Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

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Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by bdas on Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:05 pm

Just got a new Springfield Range Officer in .45 ACP a few weeks ago.  It's my first 1911, and my first .45.  I shot it stock, and it was fine.  I replaced the ILS with a regular mainspring housing.  When using a 23# hammer spring in the regular mainspring housing, and the stock (16#) recoil spring, I didn't have any ejection issues, although the trigger was pretty heavy (gauge says 6lbs, but feels heavier than that to my finger).  Fellow shooters with 1911 (and bullseye) experience suggested using a 19# hammer spring.  Having read that when you want to use a lighter hammer spring, you should also use a heavier recoil spring to avoid battering the gun, when I put in the 19# hammer spring, I also put in a Wolff 17.5# variable-power recoil spring.  Since that change, it's having problems ejecting the last round's casing.  Sometimes it just dribbles out.  Sometimes it ejects in strange directions (like it's getting smacked by the slide).  And sometimes the slide catches the casing, similar to a stovepipe, but the casing ends up jammed between the top of the magazine and the front of the ejection port on the slide, which is a pain to clear because the mag won't eject, and the slide is locked back and doesn't want to move (and it mangles the brass casing pretty badly, too).

Happens with both magazines I have (stock SA mags that came with the gun). Currently using factory ammo (CCI Blazer Brass 230gr and Winchester Target 230gr) for break-in, and to avoid "it's the ammo" issues while making small initial changes like these springs.

Yes, I realize that switching the springs back to stock might fix the problem, since it only started happening after that change, and I'm going to try that next chance I get to confirm/deny.  But, clearly, lots of people use lighter hammer springs and heavier recoil springs and don't have last round ejection problems.  Obviously I want to fix my gun, but I'm asking here partly because I'm confused and curious as to how or why changing the springs would cause last-round-only ejection issues (or is the timing just coincidence, and the last-round-FTEs have nothing to do with the spring change?).

I didn't find anything similar searching this forum.  Searches of other forums
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-230205.html
https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=239824
http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=105779
suggest that it's most likely an extractor tension problem (not enough tension to hold the case when no round at top of mag, helping to hold it up), or that you can fix it with a rounded (as opposed to flat) mag follower (because it helps to hold the case up, like a following round would), or that it's really an issue with the ejector length/shape (not ejecting the case soon enough, so the slide catches/hits it).  That's a lot of "could be"s, and none of them involve the poundage of the hammer or recoil springs.  So, any advice or suggestions are welcome.

Thanks,
Dave

bdas

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by james r chapman on Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:26 pm

Put your 16# spring back in and see what happens.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by KevinB on Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:26 pm

Isn't the obvious next step to put the stock recoil spring back in and test it out.  No need for a 17.5# spring.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by Christopher Miceli on Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:32 pm

james r chapman wrote:Put your 16# spring back in and see what happens.
+1 on 16 recoil spring.  For a lighter trigger pull get the roll trigger kit from KC and tune your sear spring. Or send the pistol to KC or another qualified Bullseye gunsmith and make a it a hardball/wadgun.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by Dr.Don on Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:41 pm

Agree with Chapman and Kevin. Put the 16# spring back in and leave the 19# mainspring in place.  The very large majority of the work done by the slide in recoiling is done against the recoil spring.  The mainspring affects this slightly, but has a much larger affect on the trigger pull.  Also, I don't personally care for variable power recoil springs.  While the amount of pressure needed to fully compress a normal spring and a variable power spring are the same, the energy expended (work done) getting there is NOT the same in the two cases because the "spring constant" of a variable power spring is not in fact a constant.  That's too much physics for most of us on here, but what it means at bottom line is that replacing a normal spring with an equally rated variable power spring will not yield the same results.  They are different, and some experimentation is usually needed.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by dronning on Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:56 pm

Dr.Don wrote:Agree with Chapman and Kevin. Put the 16# spring back in and leave the 19# mainspring in place.  
+1

Words to live by:
Whenever things go to shit, change it all back to when things worked.

This is a good example of why you should only change one thing at a time, especially with a gun that isn't broke in yet.  You changed 3 things: 1) mainspring weight, 2) recoil spring weight, 3) recoil spring type.  Also I have never had a gunsmith tell me that you better put in a heavier recoil spring if you lighten your mainspring a couple of lbs.

Add me to the list that don't like variable power springs, a standard 17.5 will yield a different result.  

Mainspring impact on trigger weight is very small (if you have a good trigger job).  When I changed from 23lb to a 19lb mainspring my trigger weight changed less than 1/4lb.

There are allot of bullseye shooters running a 13lb recoil spring and a 19lb mainspring with their bullseye loads.

Enjoy the new gun.

- Dave

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by bdas on Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:00 pm

First of all... thanks to everyone who replied.  The consensus is clearly that I should go back to the stock 16# recoil spring, but leave the 19# mainspring.  I'll try that (but possibly not until after the holidays), and report back how it works.

It's interesting that nobody here thinks it's the extractor tension.

It's educational that nobody thinks the 19# hammer spring is to blame.

To Christopher Miceli - it will eventually become a wad gun with a red dot and a grip that fits my hand, but I don't have the $ to deck it out fully up front.  For now, I'm ordering a C&S sear spring that claims to reduce the pull 1.5lbs, and also a Wolff sear spring in case I prefer to bend it to my preference.

To Dr. Don - I was thinking that a lighter recoil spring might catch the case like this, but am having a hard time seeing how a heavier one could.  But your reminder that, since this is a variable-power spring, it's hard to predict it's behavior, is probably spot-on.  Thank you.

To dronning - I actually only changed 2 things at once.  I shot it (with no ejection issues) after changing the ILS out to a normal mainspring housing.  And then I changed the 2 springs.  And the only reason I changed the recoil spring is because I've read on this bullseye forum, that if you lower the hammer spring weight, you should use a stronger recoil spring, to compensate for the resulting loss in resistance to the slide cycling (to avoid battering the gun).  But I'll be changing back to the 16# recoil spring for now, and see how that goes.  Thanks for all the advice.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by BE Mike on Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:07 pm

It could be extractor tension. I had the same problem once and tuned the extractor. It solved my problem.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by dronning on Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:25 pm

bdas wrote:To dronning - I actually only changed 2 things at once.  I shot it (with no ejection issues) after changing the ILS out to a normal mainspring housing.  And then I changed the 2 springs.  And the only reason I changed the recoil spring is because I've read on this bullseye forum, that if you lower the hammer spring weight, you should use a stronger recoil spring, to compensate for the resulting loss in resistance to the slide cycling (to avoid battering the gun).  But I'll be changing back to the 16# recoil spring for now, and see how that goes.  Thanks for all the advice.

bdas
I was referring to the 2 springs, the variable recoil spring counts as 2, anything that is different counts as an additional change.  
You changed
1) 19lb mainspring.
2) Recoil spring weight from 16lb to 17.5.
3) Recoil spring type from standard to variable.
A standard 17.5lb spring may have worked just fine.  Understanding that may save you some grief down the road.  I learned that lesson racing snowmobiles and motorcycles.  Parts from different Mfg. even with the same specs don't always give the same results.  With sled and bikes it was especially true with clutch springs, ramps, rollers and friction plates.

- Dave

Could you have an extractor problem?  Don't know, maybe both the extractor and ejector need to be tuned, many off the shelf guns do.

Link to 'Understanding the 1911 Extractor Test'  NOTE this is for field/service guns but applies to all 1911's.
http://modernserviceweapons.com/?p=131

if needed - Weigand Extractor Adjusting Tool 1911

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by rreid on Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:31 pm

If it's just the last round that's not ejecting you might try a magazine with a round top follower like metalform or a 7 round Wilson.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by Rich/WIS on Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:18 am

FWIW I replaced the ILS on my RO with a regular one with a 19# spring and the recoil spring with a14# spring. It functions fine using a 214 gr LSWC backed by 4.0 grains of Bullseye with this set up. The lighter mainspring did reduce pull weight but only about 1/4 pound.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by bdas on Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:40 am

dronning wrote:
Link to 'Understanding the 1911 Extractor Test'  NOTE this is for field/service guns but applies to all 1911's.
http://modernserviceweapons.com/?p=131

if needed - Weigand Extractor Adjusting Tool 1911

Thanks for the link to the extractor test.  Interesting read, and interesting comments.  I've always heard that you shouldn't let the slide slam closed on an empty chamber with a 1911; I think that's the first time I've heard someone suggest it was ok to do it occasionally.

I haven't forgotten to reply with the results of switching back to the stock 16# recoil spring.  I didn't have a chance to shoot it yet.  I had surgery last week, so it'll be another week or so before I can shoot the Range Officer again.

bdas

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by bdas on Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:07 pm

Ok. I had a chance to shoot it with the stock 16# recoil spring, but leaving the 19# hammer spring in place.  It ejects fine with this combination.  The casing from that last round in the magazine jumps into the brass catcher with all the others.

So, to everyone who suggested going back to the stock 16# recoil spring, you were correct.  And to everyone who replied with any suggestions, thank you.

As a side note... after confirming that the 16# recoil spring fixed the ejection problem, I put in the Cylinder & Slide Sear Spring (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/188154/cylinder-and-slide-sear-spring-1911), and that, combined with the 19# hammer spring, has reduced the trigger pull to ~4.6lbs according to my gauge.  Well worth the $9 for me.  Time to get back to practicing.

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by james r chapman on Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:10 pm

I'm often guilty of changing 12 things at once only to be unable to figure out which one fixed or created the.problem

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

Post by Tim:H11 on Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:11 pm

james r chapman wrote:I'm often guilty of changing 12 things at once only to be unable to figure out which one fixed or created the.problem

Recently guilty of that myself! lol!

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Re: Range Officer - trouble ejecting last round

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