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Classic SSUSA: 1911 Tuning Recommendations

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From the vault: A reader-submitted question about tuning recommendations for the 1911 pistol. As published in the October 2001 issue of Shooting Sports USA.

Q. Could you recommend any “tuning” for my Springfield Armory 1911-A1? Specifically, the case mouth gets damaged when it is ejected. I’m shooting handloads, but the same thing happens with factory ammunition. I use the same handloads and factory ammunition in my Glock G21, and they all eject without damage. The gun is a plain 1911-A1 with absolutely no modifications or improvements.

A. The condition you observe is very common in unmodified Government Model pistols. The dent is caused by the empty case striking either the headspace extension on the barrel or the forward edge of the ejection port. Without actual modification to the gun, we would suggest slightly increasing extractor tension and replacing the recoil spring (16-pound is standard and what you want). It is a simple matter to bend the extractor just a tiny bit to make it hold the case more firmly, but it needs to be done gently, for the extractor is very hard and can be broken if you try to bend it very much. Many gunsmiths “lower” the ejection port to improve ejection, but we don’t think it’s necessary on your gun unless things get much worse.

Cutaway Springfield Armory 1911-A1

Cutaway Springfield Armory 1911-A1.


Not interested in working on the internals of your gun? Read our comprehensive guide on how to find a competent gunsmith. Submit your questions to [email protected].

All photos courtesy of the NRA National Firearms Museum.

Article SSUSA Staff

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