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Old 04-13-2007, 06:01 PM   #1
pgm
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

Gentlemen,



I need the collective brainpower of the forum on a problem I have never experienced before:



I am evaluating a Combat Commander that I am thinking about buying - it is used but lightly. I get a failure to feed on the last round of every magazine. I tried the factory Colt mags, as well as a Wilson and a McCormick, and the problem happens with target ball or hot hollowpoints, all 230 grain. It doesn't matter whether there are two rounds in the mag or seven or eight. Every round except the last one in the mag feeds perfectly. On the last round, the bullet ends up pointing upward at an oblique angle relative to the feed ramp, and I have to drop the mag to clear it.



Anybody have any experience or ideas on this?



Thanks in advance,



PGM
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:47 PM   #2
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

As a guess, I'd say to look at the slide stop. If it has any excessive wear or is an aftermarket replacement, it might be catching the feed ramp of the magazine prematurely and causing issues.
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:50 PM   #3
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

I would try it with some more brands of ammo before I gave up on it. The problem sounds way too consistent for there to be a mechanical flaw in the gun that is acting up. When I first got my Kimber it would do that same thing, but only with one particular magazine. I traded the mag and everything was right as rain.



One other thing, have you tried inserting a magazine with only one round in it and racking the slide to see if it does the same thing? Or maybe locking the slide back and dropping it with just one round in the magazine? ~Pistolero
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Old 04-14-2007, 06:21 AM   #4
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

Thanks guys -



I would like to think that it is something simple that maybe an Ed Brown slide stop would fix. It makes sense that something has to be interferring with the magazine follower as the last round tries to feed.



Pistolero: A great experiment, I should have thought of trying what you suggest. The last round will feed when I insert one round into the magazine and then use the slide release lever to feed it. Feeding the last round by racking the slide by hand was hit or miss - probably 50%.



PGM

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Old 04-14-2007, 01:32 PM   #5
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

Here is how they work. When the magazine if full, it is exerting the full pressure of the magazine spring. As the bullets leave it, the pressure gets less with every shot. The last round has very little pressure from the mag spring, so it is the hardest to feed.

I think it is a magazine spring issue, not the slide stop. If it were the slide stop, it would be hitting the nose of the bullets and the slide stop would jump up while it is being fired.

Buy or borrow a Power Mag from CMC and see if it runs.

Just the way I see it.
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Old 04-14-2007, 04:18 PM   #6
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

PGM,



I think Captaineagle is right on. It sounds like the magazine doesn't have enough power to get that last round seated in the lips before the slide comes back and scoops it up. That's why it works when you use the slide release, but not when you hand-cycle it. I don't have experience with Colt or McCormick mags, but the Wilson mags I've used seemed to have a pretty weak spring. There's gotta be a magazine out there that the gun likes. ~Pistolero
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:13 PM   #7
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

Ditto on the magazine spring, per the Cap'n and Pistolero, but given that it's a Colt, an Ed Brown slide stop for 30 bucks might not be a bad idea anyway. (I had a problem with a Commander where the follower didn't fully engage the slide stop on an empty magazine, and the milling on the slide stop was the issue.)

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Old 04-14-2007, 08:17 PM   #8
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

Thanks guys,



Captain, your explanation sounds reasonable - it is almost like the slide is too fast for the magazine on the last round. I actually did try some CMC power mags (as well as the original Colt mags and some Wilsons). Could the recoil spring be too heavy? I don't know that it is factory.



I think I will replace the Colt slide stop anyway just in case. I did have a few failures to lock back on an empty magazine too. I agree that the Wilson springs don't seem to have the same tension on them that some of the others do.



I will keep playing around as this has to be a solvable problem. I will let you all know what happens as I've got it for a few more weeks before I need to give it back with a buy or "no thanks" decision.



Thanks again to all who weighed in.



PGM
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:21 AM   #9
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...



Quote:
I tried the factory Colt mags, as well as a Wilson and a McCormick, and the problem happens with target ball or hot hollowpoints, all 230 grain.


Quote:
I think it is a magazine spring issue, not the slide stop. Just the way I see it.
Possibly. But it's unlikely that all three brands of magazines have bad springs.



Quote:
The last round will feed when I insert one round into the magazine and then use the slide release lever to feed it. Feeding the last round by racking the slide by hand was hit or miss - probably 50%.
This really bothers me. I think that this situation is a key indicator, as the auto should feed by racking the slide (all the way back). (Current tactical doctrine is to rack the slide back after a reload, as the manipulation of the slide release is now considered much too fine a motor control skill under the stress of a gunfight.) I would guess that there is a basic mechanical issue but, although it

is commonly accepted that an auto's slide goes into battery differently when released by the slide stop as when the slide is racked back by hand (the "first shot syndrome" of some autopistols putting the first shot of a magazine out of the shot group on the target is attributed to this), you shouldn't experience decreased feed reliability by releasing the slide by hand.



Quote:
- it is almost like the slide is too fast for the magazine on the last round. I actually did try some CMC power mags (as well as the original Colt mags and some Wilsons). Could the recoil spring be too heavy? I don't know that it is factory.
This is a simple and inexpensive modification. Unless you bought your Colt new, there's no telling what's in it. Put in a OEM factory-strength recoil spring. (I can probably look this up. Or go to Wolff Gunspring's website (www.gunsprings.com).) In fact, if you are really interested in troubleshooting the handgun and keeping it, I would get a recoil spring a notch stronger and one a notch weaker and try all three. Aftermarket recoil springs don't cost much.



Quote:
I think I will replace the Colt slide stop anyway just in case. I did have a few failures to lock back on an empty magazine too.
If the failure of the slide to lock back occurred with a number of different magazines, then it could very well be a slide-stop problem.



If there is a gunsmith in your area that's known for his acumen with M1911's, by all means take your Commander to him.





If you can't straighten out the problem, return the item. Colt M1911's, especially those made prior to the 1970's/80's, weren't know for great reliability, especially with anything but 230 gr. hardball. Many of these need the feed ramp polished and the chamber mouth throated for decent reliability. We are starting to talk $$$ now, and I would be hesitant to have a 'smith do this work unless I was confident that he knew M1911's.







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Old 04-15-2007, 12:17 PM   #10
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Interesting FTF problem - need ideas...

PGM---

In the end, it boils down to money. If you're getting the gun for a reasonable price, then with a slide stop and a recoil spring, trying a few different magazines, or putting new springs in the mags, you should be able to make the gun run for less than 50 or a 100 bucks. Captaineagle remarked on a different thread that a Colt makes for a good basic platform to work on, but if you weren't planning to spend extra money for custom work, what's the point? Nevadaalan makes a good point about ammo: IMHO, any 1911 should shoot all the time, every time, with 230 FMJ, but out of curiosity, how does your gun perform with, say, 185 +P?

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