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Thread: Light Strikes

  1. #1
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Light Strikes

    I've been putting off learning to detail strip my 1911s, but looks like I'm going to be forced to learn. Range trip before last with my A.C. Commander, I had 5 light strikes out of 50 rounds of Magtech 230 gr. FMJ. Each time the primer was barely indented & each time they fired with a second strike. This last range trip resulted in that many light strikes in only 15 rounds, this time with PPU 230 gr. FMJ.

    My question is what should I be looking for?

  2. #2
    VIP Founding Member (First 100) R.Ph. 380's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Mitchr, look for a clogged firing pin channel, or maybe a broken tip on the firing pin.

    Bill
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by R.Ph. 380 View Post
    Mitchr, look for a clogged firing pin channel, or maybe a broken tip on the firing pin.

    Bill
    Already checked that & all okay.

  4. #4
    Special Guest Moderator 1911Tuner's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    I assume that the AC pistols don't have any sort of passive firing pin safety, such as Colt's Series 80 or the Swartz system. If yours does, that would be the first suspect.

    If not...

    It may be that the slide is very slightly out of battery. Not far enough for the disconnect to prevent hammer fall, but far enough for the hammer to strike the bottom of the firing pin stop just as it hits the firing pin.

    You can do a quick test next trip with the same ammo by bumping the slide forward after every cycle. If the problem goes away...that's likely whence the bug nests.

    Excessive extractor tension and/or deflection can cause that. Or...an issue with the ammunition as in the bullet contacting the rifling and preventing full return to battery. Chamber a round at full speed and see if the slide sticks when you manually go to pull the round from the chamber.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    No firing pin safety. I'll check it for not going to battery on next trip. I usually dropped the mag & ejected the live round to inspect it, then reloaded & it'd fire. I didn't make a note of how many times I just recocked & tried a second strike, I think twice, but one time it wouldn't fire on the second strike. Since it happened with 2 brands of ammo, I wouldn't think that was the cause, but I'll try a different brand next time.

    Thanks


    I guess I can put off detail stripping it a little longer.

  6. #6
    Administrator gtgeorge's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    I now have to chime in with the same problem with my Commander. I thought it was the Tula primer batch I got but they all have shot fine in my Bersa and now a few CCI have had light strikes and is progressively getting more frequent. I have over 5K through mine and has been detail striped several times. Primer strikes have always been somewhat light compared to others. Could the mainspring possibly cause this?

  7. #7
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Mainspring was what I was thinking when I started this thread, but Tuner didn't suggest it. I went to the range today, but to be honest, we were there with a couple other Bersa Chat members to have a good time & my heart just wasn't into trouble shooting. I did shoot a couple mag loads thru it & I looked, after every round, to see if it was not in battery. I had one light strike & couldn't tell by looking that it was out of battery. Anyway, I'll just wait 'til another trip when I can concentrate on Tuner's instructions.

  8. #8
    Administrator gtgeorge's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Took mine outback and ran a little over 100 through with 8 light strike/no bangs checking various things. Nothing made a difference so I took my mainspring out cleaned and lubed and tried to stretch a little. Did the pencil test a bunch as it is dark and the neighbors aren't used to me shooting at night. Will see if that makes a difference tomorrow. Mainspring really doesn't make good sense to me since it goes bang at least 90%. I have noticed that the primer strikes were never as deep as others at the range and brass I collect so maybe?

    I may get a new set of springs since mine is "WELL" broken in LOL.

  9. #9
    Special Guest Moderator 1911Tuner's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Stretching the spring may or may not work, and if it does, it'll be temporary at best. When you stretch a coil spring enough to actually change its length, you take it beyond its elastic limits, and it'll take a set back to its original length...and it'll be weakened. If it does work, it'll at least let you know where the problem is/was.

    Unless AC installs lighter than standard (23#) mainsprings as OEM, that shouldn't be a problem, even with hard primers. It's possible that the Tula primers are tougher than the ones in USGI ball ammunition, but that would be a stretch. More likely a batch of bad primers with out of spec cup thickness...which is always a possibility when dealing with foreign ammunition vendors.

    Anyway, the bump test is a quick way to eliminate a slight out of battery problem. Another place to look is the firing pin length and checking to see if the firing pin's forward movement is smooth and unhindered.

  10. #10
    Administrator gtgeorge's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Thanks Tuner, I was looking to see if the spring corrects the problem and ordering replacements anyway. I tried the tap test, holding the grip tight and also looked at hammer position afterwards and it was laying flat against the stop.

    I am sure it is not the primers now whereas I suspected them at first since even CCI primers fail now although less frequently. They also all shoot fine in another pistol including those run through another 1911. I will go test soon as the neighborhood wakes up. Pencil test has me confident, but we will see.

  11. #11
    VIP Founding Member (First 100) bobbysfd's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Im pretty sure the mainsprings are lighter than 23 lb, I think they start with a 21

  12. #12
    Administrator gtgeorge's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    I finally got around to installing and testing a replacement spring set for my Commander from Wilson Combat. I ran @ 100 rounds through with no troubles and notice a much better primer strike on all fired rounds. Primer strikes are more positive than when it was new. Not sure if just the mainspring would have fixed it alone as I changed them all at the same time.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Well, mine has seemed to stop doing it on it's own! With my post on the 17th, have only had the one light strike that day in 16 rounds & ran 90 rounds through it this last time (including 40 Magtech) without a single light strike. Rather than bump the back of the slide after each shot, I lowered the pistol after each shot to check to see if it appeared to be in battery & all went okay. I can only guess that there was something that I dislodged & missed seeing come out when I checked the firing pin channel after I first had the problem.

  14. #14
    Administrator gtgeorge's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Glad yours worked itself out. Nothing helped mine and it progressively got worse. I even had someone pickup my brass at a match and commented that I wasn't getting proper strikes when the pistol was almost new. The new springs are all much longer and stronger than the originals so I am pretty sure it would be an improvement over even factory new springs. Ran another 30 rounds through it after the post earlier and am happy to have it back to being a fine working tool

  15. #15
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Decided to wake up this old thread rather than start a new one. Back to having light strikes again, but really erratic. Some trips none, like the last one, sometimes only one. I haven't had another trip with as many as I did in my original post & it doesn't seem to be ammo brand related as I've use Magtech since my original post & had no light strikes, but have with other brands. I've checked for out of battery problems, as Tuner suggested, but didn't seem to be the problem. In fact, using an unloaded pistol, I've tried to get the hammer to fall with the pistol slightly out of battery & I can't.

    I had one trip with two failures to fire out of 50 rounds. I could kick myself for not checking one out more closely. It looked like the hammer fell to half cock. Like an idiot, I just recocked & fired it, when I should have been more careful about inspecting it.

    I just got around to detail stripping it, but did not take the main spring housing apart. Would it be a good idea to do so?

  16. #16
    Founding Member (First 100) 1911nut's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    When I changed the mainspring in my ACII to a 23# Wolff spring it was a night and day difference. The factory one felt way lighter, maybe 18-20#. Only had around 600 rounds through it before I changed it. Primer strikes are now deeper than before.
    Hope this helps, Mike
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  17. #17
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by 1911nut View Post
    When I changed the mainspring in my ACII to a 23# Wolff spring it was a night and day difference. The factory one felt way lighter, maybe 18-20#. Only had around 600 rounds through it before I changed it. Primer strikes are now deeper than before.
    Hope this helps, Mike

    Something to think about. One reason I didn't try to get into the MSH was because I was using Tuner's teardown instructions & they didn't cover it so I hesitated doing it without knowing what I might get into. Just looking at the parts schematic, shouldn't be too big a task, except I'm such a klutz when it comes to teeny, tiny parts like that. I didn't think I was ever gonna get the disconnector & sear back in, even with needle nose pliers.

  18. #18
    Administrator gtgeorge's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Mainspring fixed mine and is quite easy to change out The primer strikes are all much better than it ever was new and I have put twice as many rounds dowrange since the change with no sign of it slowing down. It is confusing when a problem is intermittent and you can't find anything in common for them. Also just fixed the same problem on my old 9HC with a new mainspring as it was starting to get light strikes.

  19. #19
    Special Guest Moderator 1911Tuner's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    I didn't consider the mainspring because most producers just go with the standard 23 pounds.

    Never Ass-U-Me, I guess...

    Anyhoo...Tearing the mainspring housing down is no big deal. Clamp it in a vise, being careful to clamp on the body and not the rails. No need to clamp it hard, but do make sure the bottom is solidly supported. Use a suitable punch to depress the spring. Push the little cap pin out from the front side far enough to grasp it with your fingers and pull it out. Slowly relieve tension on the spring...then just pluck it out. The spring ends may or may not be crimped onto the plunger and cap. If it is, you may have to destroy the spring to get'em out. No problem as long as you have a new spring.

    Reassemble in reverse order. The cap pin is flanged, and is thus unidirectional. The flange goes on the inside.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator mitchr's Avatar
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    Re: Light Strikes

    Thanks Tuner. No vise, but I may be able to use one at my old employer's shop. I'll get a spring & then we'll see.

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