Need Help Troubleshooting a 1911

BigRed3588

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I purchased a used Series 70 Combat Commander a while back and I'm having a couple issues I need some help with.

1. The thumb safety is engaging randomly while firing (its an aftermarket ambi safety installed by a previous owner). At first, I thought it might be the positioning of my thumbs, so I lowered them well below the safety and the issue continued. My second thought was the recoil spring, because the recoil felt more noticeable than my other 4" 1911s. I replaced it and found no luck there either. The safety engages to lock the slide back occasionally, but it generally engages as the slide returns to battery. It isn't engaging completely, just high enough to lock the trigger and block the slide. The safety itself doesn't feel quite right, as it has some play before the audible and tactile lock into place when engaging. However, I was watching some videos and it appears there is very little margin for error when fitting a safety and (theoretically) the safety shouldn't work if it hasn't been fitted properly. Any ideas on what my next step should be?

2. I'm also having failures to feed. I would say, on average, 1-2 per magazine. I know this is typically a magazine issue with 1911s, so I took an assortment of sig, WC, and CMC mags, and had issues with all of them. I've used these same magazines with my other 1911s and had no problems, so I'm fairly confident its the firearm. In most cases, the rounds are nosediving into the magazine. There were also a couple instances of the round being picked up and jamming between the breech face and barrel hood. I also had a stovepipe but i'm fairly certain that was the ammo. I thoroughly cleaned the feed ramp and plan to take it back to the range, but it didn't appear dirty enough to cause issues with that kind of frequency. Any thoughts?
 

churchmouse

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On the thumb safety. Is it a solid positive engagement when you put it into safe and the same when you remove it from safe.
If it is mushy get it replaced as to much material has been removed from the contact point with the hammer.

As to the FTF/FTE its tough to diagnose on the interwebs.
 

BigRed3588

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On the thumb safety. Is it a solid positive engagement when you put it into safe and the same when you remove it from safe.
If it is mushy get it replaced as to much material has been removed from the contact point with the hammer.

As to the FTF/FTE its tough to diagnose on the interwebs.
On the thumb safety. Is it a solid positive engagement when you put it into safe and the same when you remove it from safe.
If it is mushy get it replaced as to much material has been removed from the contact point with the hammer.

As to the FTF/FTE its tough to diagnose on the interwebs.

I would say it’s a little mushy compared to what I’m used to, so I’ll have it replaced. I don’t care for the ambi safety anyway. I just came across another issue though, possibly related. I was cocking the hammer, pulling the slide to the rear, and releasing trying to replicate the safety issue and noticed the hammer is dropping to half-cock about half of the time. It has never happened while shooting, however. Would this be related to the safety issue?
 

Dean Crail

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I would say it’s a little mushy compared to what I’m used to, so I’ll have it replaced. I don’t care for the ambi safety anyway. I just came across another issue though, possibly related. I was cocking the hammer, pulling the slide to the rear, and releasing trying to replicate the safety issue and noticed the hammer is dropping to half-cock about half of the time. It has never happened while shooting, however. Would this be related to the safety issue?

I am honestly assuming this 1911 has been "bubba'd" , every time I have ever had a 1911 with hammer drop issues the sear was involved.
 

AllenM

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Yea sounds like a new safety is in order, if it is loose enough to engage while you're shooting it sounds like the detent spring doesn't have enough tension or that the person that installed it modified the contact surface where the detent rides. If thats the case I doubt it is fit correct internally as well.

Most likely the hammer isn't following when you are shooting is becuase the slide is being slowed down stripping a round out of the mag and not bouncing it hard enough to cause the failure....Probably only a matter of time.
I suggest both hanmer and sear get replaced. But if it was mine I would do a complete ignition kit while I was in there to get best all around trigger.

FTF's can sometimes be a pain, especially if someone has done kitchen table work first.
Polishing the feed ramp is a must. Hopefully that hasn't been done improperly.
Extractor tuning plays a part, also recoil spring can effect it if it isnt stripping the round fast enough. There are other things as well but those are the most common I see.
You already tried multiple mags so thats not the issue. What weight recoil spring did you use?
 
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Sounds like Bubba has been at work just like Dean said. Please get this fixed before something bad happens. It could get to the point of going full auto, not a pleasant experience.
 

churchmouse

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Absolutely get that gun to someone qualified to work on the ignition controls.
Have them look at the extractor as well. If it is in good shape then your feed issues could be deeper.
 

BigRed3588

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Yea sounds like a new safety is in order, if it is loose enough to engage while you're shooting it sounds like the detent spring doesn't have enough tension or that the person that installed it modified the contact surface where the detent rides. If thats the case I doubt it is fit correct internally as well.

Most likely the hammer isn't following when you are shooting is becuase the slide is being slowed down stripping a round out of the mag and not bouncing it hard enough to cause the failure....Probably only a matter of time.
I suggest both hanmer and sear get replaced. But if it was mine I would do a complete ignition kit while I was in there to get best all around trigger.

FTF's can sometimes be a pain, especially if someone has done kitchen table work first.
Polishing the feed ramp is a must. Hopefully that hasn't been done improperly.
Extractor tuning plays a part, also recoil spring can effect it if it isnt stripping the round fast enough. There are other things as well but those are the most common I see.
You already tried multiple mags so thats not the issue. What weight recoil spring did you use?
I used an 18# spring.
 

BigRed3588

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Absolutely get that gun to someone qualified to work on the ignition controls.
Have them look at the extractor as well. If it is in good shape then your feed issues could be deeper.
It’s currently on its way to Indy for some TLC. I picked up a Sig Emperor Scorpion to occupy myself in the meantime. People can say why they want about the Sig 1911s but I’m a big fan.
 

Sitcomdad83

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Thumb safety of agree is misfit get a smith to install a new one. The second issue is hard to diagnose unless I had first hand knowledge. I've only bought 1 used 1911 which is my carry gun other than the previous owner using a hammer to drift the sights marring the finish and gouging the slide and frame it's been reliable but I don't care much what a gun looks like as long as it shoots.
 

Sitcomdad83

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It’s currently on its way to Indy for some TLC. I picked up a Sig Emperor Scorpion to occupy myself in the meantime. People can say why they want about the Sig 1911s but I’m a big fan.
I've got a Sig stainless match elite 1911 9mm and I wouldn't get rid of it for anything. It was a gift from my awesome wife!
 

churchmouse

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It’s currently on its way to Indy for some TLC. I picked up a Sig Emperor Scorpion to occupy myself in the meantime. People can say why they want about the Sig 1911s but I’m a big fan.
Well hopefully you sent it to AllenM. I will ask if he has it when I see him. Curious as to the thumb safety and the overall diagnosis.
I hate to try and dia. one on the internet or the phone.
 

DadSmith

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Well hopefully you sent it to AllenM. I will ask if he has it when I see him. Curious as to the thumb safety and the overall diagnosis.
I hate to try and dia. one on the internet or the phone.
You diagnosed my 1911 safety problem over the net and got it 100% correct.
 

76caprice

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When my 1911 had the same failure to feed issues at single stack nationals AllenM installed a new barrel for me and found out the barrel link pin was broke. Just my experience….
 

AllenM

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When my 1911 had the same failure to feed issues at single stack nationals AllenM installed a new barrel for me and found out the barrel link pin was broke. Just my experience….
I installed the barrel before or after the feeding issue? I want to follow-up if there was an issue with what I did.

I don’t know your name from the avatar so I can go back and see which gun it was I worked on.

I will say this in relation to this gun feeding issues is not a broken barrel link and if BigRed is not against it, when I have time I will be glad to photo document the issues I am correcting.

If there is a problem with anything I let me know. I am not perfect and do not claim to be. But my mistakes are fewer now than they used to be…
 
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