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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello again - Just wondering how reliable the standard 1911 extractor is as far as maintaining proper tension? The old Distinguished 1911’s I checked out and shot never gave me a problem, but the standard 1911 extractor, unlike coil spring tensioned extractors, is simply bent to provide proper tension. The 1911’s I checked out had been tuned by a USBP armorer some years before I discovered them. Any thoughts? - kw
 

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I've had many extractors come from the manufacturer poorly tuned, if at all. Kimber by far the worst. It is an extremely simple part, which often is better than complex assemblies. Once an external extractor is set up properly, I've gone seemingly forever without an issue.
 

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Just wondering how reliable the standard 1911 extractor is as far as maintaining proper tension?
Tension is just one aspect of tuning an internal extractor. Deflection and geometry are the other two. For more information on internal extractors see this post.

A correctly manufactured internal extractor (e.g. EGW, Harrison, C&S, Wilson) that has been correctly fit to the individual pistol has the potential of lasting many tens of thousands of rounds.

One of the major culprits causing internal extractors to lose tension is the dreaded "push feed". This is when the cartridge rim ends up ahead of the extractor claw during the feeding cycle. As this round is pushed into the chamber, the extractor snaps over the rim. This puts an extreme amount of stress on the extractor. Enough push feeds will weaken the extractor and will result in a loss of tension and sometimes the hook breaking off.

Push feeds can be caused by not enough distance between the hook and the breechface and inertia feeds (caused by weak mag springs, excessive slide speed, etc).

I prefer internal extractors over external extractors because they can be easily modified and tuned.
 

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This is what a poor quality extractor looks like. I took it out of one of my Kimbers . . . . . . .


Wood Hardwood Purple Wood stain Plywood
 

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My opinion, start with good one, WC-BP, Ed Brown, EGW set/fit it and forget.. every now and then I get one that will not hold a "set".. pitch it and get another.. heat treat wasnt exactly right. doesn't happen often.
 

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I’ve replaced one that lost its tension after a few hundred rounds in a Fusion. We were able to get it behaving after “re-tensioning” it, but I didn’t trust it any longer.

Bought a Wilson Bulletproof. Had to file some to get the “base” end to fit in the slide, but once it fit it ran like I had had it tuned by a pro (in a 9mm no less), and kept running for 5000 rounds before I sold the gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks again gents! I had kinda given up on 1911’s except for the Dan Wesson which has a coil spring loaded extractor. But, maybe an Ed Brown...
 

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Some variation of 1911s have external spring type extractors. I have a Kimber BP 10 with an external extractor and I believe the new Wilson Combat X series have them also.
 
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