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Old June 12, 2020, 04:17 AM   #1
Drizzt
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Suggestions in regard to feed failure

I was given a brand new, never been fired, RIA 1911A1 Tactical. Before even taking it to the range, i like to feed a few magazines through manually, just to check for feed issues. The factory mag hangs on loading the first round if it is fully loaded, and I have tried 4 other after market magazines that work as they should in my other 1911s, and those will not seat properly without banging rather hard on the butt of the magazine. I like this gun, and it has a good trigger, so is there anything you might suggest to get it running as it should?
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Old June 12, 2020, 06:08 AM   #2
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Always start with doing a "plunk test" on your rounds.
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Old June 12, 2020, 06:59 AM   #3
Steve in Allentown,
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt View Post
Before even taking it to the range, i like to feed a few magazines through manually, just to check for feed issues. The factory mag hangs on loading the first round if it is fully loaded . . .
What is the physical position of the cartridge when it "hangs"? Is it still mostly in the magazine and the nose is jammed against the frame feed ramp? Is the rim under the extractor? A picture of the actual malfunction could prove to be of value in trying to do a remote diagnosis.

A common technique is to leave new magazines fully loaded for a period of time (several days to a couple of weeks) to allow the springs to compress and shorten a bit. This often helps but may not be the root cause of your particular problem.


Quote:
. . . and I have tried 4 other after market magazines that work as they should in my other 1911s, and those will not seat properly without banging rather hard on the butt of the magazine.
Are these magazines of the flush fit variety? Flush fit means that the magazine tube does not extend past the frame when the magazine is seated. Ignore the bumper pad. Look at the tube itself.

If these are flush fit magazines, you will have more success by only loading 7 rounds into them even if they will hold 8. My SOP is to only load 8 rounds into magazines that have been designed from the ground up to hold 8 rounds. These magazines all have slightly extended tubes that extended past the frame when seated.

Something you should check for is whether or not the magazines or the top cartridge in the magazines is coming into contact with the ejector. This could be causing the problem. Do this:
  1. Remove the slide
  2. Remove the magazine catch
  3. Insert a magazine and hold it as high in the magazine well as it will go
  4. While holding it observe if it is touching the underside of the ejector

Repeat the steps above but with a loaded magazine to see if the top cartridge is making contact with the ejector.

If there is any contact, the ejector must be carefully relieved to eliminate it. If this contact is not eliminated, the ejector will eventually fail. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Last edited by Steve in Allentown,; June 12, 2020 at 07:22 AM.
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Old June 12, 2020, 07:32 AM   #4
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One suggestion...at least for the factory mag that inserts easily but has first round feed problems...

First take the baseplate off to ensure that the spring is not binding up.
Then load the mag fully and just keep it that way for a couple of days. This may be a myth, but I have often read that this will help "set" the spring and loosen things up a bit.
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Old June 12, 2020, 08:46 AM   #5
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I'll try leaving the factory magazine loaded and see if that has any effect. As to where it is hanging, it looks like it is jammed up against the feed ramp, but is still mostly in the magazine. The existing magazines I was trying were each built for 8 rounds and have been able to feed same on other guns. On those, it does not seem to matter whether I have 7 or 8 rounds loaded, as the magazine is not seating properly either way.
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Old June 12, 2020, 09:07 AM   #6
Steve in Allentown,
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Originally Posted by Drizzt View Post
As to where it is hanging, it looks like it is jammed up against the feed ramp, but is still mostly in the magazine.
There are many possible causes. Rather than list them all let me suggest one simple, possible remedy. No guarantees but not an especially expensive fix. Replace the magazine catch with an EGW Higher mag catch. If your frame's feed ramp does not extend far enough down the mag well, the stoppage you describe is often the result. The EGW mag catch may hold the magazine just enough higher to allow the cartridges to strike the ramp high enough to solve the problem and avoid you having to get the ramp machined for a lot more money.

FWIW, I put these mag catches in nearly every 1911 that I work on even if there's no feeding problem to be solved. They make the cartridge's trip from the magazine into the chamber much smoother and less violent.

Having said that, you can always call RIA and ask them if they'll check the ramp angle and depth and correct both if needed under a warranty claim. The angle should be 31.5 degrees and the ramp depth should be ~.380" from the top of the frame rails (many prefer .400").

Quote:
The existing magazines I was trying were each built for 8 rounds and have been able to feed same on other guns.
Oh well. Welcome to the new world of 1911s where every manufacturer works from their own unique set of blueprints and employ their own QC methods.
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Old June 12, 2020, 10:53 AM   #7
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If four out of five magazines already can't reach the magazine catch to lock in place, an EGM high magazine catch will only make that worse.

Rock Island has a lifetime warranty. Contact them for a return shipping tag and let them fix it.
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Old June 12, 2020, 11:29 AM   #8
Steve in Allentown,
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
If four out of five magazines already can't reach the magazine catch to lock in place, an EGM high magazine catch will only make that worse.
Of course, if there is a problem with the position of the mag catch slot in the mag body or if the mag body is too short causing the baseplate to be located too high and preventing the mag from going high enough in the mag well or if the baseplate cut out in the frame isn't cut high enough.

If those problem magazines when empty will easily seat in the pistol then the problem is not any of those I just listed. Logically then, the problem is most likely due to a lack of additional available mag spring compression space which is common in flush fit magazines that have been diddled with to hold 8 rounds.

My suggestion to try the EGW mag catch had nothing to do with the four magazines that have to be beaten into the pistol. It had to do with the feed way stoppage of the top round in a fully loaded magazine.

You'll note that I too offered the option of calling RIA.


Drizzt, can you clear this up by seeing if those four mags will lock in the pistol with the slide forward when they're empty?
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Old June 12, 2020, 04:54 PM   #9
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Drizzt, When you say "manually" feed the rounds through the magazine, are you using the slide release lever, sling shotting the slide, or manually riding it forward? It makes a huge difference sometimes. Slowly riding the slide forward to chamber a round will hang up rounds on several different types of handguns. If you already know this- sorry, wasn't trying to insult your knowledge.

I haven't heard of many RIA's that need a break-in period or returns to the homeland. Hopefully yours doesn't. Have you put at least 100rnds through it on a range? Let us know if that helps.
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Old June 12, 2020, 06:23 PM   #10
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I have been trying it with the slide locked back on each of the attempts and have been letting the slide try and pull the round by just using the slide release, not by "riding" it forward. No offense taken, though, as it is always good to make sure the basics are covered before you start looking for anything complicated as a problem
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Old June 12, 2020, 06:55 PM   #11
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So have I got this right, you haven’t even shot it yet, but you think there is a problem with feeding?
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Old June 12, 2020, 08:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
So have I got this right, you haven’t even shot it yet, but you think there is a problem with feeding?
What he said. Before you go sending it back or replacing parts just shoot the thing. I personally don't like the ACT mag that comes with them but mine functioned ok. I replaced mine with CMC flush mount Shooting Stars.
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Old June 12, 2020, 09:02 PM   #13
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Ya cain't shoot it if'n ya cain't load it ...
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Old June 12, 2020, 09:18 PM   #14
Steve in Allentown,
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Problem #2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt View Post
. . . it is always good to make sure the basics are covered before you start looking for anything complicated as a problem
Agreed.

To be perfectly clear. You are experiencing two separate problems.

1. First round feed way stoppage from a fully loaded magazine
2. Difficulty seating fully loaded magazines

So try this one basic thing to refine the diagnosis of Problem #2. With the slide closed insert an empty magazine to see if it will lock in place without having to beat on it. Try all of your magazines in this manner.

That simple test will give us valuable information.

Last edited by Steve in Allentown,; June 12, 2020 at 09:25 PM.
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Old June 13, 2020, 12:11 AM   #15
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ammo & break in period

Did I miss it........what kind of ammo and bullet type are we talking about? Factory or reloads, FMJ/ball, HP, SWC, truncated cone? Ammo is a common cause of fails to feed. Even brand to brand can occasionally be an issue.

Also, I'd want to shoot the pistol some and effect some type of break in. Did I understand that the pistol will load with downloaded mags? I'd shoot it a bit if possible and see if things improve.
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Old June 13, 2020, 02:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
First take the baseplate off to ensure that the spring is not binding up.
That may not be possible.

The baseplate doesn't come off GI pattern mags.
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Old June 13, 2020, 06:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Ya cain't shoot it if'n ya cain't load it ...
He (the OP) did mention it only happens when the magazines are fully loaded. I take that to mean that once the first round of a fully loaded magazine is fed into the chamber, the rest feed as normal.

My S&W Shield had a similar issue - not quite the same, but, it did resist loading the final round into the magazine - until after I had about 50 rounds through it.
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Old June 13, 2020, 09:12 AM   #18
Steve in Allentown,
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Problem #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaranger View Post
. . . what kind of ammo and bullet type are we talking about?
Good point. I'd also like confirmation that this pistol uses a standard, non-ramped barrel.

FWIW, I use factory 230gr FMJ for initial function testing of all new-to-me 1911s. Of late I've been using Winchester white box because I got a good deal on a case of it.

Any 1911 using quality magazines will run 100% with this ammo and a 14lb recoil spring. If it doesn't, there's a geometry problem somewhere inside the pistol. Often times people will suggest using a heavier recoil spring to fix feeding problems in an effort to overpower whatever is causing the problem. All this is doing is masking the underlying problem. It's a field expedient to get the pistol to run in the short term but it's not a permanent cure.

Quote:
Also, I'd want to shoot the pistol some and effect some type of break in.
Having to run 500 rounds through a newly manufactured 1911 in order to get it to function 100% indicates poor fitting of the parts at the factory. The pounding of 500 rounds beats ill fitted parts against one another until enough metal is displaced to allow the parts not to hang up on one another. Kimber is famous for doing a poor job fitting lower barrel lugs to slide stops which results in various degrees of barrel bump which, if bad enough, will cause failures-to-feed and/or failures-to-return-to-battery.

In this specific instance the OP's pistol will not feed the top round in a fully loaded magazine. The nose of the bullet is stopped on the feed ramp and the rest of the cartridge is in the magazine. He has not specifically said that this happens with all magazines. He has not said that it only happens with a fully loaded magazine. He has not said that downloading the magazine by one round eliminates the first round feeding problem. No amount of "breaking in" will help this particular malfunction.

The problem may be caused by the ammo, the magazine, an out-of-spec frame ramp, or a couple of other less likely things. We can only speculate since we don't have enough information to make a definitive diagnosis.

The OP needs to focus on one problem at a time and take the time to go through all the steps needed to fully diagnose it. Otherwise, time, effort, and money may be needlessly wasted. I made the mistake early on of jumping to a conclusion and suggesting a possible fix (EGW mag catch). Time to slow down and get methodical in diagnosing the two problems with the OP's pistol.
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Old June 15, 2020, 02:44 PM   #19
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Go shoot the gun. Factory ball. See what happens.

Do not just start swapping out parts.

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Old June 15, 2020, 03:15 PM   #20
Steve in Allentown,
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoc View Post
Go shoot the gun. Factory ball. See what happens.
If only it were that simple. The pistol will not load the first round from the magazine. If you can't get the first round to feed it would seem logical to fix that immediate problem. Like Aguila Blanca observed, you can't shoot it unless you can load it.

FYI, here are the pertinent parts of the thread to this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt
The factory mag hangs on loading the first round if it is fully loaded
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown,
What is the physical position of the cartridge when it "hangs"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt
. . . it looks like it is jammed up against the feed ramp, but is still mostly in the magazine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown,
In this specific instance the OP's pistol will not feed the top round in a fully loaded magazine. The nose of the bullet is stopped on the feed ramp and the rest of the cartridge is in the magazine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Ya cain't shoot it if'n ya cain't load it ...
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Old June 15, 2020, 05:26 PM   #21
tipoc
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I read those parts. I read the thread.

Go to the range and shoot the gun.

Quote:
I was given a brand new, never been fired, RIA 1911A1 Tactical. Before even taking it to the range, i like to feed a few magazines through manually, just to check for feed issues. The factory mag hangs on loading the first round if it is fully loaded, and I have tried 4 other after market magazines that work as they should in my other 1911s, and those will not seat properly without banging rather hard on the butt of the magazine. I like this gun, and it has a good trigger, so is there anything you might suggest to get it running as it should?
Someone gave him a brand new gun.

He likes to load a full mag and cycle, round by round, the ammo in the mag through the gun.

Quote:
I'll try leaving the factory magazine loaded and see if that has any effect. As to where it is hanging, it looks like it is jammed up against the feed ramp, but is still mostly in the magazine. The existing magazines I was trying were each built for 8 rounds and have been able to feed same on other guns. On those, it does not seem to matter whether I have 7 or 8 rounds loaded, as the magazine is not seating properly either way.
Quote:
I have been trying it with the slide locked back on each of the attempts and have been letting the slide try and pull the round by just using the slide release, not by "riding" it forward. No offense taken, though, as it is always good to make sure the basics are covered before you start looking for anything complicated as a problem
So far that's what Drizzit has said. It's a bit disjointed and in some ways unclear. He has not mentioned what ammo he's using.

He's basically sitting in a room with live ammo and a few mags, manipulating the gun by hand one way or another that he doesn't explain so well. It reads like he's got the slide locked back and releases it from that point and the the slide does not fully strip the round from the mag and it hangs up. Or it hangs up and the round is not fully strip from the mag. This does not shock me. Think about it for a moment.

So...quit playing with a gun and live ammo in your house. Go to the range with a couple of boxes of factory ball. Place one round in the chamber. Lower the slide, now insert the factory mag with 7 rounds in it. Aim and shoot. See what happens.

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Old June 15, 2020, 05:44 PM   #22
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Lube it well and shoot it! I think that you are in for a surprise.
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Old June 16, 2020, 05:04 AM   #23
Hal
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Quote:
If only it were that simple. The pistol will not load the first round from the magazine.
The OP says it only happens when the magazine is fully loaded.

It really appears to be as simple as just - load the magazine 1 round short & shoot it a bunch of times.
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Old June 16, 2020, 08:13 AM   #24
Steve in Allentown,
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal View Post
The OP says it only happens when the magazine is fully loaded.

It really appears to be as simple as just - load the magazine 1 round short & shoot it a bunch of times.
You guys are going to have to help me out on this. I can't understand how downloading the mag by one and shooting however many rounds is going to cure the nose dive failure-to-feed problem with a fully loaded magazine.

Your insights on this would be greatly appreciated.
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Old June 16, 2020, 12:01 PM   #25
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Quote:
You guys are going to have to help me out on this. I can't understand how downloading the mag by one and shooting however many rounds is going to cure the nose dive failure-to-feed problem with a fully loaded magazine.
We don't know that nosediving is the source of the problem or the result of the problem. The op does not describe that. Read what he says he's doing.

For that reason folks are encouraging him to go to the range and shoot the gun. That will tell him and us more.

He may have to begin with a round in the chamber.

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