Colt Defender / Aluminum Frame Info (what ammo?)

Colt Defender / Aluminum Frame Info (what ammo?)

This is a discussion on Colt Defender / Aluminum Frame Info (what ammo?) within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have shot about 400 rounds of Winchester Ball thru the custom Colt Defender. I have only had one FTF in the first 40 rounds ...

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Thread: Colt Defender / Aluminum Frame Info (what ammo?)

  1. #1
    Member Array Extreme Defender's Avatar
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    Colt Defender / Aluminum Frame Info (what ammo?)

    I have shot about 400 rounds of Winchester Ball thru the custom Colt Defender. I have only had one FTF in the first 40 rounds due the gun getting pretty dry.

    I have not had a single issue since

    I picked up a box of the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Ammo last weekend and did have 1 FTF in the 25 rounds.

    My gunsmith that put her together recommended Gold Saber due to it's design and the fact the gun has an aluminum frame. I have yet to find any to try.

    I noticed with all my mods that the feedramp was purposely not polished. I was told that you don't want to polish aluminum feed ramp until you have to due to wear etc because you can only do it so many times due to the aluminum.

    The gunsmith told be the short barrel (WIDE HOLE) ammo will cut into the ramp and should stay away from it. I was kind of bummed because what I have read about the Speer Short Barrel was good stuff.

    I want to find a good carry ammo for this gun that will feed but also not chew up the ramp.
    Any comments? Recommendations?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    First let me say that I have worked on many 1911's and typically polish the feed ramp with a pointed felt tip and very fine grit compound, depending on how rough the ramp is and this varies widely. I have never seen a ramp that needed to be polished more than once due to the ramp steel being harder than the copper bullet jacket.
    However bringing aluminum into the picture does change things. I am not a metallurgist and have no idea if Copper is harder than aluminum. If it is then the mere act of firing the gun would rapidly wear a trench into the feed ramp. If aluminum is the harder of the two, then the ramp would never need more than a single polishing like its steel counterpart.
    My advise would be to examine the feed ramp for wear. If it's gouged out then it is a moot point unless you fire only cast bullets. If it's in good shape, I would polish the ramp by hand, using 1500 or 2000 grit sandpaper. After it is nice and smooth, finish it by wraping an old T-shirt around your finger, adding a dab of Flitz and then polishing to a mirror finish. Whatever you do, avoid power tools.
    A gunsmith could also open the chamber mouth a little and the bottom of the mouth is steel and can be highly polished. One last option is using ammo like Cor-Bon's Pow'r Ball which has a nylon insert in the bullet mouth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by automatic slim View Post
    First let me say that I have worked on many 1911's and typically polish the feed ramp with a pointed felt tip and very fine grit compound, depending on how rough the ramp is and this varies widely. I have never seen a ramp that needed to be polished more than once due to the ramp steel being harder than the copper bullet jacket.
    However bringing aluminum into the picture does change things. I am not a metallurgist and have no idea if Copper is harder than aluminum. If it is then the mere act of firing the gun would rapidly wear a trench into the feed ramp. If aluminum is the harder of the two, then the ramp would never need more than a single polishing like its steel counterpart.
    My advise would be to examine the feed ramp for wear. If it's gouged out then it is a moot point unless you fire only cast bullets. If it's in good shape, I would polish the ramp by hand, using 1500 or 2000 grit sandpaper. After it is nice and smooth, finish it by wraping an old T-shirt around your finger, adding a dab of Flitz and then polishing to a mirror finish. Whatever you do, avoid power tools.
    A gunsmith could also open the chamber mouth a little and the bottom of the mouth is steel and can be highly polished. One last option is using ammo like Cor-Bon's Pow'r Ball which has a nylon insert in the bullet mouth.
    The gunsmith offered to polish it so I would let him do it. It appears to me and Im not sure but the ramp still seems to have some CERKOTE on it?

    Aluminum is harder the copper but it's the sharp edges of defense ammo that is supposed to have a issue with Aluminum ramps.

    I will probably get the coating off at least but most is worn away from firing it .

    The barrel is throated and Nickel teflon coated

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Defender comments.

    I have two 1911s with aluminum feed ramps - a Colt Defender with about 1000 rounds through it, and a Kimber Pro CDP with about 3000 rounds through it. Most of the ammo used was ordinary jacketed ball target ammo, with a few hollowpoints thrown in.

    Neither feedramp shows any damage or gouging, but both feedramps show a shiny, polished appearance from the action of the bullets sliding on them. I haven't manually polished either feedramp.

    I would be reluctant to polish an aluminum feedramp for fear of changing the dimensions adversely, or removing the hard aluminum oxide coating from the anodizing process done to aluminum frames during manufacturing. The base metal beneath the anodized coating is not as hard as the surface.

    Normally a Colt Defender is not shot as much as a larger, steel 1911 used regularly at the range. I think it is a good idea to go easy on the number of rounds through a Defender because of the aluminum frame, delicate springs and the smaller size of the gun. I only shoot mine enough to be familiar with it, and only enough hollowpoint to ensure reliable feeding. I use Remington Golden Saber ammo in the gun for defensive use.

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    Defender...

    I have a Defender too and like it a lot.Do not polish the feed ramp! You will destroy the thin hard anodized layer. Make sure that if you use aftermarket mags,the follower is plastic or of a design that does not touch the feed ramp or you will get some "pepper marks" on the feed ramp. Try a little dry moly lube on the feed ramp,it's available from most industrial supply houses or also as "Comet clutch lube" through snowmobile parts suppliers. I find that 230 grain ball works the most reliably probably due to the short recoil spring design and the lack of a lot of different spring choices.

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    Crankshop is absolutely correct, don't go overboard polishing the feed ramp, the hard anodising isn't all that thick. If the feed ramp really concerns you, call George Smith at Evolution Gun Works about having a steel feed ramp fitted to your pistol.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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    I hate to say this but, shop around and find a new gunsmith that really knows the 1911.


    You should not ever touch or polish an Aluminum frame feed ramp at all due to the Hard Coat Anodize which is VERY hard.

    I have never heard of making an ammo selection based on the fact that a Colt pistol had an Alloy frame.

    While the underlying Aluminum does not have the hardness of steel, it is certainly harder than the Lead or soft Copper of any bullet nose and the Hard Coat Anodize has a hardness level higher than a typical Colt steel frame.

    The Colt pistols actually use only a tiny portion of the frame feed ramp and that small amount of metal at the top of the ramp really does not ever need to be polished anyway unless it is so rough with lateral machine marks that your cartridges will not clear it.

    I no longer own an alloy frame 1911 but, when I did I never had any problems with damaging a ramp running any an all ammo through the pistol.

    By the way. IF you ever did damage your alloy feed ramp - there is a Steel aftermarket feed ramp that can be milled into your pistol frame.

    It is an aftermarket part that is mostly used to replace feed ramps that have been goofed up by "home gunsmithing."

    If you remove your barrel slide (AKA your entire top end) and then insert a loaded magazine - use the eraser part of a pencil to slowly push the top cartridge forward in the magazine exactly as the slide would perform the very same task (only really fast) and you can see for yourself how very little of the frame feed ramp is actually used to cam the bullet nose up into the barrel ramp.

    Some of the self-defense HP like Federal have a bullet nose that does not even contact the frame ramp and Speer contacts only the very top edge.

    The need for a "highly polished" frame feed ramp is pretty much a myth and is more of a cosmetic "feel good" modification more than anything else.

    Just FYI.

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    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    I once was told, by Brian Bilby I think, that Colt had a very hard anodized ramp, and he did not know of anyone else who could do that kind of anodizing. He said if I wanted an al frame I would have to go to a ramped barrel to keep from damaging the ramp with HP.
    My SA LW Compact has a ramped barrel.

    Speer GD, while excellent ammo, does have a large mouth and rough edges. I would go for the GS or other ammo that had a more rounded form, and use plastic followers.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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    Colt and SIG both use an incredibly HARD Anodize on their Aluminum.

    I should add also that the top firearm makers use an aircraft grade Aluminum that is not like a soda pop can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    The need for a "highly polished" frame feed ramp is pretty much a myth and is more of a cosmetic "feel good" modification more than anything else.

    Just FYI.
    That is exactly right, some of the most reliable 1911s ever produced were the USGI pistols, they didn't have polished feed ramps, most of them didn't even have the Parkerizing buffed off. I have 3 real USGIs, they all shoot my carry load of Gold Dot's without complaint.

    I know of a guy that is still shooting his 1949 Commander without any ill effects to it's feed ramp after all these years.
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    Senior Member Array Keltyke's Avatar
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    I have a Colt Defender with a WHOLE BUNCH of rounds through it. The feed ramp is bright and shiny and I can't see any obvious wear. That being said, this gun has had mostly FMJ through it.

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    I totally agree with you and I also totally agree with you agreeing with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by OD View Post
    That is exactly right, some of the most reliable 1911s ever produced were the USGI pistols, they didn't have polished feed ramps, most of them didn't even have the Parkerizing buffed off. I have 3 real USGIs, they all shoot my carry load of Gold Dot's without complaint.

    I know of a guy that is still shooting his 1949 Commander without any ill effects to it's feed ramp after all these years.
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    With the price of defensive ammo (the stuff you carry) the way it is,
    How much would you really be shooting anyhow? Even if you shot a couple of twenty round boxes a month along with larger quantities of practice ammo, you could shoot it for years and then get the steel feed ramp mod installed. I shoot the heck out of my Defender and I'll just do that or buy a new frame or a whole new gun if I have to. It is relatively cheap when you consider the price of the ammo that you go through on a monthly basis (at least in my case).
    I now have four sub-5" 1911s and two are aluminum. I use them all to help save the aluminum framed ones but still can't resist shooting the Defender a lot, non-the-less.

    Shoot it up, life is short... It could end up saving your bacon someday too, being more proficient with the gun that you actually carry if that is your daily carry gun. The Defender requires more practice than the heavier ones, at least for me.

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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    I totally agree with you and I also totally agree with you agreeing with me.


    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, donít give them a tomorrow."

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    It's not that I want o shoot slot of hollow point I just want to find one that's gonna be reliable. Even the 1 FTF with the Speer short barrel has me worried so what else with have 100 percent reliability is what looking for.

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