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I just spent an hour+ going through it. Some more information:

This happens with unfired rounds. It isn't just the not going into battery issue. When you chamber a new round and then try to manipulate the slide to eject it, you have to put the muzzle against something very hard and whack it with your hand on the back of the grip to get it to eject. I really hate doing this with a 1911 with a live round in the chamber!

I took the gun apart just now. A fresh, out of the box Federal 230 gr HST (actually any one of the 50 in the box) will not drop into the chamber. The rounds stop about 1/4 inch or so from going in all the way. The same rounds drop in (clunk) in a Glock 21 barrel and drop out just by turning the barrel breech down.

I got out the biggest bore brush I have and some Hoppe's and worked it from the breech end, concentrating on the chamber. I then used a clean patch and it came out black. It hasn't been fired in several years and was thoroughly cleaned after the last trip and has been periodically cleaned and lubed since then. This is a Kimber Custom TLE-RL II.

I couldn't locate the Wilson Combat chamber brush, but will phone them tomorrow. I did phone Kimber and spoke to an engineer and he said it was probably the recoil spring. How the recoil spring stops a round from going into the chamber when it is out of the gun, mystified him. So much for Kimber engineering.

Just to be certain, I miked 3 different brands of factory loaded cases and they all came out at .472. The only ones that would more or less drop in and come out (sort of) by hand were some Underwood loads. I don't have the SAAMI specs in front of me, but judging by how easily they all go in and out of the Glock 21 barrel, I don't think that diameter is out of spec. I'm also wondering now about the headspace on this barrel. I guess I need either a headspace gauge, or dig around and find some old hardball to see if anything has changed. I'll also do some checking on the various rounds OAL.

Oh well. As Mrs OldChap always says, "It'll all come out in the wash." Thanks for all the thoughts, suggestions and ideas. I appreciate all of you. I'm sure I have missed something! :confused:
The pistol ran fine before?
Can you think of anything different you've done to the pistol? Even something you might not feel would have anything to do with the problems your having. It started having problems after being taken down and reassembled for cleaning?
 

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Discussion Starter #22
When you eject the round which was stuck, does the bullet have any shiny marks on it which could indicate that the bullet is engaging the lands?

With a flashlight or bore light, can you see any suspect carbon in the front of the chamber area?
No and no. Tomorrow morning I begin the great quest for some old ball ammo.
@OD* I’ve been trying to remember. I do remember it doing that once before, but that was 3 or 4 years ago as best I remember, but that was only one round, Winchester Ranger IIRC. I think I need to take a few suggestions (Black MarksALot) and do some COAL measurements tomorrow.

Maybe this is a really tight chamber and I just didn’t know it.
 
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No and no. Tomorrow morning I begin the great quest for some old ball ammo.

@OD* I’ve been trying to remember. I do remember it doing that once before, but that was 3 or 4 years ago as best I remember, but that was only one round, Winchester Ranger IIRC. I think I need to take a few suggestions (Black MarksALot) and do some COAL measurements tomorrow.

Maybe this is a really tight chamber and I just didn’t know it.
Please don't take this as Kimber bashing, it isn't, just fact, check the barrel closely because they did have a big problem with barrels rusting several years ago.
 

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Anything produced in quantities of millions (pistol barrels, handgun parts in general, ammunition for sure) is subject to variations due to manufacturing tolerances. Minimum and maximum dimensions are established by each manufacturer, and tool wear throughout each production run is the norm rather than the exception.

The OP's barrel and chamber may be within normal manufacturing tolerances, and the ammunition may be within normal manufacturing tolerances. But if the chamber is on the "tight" side of tolerances and the ammunition is on the "loose" side of tolerances there could be some conflict resulting from the "stacking" of tolerances.

The original M1911 pistols were manufactured by Colt. During WW1 contracts were let out to Springfield Armory, Remington-UMC, and North American Arms. By WW2 the design had evolved to the M1911A-1 and wartime contracts were given to Colt, Remington-Rand, Ithaca, Union Switch & Signal, and Singer. Parts were provided by Harrington & Richardson, Savage, High Standard, and several others. The over-riding requirement was that every part in every pistol must be interchangeable with every other pistol, regardless of manufacturer. The result was generally loose and sloppy fitting of everything, but an enviable reputation for reliability in use was achieved.

During the post-WW2 years a gunsmithing industry evolved with finely-fitted and tuned pistols for target competition, and later for combat applications. When the original patents passed into the public domain a multitude of manufacturers started producing M1911-style pistols, many of which incorporated "improvements" based upon the custom work done in earlier years. The days of loose and sloppy fitting became a thing of the past, and many of the newer pistols are manufactured to far more rigid standards of fit and finish than anything ever seen in prior years.

SAAMI specifications for ammunition exist, and there are allowable tolerances within those specifications. Combining those tolerances with the pistol manufacturer's tolerances might be pushing the limits.

Then there are the occasional production errors that creep into the marketplace. Parts that made it through without thorough inspection or testing. Ammunition lots that may include borderline variations in dimensions.

Finally, there are the rather well-known preferences displayed by individual firearms for particular types or production lots of ammunition. I personally own several excellent firearms that display such preferences, and there is nothing to do but feed each one what it likes and avoid trying to make it accept anything else.

Before I would condemn any pistol as somehow defective I would give it a go with several types and lots of ammunition. Only when failures persist with everything I tried to feed it would I consider defects in the firearm itself as a probable cause.

Long dissertation here, but my point is that there are more things to consider than most folks want to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Please don't take this as Kimber bashing, it isn't, just fact, check the barrel closely because they did have a big problem with barrels rusting several years ago.
That could be it. Nothing on the outside, but that black patch is cause for concern. I need to find somebody with a borescope.
@retired badge 1 Thanks. Yeah I’m thinking it must be one of two things: tight tolerances, or rust. In any event, it is a barrel / ammunition problem. I think.
 
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No and no. Tomorrow morning I begin the great quest for some old ball ammo.

@OD* I’ve been trying to remember. I do remember it doing that once before, but that was 3 or 4 years ago as best I remember, but that was only one round, Winchester Ranger IIRC. I think I need to take a few suggestions (Black MarksALot) and do some COAL measurements tomorrow.

Maybe this is a really tight chamber and I just didn’t know it.
Well, nearly everything has a tight chamber compared to a Glock, upside is the Glock eats almost anything, downside Glocks work the brass a bit more so shorter brass life. The plunk test is pretty definitive.
 

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With standard velocity loads is a 20 lb. recoil spring necessary? Would a fresh 16 lb. spring do it?
YES!!!
Depending on the information source, 16-17 pounds is the norm for factory ball ammo. 1911s have a huge tolerance for recoil spring stiffnesses; I've run the TRP with springs as low as 14 and as high as 18 with no change in function, although perceived recoil and POI changed.
 

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After OldChap's update, I would lean toward this being a chamber (tight/short) and ammo (design of the HST bullet) that just don't play well together, although I don't think that is very common with factory ammo. Every combo is unique, and this may be one that just doesn't work. Ball ammo and a different JHP design just may be the answers. Good luck!
 

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Regarding ammo "spec" possibility, on occasion I have found factory ammo that "stuck" slightly out of battery - usually during rapid fire in a class - using a Ruger SR1911CMD in 45 ACP. Put those (ejected) rounds and all the same brand rounds on hand into the Hornady sizing gauge I use for reloading. Found 10% to 20% that did not fit properly in the gauge. Ran those rounds thru a Lee Factory Crimp die, and all then fit the gauge. Didn't take much.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I did a quick check of the barrel this morning while the day and my brain were fresh. I do not like the looks of the finish on the inside - at least from the muzzle looking in with a strong flashlight. The metal is very dark - almost black. Again, this is a stainless steel barrel. That black is what I saw on the patch I ran through yesterday.

I'm beginning to think I might have a barrel that has rusted. I'm going to research what rust looks like on stainless, then I may contact Kimber. This gun is probably out of warranty, but I suppose replacing the barrel would be better than buying another 1911. I did notice another thing that might indicate something amiss in the barrel in that the HST rounds, when rotated by hand at the limit of how far they go in the chamber, feel like they are grinding, like coarse sandpaper. I had not noticed that before. (I hope that makes sense)

I am pretty sure now that this isn't an ammunition problem. I pulled the barrel on my Shield .45 and everything easily passed the plunk test. I don't know how loose S&W builds their barrels but they can't be as loose as Glock barrels. I'm going to get my granddaughter to bring her Springfield GI 1911A1 over and we'll see.

Does anybody know of a good 1911 gunsmith near Houston? I really need a borescope and an expert.
 

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Have you tried "Ball"
The profile of the bullet may be the issue.
It my be jamming into the riffling which would cause the problems you are describing.
 

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@OD* Good point. This is a blued gun with a barrel that appears to be stainless.

@elmacgyver0 I've been searching my stash. I know I have some, it's just a matter of time. The only thing about this is that this gun used to function with HST 230's a few years back with no problem. As I thought about it, this has all started since we moved down here to the Houston indoor/outdoor sauna - maybe indicating rust.
 

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Underwood Super .38 ammo doesn't have that problem.
Weird about the others?
It is weird. Corbon uses Starline brass but nickel plated. I have plain brass Starline and it works just fine. I have not used Underwood so cannot comment on functionality.

I've just decided I will not use nickel plated in my pistol.
 

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I did a quick check of the barrel this morning while the day and my brain were fresh. I do not like the looks of the finish on the inside - at least from the muzzle looking in with a strong flashlight. The metal is very dark - almost black. Again, this is a stainless steel barrel. That black is what I saw on the patch I ran through yesterday.

I'm beginning to think I might have a barrel that has rusted. I'm going to research what rust looks like on stainless, then I may contact Kimber. This gun is probably out of warranty, but I suppose replacing the barrel would be better than buying another 1911. I did notice another thing that might indicate something amiss in the barrel in that the HST rounds, when rotated by hand at the limit of how far they go in the chamber, feel like they are grinding, like coarse sandpaper. I had not noticed that before. (I hope that makes sense)

I am pretty sure now that this isn't an ammunition problem. I pulled the barrel on my Shield .45 and everything easily passed the plunk test. I don't know how loose S&W builds their barrels but they can't be as loose as Glock barrels. I'm going to get my granddaughter to bring her Springfield GI 1911A1 over and we'll see.

Does anybody know of a good 1911 gunsmith near Houston? I really need a borescope and an expert.

That's my first guess. Something got corroded. Even leaving a round chambered, especially in wet or humid conditions, or even in your gun cabinet, can cause a galvanic reaction between the two dissimilar metals of brass and stainless or steel. I had that happen with a stainless 22 mag rifle and a brass shell I let sit too long.

If it was mine I'd clean it normally. If you have some foaming bore cleaner use it. If that didn't fix the problem I would have no problem sticking a bore brush on one section of cleaning rod, chucking it up in a drill motor and having at it. The heat and friction might do it on its own.
Next step if that didn't work would be a little 0000 steel wool spun onto an undersized brush to just fit the chamber and bore.

Or buy a new barrel or send it in. But I would fix it myself first.
 

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Another thing you might try is to polish the chamber a bit with some JB Bore Cleaner on a cleaning rod, plastic slotted tip and patch using a drill to spin the thing. I've done this on a few chambers using 60 second intervals, it just might do the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Another thing you might try is to polish the chamber a bit with some JB Bore Cleaner on a cleaning rod, plastic slotted tip and patch using a drill to spin the thing. I've done this on a few chambers using 60 second intervals, it just might do the trick.
I'm considering that. I still have some JB. I found a 1911 guy fairly close (15 miles), but he charges $85 to go through the gun. That wouldn't be bad, but this thing has probably less than 2000 rounds through it. Kind of overkill.
 
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I'm considering that. I still have some JB. I found a 1911 guy fairly close (15 miles), but he charges $85 to go through the gun. That wouldn't be bad, but this thing has probably less than 2000 rounds through it. Kind of overkill.
Have you looked at Collectors Firearms? I bought a revolver from them and needed a screw replaced, their 'smiths did a good job.
 
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