Is it possible to make a 3" 45 ACP 1911 reliable?

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by Crewchief, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2013
    They're the best kept secret for slowing down the rearward velocity of the slide. In doing so they change the recoil impulse which many shooters find to be a good thing.
    Crewchief likes this.
  2. OttoLoader

    OttoLoader New Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    I had similar misfeeds years ago with a Springfield Armory mil spec 5 in barrel.

    Sent it back to SA.

    Problem turned out to be that the barrel chamber was manufactured machined slightly too deep.

    The round from the magazine would not consistently feed under the extractor. Some times even "push feed". Because the chamber was too deep some times the .45 ACP round would be slightly forward just enough to cause a misfeed.

    Yes the the extractor was adjusted and tuned properly.
    The remedy was:

    SA changed the barrel no cost under warranty.

    Consider checking the depth of the barrel chamber.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020

  3. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2013

    I'll need someone's help to understand this. Maybe I'm just having reading comprehension problems today.

    Too deep of a chamber tells me that the chamber ledge where the chamber area stops and the barrel rifling begins was further forward than it should have been. So what? That shouldn't have any effect at all on feeding. Cartridge rims not going up under the extractor hook is not caused by a too deep chamber. Rather it's likely the the hook-to-breechface distance was less than .075".

    Likewise, situations where the rim gets ahead of the extractor claw and is push fed into the chamber is not caused by too deep of a chamber. It too can be caused by a less than optimal hook-to-breechface distance as well as the usual inertia feed suspects (weak mag spring, oil on the feed lips, recoil spring not matched to the power of the ammo being used, etc, etc.).

    About the only thing I can think of where the depth of the chamber would cause a "mis-feed" would be during a push feed. When the case mouth stopped on the too far forward chamber ledge the case rim was so far forward that the extractor claw was nowhere near being able to snap over the rim.

    What am I missing?
    Badabing11 likes this.
  4. OttoLoader

    OttoLoader New Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    Yes this is unusual. I never heard of that failure mode too.

    SA warranty repair did the work and determined the problem.

    I expected extractor replacement or tuning but they kept the original extractor in the gun. did not replace the extractor.

    They described the problem with that barrel as the barrel chamber was machined too deep.

    I suspected that other dimensions were also off.

    This was an intermittent issue and not easy to reproduce the error.

    Before calling SA, I checked the extractor tension with the slide removed and round held by the extractor.

    Doing a plunk test the round dropped into the barrel visually a little too deep but not enough to visually identify as a problem.

    The cartridge was (sometime) too far forward when stripped from the mag during firing cycle.

    The extractor would deflect the round forward just enough to cause the round to be ahead of the extractor. Result was a push feed.

    Rim would not go correctly into the extractor and breech face on some occasion.
    Most rounds fee properly but some would misfeed.

    For reference:
    This was a MilSpec parkerized 2008 manufactured date. Milspec Brazil gun with two piece barrel .

    I discussed the problem with Customer Service ( in 2014). They sent a shipping label to ship it in for their warranty repair inspection.

    Corrective action

    SA replaced the barrel with the stainless steel match one piece barrel and bushing that they now use.

    Hopefully I described the issue .

    The point of my post was to give a heads up of a rare failure cause.

    If I had unusual feeding with another 1911.

    I would also check the barrel dimensions in addition to checking the extractor.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  5. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2017
    The worst of the unreliable shorties were the "chop jobs" predating the Colt OM. And yes there are several 3" 1911s that work well.
    I wish you'd taken pictures of this. I know there were occasional problems with the two piece barrels, but this is as new one.
  6. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    The shorter the 1911, the larger window for malfs.
    I don't need that in my life!
    4" barrel is as short as I will go...
  7. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    If you need a barrel shorter than 4" to carry concealed,
    you either chose your gear poorly,
    or you are a dwarf.
    Badabing11, Damingus, simonp and 2 others like this.
  8. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2017
    Were you around when the "chop jobs" were still being made? What a migraine headache. OMs worked fine, at least everyone I saw did.
  9. Crewchief

    Crewchief Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Sep 7, 2017
    For everyone’s info, Real Life has been keeping me busy for the last couple of weeks. I have the new firing pin stop and hammer spring on order, and when I get home early next week, I’m going to do those shim checks on the extractor to see where we are.

  10. OttoLoader

    OttoLoader New Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    I never took a picture of it because I never thought that type of problem would occur.

    Problem description.

    The round would go too far forward of the extractor because the barrel dimensions was slightly out of spec, deep chamber.

    Visual check in the plunk test. Is the round in too far?
    Hope that described this rare problem .
  11. soverystout

    soverystout Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    There is something about the STI Escort "formula" that just works. a 3.24 inch bull barrel in a small 1911 that just never misses a beat. I have 2 if that is any indication.
    1911_Bandit likes this.
  12. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2017
    It does, but most of all, I really would have liked to see this personally. No, I am not questioning you, I just would have liked to check the barrel for multiple reasons.
    OttoLoader likes this.
  13. OttoLoader

    OttoLoader New Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    I did not take it as questioning.
    I figured I needed to try to better describe this unusual case.

    My take on it was the barrel was just slightly out of spec so made it through whatever QC they had at the time.
    With proper dimensions this error would not happen. So that is why this is pretty unusual fault mode.

    But it would have intermittent misfeed about every 100 rounds or so.
    I never trusted it for cc but it was OK for the range.
    After about ten boxes of various range fmj I called Springfield about it.

    They had it twice, second time identifying the barrel dimensions.

    Likely other dimensions were off too such as chamber dia. slightly larger .

    I never took any photos because I never thought this was possible.

    The focus with CS was primarily placed on the extractor. But after that was ruled out they decided to replace the barrel.
    Problem was then solved.
    Definitely something was oos with the original barrel.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
    Badabing11 and Uncle Bob like this.
  14. Crewchief

    Crewchief Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Sep 7, 2017
    I finally had a chance to get back into things tonight. First thing, was that I'd grabbed an EGW oversized firing pin stop and spent some time fitting it. Second, I finally got around to fabricating my .465 feeler gauge and ran the check on the extractor clearance. As will surprise absolutely nobody, I wasn't even able to get the gauge in between the extractor and the opposite wall of the slide. I was able to straighten the extractor enough that it was just barely kissing, but that's obviously leaving at least a small gap between the positioning pad and the inside of the extractor tube.

    So, it looks like I'm off to Brownell's for a new extractor, as the thought of trying to wheedle a couple of thousandths of an inch off the inside of the claw while maintaining geometry sounds like a fool's errand.

    As an aside, what's up with Wolff's recently? Did they get hit mondo-hard with Covid? I put in my order for that new hammer spring something like a week and a half ago, and they haven't even shipped it yet.

  15. TexasRedneck

    TexasRedneck Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Well, there ARE some others that will......

    LS.jpg Elektra.jpg
    soverystout likes this.
  16. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2017
    Kimber is still shaky, a LE Agency just sent 100 pistols back to Kimber because of soft frames and slide stops cracking. The issue ammo is HST.
  17. Crewchief

    Crewchief Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Sep 7, 2017
    Okay, the new extractor (a Wilson Combat Bulletproof) and a set of 21 lb Wolff Recoil Springs have shown up. I've fitted the extractor per @Steve in Allentown 's excellent writeup. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to get to the range this weekend at some point and try things out.

    There's also a good chance that I'll probably end up replacing the mag springs as suggested as well, at some point. A couple of them were having problems locking the slide back.

    I'll update with results.


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