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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a very unusual failure to extract today on my low mileage (a bit under 2,000 rounds) Wilson Combat 1996A2. I understand that I'm at the point where Wilson recommends getting a new spring, but that doesn't seem to be the logical source of the problem here. Maybe you can give me some help here.

My friend, registered here as ThomasMagnum, was firing the gun with Wilson 47D mags and S&B ammo. The ammo came from Cheaper Than Dirt today in the same 1,000 round box that I believe CTD received it in. The gun was cleaned (actually detail stripped and cleaned) only a few weeks ago and this was the first firing since cleaning. It was lubed appropriately, with maybe an err to the excess.

I was picking up trash (doing my good deeds for the range) while he was shooting down range. He brought the FTE my attention. An empty case was stuck with the base of the case at the top of the breech and the mouth of the case at the rear of the chamber hood. It was stuck there forward facing with the slide closed on it. It looked like this (recreated later with the same case and dummy ammo):





The offending case:





There's nothing unusual about the case as I see it. The normal marks from the extractor are present on the rim. The rim is still fully intact.

I've heard of stove pipe FTE's before, but never this. What causes stove pipes? Is it the same cause on this FTE? Any chance this was just a random case that bounced back into the chamber? (We were NOT shooting around any obstacles, so it could not have bounced off anything other than the slide.)

And what *really* steams me here is that I brought my SIG P226 to the range to let ThomasMagnum shoot them back to back and convince him that he should get a 1911. Well, that SIG of mine was purchased back in '92 or '93, spent some time before that on a cops hip, and has been generally abused and neglected (I baby my 1911 a heck of a lot more than my SIG) by me for the better part of 8 years. In that time it has probably digested 1,000+ rounds. It has done it in the rain, sand, with little and lots of lube, mostly dirty (not that 9mm's get that dirty), crappy ammo and the good stuff. And not so much as blink. It's just sat there, shut up and shot the rounds, loading the next one before exclaiming vigorously, "MORE PT DRILL SERGEANT, MORE PT!!" And it's damn accurate.

Why the heck do I have to deal with this kind of crap from a $1,400 1911? Before this, the only problems that I've had with it were traced to improper break-in of the mags (i.e., new stiff springs) and bad out of spec ammo (Georgia Arms loosely packd Canned Heat).

My 1911 let me down today and I'm not sure how I'm going to take it. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Maybe I should just sell the darn thing and get a SIG P210....



PS I am very fond of the 1911 and have spent a lot of time and money finding one that would not let me down. I thought I found it. Maybe I'll feel better about it in the morning.
 

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Are you serious? 2000rds and it glitched when another shooter was shooting it, and as you stated the recoil spring should have been replaced. It looks like a weak wristed hold was being used also. I would replace the recoil spring and continue on. If it failed with you shooting, you might have a teeny weenie bit of complaint coming but not having followed the regular maintance recommened I don't think so. Sorry.

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plinker
 

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9 times out of 10 a stovepipe as you have recreated in your pics, is someone breaking their wrist during the recoil........

btw....i have fired over 6000rds since january and still have the same recoil spring. and its still working great.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies.
In retrospect I was fuming over nothing. I am *very* concerned when a firearms of mine has a malfunction and immediately try to determine the source of the malfunction. I realize my initial post was reactionary and unfair to Wilson Combat. I certainly did not mean to undermine the quality of their products or their customer service (which is superb).

I believe that the source of this problem was limpwristing by my friend. He's just started shooting this spring. I've never had a jam like this when firing the gun.

I also think that it's time for a new recoil spring. I don't believe that the recoild spring was a contributing factor in this FTE, but it is time. The FTE occurred on about round number 1,950-1,975. At the end of the range session, the gun had 2,041 rounds through it. It's time for a new recoil spring. I'll order a new 18.5 pound spring and a few spares today.

The gun has gone through 2 Shok Buffs. The first was the original that was changed at 1,096 rounds. It still looked like it was in very good shape. The second was taken out at 2,041 rounds. It was cut, but still intact. I'm sure that it was in worse condition than the first because the recoil spring was not as strong.

The problems that I've had with the gun came mainly from a Wilson 47T 10 round Bureacrat magazine (old style feed lips) and a stiff 47D 8 round magazine (old style feed lips as well). The first round would not always feed from slide lock with a fully loaded magazine. Wilson swapped the offending "old style" feed lip magazines for new ones at no charge. I have not had a single magazine related problem since.

I also had FTF's with Georgia Arms "Canned Heat" loosely packed newly manufactured 230 grain FMJ. I finally bought a micrometer and determined that about 5-10% of the rounds were 1.22" OAL. The mouth of the case was pronounced over the shoulder of the bullet and the first round from 8 rounds mags was getting hung up from slide lock. Wilson said that the OAL on FMJ's should ideally be 1.25", and no shorter than 1.24" for reliable feeding. Solution? Switched to Sellior & Bellot FMJ (recommended by Wilson) and if I ever *need* to shoot questionable ammo I'll only load 7 rounds in my 8 round mags.

In all fairness, these two problems were resolved before the 1,000 round mark and this FTE was the only malfunction in about 1,000 rounds. In the future I'll monitor the condition and length of my recoil spring better, checking it against the spares I'll keep on hand.

I should not have posted anything until the next day, and then asked questions instead of ranting. Ranting rarely gets anything useful accomplished. Asking questions frequently does. I've had a 1911 of one type or another for 6 years, but have put more rounds through my 1996A2 and AR15's since September of 2000 than I had the preceeding 5 years. I'm just now getting to know the 1911 intimately. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
 

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The same thread is up and running in Maintenance & Troubleshooting, so I'm closing this one. Post in only one forum in the future.
 
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