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Old March 28, 2009, 11:29 PM   #1
mordis
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SA MIL SPEC 1911a1 light primer strikes

My SA 1911a1 milspec is having light primer stikes, i bought it used a while ago at the gunshow and it is now starting to hit them lightly cuasing FTFs once in a while.

According to the parts list i have a titanium firing pin, could that be the culprit, or is this time for me to go get all the stuff i need to do some light customizing. IF springs are the problem ill order better ones from midway, i just need some reccomendations. Im looking for reliablilty for starters. I do plan on getting there tacticle hammer and spring combo, which will lower my trigger pull to around 4.5lbs and give me a much better hammer. which will leave me with a few more springs to replace and to install a beaver tail.

But I would like to know if there is any other parts i should check and replace that could be cuasing it. Thanks alot for the info.
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Old March 28, 2009, 11:31 PM   #2
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What ammo? Is it consistently happening on one brand but not others? All? I'd give SA a call before I started changing parts.
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:06 AM   #3
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Any and all ammo. I was thinking of replacing the firingpin with a edbrown steel and a ed brown extrapower spring for starters and then going outwardly from there... Id call them, but it will only boil down to them saying bring it in, and pay us to fix it. I want to do it my self, so i can learn my pistol and others like it better.
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:25 AM   #4
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Before you swap out parts, clean the firing pin channel. Sometimes you can get gunk (that's the technical term) in there which causes the firing pin to not move like it should, and results in light primer strikes.
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:27 AM   #5
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There are a few potential causes of light strikes. Your case doesn't seem to be ammo related, so that excludes the most typical causes. Other culprits are a blunted pin, weak mainspring, or excessive headspace.

You may want to remove the firing pin, inspect it, and clean the firing pin channel. Corrosion a/o crud (e.g. gummed lubricant) can impede the motion of the firing pin.

But I'd work-out the light-strike problem before swapping out multiple parts. If you replace them all at once, and the problem persists, it'll be more difficult to isolate which part, or combination of parts, is the cause.
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:58 AM   #6
mordis
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I removed the firing pin and spring and cleaned out the channel and loaded up a primered case and fired it. It is still giving me light primer strikes.
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Old March 29, 2009, 01:59 AM   #7
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With the trigger pulled and grip safety depressed, when you slowly bring the hammer back and then forward (use two hands), do you feel any contact of the hammer binding on anything, like, the half cock notch or sear?
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Old March 29, 2009, 08:26 AM   #8
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Neither me nor an accomplished shooter felt anything when we raised and lowered the hammer. Tho it is doing something odd from half cock. With the safety off, and the hammer in the halfcock position if i pull the trigger the hammer will fall. ITs not a long distance, but it is falling and i think it is a secondary problem, tho it may be related to the light primer strike problem. We tried doing the same on a refurbished Government GI pistol and the hammer would not go down from halfcock when you pull the trigger.
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Old March 29, 2009, 08:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Any and all ammo. I was thinking of replacing the firingpin with a edbrown steel and a ed brown extrapower spring for starters and then going outwardly from there... Id call them, but it will only boil down to them saying bring it in, and pay us to fix it. I want to do it my self, so i can learn my pistol and others like it better.
From observing your post, I don't think you know Springfield's quality of customer service. I highly recommend calling them and explaining your problem. It appears from the posts that it's the gun. Before doing ANY modifcations or part replacements, I'd call them. If they suspect it's the gun, they'll pay shipping BOTH ways and repair it for no charge. If you go with a local gunsmith to repair and the problem returns, the likelyhood that Springfield will repair it on their dime won't be to your advantage. IMHO, it's a big mistake to do otherwise if you've ruled out easy fixes such as cleaning the firing pin/channne, etc. Springfield will make things right without you opening up your checkbook.
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Old March 29, 2009, 10:04 AM   #10
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Tuttle your right, I dont have any experiance with Springfields Customer service. My problem is im on a limited budget and i noticed that most of the internal parts are kinda on the inexpensive side when it comes to midway, ect.

There custom shop website says that inorder for them to look at it, they will charge $85 then charge you for what ever parts are needed on top of it. Unless im not seeing something, that is why i wanted to do it my self. Ill call them and talk to them, but for some reason im nervous about it. I just cant afford a huge smithy bill.
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Old March 29, 2009, 01:26 PM   #11
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You have to understand that there's something wrong with the gun and Springfield warranties all guns if nobody else tried to "fix" it and nothing has been modified. Just give them a call Monday. I'm willing to bet they won't make a fool out of me.

Look at it this way. A five minute call to Springfield, a quick trip to the shipping agency with an RA tag provided by them, and in no time you'll have it returned to you. No fuss. Before you know it, you're at the range plinking away with your reliable gun with the whole issue as an afterthought. And to top it off, you don't need to worry about budgeting to fix it. You won't be out a dime...
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Old March 30, 2009, 08:59 PM   #12
Gregory Gauvin
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Springfield GI will drop the hammer from half cock when u pull trigger. I believe all series 70 hammers will do also.

Ok, if you felt nothing contacting the hammer as you lowered it then the other thing I would check is if the firing pin is making contact with anything (like a burr). Hold the hammer back and use a paperclip or something and push the firing pin in. It should be smooth sailing. Go slow, if the firing pin hangs up or contacts anything in the channel, you should feel it.


If the firing pin passes the test, I would suggest it be the mainspring getting weak. Remember to change your recoil spring as well.

If the pistol had a headspace problem, I would think you would have experienced LPS from the get go. As a used pistol, I would double check to see if the firing pin / firing pin spring are correct for the gun. Titanium firing pins are brittle and more prone to breaking and LPS than steel. Since your gun does not have a series 80 safety (firing pin safety), you should be fitted with a titanium firing pin.

*Edit: +1 On inspecting the firing pin. Check to see if the firing pin is blunted. Also, severely worn FPs can become peened over and remain fully forward resulting in a slam fire / FA condition!

Last edited by Gregory Gauvin; March 30, 2009 at 09:14 PM.
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Old April 7, 2009, 08:27 PM   #13
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I checked the firing pin, it does not seem broken, I have yet to call springfield, but i will do it soon. The FP channel is not burred or blocked. You mention that titanium firing pins are brittle, i would have thought that being made of titanium, the hardest steel on earth, that it would be a strong part not prone to breaking?? Maybe im missing something could someone explain that to me? I work 9-530pm all week, but i have the monday after easter off, ill call them at that time. Hopefully i can get this sorted out.
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Old April 8, 2009, 10:34 AM   #14
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Titanium is hard, but brittle. Steel is strong, but soft. Think of it this way - You can bend steel like you can bend a paperclip. You can bend titanium like you can bend a glass rod.

I would take the MSH off and open it up and clean it out, lube it up. Perhaps the ILS system is hanging up something in there, slowing down the hammer.
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Old April 8, 2009, 11:39 AM   #15
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I would suspect that somebody has already been messing with the springs. Besides the titanium firing pin, the ILS system utilizes an odd, very powerful mainspring. Some people will remove the mainspring and the other ILS-asssociated parts, but if the swap is not done correctly (say, changing only the spring), you will have problems.
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Old April 8, 2009, 07:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Springfield GI will drop the hammer from half cock when u pull trigger. I believe all series 70 hammers will do also.
Any original Colt Series 70 or prior pistols will not drop the hammer from half cock when the trigger is pulled.

Colt Series 80's will drop the hammer from half cock when the trigger is pulled though, and the Series 70 reproductions will as well since they come with a series 80 hammer.

I believe Springfield uses the Series 80 style hammer with half-cock 'shelf', but omits the firing pin safety in lieu of the lightened firing pin and ILS.

I would tend to look at the mainspring strength as well if the upper end seems in order.
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Old April 8, 2009, 08:49 PM   #17
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I owned two Springfield EMPs. The first one had light primer strikes (as well as feeding, extraction and slide lockback issues). It went back to Springfield (on their dime) and was replaced with another pistol when they were unable to fix it.

The second also experienced light primer strikes and went back to Springfield (again, on their dime). I asked that they remove the ILS while they were fixing it. They removed the ILS, reamed the chamber, did a few other unspecified things, it came back and worked great from that point on.

Their Customer Service was excellent. I wish they had been more forthcoming about the work done, and what caused the problems in the first place, but I have no complaints about the way they handled the situation.

Give them a chance.
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Old April 8, 2009, 09:21 PM   #18
Gregory Gauvin
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My bad...I knew it was the series 70 or 80 hammers that did that. Mixed that one up.

Somebody may have monkeyed the mainspring. Normally, putting in a reduced (19#) spring will help lighten the trigger pull. Putting in even a standard mainspring will screw up Springfield's ILS system. The 28# mainspring in the ILS system (vs. 23 LBS standard) is shorter, and a real mainspring cap retaining pin is longer and straight (no bevel type profile to "lock" it). Mix the parts up and you'll get problems.

Check to make sure your ILS system is turned fully to the unlock position. I haven't experienced, or heard of, the system binding. Generally, it's locked or not locked, but anything is possible. The two little holes in the key way in the mainspring housing should be vertical. Horizontal, the system is locked. I'd say if they appear in the 11, or 10 o'clock position, perhaps it is binding the mainspring cap retaining pin and not giving the hammer strut full force.
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Old April 8, 2009, 09:26 PM   #19
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place a pencil in the barrel of the UNLOADED GUN, cock the hammer, point to the ceiling and press the trigger. it should launch forcefully, if not,some thing is wrong. check the mainspring it might be an ILS thing
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Old April 8, 2009, 10:25 PM   #20
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"I bought it used from a gunshow."
The Springfields with titanium firing pins have a stronger firing pin spring to pass the California drop test without going to one of the various firing pin block mechanisms.
The main spring is also stronger than the typical 1911 to compensate for the light pin and stiffer firing pin spring.
I do not have any info on exactly what the weight of either spring is.
If someone tried to lighten or smooth out the trigger by going to a lighter main spring or lighter hammer the result will be light primer strikes.
Ask me how I know.
The pencil test will reveal a light firing pin strike. The pencil should fly up at least 3 feet, less and ignition is marginal.
I do not recommend changing the titanium pin nor the f/p spring, as either would defeat the California safety.
This leaves you with the main spring.
If you have a nearby shop that stocks 1911 parts, call them about a new 23# spring. Even better if they have a new stock Springfield spring.
I'm sure Brownell's can supply you a main spring as well.
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Old April 10, 2009, 06:21 PM   #21
mordis
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SInce i dont live in california im not to worried about there safty Stuff. Im more worried about making it reliable. My first call will be to SA. on monday. ILl let them fix it.

Now, what parts other then the firing pin and spring are replaceable? I plan on some minor upgrades later(beaver tail, tacticle hammer,sear, and hammer spring all available from midway as a package.) and a after market trigger(for better looks).

I also need to know if it is possible to use a different firing pin and spring, becuase i wish to make a rebuild kit for the gun, JIC. I have read that the Steel firing pins and extra power springs from midway(edbrown and the like) are very reliable and a good value. I would like some direction on this. But first things first, ill have sa fix it.
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Old April 10, 2009, 07:02 PM   #22
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Now, what parts other then the firing pin and spring are replaceable? I plan on some minor upgrades later(beaver tail, tacticle hammer,sear, and hammer spring all available from midway as a package.) and a after market trigger(for better looks).
Without knowing for sure what features are on your Mil-Spec (I think the older models had a few differences), I'd get the ejection port lowered and flared. This may already be a standard feature, but this is one item that I'd invest in doing. Just about every part on a 1911 is possible to replace. Question is, speed costs money. How fast do you want to go? If you're looking into reliability but on a budget, beaver tails, hammer sets, and aftermarket triggers for looks aren't wise decisions.

Quote:
I have read that the Steel firing pins and extra power springs from midway(edbrown and the like) are very reliable and a good value.
Quote:
The FP channel is not burred or blocked. You mention that titanium firing pins are brittle, i would have thought that being made of titanium, the hardest steel on earth, that it would be a strong part not prone to breaking??
Just about anything from Ed Brown are quality parts. I personally would keep the titanium firing pin in there. It generally lasts longer overall, IMO. Steel is fine, but titanium rules the roost in my 1911. Titanium isn't steel. It is its own element. Steel is derived from iron, an entirely different element. Earlier in time when titanium was filtering into the general public in products, the heat treating process wasn't quite up to snuff. Just like any other product just being introduced into the market, there's usually some trial and error. That's back then. Today's methods have improved and there's nothing to worry about.
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Old April 11, 2009, 10:32 AM   #23
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Tuttle8, only the trigger was for looks, but that is last on mylist of things to do. I want the beaver tail to help with hammer bite, and they seem to help improve my grip. The hammer/spring/sear package is part of a trigger pull reduction package from midway usa. reduced the trigger pull to around 4.5lbs and gives me that custom hammer i see on highend pistols. I thought all those things would enhance my pistol and were not chosen for there looks.

You mention staying with a titianium firing pin, but from what i have read on the net, light primer strikes are the norm for them. One day i would like to build my own 1911 from the frame up, and when it comes time to choose i dont want something that is not gonna be reliable. I guess the next question is, how can one make a titianium firing pin reliable. You mentioned a #28 mainspring, and a extrapower firing pin spring, were can one get one? I have seen vairable power springs and 23lbs springs but no aftermarket 28lb springs?

Now the trigger was one area i wanted for looks, but its not high on my list of priorities. I also plan on refinishing it with a new finish that has built in lubricity, it not only enhances the looks, but will help a small bit with reliability.
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:45 PM   #24
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If you're having hammer bite issues, then I have to agree with getting a beaver tail. It isn't fun experiencing that.

Quote:
You mention staying with a titianium firing pin, but from what i have read on the net, light primer strikes are the norm for them.
The net, huh?. Well, I guess that settles it...

Quote:
I guess the next question is, how can one make a titianium firing pin reliable.
Well, you can spend most of your free time searching the internet reading others' "opinions" or just do what I suggested and be done with it. That way you can use the time you would have spent on the internet doing something productive instead...
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Old April 11, 2009, 10:18 PM   #25
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I love it when someone asks a question, then chooses to argue with the folks who take the time to thoughtfully respond.
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