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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I am new to the forum. I hail from Maryland, which I am not proud to say, but if anyone knows a gunsmith near the Columbia area, please let me know.
I just bought a used Remington Rand 1911 with an Essex Arms frame. It was cheap and I couldn't resist. But now I know why it was so cheap. The hammer follows the slide when cycled, and since it had no magazine when I bought it, I had to buy new ones. I bought a Ruger brand, which seems to work fine. I also bought 2 Kimber magazines. The Kimber magazines will not seat when loaded and if they are empty and I seat them, the slide stop needs an enormous amount of pressure to activate.

Concerning the sear spring, The mainspring housing is loose when it sits in the grooves. with it fully seated against the grip safety, the mainspring housing has some movement forward(toward the front of the gun) I suspect the sear spring is not flattening enough to put the proper amount of pressure where it needs to be.
Also the tube holding the detent spring for the thumb safety and slide stop has come partially unstaked. It is pulling away from the frame ever so slightly.

I do not want to fire the gun until these issues are addressed. Is it time for a gunsmith?
Thank you
 

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Unless you're willing to undertake the research & work to fix, yeah. In no particular order except maybe the first one: read up, check the hammer, sear, and their fit, throw the existing sear spring in the crap can & order a Colt part (in a rare moment, they're in stock on Colt's website). Off the cuff, the MSH thing sounds odd. If the part fits properly at all - you'll figure it out soon enough.

You'll need a new plunger tube properly staked on; don't try to reuse the old part. I've never touched a Kimber magazine but many (all?) Essex frames have the magazine release cut-out positioned a bit high. Some brand mags will work, some won't. Run through the recommended safety checks as you roll.

Luck either way.

JH
 

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Okay, first, you have an Essex with a Remington Rand slide.
It is dangerous and should not be fired until the fire-control parts are fixed.
We don't usually try to use the slide stop on an empty magazine - it's too hard. Hit the mag release and hold the mag slightly out of the frame with your little finger, then hit the slide release if you must....but you shouldn't let the slide slam home when not loading the chamber. When firing, the slide locks back on the empty mag. After you remove it and lock a loaded mag, release the slide. If you want to carry a round in the chamber and a full mag, you have to lock the mag against the closed slide - sometimes you have to do this forcefully.
The mainspring housing will have to be replaced with one that fits.
The plunger tube needs to be re-staked or replaced.

Definitely time for a gunsmith, particulary on the hammer follow. You should be able to try a different MSH in it yourself to see if a new one will be tight enough. Either the existing one has been filed-on or the frame is out of spec, which would not be a good thing. The gunsmith may be able to tighten up the frame so the MSH is snug - depends on how the pin hole lines up with the holes in the frame. Can you get a refund on it? I'd be tempted to part it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the replies. I bought the gun knowing it was dirty and seemed to be neglected. So I budgeted in the buying of new parts. I will buy a new mainspring housing and sear spring and see where that gets me.

Also, I did not mention this earlier, the internal parts do not seem worn, except the top of the disconnector. That part is rounded over. Also the disconnector, if you push on it(with the slide locked back) it offers very little resistance.

Also there is(what seems to me) a lot of back and forth play on the sear. The sear is not snug where it sits in the frame. So I wonder if the sear is losing contact with the sear spring.
 

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It might be possible to re-stake the plunger tube. Thorough cleaning and some loctite when attempting to re-stake might work, at least temporarily while you figure out the gun. You can put a shim under the left grip panel, over the plunger tube, as well. A shim can be placed under the mainspring housing as well to test your theory of not enough pressure. Hammer follow is sometimes the fault of the sear spring. An ill fitting MSH is not unusual. I've got a few of them and, except for Colt MSH in a Colt frame, fitment is not usually stellar. MSHs can actually be welded and re-configured. If the mag catch is too high, a file will fix that. Gunsmiths are not all created equal. 1911 specialists are not hard to find if you ask around. I'm not a fan of throwing new parts at a gun trying to solve problems. I like to know for sure which parts are defective before I call Brownells. Saxman has given you good advice...fix the fire control parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am not in the habit of dropping the slide and letting the slide fall onto an empty chamber. I know this is bad for the gun,. So if I am to perform a function check to see if the hammer follows the slide, how do I do it? Do I just pull the slide back and let 'er fall? When I do that, hammer follows the slide sometimes, not every time. Perhaps 1 out of 5 times.

I will post some pictures of my sear and sear spring later today, hopefully you can tell me if my suspicions are true; that the sear is too narrow for the frame or vice versa.
 

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Hi,
I am new to the forum. I hail from Maryland, which I am not proud to say, but if anyone knows a gunsmith near the Columbia area, please let me know.
I just bought a used Remington Rand 1911 with an Essex Arms frame. It was cheap and I couldn't resist. But now I know why it was so cheap. The hammer follows the slide when cycled, and since it had no magazine when I bought it, I had to buy new ones. I bought a Ruger brand, which seems to work fine. I also bought 2 Kimber magazines. The Kimber magazines will not seat when loaded and if they are empty and I seat them, the slide stop needs an enormous amount of pressure to activate.

Concerning the sear spring, The mainspring housing is loose when it sits in the grooves. with it fully seated against the grip safety, the mainspring housing has some movement forward(toward the front of the gun) I suspect the sear spring is not flattening enough to put the proper amount of pressure where it needs to be.
Also the tube holding the detent spring for the thumb safety and slide stop has come partially unstaked. It is pulling away from the frame ever so slightly.

I do not want to fire the gun until these issues are addressed. Is it time for a gunsmith?
Thank you
You're on the right track here. Not saying the problem isn't elsewhere, but as SevenL4 said you can "shim" this and at least eliminate that from the equation. Nothing fancy needed, use a piece of card stock, like a 3 x 5 card. At least you'll be able to add some tension to the legs on the sear spring without over bending it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After taking the back of the gun apart tonight I made a small tweak to the left leg of the sear spring. While re assembling it, I cut 2 pieces of aluminum can and shimmed them between the sear spring and main spring housing. I re assembled the gun and loaded a magazine. With a loaded magazine i dropped slide and cycled a round into the chamber, then i repeated cycling rounds this until the gun was empty and the slide locked. I repeated the same test 3 or 4 times and never had the hammer follow problem.

I did order a new sear spring from Colt, as well as a new main spring housing and plunger tube.
Also, when I only put 7 rounds in the Kimber magazines instead of 8, they work fine. Feeling much better about everything now, and plan a trip to the range tomorrow.
 

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Glad to hear you're getting results. Though in the future, I suggest not cycling live ammunition to test function on a gun having hammer follow problems.
 

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DO NOT go to the range with a soda can shim in the gun. Get all your new parts in and working and passing all function checks first. Even then I may still have GS look it over first.
 

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I concur, take the shims out. It is the size of the rails on the mainspring housing and corresponding grooves in the frame allowing that movement. If it is a cheaper mainspring housing too much may have been taken off the front (as installed in the pistol) when someone was 'fitting' it. The rails may be gently swaged then fitted to make the housing tighter in the frame. Or buy a good brand housing.

On that trigger, if it is adjustable for overtravel it may be too far out. So many things there to cause your issue.

A mixmaster gun like that can have many issues, which yours may have. A complete detail strip, calipers and inspection is needed. There may be more problems not apparant since pistol can't be shot yet.
 

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I am not in the habit of dropping the slide and letting the slide fall onto an empty chamber. I know this is bad for the gun,. So if I am to perform a function check to see if the hammer follows the slide, how do I do it? Do I just pull the slide back and let 'er fall? When I do that, hammer follows the slide sometimes, not every time. Perhaps 1 out of 5 times.

I will post some pictures of my sear and sear spring later today, hopefully you can tell me if my suspicions are true; that the sear is too narrow for the frame or vice versa.
Static Function Check:

UNLOAD GUN! Remove magazine, rack slide and check the chamber.
Check it again.
Engage thumb safety.
Without touching the grip safety, pull trigger - hammer must not fall. Take thumb safety off 'safe', and without touching grip safety, pull trigger - hammer must not fall. Grasp pistol in the normal firing grip and pull trigger, holding it back - hammer falls. Continuing to hold trigger back, rack the slide and release trigger - hear 'click' - hammer must not fall. Pull trigger - hammer falls. Hold trigger back, rack slide and release it to snap home - hammer must not fall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Do you have a set of specs that the gun needs to adhere to? I have looked around the internet, but have not found any measurements.
 

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I am no gunsmith but I have better than average mechanical ability and worked in a machine shop for many years.

As far as specs go I am sure you could find blueprints (like this semi-legible set) but I think if it can repeatedly, and that part is important, repeatedly pass the tests listed by 1saxman and these-

http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/tech/safety_test.htm

And whatever else you hear about here it is probably safe to go and test fire. Cautiously. The rest is going to be accuracy and as far as I can tell a 1911 can be pretty "shot out" and still shoot pretty well. They are pretty forgiving, especially in combat distances.

So in a nutshell, make it safe and then fine tune if required. The other members will correct me if my advice is out of line.
 
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