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This was originally posted over at www.pistolsmith.com (http://www.pistolsmith.com./viewtopic.php?topic=1202&forum=5&7), but I would like to hear your opinion. Do I have a lemon here?

I’d like to know what the general consensus is on some of the problems I’ve been having with my Wilson Combat 1996A2. I purchased it NIB in 1996. I also got 3 Wilson 47D mags and a Wilson Bureacrat 10 round mag, all with the “old style” feedlips.

I don’t know if you’d call this normal reliability, fair or poor. But here are some notes taken from my maintenance log. The gun had been cleaned at about 100-200 round intervals, or roughly after each range session.

- Rounds 1-200: 1 Failure to Feed from Slide Lock (FTF/SL) – round hung up on feed ramp.
- Rounds 201-400: 2 FTF/SL.
- Gun sent back to Wilson Combat for new Nite-Eyes as bad finish on originals. They test fired and sighted it in prior to return.
- Rounds 401-550: 1 FTF/SL.
- Rounds 551-650: 1 FTF/SL – note: slide cycles noticeably slower on second round from each mag than on rounds 3-8.
- Received 3 new Wilson 47D mags with the “new” feedlips. Had previously discussed FTF’s with Wilson Combat and they said new mags need to be broken in (left loaded for a few days and cycled), which should take care of the problem. I had always left the mags loaded, but nevertheless tried to break the new ones in per their recommendations.
- Received 500 rounds of Georgia Arms “Canned Heat” 230 grain FMJ. Later determined the OAL of the rounds varied and about 10% were as short as 1.22”.
- Gun went back to Wilson Combat for installation of an ambi safety. They also checked the feedramp at my request due to the FTF’s and gave it a clean bill of health.
- Rounds 651-1,150: 10-15 FTF/SL (Georgia Arms ammo)
- Changed Shok Buff at 1,000 rounds.
- In the process of trying to diagnose the constant FTF’s with the GA ammo, I sent all my “old style” feedlip 47D’s and Bureacrat mags in to Wilson to be exchanged for the new style. They sent me back 1 “new style” 47D and Bureacrat, but 2 “old style” 47D’s. I later put a dial caliber to the GA rounds and found that probably 10% of them were way too short (1.22” OAL).
- Rounds 1,151-2,000: No problems (shooting cheap production FMJ’s and S&B FMJ).
- Changed Shok Buff and recoil spring at 2,000 rounds.
- Rounds 2,001-2,250: 1 Failure to Eject (stovepipe, attributed to my friend limpwristing the gun) and 1 FTF the last round in 47D – note: my friend was also breaking in his new Kimber Custom Classic and had 1 FTF the last round in the Kimber using one of my 47D’s, though I did not isolate the two mags that it happened with.

I have since numbered my mags and will keep track of any problems. I suspect my gun doesn’t like the “old style” 47D feedlips or there are a problem with some of my mags? None of the mags have been abused and all are like new. I have not cleaned the mags since purchase and would like to isolate the problem mag before cleaning them as, with the exception of a bit of carbon fouling, they’re not dirty.

So, in 2,250 rounds, this well cared for gun has had about 20 malfunctions. The 10-15 that I had with the GA ammo could be attributed to bad ammo, but they happened all the same. All but the stovepipe were FTF hang-ups on the feedramp. And I can live with the stovepipe as my friend is a new .45 shooter. But then I recently had a FTF the last round in a 47D (never had that happen before) on a gun with only about 100 rounds since the last cleaning. My friend also had the exact same things happen in his new Kimber.

I was really starting to gain confidence in this gun the last 1,000 rounds. I also have a SIG P226 that won’t jam if I tried to induce one. I guess I wish my “flagship” 1911 would be as reliable. Or maybe I just need to work at getting the bugs out of this a bit more. I can’t believe that one gun would be so sensitive to magazines, especially when I’m using all 47D’s. Maybe I’m just being reactionary.

Anyone have any thoughts? I’ve been kicking around the possibility that I need new mag springs, although the folks at 1911Forum thought these were low mileage mags. If they’re kept loaded, do you recommend changing them every year? That seems excessive when the mag guru at AR15.com says that keeping a mag loaded doesn’t fatigue the spring (it’s the cycling of the spring, not constant force). Even Wilson advertises that you can keep them loaded for long periods. Could this be a feedramp, breech face or ejector issue? Maybe the last FTF was just a fluke and I shouldn’t worry about it? Arrrrrrgh!!

TIA
 

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Your gun sounds like it's working fine. If I read your post correctly, ALL your malfunctions occurred with commercial reloaded ammo except 1 stovepipe (that you attribute to a new shooter limp-wristing) that occurred with CHEAP factory ammo.
You went to the trouble to purchase a fine firearm, feed it some fine ammo.
BTW, it is possible to reload some excellent ammunition. Have you considered rolling your own?
 

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I get the occasional FTF when loading, and don't really give it much thought. My gun has failed to cycle only twice in 6000 rounds, and I rarely RE-load from slide lock, so it doesn't concern me too much. Those rounds sound like they're so out of spec that it would be hard to blame the gun or the mags for any function problems. I haven't found Wilson mags to be any kind of panacea, but you would expect a Wilson gun to run with their mags.
 

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Seems strange that Wilson would say that leaving mags loaded would break them in, but that leaving mags loaded for a long time doesn't hurt them. I'm inclined to believe the latter, not necessarily the former. But it's Wilson, and I'm just a guy.

I agree with the ammo point. You have a good idea keeping track of mags as well. If you want to try something different, try some nickel cases. They're slicker, and your slide would ride over the top round more easily. Of course, your pistol should just plain run. Maybe some polishing of the bottom center of the slide would enhance loading from the slide lock position.

Byron
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Actually, the last FTF that I had was with Sellior & Bellot 230 grain FMJ. New factory ammo (though cheap practice ammo). The FTF's before the 500 rounds of GA ammo were also with cheaper production practice/plinking ammo (also 230 grain FMJ).

There was one stretch of about 800-900 rounds were it worked well (this stretch with S&B 230 grain FMJ), then another FTF sprung up, this from the *last* round in the 47D. That's why I initially posted here re: whether this meant I needed new mag springs. I wish I would have isolated that mag.

Also, does anyone think cleaning the mags is an issue, or should I not worry about that?

[This message has been edited by JacRyan (edited 05-25-2001).]
 

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I clean my mags any time they've been on the ground. But, that's not so much for reliability, but to ensure that a bullet doesn't carry a grain of sand or other schmutz into the barrel.
 

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Hi Jac

That last round FTF may be a weakening spring or limp wristing or a little of each.

My Wilson mags cover a span of production years, and some of the older followers have more "drag" in the tube than others - residue, tight follower and/or mag spring could be part of the problem...somethin to look at anyway.
 

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My CQB (2003) has never malfunctioned in 2,300 rounds with any factory load. Sometimes jams with my handload. Maybe match grade chamber is tight & doesn't allow for imperfect ammo.
 

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Georgia Arms ammunition of ten years ago was crap. I have known people since who got good results but I would not attach any importance to problems with it.

S&B ain't bad. At one time Wilson even recommended it.

Wilson magazine springs are skimpy to get in the extra round and make room for the tricky removable floorplate. I have to replace mine about every other year. But they fail by not slide locking, they normally feed reliably even then.
If you cannot count on Wilson magazines of whatever vintage in a Wilson gun, you haven't got much.

Frankly, I'd take the pistol to an independent gunsmith. Several who post here have good reviews. Wilson has given up on you.
 

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Wake up everyone

This thread is over 5 years old!

If you have a subject to discuss that you found and it is old like this, start a new thread.

Thanks,
Art
 
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