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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Series 80 Commander that isn't going completely into battery every time. The bullet is starting to enter the chamber but doesn't quite make it. Sometimes once, maybe twice in a magazine. No particular order that I've noticed. It is almost new. I ran the magazines in my Series 80 government and no problem. I can run Winchester standard hollowpoints in the Government but not the Commander. The "jamming" or failure to feed or go into battery just intensifies with hollowpoints. Any suggestions?
 

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Have you tried factory ammunition, especially 230 gr FMJ ? Have you tried different magazines ? If problems persist, you indicated that the pistol is pretty new, I would call Colt and notify them.
 

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I would also suspect (excessive) extractor tension. The last new Colt I bought wouldn't feed at all until some tension was tweaked out of it.
 

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I would also suspect (excessive) extractor tension. The last new Colt I bought wouldn't feed at all until some tension was tweaked out of it.

NO JOKE. I just picked up my stainless Colt commander this morning, and at the range I had mucho issues until I tuned the extractor, after that she functioned like a dream. Got 400 rounds out without issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
georgetown

Thanks for the replies. I was running Winchester white box fmj. I also (is this bad?) put the commander slide assembly on the government lower and fired 2 mags, same problem. So it does appear to be in the slide assembly. How does one tweak or tune the extractor? p.s. mine is a stainless as well. Serial # CJ34XXX
 

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Hard for me to judge without seeing it personally, but here are some things to consider.

Make sure you are not shooting it limp wristed. Seen people doing hat cause this.

My Colts are VERY particular which magazines they like even though I use all Colt factory mags. Often a mag that works perfect in one Colt does not in others and vice-versa. So if you have different mags, try them all to see if the mags might be the cause.

WWB should not cause it to malfunction. I have shot thousands of rounds of those.

Make sure you have the correct recoil spring it in. I remember one case where someone had a lighter spring in it and it did all kinds of weird things. A worn spring would also do that.

Make sure the barrel throat and ramp are clean and smooth. I am not recommending you do any polishing of the ramp but if there are any scratches or roughness it could cause problems.

Good luck!
 

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extractor tension is extremely critical especially in a Colt..... too much or too little will cause issues in feeding and or extracting.
i've been experimenting with different extractors in my Colt and Springer slides just for the hack of it ...i currently use Fusion extractors in both of them, not the best but they are more or less drop-in ready. Only required minor tension adjustment.
You should be able to eject live rounds with ease provided everything is tweaked properly.:)
 

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extractor tension is extremely critical especially in a Colt.....
I have not found that to be the case. I was having a problem with occasional failures to eject, and since the ejector was in the same place, and hadn't changed its shape, I suspected the extractor. I started out tweaking the tension. Then some more tension. Then less tension. Then I decided to start working on the shape of the hook. Then the depth of the hook. Then the tension some more. The extractor was starting to look less and less like an extractor, so I started over with a new one. More tension. Fiddle the hook. Maybe some more tension? More? OK, how about THIS MUCH?!?! This lasted through three extractors, and "fiddling" after each ejection failure, over a period of months. Well over 1000 rounds. The failure rate was never more than one in 100, and sometimes I'd go as many as 300 rounds between failures. Finally, I had so much tension on the extractor that the gun wouldn't feed. What was the problem? Ejected cases were bouncing off my thumb and back into the ejection port! Tension ranged from near-zero, to three times as much as necessary, and it still worked. The problem was never the extractor at all, but after I was done "fixing" the extractor, I was in awe of how it continued to work, no matter how badly I screwed it up. While the extractor has to be considered as a potential player in both feed and extraction/ejection issues, adjustment shouldn't be a tight-rope walk. If the gun works only within a tiny window of tension, then something else is probably wrong.
 

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well...extractor tuning/tension, ejector length/angle and ejection port tuning ultimately determine reliability in function. Setting everything just right ensures trouble free live round ejections especially the last round in the mag...solely based on personal experience only, yours may vary.:)
 

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It is definitely a system, but I think the 1911 extractor comes in for a lot more criticism than it deserves. The fact that it is often suspect when a gun isn't running is more a matter of how easily, and the exent to which, it can be improperly installed or adjusted, rather than a sign of it being a weak link. It can take a lot of abuse without failure, and it will work even if it's not highly tuned. I used the old, "a loaded round won't fall off the hook" test as my only extractor test for many years, and never had a problem. Now, people use trigger pull gauges to adjust tension within a range of a few ounces, and worry if it changes by a few ounces. In a 5" .45, it just isn't such a delicate matter. :)
 

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In my experience with my two Colts, there are two main causes for misfeeds and jams. The simplest to cure is feed ramp polishing. Colt's usually utilize a two piece feed ramp which can led itself to jamming on JHP ammo, especially if you are using what is notoriously known as the "flying ashtray" jhp's.

The other cause, and more often than not cause, is the magazines you are using. Most standard magazines are made from normal steel and the guides on the top can begin to separate and "uncurl" from repeated use. Also, the follower can begin to weaken over time. This can lead to misfeeding, jamming, and stovepiping from the magazine allowing the casing to "wiggle" upon feeding, instead of keeping the casing aligned when feeding.

You might try purchasing a Wilson's magazine and trying it out. Wilson's magazines are made with hardened high grade steels, usually stainless, that resists the bending and warping over time. You can get them with nylon followers in standard and low profile heights.

I had these same problems, and now I run only Wilson mags, and havent had any problems.
 

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What was the problem? Ejected cases were bouncing off my thumb and back into the ejection port!
Lefties....

The old round barely held by the hook test is still recommended by many a gunsmith.


Couple of ideas:

First:
I read a good article about magazines, feeding jams and how the spread on the feed lips and follower design changes the angle the round is presented for feeding into the chamber. Here's a link to the article: http://how-i-did-it.org/magazines/ Anyway, try different magazines in the commander and see if the problem changes. It could be mag spring is a little weak, the follower is binding inside the tube, etc. If that doesn't help, perhaps the feed ramp is a little out of whack.

Second:
Look at the breech face where the firing pin hole is located. Occasionally there will be a bur toward the top edge of that hole which will snag on the rim of the cartridge as it tries to go past. Some brands of cases may have less chamfer on the back edge of the case allowing it to catch. Next, look at one of the cases that hung up during feeding. Look for a small (firing pin hole size) circle pressed into the very edge of the back face of the cartridge. If it's present, consider putting a very slight chamfer to the top edge of the firing pin hole (don't go deep or the hole may become oblong and you'll have issues with the F.P.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
georgetown

I do have a Wilson magazine. The commander didn't like it as well as the issued colt magazines. I gave up on the JHP ammo. Round ball still has the problem. I will take it apart and examine the extractor and check for the other pointers suggested here. Thanks everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
georgetown

Ok. I deep cleaned the slide, removed extractor etc. Put back together. FTF on Wilson mag first round. Took it out. Put in Colt Mag FTF first round. Looked like extractor was too tight? Looked at Government extractor, seemed to have a deeper hook than Commander.
Took Government apart and put its' extractor in Commander.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Wilson mag and all.

So I will see if I can measure the hook on the Commander extractor and see if is at least .030" deep. I bet it's not. Next I'll call Colt next week and see if they'll send a replacement. Thanks everyone.
 

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It's very unlikely that the problem is the extractor's dimensions. All .45 extractractors should be essentially the same. Tolerances in the dimensions of the slide and the extractor itself result in the latter having to be fitted to the slide in which it's installed. It sounds like the extractor in your Commander is exerting too much tension on the cartridge rim, and bending the extractor slightly (as decribed in the link a few posts back) will get the gun running. If Colt sends you a replacement extractor, there's a chance it won't work either.
 
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