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Extractor or Ejector ?


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My series 70  feeds and ejects everytime and mostly throws empties over my right shoulder. Every now and them an epmty will land on top of my head and very ocassionaly hit me in the face. I can live with the top on the head but in the face is a deal breaker. I always wear shooting glasses but it's still a great distraction.  Extract, ejector, or something else?

Any replies will be appreciated.



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First, look for brass strike marks on the slide, and dents in the fired brass.  If you are getting marks/dents, and the ejection port has not been opened like most modern 1911 guns have, it would be worth it to relieve the port area especially at the spots with strike marks.   That said, I run two Colt Series 70s which do not have the factory ejection port opened and they NEVER get brass strikes and VERY rarely do I get any brass back that is dinged up (and that could be other-shooter-brass).    All that comes from getting the extractor tensioned and tuned properly.

Why does tuning of the EXTRACTOR fix these kind of problems?  It is the part that has the grasp on the rim of the case.   Yes, i know there are aftermarket ejectors that are used often, some are longer nosed than factory length, and some have different angles. All they do, though, is give the case a kick when the slide gets to the right place.

BUT - In our 5" barrel government size guns, the ejector plays a small role in removing cases, and tinkering with it rarely fixes the problem of random or consistent poor case removal.  Leave the factory ejector blade installed.   In a short barrel gun, an extended nose ejector may really help, though.

So, how can tuning of the extractor be done?

First, make sure you have one that is correctly tensioned and not "sprung" so tension is not produced consistently.  Second, correct any extractor nose shape.  Third, make sure the firing pin stop fits the extractor and is not loose. 

Here's a short walkthrough of this by one of the MASTER 1911 smiths - Bill Wilson


Be sure you perform the extractor-grip shake test in the "Correct Tension" section.  And the Yam test.  Quick and easy ways to spot problems.


And when you understand all that, then read and re-read this one:


It is an engineering approach to tuning the extractor, and will require looking at the pictures, then your own gun, then measuring stuff with at least a vernier caliper, to fully understand just how to adjust the extractor shape and positioning, and the firing pin stop and ejector.

As explained in this second article, tossing of fired cases should be at about 4 o'clock (where down range is 12 o'clock), and about 45 degrees above the horizon.  NOT straight up, not straight back.   And if the recoil and main springs match the power of your ammo well, cases are tossed 4 to 8 feet from where you are standing.

(I'd guess your random case-in-the-face problem is due to weak tension on the extractor.  That one cause is probably the most common reason that 1911s don't eject cases consistently.)  Let me know if that pans out.

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe
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Thank GJ,

I bought the pistol several years ago from a friend who bought it used. It wouldn't feed or extract right and I bought it from him.  I tried tuning the extractor and failed at every atempt. I ended up buying a wilson and problem partially solved. I still have the original extractor that I tried to tune and will try to tune it again. If I fail I'll try the Wilson. 

I have a friend whose farm is next door to a cop who claims to be a 1911 builder. Worse comes to worse I'll pay him to tune it.

I have several 1911's that are 100 percent but would like the Colt to be 100% too.

I will look forward to reviewing the links you sent me.

Thanks for your help.


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