Fine Tuning 1911 Magazines

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by The Bolt Man, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Southern Minnesota
    I know one magazine will not handle all the different types af ammo.

    I would like to be able to tune a few magazines to feed some different types a ammo for my 38 Super and 45 ACP.

    I don't shoot much jacketed ammo. Most of my shooting is with cast bullets, round nose, truncated nose type, semi wiadcutter and some full wad cutter.

    There is a wide enough variation in the type of bullets I listed above that, no one magazine will feed them all.

    Does anyone know of a good refernce that would detail how the lips of a magazine can be adjusted to feed the different bullets well?
  2. stash247

    stash247 New Member

    Oct 18, 2003
    Central Texas
    Brownell's sells, or did, a lip formingdie for .45 Cal 1911 mags; the instructions for which they would probably FAX you, if you asked: this may not be the world, but a place to start
    The deal with the 1911 is that the fed round must rise and slip under the extractor, in the feed cycle, to work as it should; the mag should allow this, before the bullet engages the feed ramp, for maximum reliability.
    If you look at your most reliable mags, they normally have 2 angles in the feed lips, allowing the bullet to rise vertically, about half way across the mag.
    Do not neglect the magazine spring; particularly on compact pistols, it must be real stout, to get the feeding round up there, in the shorter cycle time the compacts have.
    Hope this helps.

  3. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    My advise is never, ever try to adjust magazine lip angles. They either work well, or you throw them away.

    By all means try different makes, but the magazine lips are arguably the most critical part of any self loading weapon. The angles are complex and have to be exact to achieve reliable operation.

    In my opinion leave the mags well alone, save for proper cleaning. And never use them for opening bottles :)

    (Unless you have an old one, attach it to a short chain and have a cool 'shooters' bottle opener. I just thought of that and I am off to make one).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2008
  4. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Southern Minnesota
    I read in one source, that some of the magazine manufacturers do offer magazines with different release points. These different release points are designed to work well with the type of ammo to be used. Lets say a full wad cutter or the round nose. The wad cutter is suppose to require a earlier release.

    I guess I will have to search out the different manufacturers to see who produces magazines suited for the ammo I intend to shoot.
  5. stash247

    stash247 New Member

    Oct 18, 2003
    Central Texas
    Bolt man, of this minute, you have heard it from two sources, not as many as have, but they speak the truth!
    A 'wad gun' built on a 1911 chassis is, argueably, the most finicky eater on earth; the standard Govt Model 1911 was built to feed round nosed ball ammo, PERIOD! The .38 Spl, or the AMU, are both longer, and, totally flat faced, requiring absolute precision in rising exactly vertical, into the horizontal slide, before they enter the chamber, touch the barrel hood, or feed ramp, the velocity of the slide, strength of the mag spring, finish of the breech face, and the shape of the (in these cases, seriously reformed) mag lips.
    Google "Armand Swenson, Gardena Ca," , or "Swenson's .45 Shop", and Learn a bit about the man who taught me how that pistol was designed, and how it really 'runs'.
    Google "Lew Willing, USAF MTU" for some info on the wad guns he pioneered; as a pistolsmith, he was the best the Air Force ever had.
    You could also Google "Robert W. Day", or "Day Arms, San Antonio, Tx", a third mentor of mine.
    Armand was building 'Subcompact' .45's, before Detonics was even concieved; I would, and have, trusted my life to Armand's work, long ago, with a subcompact, and HIS mags; no other!
    That fine old guy would have hunted me down, took my pistol, and slapped me stupid with it, had he ever heard of any other mag but his, in that pistol!
    And he's the man that 'wrote the book', on accurate, reliable, tiny 1911's!
    My 'work guns' are a "One gun, three mag, single load package deal", and several of them have been shot a lot, with 100% reliability, some, for over thirty years.
    There are excellent factory mags out there, also, some that are pure trash, for any given load, but really shine, with a different load.
    Life is already too short; never compromise it with an unproven mag/ ammo combination!
  6. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    Just buy a few Metalform mags and save yourself a lot of trouble. Mag feed lips can be adjusted but if you lack experience, all you will do is ruin a lot of mags.
  7. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Southern Minnesota
    Thanks for the suggestions about 1911 magazines.

    I guess I am from the old school. I usually start my quest by asking others for their experience and recommendations. That way I cut my losses and get headed in the right direction much faster at less expense.

    If I am going to invest in what are suppose to be decent magazines I darn well expect them to work or that they can be made to work. Throwing them away is not an option in my way of thinking. Getting rid of a pistol that doesn't work is an option.
  8. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Southern Minnesota

    I shoot for fun but if I have to pick up one of my guns to defend myself it won't be a semi auto pistol. Maybe a rifle or shotgun. If I have a need to carry it will be one of several trusty revolvers not a semi auto that can screw up at the worst possible moment.
  9. berto64

    berto64 Active Member


    I just know you're talkin' about Glocks.
  10. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Southern Minnesota
    I am talking any semi auto but more specifically, any semi auto that I own or have owned.

    As I stated earlier, I shoot for fun. I don't have a job that requires me to carry a side arm. I don't shoot tens of thousands of rounds per year through my semi auto's so I can't say mine have run flawlessly for many thousands of rounds. I do have ammo that would likely qualify in my semi auto's as a load that never fails but it isn't the kind of load that I enjoy shooting for fun.

    I can say, I wouldn't trust my life to one of my semi auto pistols if the need became necessary. As for fire power, way more ammo usually means much faster shooting and lots more misses than hits. One well aimed shot is far more effective than ten or fifteen shots sprayed in some direction.

    I do not intend to be critical of those that carry a firearm as a tool of their trade, be it law inforcement or the military. God Bless them for putting their lives on the line for us.

    I am not trying to put down the competitive shooters either. I have been there and done that. I still find about half of my shooting is bullseye type shooting, but it is only me against the target, and not any other shooters. I demand a lot of myself and my firearms, with accuracy and dependability at the top of the list.
  11. stash247

    stash247 New Member

    Oct 18, 2003
    Central Texas
    Bolt man, hear me; I have two beautiful daughters, and five grandsons, whom I love with all my being!
    I will feed no dog that will not hunt!
    My preferred platform is the 1911 design, in whatever length works; JMB's masterpeice, IMHO, and I have studied it, for 40+ years, at the feet of the finest smiths on the planet!
    My 'work guns', as those I prepare for those nearest and dearest to me, will be as close to 100% reliable, as God and man can create!
    Initially, we gotta reduce the parameters, to a single load, and then wrap the gun around the load it 'likes', in a fashion that it is unfailingly reliable, with at least three mags, under any conditions.
    My family and friends deserve no less than the best!
    And any pistol, that won't eat 1000 rds of whatever load, without malfunction, is 'Broke', and needs fixing, pure and simple.
    Accuracy, a relevant, but relative, item on the list; If it will stuff 10 rds/ 10 seconds, into a 2" group, at 7 yds, we have us here a dead felon; My girls, my guns, one sees a ragged hole, at 25, in that timeframe, in most cases!
    We have some revolvers, as well 'stashed around', all Smith J Frames, 3", lightweights, for a missed opportunity, at a grab for a 'better' arm, but I will not apoogise for them, as the are in and of themselves, far more than just 'competent' weapons!
    My grandkids are just becoming shooters, and my daughters had some reservations, until we discussed their training, and eduction, around firearms!
    Both girls were shooting, smallbore, by seven, on Saturday, and helping me at Sunday matches, as well.
    If you have misgivings about the reliability of a 1911, or other auto pistol, fix the gun, not the blame; If you would just rather shoot a wheel gun, fine, but 100 year longevity, in every major market in the world, speaks volumes, about the reliability of the design!
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2008
  12. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Southern Minnesota

    I understand your position with the 1911 platform. I have three of them and I am sure I could do as you say, find a load that will perform without failure for a thousand rounds or more. I have loads that have never failed in any of the 1911's. These are not loads I enjoy shooting for fun and since I shoot my 1911's for fun, I keep a good supply of fun shooting loads on hand and the 1911's are set up for fun, not self defence.

    My fun shooting is done with about 98% cast bullets in all of my handguns and many different calibers of rifles. I am retired, and cost is a factor when choosing what I shoot. I can shoot a lot when reloading my own cast bullet loads. My loads are developed with accuracy being very important, non leading and easy on the firearm, the shooter and the brass. Most of my loads are mid-range to low end target velocity.

    I do have some pretty warm cast handgun loads I use for shooting bowling pins and steel targets, but they account for only about 15% of my shooting. I also have some FMJ round nose factory level loads that haven't failed in my 1911's, but as stated earlier, my 1911's are set up for the cast loads and I don't think the bad guys would wait while I changed springs so the gun would be ready for the full charge rounds. The revolvers are always ready to go.

    My situation is quite different from yours, therefore my choice of handgun for a particular situation is different.
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