How can I improve the reliability of my .45?

This is a discussion on How can I improve the reliability of my .45? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hello there. I've had a Springfield GI .45 for some time now, and the sad truth is that I don't shoot it nearly as much ...

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Thread: How can I improve the reliability of my .45?

  1. #1
    New Member Array MrSpatula's Avatar
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    How can I improve the reliability of my .45?

    Hello there.

    I've had a Springfield GI .45 for some time now, and the sad truth is that I don't shoot it nearly as much as I'd like to because it suffers from certain reliability issues. Every time that I can remember I've taken it to the range, it has had a couple incidents. These have ranged from the empty case sticking vertically out of the ejector to an unfired round becoming lodged diagonally inside the pistol. There have even been a couple times where the pistol hasn't fired a second round because the slide has failed to go completely into battery after cycling.

    I'm no gunsmith, but I'd really like to hear opinions of other 1911 owners as to what I could do to fix this thing. It's the first 1911 and .45 I've ever owned, and even though I'm fully aware there are much higher quality ones out there, it's hard not to be disappointed. I'll try to answer any questions as best I can.

    Thank you.

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  3. #2
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    Unless you've had problems from day one, you can get that 1911 running smoothly again...springs, cleaning, new mags?
    Get thee to a 'smith'...
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    Distinguished Member Array pcon's Avatar
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    I don't own a 1911 myself, but my first though was replacing your springs.
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    New Member Array MrSpatula's Avatar
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    I figured I'd probably want to swap out some of the springs and the factory magazine, or maybe just take it to a gunsmith. I'm anxious to hear more suggestions though.

    Partial edit for Off Topic To Thread
    Last edited by QKShooter; July 24th, 2009 at 06:23 PM. Reason: off topic

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Have the extractor checked It probably needs tuned to positively eject the spent cases,also make sure she is lubricated on the slide rails
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    New Member Array MrSpatula's Avatar
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    Not sure why my thread was moved from maintenance to general discussion, but I'm okay with it. I was thinking about sending it to Springfield for the "defense" custom shop package... any thoughts?

    Springfield Armory

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    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    I have sent guns back to SA, and their customer service is unsurpassed. I always deal with Debby Elsie.
    Call them and ask to return it for correction. They will pick up the tab for shipping.

    Don't bother attempting to correct it (unless you just like to fool with such things) but just send it back and let them do it.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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    Member Array BlackJack's Avatar
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    I would call Springfield first.

    Their Customer Service is nothing short of awesome and they will even pickup the tab for shipping. While it is there having the “problems” fixed, have them do whatever additional work you want to have done.

    The main thing is that they will make sure that it is reliable, and goes bang every time, under warrantee.

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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Personally, I would inspect the extractor and breechface for any obvious problems, and deal with anything found. (This might reveal something that means a trip to Springfield, anyway, but it might reveal something simple like a metal shaving in an important place.) I would install a high-quality recoil spring, which would not be a wasted purchase, because we should all replace these springs regularly. In fact, I would carefully fit and tune a new extractor, to see if that changed anything. It is good to keep a spare extractor, anyway, so that would not be a wasted purchase. Only if the preceding failed would I ship it anywhere. But then, I know enough about 1911s to recognize things you might not, and I can't explain, in mere typed words, how to tune an extractor. So, a trip back to Springfield Armory, Inc, might be the best, unless there is a good 1911 guy near you. APG membership is a sign of a good 1911 guy, though that would not be the only indication.
    Last edited by Rexster; July 24th, 2009 at 05:20 PM. Reason: clarification

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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Also, does it do this with multiple magazines, or just one? A schizophrenic magazine can really stir the pot.

    Moreover, when replacing the recoil spring, especially for diagnostic purposes, it is a good idea to replace the other springs, too, and this does include the magazine springs, or trying new magazines.

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    New Member Array MrSpatula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexster View Post
    Also, does it do this with multiple magazines, or just one? A schizophrenic magazine can really stir the pot.

    Moreover, when replacing the recoil spring, especially for diagnostic purposes, it is a good idea to replace the other springs, too, and this does include the magazine springs, or trying new magazines.
    I only have the one magazine that came with the pistol, which is a SA 7 rd magazine. I appreciate your replies, and am taking them into account in my approach to this solution. What is APG?

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    I would think the defense package would solve most of your problems.... the only thing I don't see on that list is a lowered ejection port... I would send it to them and let them check it out, then decide on the defense pkg.
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    A 1911 is an amazingly great gun to shoot when everything is fit correctly.
    It can also be an incredibly frustrating firearm when something isn't quite right.

    As you obviously now know.

    When a 1911 is functioning correctly and it is properly tuned it is a joy to shoot and will feed many varieties of ammunition flawlessly and it will feed those rounds when the pistol is fired upside down, devoid of all lubrication, dirty and held limp wristed, and you should also be able to slowly ease the slide forward and the pistol will still chamber a round from the magazine.

    On the PLUS side...once everything is "right" the pistol stays "right" for a long time and it feeds and functions like an unstoppable machine.

    Every 1911 pattern pistol is capable of doing that.

    The "FIX" AKA "the solution" to feeding or extraction problems is usually very simple.
    Tracking the exact problem down is usually NOT so simple.

    If you think that you would really enjoy shooting the gun if it was made super reliable then I would send it out to a qualified gun-smith to have a "Street Reliability" package done on it.

    Having that done will insure flawless feed and ejection and is not that expensive.

    Either that or send it back to Springfield and have them tune it for you.

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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    I'm assuming this is a new gun. If this is the case, it might need to be fired 300-400 rds to break in. Most '11's I've seen work fine from the box however. As others have mentioned, try a different magazine. The magazine is typically the problem, on a problem 1911. Most factory mags are cheap cr*p. If you can get ahold of a Wilson, do so and try it.
    I've worked on quite a few 1911's and the nemesis for any gun is friction. Cycle the gun manually as QK suggested. Look for obvious sticking points as it feeds, then watch what happens when you pull the slide back. The extractor should be holding the round firmly. If not, the extractor needs tuning.
    Cutting friction will help. Have the feed ramp polished. Also the frame rails should be checked for roughness and polished if need be.
    If it is a new gun, I wouldn't replace the springs just yet. If a used item, get some new springs and compare them to the old ones. If the old ones are shorter at all, replace them. Be sure the new springs are high quality. They might cost more, but will function better and last longer.
    One last suggestion, ammo. Guns can be picky. Try different brands, including some +P stuff.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    I have a Springfield G.I. WWII replica and it is my first 1911. It has performed flawlessly out of the box and has never jammed or stove piped.

    I would think you just need to shoot it some more, clean it well, lube it right, check the ammo quality and see what happens. You may be limp wristing it causing it to not fully recoil, or it may need a new guide rod spring or, as stated, some tuning. I personally would see if it can be corrected before spending money to have it modified. If the problem were to be on the "user end" a defense package may be a waste of money.
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