View Full Version : Whats wrong with my new Colt Officer XS?
13th December 2004, 12:00
This week I took delivery on a new Colt LW Officer XS. It was in new condition. I field stripped it, cleaned and lightly lubed it with Breakfree CLP, reassembled and took it to the range. Today I fired 150 rounds. 50 FMJ 230gr, 50 FMJ 185gr, and 50 FMJ BEB 185gr was the mix and the order. On almost all rounds the slide failed to go back into battery. A push with the off hand thumb was usually required. It got slightly better as the number of rounds increased but not even close to reliable. There were no FTE or other types of FTF. It felt very tight right out of the box. I believe this pistol was probably built around 1988. Would so much time in the box on the shelf have effected it in this way? I doubt it. Its a nice pistol and I want to keep it. How do I get it running reliably? Thanks.
13th December 2004, 12:36
I am not a gunsmith, nor do I have a strong knowledge in such things...but it almost sounds as though the recoil spring is too light. I wonder if sitting in a box for well over a decade might have weakened it, or if maybe it was just too light to begin with. Assuming it does have sufficient oil, and the slide-to-frame fit is reasonable, then it's probably the spring. If you remove the recoil spring from the gun, how easily does it move on the rails? Does it move voluntarily, of it's own weight, when held on end? Or does it need to be forced to move? If the fit seems normal, then I'm guessing it's the spring.
But then, I know very little about these things, and someone else will probably come along and be able to tell you far better than I what the problem is ;)
13th December 2004, 13:40
Could be one of four things.
Too much extractor tension. Chamber a round and leave it for a day or two.
The extractor will take a slight "set" and let the rims slip under the hook easier.
Could also be a weak magazine spring that's not helpin' the rounds get under the hook. Wolff 11-pound springs work with the standard 6-round OM mags...
Wolff +5% 8-round springs will *probably* work with the 7-rounders.
Possible that there's a rough spot on the breechface. polish it with 600-grit
wet or dry paper on a whittled-down popsicle stick. Lightly polish it. Don't get carried away.
Slight possibility that the breechface guide rails are too narrow. Optimum width is .484-.488, and some smiths will take'em to .490 and over. You can see'em on the underside of the slide. Two parallel rails. Measure with a dial caliper, and be careful not to touch the extractor, or you'll get a false reading.
13th December 2004, 14:32
You know, the rail thing makes the most sense to me right now. The slide is very tight on the rails and it is very difficult to reassemble it after cleaning, etc. If I release the slide it does not always go fully forward as it should, with or without a round in the chamber. I will measure the width this evening. What is the fix if the width is off (almost hate to ask)? Thanks.
13th December 2004, 14:54
You're lookin' at the wrong rails. The rails under the breechface act as a sort of guide for the rim as it feeds under the extractor. Take the gun apart and look on the underside of the ejection port, just under the extractor. Two parallel walls on either side of the breechface are the ones. They're small. if they're too narrow, the fix is simple and takes about 10 minutes, but you'll need a flat Swiss pattern file with safe edges...and ya gotta keep'em square. This isn't lilely your problem though...just a possibility that I run into once in about a hundred pistols.
If the gun is hard to reassemble, check the lower barrel lug fit as it slides into the frame...barrel and frame only. It may be a little too wide....or it may have a burr on it...or the link pin may be causing a bind if it's not flush with the side of the lug. If you have a clearance problem, dress lightly with a
6-inch smooth mill file, and don't cut all the way up to the fillet where the barrel joins the lug. Keep it flat and make straight, smooth cuts. Go slow.
It won't require more than a couple thousandths per side. Break any sharp edges on the edges...lightly. You can scrape the sharp edges with the edge of a pocketknife.
19th December 2004, 13:20
Forget the lightly oiled part; oil the hell out of it with Mobil 1 synthetic and work that slide back and forth for about 500 strokes. Put in a new extra power recoil spring and you will be all set. Don't get carried away and unnecesarily complicate the issue. You said the slide was tight on the rails. It sat in a box for sixteen years. Work the slide, put in a new spring; go shoot it. First things first! You did say that the slide won't close all the way even when empty right? So it is not the breechface, nor the extractor. It is the tightness of the slide rails, and a weak spring.
19th December 2004, 14:27
Not tryin' to pick a fight but...If the pistol won't go to battery empty, it's probably not the rail fit. It could be a problem with the locking lugs and how they align with their slots in the slide. To determine if there is a problem,
point the gun straight down, and ease the slide down. if it stops just short of battery, and either refuses to go further, or goes to battery with a snap
with thumb pressure on the back...the barrel lugs are likely a little out of spec with the slide. If it refuses to go, it needs attention. If it goes with light pressure, it can be corrected by LIGHTLY scraping a small bevel on the
front corners of the barrel lugs, and a light break on the corners of the slide lugs. This creates a camming surface that helps the barrel lock into the slide.
After that, apply oil in the rails and coat the lugs and hand-cycle away.
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