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Thread: Why is it so hard to seat the magazine and how do I fix it? (Magazine Catch)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    18th August 2012
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    Why is it so hard to seat the magazine and how do I fix it? (Magazine Catch)

    This is a follow-up to my original post with the same name.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown
    Ignoring the magazine catch for the time being . . .
    It's time to stop ignoring the magazine catch as a potential factor for difficult magazine seating. Once again we're looking to be able to fully seat a magazine using no more than the strength of single thumb.

    The magazine has to push the catch sideways. For this to happen the catch must be shaped appropriately. It is not unusual for a magazine catch to have geometry that doesn't allow a magazine to be pushed past it.

    In the left picture of the two below the red arrow is pointing at the area where repeated magazine contact has created a rough surface. If you look closely, you can also see the wear at the bottom of the catch caused by repeated magazine contact. No magazine from any manufacturer could be seated in this pistol even using a firm palm smack unless the catch was pushed inward.

    To solve this problem the first thing to do was to coat the entire area where magazine contact was possible with Dykem as shown in the right hand pic below. This is followed by repeatedly seating a magazine to scratch away the blue Dykem so you can see exactly where the modification needs to happen.


    Once I identified the problem areas, I roughed in a bevel where magazine contact was occurring as shown in the pic on the left below. I used a #2 cut file for this operation. This was followed by a #4 cut file, 320 grit sandpaper, 400 grit sandpaper, and a felt wheel in a dreaded Dremel tool. The result is shown in the right hand pic. The white arrow is pointing out the poor machining of the part.

    The end result of my efforts was the ability to seat the magazine with the use of a single thumb. It should be pointed out that each magazine catch may require a different degree of modification depending on how it was machined and which magazines are to be used. For example the Wilson, Tripp, and McCormick mags that I have on hand do not have the same relieved area on the right side of the magazine tube like CheckMate mags have to allow for easier insertion past the mag catch.


    Below is another mag catch that was modified. This one only required the edge of catch to be rounded. Note that the shelf that engages with the magazine slot is rounded at the extreme rear edge of the catch. This can also been seen in the pics above.


    In some instances a lighter than standard magazine catch spring will be needed to optimize magazine seating. Wolff Gunsprings offers a 5 spring assortment pak of these springs each of a different weight so you can use the one most appropriate for your circumstances. I've generally used the #2 spring. Be advised, using too light of a magazine catch spring will allow the magazine catch to move enough to allow the magazine to drop out of the pistol during live fire especially when firing hot loads.
    Last edited by Steve in Allentown; 23rd January 2023 at 14:44.


  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Thanks for posting this, Steve - especially with the nice clear pix. But. . .

    . . .could the problem have been due to a too-strong catch spring?
    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]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    18th August 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by niemi24s View Post
    . . . could the problem have been due to a too-strong catch spring?
    Always a possibility but it didn't feel excessively heavy to my thumb. On the other hand, the manufacturing of the part was not high quality as I point out at the white arrow. What should have been a flat surface below the magazine engagement ledge was actually concave which is why I worked on rounding and smoothing the bottom edge of the catch as seen in the pics. The very bottom pic in my post shows another mag catch that I modified but it didn't need to have the bottom edge rounded or smoothed.

    We all know that the weaker the magazine spring, the more likely it is to fail during live fire and drop the mag out of the pistol. Modifying the magazine catch as I did allows for easy mag seating without having to replace the typically heavy factory spring.

    Most 1911s that I've worked on don't need to have the mag catch modified to function half way decently but a little file work like I did will enhance them. As you say, a lighter mag catch spring like the ones made by Wolff may be all a specific catch needs to go from good to great.
    Likes (1) :
    Rick McC. (25th January 2023)

    Last edited by Steve in Allentown; 25th January 2023 at 14:38.


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