Weird 1911 fail today--need advise - Pistolsmith
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
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Weird 1911 fail today--need advise

I'll start at the beginning. I picked up an Ithaca 1911, made in the forties. The slide had been machined for a Millett rear adjustable sight and a matching front sight affixed. A pro job, for sure.

Feed ramp and barrel ramp had been polished--requisite 1/32" gap between the feed ramp and the barrel ramp, probably to feed hollowpoints. Looks like an OK job.

OK--no collector value.

Took it to the range today and fired some old Hornady HPs out of it.

1) First magazine fed and fired without a hitch

2) Second mag, third or fourth shot--gun went "POOF!"--not real loud, and I didn't notice a case being ejected.

3) I immediately extracted the Colt magazine--all the remaining rounds had been pushed to the bottom of the mag and stuck there--much black residue in the mag.

4) Gun was locked up. I could only move the slide about a quarter inch, no more even with some force applied.

5) Snapped the trigger downrange a few times, removed the recoil spring and cap , barrel bushing, and grips.

6) Went home, placed the gun frame in a padded vise, and was able to retract the slide fairly easily (why then and not at the range?)

7) Disassembled the gun expecting to find a blown cartridge case, a bullet in the barrel, or some evidence of what had happened. NADA--no case, no bullet anywhere.

8) In the frame recess which houses the swinging link, I found what looked like unburned powder. Also, the frame rails were
extremely gritty, despite having been cleaned and oiled prior to going to the range

My thoughts--

1) Was too much of the barrel ramp polished away, leaving an excess of the case unsupported and leading to a blowout?
Again, no big boom, just a "POOF"

2) Could a primer have blown and the powder was no good, propelling the bullet out the muzzle but not igniting the powder?

3) Why did the gun lock up so solidly and then come apart easily when I got home?

4) Something blew the remaining cartridges down the magazine and left a ton of black soot.

Anybody help? I want to know if this gun is safe to fire again!!

Tim

Last edited by BlackAgnes; 03-29-2012 at 06:36 PM.
 
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:53 PM   #2
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Based on what you described I expect you had a contaminated/defective primer and maybe powder charge as well.

As to why you could get it apart easily at home, something probably cooled/shifted between range and home.

Sounds like the gun is OK after cleaning and relubing.
 
Old 03-30-2012, 05:43 AM   #3
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Thanks!
 
 
Old 03-30-2012, 02:23 PM   #4
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I may have found the answer--been driving me crazy!

Found an IDENTICAL box of Hornady 10mm ammo in my .shooting bag, right with the .45 ammo--same bullet shape.

Sooooo......I think I may have....well, you know.

I wonder if any damage was done--everything look OK.

Dumb!

Tim
 
Old 03-31-2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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owwe. Better be sure on that, IMO. I've seen people launch 9mm rounds out of 40S&W guns(HK USP's and even MP5's come to mind) and the results were NOT good. Bulged barrels or blown out(Yes, even a forged barrel). I would not gamble on this if you really think you launched a wrong bullet out of a wrong gun. You can take a chance, but you may only get to do it once.
 
Old 04-02-2012, 09:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackAgnes View Post
... I wonder if any damage was done ...

Dumb!...
No damage. Unless a bullet sticks in the barrel (unlikely), repeatedly doing isn't likely to damage anything.

Dumb? You aren't the first or last. Sometimes easy to do. Glad it wasn't an emergency situation. Doing it repeatedly would be stupid.
 
Old 04-04-2012, 01:12 PM   #7
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retDAC--

Thanks for the kind words. I detail GI stripped the gun and thoroughly cleaned and inspected every part -- looks OK from what I can tell.

I plan to put on a heavy glove and good eye protection and fire one standard hardball round at a time and then carefully inspect the fired cases for any anomalies.

Only if I am satisfied will I try a full magazine. My only concern now is that the gun has had a barrel polish (throating) job at some point in its life, and I don't know at what point the unsupported part of the case exceeds safe standards--I wouldn't want a blowout.

The job looks pretty professional, but you never know...

Tim
 
Old 04-04-2012, 03:14 PM   #8
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I've seen exceptional "Looking" polish jobs that I wouldn't shoot if you paid me. Just sayin'. Better safe than sorry.
 
Old 04-04-2012, 04:43 PM   #9
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Good point, alabaster. Maybe I'll just order a new barrel.....

Tim
 
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