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Tuning a 1911 extractor

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by IrvJr, Apr 27, 2003.

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  1. IrvJr

    IrvJr Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Hi Folks,

    I recently bought a used Colt MKIV S70 1911a1 (.45acp). It's in very nice shape, but it's not functioning reliably using 230gr fmj factory ammo.

    I believe the failures are related to the extractor. Originally the extractor was too loose. Now, it seems a bit too tight (I adjusted it after my first range session). I have some questions regarding the extractor:

    1. How much tension should be in the extractor?

    2. I'm thinking of replacing the existing extractor with an Ed Brown extractor. I've read that the extractor should have the lower edge and lower corner of the hook smooth, to improve reliability and to avoid breakage. What's the best way to do this? Do I stick the extractor in a vise and file it or stone it or use some kind of emory paper?

    3. Can you recommend some good online references or other references for tuning a 1911 extractor?


  2. Longbow

    Longbow Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    City by the big lake
    I recommend that you tune your existing one (original I hope) by trial and error before buying a new one. The S70 Colt extractors are, from what I've gathered, are of good quality.
    I prefer that you do this at the range. To tune the extractor; remove extractor out of the channel ' bout half way, then bend it towards your left to tighten/increase tension or to the opposite direction to decrease tension. Too much tension shows when; you hand cycle a round (weak hand supporting the slide) and the round doesn't chamber fully, has a hard time coming out of the mag, gauged-up brass rim/brass extractor channel, and when the round doesn't eject fully (extractor is holding on it firmly). Weak tension is when, the extractor is of course, not grabbing the round (not extracting). You don't need to put so much tension on it, just enough that the round gets out of the mag w/ little to no hesitation and it extracts fully(' doesn't drop back to the mag) during hand cycling. Test fire after each adjustment. The smoothing and polishing part is "as needed work" only, IMO. 'hope this helps! Good luck!
  3. Kruzr

    Kruzr Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Surf City, PRK
  4. bountyhunter

    bountyhunter member

    Jan 8, 2003
    Get the Weigand extractor gauge to accurately measure the tension, or wrap some dental floss around the groove of a spent case. With slide off, slide the case into the slide under the hook centered over the firing pin hole, pushed flat against the breech face. The force to pull the brass out from the extrcator is the tension. Weigand says 24 - 28 ounces, the STI guy told me they set theres at 20 - 24 ounces. Old shooting pros tell me they set it just barely tight enough to do the job... which is more like 12 - 14 ounces.

    Bottom line, some new extractors ahve to be set twice as the metal has to "set" in. As for bending it, it is hard to get gradual movement. I use a small vise with plastic jaws to hold it. Weigand makes a jig to do it accurately (brownells sells it).
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