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Why is it so hard to find a good 1911 mag?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by STLWaffles, Jan 7, 2014.

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  1. STLWaffles

    STLWaffles Member

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    Looking at the design of the 1911 magazines its not that complicated, yet magazines are very hit or miss. I have a good 10-15 magazines that don't reliably feed, and they range in price from $15 - $40. What is it about the 1911 magazine that makes it so hard to reproduce?
     
  2. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Because there are probably 20+ companies making 1911's and probably another dozen making magazines. They are all made a little differently.

    I suspect if you found a mag that works with your 1911, you could buy more of that mag and they would work equally well.

    I often link this blog post from the late Mr. Stephen A. Camp, when the subject of 1911 mags comes up. http://hipowers-handguns.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-is-best-7-or-8-shot-1911-45-acp.html
     
  3. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    +1

    Countless different companies all doing their own thing, we can't expect every gun and every magazine and every aftermarket part to flawlessly work together.

    Find one that works with your gun, stick with it.
     
  4. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    Part of the question involves the capacity of the magazine. The 1911 was originally designed with a 7-round magazine. Today, you will find many more types of 8-round magazines than 7-round magazines. Accommodating an extra round in the same length magazine tube entails more design challenges. In short, it is a bit harder to make a reliable 8-round magazine than a reliable 7-round magazine of the same length.

    PS - Sig encountered the same issue with it's .45 P220. The original magazine was designed for 7 rounds. Magazine capacity was later increased to 8 rounds in the same flush-fit magazine tube, but some reliability problems were encountered. Sig resolved the problem by extending the magazine tube to better accommodate the 8th round.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  5. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    I don't understand the problem. Metalform magazines have always worked for me. The Novak/Act Mag magazines also function flawlessly.
     
  6. koz4guns

    koz4guns Member

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    My experience has been just the opposite, I have numerous different manufacturers Mag's (Colt,Kimber,McCormick,Metalform) and I haven't had any trouble with any of them.

    Most of the time malfunctions with 1911's can be traced to the Mag, but not always.

    Your gun may be finicky, there are a lot of different 1911 manufacturers just like there are a lot of Magazine manufacturers.

    The way your guns tolerances stack up (mag catch and slide to frame fit) may cause your gun to have problems with certain Mag's

    Koz
     
  7. STLWaffles

    STLWaffles Member

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    Act Mag had consistent feeding issues for me. Usually around the last or second to last round. I have not tried metalform yet. I will order one to test.
     
  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Part of it has to do with the controlled feed design of the 1911. The slide doesn't just huck a round off the top of the mag and throw it in the chamber. There are three points of contact between the round and different parts of the gun/magazine at pretty much all times during feeding. Small variations in geometry can be problematic.

    Now, combine that with the non-standard dimensions of the insides of different brands of 1911s, and the different cartridge lengths and profiles, and you've got a multi-variable equation. Some mags will work with some guns, but not others; the mags that the second gun likes may not work with the first. And mags that run 230 FMJ may not deal with 200 LSWCs or 185 JHPs.

    There's a really, really, really excellent pair of multi-page articles at http://how-i-did-it.org/magazines/ and http://how-i-did-it.org/magazines2/ that explain this stuff, tests a lot, gives lots of great pictures, etc.
     
  9. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I have always found Colt mags to be very reliable and durable.
     
  10. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    Different feed lip configurations are another factor in 1911 magazines that I don't remember seeing in magazines for other guns. You can get magazines with G.I. feed lips (tapering outward from back to front), wadcutter feed lips (parallel until suddenly widening), and hybrid feed lips (tapering outward until suddenly widening). Checkmate provides a good illustration of the different types of feed lips.

    A round rises more, but is released later by G.I. feed lips. A round rises less, but is released earlier by wadcutter feed lips. Hybrid feed lips split the difference, with a round rising more and releasing earlier. Any given gun and the length and nose configuration of the rounds being used may work better with one feed lip configuration than another because of the different ways they present rounds in relation to the chamber.
     
  11. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    With that many bad mags, I would seriously be looking at the gun too..
     
  12. JDR

    JDR Member

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    I have always used Wilson 47D mags in my .45 and Wilson Elite Tactical Mags in the 9mm and I have never had problems with either.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  13. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    I don't think I've ever had an issue with a 1911 mag. From WWII rusty mags to 10 round Chip McCormicks and everything in between - they all do what they're supposed to do in mine, even in my Llama minimax.

    Anytime I had a feed issue with a 1911 style pistol, the problem was solved with a stone and hone job or a throat polish. Mags were not the culprit. ymmv
     
  14. STLWaffles

    STLWaffles Member

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    I will give that a shot. I really wasn't thinking it was the firearm since some mags fed fine and others didn't.

    Looks like I have alot of reading tonight. Thanks for the links.
     
  15. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    What 1911(s) are you using?
     
  16. STLWaffles

    STLWaffles Member

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    This is my Para Ordnance GI Expert
     
  17. mattk

    mattk Member

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    What mags work consistently?
     
  18. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    S&W 1911 - the mags that came with it
    are the ACT Pros? The follower is only 60% 'therre'
    with the forward part not there so when the last round oves forward the rear of the cartridge falls into this void and then gets pushed down into
    the mag FTF always on the last round.- so the stock mags
    reside in the blue box. I may replace the followers with the
    Wilson Combat ETM follower.

    I bought 5 Wilson Combat ETM mags and they work.

    R-
     
  19. RX-79G

    RX-79G Member

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    A "1911" is a forged steel pistol made to Colt specifications, designed to fire FMJ ammo from a 7 round magazine.

    Magazines that are designed to feed 8 rounds of hollowpoints in guns of widely varying specs that happen to have a 1911 magwell isn't the same thing.


    There are almost no guns out there that share magazines across different unassociated brands. Expecting all 1911-like guns to have the same feed requirements is unrealistic.


    Chip McCormicks work pretty damn well, though.
     
  20. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    O.P.,

    You don't go into a lot of detail about what brands of 1911 magazines you have tried. If you have not done so try Chip McCormick Shooting Star mags as they come with a warranty.

    Since you seem to only own one 1911 you should consider the problem may be in the gun or with you as the shooter. Has someone tried your gun and the mags?
     
  21. STLWaffles

    STLWaffles Member

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    I cant seem to find my notes on why each mag failed me, it was in my google docs. I will dig that up and give a mag by mag rundown later. Something you said intrigues me. As the shooter, what could I be doing that would effect the mags feeding(apart from ammo choice)?

    *(Not saying you are wring, genuinely intregued.
     
  22. wally

    wally Member

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    The 1911 is a controlled feed design meaning if the mag spring is strong enough and the extractor tension correct all the feed lips need to do is release the rounds without twisting them off the center line, and not so far forward that they hit the bottom of the barrel.

    I've a large variety of 1911 mags and they all work as long as the springs are good and the feed lips aren't damaged.

    My major "tolerance stack-up" issue with 1911s is the slide lock too many protrude too far into the magwell leading to premature slide lock or don't go in quite enough and cause failures to lock back -- need to "fit" the former and replace the latter.


    If you are having feed problems go to a 16lb recoil spring and an 11lb mag spring.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  23. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    I love my Para's, but they need to be tuned up to run smoothly. Only had one out of five that ran like a sewing machine out of the box.

    I'd strip it down and stone the whole thing, I'd usually find burrs left from the factory then polish the throat and it would be good to go. Had to have one throated to feed everything well.

    If you need to get it done for you, any decent gunsmith can get it done in a day for $35-50 bucks.
     
  24. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    I don't think it's hard to get good 1911 mag's at all, get a McCormick or Wilson Combat mag and it works every time. What's so hard about that?
     
  25. STLWaffles

    STLWaffles Member

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    I am going to take my mags to the range and rent their GI expert and see if I still have the issues. I am also going to do a full tear down and inspection. But as promised here is a rundown of the mags and the issues.


    Promag 10 round(2): didn't feed at all(didn't expect it to work well, I got it for free)

    Check-Mate industries(2): Follower kept hanging up with 3-4 rounds left. Sent it back and the replacement had the same issue.

    Kimber(3): Would not stay in the mag well. I had to grind off about 1/8" from the catch for it to stay in(all 3)

    Sig(2): Failed to feed every 3rd or 4th round

    Shooting Star(2): Locked the slad back every few rounds. It looks liked the rounds were canted to the side. Might be a feed lip issue)

    Para(2): works flawlessly
    US surplus(4): 2 work flawlessly 2 failed to feed every 3-4 rounds.
     
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