1911-380 Problem! Please help thanks!

Discussion in 'Browning 1911 - 380 Handgun' started by JasonBrowning, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Ranger6

    Ranger6 Administrator Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Forum Moderator

    Gents I am glad to see this section making some good headway. I appreciate you guys sharing information and fixes. Thats what this forum is all about. We have a lot of new members showing up and it is things like this, that make people want to be apart and then stick around after their stuff is fixed. My hats off to you guys. You guys make my job a little easier when there are a good group of people having discussions. Thank you.
    wkrp4me and KyBoB like this.
  2. Alpha1

    Alpha1 .410

    Wow. Thanks so very much. Results will forwarded to you as soon as I get back from the range. I took photos of how I made the changes and I'll post those two.
  3. Alpha1

    Alpha1 .410

    I did not do a very good jog in responding your question. The slide lock is operational with or without the mag in. So Monday is the best test day and I will post the results as soon as I get back including some "how to" photos.
  4. Alpha1

    Alpha1 .410

    I modified 4 mag getting rig of the spring loop. I sent photos previously of the mags. So went to the range to see how four rework mags would work. My shooting procedure is to pull and lock the slide back, then load the mag. The reason is to see if the first round is placed properly on the ramp. I fired about 100 rounds using Fiocchi, American Eagle, Remington, PMC Bronze. All ammo worked perfectly except the PMC. Spoke with others at the range and no one liked the PMC. Now I am not sure why the stuff does not work, but I just will not buy the stuff. My mag mods were to disassemble making note which way the spring came out. Make sure it goes back the same way. I cut the top coil back and I will provide photo at end. The followers were place in a vice with the base of the follower level and filled with epoxy so that the inside level is flat. Be sure to tape over the hole where the spring loop use to be. If any resin leaks out just use some 400 wet/dry to polish it up. I wipe a small amount to gun oil the surfaces except where the cartridge goes then I wipe it off . I think it is also a good idea to close up the "wings" on the mags to about .310. The only problem I had today was the receiver would not lock up after the last round, but I know why. Then I disassembled the 380 I found the recoil buffer pad had move onto several coils messing up the full recoil. I had installed a full length recoil rod with the buffer pads that came with it. Now I should know better having gone through all this once before with my Springfield match grade 45. Guess I am a slow learner. My advice is to forget the full length guide rod (there is no real advantage), ands consider the recoil buffer pads as evil. At this point I am very happy with my 380 (finally), but avoid using PMC. And the recoil rod is all back to stock. So...with just a bit of effort and just pennies for one of those epoxy kits, you can have a really neat 380. IMG_0718.jpeg
  5. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Can’t work on mine until Thursday but very encouraging….Thanks again!
  6. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Just a curiosity, but…..all 4 of those cartridges are (I think) FMJ RN. my efforts so far have shown that FMJ RN has a much lower failure rate for either of our guns than any of the FMJ RNFP like Winchester, Sig , and some others. If you get a chance to try some FMJ RNFP, please let me know if you see a difference.
  7. Alpha1

    Alpha1 .410

    I will be traveling for several weeks so my next trials are in mid October. I did some measurement with my precision calipers and found essentially no difference between Fiocchi and PMC. I think I need to rerun the tests just to make sure I did not screw up somewhere. Will "talk" soon. Too bad the factory makes a great gun with a horrible mag. I sort of wonder if they actually produce the mag.
  8. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Thanks. I will be shooting Fiocchi and PMC tomorrow for first time. My measurements are a long way from being “lab certified”, just a manual set of digital caliper on the kitchen bar, but I think the Fiocchi is longer than the PMC. I have looked at cartridge length and shape since my first days of fail to feed. I am including the data I have collected. I just pick first 4 cartridges from a box and measure OAL. I’m fairly confident that my data is accurate enough to show trends, but far from statistically valid (and I don’t intend to ever measure enough to get there either).
    In the spreadsheet, darker green means the fewest % of issues, black indicates so many issues I gave up on that brand for now
    At this point I think the geometry of the bullet is more important than length. One additional thing, after comparing the knife edge unbroken machined edge of my Browning feed ramp to my S&W, Springfield, and Ruger 9 mm very smooth edged ramps, I have smoothed the edges and there is no long a shape edge at the bottom of the ramp. There is some chance that the copper coating was hanging on that edge, although that would still indicate that the magazine did not present the cartridge properly.
    Still working on first epoxy filled Mag.
    OK, for some reason I can not upload an excel file here…whatever, I find a way to get that data uploaded but the avg OAL for Fiocchi was 0.964” compared to 0.974” for PMC. American Eagle avg 0.970”.
  9. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Just an FYI, photo of spreadsheet and calipers. IMG_1020.JPG IMG_1020.JPG IMG_1021.JPG
  10. Alpha1

    Alpha1 .410

    For Fiocchi I measure .966. For PMC .971. For American Eagle .966. My measurements are very slightly different but so small they should all function in the 380. When I first received the 380 I very carefully polished the ramp and removed a slight burr on the underside of the ramp. I use conical buffing wheels on a few shaft with a variable speed motor. Same set up I have used all of my guns. I believe the configuration of the factory mag makes it difficult to get the proper bullet presentation. Once I made the change to 4 of my mags, the 380 was a a gun that worked every time.
  11. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    I modified one mag with the resin fill per Alpha1. I overfilled not thinking about the fact that I was loosing space for the cartridges (Duh! Now a 7 round mag) but I shot 21 rounds each of PMC and Fiocchi with no misfeeds. I also carried an un-modified mag and duplicated each trial, and had one stove pipe with 24 rounds from each brand of ammo. However, in looking at each magazine upon insertion, I found a couple of cartridges with nose not raised to a level where entry into the chamber looked likely, so I dropped each of those and manually raised the nose and reinserted and all went well. The slide lock open on last round fired worked same for modified mag and with standard mag, so apparently that wire loop has nothing to do with it. So….what is the wire loop really there for?……anyone?
    Clearly the Alpha1 modification is an improvement (unless you overdo the epoxy fill), but once you cut the wire loop off, the spring seems to naturally rest inside the follower. Wonder what happens if the loop is removed and the mag reassembled with no epoxy fill? I think I will give that a go tomorrow. Stay tuned.
  12. Alpha1

    Alpha1 .410

    I think what will happen is the follower will be not loaded evenly. The purpose of the spring loop is to keep the spring level. As I stated before, I think this design is flawed in that the spring loop creates much drag ands does not do a good job keeping the follower with even spring pressure. All four of my modified mags work great. Of all the semi's I have owned I have never seen a mag design with a spring loop sticking out the side.
  13. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Continuing the discussion concerning fail to feed issues, my wife and I went to the range today armed with one magazine epoxy filled per Alpha1, one magazine with the spring loop cut off and reassembled without epoxy, and 6 standard Browning magazines. Her gun is the compact, mine is the longer barrel. We carried 9 types of ammo. We also each carried a 38 Special revolver just in case we gave up on the Brownings. It was a mountain of frustration, way to much to try to burden the forum with, but I can say a few things with confidence:
    1. The removal of the spring loop had no effect on slide locking open after last round on my longer barrel gun.
    2. The removal of the spring loop definitely caused her shorter barrel gun to refuse to lock the slide open on last round.
    3. The magazines with and without epoxy fill and wire loop removed performed exactly the same…..zero difference.
    4. Removing the wire loop almost eliminated stove pipe failures on the longer barrel gun but it did nothing to help either gun with cartridges being presented to low on initial cartridge loading.
    5. Underwood (3 types), Hornady CD, Double Tap SC HP, Fort Scott TUI all ran flawlessly in either gun.
    6. Norma is the worst at being presented too low to feed the first cartridge, but runs with no issue after first cartridge is chambered. It is likely related to the ejector length as identified by Alpha1 and others
    7. Magazines with wire loops in place (Browning unmodified) continue to frustratingly stove pipe random rounds, eject founds 7 and 8 after round 6 fires (noticeably worse with Ammo TMJ RN). The magazines without wire loops still had some stovepipes but less than those with wire loops and not a single ejection of unfired rounds. Next effort will be to close the opening to around 0.308-0.310 as identified in several other posts.
    8. All magazines exhibit tendency to present some rounds to low to chamber first round with exception the above mentioned Defense rounds, which all have more conical shaped bullets which feeds even when presented low.

    After todays experience, we agree that “when the gun shoots, it’s the best that we own”. It’s the gun we most want to work. We also agree that it looks unlikely that a Browning will ever be dependable enough to bet your life on, which is almost criminal given how wonderful it shoots “when it shoots”. We are still debating whether or not to “keep or sell”.

    We finished the day shooting 38 Special revolvers…..without any failures of any kind.
  14. I went to the range today to see how the pistol performed after shortening the extractor as per Alph1's instructions. (thanks again for that!)
    This is not entirely scientific, but:
    Here are the results:

    5 different ammos: for each brand:

    5 rds per magazine

    4 mags.

    All of the mags have had the lips turned in, and were lubed No other mods:

    1) NO stovepiping or jamming at all. This is a first for me.

    2 Two of the brands tended to throw the casings straight up (and possibly backwards a bit), but nothing actually hit me.. The 2 brands were federal and regular blazer ammo.

    3) T he winchester worked ok, I had problems with it feeding prior to the extractor work. So that is an improvement.

    4) The S&B (sellier- bellot) worked well, as did the (gasp) aluminium cased Blazer.

    At this point I'm not sure further mods are required.
    I still hate the safeties on the pistol, but I do enjoy shooting it.
  15. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Thanks for the encouragement Mike. We just got home from the range and it will take me some time to put what we observed into a format that will hopefully convey my message in an understandable manner. We were encouraged with our results as well, thought not as much as you achieved. We only took my wife’s compact, but I will post again as soon as I get this written up. General agreement was “No, lets not sell it”.

    UPDATE: Range summary for my wife’s 380 BLC
    Used only std Browning factory magazines. No modifications but lubricated.
    (Mike - we intentionally loaded nothing but full mags because multiple rounds of unfired cartridges have occurred in the past …only happened once today)

    Mag # Ammo # Rounds Initial Chamber Stove Pipe Jam Multiple Eject
    1 Undrwd FN 8 OK 0 0 0
    2 Freedom RNHP 8 Low* 0 0 0
    3 Undrwd Ex Def 68 8 OK 0 0 0
    4 Freedom RN FP 8 Low 0 0 0
    1 Undrwd Ex Def 90 8 Low 0 0 0
    1 Freedom RNHP 8 OK 0 0 0
    1 “ 8 Low 1 (#3) 0 0
    2 Freedom RNHP 8 OK 0 0 0
    2 “ 8 Low 0 0 1 (#7&8)
    2 Dble Tap SC HP 8 OK 0 o 0

    Each mag was inserted with slide lock open and first cartridge observed. We have enough experience now to feel certain that level or downward nose presentation will jam and was confirmed with second mag. All low presentations were manually tilted nose up before racking the slide and everything loaded normal. 3 of 4 critical defense loads were flawless, and the Undrwd 90 grain is not a cartridge we plan to use, just wanted to see how it did.
    It “looks like” the ejector is an issue to be addressed. If we feel secure that critical defense loads will not malfunction, we will probably be willing to put up with some occasional issues with less expensive practice ammo.

    I hope this info loads as i have prepared it, but I fear it may not. It may be of no value to anyone but us anyway, but it it loads as a scrambled mess, I’ll be glad to answer any questions.
    Not a perfect day, but we do have hopes that the gun will eventually work for us. Now to find someone to make the ejector modification,
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2022
  16. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    OK. It loaded poorly, hardly any value to anyone, but contact me if you want me to try to unscramble it
  17. I should have mentioned that I loaded my experiment the same way you did. Slide locked back, insert mag, look at the round, release slide by moving the lock. My observations of the rounds when I looked was that the heads were all oriented upwards correctly towards the breach. Maybe I'm lucky in that none of the mag followers stuck or were oriented incorrectly . Maybe the lubrication helped.
  18. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Since I had both “OK” presentation and “low” presentation on same ammo with 2 diff mags, it makes believe it’s more than just mags. You and Alpha1 both have modified your ejector length and have been more successful than me thus far. Question: should the little ejector rod be tight enough to be solid to the touch with your finger tip? This gun has a “little bit” of play in the tip. I know my descriptions are not very scientific this morning but I don’t have capability to measure the movement. Could it need “more” play to ride up a little with the cartridge ?(asking for a friend :brick:)

    I plan to repeat this experiment, hopefully today, with my full length barrel gun, and I will include magazines without the spring loop since those modified mags didn’t change the slide lock on last shot like the did on the compact. How that happens is still a mystery to me….but whatever……just the facts. I do believe the modified magazines greatly help the “Low nose” presentation of the first cartridge.
  19. I'm no expert but I suspect play in the rod is a bad thing. There is a little allen screw on the bottom where you can tighten it
  20. wkrp4me

    wkrp4me Guest

    Went back the range today with the longer barrel 380 with 3 brands of FMJ and 3 brands of Critical Defense loads and 4 magazines.
    (A) modified per Alpha1 with wire loop removed and epoxy filled (B) modified by removing spring loop and no epoxy fill (C) regular unmodified Browning and (D) regular unmodified Browning
    Process was to load mag A, B, and C fully, insert with slide locked back to look for low first bullet presentation and raise any that needed it, slingshot the slide to load, and fire full mag looking for jams, stove pipes, and slide lock open on final shot.
    Freedom FMJ RNHP : No malfunction other than Mag A slide did not lock open after last round.
    Freedom FMJ RNFP : No feed malfunctions except stove pipe round 7 mag B. Reinserted and fired round 7 & 8.
    Sellior & Bellot FMJ RN : No feed malfunctions , slide did not lock back on last round of Mag A or B.
    Sellior & Bellot FMJ RN : Mag D ONLY, 8 rounds, no malfunctions.
    Double Tap SC-HP : Mag C, 8 rounds, no malfunctions.
    Double Tap SC-HP : Mag A, 4 rounds, no malfunctions.
    Underwood 6Ex Def : Mag C, 8 rounds, no malfunctions.un

    In summary, it was the best range day yet for this gun. The modified mags with wire loop removed had hits and misses regarding the slide lock back after last round, which is interesting given that the modified mags NEVER locked the slide back yesterday on the smaller gun.
    there were several cases noted with all combinations of ammo brand and magazine where the initial presentation of the nose was level or upward, but none were manually adjusted and all loaded properly. Yesterday on the smaller gun, several were visually “nose down” and had to be manually raised.

    I’m working on ejectors now and do not plan any further testing for a couple of weeks, but I’m even more encouraged today than yesterday about the future for the two guns. Definitely “Keep , not sell” . Accuracy was fantastic, and the fun factor was terrific.

Share This Page