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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/14/2005 7:02:34 AM EDT
The 1911 in question is some cheap thing from South Africa called a Griffon. I bought it on a whim thinking it might be interesting to own a gun I don't mind dropping, filing on, or otherwise abusing. The quality was surprisingly good, as was the accuracy.

However, in the first 100 rounds, I had three failures to feed. In all three cases, the slide stopped about 3/8" from going into full battery. In all cases, giving the slide a little nudge caused it to move into proper position. I lubed the gun before I shot it, but did not clean it (didn't appear to need it).

The two things that come to my inexperienced mind are:

1. Weak recoil spring
2. Magazine issues

Any suggestions will be appreciated. Well, most any. I already own a number of high quality 1911's, so a suggestion to buy a better gun won't help much.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 9:38:27 AM EDT
Griffons really are fairly decent quality. There are numerous things that can cause what you described, which is a failure to return to battery (FTRTB) or failure of the barrel to fully lock up. I won't go into all the causes, but I will discuss two very common ones.

One is barrel springing. This is a condition in which the barrel bushing does not have sufficient clearance to allow it to swing freely up and down. To check for this condition, disassemble the pistol, and put in only the barrel bushing and barrel. With the slide upside down, slide the barrel into the locked position, fully depressed into the top of the slide. If there is ver slight resistance at the end, and the barrel springs when you push very hard, you have barrel springing. Take it to a smith, or ask here for the easy remedy.

More often, the cause is a bottom lug that has insufficient clearance, and the bottom logs are rubbing the slide stop. Disassemble the gun, degrease, and mark the bottom of the barrel lugs and slide stop with a permanent marker. reassemble the gun and cycle the slide a few times. Disassemble and see if there are rub marks on the front corner of the barrel lugs. Again, if you have this, take it to a smith, or ask here for the fix. Though the fix for this maight be easy, it can be botched very easily.

Another very common cause is poor ammunition. If you're using reloads, check OAL, and also check your crimp. Also, check the chamber, and make sure there are no issues there.

There are a few other things that can cause a FTRTB, and most involve slowed or sluggish slide velocity. This can be caused by one or more of the following. The two items mentioned above, barrel springing and improperly fit bottom lugs, can cause it. Batterred top barrel lugs/slide lugs can also cause it. Also, an improperly radiused and /or excessively tensioned extractor can cause it. A VERY weak recoil spring coupled with dirt, or warped and/or cracked slide rails can cause it too.

Check the first two things. If you still have no problems, we'll look into other things.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 9:43:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/16/2005 10:20:57 AM EDT by TWIRE]
hobbs5624 -- good post!!

Also consider poor milling on the barrel and hood. If a straight edge doesn't touch the hood and both lugs on the barrel then the barrel hood will sometimes (albeit, rarely) catch on the underside of the ejection port at the end of the cycle and stop short/out of battery.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:22:26 AM EDT
Thanks for the outstanding replys.

I checked for barrell springing, and that does not appear to be the issue. Neither does the bottom lug contacting the stop. I checked that with the marker method and then also held the parts together to see if I could make them touch. No luck.

The ammo was factory Winchester.

A visual inspection of the chamber revealed nothing that jumped out at me. I placed a round in the chamber with the barrel in my hand, and there was no binding that I could detect.

So, what's next oh great wizzards of the 1911?

Oh, and thanks for saying the Gryffon is decent quality. I'm no judge, but I thought it was a deal at $250 NIB.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 11:28:03 AM EDT
I need to add one more question. The front sight is not centered in the cut and I had to move the rear sight about the same amount to compensate. It's not a big deal, but it bugs me. Can I just drift that front sight over, or should I have someone do it who can press it over?
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 12:45:01 PM EDT
You can drift it. Put it in a solid vise, use a small brass punch, and pad the sight with tape. Change the tape often, as it will only take a couple hits to break through the tape. Also, I assume the front sight is stock, but just in case someone changed it, make sure there is no roll pin securing it in place.

As far as FTRTB, check the top lugs for batterring. Also, slide an empty case under the extractor and see if it's sliding in easily. Also visually inspect that the extractor head is not too oversized and is bumping the rear of the barrel. Finally, see if the barrel hood is maybe a little too long. See if the barrel slides up into battery easily.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 1:04:31 PM EDT
Well, everything checks out fine. Maybe now that I have it cleaned and properly lubed I'll give it another try.

Thanks for all the help.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 4:41:35 PM EDT

Before you go hammering on that front sight....

If it's a post style front sight, like the old Colts, then you cannot drift it. Hammering on the side of these sights will snap them off. This style of front sight has a post under the sight going into a hole in the slide. The post hangs into the slide where the barrel is, then it is peened over to hold the front sight in place.

If it has a cross cut dovetail machined into the top of the slide, then yes you can drift it over. Some gunsmiths drift the front sights in place then pin them for extra security. Look for a drift pin to run from the top of the sight thru the slide.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 6:39:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BPiatt:
Before you go hammering on that front sight....

If it's a post style front sight, like the old Colts, then you cannot drift it. Hammering on the side of these sights will snap them off. This style of front sight has a post under the sight going into a hole in the slide. The post hangs into the slide where the barrel is, then it is peened over to hold the front sight in place.

If it has a cross cut dovetail machined into the top of the slide, then yes you can drift it over. Some gunsmiths drift the front sights in place then pin them for extra security. Look for a drift pin to run from the top of the sight thru the slide.



Griffons are dovetailed....
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 7:38:10 PM EDT
Did anyone mention too much extractor tension?

Link Posted: 9/19/2005 4:16:43 AM EDT
I'd do three things, since nothing else seems to be the matter at the moment.

First: order a Wilson 1911 Spring Upgrade kit. Use the 18.5 lb recoil spring and while you're at it add a CP chock buff. Normally I hate shock buffs but the CP Shock buff is the cheese and the crackers.

Second: when you get the kit, bust the gun all the way down and give her a really good cleaning and brushing in hot, soapy water. Whilst cleaning and scrubbing, pay attention to all small grooves, holes and ways. Also, give the extractor hole some serious lovin'!!! Rinse and then water chase the gun with WD 40 or Isopropynol. Blast off the chase bath then lube with a nice, high quality lube like Slip 2000 or Snake Oil. Reassemble, pick up some good facotry ammo and go for a shoot.

Third: Report back to us.

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