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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Wilson Combat 1996A2 that I purchased NIB in '96. It's been a great performer, but there has been one curious problem. I'm not even sure if it *is* a problem, but here goes....

When I'm practicing with cheap dummy rounds, I occassionally get screwball misfeeds (this is not the problem I'm talking about). I realize that this is due to the fact that I'm trying to feed beat up plastic with brass base/rim Armsport dummy ammo through POS Shooting Star mags (my beat up dry fire practice mags). I take advantage of this to practice malfunction clearance.

Well, tonight I had a malfunction because I didn't properly seat the magazine (my fault). The round was too low for the extractor to bite on it, so I dropped the mag and, in the heat of the moment, cycled the slide, letting the round drop out the magwell, but causing the slide to drop on an empty chamber. End result was the slide slammed home on an empty chamber (ouch! -- my fault again...). I always try and avoid that, but figure the gun must be designed to handle a few of these throughout its lifetime. Fine. Reload, TAP, RACK and BANG.

But, I noticed that the hammer followed the slide down on the empty chamber. Come to think of it, this has happened one or two other times throughout the past four years during similar drills. Always practicing with the dummy rounds, and always when I've screwed up and racked the slide on an empty chamber. The slide has admittedly been dropped on an empty chamber, either carelessly by myself or by my friends probably fewer than 15 times.

The hammer following the slide has NEVER happened on the range, with live ammo, or during firing. It has ALWAYS happened with these dummy rounds during clearance drills and when the slide was manually racked on an empty chamber. When I've had friends handle the gun and drop it from slide lock (what everyone seems to automatically do with semiautos -- must drive gun shops nuts), the hammer remains cocked. I've since come to explain that as one of the golden rules of 1911's. And be more careful myself in the heat of practice drills.

I'm curious as to whether this is a symptomatic of using light dummy rounds, or possibly me short stroking the slide. This is such an isolated problem, this latest occurrance is driving me nuts.

I trust the gun and do not believe it is a result of a worn sear, dangerously light trigger pull (box stock WC 4.5 pound pull), or 1,000's of drops on an empty chamber. But, then again, I really don't know what it is....

Anyone else even have anything like this happen?
 

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Do you drop the slide on these dummy rounds?
I mean, do you drop the slide with a dummy round in the chamber already?...just curious.
It's an interesting problem...


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I am assuming that the hammer is following to half cock and not going all the way down? Is there adequate take up and overtravel? Your friends' slide slamming episodes leads me to believe that all this is OK.

Short stroking is possible I guess, even tho' the hammer is cocked in about 3/4" of slide travel. If I had to guess, this would be it. Trying to rack the slide really really fast sometimes will result in not getting a good grip.......

Hammer going to half cock on an empty chamber is somewhat typical for really light pulls, like 16-32 oz IPSC guns, usually don't see it on a 4.5# trigger. If it doesn't do it consistently, tough to put a handle on.

Frustrating, isn't it?

Rich

Originally posted by JacRyan:
But, I noticed that the hammer followed the slide down on the empty chamber. .....The hammer following the slide has NEVER happened on the range, with live ammo, or during firing. .......
I'm curious as to whether this is a symptomatic of using light dummy rounds, or possibly me short stroking the slide. This is such an isolated problem, this latest occurrance is driving me nuts.
 

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It sounds to me that you are short cycling the slide. The practice of dropping the slide from the locked position on an empty chamber should be discontinued as this will ruin a good trigger job. I realize you do not have a light match trigger pull but I would still recommend not to do this.
Regards,Bob Hunter www.huntercustoms.com
 

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Discussion Starter #5
QUOTE: "Do you drop the slide on these dummy rounds? I mean, do you drop the slide with a dummy round in the chamber already?"

No. If I chamber load a round I load it, let the slide creep forward, then inch it back til the round slips under the extractor. I once thought the load and release method would be okay, but my friends on AR15.com set me straight.


QUOTE: "I am assuming that the hammer is following to half cock and not going all the way down?"

Yes.

QUOTE: "Is there adequate take up and overtravel?"

I'm afraid my lack of knowledge is showing through as I don't understand the question.

QUOTE: "The practice of dropping the slide from the locked position on an empty chamber should be discontinued as this will ruin a good trigger job."

Has been discontinued. Still sometimes happens during malfunction clearing and teaching friends at the range, thought. I guess I always thought that it had to do with the delicate barrel link. What does this bad practice REALLY do to your gun? (Ie., effects trigger by letting the sear vibrate around, etc.?) I guess I always knew it was bad, but always thought it had to do with the barrel link.

Thanks everyone.
 

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I was taught that it takes five hours to do a good trigger job the correct way and there is no short cuts. Most of this time is spent hand stoning the sear. When the slide is dropped on an empty chamber it bounces the sear against the hammer hooks which will damage the fine angles stoned on the sear and can possibly break or damage the hammer hooks. A good trigger job should break like a glass rod no matter what the pull weight is. If the sear or hammer hooks are damaged your trigger will feel as though it has a lot of creep in it. Also there is no reason for any smith to cut hooks shorter than .020 triggers can be set as light as 1.5 pounds with .020 hooks.
Regards,Bob Hunter www.huntercustoms.com
 

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If it really takes 5 hours to do a proper trigger job, there must be a lot of underpaid 'smiths or someone's taking shortcuts! Most trigger jobs come in below or around $100, I sure wouldn't work 5 hours for that kind of money!
 

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Don't delay - send it to Wilson for repair.

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J Damien Scott
Las Vegas, Nevada
Main Duty Gun:Kimber Classic Custom with Wilson 47D magazines.
Deep Concealment Gun: Kahr P9
 

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Discussion Starter #9
QUOTE: "Don't delay - send it to Wilson for repair."

That's assuming there's something wrong with it. Just had it out on Saturday and put 300 rounds through it without a hitch. What do you think the problem is? Worn sear (doubtful)?

Hmmm. Has anyone else had this problem?
 

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Maybe you're doing something differently with the loaded rounds than with the dummies...I think it has something to do with your "technique" while handling the pistol with the dummies...

Do you load the pistol from slidelock by pressing the slide stop lever? If so, that's one thing different than the way you handle dummy rounds. Why not handle the dummies the same way you do live rounds?
If this works let us know...

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I have come to the conclusion that hammer fall on empty chamber is caused by the trigger bouncing backwards thus engaging the sear and eventually the hammer. This will not happen during live firing because the trigger is held firm by finger and disconnected from sear by disconnector. One very uncomplicated way to slow trigger bouncing is to bend middel arm on sear spring a bit more foreward.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
QUOTE: "Why not handle the dummies the same way you do live rounds?"

I do. I'm talking about this in the context of a rapid malfunctions drill where the slide inadvertantly slams closed on an empty chamber.

I think I'll ship a link to this thread over to Wilson Combat and see what they think.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I'll let you know what WC thinks!!
 

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Probably a good idea...I'm still not hearing you correctly...You sound like you know what you're doing. The guessing isn't much fun as all we have to go on is cyber space...Perhaps the Wilsons can help you...Good luck...

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Sounds like the sear spring is set too light on the sear. The sear spring is the arm on the far left. Don't bend the middle one forward unless your disconnector (trigger reset) doesn't "click" when you release the trigger after firing - you will needlessly make your trigger pull heavier and not really solve the problem.

The hard part with this question and many others is that we can't actually examine the gun and determine the true problem.


[This message has been edited by James P (edited 04-11-2001).]
 

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Hey James P....Do you grock the malfunction drill part of this? Sounds like just a smack on the slide is causin' the same thing....Your sear spring idea, makes me think there's not much pressure there or it's gradually losing tension...You too?



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[This message has been edited by gyp_c (edited 04-11-2001).]
 

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Grock? What are ya askin me Gyp_c?

I believe he is practicing regular tap/rack/ready drills. In any case, hammer shouldn't follow after dropping on an empty chamber or when you bang the gun in any fashion.

If the tension on the sear is too light, the bump can cause it to jump out of engagement. The middle leaf has no effect on holding the sear against the hammer. The middle leaf is too light when the disconnect/trigger will not reset OR if an obvios "click" is not heard on reset.

All this is assuming that the hammer/sear engagement is correct. I think it is because the gun will funtion normally while firing which would indicate that the chambering cartridge cushions the blow just enough to keep the sear from jumping out of engagement.

Obviously, I would have to get my hands on it to be sure. This is an odd coincidence as I just fixed one last week that had the exact same problem. I can even set one up to do the same exact thing if you guys wanna come over for a soft drink later.
 

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More on the drill.

I usually mix dummies up with live rounds in the magazines. WHile firing, the gun will eventually chamber a dummy. You pull the trigger - no bang (simulates a dud round OR situation where gun failed to feed a round from the magazine).

Your repsonse.

1. TAP the magazine into the gun as in smack it up into the magwell to make sure it is firmly seated (in case you failed to properly insert during loading).

2. Rack the slide to either eject the dud OR to strip a round out of the NOW properly inserted magazine.

3. Ready - should be good to go.

Practicing this drill and a couple others will help you quickly respond in an actual shooting situation when your gun malfunctions (as Murphy will make sure it does).

As always, practice will dummy ammo first, then go with live ammo mixed with dummies, and finally, go slow until you are comfortable with what you are doing.

[This message has been edited by James P (edited 04-11-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here's what WC said (they responded within 24 hours):

QUOTE:
"It sounds like your sear spring need to be adjusted. You can send the pistol in and we can make the adjustment for you. After reading the posts on 1911 forum, I believe that you now know not to drop the slide on a empty chamber. If you have any more questions or if you need to send in your pistol, please give us a call 800-955-4856.

Thanks

Todd
Wilson Combat"


Oh, and again, I've pretty much always known not to drop the slide on an empty chamber. My friends haven't and I've mussed up couple of malfunction drills resulting in it happening.

Thanks everyone. Is there a way I can look at the sear spring and tell it it's too loose? Or should I just suck up the $40 shipping fees and send it back to WC? I want to have a warranty on the back side of this problem.
 

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You can slightly bend it forward until the gun functions properly. You should try and bend it right where the left arm of the spring (sear leaf) joins to the main spring body at the bottom. Very little bend should be needed to make it stay back when closing on an empty chamber - go SLOW. To test it, YES, lock the slide back and drop it on an empty Chamber. If it will stay back after two consecutive drops, you got it.

EDIT: Whether you suck up the fees or do it yourself is up to you. Depends on how well you trust yourself to take it apart, bend it correctly, and put it back together as compared to being without it for a while. Good thing about sending it in is that they SHOULD make sure everything else is good while they are in there in case it isn't the sear spring (but sure sounds like it is).




[This message has been edited by James P (edited 04-12-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Actually, a few days ago I finally took Bill Wilson up on his challenge (heck, he sent me the book, "101 Ways to Get in Over Your Head Breaking Your 1911 Down."

Now, I've been breaking the slide, extractor, firing pin down for a while now, but haven't had the courage to try the frame. Guess what? With Wilson's book (more like a big instruction booklet), it was EASY. Can't believe what a truly simple, yet ingenious design the 1911 is!! Once the spring tesion is gone from the system (i.e., mainspring housing), everything else is easy to pop out and pop back in.

I was really astounded at how easy this was. I contemplated giving the sear spring a little tweak, but was concerned about the Wilson warranty. Anyone know if I'd void it by doing a little home gunsmithing?

BTW, even when practicing malfunction drills with the offending dummy ammo, I have not had a problem with the hammer dropping to half-cock. Seems this only happens every few years or so, just to keep my on my toes.
 
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