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Weired....I have a .45 Springfield 1911A1 Stainless Loaded [2000 model]from which I've only fired 500 or so rounds with no problem. In addition, I've probably dry snapped it several thousand times, in all cases with an A-Zoom snap cap chambered.

About 20 minutes ago, I was dry snapping and the hammer sheared clean thru/off at the base, with the upper half of the hammer dropping into my lap. Must have been stress fracture due to improper metal prep or some damned thing like that. In any case, the SA HAD been my alternate duty gun [my primary is a 357 Glock] so I am way less than pleased to see what could have been a fight- ending mechanical failure in a pistol I thought was fully reliable.

Question: I have firmly decided NOT to tie this pistol up in shipping to SA etc, because all they can do is reinstall a new hammer of the same type that came with the pistol. I would still be fearful of another parts stress and am not willing to trust the SA hammer supply source at this time.

I have access to several excellent 1911 pistolsmiths in my area, and would like comments on which hammer would be THE strongest & most reliable. I've looked at the Wilson hammers, but would like opinions on other brands, if backed up by practical experience.

In other words, what's the toughest hammer I can use in my pistol?

Thanx for any help!
 

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I would think any of the major "names" would provide good hammers although I would probably stear clear of MIM parts. Look for a part made from one of the tougher tool steels (such as A6) that is offered by one of the big name parts suppliers (Wilson, Brown, etc.) and you should be OK.
 

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I once had the same experience with my factory Browning HP. The part of the hammer where it contacted the sear got sheared off almost half of the contact serface. The gun had about 5K rounds thru it. My gunsmith recommeded to change both the sear and the hammer at the same time and I went with C&S products.

For 1911, Ed Brown and Wilsons seem to have a very good reputation. Besides, Brown also guarantees to replace it for free if anything happens to it (again.)
 

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I realize that the hammer takes a beating, especially dry firing, but this post has me wondering--how often does a hammer break?? Is this a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, or do they break fairly often? I'm not a big-time shooter, but I've fired thousands of rounds and never experienced a problem. Should I expect one?
 

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I would lean toward the Brown hammer. But if you do have access to some top shelf gunsmiths, I'd trust their judgement.

Ed:

The short answer to your last two questions is no. If you begin expecting problems to occur, they either will or your skill level will diminish from concentration on possible equipment problems instead of focusing on shooting mechanics.
 

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tell us more.
the side of the hammer, does it have the tell tale marks of ejector pins from molding? MIM

If the gun is the early design they used blue hammers and plated them. The color of the extractor hammer firing pin stop and slide stop will be Off from the slide and frame.
that would lead one to believe Hydrogen enbrittlement (clearly not spelled right)

Carbon steel rules!

hope this helps
geo ><>
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't work on the 1911, and so won't be personally taking the remaining [lower] portion of the hammer out of the frame. As soon as my Ed brown hammer and sear arrive in the mail, it's off to the pistolsmith for installation. When he has finished that job, I'll have him try to figure out what happened to the "factory" SA stainless hammer and I'll come back to this thread to post any worthwhile info.

You are so right that it doesn't pay to dwell on this sort of thing, and ,for me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime fluke occurrance.

However, having a 1911 style pistol malfunction has NOT been that unusual in MY 40+ yrs of shooting experience, including Series 70 and 80 Colts, GI issue, and [now] Springfield. ALL of my 1911s had been given reliability jobs by competent private or department gunsmiths. I have never owned or shot a Colt 1991 or any Kimber or Para.

Say what you want, but that's why I've carried a Glock on duty since the early 90s. They're not much to look at and the .45 had lousy balance with less than 10 rds in a 13 rd mag [full] mag, but, whether .45, 9mm or [now] .357 SIG, they have always gone bang in 8+ years of rough use in all weather conditions.

I also know that a well set up 1911 CAN be very reliable, there just hasn't been one reliable enough so for ME to date.
Others'experiences will vary, to be sure.

Anyhow, thanx for the hammer info guys. As noted above, I went with the Ed Brown.
 

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I would recommend replacing hammer,sear,thumb safety,firing pin and slide stop with all tool steel parts if you will be carrying this gun on duty.I think MIM parts are ok for range guns but it is possible for them to fail at some point.Better to fail/break at the range than in a combat situation.
 

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I would buy a new gun.
Of course.....I try to anytime anything breaks but the wife has caught on.
 
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