Need help with 1911 problem

This is a discussion on Need help with 1911 problem within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently bought a new RIA compact 1911. On my first trip to the range with it, I had malfunctions. The last round of the ...

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    Member Array Blackheart6's Avatar
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    Need help with 1911 problem

    I recently bought a new RIA compact 1911. On my first trip to the range with it, I had malfunctions. The last round of the magazine would sometimes FTE, and the slide never locked open when the last round would eject. With an empty mag, pulling back the slide, it will lock open. I only have the stock mag, and am wondering if this is most likely a mag problem, or slide release. I really love this gun and the way it shoots and feels, am really hoping I don't have a lemon. I put 100 rounds through it at the range, it had no problem with Blazer, Federal or Golden Sabre, even when mixed in mag.

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackheart6 View Post
    I recently bought a new RIA compact 1911. On my first trip to the range with it, I had malfunctions. The last round of the magazine would sometimes FTE, and the slide never locked open when the last round would eject. With an empty mag, pulling back the slide, it will lock open. I only have the stock mag, and am wondering if this is most likely a mag problem, or slide release. I really love this gun and the way it shoots and feels, am really hoping I don't have a lemon. I put 100 rounds through it at the range, it had no problem with Blazer, Federal or Golden Sabre, even when mixed in mag.

    What did it have problems with? Or do you mean that other than the issues described above, you had no "ammo" issues?

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    I'd try some different mags, I like Wilson 47Ds
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    Member Array Blackheart6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    What did it have problems with? Or do you mean that other than the issues described above, you had no "ammo" issues?
    My problem is the last round fails to eject occasionally, and the slide never locked open after last round. I only mentioned the ammo to note that it fed all types, and doesn't seem to be an ammo related problem. The slide does lock open on an empty mag, so I am concerned it's not a mag problem.
    Last edited by OD*; October 4th, 2012 at 12:09 AM.

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    Sounds like your recoil spring might be too stiff. Try storing the gun with the slide locked to the rear for a few days.

    Sometimes that helps & it certainly won't hurt anything.

    How far is your brass being ejected?

    If your ejected brass is landing fairly close to you then that is one good indicator that your recoil spring is either a bit too new or a bit too heavy.
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    [QUOTE=Blackheart6;2408912]
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    What did it have problems with? Or do you mean that other than the issues described above, you had no "ammo" issues?[/QUOTE

    My problem is the last round fails to eject occasionally, and the slide never locked open after last round. I only mentioned the ammo to note that it fed all types, and doesn't seem to be an ammo related problem. The slide does lock open on an empty mag, so I am concerned it's not a mag problem.
    There's a big difference between the slide locking back when you retract the slide on an empty mag, and the slide locking back after the last round in the mag has been fired. I doubt it is possible for a human to cycle the slide as fast as a fired round does. There is a dynamic balance which has to be achieved between slide velocity, magazine spring force, and slide stop spring. Each is a spring-mass system with its own dynamic characteristics, and getting them all to work harmoniously is a design challenge.

    My guess is that a higher-quality magazine will resolve your problem, as manufacturers frequently resort to low-cost mags to keep the price down. Get a Wilson or a Shooting Star or similar high-end magazine and see if your problems go away.
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    New Member Array Zac25's Avatar
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    X2 on the recoil spring. Slide may not going back far enough to engage the stop.
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    Did you clean and lube the gun before you fired it,if there are any burrs or crud in the slide rails it could cause the slide to recoil sluggish and stop before its all the way back,I never had a problem with my RIA compact it ate everything even with the factory mag,but I use Wilsons in my carry guns
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    It sounds like you may also have an extractor issue. Can you take close up pics of the chamber end and the back of the slide?
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    NMB
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    First steps:

    1) Take down and clean the gun thoroughly.
    2) Try different magazines from a reputable manufacturer.
    3) Shoot another 100-200 rounds and see if things don't improve. Sometimes 1911's need some time to loosen up and settle in.

    Only after those steps would I start to think about sending it in for a repair.
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    New Member Array Alan_Hicks's Avatar
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    This sounds more like a magazine issue than anything else to me. RIA's are very inexpensive 1911s and they have to save money on the gun somewhere. I've heard from another RIA owner that the magazine wasn't that great. That owner switched to magazines from Chip McCormick and loves them. To understand why this could be a magazine spring issue, you have to understand the well-timed dance between the magazine spring and the 1911's recoil spring.

    When the hammer falls and the bullet fires, the slide begins moving backwards due to recoil. As soon as the slide gets far enough back to clear the next round in the magazine, the magazine spring begins pushing that round upward until it gets stopped by the magazine's feed lips. When the slide has reached its full backwards journey, the recoil spring begins pushing it forward once more. The slide bumps into the round on top, strips it from the magazine, and feeds it into the barrel.

    When the last bullet has been fired and the magazine is empty, the process is almost identical. The slide begins moving rearward and when it meets the slide stop, an angle cut into the slide stop forces it down and allows the slide to complete its full rearward journey so the last round can be ejected cleanly. Once the slide has ceased moving backward, the recoil spring starts pushing it forward again. At this point the magazine's base plate is not quite at the top. It presses against the slide stop, and the slide stop presses against the bottom of the slide. When the relief cut into the bottom of the slide is directly over the slide stop, the magazine spring can finally push it upward into that relief and stop the slide from continuing forward. This is what we refer to as "locked back" though perhaps the term "locked partially forward" is perhaps more truthful.

    Now let's suppose the magazine spring is weak. Many people will tell you that the magazine spring is at its weakest when only the last round is left inside the magazine. This is simply not true. The magazine spring is at its weakest when there are no rounds at all inside the magazine. When the spring is weak, it is also slow. Now let's look at what happens on "lock back" when the magazine spring is too slow.

    The slide starts its backwards travel and the relief cut passes over the recoil spring stop, allowing the magazine spring to push the slide stop upwards slightly. The angle cut into the slide stop prevents the slide from stopping at that point and the slide forces the slide stop back down and continues its rearward journey until it reaches its full travel length. Then the slide starts back forward, gaining speed all the time. Without a cartridge in the magazine, the slide is traveling forward at its fastest velocity as the relief cut moves over the slide stop. If the magazine spring is too weak, the slide can skip right over the slide stop before the magazine has had enough time to press the stop up into the relief.

    When you hand-cycle the slide, you are moving much more slowly than the bullet recoil and the recoil spring make the slide run. That gives a weak magazine spring plenty of time to push the slide stop up into the relief cut.
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    OD*
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    I would replace the magazine spring with one of Wolff's extra power springs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackheart6 View Post
    The last round of the magazine would sometimes FTE, and the slide never locked open when the last round would eject.
    My bad. I read this wrong. It appears to me after re-reading it that the gun extracts fine, it just will not FEED the last round.

    Buy a good mag like everyone says. Or a Wilson upgrade kit and put a new spring and follower in your mag body.

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    Senior Member Array Chief1297's Avatar
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    for the wilson combaat I believe it is the 47ox for the compact. My original act mag didnt like feeding hollow points. With my new wilsons, I havent had another issue.
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    There are more 1911 reliability issues corrected by a quality magazine replacement than any other single cure. It's also the fastest & often the cheapest. I have a shoebox full of retired factory mags from some pretty well-respected 1911 manufacturers. All have been replaced with Wilson Combat models & I could NOT be more satisfied with the results.
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