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View Full Version : 1911 Rock Island Feed Problem (SOLVED)


ByronF
February 18, 2014, 20:36
Guys,

My RIA won't feed the top round from my 8-rd mags. I polished up the feed ramp, which helped a little bit. But I notice now that it'll feed like crazy if I hold the mag up higher in the mag well. Seems like a cheap test to replace the mag catch to see if the replacement might have a slightly higher shelf. Would there happen to be catches intentionally made with a higher shelf? If not, would it seem reasonable to TIG it up and dress it up to a higher level?

Thanks,
Byron

hongkong3
February 18, 2014, 22:12
Have you tried a different mag? Most of the time that's the problem.

CG&L
February 19, 2014, 16:57
With a 1911, most problems come from the recoil spring or the extractor. On most 1911s the recoil spring should be replaced right away with a Wolff. This would be most true with an RIA, Kimber, etc…

If your recoil spring is a little weak and having trouble, pushing on the magazine is helping it feed a little better. It only needs this help with the first round of a full magazine

Next would be the magazine. The inside of the feed lips is probably a little rough. The spring tension is probably a little stiff as well..
This combination with a weakened recoil spring will cause feeding problems with the first round.

Something I started doing a long time ago is loading a magazine(either tubular or detachable) and letting it sit for a week.
This will knock the stiffness off the top end and greatly aid in feeding the first round.

I would not do anything to the mag catch shelf or use other mags until you find one that works. Doing so will only hide the problem

The problem is with the recoil spring and rough feed lips/stiff mag spring

Evoskoot
February 19, 2014, 18:15
How do you feed the first round? The slide should be brought fully to the rear and allowed to slam home, not eased or helped along. Lock the slide back and use the slide release to load. That might give an indication of the problem. That is the way the pistol is intended to be re-loaded and should work every time.

Where does the first round hang up? Pics, please. I have several RIAs and my son has one also--not probs with 7,8,10 rd mags.

L Haney
February 19, 2014, 18:28
Where does the first round hang up? Pics, please.


^ This.

shlomo
February 19, 2014, 19:21
Where does the first round hang up?

Bet it nosedives the ramp.

What make of mag, and what shape are the feed lips?

http://how-i-did-it.org/magazines2/img/lips_comparison_top.jpg

spider991
February 19, 2014, 22:03
Before you weld or grind anything crazy. ...send it to the factory, call the company. They have some of the best customer service I have ever seen.

ALL FAL
February 19, 2014, 23:30
Before you weld or grind anything crazy. ...send it to the factory, call the company. They have some of the best customer service I have ever seen.

There is the winner. imho.

Pluribus
February 20, 2014, 17:43
If an eight round mag doesn't feed, it's because it's an eight round mag. I bet it'll slurp up rounds from a seven round mag just fine, huh? JMB designed the 1911 to be fed with a 7 round mag for a reason. An eight rounder would not feed reliably so, he stayed with a seven.

Now, that being said, modern eight rounders don't always work either but, the feed lips can be tuned to do so. Take a look at the pic that shlomo put up. Without knowing, I'd pic the one in the middle to try first because of the taper of the feed lips leading up to the abrupt concave drop which lets the nose rotate up when it feeds then release the rim of the cartridge at the concave as it feeds in. The one on the left tapers off until the release of the rim but, allows the nose of the cartridge to rotate up slightly as it comes in contact with the ramp. The one on the right is straight and would make contact the full length of the cartridge until it releases the rim but, not let the cartridge rotate up and instead nose dive into the ramp.

Windy, I know. Try a seven rounder to confirm my windy theory. If you have any luck well, there ya go. If you just have to have an eight round mag and, that's the way RIA billed it, do what ALL FAL said and send it back to them to correct. If not and, it's your decision to use eight round mags then, they need to have the release point adjusted by trial and error. Easily half of the 30 or so eight round 1911 mags I have needed some degree of tuning when they were new. Even the vaunted Wilsons but, not as much work was needed. For the money I've stuck with CMC/shooting star and, that's nothing more than my preference.

Free advice isn't always the best but, all the above has been my experience since about 1976. HTH

ByronF
February 20, 2014, 18:54
Doesn't feed HP from any of the 8-rounders, including the one that came with it (RIA came with an 8-rounder). It'll feed hardball, just like JMB designed it to eat, but I'm not a JMB reenactor so I want it to feed 8-rounds of HP.

Mags are Kimbers and the 8-rd that came with the pistol.

shlomo
February 20, 2014, 19:00
Doesn't feed HP from any of the 8-rounders, including the one that came with it (RIA came with an 8-rounder). It'll feed hardball, just like JMB designed it to eat, but I'm not a JMB reenactor so I want it to feed 8-rounds of HP.

Mags are Kimbers and the 8-rd that came with the pistol.

Try a McCormick or Wilson. Seen the exact thing you describe with the same mags. The McCormick feeds like water. The others nose-dive.

Olaf
February 20, 2014, 19:33
^^THIS^^, in my experience kimber mags = suck, never had a problem with Wilson, cmc, or even factory springfield or colt mags in good condition.


ETA, I only use 7rnd mags (they have been good for this many decades and, holy number 7)

Wildcat
February 20, 2014, 19:40
Factory ammo or handloads?

There is sometimes a cartridge length that 1911's don't like with certain magazines.

I too have had decent luck with McCormick 8-round Power Mags (http://www.cmcmags.com/Powermags.html).

ByronF
February 20, 2014, 19:49
Might have to try some McCormick. Also found an elevated mag catch at Midway. Not sure why raising the mag and making it work with more mags would be a bad idea. What's the down-side?

shlomo
February 20, 2014, 19:54
Might have to try some McCormick. Also found an elevated mag catch at Midway. Not sure why raising the mag and making it work with more mags would be a bad idea. What's the down-side?

The possibility that even with the new mag catch, the current mags still won't work 100%. How much slack do you have at the toe of the mag floorplate between it and the frame? Less than .040"?

richbug
February 20, 2014, 19:56
If you want to get together and shoot some evening, you are more than welcome to try all my assorted magazines on for a fit.

I know I have some Metal Form 8s, Shooting star 8s, and others... This winter just doesn't want to end, I need to burn some powder.

ByronF
February 20, 2014, 21:43
So maybe it's only more reliable but still not 100% reliable with 8-rd mags? Seems like a good idea anyhow for $25. Maybe an elevated mag catch and some better mags then.

Custom-tailoring and polishing mags is OK if I knew I'd always use just my mags, but I'd like for it to run with whoevers mags I can beg or borrow (stealing is wrong).

Rich, I'll take you up on that offer. Call you tomorrow.

Thanks guys.

Sffred
February 21, 2014, 20:57
RIA has some if the best customer service and turn around times... Send it in to them in NV and they will fix it guaranteed! Don't even email them, just call them. And they'll tell u what to do!

legion489
February 22, 2014, 16:48
Mags are Kimbers and the 8-rd that came with the pistol.[/QUOTE]

AAAAhhhh! I see your problem! THROW THE JUNK KIMBER MAGS AWAY!! I have YET to see a Kimber mag that works. PERIOD. Oh I hear about them, but like a working Lee LoadMaster press, I have yet to SEE one in person, just internet lies about how some person has one and any time I want to see it, come on by. When I show up to see this eight wonder of the world (either/or) it always "packed away", "loaned out", "can't get to it", etc.,etc. ALWAYS! I find this amazing.

Get some Chip McCormick mags and I bet that 99.9% of the problems will disappear. If you still have problems, it won't be the mags and is the gun.

richbug
February 22, 2014, 19:55
Oh I hear about them, but like a working Lee LoadMaster press, I have yet to SEE one in person, just internet lies about how some person has one and any time I want to see it, come on by.

My LoadMaster works, usually.

Hebrew Battle Rifle
February 23, 2014, 13:45
Guys,

My RIA won't feed the top round from my 8-rd mags. I polished up the feed ramp, which helped a little bit. But I notice now that it'll feed like crazy if I hold the mag up higher in the mag well. Seems like a cheap test to replace the mag catch to see if the replacement might have a slightly higher shelf. Would there happen to be catches intentionally made with a higher shelf? If not, would it seem reasonable to TIG it up and dress it up to a higher level?

Thanks,
Byron
I have TIG welded the mag release on a couple of SA 1911s and solved the problem that you described. I was going to do the same to my Ballaster Molina, but the design of the mag release does not lend itself to this mod "with my skill level." So, my Ballaster Molina gets a diet of hard ball and LSWCs.
If you have access to a TIG and the skills to use it, mag releases are not expensive and much more desirable than buying dozens of mags to get a few that work like you want.

MACV
February 23, 2014, 21:11
Doesn't feed HP from any of the 8-rounders, including the one that came with it (RIA came with an 8-rounder). It'll feed hardball, just like JMB designed it to eat, but I'm not a JMB reenactor so I want it to feed 8-rounds of HP.

Mags are Kimbers and the 8-rd that came with the pistol.

My biggest complaint about 1911s is that they don't feed hollow points reliably. They are picky as hell about which hollow points they like. Welcome to 1911 land. Thru trial and error you may find a combo of ammo and mags that will work. Or maybe not. Hornady makes a line of ammo called Critical Duty that has a tapered nose that so far feeds well in my 1911s. I've only went thru two boxes of it but have had no problems. You just can't have the chance of jams in a CCW pistol. And I want hollow points in my carry gun. If I want to carry a 45 cal for CCW it's a Sig 220.

Also watch those hollow points for bullit set back when trying to feed, jamming the bullit down into the case. This could raise pressure levels and blow out the case in the un-supported lower section. Some 1911s are really bad for that.
Good luck.

MACV
February 24, 2014, 22:49
Also try small diameter hollow points and take Richbug up on his offer to try out different mags. And before I would make any adjustments to the gun put 200-300 rounds of hardball thru it. 1911s need to be broken in.

ByronF
February 26, 2014, 19:54
Appreciate all the advice. I may try a combination of approaches and see what works. I'd like to get it to run reliably with what I have. Someday we might not have the luxury of being choosy about mags and ammo so if I can do some things that make it work with more combos of mags and ammo that can't be a bad thing.

I had and HK USP 45 Compact. Only the country that built the Tiger II tank could consider that thing a "compact". It ate anything, but good luck bumming a mag from a buddy. Whereas the 1911 is on everyone's hip but my RIA isn't as reliable. My old Kimber compact eats whatever it's fed but I'm using Chip McCormick shooting stars so maybe that has something to do with it.

gobbler
February 26, 2014, 20:11
Doesn't feed HP from any of the 8-rounders, including the one that came with it (RIA came with an 8-rounder). It'll feed hardball, just like JMB designed it to eat, but I'm not a JMB reenactor so I want it to feed 8-rounds of HP.

Mags are Kimbers and the 8-rd that came with the pistol.

My Defender & Springfield Micro will not feed Federal JHPs but no problem with Gold Dots...........only likes the rounded nose bullets

gobbler

C-ya
February 26, 2014, 21:25
Here's what my Armscor 8 rounders look like. The rounds are MagTech Guardian Golds and they feed quite well. The only things I have changed on the pistol are the grips and put in a set of Wolff springs. The 8 rounders fed with the stock springs in.

Byron, if you want to try my Armscor's, let me know.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v498/c-ya/20140226_211403_zpsrolsghii.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v498/c-ya/20140226_211720_zpsi5tvk4io.jpg http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v498/c-ya/20140226_211807_zpscnxyvxg4.jpg

randyj
February 27, 2014, 00:00
maybe that's why the Marines use 7 rnders in their new custom 1911

ByronF
February 27, 2014, 20:54
maybe that's why the Marines use 7 rnders in their new custom 1911

They have helocopters and machine guns and tanks and artillery and stuff. I only have a pistol so I need an extra round.

longhair51
February 28, 2014, 18:32
I agree with the poster above that said send it back for repair. My Colt govt will feed anything including Speer Gold Dots. The only thing I have done is smooth out the feed ramp, and the under surface of the barrel hood with some 400-600 sandpaper. I use the mag that came with the gun, a couple of military surplus mags, and some 8 & 10 round Tripp Cobra mags without any problems.

0302
March 04, 2014, 20:35
the march/april 2023 Handgunner mAg has a good article about the proper extractor setup for a 1911.

ByronF
March 28, 2014, 18:31
Installed an EGW raised mag catch and it feeds top round fatty hollow-points just fine from one of the Kimber 8-rd mags. They're advertised to raise the mag by around 0.020". I think it raised it a bit more than that so maybe the RIA mag catch shelf was a little low. A standard-height catch may have solved it. I still have a little verticle slack in the mag and it doesn't rub the slide so I'm happy with the results so far.

The catch did require some hand-fitting to work smoothly in the RIA. At first it would stop short as soon as the kidney-shaped lobe met the frame. Some careful filing of the lobe got it working most of the way. I had to dress it down just a little on the main cylindrical region to make it not be sticky for the last bit. Still needs a little more buffing so there is some margin for dirt and grime.

Byron

C-ya
March 28, 2014, 20:49
Glad to hear you figured it out. Run it a little more and get her fine-tuned and then enjoy it.

ByronF
March 29, 2014, 07:24
Needs just a few minor tweaks before I put down the files and Dremel:
1. I could feel the spring coils popping against something when I press the mag release button. I think the stem of that little key lock needs tapered and smoothed out.
2. The spring hole in the EGW catch is shallower than the RIA catch, resulting in a LOT of spring pressure. The mag release button is way stiffer than before. Enough so that I doubt womanly hands could operate it.
3. If I push the mag catch firmly I can retain the mag with the side of the catch opposite the shelf. I'll relieve the radius opposite the shelf.
4. I notice that even with the catch removed I have some drag when installing a loaded mag. I've found that the rim of the top round is rubbing along the flat back edge of the inside of the mag well, just above where you can see the mainspring strut connect to the hammer. Seems like the well is a bit shorter front-to-back than my Kimber. Won't take much to relieve a shallow taper up the middle backside of the magwell. Another minor issue that can be easily corrected.