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Old November 6, 2012, 08:10 PM   #1
Zippy
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Need help with .45 Colt Gold Cup feed problem

My .45 Colt Mark IV, Gold Cup has functioned correctly until just recently when all forms of ammo stopped feeding. But recently when I insert a full magazine the bullet appears to angle downward just a little too far and as the slide moves forward the bullet is forced straight forward against the ramp and jams, laying horizontal to the slide. If I remove two or more bullets and reinsert the mag the bullets appear to angle upward more as they should and feed correctly.

The odd thing is that I recently purchased five new mags and they and my old mags all have the same problem now. If I insert a full mag and hold the down the mag release button until the mag is locked in place, the bullets feed correctly, most of the time.

I have no idea where to look for the problem.

Last edited by Zippy; November 6, 2012 at 09:56 PM.
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Old November 6, 2012, 09:34 PM   #2
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Not really enough information to go on, so I'll toss out a few possibles.

Have you made any recent changes to the gun?

Is this a stainless gun, and if so, when was the last time it was cleaned and lubricated?

Has anyone worked on this gun?

With the slide stop installed and the barrel pushed down and back into the frame... what is the gap between barrel ramp and the frame ramp.



What brand and quality are your magazines? Metal or plastic followers? Are any or all of these magazines "extra capacity" (meaning 8 round) flush fit magazines? They are notorious for nose-diving the first few rounds.

Have you taken any of the rounds that didn't feed and check them for bullet setback? In simple terms, the bullet should hit the ramp and glance up and into the chamber. If the bullets are setting back, they are absorbing some of the energy needed for that process to occur.

Note the location where the bullet nose hits the feed ramp... is that area of the ramp particularly rough, or covered with copper or lead? If so, remove that contamination.

That's all I got... which is (mostly) typical common issues.
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Old November 6, 2012, 11:06 PM   #3
Zippy
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Thanks very much for the advice. This pistol has only about 800 rounds through it since new in 1988, mostly fired int he last few years.

It's very clean.
No changes made to gun
The feed ramp is very smooth
Not stainless
No one has worked on it
Original mags are Colt and new ones same with metal followers
Mags are flush fit and not extended
Bullets are not set back
.032 gap

I also found that by using a thin screw driver to force the second round from the top of the mag to the rear as I load each round, the rounds seem to cycle through okay. I don't know why all mags would start doing this unless it's something else I can't see.

Side note: Hornaday's Critical Duty will not feed at all and never did before I had this problem. As this round starts to move forward hitting the ramp, the slide somehow cocks the round in a front down position against the ramp (possibly hanging up on the bottom of the ramps edge) with back of the round cocked up slightly preventing the slide from continuing forward.
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Old November 6, 2012, 11:37 PM   #4
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800 rds in 24 years? Don't wear it out now.

So with ball, round nose and perhaps some HP ammunition, you really don't have any problems? Is that what I'm reading? It's not uncommon for Gold Cups to be a bit ammo finicky, especially when new... and to me, 800 rds still qualifies as new'ish.
I have a SS MkIV GC, made in 1992, that would not feed any hollow points but Winchester Silvertips when new. At around the 2K round point (and with a light polish of the frame and barrel ramps), it would feed most anything including Speer "flying ashtray" and Black Talon HPs. As I'm still working my way through a case of Hydra-Shok, I've never tried Hornady Critical Duty.

I was going to ask if you had adequate extractor tension and if the loaded round feed smoothly from the magazine to under the extractor hook... but chances are that's not an issue.

For years the number one problem I had, with Gold Cups that were fit with Elliason sights, was the damn dowel pin at the front of the sight. If your gun shoots 2" at 25yds, then, suddenly goes to 4", then goes completely to hell... that's the sign your dowel pin is going, going... gone.
I finally got smart and made my own solid pin and haven't had a problem since.

I don't know where you live, but I'd track down a known, reputable, 1911 gunsmith (as opposed to any gunsmith) and just have them take a look at it.

C
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Old November 7, 2012, 12:05 AM   #5
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It sounds to me like your magazines are not seating fully/properly.
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Old November 7, 2012, 12:24 AM   #6
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Mag catch or is this new / questionable ammo? Check the ammo with a gauge to rule that out.

Will it cycle if you hold the mag in as far /
Tight as possible?
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Old November 7, 2012, 05:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
It sounds to me like your magazines are not seating fully/properly.
That is what it sounds like to me also.

You say you don't have a problem when you hold the magazine release button in while you insert a magazine. I have a couple of 1911s that work better for me if I do that also.

Sometimes you THINK the magazine is seated but it is not.

If you have any doubt, try pulling down on the magazine after you insert it.

If it is really seated, it won't pull loose.
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Old November 7, 2012, 07:03 AM   #8
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My .45 Colt Mark IV, Gold Cup has functioned correctly until just recently when all forms of ammo stopped feeding.
From this statement, we know two things. One is that the pistol was functioning properly as it was delivered, and two is that something changed...and it changed suddenly.

In any feed-related malfunction, the magazine is always the first suspect. Always. Assuming no damage to the magazine, most magazine-based feed malfunctions can be traced to the magazine spring.

Since 800 rounds isn't enough use to weaken the spring, I have two questions.

Have you had the magazine apart for cleaning? Did you install the spring correctly when you reassembled it? An upside-down mag spring will produce the nose-dive misfeed that you describe.
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Old November 7, 2012, 08:11 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. I have not tried to see if the magazine seats all the way and would certainly make sense. I have cleaned the original magazines before but not the newer ones which cause the same problem but will check the spring anyway. Will have to wait until tonight before I can check.

As to they type of ammo, they all have the same problem. Most are reloads but new ammo also has the same problem. Bullets are seated to published depth and had not been an issue before.

The more I think about it, this did not suddenly happen but did come on quickly because I recall thinking one of my magazines was causing a misfeed as the others worked but then all of them seemed to have an issue over a couple times at the range.
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Old November 7, 2012, 09:23 AM   #10
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re:

Quote:
The more I think about it, this did not suddenly happen but did come on quickly
Sometimes, even the most meticulous gun cleaners can overlook something. Have you pulled the extractor and cleaned it and its channel? If you've shot a lot of cast bullet reloads, the channel can become impacted and prevent the extractor from camming open. It's not highly likely, given the low round count...but it's worth a mention.
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Old November 7, 2012, 12:18 PM   #11
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Go buy a Wilson Combat 47d or 1 of his new ETM mags and see if that doesn't cure the problem.
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Old November 7, 2012, 04:23 PM   #12
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"If I insert a full mag and hold the down the mag release button until the mag is locked in place, the bullets feed correctly, most of the time"
I'd daresay that is the right way to load a magazine in a 1911 anyhow what type magazines are you using? Wadcutter,Hybrid,GI? and are you matching them to the ammo?One factor that may be affecting the loading cycle is the OAL you could try shorter and have a little more leeway,depending on the type powder you could go down to 1.250",it doesn't sound like you have a serious internal issue it's just annoying when they act up.
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Old November 7, 2012, 11:20 PM   #13
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I checked the mag springs and they are okay. I guess I don't understand the different terminology of magazines. All I know is they say Colt on them, some with a small M stamped on the bottom of the plate and some with a C. My rounds are loaded to 1.250". All mags seat correctly every time.

I played with it more but can't figure it out. Here is a question I have. When I pull back on the slide and very slowly let it creep forward and when the slide initially contacts the brass it instantly cocks the nose of the bullet downwards. As the slide moves forward further, the round will either jam against the ramp in the slight nose downward position or slide up and into the chamber. Is it normal for the round to nose downwards before moving upwards?

The second question.... with the mag fully loaded and the round pushed fully back against the metal, I can flick the nose of the bullet downwards and it springs back into position, however, if I pull the round just a hair forward in the mag so it's not touching the back of the mag and flick it downwards it will lock in the downward position. This will certainly cause the round to jam against the ramp. Tapping the mag a little resets the bullet or will reset by pushing upwards and back on the round. Is this normal?
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Old November 8, 2012, 04:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
When I pull back on the slide and very slowly let it creep forward and when the slide initially contacts the brass it instantly cocks the nose of the bullet downwards. As the slide moves forward further, the round will either jam against the ramp in the slight nose downward position or slide up and into the chamber. Is it normal for the round to nose downwards before moving upwards?
Yes, downward movement of the cartridge as the slide contacts it is normal on the 1911. It's not uncommon however to hear of feeding problems related to this, or what is commonly referred to as the nosedive. There are a few different reasons for these kinds of feeding problems, but more often than not it's an issue of the bullet contacting the feedramp too low so that it jams rather than sliding up the feedramp as it is intended.

Now the problem here can be a couple different issues. In some instances it's simply a feedramp that's not been milled deep enough, and the solution then is to send the gun in for repair/modification to correct the feedramp. You can check to see if your feedramp is deep enough by measuring it with a set of calipers, and I want to say off the top of my head that the mil-spec on the 1911 feedramp is supposed to be .360" deep assuming like a 31 or 32 degree angle. I'd imagine in your instance however the feedramp is not likely the culprit if previously you were having no feeding problems.

So a second thing to consider if the feedramp is correctly milled is that the magazines are simply not sitting up high enough in the magwell, so that the rounds in turn are contacting the feedramp too low. This can be caused by mags that are simply sitting too low, feedlips that get bent and hold the cartridges too low in the well, or even worn mag catches that aren't holding the magazines high enough. I'd think that a simple solution would be to try a new mag catch, or if you have access to another 1911 then you might even try swapping mag catches to see if that resolves the problem. I wouldn't be surprised to see that this is your problem here.

Then of course, the simple fix to the nosedive as others have pointed out is something like a Wilson Combat magazine or a Tripp Super 7 rebuild kit. This is the most common solution to feeding problems, and it does indeed work well because these solutions make the rounds sit higher in the magwell so that they contact the feed ramp higher. If you have access to a Wilson mag or something similar you might try it and see if that resolves the problem, in which case you'd know then that the rounds sitting too low on the feed ramp are indeed your problem.

Hope that helps, and hope you're able to get it resolved!
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Old November 8, 2012, 07:48 AM   #15
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Your pistol used to work fine and now it's giving you trouble,all is not lost.Most indicators point to a magazine issue,you wrote that you checked the springs not that you tested them,before you go buying expensive designer magazines please try replacing said springs with heavier ones,an important function of the magazine is to control the round on its way into the chamber and though nosedive may be common it is not normal,replacing the catch assembly may also be a good idea just in case.By the way I think that standard Colt magazines are Hybrid those generally work fine but they do release the rounds a little sooner than the firearm was designed for.
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Old November 8, 2012, 08:20 AM   #16
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I had also wondered if the magazine sat high enough, which leads me to another question. After inserting the magazine and feeling it click into place, there is still a little vertical play in all the mags. I assume that is normal. However, again, the feed problem is usually with the first two rounds only. Thereafter the remaining feed fine. I will have to measure the ramp and see if I can find someone with another .45 Colt to trade out parts.
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Old November 8, 2012, 01:48 PM   #17
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Have you also checked your extractor for any odd deformities? That may affect feeding as well as extraction.
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Old November 8, 2012, 02:21 PM   #18
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No, forgot to check the extrator. Will try to do that tonight.
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Old November 8, 2012, 02:22 PM   #19
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I had also wondered if the magazine sat high enough, which leads me to another question. After inserting the magazine and feeling it click into place, there is still a little vertical play in all the mags. I assume that is normal. However, again, the feed problem is usually with the first two rounds only. Thereafter the remaining feed fine. I will have to measure the ramp and see if I can find someone with another .45 Colt to trade out parts.
This sounds like the classic nosedive problem caused by he mags not sitting high enough in relation to the feedramp, especially as you descrive the problem occurring mainly on the first two rounds. As far as your question about play in the magazines, I'd say a little vertical play is normal but definitely not a lot of it. Most of my guns lock up pretty tight with little or no movement, and if you're experiencing a fair amount then that might suggest a worn mag catch is the culprit. If you do end up changing the catch, a cheap solution to the nosedive problem is EGW's high mag catch which is designed for the purpose of holding magazines higher in the well. I've put these on a few RIA guns and found they eliminated feeding problems with virtually all magazines. YMMV...
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Old November 8, 2012, 02:55 PM   #20
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509,Could you please describe for instructive purposes how those magazine catches manage to raise the magazine's position?
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Old November 8, 2012, 04:02 PM   #21
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Pictures always help.



So you can see there on the right the mag catch from one of my 1911's, and the shelf on the catch identified by the arrow on the right is what actually captures the magazine by locking into the notch on the magazine on the left. So where that notch and the shelf line up determines where the magazine is going to sit in the magwell. The following picture shows the magazine inserted into the frame with the magazine catch removed, and you can see then the notch in the mag and where it would then lock up with the catch if it was inserted.



So if a catch for example got excessively worn then you'd see the magazine sitting ever so slightly lower in the well, or if the notch in the magazine was cut higher on the magazine body it would lock lower as well. The EGW magazine catch I'd mentioned actually has that shelf on the catch machined about .020" higher than a standard catch, which means if look look at the second picture that the magazine would have to be inserted .020" higher into the well before it locked in place. Hopefully that clarifies it a little.
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Old November 8, 2012, 05:31 PM   #22
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Thank you very much for responding so thoroughly.No doubt these catches are well machined and are a good after market replacement for defective or worn out standard parts.The thing is the purpose of the magazine toe is to provide a positive stop to magazine upward travel it can't go further than that,and because the catch is stationary it has to lock within thousands short of the toe's stop.The mag's dimensions have to be changed for it to sit higher.Thank you again,appreciate.
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Old November 8, 2012, 06:27 PM   #23
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Thank you very much for responding so thoroughly.No doubt these catches are well machined and are a good after market replacement for defective or worn out standard parts.The thing is the purpose of the magazine toe is to provide a positive stop to magazine upward travel it can't go further than that,and because the catch is stationary it has to lock within thousands short of the toe's stop.The mag's dimensions have to be changed for it to sit higher.Thank you again,appreciate.
You're exactly right that there has to be a little clearance between the toe and grip or you'd simply never be able to insert the magazine into the well far enough to get it to catch. This is the same reason you don't want to use full-sized magazines in a compact frame, because the shorter grip won't catch the toe and stop the magazine's upward travel. But with the EGW catch you're just talking really about a couple hundredths of an inch, and even on my RIA with the EGW catch I've still got about .030" clearance between the toe and frame with the magazine fully inserted. It's hard to believe that something as little as a few hundredths of an inch really makes that big of a difference in feeding reliability, but when you're stacking such tight tolerances in the 1911 from the ground up those hundredths can indeed make an enormous difference.
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Old November 8, 2012, 07:56 PM   #24
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Zippi please don't make it hard on yourself,measuring the ramp requires special machinist's gauges,you're talking angles,radii and lengths and in addition to that it is unlikely you have Colt prints to check them against.Your pistol is not fatally wounded and since it used to work chances are that it will with a little attention work again,you can do it don't pay nobody to fix it it's your piece and the folks here know their stuff and they'll help I'm suire.
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Old November 8, 2012, 08:10 PM   #25
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polyphemus, Thank you. I'm not to worried about it after all the great advice from such nice people, but I was when I first started experiencing it. I'm sure it's nothing major and will eventually figure it out with all this great help.
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