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Convert ball gun to service pistol ammo

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Post by kruppd 6/15/2023, 1:29 pm

I have a .45 "hard ball gun" built by Jerry Bentz in Michigan, over 30 years ago, Springfield pistol with Colt MKIV barrel, it's been in a safe the last 25 years. I got it out to make it into a bullseye service pistol. I put a new 19# main spring and tried recoil springs from 11# to 14# using Zero 185 JHP with 3.6 to 4.0 of BE powder, no real difference with different powder charge. The first round will chamber but when firing the bullet hits the face of the barrel and stops, see pic's attached. Also tried zero lead semi-wadcutter with the same results. I have tried the military style magazines which came with he pistol and work for ball ammo, Rock River magazines and Wilson magazines, no effect on performance. At 14# recoil spring I start getting occasional stovepipe/FTE. I have ordered an EGW magazine catch which will raise the magazine .020" to see if this helps but don't have it yet. I'm a 40+ year machinist but not a gunsmith, so I can probably fix it if I had an idea what to do. Any suggestions are welcome. 
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Post by toddcfii 6/15/2023, 1:42 pm

I had a similar problem on an old Sig going from ball ammo to HP. Answer was to “dish” out the feed ramp. Don’t know if that applies to a 1911.
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Post by DA/SA 6/15/2023, 1:47 pm

The distance between the barrel feed ramp and the frame feed ramp may not be correct, or the barrel is not bedding properly when the slide retracts.
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Post by bruce martindale 6/15/2023, 2:31 pm

Try different magazines before cutting anything. While you're at it, don't cut anything anyway.

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Post by Jon Eulette 6/15/2023, 3:16 pm

Most likely the barrel ramp needs set back and checked to make sure its fully dropping down onto the frame when in full recoil. Those bullets are notorious for needing a perfect transition from the barrel feed ramp to the barrel feed ramp. Can also be a magazine issue; when cartridge is being released from the magazine feed lips. Old school 230gr hardball was a forgiving cartridge to feed/chamber.
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Post by Froneck 6/15/2023, 5:11 pm

I had a similar issue after re-barreling a friend 1911 ball gun. He provided a Bar-sto Barrel and I other components including a Briley Bushing, my bronze trigger and shoe. I use a no radius on the corner of the lower lug when fitting the lower lug to the frame and slide. I had a box of ammo that I thought he gave me to test function and accuracy. Gun worked great but found it was not correct ammo! Friend brought over a box of his reloads. He was using Zero 185 JHP seated to 1.200 OAL same as AMU loads.
 When I tried his ammo it did the same thing as in the photos. Problem was the lips on the magazine did not allow ammo to rise high enough. Not wanting to alter the one magazine I had being it was New Wilson Combat Mag. I trimmed the Vertical angle on the lower barrel lug so as to allow the barrel to seat slightly forward. I also have found this to a be a problem with a rounded transition between the vertical and horizontal angles of the lower barrel lug. when using longer OAL loads.


Last edited by Froneck on 6/15/2023, 8:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by john bickar 6/15/2023, 5:38 pm

kruppd wrote:built by Jerry Bentz in Michigan

That is a name I have not heard in a long time.
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Post by kruppd 6/15/2023, 8:48 pm

Jerry was one of the big shooters of the past here in Michigan

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Post by john bickar 6/15/2023, 9:20 pm

kruppd wrote:Jerry was one of the big shooters of the past here in Michigan

I shot with him quite a bit in Northern Ohio in the 1990s.
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Post by kc.crawford.7 6/16/2023, 5:48 am

Try a different magazine.  It looks like the follower angle might not be right.
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Post by Froneck 6/17/2023, 4:40 pm

You might want to try pushing up on the magazine while the slide is released. If that help you can get a High Shelf Mag. Catch from EGW. If not you will need to let the barrel move forward more. A good photo of the lower barrel lug will help.

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Post by kruppd 6/19/2023, 12:30 pm

Froneck wrote:You might want to try pushing up on the magazine while the slide is released. If that help you can get a High Shelf Mag. Catch from EGW. If not you will need to let the barrel move forward more. A good photo of the lower barrel lug will help.
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Post by DA/SA 6/19/2023, 12:54 pm

A coupe things to keep in mind:

I believe that .100"-.110" is the minimum on the lower leg thickness.

Altering that may also require a different link length.
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Post by Jon Eulette 6/19/2023, 1:05 pm

Your pic shows the bullet tip getting knife edged by the bottom of the barrel feed ramp. 99.9% of the time it’s because the barrel feed ramp is too long putting it too close to the receiver feed ramp. Most likely no magazine will correct the issue because by design the bullet should hit the receiver feed ramp and bounce/slide up the feed ramp and transition to barrel feed ramp. You’re not getting the transition, the bullet tip is getting stuck at the bottom edge of the barrel feed ramp. Setting back barrel feed ramp alleviates this. 
Also if barrel not fully resting/bedding on receiver during full recoil leaves a gap that bullet tip will get caught on.
Shorter OAL cartridges because of shorter bullets can be affected by the release timing of magazine feed lips: release too early, too late and on time. Those bullets are the hardest to initially get to feed reliably than any other bullet. Zero 185 jhp has similar issue of skipping receiver ramp and driving straight into the barrel bottom edge of feed ramp. Setting barrel ramp back fixes this; it gets the side of the bullet to engage receiver ramp pushing bullet tip up to barrel feed ramp and feeding smoothly. The cast bullet being softer necessitates doing this.
200 gr bullets are typically forgiving in this regard.
Jon
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Post by Jon Eulette 6/19/2023, 1:06 pm

Add a pic of barrel resting on receiver (no slide) with slide stop inserted. Looking for pic of gap at receiver to barrel.
Thanks
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Post by kruppd 6/19/2023, 1:23 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:Add a pic of barrel resting on receiver (no slide) with slide stop inserted. Looking for pic of gap at receiver to barrel.
Thanks
Jon
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Post by Jon Eulette 6/19/2023, 1:31 pm

Thanks for pics.
Can you get a rough measurement of the flat portion at top of receiver ramp to start of barrel ramp?
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Post by kruppd 6/19/2023, 2:08 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:Thanks for pics.
Can you get a rough measurement of the flat portion at top of receiver ramp to start of barrel ramp?
Jon

Jon, it's difficult to measure as the top of the frame is a bit radiused but .015 is what I can measure. If I include the radius at the top of the frame its near "0"

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Post by Jon Eulette 6/19/2023, 2:22 pm

Ok thanks. Should be about 0.030. Very common to see this on older ball guns.
Barrel needs setback and rethroated/ramped.
My 2 cents.
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Post by kruppd 6/19/2023, 2:31 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:Ok thanks. Should be about 0.030. Very common to see this on older ball guns.
Barrel needs setback and rethroated/ramped.
My 2 cents.
Jon

When you say setback, means move barrel forward about .015?, I can TIG weld the back of the barrel lug and machine it to move the barrel forward?

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Post by Jon Eulette 6/19/2023, 2:39 pm

You don’t want to move barrel forward. Cut/remove 0.015 of the barrel ramp increasing the gap/space.
I will PM
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Post by Froneck 6/20/2023, 9:32 pm

Looking at the lower lug photo the Link is lifting the barrel, the leading edge to the lock-up is rounded too much. I don't use any rounding at all! It's not the best fix but it will let you know if it's causing the problem. Put a round file in link and remove material until slide stop pin hits The vertical section of the lower lug. However that large radius will cause problems, You probably have to get the barrel welded or replaced.
Photo is a good example of how NOT to do the lower lug!

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Post by Cmysix 6/22/2023, 4:43 pm

I am sorry, I was under the impression that 230 grain FMJ was 230 grain jacketed "ball ammo" just like it says on the ammo cans it comes in, same with 5.56 MM "ball ammo"
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Post by Froneck 6/22/2023, 7:04 pm

.45 Ball ammo is the same physical size as the Army ball ammo in the ammo cans. Velocity night be slightly different between makers. But he's not using "Ball" ammo. Ball ammo was easier to load and forgiving as to cambering a loaded round from the magazine. 185gr JHP is quite different.

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