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Old November 26, 2012, 02:20 PM   #1
Crow Hunter
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Personal example of why I don't like the 1911 and a couple of questions.

On Thanksgiving, I went shooting with my brother. I was trying out his M&P 9c in comparison to my trusty old G19.

He suggested that I try out his Springfield MC Operator on the same drills.

- Every time I pulled the gun up from low ready to shoot, I was looking through the back of the slide and I couldn't even see the front sight.

- I had fired one round into the groud as I was bringing the gun up on target because the trigger was so light.

- I the slide wouldn't lock back on a empty magazine about 50% of the time. I figured that I was riding the slide stop.

My brother tried it and the slide would not consistently lock back even with him either.

He took it back off the firing line to take a look at it to see if he could figure out if it was the magazine or something interfering with the slide stop.

Well, he did a basic field strip but in the process, the little pin that keeps the swinging link attached to the barrel, fell out onto the ground, never to be found again. Even with both of us on our hands and knees trying to find it.

So now it is inoperable because a part the size of a half eaten pea fell out during a normal field stripping.

I have only owned one 1911 in my life. That was a Springfield Loaded model back in the late '90s. I don't remember that pin being "loose" on that gun.

Is this normal?

Anything other than the magazine springs being weak that would cause the failure to lock back? The magazine was a Chip McCormick 8 round magazine that he has kept loaded for several years (since he bought it).
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:23 PM   #2
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A weak spring in the slide stop is what first leaps to mind for me.

A misshapen magazine follower could also be a culprit; did this happen to him with every magazine, or only with certain magazines?

I've never had that pin come loose on a 1911, and have never heard of such, but I suppose any mechanical part can fail.
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:29 PM   #3
OJ
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Quote:
A weak spring in the slide stop is what first leaps to mind for me.
Slide stop spring ?????
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:29 PM   #4
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A gun that is built to spec will have the link pin staked in place, so it can't fall out. More "modern" guns may rely on a tighter fit of pin to hole, and that should also prevent the pin from falling out.
There's no way to know, without measuring, if the the slide stop is correctly dimensioned, but even if it is, the McCormick mag is essentially out of spec, since it's not of the original G.I. design. It's much more likely that the follower is slipping past the slide stop, than the spring being too weak to lift the slide stop; if the problem is the former, the mag won't drop free when you hit the mag release.
Here's a tip: Don't put your finger on the trigger while the gun is still pointed at the ground. I read that somewhere.
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:34 PM   #5
Crow Hunter
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Quote:
A weak spring in the slide stop is what first leaps to mind for me.

A misshapen magazine follower could also be a culprit; did this happen to him with every magazine, or only with certain magazines?

I've never had that pin come loose on a 1911, and have never heard of such, but I suppose any mechanical part can fail.
He only had the one magazine with him, so we couldn't do a comparison.

I did look at the follower, it didn't look damaged. It would push the slide stop up about between 1/2 & 1/3 of the way, but it was not enough to engage the notch in the slide 100% of the time.

I didn't see a spring at all on the slide stop. Where is it supposed to be located? That was one of the 1st things that I thought about, based on my experience with the Glock and installing the slide stop spring wrong and causing premature lock open. But after he took it apart, I didn't even see a spring.

So that little pin should be staked in place?

That is what I told him, but he said I was wrong. I told him I didn't remember it ever being loose on the old 1911 I used to have.

So will he need a new barrel assembly or can he get a pin an stake it in place himself?
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:41 PM   #6
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re:

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So now it is inoperable because a part the size of a half eaten pea fell out during a normal field stripping.
Not inoperable. The pin can't walk out when the gun is assembled.

Quote:
I have only owned one 1911 in my life. That was a Springfield Loaded model back in the late '90s. I don't remember that pin being "loose" on that gun.

Is this normal?
Nope. It's probably a simple matter of the pin being undersized or the hole being a little too large for the standard pin...but it can also be an issue with the barrel stopping on the link and loosening the pin's fit in the hole. Nominally, there should be a .0005-inch interference fit.

Quote:
A gun that is built to spec will have the link pin staked in place.
Built to spec, the pin is a press-fit. Staking is unnecessary, and is usually employed as a field expedient repair to prevent pin loss during field-stripping.


The issue is to find out why the pin is loose. Sizing isn't a problem unless the hole is wallowed out. Link pins are available in .0005 inch increments.

Stopping on the link, or the barrel hitting the frame bed before hitting the vertical impact surface can be a barrel-destroying problem. I've seen lower lugs pulled loose from the barrel...a few all the way through the chamber. Bad JuJu.
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:42 PM   #7
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A gun that is built to spec will have the link pin staked in place, so it can't fall out. More "modern" guns may rely on a tighter fit of pin to hole, and that should also prevent the pin from falling out.
There's no way to know, without measuring, if the the slide stop is correctly dimensioned, but even if it is, the McCormick mag is essentially out of spec, since it's not of the original G.I. design. It's much more likely that the follower is slipping past the slide stop, than the spring being too weak to lift the slide stop; if the problem is the former, the mag won't drop free when you hit the mag release.
Here's a tip: Don't put your finger on the trigger while the gun is still pointed at the ground. I read that somewhere.
I would have figured that the Springfield MC Operator would have been built right, considering how much he paid for it. Of course, that is another reason that I dislike 1911's. They are like a box of chocolates.

I had heard that one should avoid the 8 round magazines from any manufacturer. They drop free fine, the just won't left the slide stop.

Being used the the Glock, I put my finger on the trigger right as the gun got to eye level. It was pointed at the bottom of the target because of that silly 1911 grip angle. I "went off" before I got a good view of the front sight, pretty much as soon as I flicked off the safety.

I left my finger completely off the trigger until I saw the front sight after that.
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:47 PM   #8
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Im almost certain he can get a new pin and reoair in himself or have a gunsmith do it for a few dollars.

Things break man, not much you can do about it except fix it and make sure its works reliable enough to where you trust it with your life and then youre good. It sounds like he uses the gun and thats a good thing. I cant stand it when a gun doesnt get used for fear of losing collectibility value!

Ask around here but id say call the manufacturer and see if theyll send you a new one or steer you in the direction of a repair facility close by if its more involed... good luck!

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Old November 26, 2012, 02:49 PM   #9
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I would have figured that the Springfield MC Operator would have been built right, considering how much he paid for it.
Anything that's mass-produced is subject to the occasional problem, and most often through tolerance stacking in the wrong direction. A worn, damaged, or bent reamer can wallow a small hole .001 inch oversized pretty easily. In any event, this isn't a major problem, and usually cureable with a 3-dollar oversized pin. Stopping on the link is a different matter. Could be the location of the lower lug...location of the VIS...or location of the pin hole.

Quote:
I had heard that one should avoid the 8 round magazines from any manufacturer. They drop free fine, the just won't left the slide stop.
Some will. Some won't. I've avoided that particular problem by sticking to 7-round magazines with the standard followers. Upgrading to Wolff 11-pound/7-round springs pretty much solves the problem once and for all.
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:49 PM   #10
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The issue is to find out why the pin is loose. Sizing isn't a problem. Stopping on the link, or the barrel hitting the frame bed before hitting the vertical impact surface can be a barrel-destroying problem. I've seen lower lugs pulled loose from the barrel...a few all the way through the chamber. Bad JuJu.
What do I need to measure/look for?

I didn't see any wear that just stood out on the link, but I didn't check it too closely.

The pin is gone, it fell into the grass by the well house and might have even caromed off the concrete base around the well house and bounced who knows where.

I actually took the bag of parts that was a gun back home with me.

If I could get a measurement on the link diameter and replace it with a correctly sized pin, it should be good to go, assuming nothing is wrong with the linkage?

I just thought of something, it is a Springfield Armory. I wonder if that would be covered under their lifetime warranty policy?
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:54 PM   #11
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re:

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I didn't see any wear that just stood out on the link, but I didn't check it too closely.
You probably won't. It's not a cataclysmic event, and usually does its damage over several hundred rounds.

Quote:
What do I need to measure/look for?
The nominal pin diameter is .154-.1545 inch. You'll need a micrometer as most calipers aren't accurate enough to give you more than an approximate.
You'll need gauge pins to measure the hole. If you have a full set of twist drills...including lettered and numbered...those can be used, too. Mike the drill rod when you find the one that slips through with light resistance.

To check for stopping on the link...Install the slidestop pin through the frame and link, leaving the arm hanging vertically. Press the muzzle straight back against the edge of a bench or table as far as it will go and hold it firmly. If the slidestop arm will swing freely, it's good. If it gets into a bind...there's a problem.
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Old November 26, 2012, 03:02 PM   #12
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I can just bring the barrel and linkage to work.

I have everyrthing here up to and including a CMM if I need it.

Thanks for the help!
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Old November 26, 2012, 03:13 PM   #13
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it is an old design compared to say glock were you just pull on the pin with spring instead of pin coming out. it was a little hard first time i field stripped one.
i still like the thin single stack and grip but prefer a modern 9mm with high capacity rather than 7 round .45.
dont get me wrong i love a good 1911 but the military did replace prob. for reasons i mentioned. caliber and capacity?
just take to gun smith and get new pin and shoulx work like a charm.
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Old November 26, 2012, 03:34 PM   #14
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I've never had that pin come loose on a 1911, and have never heard of such,
I had one fall out of a brand new Smith and Wesson 1911E. I had it staked in place. The pin would not pass through the attach holes but would fall free when the barrel was turned over.

The rest of my 1911's are staked in place.
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Old November 26, 2012, 03:41 PM   #15
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OJ, would the term "slide stop plunger spring" make you feel less confused? (Although if the plunger were acting up, the slide stop might actually walk all the way out of the frame...)

Last edited by MLeake; November 26, 2012 at 03:50 PM.
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Old November 26, 2012, 04:24 PM   #16
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(Although if the plunger were acting up, the slide stop might actually walk all the way out of the frame...)
It can't...not unless the takedown notch is lined up with the stop lug and the slidestop gets a little push in that direction...or the top of the lug is broken.

The function of the plunger and spring is to keep the stop from bouncing up into the stop notch...not to keep the stop in the frame.
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Old November 26, 2012, 04:29 PM   #17
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it is an old design compared to say glock were you just pull on the pin with spring instead of pin coming out. it was a little hard first time i field stripped one.
The 1911 as designed can be detail-stripped...slide and frame, starting with a fully assembled gun...in less than a minute, or a little over a minute-30 using the gun's own parts as tools. My personal record is 42 seconds, using an AR-15 firing pin for a takedown/reassembly tool. My average time is around 54 seconds.

Field strip takes me 10-12 seconds with old, stiff hands and tired eyes.

Quote:
the military did replace prob. for reasons i mentioned. caliber and capacity?
The main reason was that they wanted...or were pretty much forced into...caliber commonality with their NATO allies. That and the fact that the bulk of their inventory was worn out and Beretta submitted the lowest bid on the new contract.
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Old November 26, 2012, 04:50 PM   #18
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Field strip takes me 10-12 seconds with old, stiff hands and tired eyes.
It only took my brother about 30 secs to get it field stripped but 30 min of searching for the pin that fell out into the grass when he took the barrel out of the slide even with fairly young eyes/hands.



It IS still an attractive gun. Even though most of it's guts are in a zip loc bag.

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Old November 26, 2012, 04:54 PM   #19
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Call Springfield and tell'em what happened. They'll have a new pin on the way in a day or two. If it doesn't press fit, stake it and do the slidestop swing test.
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Old November 26, 2012, 05:03 PM   #20
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Call Springfield and tell'em what happened. They'll have a new pin on the way in a day or two. If it doesn't press fit, stake it and do the slidestop swing test.
I'll let my brother do it.

It is his gun after all.

Besides, his owning 3 M1As of recent manufacture and a SAR-8 has practically gotten him on a 1st name basis with their customer service reps.



I was just going to see if I could figure out if that was normal and if not, could there be something else wrong.

Thanks for the help!
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Old November 26, 2012, 05:59 PM   #21
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- I had fired one round into the ground as I was bringing the gun up on target because the trigger was so light.

Doesn't sound like a failure of the 1911 design. Sounds like a failure of you to follow Rule #2.
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Old November 26, 2012, 06:08 PM   #22
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Sounds like you and your brother both need more training with a 1911.And a saftey course on proper gun handling.
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Old November 26, 2012, 06:36 PM   #23
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1911tuner...
ok i watched a u tube so first time took 30 min not 30 sec. i was worried about idoit scratch but on closer inspection was already there. i am much quicker after a few more times.
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Old November 26, 2012, 07:01 PM   #24
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ok i watched a u tube so first time took 30 min not 30 sec. i was worried about idoit scratch but on closer inspection was already there. i am much quicker after a few more times.
After you've done it a few thousand times, it'll get a lot easier.

Ask me how I know...
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Old November 26, 2012, 09:10 PM   #25
Crow Hunter
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Doesn't sound like a failure of the 1911 design. Sounds like a failure of you to follow Rule #2.
I never said it was a failure of the design.

I said it was why I don't like the 1911. There are lots of guns out there that have excellent designs, but I don't like them either. The gun was pointed downrange and aimed at the target. It was just pointed towards the ground because of the grip angle and the way I am used to shooting a gun. When I shoot a Glock, and the gun is between me and the target, I put my finger on the trigger and start pulling on this close range defensive drill. (FAST drill) I was not expecting to see the back of the slide and just the front sight. I would have corrected the issue and stopped pulling until I saw the front sight, but that particular 1911 has a very light trigger on it. (Think single action S&W revolver weight, which is way lighter than I am used to/like)

When I say ground, I don't mean I shot the ground at my feet. I shot it right underneath the target, which was only about 1 foot off the ground to begin with.

As I brought the gun up to my line of sight and aimed at the target, all I could see was the back of the slide and the rear sight. As I was lifting the gun to see the front sight I clicked off the safety and apparently had enough force on the trigger to let the hammer fall. So I fired it before I was ready due to my using the same movements that I have used for years with the Glock.

Had I been firing a Glock, it would have center punched the target because my sights would have been lined up with the target and I would have had a longer heavier trigger pull.

It wasn't an "oh crap" I just had a ND. It was dang it, that wasn't where I meant to shoot, I called it low. Brought the gun back to low ready and then proceeded to shoot a very nicely centered group of touching or nearly touching .45" diameter holes. (Actually on par with what I can do with a Glock, even with "no training", one of the benefits of that really light trigger)

It is all a matter of what you are used to and train with when firing quickly from 7 yards. This is one of the reasons, I keep my defensive guns all the same. I just target shoot with other "fun" guns.

After the 1st round and on additional 3 times I ran the drill, I did not click off the safety until I could see the front sight to compensate for the inferior grip angle. Made me a lot slower.

Quote:
Sounds like you and your brother both need more training with a 1911.And a saftey course on proper gun handling.
Since I don't own or plan on ever carrying or relying on a 1911 for anything the rest of my life, why would I need training with a 1911? I don't plan on doing this with a Ruger P89 or a P08 Luger either, should I get training on them also?

After the performance of this particular 1911, I don't believe that my brother will be very keen on relying on the 1911 for anything either.

He normally carries a Glock (19 or 30) and is a Glock armorer as well, but he has been eyeing that Sig Nightmare Officer's sized 1911 because he loved how accurate his MC Operator was. Of course, having a magazine cease to lock open the slide and having a critical piece just fall out of the gun while doing a routine field strip with only a couple 1,000 rounds will probably color his opinion a little.

My brother and I have been shooting together for nigh on 30 years now, we don't have any safety issues, but thanks for your concern.
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Last edited by Crow Hunter; November 26, 2012 at 10:40 PM.
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