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Thread: Colt with factory mags doesn't have controlled feed

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  1. #1
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    Colt with factory mags doesn't have controlled feed

    I have a basically stock Colt 1991 Series 80 pistol that is about two years old. The magazines I use came with the gun and have hybrid feed lips. I experienced some extraction problems early on and decided to install a Cylinder and Slide extractor. It is properly tensioned, and the hook depth (0.035") and spacing to the breech face (0.085") seem reasonable.

    My problem is that the pistol doesn't operate with controlled feed. With the action spring removed and slowly moving the slide forward, the magazine releases the cartridge well before it even touches the extractor. Run slowly it pops out of the magazine and ends up in front of the extractor. If I operate the slide by hand at a fairly brisk rate (but still MUCH slower than a normal return to battery speed) the extractor picks up the round and the feeding is smooth.

    There is probably at least 0.050" gap between the case rim and the extractor at the magazine release point. I don't really notice much migration of the cartridge rim up the breech face as the round moves forward in the magazine.

    Am I battling bad factory mags, or is there something else I should look at? Thanks for any help.
    Last edited by ks_shooter; 11th September 2013 at 00:32.


  2. #2
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    Hello KS_Shooter: to the Forum!
    Quote Originally Posted by ks_shooter
    . . .the hook depth (0.035") and spacing to the breech face (0.085") seem reasonable.
    Those are both very close to the average values shown below:

    My problem is that the pistol doesn't operate with controlled feed. With the action spring removed and slowly moving the slide forward, the magazine releases the cartridge well before it even touches the extractor.
    In spite of what you may have read here or elsewhere (or been told), that is normal as seen below. . .



    . . .and hybrid lips will hold the rim a little bit farther down just prior to release.
    Run slowly it pops out of the magazine and ends up in front of the extractor. If I operate the slide by hand at a fairly brisk rate (but still MUCH slower than a normal return to battery speed) the extractor picks up the round and the feeding is smooth.
    That is also normal, as you are simply observing the feed lips "squirting" the cartridge ahead as they release the case rim. See the bevel on the aft edge of the case rim? That and the angle of the lips at the release point are the cause. It's normal operation for most 1911's when you get bored and attempt to make the gun work in slow motion. It won't eject very well in slow motion either.

    Q: How does the gun work when it's all put together, loaded with ammunition and actually fired?
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]
    Last edited by niemi24s; 11th September 2013 at 09:43.


  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. The pistol runs at about 95%, I would say. The most common failure is the slide locked back on the last round with a live cartridge loitering on the follower.

    It seems the impact of the slide at full backward travel is causing the magazine to lose control of the last round. I don't know if lack of controlled round feed is related, but I thought if a solved that it might help the other problem. The Colt mag has a flat dimpled follower.

    I thought the hallmark of controlled feed was slow operation upside down? My pistol wouldn't be able to do that. It works well if the slide is moving along, but doesn't hand off the case to the extractor. It sort of throws it at the extractor, which I thought was "sin" against Mr. Browning, lol.

  4. #4
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    Some pics:

    The feed lips:


    Round fully seated:



    Round at release point:



    Round on breech just before release, showing extractor gap:

  5. #5
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    I should add that in an attempt to solve my loose last round problem, both Colt mags have Wolff +5% springs installed. This seems to have reduced the occurrence of loose rounds, but did not eliminate them.

  6. #6
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    What writing do you see in the bottom of your mags? And is that writing I see on the side of the tube, in the magazine that's visible in the background, in the photo below?

    Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
    M. Setter
    Last edited by Spyros; 11th September 2013 at 13:16.


  7. #7
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    Are your mags 7 or 8 rounders?
    "Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you." --Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

  8. #8
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    I'm not at home right now so I can't check the writing.

    The mags are seven round.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ks_shooter
    The pistol runs at about 95%, I would say. The most common failure is the slide locked back on the last round with a live cartridge loitering on the follower.
    The usual causes of that are a weak magazine spring, recoil spring, mainspring or ammunition that's too powerful for those springs. Put two rounds under the magazine spring and if the feeding problem goes away, get new springs.

    Q2: What type of ammunition are you using?

    Q3: OK, so the magazines came with the gun and the gun's a Colt. But whether or not the magazines are actually Colt magazines depends upon where you got the gun. Where did you get the gun?

    This question asked because I recall hearing Colt provides both a 7 and 8 round magazine with their 5" guns.

    Q4: Was the gun new when you got it?

    Q5: Has anything other than installing a new extractor been done?

    And please answer Spyros's questions too.

    Regards
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]

  10. #10
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    I will try the magazine test and get the magazine markings when I have a chance. But I am traveling away from home for a few days. Probably should have waited to ask my question, huh? Lol.

    I am using Federal Champion 230gr ball ammo.

    I purchased the gun new from a dealer on Gunbroker. It came in a blue plastic Colt box with two mags. The mags do have a Colt logo, I remember that.

    I installed a short trigger since the A1 trigger was too long for me.

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