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To be polished or not to be? - 1911 feed ramp

1848 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Hobbes
I've read a couple of books now on 1911 customizing. Both are fairly clear that a feed ramp should be polished. Now, this seems fairly standard policy on Beretta and Sig pistols. I noticed that my Glock doesn't have a 'polished' ramp.

So, when I looked at my Kimber Pro-Carry, I was surprised to find out that they don't polish the ramp either.

So, which is it? Per these two books, a polished feed ramp is crucial for 'hot loads'. Well, since most self-defense ammo is +P nowadays (and that's what I use), I would think Kimber would polish the ramp by default.

Any opinions on this?

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If your gun feeds all the ammo you put through it w/o any ftf's then I'd say leave it alone.Many times just putting 100-200 rds of ball ammo will polish it enough to feed hp's.My Systema didn't like many hp's so I did polish it and it'll feed the Hydra-Shoks I carry for defense.If it ain't broke don't fix it.
As long as there are no sharp edges or machine lines for your bullets to get hung up on your ok. If there is an edge you need to polish it out. I prefer all surfaces that slide to be polished. Breece face, ramp, disconnector surface, trigger bows, mainspring plunger and passage. AQ little anal but any machine part that rubs against another should have as little friction as possible.
If your gun already feeds ammo 100% then polishing the feed ramp won't help anything - it won't hurt anything either. I consider it a preventative measure in otherwise reliable guns.

The "hot load" statement, as it relates to the feed ramp, doesn't make sense. I have polished the chamber (or chambers in a revolver) for hot load guns to keep the brass from sticking during extraction.

If you want it polished then go for it. Just remember that polishing doesn't involve cutting any metal away, just polishing what is there.

This topic is probably more discussed with regard to 1911's than most other guns, and my answer would be "Depends on the type of gun". Some gun designs feed in almost a straight line, and the concept of a feed ramp is almost an afterthought (Berettas come to mind here). In the 1911 design however, I do recommend the ramp be polished and all the machine marks removed, which can interfere with the bullet angling up the ramp and into the chamber. I have polished the ramps on some Glocks, but usually because the owners just wanted them polished, not because they weren't feeding just fine without the polishing.

Don Williams www.theactionworks.com www.pickagripcom
Don, yea it does depend on what kind of system you have. I've been reading that there's a few different systems. I personally like the Beretta (non-frame) feed ramp. I would bet this would far more reliable in the long run. And if something were to happen, then you could just replace the barrel for a quick fix.

It seems that a good percentage of .45's use the frame as part of the ramp. The barrel has a slight ramp as well.

JoeMc, do you polish the slide rails (on the frame) as well?

So far, I haven't had any problems with feeding ammo, but I've only shot a little over 200 rounds through it. Most of it was straight no-frills ball ammo. I did shoot a box of my CCI Speer 200+P without any FTF problems of any kind.

I noticed that most "custom" and "custom-race" guns have the ramp polished, so that's why all the questions.

Mikey, funny you should mention that, because I just bought a dremel a few weeks ago and I've been reading all about 'polishing' versus 'finishing'.

I want the ultimate functionality and reliability of my 1911, so I'll make my attempt here soon and post the follow-up results.


[This message has been edited by nickcarr (edited 09-09-2001).]
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I was told many years ago that you polished the feed ramp of a 1911 when you planned to use low velocity lead semiwadcutters because the light recoil spring might not chamber a round. Seems the friction generated by a lead bullet is higher than a jacketed one and it could slow down the slide to a small degree if the ramp wasn't polished. Got to remember that most semi-autos are designed to feed FMJ ball ammo. Those rds tend to feed no matter what the ramp looks like if it is properly shaped. Hollow points that are shaped like ball tend to feed almost as well.

As to polishing two parts that bear on each other to reduce friction I was taught to polish only one surface and debur the other. By leaving some tool marks you are actually leaving a smaller bearing surface for the other to ride on. It was explained to me this way: put a drop of oil on a sheet of glass and place another sheet of glass on the first and try to move them around. Now do it again only this time put a sheet of 120 grit sandpaper on that oiled glass and see which one moves easier. This procedures only works when one surface is polished smooth so that there are no "ridges" left for the other to rub against.

[This message has been edited by Grump (edited 09-10-2001).]
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Doesn't your Pro-Carry have an alloy frame? If so, then, if you polish it you might remove the anodizing from the frame. The metal that constitutes the ramp might then be so soft that it would be subject to erosion. I'm not a gunsmith and not particularly knowledgible about metal; so, if someone knows better, hopefully they will clarify the matter. Take care.

"Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?"
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