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Old November 10, 2005, 06:38 AM   #1
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More 1911 woes...

EDIT - The problem I reported is being attended to. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to advise me.

Hey again.

Well, now I've noticed another problem - unusually severe bullet setback when chambering a round. (This is on my Colt Officer's ACP.)

I tried two ammo types: Blazer FMJ (crap, I know) and Winchester FMJ (white box stuff).

What I did, was lock the slide open and chamber a round by depressing the slide stop when a full mag was inserted. After chambering the first round in the mag, I manually ejected the mag, then the round. I repeated this process several times, but only once with a given round. I wanted to see the effect of chambering a round by simply releasing the slide, to simulate a situation in which I would have to chamber a round after inserting a second mag, as well as to determine what happens to the rounds each time the gun fires, ejects the case, and cycles a new round into the chamber.

What I found was that the blazers I tested were dangerously set back after only one chambering. Also, the cases had a gouge in them near the point where they were joined to the actual bullet, across part of the circumference of the case (I assume from contact with the edge of the barrel).

I had a couple of Winchester rounds like I said, and I tried the same thing with them. One of them seemed to suffer the same problem, though it was not as severe as the blazers. I tried the other Winchester I had and the effect was not noticeable.

However, my concern is, even with crappy ammo, something like this should not happen. Or would it? I simply don't know, I don't know 1911s that well.

What could be some of the possible causes of this? What are some possible solutions to the problem, or ways around the problem? How serious is this really, and does it happen commonly to shorty 1911s?

Thanks for all your help.

P.S. - When I rack the slide manually, this doesn't happen, presumably because I'm not completely letting the spring have its way with the slide, and so the round doesn't get slammed into the chamber as quickly or forcefully.

P.P.S. - I have come to love this gun and I have no intention of giving up on it.

Last edited by stratus; November 10, 2005 at 07:28 AM.
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Old November 10, 2005, 08:53 AM   #2
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Any takers?
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Old November 10, 2005, 09:11 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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The gouge in the case is caused by the round striking the sharp edge of the chamber mouth. It doesn't matter how well the gun is "ramped and throated" if that edge is left sharp.

Bullet setback in the case is caused by striking a feed ramp that is rough or steep or the cartridge being held at a wrong angle by a bad magazine, rough breechface or tight extractor.

I think the gun needs attention by a competent and conscientious 1911 experienced gunsmith. I would not dream of DIYing the heart of the pistol, although you might ask Tuner on THR.

Bullet setback in Blazers is caused by the aluminum case having less tension on the bullet so if there is anything wrong with the feeding, it shows up sooner. I tried hard to like .45 Blazers years ago when they were new on the market but never could get them to run right in my then guns. Cheap 9mm Blazer from Academy is great.
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Old November 11, 2005, 12:51 PM   #4
James K
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Well, anything that happens when you release the slide happens in spades when the slide bounces off the recoil spring guide and runs forward at a higher speed than it does when simply released.

If you don't see any problems when firing normally or when firing the first round from the full magazine, don't worry too much about it.

That being said, I will agree with Jim W. that the condition can be alleviated by work on the ramp and chamber mouth, and recommend that the work be done just to improve feeding and general operation.

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Old November 11, 2005, 05:07 PM   #5
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If it's a Lightweight OACP, any work on the frame feed ramp will remove the hard anodized coating, and lead to an early death to the frame. Hollowpoints will chew up the soft, exposed aluminum.
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Old November 12, 2005, 12:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RickB
If it's a Lightweight OACP, any work on the frame feed ramp will remove the hard anodized coating...
Oh, don't worry about that, my frame is carbon steel.

So I took the slide off the frame and messed around with the magazine. Turns out there was some vertical play between the frame and the mag. So, I'm having an elevated mag catch installed to see if that fixes the problem (if the mag is seated too low during chambering, the position from which it feeds can cause the bullet to get pounded back into the case.)

I also took this gun in to have a huge amount of custom work done on it - I will need to post pics for sure. I don't have a "before" pic though.

Thanks again for all the feedback.
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Old November 12, 2005, 10:31 AM   #7
Harry Bonar
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1911 woes

Dear Shooter:
This is not difficult:
1. With the pistol apart take the barrel and ramp it back as far as it will go on the frame.
2. The bottom edge of the barrel should be up to 1/32" inch in front of the edge of the ramp.
3. Take a 3/8" dowel and wrap FINE emery cloth and DO NOT change the angle of the ramp and take out very carefully ALL of the factory marks and then with a felt bob on your Dremel tool make a mirror finish with some Brownmells 555 grey polish on the bob.
If there is a problem with no. 2 see a good smith - don't throat the bbl. yourself.
Also; as the other gentleman said always feed your rounds from the magazine normally - don't try to get this to happen!

Harry B.
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Old November 12, 2005, 08:42 PM   #8
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While I appreciate the advice, the feed ramp had been polished (and the angle not altered) prior to this problem cropping up. Generally it's better to use a finger rather than a wooden dowel to polish it, as something like a fingertip will take the shape of the area being polished more easily than wood will.

As I said, the problem is most likely the result of a low mag catch.
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