View Full Version : releasing slide with round in the chamber?

alexander hamilton
October 13, 2006, 07:39 PM
is it ok to lock the slide, place a round in the chamber, release the slide, and then insert magazine? i read something about this not being ok but im not sure if thats really what was being said. this is on a hk usp compact .40. i was examining the extractor and i dont see any harm. it is not a spring but seems to pivot on a hidden pin or something. i can move it by hand.


btw, you guys help me out quite a bit. got any technical questions about nissans or toyotas? i know all about them. that is my job. better make it an email though; dont want to go off topic.

October 13, 2006, 08:12 PM
Some extractors don't have a problem out of the box and will be cammed out of the way and over the case head like it should be, the ones that won't will cause you to have a situation where your gun won't be in full battery. Not a problem at the target range on a casual shoot. The problem would arise in a shoot or die situation.

If it completely chambers the round, I see no problem, if it doesn't, either tune the extractor or let a round strip from the magazine and then load one more in the clip.

October 13, 2006, 09:09 PM
I wondered the exact thing myself.


For such a simple question some folks really took it seriously.

And if you don't feel like reading 3 pages of thread, the simple answer is "No, don't do that".

Jim Watson
October 13, 2006, 10:01 PM
It will eventually iron the curve out of a one-piece extractor like a 1911 or early Browning. It can chip the hook on a springloaded design. We had a guy break the extractor on a Glock by dropping the slide on a round in the chamber at an IDPA match.

Don't do it except in emergency.

October 14, 2006, 12:38 AM
I wasn't talking about doing it as an every day affair myself, but you can fit the extractor where it allows the case head to slip by and not cause as much of a problem.

Hunter Customs
October 14, 2006, 08:53 AM
A 1911 pistol is designed to be a controled round feed (the round feeds under the extractor and into the chamber), it's not designed for the extractor to cam over the rim of the round.
If one continues the practice of dropping a round in the chamber and caming the extractor over the the rim of the round in time you will suffer extractor damage.
As for other designs such as the HK I would ask the manufacture what they suggest.
Bob Hunter

October 14, 2006, 02:10 PM
Bob, I tuned all of my extractors so they will chamber when a round is dropped into the chamber and the slide is allowed to close on it. I don't mention it to the folks, but if a shoot or die situation arises and one has to load that last round to save a life, I want them to be able to do this. If you have to drop the magazine and load a round into it and then replace the magazine and then rack the slide to fire the round, you might not be here to tell about it.

It doesn't matter what kind of gun it is either, I want them to be able to do this if the need ever arises.

I think we all know the proper way to load a gun, it's that time when there is no other choice that will bite you in the rear though that I make sure doesn't happen.

Hunter Customs
October 14, 2006, 08:49 PM
Lets take a look at a 1911 extractor claw , we are dealing with 0.040 plus or minus a couple of thousands of engagement from a beveled claw. That beveled claw is not designed to take the continous bashing into the back of round seated in the chamber, tuned extractor or not. If the practice of dropping the slide on a chambered round is continued in any 1911 in time I can assure you the 0.040 of engagement will shear off the extractor.

I honestly feel that in a do or die situation dropping a round in the pipe and letting the slide fly home is a moot point, I'll list a couple of reasons why.
Reason 1, in a do or die situation it will not matter if the claw shears or what damage the extractor suffers as that will most likely be the last round one would fire in that situation, if they are lucky enough to fire the round.
Reason 2 that being said I have to wonder how many really believe that when the SHTF, the stress level is really high, and time is running out very fast they will have the dexterity to drop a round in the pipe and let the slide fly home.
I also have to wonder where the last round came from, was it in the shooters pocket, was it in his hand, did he find it on the ground?

I will say that all my 1911's have polished and tuned extractors, tuned to do exactly what they were designed to do. Controled round feed the ammo from the mags and extract the fired brass from the chamber.
Bob Hunter

James K
October 14, 2006, 08:55 PM
Despite much screaming about single loading, the Model 1911 was designed to allow it; it was one of the military requirements and had to pass that test before adoption. The Army didn't want a pistol that would be useless without its magazine.

But the extractor has to be made of high quality spring steel. When GI extractors became scarce and people started to sell ones made by casting, MIM, or shaping out of high quality chewing gum, problems started to occur.


October 14, 2006, 09:24 PM
So perhaps with a Wilson "Bulletproof" Extractor...

October 14, 2006, 10:29 PM
Just curious, why would you want to manually place a round in the chamber anyway? Since the gun is designed to feed the chamber from the top of the magazine I'd stick to that method (& then remove the mag and top it off with one more round). Do be careful though if you unload/reload often to keep an eye on the chambered round's condition. Too many extractions could damage the case and cause a FTE at the worst possible time. Not likely but not impossible either. JMHO. (Hmm. Maybe I just answered my own question)

Dave Haven
October 14, 2006, 11:14 PM
The Ingram M-10 SMG has the same type of extractor as the M1911. And the design of the bolt face of the M-10 forces the extractor to snap over the rim of the case EVERY time the gun fires.
I don't see a problem here.....

October 15, 2006, 03:01 AM
Bob, I am certainly not suggesting that anyone load it like this all the time. I do tune mine where it will and in case you think it never can arise, that is your perogitive. The design was to have enough springout where it can occur. I simply make sure to aid it to where it can and does snap over a round in the pipe if needed to.

I agree with what you say about how it should be loaded and especially in a Col style 45ACP, but the original post wasn't about a 45ACP, it is on an HK 40S&W which should snap over a loaded round as well. One never knows where and what he will be doing when the SHTF, but I want a round to be able to be chambered without having to drop the magazine and top it off and then reload the magazine just in case.

Do I prefer to load a gun like this, of course not and don't suggest it as a daily routine or to be done on a normal basis, but if the bear is on the move coming toward you and you have emptied the gun except for one round that jammed and you can pick it up and have just enough time to load it and let the slide go home, I sure as heck want the slide to close on a chambered round and go bang. Moot point or not, I want it to go bang without having to break the extractor claw as well.

It doesn't matter if it is a Mauser or model 70 with the claw style controlled round feed or a 45 ACP, I want it to be able to do the same thing, go bang and not leave you out there with your thumb up somewhere it doesn't need to be! I have seen folks have a round jam and have to eject it as well as heard stories of rounds not being able to be chambered this way, I just make sure it doesn't happen to my guns.

alexander hamilton
October 15, 2006, 09:55 AM
well, i have been loading my gun as follows. drop one in the pipe, release slide, load mag, decock, and go safe. i have been doing this as its quicker than racking the slide and then topping off the mag. i only have had to do this after shooting the gun at the range or dry fire practice. still, i know a thing or two about metal and the advice in this thread sounds wise to me. i checked the manual for my gun and found the instruction for loading. they say to rack and top off. it does not say not to do what i have been doing, but i cant help but think the specific instructions were there for a reason. i think my practice from here forward will be to only chamber rounds by the method that the gun uses to chamber them in automatic operation. now i will also seek out every individual(of which there are not too many) whom i have explained this method to and explain the other side to them as well so that they can make up their own mind.

thanks all

Hunter Customs
October 15, 2006, 12:01 PM
alexander hamilton,
I do apologize to you for getting somewhat off topic by explaining how the 1911 pattern pistol was designed to operate.
I think you are making a very wise choice to load the gun by the manufactures instructions.
If a part was damaged by loading using another method, this may free the manufacture from replacing the part under warranty.
Bob Hunter

44 AMP
October 17, 2006, 09:36 AM
To the best of available information, none of the service style autoloaders is intended to be a push feed. They aren't built like a Remington 700. Or an AR-15. They are intended to have rounds fed up underneath the extractor claw, kind of like a mauser.

Can you drop a round in the chamber and get away with it? Most guns yes, once. Some guns alot. Others not. Should you? NO! I would consider it something to be done only in gravest need.

Check your owners manual, or direct with the manufacturer, if they don't specifically authorize this kind of opreation, then you are running a risk. 1911s are particularly vulnerable to damage from this practice, but they are not the only ones. I have one owner's manual that specifies NEVER to load their gun in this manner, it could result in discharge!

Load the mag. Feed from the mag. The mag is our friend.....

While it may not be necessary it is the best practice.

ITEOTWAWKI gave a link to a thread on this very question. Check it out, he saw the light, you should too.

Need a gun that you can do this to, in case you lose the mag? Buy a revolver! Cause if you lose your only mag, your autoloader is pretty much out of it. Oh, you can still fire single shots...yep, and after you lock the slide back by hand, you can reach in with your fingernail, or your pocketknife, or a screwdriver, or a pen, etc, and pluck out the empty. Take you maybe 2-3 seconds more because you were a total idiot, and not only lost your only mag, but broke your extractor as well. And where is the ammo you are carrying to load your new single shot? It's in a box? Loose in your pocket? Why isn't it in a spare mag????????

Saying that the Govt required the ability in the 1911 so the pistol won't be "usless" if you lost the mag might be true. But it is a useless requirement. On the other hand, Govt has a long history of putting useless requirements in their procurement process. So it could be true.

And isn't (at least some parts of) Govt today requiring a magazine disconnect? So the gun can't fire without the mag? That one is not only useless, for a service pistol, it is potentially dangerous.

James K
October 17, 2006, 08:39 PM
Well, the ability to load single rounds may be a "useless requirement" UNTIL you lose or damage the magazine. (A mag safety on a military pistol is nonsense.)

Nonetheless, to say the M1911/A1 won't close on a chambered round without damage is baloney; it may be true of the cheap clones with junk extractors, but the GI pistol will do so with no damage. As to external extractors, I have never seen one that wouldn't close easily on a chambered round.

And so, incidentally, will a Model 1903 rifle, a Model 1917 rifle, and any and all Mausers I have ever seen, even though a lot of folks waste a lot of time ranting that they won't.


Hunter Customs
October 17, 2006, 09:47 PM
We are not discussing mag safties or mag disconnect as some people call it. I fail to see what the mag safety has to do with dropping a round in the pipe and causing damage to the extractor.

Jim I was under the impression from your post on MIM parts that while in the military you saw a good many parts fail, I take it now that none of those were extractors.

If memory serves me correctly the original extractors in a 1911 and 1911A1 were a forged part and the steel was 1060. I do recall my Mentor in 1969 telling me to not drop a round in the barrel of a 1911 or 1911A1 because in time it will break the claw on the extractor.

As for the external extractor I seen several that have failed. As a matter of fact I've replaced two external extractors on a very popular 1911 style pistol, both extractors had broken claws.
Bob Hunter

October 17, 2006, 09:50 PM
All of what I would have said and more. One thing for certain, if you don't want to do it, no problem. If the time comes and you have to do it, well let's just say I hope you never have to do it because you may be out of luck.

The men that taught me gunsmithing showed me how to tune them correctly and I follow what I was taught. Do all men that handle guns handle them the way you want them to...... not very likely. Would you rather a round would chamber completely if it needed to or that a guy follows the rules and does it just the way you tell him too and get hurt possibly? It's ok to say it shouldn't be done, but real world scenarios happen all the time when things just go wrong at the worst possible time. I do my best to make sure nothing causes a failure in the guns I work on, it isn't hard and only takes a few more additional minutes to see to it that everything is taken care of.

I have heard tales of men who had problems loading a round this way and someone had to save them from being attacked by a bear. They sought out a way of solving the problem when they got home. It doesn't take too much time and trouble to tune one where it wil close on a round in the chamberl. I suppose it takes a whole lot more time to tell everyone it is nonsense to do so and not worry about it than it does to tune it right though.

44 AMP
October 18, 2006, 04:25 PM
In an emergency situation, needs must. Can you do it, sure you can. Should you? No. Having to "tune" the extractor is a clear indication that the pistol in not intended for this kind of operation. Can it be made to work this way, sure. I just don't believe it is a good practice to load this way. Tuning the extractor to prevent damage or minimize stress would be a good idea to protect the mechanism if you have to load this way. I just don't think it should be anyone's standard practice. Especially with a 1911.

Other handgun designs may allow for it, I know one that emphatically does not. The owner's manual says never load this way. Each design is different, but there isn't one that doesn't load from the mag.

The Mauser rifle is designed to be loaded from the mag. Dropping a round into the chamber and closing the bolt over it can damage/break the extractor. Probably not the first time, but sooner or later it will. Unless the rifle has been relief cut to allow the extractor the room to snap over the case rim.

Some Mausers were made with the relief cut, and some weren't. The US Springfield was intended to be able to single loaded direct into the chamber, as it has a magazine cutoff. Even though it is a Mauser type it is made to do it.

Unless you are certain, load from the magazine. It can't hurt.

October 18, 2006, 04:35 PM
I simply choose to tune them where they will so if the customer has to do it, he can. That goes for the Mausers as well as 45 ACPS and anything in between. Like I said before, you just never know what the customer will do out in the field and if my tuning the extractors helps prevent breakage as well as allows them to easily chamber a round like this, I see no reason to not do it.

It's sort of a deal where you can do preventative maintenace or not and then fix what breaks later on. To each his own as they say.