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Old 09-13-2011, 17:51   #1
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What are the best mags for a finiky 1911?

I have a buddy who swears by Chip McCormick power mags. Has anyone had any experience with these? They're a bit pricey, but if they work as advertised then what the hell. I've tried dozens of "mil-spec" welded bottom mags marked "Colt", and they're all hit and miss with the feeding problems. I've even switched out my recoil spring thinking it was just too strong for proper feeding and ejecting. I'd love to be able to pack my .45 again, but she'll sit in the safe until I know she'll work flawlessly. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:48   #2
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The usual answer to anyone trying to rule out magazines as a cause for a finicky 1911 is "try Wilson mags". Like anything else, Wilson mags aren't 100% perfect, but they are pretty much stone-reliable, albeit pricey.

I have and use McCormick, Wilson, Mec-Gar, Colt, Springfield Armory, and generic milsurp mags. The first 3 are are my favorites: I have yet to find a bad one out of about 2 dozen, whether .45 ACP or .38 Super, both full-length and Officer's length. I know that's a fairly small sample size, but it's all I've got.

Recent vintage Colt-marked mags have all been reliable in my .38 Super, but not necessarily in my .45 ACPs (especially the Officer's Model and Commander/Officer hybrid).

The SA and milsurps are hit and miss: they work fine in some of my 1911s, but balk completely in others. One of these days I'll get around to marking these mags to a particular gun.

As to recoil spring, assuming you're using 230gr bullets at 850fps, I'd get a Wolff standard-weight spring and use that as a baseline when you start evaluating mags: don't want to change 2 variables at once. Only if your ammo varies significantly from the standard 230@850 should you need to change recoil spring weight.

Last thought: you didn't mention whether your 1911 is full-size, but many people (including me) do not use recoil buffers (Shok-Buff, etc.), especially in the shorter guns. They can cause short-stroking and failures to feed, which usually gets blamed on the magazines.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:00   #3
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I have used McCormick 1911 Power Mags for years and never had a problem. The LEO trainers I have read after all recommend these mags hands down.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:24   #4
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McCormick and wilson is the way to go! I also have 2 that Novak threw in when I spent some money down there. I'm not sure the exact way he tweaks them or what kind of spring, but they work flawless for me as well. There is nothing more bothersome than a finicky mag, I've gaven away a few colt mags that didn't preform up to par
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:01   #5
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Thanks alot guys for the info. I've got some mags on order and can't wait to try them out.
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Old 09-20-2011, 18:01   #6
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I assume your having feeding issues with you 1911 from what you've said. Yes, the mag can be an issue especially with the last 2 or 3 rnds in the mag when ya have a worn mag spring. A weak mag spring can make it so that your slide won't lock back after the last rnd fired.

The most common 1911 problem is the internal extractor as it not only pulls the fired casing it feeds the next rnd. Too much or too little tension will make for fail to feeds/fail to extracts. Really easy to adjust the extractor, look on youtube.

I use Chip McCormick shooting stars (about $15.00 ea.) but note the split follower can damage alum. frames as the last rnd is stripped the follower moves ahead (dinging the soft alum framed models). The split follower is fine in an all steel framed 1911, just a heads up.
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Old 09-25-2011, 18:15   #7
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Yep, the McCormicks are great, I use them in both my Kimber and my Essex 1911, they work better than the factory Kimber mags that came with the gun, it's all I buy now.
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Old 09-26-2011, 17:51   #8
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The current Colt's, McCormick bodies, Brown's and other's are all made by Metalform.

They've been the OEM maker for a number of them for years.

When I have a problem 1911 come into the shop, I take it out to the range with a handful of Metalform (rounded metal follower) and Wilson-Rogers 7 round mags.

The 8 round mags are for slide lock reloads, when stuffed into the mag well fully loaded, they can cause issues and in a defensive gun, that cannot be allowed.

One minor thing, the McCormick shooting star followers should not be used with aluminum framed guns, the follower will ride forward in recoil and peck at the feed ramp and damage it, quite extensively in some cases.
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Old 10-22-2011, 15:10   #9
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Checkmate is another Colt OEM supplier, and I've been having great luck with their Colt-branded seven round mags with the hybrid feed lips. I also use some Checkmate GI surplus mags that feed HP ammo perfectly, even though they have milspec feed lips.

My RIA was just the least little bit finicky until I jettisoned all my other magazines in favor of the Checkmates. I now use them exclusively because the pistol runs better with them than with Wilson, McCormick, or the Act mag that was supplied with the gun. Lately I've been upgrading to extra-power magazine springs, and have experienced zero feed issues for about 700 rounds.

Bottom line, believe what your pistol tells you; it knows what it likes. Be prepared to spend some money in the course of your research. Inspect your tubes for spread feed lips, cracks, and loose floor plates. The 1911 magazine is supposed to be a consumable asset; when they quit working, get rid of them. I have no room in my range bag for a "range only" magazine. They all have to work when I insert them into the pistol.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:09   #10
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I've used Colt, Springfield and Wilson mags for several years without any problem.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:43   #11
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OP,
I've had no issues with Wilson 47s. Neither have I had any issues with the inexpensive Mec-Gar 7 round mags. Almost any decent mags should be virtually trouble free. Have you eliminated any possible problems with the gun itself such as the extractor or a rough feed ramp?
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Old 11-16-2011, 14:10   #12
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If you are not feeding well from stock mags your pistol is set up too tight. The 1911 was never intended to require a special mag from a custom maker. It was also never intended to shoot some of the squirrley ammo we now try to feed them either.

I walked into battle with mags of unknown manufacture and age and never remember a malfunction that did not involve massive amounts of mud in the gears or a severely damaged mag. I had a couple that were cracked and splitting down the back of the feed lips and they still worked.

Switch to stock springs and go back to hardball ammo and your "magazine problems" will probably end.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:53   #13
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MecGar work great for me. Follower design is far and above better than the simple leaf design of most 1911 mags.

I have one Kimber mag as well, its OK, much harder to load than the MecGar though due to feed lip design.

For what its worth, my 1911 is pretty tight, and feeds empty cases from the MecGar mags without issue. I shoot 99% 200gr SWC lead handloads with 4.5gr titegroup, a fairly soft shooting round. Combine that with a 22lb officer model spring with a commander length barrel (its an odd build - gunsmith special) and I am surprized the thing cycles but it does. I really could likely step down to a 20lb spring, and Might, next spring change.

Last edited by woodchuckssuck; 12-05-2011 at 09:32.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:44   #14
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Hi, I have a question about magazine slide hold back on a Springfield Armory
1911 ultra compact (Officer sized 3.5" barrel 1911).

The supplied Springfield Armory 6rd magazine works holding back the slide on the
last round fired. I have 3 Wilson Combat officer sized 7rd magazines that will
not hold back the slide on the last round fired. If I manually pull the slide
back with the empty Wilson magazines, the slide locks back.

Has anyone here experienced such a problem with Wilson Combat 7rd magazines with
their Officer's sized 1911? What did you do, short of discarding the Wilson
magazines, to solve this problem?

Regards,
Richard
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:18   #15
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Im using Wilson mags. In my experience if your gun wont run with these then you got a bad gun not a bad magazine and need to address the real issue.
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Old 06-03-2012, 18:18   #16
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Originally Posted by ssb73q View Post
Hi, I have a question about magazine slide hold back on a Springfield Armory
1911 ultra compact (Officer sized 3.5" barrel 1911).

The supplied Springfield Armory 6rd magazine works holding back the slide on the
last round fired. I have 3 Wilson Combat officer sized 7rd magazines that will
not hold back the slide on the last round fired. If I manually pull the slide
back with the empty Wilson magazines, the slide locks back.

Has anyone here experienced such a problem with Wilson Combat 7rd magazines with
their Officer's sized 1911? What did you do, short of discarding the Wilson
magazines, to solve this problem?

Regards,
Richard
I have not had that issue with my Officer's ACP, but the short 1911s are prone to cycling issues. If you have a Shok-Buff, remove it. That extra 1/8 inch of slide travel solves many cycling problems.
Your basic problem sounds like it's in the follower / slide stop interface. Your slide stop lug may be just a hair too short for the Wilson follower to push it up during normal cycling, but engages just enough that when you cycle by hand, it has time to push the slide stop up.
Extra capacity mags gain that extra capacity by shortening the height of the follower, which makes the follower a bit more prone to tipping, which can make them miss the slide stop lug. Try swapping the known good follower into the troublesome mags. If that's the case, your options are to replace the slide stop with one a smidge longer (and fit it properly to make sure it doesn't prematurely engage by bearing on the ogive of one of the rounds in the mag), or sell the troublesome mags and stick with what works.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:05   #17
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Hi PigBat, thanks for the reply and thoughtful comments. I had read that the shorter than 5" 1911s cycle a lot faster due to the stronger recoil spring and lower slide mass. I even purchased a couple of lower force recoil springs (18.5 and 20lb springs) to test if slowing down the slide return would solve the problem. Other than sharpening recoil, the springs didn't do anything.

I noticed that with the Springfield Armory magazine (that lock back the slide on the last shot) that came with the Ultra Compact, the slide doesn't go back further than where the slide stop enters the slide stop notch. The Willison's and Colt mags I own let the slide stop notch over travel the slide stop where the slide stop goes in and out the slide notch twice on each round fired. The Springfield mag allows that to occur only once. My 5" Colt series 1911 and Para Ord P10-45 both allow that slide stop notch over travel, but I never get over travel when using the Springfield mag. I may try changing the slide stop as you suggest.

A less than ideal solution to this problem is to use the standard 6rd Springfield Armory mag for carry and also carry a full sized 8rd spare Wilson mag. If the slide doesn't lock back on the last spare mag shot, who cares, I'm then out of ammo.

Regards,
Richard
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:22   #18
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Hi, a follow up to my Springfield Armory Ultra Compact not holding the slide back on the last round:

I tried the slide stop from a series 80 colt with the same result using the Wilson magazines (3 total). I then purchased a new colt slide stop and it didn't work either. The slide stop works perfectly if I manually rack the gun. I currently have 3 Tripp Research magazine followers on order to see if they will help with this issue.

The more I work on this issue, the more I suspect the springs in my Wilson Combat magazines. It takes much less force to depress the follower of the 7rd mags than the Springfield 6rd magazine. Officer sized 1911s have a much stronger recoil spring (24lb) in them compared to the 5" 1911 where the slide moves much quicker in the Officer sized 1911. There is less time for the magazine follower to push up on the slide stop.

BTW, when researching this issue on the internet I noticed a builder of competition 1911s recommends disabling the slide stop from working. It seems the more common problem of a slide stop malfunction is the slide being held back with there still being ammunition in the magazine. I guess that I shouldn't be that concerned in practice. If I can't get the SHTF job done with 8rds, there's probably enough time left to rack in a new magazine?

Regards,
Richard
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:07   #19
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Hi, I received the 3 (FOL-FLX-45) followers from Tripp Research, see:
Tripp Research, Inc.

I installed them in my Wilson Combat Officer sized 7rd magazines and took them out back for testing.

Eureka!! Each magazine worked perfectly to hold back the slide on the last shot. There were no other magazine or gun issues with these followers. Thank you Tripp Research.

Regards,
Richard
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:39   #20
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I noticed that my Ruger and Sig magazines both had the same patent number on the follower. I had heard that Checkmate was producing magazines for Sig, so I ordered two from them. Sure enough, the same patent number was on the Checkmate mags that was on my Ruger & Sig C3 OEM mags. I can only conclude that Checkmate is producing OEM mags for several gun makers. My C3 compact 1911 is extremely finnicky about magazines, so I was pleased to learn this. For my SR1911, McCormick mags work just fine...

http://www.checkmatemagazines.com/ca...p?idCategory=8
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Last edited by KMO; 06-22-2012 at 13:10.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:07   #21
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Originally Posted by ssb73q View Post
Hi, I received the 3 (FOL-FLX-45) followers from Tripp Research, see:
Tripp Research, Inc.

I installed them in my Wilson Combat Officer sized 7rd magazines and took them out back for testing.

Eureka!! Each magazine worked perfectly to hold back the slide on the last shot. There were no other magazine or gun issues with these followers. Thank you Tripp Research.

Regards,
Richard
Based on a YouTube review of Colt 1911 magazines I recently purchased 3 new 8-rd Colt magazines ($19.99 from Midway) to replace my current 7-rd magazines for a stainless Colt IV series 80 1911. Of interest is that there is the same patent number on the Colt magazine follower as the followers I purchased from Tripp research. It appears that the Colt magazine uses the Tripp Research follower.

Edit: I just learned that the magazine followers I purchased from Tripp Research and the follower used in the Colt magazine are actually manufactured by Check-Mate, patent #6560907.

Regards,
Richard

Last edited by ssb73q; 07-11-2012 at 15:43.
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Old 08-13-2012, 18:38   #22
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Checkmate & Tripp are top of the line Chip McCormick are middle of the road...and are fine for most 1911s. If you can't run CMCs then have your pistol checked.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:11   #23
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My Colt IV series 70 Government Model liked Colt factory of course also Pachmyer and Wilson.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:18   #24
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I haven't tried anything other than Colt factory 7- and 8-rounders -- they're flawless in my Defender.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:37   #25
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My Remington 1911 R1 seems to like mec-gar and wilson combat.
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