1911 Malfunction Question

This is a discussion on 1911 Malfunction Question within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I asked this question over on the 1911forum and received very little feedback or comments. I dunno, maybe it's a stupid question. I own a ...

Results 1 to 15 of 15
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By sensei2

Thread: 1911 Malfunction Question

  1. #1
    Member Array MLittle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    460

    1911 Malfunction Question

    I asked this question over on the 1911forum and received very little feedback or comments. I dunno, maybe it's a stupid question.

    I own a Colt Lightweight Commander XSE and it generally has run pretty well. Had numberous malfunctions during the first couple of boxes, but pretty reliable since. Anyway....I was shooting this pistol earlier this week and I had two strange malfunctions. The first one malfunction the slide locked back halfway through a 8 round magazine....shooting hardball. I looked up and the next round was just sitting there loose in the chamber.... The second malfunction was similar, but happened on the last round in the mag. I know these can be related to a weak mag spring.

    The question I have is this..... Can a 1911 malfunction if pressure is applied to the slidelock/takedown pin on the RIGHT side of the pistol? I'm left handed and my weak hand thumb was extended along side the frame touching the pin on the right side of the slide. If pressure is applied here during the shot cycle, can that make the slide lock back? Trying to diagnose if my two handed grip is causing these malfunctions. Any feedback from 1911 shooters would be much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Mike

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Member Array kmagnuss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    481
    The pressure on the right side would have a hard time of pushing up the slide release. I would look closer at the slide release being really loose and maybe just the recoil is forcing it up sometimes. Maybe take the slide off, then put the slide release back in the frame and wiggle it around...see if it moved up really easy. It shouldn't.

  4. #3
    VIP Member
    Array Echo_Four's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Land of the mostly free
    Posts
    2,810
    Is it happening with the same magazine or are multiple magazines causing the problem? (And of course, are you using quality mags or some junk that tends to come with guns?)

    Pressure from the right side of the pistol shouldn't cause any problems. If it is there's something way out of spec that's going to need more help than a forum could give.
    "The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
    - Lt. Col. Oliver North

  5. #4
    Administrator
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Off Of The X
    Posts
    35,100
    I'd try a new high quality magazine first.

    And if you are performance testing your 1911 with Winchester White Box then try something else.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array kapnketel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Northern Kentucky
    Posts
    1,709
    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    I'd try a new high quality magazine first.

    And if you are performance testing your 1911 with Winchester White Box then try something else.
    Good advice. I had feed issues whenI first shot my 1911 (Springer Loaded Champ) and Wilson Power mags solved the problem. Even if it is not a magazine issue, you picked up extra mags, always nice to have.
    I'd rather be lucky than good any day

    There's nothing that will change someone's moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums.

    Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.

  7. #6
    Member Array MLittle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    460
    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    I'd try a new high quality magazine first.

    And if you are performance testing your 1911 with Winchester White Box then try something else.
    I'm using Wilson 47d's, so I believe I have high quality mags in use. As far as the rounds go....they're my handloads, 5gr Bullseye over a 230 gr jacketed bullet. The curious thing is that I had those failures with hardball, but none with 40 rounds of 230 gr. Speer Gold Dot HP's. I did a little research on the internet and there are some articles saying that hardball rounds may cause a failure if the round comes up and touches the slide lock from inside the frame. I put one round in my mag and pushed it up in the frame and it is incredibile how close the the tip of the round is to the inside slide stop tab. It wouldn't take much out of alignment for the round to push up on the inside tab on the slide lock. The article said this type of failure rarely happens on hollow points because the bullet is shorter.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    texas
    Posts
    15,176
    How many rounds have you fired since you got the gun,and have you ever replaced the recoil spring.
    Is the slide locking back with the slide lock lever ? I would insert an empty magazine and see how far the slide lock indent sticks over the magazine follower to see if it is possible that a round could cause it to bump up,or a weak recoil spring can cause a more violent recoil which may be enough to cause the slide stop to engage
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

  9. #8
    Member Array MLittle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    460
    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    How many rounds have you fired since you got the gun,and have you ever replaced the recoil spring.
    Is the slide locking back with the slide lock lever ? I would insert an empty magazine and see how far the slide lock indent sticks over the magazine follower to see if it is possible that a round could cause it to bump up,or a weak recoil spring can cause a more violent recoil which may be enough to cause the slide stop to engage
    950 rounds through the pistol to date and no failures with my defensive rounds......all my problems were with hardball. I'm still on the first recoil spring from Colt and yes, the lock back happened with the slide lock lever. As mentioned above, last night I loaded one round in my Wilson mag, locked open the slide and inserted the mag. The side/tip of the bullet was less than a credit card thickness away from the inside the frame slide stop tab. It wouldn't take much to move the bullet over and touch that tab. Another variable I forgot to mention is that I recently slightly increased my load from 4.8 to 5gr of Bullseye powder. There is quite a lot of recoil shooting the LW Commander with this load and it comes close to approximating the recoil I feel with my defensive loads.....that's one reason I increased the powder......I wanted my practice rounds to be closer to my defensive ones. One other question.....my pistol has the full length guide rod (stainless) as it came from Colt. Would going to a G.I. style recoil rod and plug make my pistol more reliable? I've seen lots of arguments on both sides full length vs G.I. style recoil rod. I just find it interesting that my defensive loads cycle fine.....it's my fmj loads that are causing problems.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    washington state
    Posts
    1,047
    my guess is that your hardball rounds ARE tripping the slide lock/release, as you surmised. it may be that the overall length of your handloads is slightly longer than factory loads. why not try a few different brands of factory FMJ rounds such as Remington, Federal, Speer, or Winchester and see if you're still having premature slide-lock problems.

    it could be that the part of the lever that actually contacts the magazine follower is out of spec (protruding too much into the mag well.) you might try another quality lever (Wilson would be my choice) and see if the problem goes away.

    IMO, neither the increased power in your handloads, nor the presence (or absence) of a full-length guide rod is a factor here. i PREFER a full-length guide rod, mostly because every modern SD gun that i know of, has one, but i don't really think it makes any significant difference in a 1911's reliability.
    OD* likes this.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    washington state
    Posts
    1,047
    another thought: it could be that your bullets haven't been crimped firmly enough, and that recoil is pulling some of them out just enough to catch the slide release/lock lever. the next time this happens, try to save the cartridge and measure its OAL and see if this has occurred.

    if this is the case, then the increased power of your handloads HAS made a difference.

    and i don't think this was a 'stupid' question at all. it's a puzzle that's worth solving.

  12. #11
    Member Array MLittle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    460
    Quote Originally Posted by sensei2 View Post
    another thought: it could be that your bullets haven't been crimped firmly enough, and that recoil is pulling some of them out just enough to catch the slide release/lock lever. the next time this happens, try to save the cartridge and measure its OAL and see if this has occurred.

    if this is the case, then the increased power of your handloads HAS made a difference.

    and i don't think this was a 'stupid' question at all. it's a puzzle that's worth solving.
    sensei2.......great ideas and suggestions. I know the oal of my 45 cartridges run towards the long side (1.275inch), but that's what my Lyman's tells me is the ideal length for my load. I've seen other manuals that indicate a shorter oal. A product insert that came with my Wilson 47d magazines claims that the "ideal" oal for the 45acp round in a 1911's is between 1.24 and 1.26 (with a .468 taper crimp) and that this will provide the best feeding angle. I could shorten my oal to 1.25....that would be a reduction of .025 inches from my current oal. Doesn't seem like that little in oal would make a difference, but maybe it does. My crimp is right on so that shouldn't be an issue. Maybe I will pick up a box of quality 45acp ammo and just check the oal, crimp, etc. and see how it measures up to my handloads... This problem I had has been VERY sporatic....only happened once or twice, but it was disheartening since I was in the process of "qualifying" my Colt for carry and I wasn't expecting ANY malfunctions at this point (nearly 1,000 rounds thusfar). Again, thanks for your well thought out comments.

    Regards,

    Mike

  13. #12
    Member Array Sgt45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    236
    Sounds like you're getting a handle on the problem. Your load of 5grs Bullseye and a 230 gr HP is just about what I load so I don't think it's that, but if your OAL is too long that could be a problem. Try seating some of the hardball just a little shorter, and I mean a very little shorter as a deeper seated bullet will cause higher pressure. I do find it odd that a Colt doesn't like hardball. Good luck.

  14. #13
    Moderator
    Array gasmitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    10,088
    Yep, I agree - back off on the OAL a bit. I'm on the road right now, but I believe my max is 1.260", based on the measured length of commercial ball ammo and commercial reloads.

    The Lyman manual is certainly a good guide, but I don't rely on a single manual... I have 2 others as well to compare with (Hornady and Lee). Fortunately, for a low-pressure round like the .45 ACP, modest variations in OAL won't cause a big spike in cartridge pressures, but as you've found out may result in functioning problems.

    When I started reloading for the .45, I went the opposite route and started at a shorter OAL (around 1.235, I think) and found the rounds didn't feed reliably. That's when I measured several dozen rounds of each type of factory ammo I had on hand, not only to get the OAL but also the typical variation in length. Good info to have on hand for comparing with the rounds you make yourself.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  15. #14
    Member Array MLittle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    460
    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Yep, I agree - back off on the OAL a bit. I'm on the road right now, but I believe my max is 1.260", based on the measured length of commercial ball ammo and commercial reloads.

    The Lyman manual is certainly a good guide, but I don't rely on a single manual... I have 2 others as well to compare with (Hornady and Lee). Fortunately, for a low-pressure round like the .45 ACP, modest variations in OAL won't cause a big spike in cartridge pressures, but as you've found out may result in functioning problems.

    When I started reloading for the .45, I went the opposite route and started at a shorter OAL (around 1.235, I think) and found the rounds didn't feed reliably. That's when I measured several dozen rounds of each type of factory ammo I had on hand, not only to get the OAL but also the typical variation in length. Good info to have on hand for comparing with the rounds you make yourself.
    Yep, I have actually already changed my seating die and have reduced my oal to around 1.25. I loaded 100 last night and checked 10 or so out of the 100 I made and there is some variance....between 1.247 and 1.255, but they are slightly shorter than my previously loaded rounds. I was also going to mention that I've actually had some problems with my Sig P220 Carry with the oal. Sometimes the front of the bullet drags on the inside of the mags making them difficult to load. Never had a malfunction with my Sig, but I suspected all along that I probably should shorten my rounds slightly.

  16. #15
    Member Array rdstrain49's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    S.D.
    Posts
    16
    Also check your main spring (recoil spring). If memory serves, 1911 springs are to be replaced every 2-3000 rounds.

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

1911 catching on takedown pin
,
1911 locks open with magazine still has ammo possible causes
,
1911 malfuctioning not a magazine problem
,
1911 malfunction pop takedown pin
,

1911 malfunctions

,

colt 1911 malfunctions

,
colt commander slide won't engage
,

colt lightweight commander 45 disassembly hammer won't lock back

,
lee 45 acp 230 gr ltc hp with 5 gr bullseye
,
malf 1911
,
slide stop on colt commander won't release for takedown
,
spring malfunction on 1911
Click on a term to search for related topics.