View Full Version : 1911 ejects erratically

March 10, 1999, 07:57 AM
I have a Norinco 1911 that seems to eject the cases wherever it pleases. Some fly over my head, some to the right and some just drop out of the ejection port. I've been shooting it for some time and not had any stoppages. Recently, while shooting with a friend, I watched him shoot my gun and for the first time really noticed this tendency. Also, the last round failed to eject: case head was jammed between feeding lips of the magazine and case mouth had two dents on opposite sides.

There were similar jams a while ago but I thought they were traceable to a lousy aluminum aftermarket magazine. Using other magazines made the jams go away until now (this time I was using a fairly new Mec-Gar 7rd. mag).

I clean the gun after shooting. Always. My handloads are near max. with 200gr. bullets. The gun is in original condition (except for refinish & trigger job) and has been fired probably less than 3000 shots altogether.
The exctractor seems to have a good hold on the case. I don't really know what could be wrong.

I would appreciate any ideas from the more experienced. I'm one of the lucky few members of our shooting club that has yet to have his gun jam during a match, and I'd like to keep it that way!


Jim V
March 10, 1999, 08:21 AM
Does the extractor have the correct tension? It should be able to hold a loaded cartridge in place just by the tension. The way to check is to remove the slide and slide a cartridge under the extractor and hold the slide with the sights up.

Have you checked the extactor lip for damange?

Have you checked the nose of the ejector for damage?

Have you had the ejection port opened up. I have not done that alteration on my 1911's but I have been told that it will assist in ejection of the fire cases.

(I just have to do a spell check before posting :D )
Ne Conjuge Nobiscum

[This message has been edited by Jim V (edited March 10, 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jim V (edited March 10, 1999).]

March 10, 1999, 08:21 AM
The ejector comes in different lengths & can be "tuned" for your gun. The other thing I like to do is polish the bolt face, (the area behind the case where the firing pin is) because the case slides upwards against it on ejection. Any roughness can cause difficulties. My 2c worth ;)

"The Gun from Down Under !"

March 10, 1999, 10:17 AM
Also you can change the angle on the face of the ejector.

A couple of good books that can help when working on 1911s are The Combat Auto by Bill Wilson, The Custom Government Model Pistol by Layne Simpson and The Colt .45 Automatic A Shop Manual by Jerry Kuhnhausen.

George Stringer
March 10, 1999, 10:45 AM
tputto, the extractor, ejector and recoil spring all combine to allow the pistol to function consistently and correctly. Lowering the ejection port does aid in ejection and extends the life of you brass for reloading. While I agree with the others that your extractor probably needs attention, it sounds like you have another problem. Either you are not getting consistent performance from your recoil spring or your reloads are varying in power. I'm sure you reload with all the care required but you might check your powder measure to ensure it's throwing the same charge every time as well as bullet seating depth and amount of crimp. A full length guide rod should help your recoil spring to perform more consistently but if you determine that the spring is the culprit, I'd replace it with a Wolfe. George

March 11, 1999, 05:34 AM
extractor has good tension & I can't see any damage on those parts.
I had a hunch that the spring might be the culprit here and I guess I'll have to try a new one. I think the standard is 16 lbs.(?), would it be wise to go for a stiffer spring?
Might as well try opening up the ejection port. The ammunition has been consistent and I do check all those things frequently, and this ejection problem has occurred with factory hardball ammo as well.

Thanks to all of you!

Jim V
March 11, 1999, 06:32 AM
Try a 18.5# variable tension from Wolfe.

Ne Conjuge Nobiscum

George Stringer
March 11, 1999, 09:09 AM
tputto, I really don't like going away from the 16# factory spring. The heavier the recoil spring the harder it is on the gun. I really don't think that in your case a heavier spring is the answer. With the proper recoil spring weight the empties should eject 3-4 feet. Any more and the spring is too light for the load, less and it is too heavy. If you have a combat or long nose ejector you can about double that distance. I'd try a standard 16# first. George

March 12, 1999, 03:14 AM
I took a closer look at the spring and found out that it makes a lot of noise when slide is closing, as if it were binding on something. Weird. Could be that the spring's gone weak and bends in funny ways when compressing (?). Anyways I'll try and see if a new spring will help. I saw Wilson recommend #18.5 for stock 1911 w/full loads (www.m1911.org), is it really too heavy? I seem to be getting mixed opinions here! :)


Harley Nolden
March 12, 1999, 07:44 AM
Old Trick: Round off the bottom of the Extractor lip, not much though. This will aid in the round feeding and also change and give a direction to the extracted case.


March 14, 1999, 01:19 PM
Read the replies to your post. One that I did not see is a very basic fundamental. If your grip, arm extension, stance, ect.,is not consistent shot to shot, your brass won't eject to the same general area every time. As for the last round in the magazine dribbling from the port that is most generally due to fact that there is less tension on the magazine follower by the magazine spring. Next time you are at the range focus on keeping your grip consistent shot to shot. Keep focused on the front sight as the gun recoils, it should rise and fall to the same place every time. If it does and your loads are consistent your brass should all be together. Always practice the fundamentals and keep it simple are what my shooting coaches drilled in to me and it works.

Harley Nolden
March 17, 1999, 10:08 AM
BINGO Hayseed:
Wish I'd have said that.


Walt Welch
March 18, 1999, 02:24 PM
tputto; I suggest that you go to the Wolff Gunspring site:


Go to the FAQ's section, and you will find the following FAQ:
3. How heavy should my recoil spring be? What weight recoil spring should I use with a particular load?

These are two very hard questions to answer in exact terms and in most cases an exact answer is not possible. There are many factors which influence the correct weight recoil spring to use. These factors include the particular ammunition brand and load, individual pistol characteristics, individual shooting styles and your individual, subjective feeling of how the gun shoots and should feel. In general terms, the heaviest recoil spring that will allow the pistol to function reliably is the best choice - tempered by the above factors. If your casings are hitting the ground in the 3 to 6 foot range, then the recoil spring is approximately correct. If you are ejecting beyond the 6-8 foot range, then a heavier recoil spring is generally required. If your casings are ejecting less than 3 feet a lighter recoil spring may be needed to assure proper functioning. Taking these factors into consideration, it then comes down to how the gun feels and performs when shooting - in your judgment. Using too light a recoil spring can result in damage to the pistol and possible injury to you.

There should be no noise from the recoil spring when the slide is moving. You have 3,000 rounds on your gun; what are you waiting for? Get a new recoil spring from Wolff. Install the extra strength firing pin spring that comes with it. That will prevent the gun from discharging if it falls on the muzzle (a very unlikely event even with a regular power firing pin spring). Further, this will prevent the firing pin from dragging on the primer, another cause of erratic ejection.

I use Wolff 20 and 22 lb. variable power recoil springs in my full size 1911's, with max and +P loads. The advantage of a variable power spring is that it makes the slide easier to rack (the first compression of the recoil spring takes less force), and the force pushing the slide forward is greatest when the slide first starts forward, then decreases as the slide gains velocity. This minimizes the impact of the slide when it goes into battery. Of course, never let a slide go forward on an empty chamber; ease it forward gently.

I do a few other things to my 1911's that I use for full loads. I install a recoil buffer; a plastic washer that goes between the recoil spring guide and the recoil spring (remember the open end of the recoil spring goes towards the muzzle). This cushions the slide's impact against the receiver in full recoil.

Further, I install an extra power magazine spring; this helps to preserve the power of the spring in 8 round mags, which have much less room for the spring, and also pushes the cartridge stack up against the underside of the slide with more force; some people feel this aids in reducing slide velocity; most people agree that it helps reliability. Don't use oil or grease to lube the inside of your mags; you can contaminate the ammo. Use a spray teflon such as Remington Dry Lube, or a powder such as Sentry BP-2000.

I think that your ejector is probably faulty; if changing the springs magically changes things to perfect function, then I am wrong. If not, get a new one, and have a smith install it, checking the ejector at the same time.

You are right, BTW; as recoil springs age, they tend to take on a spiral shape on the outside of the spring. Change your recoil spring every 1000 rounds or so. At about $7, it is darn cheap insurance for your pistol.

Hope this helps. Walt Welch, NRA Life Member, 1911 owner and shooter since 1967, reloader since 1957.

Walt Welch
March 18, 1999, 02:32 PM
Sorry; I meant to address the people who have the opinion that factory strength springs should be used.

Remember, the factory spring is a COMPROMISE; Colt's knows some people are going to shoot low power target loads, and full power, or even +P loads without changing the recoil spring. These people would return the gun as faulty if it didn't digest everything fed to it.

This is ridiculous. I use a 10 lb. spring for my 200 gr LSWC loads, which work at about 8,000 lup. My GC's function just fine with this. As noted above I use 20 or 22 lb springs with my full power and +P loads. My pistols function very well with these springs. Tailoring the recoil spring to the load used is one of those things we knowledgeable people can do to optimize reliability and minimize pistol wear.

A .45 Super, which works at 28,000 cup, uses a much heavier recoil spring (34 lb. or so, if I recall correctly). This is in the 1911 pistol.

So, don't make the mistake that the factory power spring is best. It is the best COMPROMISE. You don't need to settle for a compromise. Walt

March 19, 1999, 06:52 AM
appreciate your input, thanks. A fellow shooter said he's got 1911 springs I could try. Wolff springs aren't a stock item in Finnish gunshops, unfortunately, otherwise I'd have bought spares already. I'll mail order a few anyways. I don't think I'll need the lighter springs you mention because I only use this gun for IPSC with loads that make major, it's not exactly a bullseye gun. There is a slide buffer on the gun.

The reason I think the spring is faulty is that I can't see anything wrong with anything else, maybe I'm just dumb(?). I'll go shooting tomorrow and see what happens with the new spring & post the news.

James K
March 19, 1999, 10:50 AM
I think the clue is your saying that the spring (I assume recoil spring) "makes a lot of noise when compressing." Check to see if the recoil spring guide is rounded off or is square on the end. The standard M1911/A1 does not fully support the spring and it tries to kink as it is pushed over the end of the spring guide. The end should look a little like a 9mm hollow point bullet, not like the end of a barrel. If it is too square, the recoil spring will grate as it is pushed over the guide and affect the slide movement; this can certainly cause erratic ejection, etc. If this is the case, the answer may be as simple as rounding the guide end on a wheel or may involve buying a new guide. Let's hear if I am right.

March 23, 1999, 06:00 AM
I am glad to report that the gun is now fixed. Recoil spring was worn out, and changing the spring improved things a little but ejection angle was still not right. Ejector was attended to by an experienced tinkerer and now cases eject as they should.
I failed to see any fault in the ejector: bluing remained so I thought it can't be worn but I guess it was, or maybe there's some wear in other places that necessitates ejector adjustments. Anyway, most of you were absolutely spot-on in your replies! Thank you all, especially Walt Welch for taking the time to mail me.


James K
March 23, 1999, 03:11 PM
Perhaps the ejector was not worn; more likely it never was right in the first place. It was worth a try with the recoil spring guide idea, but if the new spring solved the problem, things should be OK. Glad to hear it all worked out.