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Comparing 2 extractors, one an OEM the other of unknown origin, I see an obvious difference in the "length" as measured from the firing pin stop slot at the rear to the extractor notch...

When installed in their respective guns, the difference shows up in how snugly (or loosely) the cartridge is held to the breech face. With the shorter extractor the case is held .030" off the breech and with the longer it's .050" off the face.

It strikes me as likely to be more by design than just manufacturing tolerances, but I don't know.
Is this variance to be expected?
Does anyone know if one is more proper than the other?
 

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1911 Pistol Smith
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The distance from the breach face to the extractor hook should be .075-.085 with .075 being optimum. It seems also there is an over all length difference in a 45 and 9mm extractor.. At least this has been my observation. A WC 9mm and a 45 has shown the 45 ti be a touch longer at the dimension you mentioned.
 

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Is this variance to be expected? Does anyone know if one is more proper than the other?
There are many dimensional differences of nearly every 1911 part made by all the various manufacturers. This is why the saying "There's no such thing as a drop in part" is common among the 1911 community. So, there is no "proper" length for extractors since the slides they go into all have different dimensions for the extractor tunnel and the distance from the firing pin stop to the breechface.

If you were a manufacturer, you would be able to make extractors that fit your slides. Wilson is one such manufacturer. But that doesn't mean your extractors would fit another manufacturer's slides. Again, Wilson is a recent example that comes to mind. I tried to fit two Wilson extractors to two Caspian slides without success because the Wilson locating pads were so short the resulting deflection was radically excessive. Too bad I don't know how to TIG weld.

Somewhere around here I have a list of a extractor lengths from a dozen manufacturers. They're all different. Typically, they are made too long. I long ago settled on using EGW extractors because they are the shortest ones and can be made to fit more readily than extractors that are longer.

Mike, that illustration looks vaguely familiar :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks , fellas, for the helpful info. And kudos to the author of that diagram!

I did a little filing and bending on the aftermarket one with the .100" gap and it seems to run OK with 2 different loads and 4 makes of magazines.
 

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1911 Pistol Smith
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Was going to mention that the dimension will differ based on the amount of tension and deflection. In a straight line the extractor dimension will differ from when its slightly curved shortest distance between two points sort of thing. Wouldn't think it would be a full .020 but would definitely measure longer if extractor is completely straight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You might find this thread on extractor fitting to be of some interest.
Thank you for that! That's an awesome addendum to all the articles and vids I've encountered. It's now part of my personal 1911 "shop manual."

As to Steve Owens comments about length variability, here's the full disclosure. I was given a buddy's Colt Commander that would not feed/eject a whole mag of anything. He said it once worked fine, started misbehaving and his cousin "looked at it." Out of frustration, he put it away for 10 years or so.

I'm a rank novice, having bent a few extractors but never touched one with a file.
The giveaway was that this extractor was applying zero tension.
When I pulled it out, it was obvious it was "dropped in" ... well blued everywhere and perfectly straight. The dimension I showed was as it started, .020" longer than the one form a stock production gun. I filed and bent it as per youtube but did not measure it again. When installed, the gap is still roughly .105", but today I ran 80 rounds, 2 bullet styles, 4 mags with different followers ... not a hiccup except for getting hit in the face 1/5 ejections.

With the help I've gotten here I'm going to install (fit) a Wilson combination of extractor/ejector targeting all the proper dimensions and aiming for 25 ounces of extractor tension and see if I can get reliable 4 o'clock ejection.

Thanks to all!
 

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. . . not a hiccup except for getting hit in the face 1/5 ejections.
This is a common symptom of an extractor that needs some attention. What's happening is the extractor loses control of the extracted case before it impacts the ejector. The now loose case floats around until it hits the rearward moving slide at the front of the ejection port and gets batted straight back at the shooter.

This can also be caused by the fired case being ejected into the side of the slide below the ejection port resulting in the case popping straight up and getting smacked by the forward edge of the ejection port and getting batted straight back at the shooter.

Before cleaning your pistol after a shooting session, carefully examine the ejection port area for brass smears. If the fired cases are not exiting the pistol cleanly and in a timely fashion, you'll have issues like hot brass landing on your head, going down your shirt, or getting stuck between your nose and shooting glasses.
 

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I just measured a current production EGW Heavy Duty extractor, a Wilson Bulletproof extractor, and a Cylinder & Slide Ultimate extractor that I have on hand. I was surprised to discover that the Wilson was the shortest. Some years ago when I had measured the extractors then being produced the EGW was the shortest.

If anyone has other currently manufactured, new in the box extractors, I'd be interested to know how their length compares.

Wilson 2.3415"
EGW 2.3465"
C&S 2.3650"

Length is defined as "distance" in the picture below.

 

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Custom Pistolsmith
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I measured an unbent EGW Heavy Duty extractor that I have on hand and it's length is 2.3465". I also have a Cylinder & Slide Ultimate extractor on hand and it measures 2.3650". So the C&S was .0185" longer than the EGW.

If anyone has other extractors, I'd be interested to know how their length compares to these two.

EGW 2.3465"
C&S 2.3650"

Length is defined as "distance" in the picture below.

Very cool drawing. Unfortunately you are measuring the wrong distance. The distance that matters is from the front wall of the hook to the front wall of the firing pin stop slot.
 

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Unfortunately you are measuring the wrong distance.
I kinda know that but figured there would be very little difference in the width of the firing pin stop slot and I'm only working with dial calipers so it's difficult for me to get good, repeatable measurements from the front wall of the firing pin stop slot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, there's .020-.030" difference right there. What's a neophyte to do when he takes out his old Wilson that extended .080" beyond the breech face and puts in that C&S that protrudes .103" ?

I'd like to understand how that difference could be accounted for during "fitting."
 

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The distance I'm reporting is simply an easily replicated and dependably accurate measurement that lets me compare one extractor to any other extractor. It is not meant to tell me what the hook-to-breechface distance is although I can infer from the measurement whether one extractor will have a greater hook-to-breechface distance than another.

The most precise measuring tool I have is a caliper. I set one of its blades against the rear wall of the firing pin stop slot and the other blade against the front wall of the tensioning wall. Trying to get one of the blades to line up with the front wall of the firing pin stop slot would be an exercise in frustration and wouldn't allow for consistent measuring results.

So, everyone relax :cool2: This is just a reliable method to allow me to compare extractors using two known reference points.

mike campbell, fitting an extractor to achieve a specific hook-to-breechface distance most often requires filing either the front or rear face of the firing pin stop slot to allow the extractor to move forward or backward the amount needed. If this results in a gap between the slot and the firing pin stop, it can be filled in with a metal shim silver soldered in place.

The pros, like Joe C, can use a Harrison HD-240-BG or an EGW no slot extractor and cut the firing pin stop slot exactly where it needs to be.
 
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