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Thread: 1911 Help/Question

  1. #1
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    Default 1911 Help/Question

    Went to the range yesterday and was shooting my 1911's. Had problems with 1 of them, pull the trigger, hammer drop and nothing? Rack, check round (shooting my reloads) and no mark on the primer? Chamber another round and evertything cycled/fired fine. The same pistol did this 2 times, both times after sitting out on the bench for awhile. It was only 10 or so degrees out. Is it possible that the firing pin channel could have built up oil or crud that stiffened up in the cold?? Never had this happen to any of my 1911's. I guess it is time for a detail strip and clean?

    Any other ideas on what could cause this? Once pistol fired a round, it was functional for as many as I could feed it until it sat out on the bench for awhile and got cold.

    Thanks for ideas or thoughts

  2. #2
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    Disassemble the whole gun including the mainspring housing and clean everything with brake parts or carberator cleaner, lube with a light low temperature oil like automatic transmission fluid, and re-assemble. You can try a light grease on the slide rails and heavy friction points like the face of the hammer and wipe it off if you have any malfunctions.

    Watch the crud from the lube on cast bullets also. He can build up about anywhere the smoke from firing shows up on the gun and can really bind things up in colder weather.

    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    Went to the range yesterday and was shooting my 1911's. Had problems with 1 of them, pull the trigger, hammer drop and nothing? Rack, check round (shooting my reloads) and no mark on the primer? Chamber another round and evertything cycled/fired fine. The same pistol did this 2 times, both times after sitting out on the bench for awhile. It was only 10 or so degrees out. Is it possible that the firing pin channel could have built up oil or crud that stiffened up in the cold?? Never had this happen to any of my 1911's. I guess it is time for a detail strip and clean?

    Any other ideas on what could cause this? Once pistol fired a round, it was functional for as many as I could feed it until it sat out on the bench for awhile and got cold.

    Thanks for ideas or thoughts
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  3. #3
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    That very well could be my problem along with being too generous with the Shooters Choice FP10! I am on a limited budget and feed my 1911's mostly 200 gr LSWC from Missouri Bullet Co. About the only jacketed stuff I shoot is limited amounts of my carry ammo. The LSWC feed and shoot great, a clean load with 4.5 gr Titegroup, but I may need to pay a little more attention to the cleaning, at least in cold weather. Never was an issue down in AZ with higher temps.

    Looks like I need to detail strip all of them and de-crud.

    Thanks Tvfinak

  4. #4
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    Default Revolvers also

    Colder weather does strange things to guns up here that you just don't see down south. A good cleaning is a must and then watch what you lubricate your gun with. Coil springs around a guide can be a real problem like on firing pins and mainsprings. ATF and dry lubes are what I generally use but many other lubes work as well - there have been several thread on this forum in past years addressing the issue - lots of good info if you can dig it out.

    Another thin to watch for is the build up of blown back bullet lube on the cylinder axis on a revolver when using cast bullets. The lube tend to get blown back around the pin and then the cylinder hard to rotate at cold temperatures but works fine when it warms up.

    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    That very well could be my problem along with being too generous with the Shooters Choice FP10! I am on a limited budget and feed my 1911's mostly 200 gr LSWC from Missouri Bullet Co. About the only jacketed stuff I shoot is limited amounts of my carry ammo. The LSWC feed and shoot great, a clean load with 4.5 gr Titegroup, but I may need to pay a little more attention to the cleaning, at least in cold weather. Never was an issue down in AZ with higher temps.

    Looks like I need to detail strip all of them and de-crud.

    Thanks Tvfinak
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  5. #5
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    Hunter my Frankenstein 1911 has done similar before. I had it still hit the primer but it was very light primer strikes I thought maybe it was a few different things. First it used to be a rock island and now all that's rock island is the receiver. Anyhow when I had the new slide fitted which is a caspian they only use a smaller 38 super firing pin hole because it will have less area for primer flow when using these high end parts on a race gun so I thought maybe it doesn't have enough weight to it. Well when it had the fail to fires I pulled it down at the range because if you didn't know each part on a 1911 can be used to completely strip the gun with no tools. Anyhow moisture had built up in the firing pin hole from going from my warm house to freezing cold to hot truck to cold firing range. Anyhow it had ice in it and I thought how did it get wet? Then I remembered oh yeah Alaska duh! Anyhow I blew it out and sprayed a light amount of rem oil in it and bang bang bang with no more issues. I also put in a 2 lb higher mainspring to help just incase I would rather have a tiny bit more hammer weight to make sure that baby fires off with no issues. I have a few higher lb springs left I would gladly give you one when we meet up on wed

  6. #6

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    Is it a Kimber series II gun? If so you may have marginal FP safety timing.

    I think FP10 has a synthetic base, no?

  7. #7
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    Nutjob, you nailed that one my friend. It is a S&W which has the Swartz firing pin block activated by the grip safety. I detail stripped, cleaned and found nothing unusual. On inspection, my grip safety is functional but only needs depressed slightly to allow the hammer to drop. This however is not enough it seems to always overcome and lift the arm high enough to de-activate the FP block meaning a weak grip will drop the hammer on a blocked or partially blocked firing pin. That is a crappy design! Never had that problem with my Kimber. I'll have to see what I can do or if there is any way to tweak it. If not, I'll see about dissabling it and installing an extra power FP spring. Looks like S&W has done away with this safety anyway with the new E series 1911's by putting in a titanium firing pin and extra power spring. I'm not the type to go disabling safeties on any firearm, but can't live with a 1911 that has the potential of doing this if I do not grip it just perfectly!

    After the cleaning, I had it to the range yesterday and it was doing it again so it had nothing to do with the cold I suspect. Not sure if the FP 10 is synthetic, but it says it is rated for temps down to -40 something!

  8. #8

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    You have it figured out. The FP block must release before the trigger bow block or you can drop the hammer on a blocked FP.

    I have used S&W service in the past. Very impressive - shipment paid both ways and back in under 2 weeks. They should be able to fix this for you.

    You can use a pencil to test. Clear gun, point upwards, insert pencil into barrel eraser side down (so the eraser is resting where the primer would be). Depress grip safety enough to release trigger. Pull trigger back to point of sear release but don't trip the sear. Release pressure on the grip safety go so it is riding on the trigger bow. Then pull the trigger through. Pencil should shoot out of the gun a few feet straight up.

    The fix will involve changing the levers that activate the FP safety, or making adjustments to the grip safety to push the levers up higher/sooner in the process.

    There's a reason Colt abandoned the Schwartz safety back in the 30's. Not a bad idea, just hard to consistently implement in manufacture

    You sure don't want to find out you have this problem when you need the gun to go bang.

  9. #9
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    Nutjob, you are absolutely right on this one. I too agree that if the timing is not perfect, allowing the trigger to release prior to the firing pin block, it could result in bad consequences for the shooter. I probably should have resorted to S&W customer service, but have already started the wheels in motion to fix it myself.

    I took the grip safety off and am having a small weld applied to the portion that activates/raises the FP block release lever. It will require some trial and error, but a small weld there and then judicious filing should enable one to time the FP release with the trigger release. Part of my problem is I prefer a high grip on a 1911 with thumb riding the thumb safety, a grip that does not always fully depress the grip safety depending on design. It is a fun project that has helped teach me more about the internal workings of the 1911.

    I thought part of my problem was the result of de-miming this pistol and installing all Ed Brown internals, slide stop, and safety. I put everything back to factory original and it still has the timing issue. Using a method similar to yours, I found that the trigger block on this pistol released very early when depressing the grip safety with FP block releasing later. There is a point where the FB block will release but with some tension rubbing the FP enough to cause light primer strikes! Definately not a good set up if not timed right. I get this bug fixed and I'll put my E.B. parts back on and carry/shoot with confidence. This 1911 is a joy to shoot and carry, full sized government model but has scandium alloy frame really reducing the weight, and more accurate than I could ever hope to be!

    Thanks for the help.

  10. #10
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    Update. I was able to get the FP block re-timed to release when the trigger does on activating/squeezing the grip safety. I had a small bump or weld placed on the lever that activates the swartz lever which raises up to depress the button underneath the slide. I had to also file some material off the bottom cleats of the grip safety that catch on the main spring housing to let the grip safety come out slightly more from the bottom. The end result is a swartz firing pin block that is timed correctly to prevent light or non existent firing pin strikes, even with a high grip. I had expert guidance from a kind fellow on the 1911 forum with much more knowledge than me on the 1911. Posting this in case anyone out there with Kimber II's or pre-E Series S&W 1911's have the same problem.

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