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1911-38spl
September 8, 2011, 12:46 PM
Hey guys,
I am trying to get through this problematic 1911 that was left to be by my late grandfather. It's a WWI vintage 1911 45acp that has been converted to .38 special wadcutters (bull barrel) for target loads/shooting.

I just made some stock 2.6-2.7grain wadcutters and tested them but keep having a jaming problem... The jaming pic below is with the short spring installed.
http://i689.photobucket.com/albums/vv253/nstueve/Guns%20and%20Hunting/1911jamwithshortspring.jpg

I have used a longer sping that my grandfather had in the gun and a shorter sping that my gunsmith was trying to use. Neither have had good success...
http://i689.photobucket.com/albums/vv253/nstueve/Guns%20and%20Hunting/springs.jpg

Any ideas would be helpful...

Specificly looking to see if anyone knows the length of a sping from a 1911 that came .38spl from factory (diameter of coil wire would be good too).

PS: here is where I started in the reloading forum but think the problem may not be the loads, and might be the spring or other things I'm not thinking about...
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=459596


Thanks in advance!

spacecoast
September 8, 2011, 01:13 PM
There are people here far more qualified than me to comment (and hopefully they will), but it seems that the slide may not coming back far enough to eject the brass cleanly (or that could be one cause at least), which would say that either the load needs to be a bit stronger (maybe another .1 to .2 grains of powder) or the recoil spring needs to be lightened a bit (which is perhaps the the theory your gunsmith employed).

The S&W Model 52 is a 1911-style .38 special wadcutter gun if that helps any. I've not heard of converting a .45 to .38 specials, that might be a fairly unusual mod? Interesting problem, good luck...

Scorch
September 8, 2011, 01:30 PM
You need to up the powder charge a bit to reliably eject the shell. It may take a bit of fooling around to get the right load. A typical 148 gr lead wadcutter load is around 2.8-3.0 gr of Bullseye, so your load may be a bit light.

Do not tamper with the action spring as it is a very light spring, typical of wadcutter guns. These guns were built for centerfire pistol match shooting, where the shooters would fire hundreds of rounds in an event and did not want the effects of recoil to make them flinch. Light recoil also allows a very light trigger.

kurmudgon
September 8, 2011, 02:09 PM
"I just made some stock 2.6-2.7grain wadcutters and tested them but keep having a jamming problem... " quote OP

What type powder?

That failure to eject looks like an under powered load, but depends on powder type.

Best, Kur

1911-38spl
September 8, 2011, 02:09 PM
ok so what I don't understand is why my grandfather had a longer spring in there then. My uncle said he remembers grandpa reloading and shooting the gun reliably... My gunsmith did not have good success with that lighter (shorter) sping... So maybe the longer sping with a little more powder will do...

Thanks guys... I seem to be getting the same answer from 2 other sources as well. I'll try loading with 2.8-3.0 grains and let you know the outcome.

AKsRul.e
September 8, 2011, 02:36 PM
"ok so what I don't understand is why my grandfather had a longer spring in there then. My uncle said he remembers grandpa reloading and shooting the gun reliably... My gunsmith did not have good success with that lighter (shorter) sping... So maybe the longer sping with a little more powder will do...

Thanks guys... I seem to be getting the same answer from 2 other sources as well. I'll try loading with 2.8-3.0 grains and let you know the outcome.
1911-38spl is online now "
-----------

That is an old "Bullseye Pistol" ( any centerfire class )
It was developed to meet the rules of competition but be easy to shoot.

http://www.bullseyepistol.com/rulebook3.htm

Lots of guys who shot a .45 as their "service gun" built one of these
because the grip and operation were the same as their .45.

I'm pretty sure your Grandpa had it set up with a LIGHT recoil spring ,

( weight does not necessarily equal length )

and shot reloads equal to Factory wadcutters. ;)

.

TeamSinglestack
September 8, 2011, 02:39 PM
ok so what I don't understand is why my grandfather had a longer spring in there then.

You answered your own question...

My uncle said he remembers grandpa reloading and shooting the gun reliably...

He obviously developed a load that ran reliably in the gun the way it was configured. You need to do the same.

Gun modifications can have secondary and third order effects that may not be apparent to some. The 1911 was designed around a specif round using a specif load, so changing the round, the springs, etc, will undoubtedly require a bit of tweaking to accommodate the drastic changes. Your grandfather did that already, so I would focus on load development before I would examine gun tweaks and mods.

I'd recommend testing a variety of loads in accordance with the safe powder levels of whatever powder you are using, as it should allow you to 1. develop a WORKING and reliable load, and 2. develop a working and ACCURATE load.

Best of luck.

madmag
September 8, 2011, 02:49 PM
Interesting. I don't think it's so much spring length as spring rate. Try a lower spring rate and also a variable rate type spring. These can be had from Wolff springs.

And, as others said higher powder charge.

1911-38spl
September 8, 2011, 02:56 PM
well hopefully my uncle is remembering correctly... My grandfather did have 50ish pistols and about 40 more rifles and shotguns. Which might be easy enough for a person to mix up especially when your remembering from childhood memories... :cool:

Anyhow I'll keep trying to make different rounds for now and update this thread when I know more.

Thanks all!

moxie
September 8, 2011, 03:10 PM
Call Wolff and discuss with them. They are the spring experts.

KyJim
September 8, 2011, 05:37 PM
Wolff sells a spring calibration pack which includes recoil springs of various weights. A lighter weight spring for lighter loads, obviously. Try that and do a little experimentation.

RickB
September 9, 2011, 12:19 PM
You don't want to use a short spring, regardless of rating.
Do all rounds jam in the way shown in the pic? I'd guess that the extractor isn't applying any tension to the extracted case, and the case is out of position by the time it gets to the ejector (if it's getting to the ejector). If you cycle a round through it by hand, does it eject OK? Try it with a loaded mag, empty mag, and no mag (you might want to use dummy rounds for this); does that have any affect on it?
What sort of rollmarks are on the slide? That is, is it stamped .38 Super, or .38 Special, or .38 AMU, or ?

Clifford L. Hughes
September 9, 2011, 03:00 PM
1911-38 Sepecial:

Back in the 1960's, for bullseye competition, good pistol smiths converted 1911's to 38 special. My team armor conveted my Colt Gold Cup to 38 Special for center fire competition. He cut the barrel just in front of its locking lugs and he then fitted silver soldered a Smith and Wesson K 38 barrel into the 45 chamber. He then fitted a barrel lug and he matched conditioned the pistol just like he did for a 45. I'm not sure how he modified the magazines. Ammo had to be kept in the range of 2.7 grains of Bulleseye becaust the bottom of the case was unsupported. My converted Gold Cup would shoot X ring groups day in and day out.

Semper Fi.

Gunnery sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired