View Full Version : 1911 Trigger problem

May 29, 2004, 07:03 PM
Hello all...first post to TFL, but have been a reader for a while. Here's my problem for anyone to help me solve:

I have a Colt model 70 that I inherited from my father. He had some work (Heavy slide, BO-Mar rib, compensator, etc) done on it by Clark many years ago and it hasn't been fired in about 8 years. I took it out the other day, loaded up some Remington JHP's in Wilson magazines and proceeded to sight it in. However, every three or four rounds, the trigger wouldn't reset (I'm assuming), as nothing would happen upon pulling it. It acted as though the last round had been fired, but it was still chambered and the slide was forward. For all intents and purposes, the gun was still in battery, but the trigger wouldn't respond. The first three, four, even five rounds would fire fine, but the, inexplicably, nothing. Sometimes it was the last round in the mag, other times, nothing. Needless to say, I didn't bother tinkering with it at the range, because I have this thing against messing with inoperative firearms.

So any thoughts? Is this a trigger problem, or something more sinister? I appreciate any and all opinions....thanks....

May 29, 2004, 08:36 PM
Sounds like a good time to contact Clark. They are still in business and honor all the work they did. If you feel the need, they also will take it in, re-tune it to specs and return it for a very reasonable sum. They've built firearms for at least 3 of the finest shooters in the country and truth be told, maybe more. It's still Clarks' and here's the addy...


Yeah it's in the trigger group or some interference at least. Have you stripped it and cleaned it, or was it shot without checking it first? Best is to get someone like Clark to check it...If you already know someone of that calibre, yoy could have them check. If not, Clark would be a first choice for me, after all, they built the darn thing.


May 29, 2004, 08:42 PM
does it have an adjustable trigger? sounds like i needs to be backed off some

May 29, 2004, 10:52 PM
It has some sort of adjustment...looks like an overtravel set screw in the lower portion of the trigger...you think it's screwed in too far?

May 29, 2004, 11:47 PM

May 30, 2004, 05:07 AM
Howdy fyrestarter,

Sounds like either the middle leg on the sear spring is tired, or the trigger
channel is gunked up. Detail strip it and clean it first. If you've never
done it, it's fairly easy. I'll post instructions if you want to have a go at it.
if you get stuck, we can go to the phones for a walk-through.

You can find out if it needs cleaning with a can of WD 40. Remove the grips and aim the little red straw at the trigger bow through the magwell. Use a
small penlight or mini maglight to see it...It's there. Spray the area wet and hang the gun up with the muzzle toward the floor to dry for about an hour.
The lube will run out past the trigger. Wipe the magwell out thoroughly
before you load the gun. WD 40 will penetrate a primer pocket and kill the primer if it's wet.

If you see dirty lube run out past the trigger when you start, keep it up until it runs clear.

That may be all you need...but I'd still do a detail strip anyway. I can't count the number of pistols that I've "fixed" with nothin' more than a good scrubbin'. If the problem doesn't get better or even go away, it's the sear spring. 5-minute/5 dollar fix.



Harley Nolden
May 30, 2004, 08:07 AM
"In my opinion" That gun is designed to shoot wad cutter (target Loads), and maybe even "ball" ammo. and shooting JHP may not be readily functionable in that gun. JHP is a combat load, the design of your gun sounds like 3 gun national match. Difference between an apple and an orange.

I did have one experience, similar with a 1911, ball gun many years ago. In that, the gun did something similar, however, we determined it was a mag problem. We added an empty case to the bottom the the mag. This worked, so we put a half round top to the mag follower and cured the problem


May 30, 2004, 08:47 AM
Re-reading over your first post...it's possible that it's the disconnector that's not resetting, and the trigger isn't able to trip the sear. Squirt some of that WD 40 down around the head of the disconnect and push it down to let it clean the channel. Pull the trigger to pop it back up, and repeat. Re-test the gun.

If it gets better, it's time for a detail strip and a good scrubbin' out. Instructions are forthcoming if you need them.

Standin' by...


May 30, 2004, 11:47 AM
Thanks everyone...I'm sort of combining all of your answers into one solution. After I detail strip and clean the gun, I'm going to check the disconnector and sear. If that doesn't cure the problem, I guess it's off to Clark for some work. Gives me an excuse to add some new sights and a more up-to-date compensator. By the way, Harley Nolden, you're right on: the gun was originally designed to handle ball ammo for steel plate matches, but I feel to see how shooting JHP would cause the trigger to malfunction.

May 30, 2004, 12:01 PM
fyrestarter said:

the gun was originally designed to handle ball ammo for steel plate matches, but I feel to see how shooting JHP would cause the trigger to malfunction.

That kinda puzzled me too...but I figgered that maybe he was thinkin' about an extraction issue on the last round. The usual...last round doesn't eject,
slide doesn't lock and crushes the case at the barrel hood...Round folllower
"fixes" the problem. Likely that the extractor tension was gone or the extractor was clocking and dropping the case because there wasn't a
round under it to keep it high enough to smack the ejector. Seen that one
a few times over the years...mostly on slides that had the extractor channel
mislocated and the FP stop couldn't keep it from rotating in the bore. I
just HATE when somethin's outta spec like that...

Standin' by for the Clean Report...


May 30, 2004, 09:10 PM

From your description, I can't tell if you mean that the hammer was recocked, or that the hammer was left forward against the slide, like after you fire.

Which is it? Two very different problems.

May 31, 2004, 04:14 PM
Good point...I neglected to mention:

The hammer was indeed recocked, and the gun was fully in battery, yet the trigger failed to activate when I pulled it. I'm assuming it was either very dirty or there's a sear / disconnector problem....as of today, the gun is fully cleaned, the set screw backed out and it's ready for some range time, which I'll have to put off until sometime this week...

May 31, 2004, 07:19 PM
For disconnector diagnosis, hold the trigger down and cycle the slide. Once back in battery you can release the trigger and see if it resets. Doing it without ammo will also allow you hear the parts reset.

The 1911 disconnector is a little odd - lightly sprung and fitted in a tight channel. It wouldn't be difficult for it to fail to pop up.

If all else fails, you could pop off the mainspring housing and assemble the gun with the grip safety removed. While you shouldn't fire it like that, it will allow you to observe the interaction of sear, trigger and disconnector.

June 1, 2004, 08:30 AM
Sounds like you've got a disconnect failing to reset for sure. With a correctly
fitted disconnect, you should be able to slip it into the hole with the paddle against the trigger stirrup and have it fall out of its own weight when you let go of it. Yours is most likely suffering from gunk in the hole and around the stem, causing it to reset sluggishly or not at all. Do NOT file or stone
the top of the disconnect in an effort to get it to sit higher in the timing slot.

Luck to ya, lad!


September 9, 2004, 01:52 AM
I wrote:

sluggishly or not at all. Do NOT file or stone
the top of the disconnect in an effort to get it to sit higher in the timing slot.

Need to correct that...meant to write:

Do not file the top of the disconnect in order to make it sit lower in the frame
or cause it to reset lower in the timing slot.

My bad. Sorry.