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Discussion Starter #1
I have a couple of 1911's, one of which has trouble with cartridges nose-diving into the frame with a couple different mags. These same mags work flawlessly in the other gun.

I've been able to get around the nose-dives by using the newer Wilson mags. The ones that present the cartridge up just a bit higher.

These are both commander length pistols.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

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You've nailed the problem with the Wilson mags. Some modern frames are built with customizing in mind, and so push the mil-spec tolerance limit as hard as possible, sometimes exceeding it. One result is that a mag that works in one gun will not seat high enough in the mag well of another to assure reliable feeding. I had some experiences with this problem when I first decided to join this forum.

One possible solution, other than the one you have used, is to get a custom mag catch like the one at JP Enterprises, at:

http://www.jpar15.com/mag.htm


I think STI also offers one, but I don't have the link handy...sorry.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll have to compare how various mags lock into the frame to see if I can notice a difference.
 

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What causes nose-dives?

Sometimes your walking with this big heavy
box and a chair leg or garden hose trips ya.


You might look at the length of the feed ramp? if it is not deep enough the round hits the angle that is the mag well instead of the feed ramp. the mag well cut is too steep and the bullet will lodge there and not pop up.

one easy way to compare is look in the slide stop window. See where your other guns ramp stops and see how far down this one is. I "think" about .420 is right from the top of the rail to the bottom of the ramp cut in a 45 frame.

geo ><>
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the tip George. That's a good idea. I'll check it out.

One other thing I was wondering about is should the stack of cartridges in the magazine be situated such that it is possible for a gap to be present between the nose of the top cartridge and the one below it?
 

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10ring,

George is on the right track with the frame ramp depth, but my recollection is that it should be .325 or .375 inches. Don't let anyone touch it untill you can verify the correct depth. I had a difficult time with nose down FTFs for a year. Went thru the gamut of "fixes" offered by everyone, including two local gunsmiths. Wilson includes a paper with their new 10rd magazines which give the proper depth required for frame ramp. Since lowering the ramp on my SM, it will feed anything I put in it, even using the old mags I had trashed.

The gap between the top round in a fully loaded 10rd mag and the one under it is normal...at least with all my mags. The thing that starts the nose dive, is the fact that the mag spring is fully compressed and there is no room for the cartrige to move freely. The first round drops lowest. the next round will hit the ramp slightly higher and the rest will pratically skip the ramp and jump into the chamber. If the ramp is not low enough, the flat nose of the SWC will hit the verticle portion of the magwell just below the bottom of the ramp. By the way, almost all my FTFs were using 10rd mags.

Good luck
 

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I'm starting to think that this nose-dive problem is just a basic flaw in the 1911 design. ALL of the mags I've tried have ALL let the first round or two (of a full mag) do this. It's not too much of a problem with 230gr ball or something equivalent, but when you go to a short, wide mouth jhp things get hinky real quick. I've tried all the fixes (the JP mag catch, new mags,different mags, sprins, followers, etc) but no luck. Now I'm reading here that the ramp itself may be the culprit. This makes sense as my Springfield compact with a ramped barrel works great with these loads, but my Springfield full size with the standard barrel gags. Jeez...1911's...you just gotta love 'em...I guess. So, will having a ramped barrel installed fix the hang-up? Or is grinding away at the old one a better option?
 

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I have a ramped Briley barrel in my Gold Up and it did not help the nose dive. Polishing the ramp to a mirror finish did not help either. I finally had to re-contour the ramp to get it to feed.
But I think I just got rid of the symptom and did not solve the cause of the problem. I am suspecting that it is due to the fact that 8 rounds are packed in a mag with dimensions designed originally for 7. This must have caused the spring to exert too much pressure on the top rounds.
If you load the mag to full and try pushing the top round out with your thumb, you'll notice the tendency for it to dive. This would change to a more and more nose up attitude with the bottom rounds. And I am sure we all agree that this nose dive problem only occurs with the top and may be occasionally the second round. Because of this tendency to nose dive, many other areas become critical for reliable feeding, eg. mag spring, mag lips, installed mag height, ramp position/finish, OAL, bullet shapes etc, etc.
For reliability, is it better to load the mag to 1 round short of full like many have suggested?
 

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NwGunman,

You can verify whether or not your frame ramp is giving you the FTF by inserting a fully loaded magazine(dummy loads preferred), and with the pistol pointing in a safe direction, very slowly draw the slide back and ease the slide forward gently. The round should jam nose down. Next, measure the distance from the top of the frame to the top edge of the bullet nose(assuming LSWC bullet with flat nose). Clear the jam and measure the diameter of the bullet nose. Add the two measurments together and compare that with the distance from the top of the frame to the bottom of the frame ramp. This will show you how far it needs to be lowered.

Installation of a ramped barrel would certainly resolve the problem, but will require a significant modification of your frame. Don't know what a GunSmith would charge, but I'm sure it would be a lot more than the cost of lowering the bottom edge of your current ramp. I used a narrow, fine grain stone to do my own ramp. I then used a Dremmel with a polishing head and some rouge to polish it to a mirror finish. IMPORTANT....If you do this, DO NOT move the top of the ramp. The Gap between the top of the frame ramp and the bottom of the barrel ramp must be maintained for proper feed. If you do reduce this gap too much, you will need to move the bottom of the barrel ramp forward to restore the gap. My advice, is to take it to a Gunsmith. You could ruin the frame and that would be expensive.

Hope this is helpfull. Good Luck!!

[This message has been edited by chazecon (edited 11-20-2001).]

[This message has been edited by chazecon (edited 11-20-2001).]
 

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nwgunman - Springfield mis-cuts the feed ramp, and you conclude tha problem is a flaw in the 1911 design? Huh? It's a flaw in Springfield's manufacturing process. The design is fine.
 

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I've had a few nose dives with 1911's, usually on the last round from the magazine. Replacing the mag springs usually cures the problem.
 

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What causes the nose dives?

Part of it is simple leverage. When the slide comes back and then moves forward to collest/strip a round from the magazine, it is only catching the top portion of the base of the round. With that force, the round will want to nose dive away from the force at the back. Your recoil spring, follower, and bullets on top of the follower are supposed to keep the round slighty nose up and prevent a nose dive long enough until the round comes in contact with the ramp (still slightly nose up).

Probably the number one feeding problem in 1911s will be magazine related. Within that group, it may be spring tension, follower shape or follower condition, or problems with the magazine's feed lips. If you can absolutely rule out the magazine as the problem, then take it to a gun smith. The mag problem is something you should be able to work out yourself through trial and error. Figure out which mags work and which don't. It may be a problem particular to a given magazine, given model of magazine, or given maker of magazines. Determining which will help you solve your problem. Here, I suggest you number your mags and keep track of those that are problematic.
 

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Wow
I could not disagree more. Sorry.


First the gun works at speed, Cycling the gun by hand is not the same. If you feel compelled to do this, be very careful and best be at a range.

Look for Copper marks left by the bullet. You can measure where they are hitting and indeed adjust the length of the ramp. I will stick by my depth.

Ramp barrels reach into the frame .300 to .310 that is it. With a 45 and 8 round mags you will need the ramp to extend past that.
even if you use Chaz # it is below what a feed ramp would reach.
Next if you do elect to use a ramp barrel in a .45 you pretty much have to throat it to the point of taking away all the throat you would have gained by the ramp. Save your money

Chaz is correct do not alter the top of the ramp. As to dremmel, well take your chances.
(we send them a check every year in apreciation to the work they give us). As to polish, use something to go the same direction the bullet travels. A round polish bit may look nice. A 240 grit finish going up and down the ramp will be smoother for the bullet.

Lastly keep the ramp dead strait from top to bottom. if you polish it and round the bottom you can fix it by truing it up. If you round the top it's off to Mr welder guy. The worst is the guy that gets into trouble and kills the barrel as well to bring it forward because the bullets get stuck on the throat.

Check your work with a strait edge, and to quote one great line I read here, Put the dremmel down and step away from the gun


geo ><>
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just to fill you guys in a little. I measured the feed ramp on the pistol which is experiencing the nose dives at 0.320. I measured two other guns which have not experienced any nose dives at 0.330 and 0.340. I also looked at the instructions which come with Wilson mags and it says that the feed ramp should be at 0.350. So it seems I've got a marginal ramp depth which could probably use some polishing. (It has a teflon/polymer finish on it now). I'm not sure if I'll deepen the ramp or limit my feeding to the newer Wilson mags. I'm concerned of my ability to keep the ramp straight as George mentions. (Good point!)

As for magazines, I've found the newer Wilsons work fine. The other mags which have agravated the problem work fine in other guns. That's what started me on this.

Thanks for the tips. Had some good discussions!
 

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I realize this is an old thread but stumbled upon it through a search. I have found that the problem is the slide stop lever. Mine nose dove and every new full magazine. Once chambered all was good until the mag was empty. I polished the ramp to a mirror with no change. I swapped the splide stop pin from my other 1911 which feeds flawless and had the same result. Flawless feeding. A close comparison shows that the good lever was profiled better to clear the tip of a bullet, sort of an angular profile, whereas the orig was almost perfectly straight (where it rests on the magazine follower to lock slide open.
 

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This is not an equal comparison, but my new Kimber Stainless 4" in 9mm was experiecing nose dives. This occured with the Kimber mag., and only with short stubby HPs. Ball ammo worker 100%.

I just received two Check-Mate mags. from Dillon. I compared the new mag. with the kimber mag. with them flat on a table and a snap cap in each. The CM mag. and snap cap was 1/16" longer. In the gun the SC seems to be pointing at the center of the chamber while feeding the SC to the center.

I'll have to shoot it to see how it works. The principle on nose dives should be the same. The conclusion is longer bullets. round profile, and a mag. that feeds to a higher point on the feed ramp.
 

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This is not an equal comparison, but my new Kimber Stainless 4" in 9mm was experiecing nose dives. This occured with the Kimber mag., and only with short stubby HPs. Ball ammo worker 100%.

I just received two Check-Mate mags. from Dillon. I compared the new mag. with the kimber mag. with them flat on a table and a snap cap in each. The CM mag. and snap cap was 1/16" longer. In the gun the SC seems to be pointing at the center of the chamber while feeding the SC to the center.

I'll have to shoot it to see how it works. The principle on nose dives should be the same. The conclusion is longer bullets. round profile, and a mag. that feeds to a higher point on the feed ramp.
I'd carefully look for contact especially if the first bullet looks like it leans forward when inserted into the magwell. It just may be hanging up. My specific issue is because my 1911a1 was built to shoot the very round hardball, my ammo has a bit if a wider radii at the ogive which hit thw slide stop
 

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The cartridges in a 1911 ALL nosedive, its part of the feed process. Its getting past, that that seems to be a problem. Once the cartridge is started, the mag is no longer much of a factor

I would trust what George is telling you. I agree wholeheartedly.

A proper feedramp will feed from any good magazines period, whether 6-10 rounds, GI, Wad, whatever type or brand.

I will gladly take all the so called bad mags out there that don't work. Only problem I have with all the major brands is stepping on them or losing them

:)

Ditto on the ramped .45 George....

CW
 
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