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Old November 15, 2009, 02:16 PM   #1
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Colt .45 acp stove-piping?!

I have, among othr tools, a series 80 Mark IV Colt Lightweight Commander with increasing jamming problems. It stove-piped on the range on Thursday last! Any suggestions for repairs or replacement parts to solve the problem?
Rev. Matt .45 ACP
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Old November 15, 2009, 02:19 PM   #2
Harry Bonar
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You have a very common problem with the 1911 - you need a reliability package done by an experienced smith.
Harry B.
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Old November 15, 2009, 02:44 PM   #3
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Colt commanders can be quite picky with recoil springs. Has the recoil spring ever been changed and if so what weight?
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Old November 15, 2009, 07:35 PM   #4
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There are a number of reasons the 1911 will stovepipe, here's a few common things to look at:

Some guns are not reliable with some ammo, try something else.

Dirty or worn out, try a new genuine Colt.

Dirty/fouled/dry gun.
Clean and lube the gun, especially remove and clean the extractor and its tunnel in the slide.

Worn recoil spring.
Replace it with a 20 to 22 pound spring. Factory is about 20, for hard ball ammo you can go usually go 22.

Worn or tension lost on the extractor.
This usually calls for gunsmith replacement. To test, after cleaning the gun and with the slide off, push a live round up under the extractor. It should be held in place and shouldn't fall out of its own weight.

Broken/worn ejector.
Check th ejector for chipped or broken faces, or for a broken mounting pin. If the ejector can be moved or turned, one of the pins is broken.
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Old November 16, 2009, 07:36 PM   #5
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stove pipes

1st change magazines( wilsons are some of the best)

2nd extractor problem. Have "1911 knowledgeable" smith look at it for proper tension.
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Old November 16, 2009, 08:09 PM   #6
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Are cases landing 5 feet away?
If so, it is not the recoil spring.
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Old November 16, 2009, 08:12 PM   #7
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Replace all the springs its cheap Wolf springs are great
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Old November 16, 2009, 09:21 PM   #8
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I like to do diagnosis of 1911 problems as a process of elimination.

Since it's a stovepipe, ammo has already successfully fed and fired, so you can generally rule out mag problems, underpowered bulk ammo and guide rod springs (unless springs are recommended to be replaced every X,XXX rounds).

Since it has always ejected properly in the past, you can generally rule out ejector length.

Which, by elimination, says the extractor's not doing its job.

Could be either dirty, broken or weak. If you feel competent, remove it (inspect for broken) and clean out the tube. If this doesn't work, then you know its weak. If it is adjustable, do so and test fire. If not, then replace it.

Good luck.
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Last edited by omega; November 16, 2009 at 09:28 PM.
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Old November 17, 2009, 02:48 PM   #9
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stove pipe

BTW was your "stove pipe" with a live round or an empty....

two different issues
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Old November 17, 2009, 03:29 PM   #10
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My LW Commander started doing the same thing recently.

Fortunately, I have a Government Colt also, and I switched over to it while I troubleshot the Commander.

The problem came with me to the Government.

The common elements to the stovepipe failures are two Colt 8rd magazines with McCormick-style springy followers.

I tried replacing the mag springs in my 8rd Colt mags, and that didn't resolve the issue.

I switched over to magazines equipped with fixed-platform followers. I used Wilsons and ACT's. The problem is now gone, in both guns.
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Old November 19, 2009, 09:53 PM   #11
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Also sounds like an extractor tension issue to me. I believe an extended ejector is also a good idea to make the cases land where they should. contouring the hook on the extractor also helps cases clear the gun.

- Ivan.
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Old November 29, 2009, 04:04 AM   #12
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drove me nuts

I had a 70's series, steel frame, bushed nickel commander, .45 and it drove me nuts w/ feeding and reliability problems. I spent a ton of money on various mags, ammo, tune up by a 'smith w/ a reputation ( still local), tensioned extractors, new recoil spring, new extractors...........and on and on.

Sold it at a loss and was glad to see it go.

The P220's that replaced it have been great, except for 2 bad early style mags.
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.45 acp , colt , repairs , stovepipe

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