break-in process she'll smooth out, if it don't , you have a good warranty thru Springfield
    I have a new Champion that was tight and stiff initially, after 200 rnds. she's improving trigger pull, reliable feed, ect. I never realized how long it took to shoot 500rnds ! I'm gettin more wear than the gun is...:rolleyes:
    Hopefully your's will smooth out sooner, some do.
     
  8. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    Ok... so I was looking on SA's website and comparing the guns pictured there with my new 1911. As it turns out, my gun is not a Mil-Spec. It is a GI.45 model. I noticed this when I realized that the Mil-Spec in the picture had high profile sights, a lowered and flared ejection port, and angled slide serrations. My 1911 has regular low profile sights, a standard ejection port, and vertical slide serrations.

    This actually makes me happy in a way, since it means that my 1911 is more like the older style 1911A1 pistols. It also explains why my pistol may not feed hollowpoints right out of the box, since the GI.45 does not have some of the "features" of the Mil-Spec, such as a beveled magazine well, throated barrel, and polished feed ramp.
     
  9. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Member

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    Honestly, I could have stopped reading at the title. Everything else was as expected. 1911s and JHP ammo are one of the most well known issues I can think of. The weapons simply was not designed for JHP ammunition, but has been shoe horned into using it. A true mil-spec 1911 will most likely not run JHPs right out of the box.

    Working as intended.
     
  10. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    ClickClick, I agree with you. The "Mil-Spec" model is not actually as historically accurate as the "GI.45" model, which is what I've discovered that I have. A real SA "Mil-Spec" probably should run JHP right out of the box.

    My GI.45 will need a little bit of work before it will run JHP, but I probably won't bother doing that, since I am perfectly content to run FMJ ammo in it. Then again, I am going to catch hell from the rabid 1911 fans who claim that their completely original WWI 1911 pistols have always and will always run JHP ammo without a single hiccough.
     
  11. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Member

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    Meh.

    Just ask them if they happen to have some of that imaginary WWI issue JHP ammunition laying around...
     
  12. nelson133

    nelson133 Member

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    I've got 2 Rock Island .45s and they both fed hollow points out of the box.
     
  13. loop

    loop Member

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    First, there is no such thing as a new "mil spec" SA.

    It may look like it. It may feel like it. But, it is not mil spec.

    This comes down to little things like the diameter of the firing pin hole or the size of the ejector legs, but it is a fact. The list goes on.

    So, to forgive the gun based on some vague reference to Browning's original design is a faux pas.

    What you are describing would be something I would attribute to weak mag springs. The cartridge simply is not being placed in the proper position for the slide to push it into the chamber.

    If springs were not the answer I'd try checking the feed lips. If they are to wide aft or too narrow forward that could cause your feed issue.

    Do not polish your feed ramp. It won't help and could cost a bundle to fix.

    The Kimber mags are generally first-rate so if it is happening with one of them I might consider the possibility that the mag catch is not placing the mag in the proper position.

    As a relative newbie to 1911s I would send it back to the factory and ask them to fix it.

    Because I enjoy fixing such issues I, personally, would buy new mag springs and followers to start. If that did not work I'd start tuning the mag feed lips.

    OTOH, my philosophy regarding HPs in 1911s is that I put one in the chamber and a mag of ball under it. Expansion is great, but having a second shot is better. Even if the gun checks out 100 percent with HPs I'll still load it the same. A .45 pokes a big hole. It doesn't really need to expand.

    BTW, only a couple of my .45s work reliably with the Remington cheap HPs. The WWB stuff works more reliably in almost all of my pistols. And, I have one gun that won't feed any hardball. It only feeds HPs or SWCs.

    I admit that I can have more than one 1911 laid-up at a time and not miss it. But, if you only have one then you want it to work - been there, done that.

    I would do two things. I'd buy a box of the cheapest hardball I could find. I'd also buy the best 1911 mag I could find. That combo may answer a lot of questions for you.
     
  14. Ske1etor

    Ske1etor Member

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    Some 1911's just will not feed certain hollow points. This doesn't mean that your 1911 won't feed any JHP's, it just meanst that it wont feed the hollow points that you have tried.

    My Kimber Custom II would gobble up any type of ammo... until I tried Hornady TAP ammo... It will not feed. The rounds nosedive into the ramp and it jams... every time...

    Try some JHP's with a rounder profile. The rounder the profile, the more the ammo will behave like a FMJ, therefore giving you more reliable feeding. The Federal HST and Hydrashoks fit this bill...
     
  15. alistaire

    alistaire Member

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    1) What ammo are you using?

    2) What mag are you using?

    3) Have you sent it back to be fixed by the manufacturer?
     
  16. texagun

    texagun Member

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    I believe all of that information was provided in the original post.
     
  17. Z71

    Z71 Member

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    The Springfield mags that came with my Mil-Spec are not all that whoopie!

    Get some better mags and try it.
     
  18. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    alistaire and Z71, the mags I'm using are the original SA mag and a Kimber mag. The shop had two Wilson mags in stock, but I didn't buy one. I thought the original and the Kimber would at least be semi-reliable. :)

    The HP ammo I picked was cheap Remington UMC 230gr JHP ammo, but I didn't pick it because it was cheap. I picked it specifically because it had a smaller cavity and rounder nose than the Cor-bon all-copper stuff that the guy at the shop suggested. I'm going back there today to show them what the pistol is doing with the hollowpoints and to buy some ball ammo.
     
  19. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    btw... I think part of the problem may be that I chose 230gr hollowpoints. I know that a 230gr bullet isn't too heavy for a 1911; however, most of the JHP ammo I saw was lighter than 230gr because... well... it has a big cavity in it.

    In order to weigh 230gr and still have a hollow cavity, the 230gr JHP projectile is usually longer than a 230gr FMJ projectile. I understand that this shouldn't affect the overall length of the cartridge from front to back if the bullet is seated to the right depth, but my experience with heavy 147gr 9mm JHP is that sometimes the cartridges actually are slightly longer than most other 9mm ammo. Perhaps the same is true of the heaviest hollowpoint .45acp?

    To my eye, if the cartridge was just a tiny bit (like a millimeter) shorter, it would move far enough forward to climb the feed ramp and be released by the magazine's feed lips. Widening the forward part of the mag's feed lips might help too.
     
  20. spiroxlii

    spiroxlii Member

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    When I said "Mil-Spec," I did not mean that my 1911 is the same in every way as the pistols that the military used to issue. I meant that it was the model that SA calls "Mil-Spec."

    Of course, when I actually compared the pistol's features to the ones listed on SA's website, it turns out that I have SA's "GI.45" model and not their "Mil-Spec" model. The Mil-Spec seems to have been tuned slightly to offer a pistol that will probably run with a wider variety of defensive ammo right out of the box (modified ejection port, beveled magazine well, throated barrel, and polished feed ramp). The GI.45 is closer to an actual early M1911A1; however, I understand that even the GI.45 is not identical to a military issue pistol from the 1940s. Still, it's closer to "original" than SA's "Mil-Spec" model, and it lacks the factory fluff/buff that would assist JHP functioning.
     
  21. mnw42

    mnw42 Member

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    Try different magazines. There are a few different feed-lip styles and different manufactures may have slightly different geometries.
     
  22. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    1) Try Wilson Combat mags, or McCormick PowerMags.

    2) Try different brands and sizes of HP's.

    I have a Springfield mil-spec (model) and using the two mags I listed it will feed JHP's.
     
  23. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Member

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    A new handgun should feed any type of ammo unless it is stated plainly some where that it is not designed for certain types. Break in also, unless a really tight target target pistol should not have to be done. Sounds like the pistol is in need of some extra work that the factory did not do.
    I had a SA loaded model that did not like JHP's either and eventually traded it off after not being able to get it to feed to my satisfaction.
     
  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Horse S***

    Better advise.

    Some of the things I read in this thread just slay me. :banghead:

    Although loop did have some good points.
     
  25. wingman

    wingman Member

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    Try loading 5 or 6 rounds in mag and use slide stop as a release, seen this happen with many new autos, mag new and tight, perhaps no lube, sometimes when we purchase a new toy + anxious to try we make mistakes, I know I have, now when I purchase a new auto I disassemble, clean, lube and check over for burrs,etc, quality control overall in most manufacturing is not what it once was. Another point is I always start out with hardball ammo and when I feel pistol is ok I switch to swc's or HP.
     
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