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This is a discussion on 1911 Magazine Issues within the Pistols & Revolvers forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I have an Auto Ordnance 1911A1 .45 Gov't (I know, not a high end 1911 but it is pretty accurate and reliable if I use ...


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Old February 16th, 2017, 06:29 PM   #1
 
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1911 Magazine Issues

I have an Auto Ordnance 1911A1 .45 Gov't (I know, not a high end 1911 but it is pretty accurate and reliable if I use stout 230 gr FMJ or defensive ammo like Fed Hydra Shok or HSTs). I've had it for about 20 years and have had problems finding magazines that work well with it. Most don't drop freely out when the slide is locked back. The cheap mags that came with it were just cheap junk. So maybe 15 years ago I bought a Chip McCormick Shooting Star mag that worked great. I wanted to get a couple more. I recently bought a Chip McCormick Power Mag and it wouldn't drop free, but it fed the ammo well. A friend told me to just get the Wilson Combat 47D mags. He said they were among the best mags available. I bought 2 and they were - - horrible. Neither would drop free and one took lots of effort to insert. I had to pry it out of the magazine well. They both seemed over-sized. Then I heard that the Tripp magazines were the best. So I bought one of those and it too wouldn't drop free. I was beginning to think my pistol had some major issue. How could all these highly rated magazine not positively eject/drop? Then, a fellow shooter had me try his Kimber KimPro magazine. It sprang forth and dropped out of the mag well like it was catapulted. It inserted easily, locked in place, held the slide back and didn't cause any jams. So I bought two and they worked exactly the same - perfectly.

I wasn't aware that there would be so much difference in these highly respected magazines with such good reputations. Has anyone else had such trouble finding suitable magazines for their 1911s? I had a 1911 gunsmith look my .45 over and he did a nice trigger job on it but could not find any issues with it that would explain my magazine issues.

ps. my avatar is a target I recently shot with 30 rounds from this 1911 at 10 yds.




Last edited by Bill B; February 16th, 2017 at 06:39 PM. Reason: added ps
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Old February 16th, 2017, 10:00 PM   #2
 
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Hmm, ive used wilson, tripp and checkmates. Never had any problem. So is your main concern the mags dropping free? Can we see the inside of your frame the two staking points on the plunger tube, do they flair out causing any obstruction against the magazines? Did your gunsmith look at your mag catch? How about inserting your mags with just the frame. Can you pin point any binding? Is the slot in the trigger bow bent?

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Old February 17th, 2017, 03:16 AM   #3
 
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I didn't get into too many details with him, but my gunsmith sent back the Wilson mags. I showed him the problem and gave him the pistol and the mags to figure out what the issue is. He did say something about the trigger bow being slightly bent but fixing that didn't help enough. When we figured out the Kimber mags worked so well, he just suggested using their mags. It seems the other mags are getting hung up at the top of the grip frame, the last inch or so. I did notice that for some of the other mags (the McCormick Power mag and the Tripp) that if I push the mag release and pull back on the trigger at the same time, they will drop free. When I push the mag release with the Power Mag it does drop down about 1/4" and wants to come out. Both the Tripp and the McCormick Power Mags feed very well and I will use them as range mags. The Wilson's were just useless to me. The Kimbers will be the ones I use with the defensive rounds.

I was just wondering if anyone else was noticing such differences in the sizes of these highly respected mags? I was really disappointed with how tight the Wilson mags were. So was the gunsmith, which is why he sent them back to Brownells for me and ordered me the Kimbers (which is what he also uses in his race gun.)
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Old February 17th, 2017, 04:46 AM   #4
 
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I have couple RIA 1911s and have Colt, Remington, Wilson and Mecgar and they all run well and drop free.
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Old February 17th, 2017, 06:39 AM   #5
 
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The problem is with your pistol, not the magazines. I have used Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick magazines in multiple 1911s without problems. Now and again, a particular 1911 might not run well with a particular brand of magazine, but the issue is usually feeding. If your pistol has failed to work properly with multiple different magazines from a number of well-regarded manufacturers, there is something wrong with it. Might be worth trying a swap of the magazine latch.

Last edited by pblanc; February 17th, 2017 at 06:42 AM.
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Old February 17th, 2017, 06:39 AM   #6
 
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I have 7 of the Wilson 47D mags for my SR-1911 and use all of them when I'm at the range. Have never had any problem with them our my factory mags. in insertion, firing or ejection.
As others have posted it seems to be an internal problem. The spec's for 1911's are well proven to work with many manufacture's aftermarket parts which make them such great weapons to own.

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Old February 17th, 2017, 07:29 AM   #7
 
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For what it's worth, take one of your "non-working-correctly" mags and load it full minus one round. Then try inserting it into the well. If it slides in and out effortlessly, that would be my guess as to your problem. You are overloading the mag

What I found was that I can load an extra round in the mag but it tends to spread the top opening just enough that the mags don't move freely but will go in and out of the mag well with some pressure assistance from my hand. To remove the mags I have to pry down on the small tang at the front base of the mags.

When I loaded one less round in each of the culprit mags, every one worked as expected.

Hope this made sense.
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Old February 17th, 2017, 10:34 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bish1309 View Post
For what it's worth, take one of your "non-working-correctly" mags and load it full minus one round. Then try inserting it into the well. If it slides in and out effortlessly, that would be my guess as to your problem. You are overloading the mag

What I found was that I can load an extra round in the mag but it tends to spread the top opening just enough that the mags don't move freely but will go in and out of the mag well with some pressure assistance from my hand. To remove the mags I have to pry down on the small tang at the front base of the mags.

When I loaded one less round in each of the culprit mags, every one worked as expected.

Hope this made sense.
I'M not overloading the mag as it happens with empty mags, partially full and full mags. I'm just curious why some mags work so effortlessly and others seem so tight? There are obviously some differences in the dimensions of the various mags. Even between the two Wilson mags there were difference as one was much tighter than the other and even had trouble fully seating while the other mags were fine in that regard. The Kimber KimPro mags works effortlessly, so I'll just stick with them. Maybe the mag well on my 1911 is a little tight. I was just wondering if other folks were noticing a similar problem and the answer is no.
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Old February 17th, 2017, 01:35 PM   #9
 
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I use the Wilson Combat Elite Tactical 8 Rd Magazine ETM 500 as my primary magazine in my Taurus PT1911 and Chip McCormick Shooting Star magazines for range work. Never had a problem with them. The only magazines I had problems dropping freely were ProMag's. Threw them in the trash!
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Old March 5th, 2017, 08:44 PM   #10
 
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Have both 8-round Wilson 47D and 8-round KimPro Tac-Mag magazines and use them interchangeably at the range. Wilson mags definitely smoother operating and much smoother/faster reloading the mag. One of the KimPro mags has become balky and not locking the slide open when empty. The Wilson will be my base mag for volume range shooting with multiple 1911s. They show up at sale prices occasionally so will be stocking up when prices are right. No more KimPros for me.

Used a friends Tripp Research 8-round 8R-45-RG magazines at the range recently and they were super good. For carry and home defense reliability these are going to be my next magazines. They make 7, 8 and 10 round magazines that are popular with competition shooters.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 05:08 AM   #11
 
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What I am learning is that there is some significant variability in the dimensions of 1911 magazines. If they were all held to close tolerances to the original specs, they should either all work or all not work in a particular firearm. I do believe that my 1911 is a little tight at the top of the grip frame, which is where some of the magazines hang up. But, this being the case, either no magazines should work or all of them should. For all 3 of the Wilson 47D magazines and one Tripp magazine tried in my pistol to not drop free (and one Wilson being so tight that it took significant effort to seat it even empty) and all 3 of the KimPro magazines tried to work so well, there has to be significant variability between brands and between units in the same brand. With the McCormick magazines, the Shooting Star classic magazine works well in my pistol while their Power Mag won't drop free. All of them did feed well and, as I said, those that won't drop free will be used for range work only. Thanks for the input.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 07:44 AM   #12
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Bill B, It's obvious you don't understand a simple concept called "manufacturer's tolerance". In a perfect world, each magazine would be the same exact dimension .... down to the last .001". I think we all know .... that just doesn't happen with any magazine for any gun. To allow for acceptable magazine tolerances, 1911 manufacturers have to make their guns with liberal clearances .... especially the bow of the trigger. As you may know, the trigger bow slides in a slot in the frame. If the bow is too fat, the trigger will bind in the slot. If the trigger bow is not fat enough, it will bind on the magazine. No doubt in my mind .... your trigger bow it not fat enough to allow the magazine to move freely. Yes, some magazines may just be skinny enough where they don't bind on the trigger bow but the source of your problem is still the trigger bow .... NOT the magazines.

Here's a link to a bunch of different 1911 triggers: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...ment&FORM=IGRE

You will note .... the bow of the trigger completely surrounds the magazine near the top. It's very easy to adjust a trigger bow .... just remove the trigger then insert a "fat" magazine in the bow. Use the magazine as a mandrill to shape the bow so it slides easily on the magazine and at the same time, the trigger moves freely in the frame's slot.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 09:12 AM   #13
 
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Ok, here's what I did. This 1911 has always had problems with stove piping and erratic ejection, with some spent cases routinely hitting me in the head. It wasn't until just recently when I was watching videos on YouTube regarding 1911 maintenance, that I came upon the concept that my extractor may not have the proper tension. The extractor failed the test of being able to hold a spent case in slide. I ordered an Ed Brown extractor and an extractor tensioning tool from Brownells along with a Night Hawk forged slide stop, just as an upgrade.

After adjusting and installing the new extractor and replacing the slide stop, I discovered that now all my magazines are readily dropping free when empty. I'm guessing the problem was with the slide stop. I loaded up a magazine of Winchester white box FMJs, went into the woods behind my house and all 7 rounds ejected about 5-6 feet to my right. It'll take a couple range sessions for me to be sure my occasional stove piping issues are fixed, but I'm very optimistic and happy that the magazine issue has been resolved.

Last edited by Bill B; March 7th, 2017 at 09:17 AM.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 09:49 AM   #14
 
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Being you have had your 1911 20 years Bill B, you might want to take a look at replacing a few common springs, starting with the recoil spring.

Just a suggestion, but I change mine every 1,500 rounds. I put something in the library about 1911 recoil spring selection by Wilson Combat..

Here is a link:
http://rugerforum.net/library/144026...ing-guide.html

Last edited by moakes58; March 7th, 2017 at 09:52 AM.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 10:24 AM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moakes58 View Post
Being you have had your 1911 20 years Bill B, you might want to take a look at replacing a few common springs, starting with the recoil spring.

Just a suggestion, but I change mine every 1,500 rounds. I put something in the library about 1911 recoil spring selection by Wilson Combat..

Here is a link:
http://rugerforum.net/library/144026...ing-guide.html
Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm ahead of you. I recently replaced the original recoil spring with a Wolff 16.5 lb variable spring and replaced the firing pin return spring as well with the one that came with the recoil spring. This pistol sat for much of those 20+ years. I've shot it more in the past 10 weeks than I did in the last 20 years. When I bought the springs I purchased 3 of them, so I'm good for awhile.

The extractor was never properly tensioned as the empty cases were flying everywhere and bouncing off my head since day 1. I always thought it was normal for a Gov't model 1911 until seeing that YouTube video. I've been more of a shotgun and rifle guy and no one else in my family ever owned a 1911. I recently decided that my handgunning skills and knowledge need to be better developed. Thanks for contributing.
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