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45 Rounds are Not Cycling Correctly

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45 Rounds are Not Cycling Correctly Empty 45 Rounds are Not Cycling Correctly

Post by Orion Sat Feb 11, 2023 6:53 pm

My reloads have not been extracting in the last month or so. 

My loads: 3.9, 4.0, 4.1 grain of WST using Berry's SWC, 1.19 OAL (+- 0.003), crimped at 0.470 (+- 0.001), with WSP Primers. 

  • I believe there was a time when 3.9 worked in my pistol and cycled correctly - now the round does not cycle. 
  • I recreated the 4.1 load that I've shot hundreds of and they are not cycling correctly. 
  • Nearly all of these rounds (between 3.9 and 4.1 grain) stovepipe, do not eject (pictured), or do not eject and the slide does not come all the forward showing 1/4" of full length guide rod. 
  • I performed an extractor test to see if a shells falls loose or holds onto the extractor and to my untrained eye the extractor doesnt appear loose. 
  • I replaced the recoil spring with 10 and 14 pound springs, no change there
  • Tried using a new magazine, no change in result
  • I also tried using different brass; match grade brass vs range brass


I took pictures of the typical bad-feed and the extractor. If the problem is the extractor, can I purchase an extractor and use it as a drop-in or do I need to get this fitted? The extractor in my LBC is fitted. 

Also, thinking about giving this to a gunsmith in Houston to troubleshoot for a weekend. Any recommendations?
45 Rounds are Not Cycling Correctly D958c511

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Are there any tests that I should try to narrow the potential problem?

Thanks


Last edited by Orion on Sat Feb 11, 2023 8:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by only_8_ring Sat Feb 11, 2023 7:59 pm

Sounds like you've done the troubleshooting on the ammo, and I don't think that's your issue. I'll throw out some ideas to help you narrow down the problem.

A couple of things have to happen to get an empty brass case out of the way for the next one to enter.
- The extractor has to grab the case rim, and it looks like that is working fine.
- The ejector has to kick the left side of the cartridge as the action cycles to get it to flip out of the gun. How's your ejector looking? Is it looser on the frame than you remember? Is it damaged?
- The empty cartridge has to physically make its way out of the slide/breech area. Did you mount a new rail on your slide or maybe a new optic? Check and see if your brass can physically make it out of the gun. I can see some dents on your optic right above ejection port, but not that many. New optic?

Besides all of that, what have you changed on your gun since you last got that load to work? 

If it ends up being your optic getting in the way, this can sometimes be fixed by changing where exactly your ejector makes contact with the side of the casing to eject the spent brass.

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Post by RodJ Sat Feb 11, 2023 9:03 pm

Like 8 ring, I think the ejector and those other items need consideration.  Also a good cleaning of the extractor tunnel would help if it hasn’t been.  In general, I assume the gun is already clean and lubed. 

Is this 100% consistent problem or erratic?

Are these exact same loads as worked before? I haven’t used Berry’s in years but the shoulder looks way too far out of the case to my eye.  That’s maybe a different issue. 

Will it eject a single round (empty mag)?

Will it feed and hand eject dummy rounds of the same load?  If you place a fired case in the breech and insert a loaded mag, can you hand cycle and eject?

Soon the gunsmiths will enter, but the answers to those questions will help.

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Post by Allgoodhits Sat Feb 11, 2023 9:35 pm

How has outside out side (shooting) temperature changed from when the load worked vs now when it doesn't work? My guess is that the temperature has dropped, or the powder measure is dropping less powder. Confirm powder charge is what it is supposed to be. If that checks out, increase the powder charge a couple tenths. Are you using a different oil from when the load previously worked? Different primers? Are you using the same optic as before? Weight matters. Based on photo, the barrel looks dry. Something has changed. Leave no rock unturned.
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Post by Boxturtle Sat Feb 11, 2023 10:01 pm

Forgive me for asking the obvious, but are you sure there is no buildup of gunk anywhere?  That can slow the slide and cause the problem you describe.
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Post by chopper Sat Feb 11, 2023 10:58 pm

Orion, your extractor looks a bit different to me. I haven't seen a positioning pad tapered in that direction on a 45, and I don't see a middle pivoting pad for it to create extractor tension. Take the slide off and remove the barrel, then slip a load under the extractor, move the slide around lightly, the extractor should hold the cartridge in the slide. Have you tried to tension the extractor more?
 I'm not saying it couldn't be something else, but there's a red flag with the looks of that extractor for me.
 There is a little tuning when putting in an extractor like radiasing the tensioning wall, both hook sides and then polishing those areas. That would get you started in the right basic direction. 
 Good luck to you.
 Stan

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Post by Olde Pilot Sat Feb 11, 2023 11:26 pm

That's a goofy looking extractor. If the gun worked fine when last shot, then look for something broke. Check the tip of the ejector and be sure extractor tunnel is not gummed up.

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Post by Orion Sun Feb 12, 2023 12:05 am

only_8_ring wrote:- The ejector has to kick the left side of the cartridge as the action cycles to get it to flip out of the gun. How's your ejector looking? Is it looser on the frame than you remember? Is it damaged?
- The empty cartridge has to physically make its way out of the slide/breech area. Did you mount a new rail on your slide or maybe a new optic? Check and see if your brass can physically make it out of the gun. I can see some dents on your optic right above ejection port, but not that many. New optic?

Besides all of that, what have you changed on your gun since you last got that load to work? 

If it ends up being your optic getting in the way, this can sometimes be fixed by changing where exactly your ejector makes contact with the side of the casing to eject the spent brass.

Thanks for the feedback. I didn't think to look at the optic.

The ejector looks good, it is not loose nor damaged. 
The slide mount was installed long ago, however the optic is new. I recently replaced it with a Ultradot 30mm gen 1. It is almost exactly in the same position as the ultradot once was. Dummy rounds and empty brass can make it out of the pistol just fine.

RodJ wrote:Like 8 ring, I think the ejector and those other items need consideration.  Also a good cleaning of the extractor tunnel would help if it hasn’t been.  In general, I assume the gun is already clean and lubed. 

Is this 100% consistent problem or erratic?

Are these exact same loads as worked before? I haven’t used Berry’s in years but the shoulder looks way too far out of the case to my eye.  That’s maybe a different issue. 

Will it eject a single round (empty mag)?

Will it feed and hand eject dummy rounds of the same load?  If you place a fired case in the breech and insert a loaded mag, can you hand cycle and eject?

Soon the gunsmiths will enter, but the answers to those questions will help.
 
I recently gave the extractor and the "tunnel" where it sits a thorough cleaning to eliminate that in my troubleshooting.
The problem is 95% consistent. The rounds tested most recently were proven loads that worked in the past. 
Both dummy rounds and empty brass eject just fine from the pistol w/ and w/o a magazine.


Allgoodhits wrote:How has outside out side (shooting) temperature changed from when the load worked vs now when it doesn't work? My guess is that the temperature has dropped, or the powder measure is dropping less powder. Confirm powder charge is what it is supposed to be. If that checks out, increase the powder charge a couple tenths. Are you using a different oil from when the load previously worked? Different primers? Are you using the same optic as before? Weight matters. Based on photo, the barrel looks dry. Something has changed. Leave no rock unturned.



The temperature has dropped significantly (-20 degrees) since this issue has been happening. I've increased the powder drop from 0.05, 0.1, and 0.2. 

Im not using a different oil nor different primers. The optic is new which it has replaced a generation 1 Ultradot 30mm, which is nearly the same as this dot. I'll try lubing it up a bit more before going to the range, Sunday.
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Post by Orion Sun Feb 12, 2023 12:09 am

chopper wrote:Orion, your extractor looks a bit different to me. I haven't seen a positioning pad tapered in that direction on a 45, and I don't see a middle pivoting pad for it to create extractor tension. Take the slide off and remove the barrel, then slip a load under the extractor, move the slide around lightly, the extractor should hold the cartridge in the slide. Have you tried to tension the extractor more?
 I'm not saying it couldn't be something else, but there's a red flag with the looks of that extractor for me.
 There is a little tuning when putting in an extractor like radiasing the tensioning wall, both hook sides and then polishing those areas. That would get you started in the right basic direction. 
 Good luck to you.
 Stan

This is the stock extractor that came with this pistol, a LBC National Match Hardball.
I tried the extractor test you mentioned and it passes. Here is another picture of the extractor. Please let me know what you think. 

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Post by jglenn21 Sun Feb 12, 2023 9:07 am

What's changed. ?

Weather is colder.

You changed dots( is the new dot heavier? Look at the specs)

Simple thing to try is run your crimp down to .463 on say 20 rounds and shoot them for a test.
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Post by Orion Sun Feb 12, 2023 9:44 am

jglenn21 wrote:
Simple thing to try is run your crimp down to .463 on say 20 rounds and shoot them for a test.

I crimped rounds down from 0.470 to 0.465 and didn't see a difference. I thought I did at first due to a small sample size. Is 0.463 more significant than 0.465? I'm read several recommendations specific to 0.463.
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Post by Dcforman Sun Feb 12, 2023 10:20 am

Changing one thing at a time might not make enough difference, but changing several things might...

Optic is 10 grams heavier. Weather is 20* cooler. WST has been pretty temp sensitive for me. Here's what I'd do...

1. Put in the 10# recoil spring.
2. Stick with 4.1 gr WST, load up a few at 4.2 and 4.3 just in case.
3. Crimp all the way to .463

Finally, you can't really use OAL when loading SWC bullets due to variation in nose shape and length. What's the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the bullet? Make sure this is around .920, +-0.005.

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Post by SingleActionAndrew Sun Feb 12, 2023 2:08 pm

He's using Berry's plated SWC. Still crimp to 0.463"?
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Post by Dcforman Sun Feb 12, 2023 2:30 pm

Essentially the same as coated, as far as I've read. But I've no personal experience. Perhaps someone else can chime in.

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Post by jglenn21 Sun Feb 12, 2023 3:04 pm

Always treated any plated bullet as lead
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Post by Wobbley Sun Feb 12, 2023 3:35 pm

Plated bullets only work if the plating is uncompromised.  It also isn’t very thick.  Berrys recommends a minimal crimp. 

https://youtu.be/4PpopVnN2tc
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Post by Dcforman Sun Feb 12, 2023 3:59 pm

Ah. There you go. So in that case, go to a 10# spring and up your charge until it cycles. 

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Post by chopper Sun Feb 12, 2023 7:49 pm

Orion, try a warm pistol and ammo with the same optic you had on before your trouble started. If that's not the problem and it's been doing this for a while more troubleshooting is needed. 
 Pull the recoil spring and cycle the slide slowly feeling for any hang ups or rough areas, do this a few times trying to find any problems. Try putting in a loaded magazine and cycle it slowly again to see if you can see if the magazines are releasing the cartridge too soon.
 You can try to eliminate problems yourself, but when you're exhausted get a good gunsmith that works on bullseye pistols. They can be worth their weight in gold.
 Stan

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Post by S148 Sun Feb 12, 2023 8:49 pm

Stovepipes have traditionally been thought to result from a weak load (slower slide speed). That might or might not apply here. If the new optic is heavier, that could contribute. 

With respect to the ammo, when I've chronographed plated and coated bullets with the same load, the plated bullets were significantly slower (roughly 40-50 fps). Thus the plated bullets would produce a lower recoil impulse.  Something to try is to up the powder charge by .2 to .4 to .5 grains and see if that helps.

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Post by Orion Sun Feb 12, 2023 11:08 pm

Dcforman wrote:Changing one thing at a time might not make enough difference, but changing several things might...

Optic is 10 grams heavier. Weather is 20* cooler. WST has been pretty temp sensitive for me. Here's what I'd do...

1. Put in the 10# recoil spring.
2. Stick with 4.1 gr WST, load up a few at 4.2 and 4.3 just in case.
3. Crimp all the way to .463

Finally, you can't really use OAL when loading SWC bullets due to variation in nose shape and length. What's the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the bullet? Make sure this is around .920, +-0.005.

Dave

I put in a 12 lb recoil spring and loaded up with 4.1 WST @ 0.463" SWC rounds. This configuration and load data worked today resulting in no misfires of 20 rounds. I think the main issue is that temperature change. 

I previously had 3.95, 4, and 4.1 WST with a 0.470" crimp rounds shoot effectively, but the temperature change has been fairly significant in the last couple months here in Texas. Does temperature effect powder this much, where powder is dependent on temperature at +- 0.1 and 0.02 grains? I also shot some BE @ 4.5 grains, which worked fine, but was a much hotter load than 4.0 of WST. The BE powder consistency seems less bothered by environmental factors than WST.

Thanks all for the feedback.

What powder would you recommend that's consistent throughout the year for softer loads with Zero/Brazos lead bullets? If the issue is actually contributed to the temperature as I'm seeing, WST cost me ~2 months of training, because I've been troubleshooting 45 for ~2 months, not training.
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Post by Steve in Allentown Sun Feb 12, 2023 11:21 pm

Orion wrote:Are there any tests that I should try to narrow the potential problem?
Yes indeed there is a test that will be definitive.  You will find it described in this THREAD along with more information about fitting extractors than you ever wanted to know.

To address your other question about needing to fit a new extractor, the answer is yes.  A new extractor needs to be fit to the specific pistol for optimum functioning.
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Post by Dcforman Sun Feb 12, 2023 11:45 pm

I actually really like WST. Meters well, nice soft push. Now that you know that there's some temp sensitivity, just make sure you load up a couple tenths if you start having problems! That said, BE is pretty stable. Generally the equivalent BE load compared to WST is to go down 3 tenths. So 4.1WST=3.8BE.

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Post by Orion Sun Feb 12, 2023 11:53 pm

Dcforman wrote:I actually really like WST. Meters well, nice soft push. Now that you know that there's some temp sensitivity, just make sure you load up a couple tenths if you start having problems! That said, BE is pretty stable. Generally the equivalent BE load compared to WST is to go down 3 tenths. So 4.1WST=3.8BE.

Dave

Hi Dave, thanks for the insight here on WST to BE. I have a pound of BE stored away. I'll try 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8 to 3.9, 4, and 4.1 WST and see how that measures up. BE sticked less to metal and seemed less "powdery" than WST with the temperatures in the 40's this time of year. Thanks.
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