Good Day/Bad Day at the Range

FPrice

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Finally got out to the range for the first time in a long while. Took two firearms since I didn't have much time and wanted to do one specific thing with each.

First, I tested fired my Colt HBAR for the first time since I adjusted the sights for the Chuck Santose suggested 50/200 yard BZO. Within 10 shots I had it pretty close to zeroed at 50 yards. My shots at the 210 yard berm were very close to where I was trying to hit so I think I have it set up correctly. My last five shots were back at 50 yards and I got a 5 shot 2" group at POA (the juncture of the body and head of a standard IPSC target). That is probably as good as these 60 yo eyes are ever going to do with iron sights.

Second and not so good. I took my as yet unfired ATI M1911 GI (Commander sized) and just wanted to shoot about 50 rounds to begin breaking it in. I posted a picture of it in the August acquisitions thread. The first three mags were good with one FTF on the last round in an older mag. Tapped the back of the slide and it went into battery. Okay, possibly a mag problem. Then I began having more FTFs. The slide would hang up about 1/8" out of battery, several were very difficult to clear. I could see no obvious damage to the rounds such as the rim of the shell being impacted and/or deformed by hanging up somewhere. The slide moves easily when I cycle it with no magazine in place. It's going back to my dealer later today and we are going to discuss what to do with it. I will post what we find out.
 
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Tapped the back of the slide and it went into battery. Okay, possibly a mag problem. Then I began having more FTFs. The slide would hang up about 1/8" out of battery, several were very difficult to clear. I could see no obvious damage to the rounds such as the rim of the shell being impacted and/or deformed by hanging up somewhere. The slide moves easily when I cycle it with no magazine in place. It's going back to my dealer later today and we are going to discuss what to do with it. I will post what we find out.
Does this happen with all of the magazines, or only the old one? Only on the last round? Many 8 round magazines don't properly hold the last round in place, and if their springs are weak or if you limp-wrist at all, the last round can fail to return to battery when it feeds at an erroneous angle.
 

FPrice

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It happened with several different brand mags, all of them fairly new, and anywhere from the second round on. I was a bit concerned that maybe I was limp-wristing but I tried to maintain a fairly good grip and it still happened.

Does this happen with all of the magazines, or only the old one? Only on the last round? Many 8 round magazines don't properly hold the last round in place, and if their springs are weak or if you limp-wrist at all, the last round can fail to return to battery when it feeds at an erroneous angle.
 
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It happened with several different brand mags, all of them fairly new, and anywhere from the second round on. I was a bit concerned that maybe I was limp-wristing but I tried to maintain a fairly good grip and it still happened.
Darn, you shouldn't be able to limp-wrist an all-steel commander that much, even if you tried. Sounds like you've got a problem. It may be really poor magazines, but it's hard to know. Aren't 1911s great?[grin]

EDIT: I'm really no 1911 expert, but 1/8" out of battery is right about where the extractor is, no? Maybe your feed is outrunning your slide. Wilson 47ds + super-tight extractor can do that. Welcome to 1911 debugging hell.
 
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Sir_Macadoo

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breech face, extractor tension, chamber depth/head space, feed ramp, ammo issue, mag issue... let them fix it for free. Good luck, let us know how you make out.
 

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This kinda sucks because all of the other Colt 1911s I have had were pretty reliable from the start.
 

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Just got through taking this pistol apart and trying to check it out. Just out of curiosity I decided to chamber test the rounds I was having problems with.

Uh Oh!

They were Federal, FC 96, in boxes that made them look like military contract. They did not go all the way into the chamber. The rims stuck out past the top of the chamber, almost a full rim's thickness worth. If I tried to push them in, they would go a little bit but stcuk in the chamber. I tried some other rounds including some different Federal and they all chambered all the way.

Thoughts?
 
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Just got through taking this pistol apart and trying to check it out. Just out of curiosity I decided to chamber test the rounds I was having problems with.

Uh Oh!

They were Federal, FC 96, in boxes that made them look like military contract. They did not go all the way into the chamber. The rims stuck out past the top of the chamber, almost a full rim's thickness worth. If I tried to push them in, they would go a little bit but stcuk in the chamber. I tried some other rounds including some different Federal and they all chambered all the way.
Thoughts?
Bad rounds or short chamber! I've got short chambers on all my 1911s because they seem to be all the rage in high-end barrels, and discovered it almost this exact way! They'll probably pass go/no-go gauges, but will not chamber long (but still acceptable) rounds. For example, I can't chamber Hornady TAP .45 JHP ammo; it sticks out a ton.

If you're not passing the "plunk" test with 230 grain ball, you may not pass the go/no-go gauges, and may be defective (as opposed to just annoying as all hell).
 

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sounds like you are going to have to deepen the chamber. Go back to the manufacturer, call a smith, or a friend with an end mill.

If you have a pair of calipers, measure form the back of the barrel hood to the lip on the inside of the chamber - this dimension should be 0.890" or greater, but not over 0.920" - 0.900" works for pretty much all ammo I give my 1911s. This is the head space. If you seat rounds in the chamber, and the cartridge stands proud of the barrel hood, you need to deepen the chamber so the cartridges will sit about flush, or a little deep.





 
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FPrice

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sounds like you are going to have to deepen the chamber. Go back to the manufacturer, call a smith, or a friend with an end mill.
Thanks for the picture. I really should be getting down to work but this has me thinking.

I just went down and compared this barrel to two of my other pistols, a series 80 Colt Commander and an older Argentine Colt. I did the plunk test on both with the Federal rounds and some WW White Box 230 gr JHP. In these two pistols the rounds easily slide into the chamber and rattled around just a tiny bit. In my ATI the WW would chamber fully but was a snug fit, would not rattle. The Federal are still the same, will not fully chamber (easily) and when I push them in they are hard to extract.

Please note all of these tests were accomplished with the barrel out of the frame.

From this I conclude that the barrel chamber in my ATI is tight, maybe right on the border of being in spec. Whether this would cause my FTF problems or not, I can't say, I'm not that knowledgeable. But it sounds like this, with the fact that the barrel is not ramped at all might be the reason. Sound plausible?
 

Sir_Macadoo

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If the round is rattling, thats not a problem, provided the rattle is not extreme. In some of my barrels, the round wiggles a little in the chamber - this does not affect function or accuracy.

If you are having a hard time getting the round into the chamber, and you push a little to get it to seat - the nose of the bullet is likely pressing on the lands and groves - thats not too good - especially of the rim sits proud of the hood.

In my relatively limited experience (I am not a gunsmith) a little cartridge wiggle is OK if its minor. The critical bit is the rim standing proud of the barrel hood, or the nose of the bullet being pressed into the lands and grooves - pressure and kaboom problems from an unsupported case become an issue - if it goes into battery and will fire at all.

This can be remedied by reaming the chamber a few thousandths deeper - moving the shoulder of the chamber forward a touch to allow the bullet to sit comfortably in the chamber without being forced into the lands and grooves.
 

FPrice

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Well, after consulting with my FFL and test chambering WW WWB rounds, I went out today and tried another 50 rounds. WW WB 230 gr fmj, WW WB 230 hp, and some Federal 230 HS. Today went MUCH better. The last round on the second and third mags failed to go into battery but a slight tap on the backof the slide cured that. Everythnig else worked as advertised. But I am still shooting about 3-4" low at 25 ft. I am going to take it out about once a week and see if it begins to approach 100%.

My first modification will be to get an arched mainspring housing installed and see if that helps raise my POI. Eventually I may get either a new barrel or have this one's chamber relieved a bit. Then, if I still like it, a pair of trijicon sights installed.
 
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