1911 problems

This is a discussion on 1911 problems within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have held off on buying a 1911 because of some of the problems people say they have with them. Well I finally got one, ...

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Thread: 1911 problems

  1. #1
    Member Array bmwaddicted's Avatar
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    1911 problems

    I have held off on buying a 1911 because of some of the problems people say they have with them. Well I finally got one, and its not working right. It shoots well when it does shoot, but out of 150 rounds its had 4 failure to feeds. Does anyone have any suggestions what could be making this happen? Its a Colt MK IV series 80 officers model. I have been using 230gr remington UMC. My first thought was that it might need a new recoil spring or it doesn't like the ammo im using.

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    Member Array MIKEV's Avatar
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    I am told that some/most 1911 require a break in period of upto 500-800 rounds before it starts to smooth out. One thing you might want to try to determine is wether or not your malfunctions occur with a single particular magazine. you might also want to try using fmj during break-in. I am sure others will provide feedback as well

    Thanks
    MikeV

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    While I agree with MikeV the closer tolerances on new 1911's need a 500 rd or so break in, I have also found they can be finicky feeders. I might suggest running enough ammo through it for break-in, and also check out some different magazines. Other than limp-wristing, magazine issues may be the most common FTF prob. My Kimber likes Wilson Combat 8 rounders for Single Stack, and is feeding Tripp Research 10rd well for Lim-10. Neither this gun or my last 1911 mongrel built on a Filipino frame liked Chip McCormick mags at all.
    As usual, YMMV.

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    The first thing I would do is switch to a different brand of ammo for your initial shooting...also (as mentioned) number or mark your magazines and record the # of the mag/mags that you're having your FTF with.
    Many brand spanking new magazines have good spring tension in combination with razor sharp undersides of the magazine feed lips.
    That tension & friction may cause FTF in lighter weight slides because the feed lips are cutting into the cartridge cases under strong upward spring tension.

    The reason you should try switching ammo first is that all cartridges cases by different manufacturers are minutely different & some have trouble making up into a brand new extractor.

    Sometimes when the extractor is brand new it has a knife edge as a natural part of the machining process and it's also initially factory fit slightly tight.

    Initially make sure you have a really slick lube on your frame slide rails.
    Friction is the enemy of flawless feeding on shortened 1911s.

    I also would not be too overly concerned with too much that happens in the way of failure for the first 250 to 300 rounds.

    Did you buy the pistol new or used?
    I'm asking that because there are other simple things that you can do if the pistol is used and has already been "shot in" and you are still having FTFs.
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    Member Array FknRa's Avatar
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    +1 on checking the magazines. I would check the OAL of the ammo you are using as well. Where in the 150 were the failures. spread out, in the middle, at the end? And as MikeV said, I would put 500+ rounds through it before I would suspect anything wrong.

    Is the pistol new or used? Take a look at the feed ramp. Does it have any nicks or burrs on it? You did field strip and clean before the first range trip right? Just making sure the basics are covered.

    I hope the mods don't get offended but one of the best 1911 forums I have found is http://forums.1911forum.com/ They aren't the biggest, and they have some hosting problems that make the forum go down semi regularly, but they have a HUGE wealth of knowledge and have quite a few references on how to diagnose problems.

    The 1911 can be the most reliable weapon in your safe IF you treat it right. It's definitely not a glock and you shouldn't expect it to be.
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwaddicted View Post
    I have held off on buying a 1911 because of some of the problems people say they have with them. Well I finally got one, and its not working right. It shoots well when it does shoot, but out of 150 rounds its had 4 failure to feeds. Does anyone have any suggestions what could be making this happen? Its a Colt MK IV series 80 officers model. I have been using 230gr remington UMC. My first thought was that it might need a new recoil spring or it doesn't like the ammo im using.
    If he's still there, Bill, at the Bullseye range, is a 1911 guy.
    http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=17988441

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    Member Array Cosmo's Avatar
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    I guess I am one of the lucky ones. I shoot Winchester and Remington 230 gr. through my Springer Mil-Spec and have never had a single malfunction.
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of 1911's. They are a critter that can be fickle, but once you learn the ins and outs of your gun, you wont trade it for anything.
    A lot of problems the 1911 has is due to poor quality parts and "smiths" who shouldnt be allowed to polish silverware let alone touch a 1911.
    I will bet its a magazine problem, go out and buy one quality magazine such as a Wilson and see if that doesnt cure your problem. Then move on to ammo if it isnt the mag.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Quote Originally Posted by FknRa View Post
    I hope the mods don't get offended but one of the best 1911 forums I have found is http://forums.1911forum.com/ They aren't the biggest, and they have some hosting problems that make the forum go down semi regularly, but they have a HUGE wealth of knowledge and have quite a few references on how to diagnose problems.
    Nothing wrong with providing links, especially if it helps others to get a problem worked out. Asking experts is the best way to learn correctly.
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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Ammo Mags and how is it stopping how was the round positioned Officers can be more picky anything below 4 " can be

  12. #11
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    I would replace the recoil spring. If it's a Colt MK IV Officers ACP, it's hard to tell how many rounds have been thru the pistol, Colt has not made that model in a number of years. Being used, pray some kitchen table gunsmith/hack hasn't buggered it up.
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    Distinguished Member Array Stetson's Avatar
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    It's probably something small. Im sure somebody here will come up with a fix.I bought a half a dozen magazines for my springfield and
    I kept having ftf with one magazine.I fixed the problem threw mag away issue taken care off!

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    Call Colt. They made it and should fix it.

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    I'm surprised no one before OD mentioned this... the Officers is an older model... yours may have had a lot of use and could have worn out magazine springs, worn out recoil springs, or both... and as he mentioned... could have been modified by a less-that-capable gunsmith/owner.

    I'd clean the gun thoroughly, replace the springs all the way around, and test out the extractor tension before giving the gun any kind of evaluation anyway. If you aren't knowledgeable about 1911's, there's a lot to learn. A 1911, especially a Colt, can be exceptionally reliable... but 1911's aren't great guns for newbies... they are better for 1911 fans who understand extractor tweaking and other tweaks... not that you can't learn the tweaks, though. Find people who really know 1911's and learn from them... they're great guns... especially the Government (5") and Commander (4.25") models. Another great source of 1911 help is the 1911forum.com. Some really great members there, though a few bad apple moderators.
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    Senior Member Array Andy W.'s Avatar
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    A Wilson mag cured my Officer's Model FTF problem.
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