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New SA Lightweight

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I picked up a new SA lightweight fullsize today. Upon inspection at the gun shop, the slide frame fit was quite good, but the gun was DIRTY. I mean - BIGTIME. Grease and grime like I haven't seen on any new gun before.

Upon further examination I noticed several strange differences between this pistol and my older (and very reliable) SA full size 1911:
- This one is stamped "made in Brazil", my older reliable one is not
- This one has its feeding ramp as part of its barrel, my older reliable one has its feeding ramp as part of the frame
- This one's slide has no crisp edges on it, my older one has crisp edges. Oh well - this obviously won't affect reliability, I'll probably have it parkerized to make it look a bit better.
- The action on this one is a lot rougher than the action on my older reliable one.

I cleaned up the grease and grime on the gun with some Kroil, and oiled it well with CorrosionX. I didn't strip much past a basic strip - just took the grips off, thumb safety off, grip safety off to take out grease/grime and oil with CorrisionX.

I then tried an exercise I often try when I pick up a new gun and can't immediately hit the range with it. I load up some rounds on a magazine and attempt to chamber a round by fully racking the slide. I tried this a few times. I don't like what I saw: several tries were fine (but sounded "clunkier" than with my older SA 1911)... but one try dived the round into the feeding ramp, and one try came to rest about 1/4" out of battery. :bawling:

Well... I'll oil it more again tomorrow, and hope for the best... range report coming tomorrow evening.
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Xori Ruscuv said:
Upon further examination I noticed several strange differences between this pistol and my older (and very reliable) SA full size 1911:
- This one is stamped "made in Brazil", my older reliable one is not
- This one has its feeding ramp as part of its barrel, my older reliable one has its feeding ramp as part of the frame
- This one's slide has no crisp edges on it, my older one has crisp edges. Oh well - this obviously won't affect reliability, I'll probably have it parkerized to make it look a bit better.
- The action on this one is a lot rougher than the action on my older reliable one.
.
I don't have the fullsized lightweight, but have a LW compact that they discontinued a few years ago. Its been just as reliable as my other full sized steel models. It may not feel quite as sewing machine smooth, but with mine that could be somewhat to do with the fact that its a compact rather than full sized model. They really are alot lighter, thats for sure.

The ramp being part of the barrel not the frame is a good thing/desirable on an aluminum framed gun--you will see people who complain that the feed ramp is getting all chewed up on their aluminum framed models if its part of the frame, but if its part of the barrel, its steel, and no such worries.

Are you SURE the old one doesn't say "Made in Brazil" anywhere--sometimes they were more creative than others as to where they put it and how obvious it was. Doesn't bother me, everyone know's Imbel makes high quality steel.

The slide is still steel on the aluminum framed models, so if there is a difference in the sharpness it is probably just a change--many people complain about sharp edges so maybe they smoothed things up since you got the old one.

Enjoy! I'll just go ahead and predict its a shooter, since all of my SA's are...:)
 

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I ccw a full size lightweight Bi Tone and love it. The ramped barrel, as stated above, is actually a plus in an aluminum frame gun. I never load from slide lock. I always insert a mag into a "closed" gun and then "yank" the slide and let it slam shut. Feeds perfect (Hydrashoks, SXTSs, and Gold Dots).

If I remember right, it was a little dirtier than normal when I got it. But I also noticed a little more lube on it which caught more gunpowder during it's test fire. Mine had the slightest "hitch" you could feel when racking the slide. Tracked it down to a stiff disconnector. I lubed it and it works smooth now. My action seems as good as any other production 1911.

Oh yeah, the lack of crisp edges (also a plus in my opinion) is part of the "semi meltdown" treatment Springer gives this gun. And as far as "Made in Brazil", I've just never found that to be an issue. I've had great luck with all of my Springers (even the ones made in Croatia!) Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys.

Yeah - I'm not necessarily worried about it being forged in Brazil, it was just something that I noticed. I hope the pistol is a great shooter.

Range report tonight!
 

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I have the same gun. Got it in April of this year, and it was the first SA I'd had in a few years.

-Yep, the older ones didn't "Brazil" so prominent. In fact, my first SA that I got in 1989- I don't think said "Brazil" anywhere.
-The Lightweights have ramped barrels now. They didn't always. I don't know when the switch was, but they were non-ramped just a few years ago.
-My slide's edges were too crisp. After a couple of times shooting it, I took the stones to it.
-Rough action. I thought mine was plenty rough, but it has smoothed out quite a bit just through use. Ordinarily on such a gun, I would have used J-B bore cleaning paste in place of lube, and cycled the action (or just shot it) a lot to smooth things up. But I was afraid to do that here, for fear of getting some on the aluminum frame and ruining it.
I thought the trigger pull was plenty heavy also. I replaced the trigger with a solid shoe unit, and that alone helped some, so I know the potential is there.

-Functioning/Reliability. Mine had a few stutters in the first 100 rounds. I polished the ramp and breechface, and also replaced the extractor with a Brown Hardcore. It's been OK in the 450+ rds since, but I'm still not confident enough to carry it. Soon, though. I want a minimum of 500 trouble-free rounds.

FYI, ramped barrels have a steeper feed angle than the standard arrangement, due to the chamber mouth at 6:00 being farther to the rear.

You'll probably also notice that the frontstrap of the grip has a different contour than on your older SA. They are more rounded now, like Colts.

It seems there are a lot of people reporting theirs shoot low, so be prepared.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My older one shoots low, this one is right on. Range report coming (I'm writing it right now)... this gun is absolute crap through the first 200 rounds, it is definitely going back to the factory!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Range Report :(

Alright. So I took this gun to the range this evening and put 200 rounds through it.

The gun is not shooting low like my older one. I'll send in the older one for sight work, that is the only thing wrong with it.

This new one though - it has serious issues. Some of the things it is doing I'm not even sure how they are physically possible.

So - I'll list here what went wrong:

1. This happened 6 or 7 times: the action jammed with one round angled slightly downward into the chamber - only the slug and a little bit of the case was actually within the chamber, the rest of the round remained exposed. The slide was resting against the round beneath the other round, trying to push it out of the magazine. Let me repeat that in other words: There was one round with its nose in the chamber, and the slide was coming forward and trying to push another round off the magazine - as if it were trying to feed two rounds at the exact same time! I don't even know how that is physically possible! I've never seen that before in any gun I've ever owned.

2. This happened 3 or 4 times: the slide locked back because there were no more rounds in it. However, there was a round floating around in there! Want to see how this looks? Go grab your pistol, put an empty magazine in it, lock the slide back, and just put a round in there. Not in the chamber, not held by the extractor, not in the magazine! Just floating around in there! I seems to me that this is a lot like problem #1 above, except that #1 happens when there is a round in the magazine (and somehow two rounds are trying to get fed at the same time) - and this problem happens when there are no rounds in the magazine, but one round is up there (which would be like the one that has its nose in the chamber), but not getting fed because the slide is locked back.

3. This happened 4 times: The slide would come to rest 1/4" out of battery. Not enough to be able to look in through the ejection port and see any brass - just wouldn't fire because the slide wasn't all the way forward. In this situation I could drop the magazine and the slide would immediately slide forward.

Well - there you have it. #3 makes me think that the magazines were playing a part in the trouble... so I stopped using the magazines that came with this gun, and used the magazines that came with my other SA. I KNOW those magazines are alright, I've put 500+ rounds through that SA with those magazines. NONE of these problems went away with the magazines that function flawlessly in the older SA.

After all these troubles I gave up and started shooting my other 1911.

I can see why #3 would be happening, I suppose, though it still annoys me that it is happening. #1 and #2 are baffling, however. :scratch:

So - I'm depressed now. I guess the gun will go back to SA for several months and come back just as bad off as it is now. :bawling: (My customer service experiences have NEVER been good - even with companies that people rave about - both in and out of the firearms industry!)

PS: I have some pictures, I ended up taking them with my cell phone because it was the only thing I had at the range. I'll try to figure out some way to get them on here. They are blurry, but they get the point across. So... I'm doing that right now.
 

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Try new mags- like some Wilsons or CMC PowerMags. It may not like the SA mags, even though mine does.

I have that same gun, and it is my CCW piece. It has been perfectly reliable- no hiccups at all. I did have some accuracy issues, which SA fixed with a new barrel and slide/frame tightening job. One stiffer recoil spring (18.5#) later, it is very accurate and uber-reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
technosavant said:
Try new mags- like some Wilsons or CMC PowerMags. It may not like the SA mags, even though mine does.

I have that same gun, and it is my CCW piece. It has been perfectly reliable- no hiccups at all. I did have some accuracy issues, which SA fixed with a new barrel and slide/frame tightening job. One stiffer recoil spring (18.5#) later, it is very accurate and uber-reliable.
I do indeed plan to get a new recoil spring, and I also plan to get some wilson combat magazines.

Can someone tell me how this problem would even OCCUR though? I mean... ?!?! :scratch: Sorry, I really want to understand mechanically how a round can be popped off the magazine while the round below it is being fed...

(Pics still coming! I figured out how to get them...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pics

Got some pics. I took them using my cel phone, took me a while to figure out how to get them onto my computer because I have never found the camera on the phone to be useful before now.

So - here is the first pic. This is exactly how it jammed, you can see the upper round has its nose in the chamber and is pinned between the top of the chamber and the round on the magazine:


Here you can see the jammed round, but this is from the front of the gun rather than from behind. You can see that the slide is trying to pull a round off the magazine while there is already the round stuck in the chamber!


HOW does that happen?

Here is an image that was taken after I locked the slide back, leaving the jam in place! You can see that the round that was being pushed off the magazine has travelled forward quite a bit, and even with the slide locked back there is enough pressure upwards from the magazine to hold the upper round against the top of the chamber:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Magtech and PMC. I don't put reloads through a gun until I'm sure I won't be sending it back to the factory for warantee work.

How could breaking it in more stop it from trying to feed two rounds at once? How is it possible that it is doing that in the first place? How is a round getting popped out of the magazine so that the slide is grabbing the round BELOW it? :scratch: :scratch: :scratch: :scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Irishlad said:
Not a gunsmith but I'd guess, first, the extractor is not holding the case enough against the breechface...if at all. I'd adjust the tension and then see what happens.
But remember that the round that is nosed into the chamber is an unfired round! So the progression for this jam I'm seeing goes:

- I fire the currently chambered round
- The spent shell is flung out as the slide recoils
- The slide begins its journey to its "closed" position: normally it would push one round off the magazine and into the chamber - BUT...
- ...rather than pushing one round off the magazine, it somehow gets one round half into the chamber and actually catches the round BELOW the round that is half into the chamber.

So this jam is all in the FEEDING part of the cycle, so the extractor hasn't even had a chance to engage a casing yet, right? This is the bit that I don't understand. I could understand what is going on if the jam was between an unspent round coming in and a spent shell lodged between the incoming round and the chamber - but that isn't what is happening here.
 

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I wonder if the magazines aren't inserting too far into the gun.

However, that doesn't explain how multiple rounds are feeding at one time.

200 rounds is enough to know there is a problem. Call SA and make arrangements to send it back. Get their FedEx account number (so you don't go out of pocket on this one) and include those photos and a good explanation, similar to what you have posted here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
technosavant said:
I wonder if the magazines aren't inserting too far into the gun.
However, that doesn't explain how multiple rounds are feeding at one time.
200 rounds is enough to know there is a problem. Call SA and make arrangements to send it back. Get their FedEx account number (so you don't go out of pocket on this one) and include those photos and a good explanation, similar to what you have posted here.
Just in case, I've ordered some wilson magazines and new recoil springs (a 16# and an 18.5#). I'll try those out and go through another 200 rounds and see if there is any improvement. If not, I will definitely be sending it in.

PS. I think the magazines ARE extending too far into the gun - I suspect that might be what is causing the 1/4" out of battery problem...
 

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Hopefully, one of the gunsmiths here will give you some possible answers.

The extractor can affect feeding because the case(rim) slides under the extractor hooks during the slide cycle and keeps it in position to feed into the chamber.

I'd guess that's not happening and the case is being jammed forward at the wrong angle and perhaps trying to take the next round forward with it!

Again, someone that really knows may chime in soon.

Sidenote: STI has(had) a good animation of a working 1911 on their website. Gives a neat look at the operation. Try it!

Good luck
 

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Sounds like either the Mag or the extractor to me. If it still malfunctions after trying the Wilsons I would remove the extractor and check it for burrs and make sure there's no crud packed in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
bigun said:
Sounds like either the Mag or the extractor to me. If it still malfunctions after trying the Wilsons I would remove the extractor and check it for burrs and make sure there's no crud packed in it.
Forgive me for being a noob - I've detail stripped a 1911 but I likely don't know exactly what I should see as "wrong" - for instance, what do burrs on an extractor look like? What would I be looking for there? Can I deburr it myself with a fine grain stone?
 
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