View Full Version : Charles Daley 1911 [dump it? keep it? its successor? critical thoughts?]

August 28, 2000, 01:49 AM
Howdy 1911 fans!
I have one of these that I got about a year ago as my 1st .45cal 1911. I used to shoot my Dad's Colt Series 90 DBL Eagle but did not ever like it as much as the vernerable 1911 version. My Charles Daley is blued and has some hogue grips which really improved its feel and my grip. I paid ~$380 for it new.
I know its no kimber but I wonder if you folks know if I should try to sell it and anty up for another brand. For the most part I like it but it jams pretty frequently. Despite problems its got nice high sights and shoots pretty damn straight. Its no kimber but hey I don't have the money for one of them yet either.

I have sent it back to KBI to be looked at as the pistol jams every 1st, 2nd or 3rd round regardless of what ammo I use. It came back from KBI and shot BO BETTER/there was NO DIFERENCE. I called KBI back and they assured me the pistol had be carefully scrutinized and repaired [they could not tell me exactly WHAT was done to it - I, for one, would surely like to know but the invoice said zip about what service was performed.] Now its round II. I called them back saying that the pistol shoots no better than before i sent it in the first time so they instructed to send it it again. I hope and trust they get it right this time or else what to do? To their credit KBI sent me a free shipping sticker.
As for a replacement for it [i am not 100% gonna dump it unless its a realy SNAFU gun though its begining to look that way] I was thinking about a Kimber Custom Stainless. I like their looks and have heard good things about them and too the sights a la Novak. Any thoughts on this?
Finally, can you offer any general critical comments about the Charles Daley 1911? i.e. typical jams, the resons for them, level of quality compared to X brand 1911 and too what to do to fix these problems?
BTW: Its made in Philipines and imported by KBI. It does not have a full length recoil spring guide rod [has a short one] and original springs [should these be replaced?].

Thanks for your reply posts!

Jim V
August 28, 2000, 03:52 AM
First: Welcome to TFL. Enjoy the place.

Have you tried different magazines? Did you send your current magazines with the pistol when you sent it back? If KBI was checking it with their magazines and not yours and they said they had no problems, I'd try new magazines of various makes. Which make of magazine? Which ever works in your pistol.

It may need a new recoil spring (cheap enough to do, remember open end out, closed end on recoil spring guide).

I know of a LEO that carries a 'Chuck' every day as his duty pistol and I have a friend that has several of them that he uses for pin shooting. He thinks they are great.

Try different magazines and if they don't improve the problem then concider getting rid of it. Many of the 1911's problems can be traced to springs and magazines.

I am also inviting you to check out www.1911forum.com (http://www.1911forum.com) for all types of information on keeping 1911's running. And there is www.m1911.org (http://www.m1911.org) to check out too.

Ne Conjuge Nobiscum
"If there be treachery, let there be jehad!"

[This message has been edited by Jim V (edited August 28, 2000).]

August 28, 2000, 06:40 PM
Before you dump it or go out and buy a Kimber, you should consider customizing it. With a package from Steve Clark Custom (http://users.supernet.com/taos/clark.htm), you can make that Chuck Daly more accurate then a Kimber and every bit as good as a Wilson Combat. This is Steve's Tactical Package:

Tactical Carry Package Includes:
Sights: Wilson adj. or 463 combat pyramid (Novak avail.)
Barrel: Kart NM and SS NM bushing
Grip safety: high cut w/pad
Thumb safety: extended combat
Trigger group: Wilson/Nowlin ultra light hammer, WC deluxe sear
Re-cut for a very crisp 4lb trigger pull
Springs: Wolfe complete. Tuned for total reliability
Finish: complete de-horn, black Ultra Coat

No point in dumping the gun for something less accurate. What you really need is a reliability job. If changing magazines didn't help, the reliability will cure that problem.

*note a good smith makes a world of a difference

Once you find that smith, take care of him because they are a dying breed.

1911 Addiction (http://users.supernet.com/taos/)
"The tree of liberty will grow only when watered by the blood of tyrants."

August 28, 2000, 09:32 PM
ArmySon and Jim V:

thanks for your replies. Jim, the pistol came with 2 chip mcormick mags I think and when I sent the pistol to KBI they came back with mecgar mags. the mecgars honestly look better constructed and seem to function fine.

The problem I have noticed does not seem to be in the function of the mags but rather at the ramp and bbl. throat. Sometimes, when disassembled, I take the bbl. and drop a round into it - sometimes it drops in smoothe and sometimes others do not. I wondered if the bbl. was 'out of round' or something - i dount it but then I dont know what else would do this.

On the range there is no telling what causes it but the one repeatable variable in this jam experience IS the pistol. It will not return to battery and the slide is always just shy of closing full by 1/8th to 1/16th of an inch. No matter the ammo. My mags work fine in my friends' 1911 guns.

My sense of it is throat and polish it but that means money out of my pocket for a gun that should shoot after purchase without any spcl. treatment. At any rate I recomended this to KBI and said Bolsa Gunsmithing in Orange County, CA could do the work. They are well recommended and I have faith in them. KBI instead said it must be fixed through them to keep the waranty intact and for them to pay for it. They won't let me take it to another gunsmith and have them billed for it.

It looks to me, therefore, that either they will fix it or I will be forced to sell it. I dont want to have to pay for smith work on this if I can avoid it. The gun was mostly to be a no-frills-shootin-gun and to tide me till I could afford a Kimber or similar quality gun. Still, Sun Tao, I appreciate your tip and will make note of it for my
next 1911.

Thanks for the input,


James K
August 28, 2000, 11:27 PM
What ammunition are you using? I can't think, off hand, of anything in a 1911 type pistol that could cause one round to drop in a barrel and the next to hang up except ammo.

Failure to go fully into battery could also be due to ammo, or could be due to a tight barrel/slide stop fit. This is normally good for accuracy, but can't be too tight.


Juan Hunt Greer
August 29, 2000, 10:35 PM
As I see that You are in the LA area, if you get dowm to a town called San Marcos north of San Diego, I'd love to have a look at it, free of charge. Gunsmithing is my hobby ( I do dairy plant engineering for a living. ), and I love a challenge!( I only do function work, not cosmetics.)Feel free to e-mail me or call( I'm in the book, a rarity for so. kal.)
paranoia is a good thing to have when they actually are out to get You!

August 30, 2000, 03:49 PM
I say keep it, and work out the problems. I have a Daly FS model, and it shoots beautifully. Feeds hardball and Hydrashoks, as a matter of fact I haven't had a jam yet (knock on wood). I have also changed the recoil spring to a Wilson Combat 18.5# spring weight.

August 31, 2000, 03:15 AM
A-bolt. Just like Rob96 I have a Model FS and is very accurate. I changed the recoil spring with Wolff 16.5 lbs variable. I also installed the firing pin spring that came with it. So far no jams whatsoever.

August 31, 2000, 07:23 AM
Recommend sell; buy Kimber, never look back.......

Quality never really costs more.......

"All my ammo is factory ammo"

August 31, 2000, 08:40 PM
If you have a problem dropping factory ammo into the barrel, you may have a tight chamber. I have two 1911's, a Springfield and a Kimber. The Kimber has a chamber that's tighter than my Dillon .45ACP cartridge gauge, so I have to load carefully for it. OTOH, the Springfield is considerably more "roomy" in the chamber. Since the kimber hasn't been a reliability problem, I haven't addressed the issue, maybe this is your problem.

September 10, 2000, 12:58 AM
hello gents. sorry i've beem away for awhile - work piled up but i'm nearing equilibrium again.

some good ideas here that i'd like to respond to properly later.

the ideas of changing out springs i like but alas which is right for the job? 16, 16.5, or 18 lbs.?

ok, i shall return! [time permiting :)]

all of you: thanks a million for your insights.

Qui tacit consentire.
Who is silent is understood to give consent.

September 22, 2000, 02:13 AM
Well I am going to put my letter to KBI together tommorow and send the 1911 in - AGAIN. We shall see how that goes. Perhaps if followed up by phone calls will keep them diligent and happy in their work. :rolleyes:

As I draft it I will ref. the comments you folks have made respecting fixes.

I'll let you know how things turn out.

abolt [meanwhile... chk out my webpage! and drop a line in the guestbook]

Qui tacit consentire.
Who is silent is understood to give consent. i.e. Don't sit by while people slowly take your rights. Stand up and get involved! Check out my website: www.geocities.com/abolt3006/ (http://www.geocities.com/abolt3006/)

September 22, 2000, 11:18 AM
What your experiencing with your Daley is not unusual for them. Understand your logic is correct. You buy a new gun and it should shoot! Logically correct. And it does shoot once you get the bullet chambered.
Heres what I do with Daleys. First field strip it and begin polishing the ramp and very carefully the chamber throat. Its a must with them. You can do this yourself but dont change the angle. Just polish.
They come with a 14lb recoil spring. Put in a 16 then try it. You might wish to get Wolfs pack that gives you 16, 18 and 20. If you reload and start shooting heavier loads youll want to change the spring accordingly and they are not expensive. But they are sensitive to the recoil spring.
Get rid of all sharp edges on the Megar mags and they should just fine. Use a stone and just break the "burrs" and sharpe edges, then polish with some 600.
dont bother even trying 3D reloads.
If you load your own be sure that the sizing die gets to the bottom. if you dont it will fail to get to battery by about 1/8" inch and sometime you can "thumb it" on in. thats annoying.I find that 5.4 grains of #2 under 200 swc's and an 18lb recoil spring give good reliability and chambers about 99.9% of the time. Occacionally I'll get a hanger but they are far and few between. This load gives you about 879 fps and with bulk lead sorted to within .1gr (+/- .05) you will get a very low s.d (4.74 avg.)with careful measuring of your powder. groups are under 1.5 at 99' off the bag. This is after the barrel bushing has been fitted and the slide tightened and the trigger smoothed out and reduced to 3.5lbs. (this takes some special work that requires a gunsmith.) The Daley can be worked to shoot very reliably and with good accuracy but you dont get it out of the box. Their barrels (rifling) is a little shallow but they seem to "fit up" well.
I can work your Daley over for you and find the most effective loads for you but it can run you about $150 - $250 parts and labor. I have excellent success with the Daleys but what you are experiencing is typical of them. Try polishing the ramp etc. mag. and go up to 16 - 18lbs on the recoil spring. that should get you chambering readily. Let me know how you make out.
Toms Gunsmithing.

October 6, 2000, 10:09 AM
I also am a Gunsmith in SC. I have seen The Charles Daly's here, most problems have came from weak recoil springs and / or mags. Very few have had chamber problems. May want to look for burrs around the barrel bushing which my be prevent the barrel from locking/unlocking properly.

October 6, 2000, 10:43 AM
My CD works great I had a problem with the mags but got some Wilson Combat mags and they work great. I also put in an EGW oversized firing pin stop the other one moved around a bit and a Wolf 18.5 recoil and firing pin spring in. Also I got a CD with the serial Number starting with CD##### around Feb 2000 and I heard that the one made before this were kind of hit and miss, My gun looks good and shoots better than me and it only cost $335.