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Discussion Starter #1
First off, I am new to the 1911. :) I bought a used 1994 SA Compact for $350, haven't had the opportunity to shoot it yet. I bought hardball ammo and some 165 JHP CorBons to test for a carry load. The gun came with one SA 6rd magazine and an aftermarket 8rd magazine.

The hardball ammo works fine when cycling, but with the CorBons, I can't get the aftermarket to feed at ALL. With the SA magazine, if I put the loaded magazine in and drop the slide it will chamber a round. But whenever I rack it by hand in a controlled manner it jams. I took it to the gun shop and tried some Chip McCormick mags and some Colt mags and none of them would feed a round in any way, the same as my aftermarket mag.

Where do I start? Are the CorBons I mentioned notorious for jamming, or should I expect my 1911 to chamber most types of JHP at least most of the time (of course, ALL of the time for whatever ammo I settle on for CCW)? Any ideas?

Thanks!
 

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With the SA magazine, if I put the loaded magazine in and drop the slide it will chamber a round. But whenever I rack it by hand in a controlled manner it jams.
I'm not certain what you mean by "controlled manner" but I suspect that may be the problem. Insert a loaded mag, draw the slide all the way to the rear and let if fly. Do not attempt to "control" the closing.

Do not drop the slide (uncontrolled) on an empty chamber and do not chamber a round and attempt to drop the slide on it. The extractor design requires the rounds to feed upward from the mag.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice. I kind of figured that if it was OK with the full-force action that would naturally happen when firing, it would be OK for use, but a local gun shop told me that they thought that I should be able to keep my hand on the slide and rack it back and forth through a magazine without experiencing any jams. I guess that's not the case!

It was still jamming every time when dropping the slide on a McCormick mag. After ruining 2 CorBons by jams (bullet pushed into the case), I called a gunsmith. After talking with him, I found that the barrel is slightly overlapping the feed ramp. I'll take it to him tonight to get it fixed.

Didn't know about the extractor requiring magazine feed though! Thanks again...
 

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try the power ball CorBons...in 165gr.

they're pointed a little more than the reg. CorBons, they also have a plastic ball insert which makes them almost resemble ball ammo.
Might have better luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've thought about going to something like that. Actually, the Federal EFMJ's have REALLY impressed me in terminal ballistic performance. Hopefully though, the barrel fix will cure the problem... I'd rather not band-aid it by only shooting ball or ball-profile ammo. I don't think it's too much to ask for my gun to chamber standard hollow point ammo.
 

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Your gun is not being "fussy." Of course it FTFs when you ride the slide. That's like complaining that your car won't move when your foot's on the brake. Pull it back, let it go. If it FTFs when you do THAT, then you have a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
LOL good analogy... but the sad thing is that it doesn't feed when I let it go.

Bad news altogether. Being that this is my first 1911 and I did buy it used, I was hesitant to send it back to Springfield because I didn't know what gunsmithing work was done to it previously (besides the adjustable sights, ambi safety and beavertail grip safety). It would cost $35 each way to UPS it, and if work was done on the barrel or ramp they wouldn't cover it and I'd be out $75.

So I took it to a gunsmith last night. I guess the previous owner took it upon himself to 'polish' the feedramp so heavily that it didn't feed because of the barrel overlapping the ramp. Not leaving well enough alone, he removed some of the barrel ramp so it would feed. :mad: The gun now doesn't have enough chamber supporting the casing to fire safely, and to fix it properly I'd have to replace the barrel and have the feed ramp repaired. I don't want to put a LOT of money into a gun I only paid $350 for. Thank God I hadn't gotten around to shooting it yet, especially with the +P loads! What do you do with guns like this, strip the good parts off of it and chuck the rest into the river??
 

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Well, you can always sell it and get something else. At some point the SA Compact went to having the feed ramp on the barrel instead of the frame. You might want to give SA a call and see if it would be possible to have yours converted from the frame mounted feed ramp the the feed ramp on the barrel.

The extra bonus of this is that the feed ramp on the barrel is steel, whereas the feed ramp on the frame is going to aluminum, assuming you have an aluminum (alloy) frame. People have commented in the past about problems with hollowpoint ammo buggering up the aluminum feed ramps.

At any rate, give SA a call and see if it'd be possible to convert to the new style barrel with the integrated feed ramp as that'll fix both your barrel and ramp problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Nah, Clint, go ahead... what was it you were going to say? :D
 

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My thoughts: I have no idea to what extent the "pistolsmithing" affected the feeding of HP's, but remember that the 1911 paltform was never designed to feed HP's.

From what the smith said, it doesn't sound like you'd even want to shoot the pistol, but I've found that sometimes my Compact won't feed Fed HS's by simply locking the slide back and hitting the slide stop. On the range, they feed reliably.

I'd say you have a good gun, and it would be worth sending it to SA to get a new barrel fitted. Also remember that this model is not that easy to come by. I waited about 3 or 4 months for mine. Hell, a new barrel wouldn't cost all that much, and you'd still have less than about $550 in it. MSRP is almost $800.

Oh, and SA pays next day shipping both ways. AND their CS is second to none.

My advice: keep it!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Forster,

Now you got me thinking... and I was going to try to sell it today and use the cash to help pay for a Loaded Stainless 1911-A1.

I wasn't aware that SA will pay shipping both ways... is this confirmed to be true? That $35 each way was definitely part of the concern. I called them yesterday to see about getting a ramped barrel put in (which I'm not really excited about, I'd like it just the way it's supposed to be) and it would cost me at least $330 just in parts and labor to convert it and replace the barrel, maybe more.

I didn't know that this was a particularly difficult model to get? Wasn't it a standard production in 1994? If I could just get it safe and reliable I'd definitely keep it... but for a reasonable amount of money.
 

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Well, I was assuming that it already had a ramped barrel (as the new ones do). It still has the aluminum frame doesn't it? If so, I can't imagine it not having a ramped barrel (or maybe that's why they changed). It's kind of confusing because they always seem to be making changes. They also used to come with a standard recoil spring and guide rod, but now they have the dual captive spring design. Anyway, it all depends on how bad you want a compact. For me, it's THE perfect platform for a CCW. Officer's grip, the reliability of the 4" bbl, highly concealable.

It's just up to you I guess. They do still make the compact, but they only make a certain amount at a time, and my feeling is that there is usually a waiting list.

I had to send a pistol (not the compact) back three times, and they paid shipping there and back every time. Just make sure you go to a UPS or FedEx hub (not the UPS Store, etc), as they are the ones who can ship firearms. If you call SA, they should give you their UPS account # so you don't have to fool with recouping shipping costs.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #15
No, this one is a steel frame, parkerized one made in '94. Standard, non-ramped barrel. Which means that I can either:

1. Pay for a ramped barrel and the machine work needed to convert it.
2. Pay for the machine work to fix the ramp and put another standard barrel in it.

I know someone who has a 5" Colt Gold Cup National Match barrel that I can HAVE. It just needs cut down to 4" and recrowned. So if I go that route and have it done locally, I will have that small amount of machine work on the barrel plus whatever welding and re-machining of the feed ramp (needs to be sent away for that) to make it safe and hopefully new.

I wonder what effect on resale having a Colt Gold Cup NM barrel in it would have on resale value... if it's better to have a SA barrel in a SA gun...
 

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Diggler said:


I know someone who has a 5" Colt Gold Cup National Match barrel that I can HAVE. It just needs cut down to 4" and recrowned.
I don't know if that would work since the Compact uses a bushingless bull barrel design. Might make for an interresting experiment though if you have the time and money to throw at such a thing, but it doesn't sound like it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This Compact is different, it uses a normal bushing design rather than the bull barrel setup. It's not a Micro or Ultra Custom.

We've already put the barrel in to see if it would work, it fits almost perfectly, just needs a little machine work. Think I might try it since it's unsafe the way it is. Heck, I look at it as an upgrade.
 

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Diggler, I guess there were a number of changes made to the Compact--I wasn't aware they used a bushing barrel on the older models. Good stuff to know.
 
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