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Old July 28, 2001, 10:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: July 14, 2001
Location: Iowa
Posts: 6
Hammer Following Troubles.

I recently purchased my second AMT Hardballer (Irwindale manu.) and although my first (Covina manu.) has been an excellent piece, this one has a few quirks. I had it at the range Thursday and when I would release the slide with an empty mag the hammer would follow about 70% of the time. While firing there was never a problem. I also noticed that, "from the safety notch", the hammer will drop if the trigger is pulled. I inspected the hammer and find that it only has a ledge(?80 series) and no notch like my earlier AMT. There is no firing pin safety in either of these AMT Hardballers so why no notch in the Hammer? Should I replace the hammer? And what do I need to adjust or replace to stop the following problem? The gun has a Wilson Combat FL guide rod and 18.5lb spring, ambi thumb safety, and a 298 grip safety. Do the hammer and sear have to be replaced together? Thanks.
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Old July 28, 2001, 12:58 PM   #2
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
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I'd consider fitting a new hammer (and if necessary, a new sear).
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Old July 28, 2001, 03:32 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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This is not uncommon in the 1911-style of pistol when the trigger pull is less than four pounds. The hammer won't follow during actual firing because the trigger is all the way back during the cycle, and the disconnector is fully operational.

It's obviously not the ultimate insofar as being safe, but if you're halfway careful you can live with it. I sure wouldn't argue with 4V50Gary, of course...

, Art
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Old July 28, 2001, 03:56 PM   #4
Join Date: May 12, 2001
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Has a "trigger job" been done on it? some people when they do one take too much off of the primary sear angle that makes the hammer slip to 1/2 cock when the slide is dropped. There can be other things also but usually I have found it has to do with the sear being over stoned or worn out. but there are other things too-hammer hooks crooked/uneven, not enough pressure on the sear tine of the sear spring,+ about a 1/2 doz. other possibilities.
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Old July 28, 2001, 08:55 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 4, 2001
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Hammer following the slide is THE classic sign of a shade tree gunsmith trying for a lighter trigger pull. That and the suspect Series 80? hammer tell me this is the case.

Compare the hammer to a Series 80, and I'll bet your hammer is a standard pre-80 that has had the "half-cock" interceptor notch cut down. This is another clue, since bad trigger jobs often cause the interceptor notch to be caught by the sear, so Billy Bob just cuts the notch back.

Your probably looking at replacing the hammer and sear.
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Old July 28, 2001, 09:57 PM   #6
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
My first recommendation is to have it fixed by a competent pistol smith. But, if you like the trigger pull and it is holding OK, you can also try one of two target shooter tricks. Either pull the trigger and hold it back while releasing the slide, or hold the hammer back with the thumb of the off hand. Replacing the trigger with one of aluminum or plastic may also solve the problem.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what causes this, but it really is due to the fact that the trigger in the 1911 type pistol is loose in the frame. When the slide is released, it goes forward, only to be abruptly stopped when the barrel skirt slams into the slide stop pin. This jars the whole frame forward. But the trigger is just sitting there fat, dumb and happy. It tries to stay where it is (talk to Mr. Newton about this), so it moves back relative to the frame and, in effect, pulls itself. If the sear engagement is small or the spring light, the hammer will fall, at least to the half-cock or, as in your case, the safety shelf.

Jim K
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Old July 29, 2001, 07:49 AM   #7
George Stringer
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Euroman, I'd have it checked out but as Art mentioned if your pull is 4# or less it's likely to follow with an 18.5# spring and especially dropping it on an empty chamber. If you have a 16# spring you might give it a try. That's what the 1911 is designed to work with. If you're using hotter than standard loads a heavier spring may be called for but too many times folks install a heavier spring to try to correct a feeding problem. George
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Old July 29, 2001, 10:31 AM   #8
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Join Date: July 14, 2001
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A Big Thanks. & more Questions.

Thanks for all the help guys. I did purchase this gun used & it may have had some work although all the parts appeared to be factory AMT before I made my additions. The trigger is at least 4-1/2 to 5lbs pull but crisp. I will try the standard spring as I wasn't having the follow problems until I changed it. I also switched from Breakfree to a synthetic oil on the moving parts. Is there a problem with staying with the hammer with non captive safety ledge? If I do replace it should I get a captive notch type?

I have been doing all my own gunsmith work for about eight years. Building & shooting 1/2MOA Target/Varmint rifles. I just recently got a renewed interest (bug) for the Handguns and while I understand the workings of the 1911, I can't say I have all the answers. I feel it is always best to get opinions from those that KNOW (That's all you guys) before jumping in the deep end. My other AMT has the trigger set to 3-1/2lbs and hasn,t had a bit of a problem. It does have a lighter trigger though. I may have to lighten up this one or install a new one. What trigger do you guys prefer? If you have any other suggestions for me shout right out. Thanks again
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Old July 30, 2001, 06:54 AM   #9
George Stringer
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Euroman, some hammers like at least one McCormick are designed for Series 70 only while others like Wilson's Deluxe can be used with both 70 and 80 series guns. I'd recommend the Wilson. George
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Old July 30, 2001, 07:36 AM   #10
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I would recomend changing the hammer and sear. I had an AMT (Irwindale) for a short while. The hammer was so cheaply made that it sheared off the full cocked notches in less than 700 rounds. Those parts on mine (late 80's mfg.) were poorly cast and poorly made. To it's credit the pistol was fitted and assembled well, if they only would have used better parts.
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