Short Leade SA1911

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by WiskyT, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    I have a Springfield Armory 1911 that I bought new around 1993 or so. It's a GI or MilSpec or whatever they called it back then. It's a standard 5", Parkerized 1911. It does have three dot sights and I think the ejection port is lowered a bit.

    Anyway, I never shot it. I didn't want to bother with loading another caliber and I didn't have a source of free 45 brass so I just kept it as a toy. Now I have a long term free supply of 45 brass, so I got a mold and some dies.

    This thing has basically no leade. I'm using the Lee 230 TL TC bullet and I have to seat them to just under the 1.170" that Lyman recommends in the 4th Edition. At 1.170, the rounds just barely make it flush with the barrel hood and I get some failures to fully lock up. When I take it a bit shorter, 1.165, it runs well. I made a dummy with a 230XTP and I have to load it at 1.180" even though Hornady recommends 1.200" or so.

    The serial number has "NM" in it. I was told that it means "National Match", but I figure this is just a advertising gimmick. Is it normal for 1911's, or other 45ACP guns, to have such a short or non-existent leade? I can see the origin of the rifling and it looks like it starts where the step in the chamber for headspacing ends. Basically, I can have ZERO part of the full diameter section of the bullet proud of the mouth of the case, none. Both bullets I have have nothing but ogive above the mouth. The two factory rounds I have are made the same way, ogive only, so I guess this is what the manufacturers expect.

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  3. I bought a milspec last year at auction, found it also had a pretty short leade. Not so with several otehr 1911 I own. My normal 1911 loads would not quite seat. SO I got a 45throat reamer from Brownells. SOme cutting oil & hand turning it knocked the rough edge off the leade, so now I am good to go. I think it actually helped my lead bullet accuracy w/ that gun as well. If you want to mess with it, pm me your address & I'll USPFR it to you. It doesn't take much effort & you can send it back when you are done.

    #2 fredj338, Jan 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  4. Could I get in on that, too, Fred? Very generous offer, and I'll pay the postage both ways.

  5. Last I heard Glock doesn't have this issue.

    That was a joke people.
  6. SFA has a gift for screwing up 1911 barrels. Have your chamber reamed and solve the problem once and for all.
  7. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Thanks for the offer. I may take you up on this, I might not need it.

    We have a first-class 1911 smith in my club that shoots in the BE league every week. He's been building, or just tuning, 1911's for BE shooting for probably 50 years. He has the highest rankings that can be earned, his name is on some special plaque of names at Camp Perry. So, he knows his stuff. If he has a reamer, I'll just let him do it. He can clean the trigger up and it will cost me next to nothing. He enjoys it and others describe his prices as "not enough" for the work he does. He gets about $100.00 or so to clean up a trigger, tighten the frame rails, silver solder to build up and then fit the cams or link (I forget) to the frame for perfect lockup etc.

    He also does complete competition builds for BE using fitted parts etc and even then his prices are very cheap. I don't want to go that far with it. But, to just have him fit up what I already have, and have it still look like a stock gun, would cost next to nothing and make it a tight shooter.
  8. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Yeah. I can load for my Glocks to the point that rounds won't fit the mag and they still drop right in the barrel. I felt like you with my calipers making up this ammo. I just cover the lube grooves and call it good for my Glocks.
  9. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    It seems like that. What is "normal" for the leade on this gun? I guess it would be hard, if not impossible for me to measure it, but is there a SAAMI drawing online or anything that I can use to eyeball what it "should" be? I'll look at some of the other 1911's next week when we all get together. This leadeis basically non-existent, so if there is a visible amount of leade, I'll at least be able to make a visual comparison.

    So that's two for two to get it reamed and I was leaning that way anyway.
  10. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    I found some SAAMI drawings online. They seem to include every dimension EXCEPT leade, or I'm not reading them correctly. I'm not a machinist or a draftsman, so I could be missing something there. Is the leade something do be determined by the manufacturer?
  11. More than likely for all calibers. Throats can vary quite a bit form one manuf to the mext. I think SAAMI gives a range of dims. Sounds like your gunsmith can fix you up pretty quickly. Good ones are so har to find w/o having to ship guns all over hell & back.
    #10 fredj338, Jan 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  12. Wisky I love my mil spec but when I bought it the trigger was miserable. I called SA custom shop and spoke to Debbie I believe. She runs the custom shop. They offered to make it right at no charge. I opted to have them remove the stupid internal lock on the main spring housing and fit a typical standard main spring housing and tune the trigger to 4lbs and add some extra grips I liked. Cost me a $100 IIRC. They stand behind their product and they are great to deal with. Just a thought.

    I don't shoot lead but never had an issue with the MTG 230 grain or any of the gold dots I ran down it. :dunno:
  13. njl


    Maybe it's a Springfield thing. My SA Loaded also has this issue. I found with PD 185gr JHP, I have to seat to about 1.195" for them to drop in / drop out of my Glock barrels. For the Springfield, I have to go down to around 1.165" for them to drop in.

    I'm planning to shorten some that I've already loaded to 1.165" and see if the G30 will still feed them, and chrono them to see what it does to the velocity. Cutting the leade may be a better way to go. I've even already got the cutting oil from when I had to re-tap the grip bushing holes in the frame.
  14. I can't speak to SA but for Colts, 'NMxxxx' does indeed mean National Match.

  15. nitesite10mm

    nitesite10mm Dog Lover

    The "NM" prefix on a Springfield Armory 1911 s/n designates a forged steel frame that originated as USA production and final finishing. Other non-NM marked frames are forged and finished by IMBEL of Brazil. Some folks like knowing the NMs are American frames.

    The IMBEL frames, BTW, are good forged units also.
  16. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Thanks. I knew it was something good, but I didn't know the significance of it. For $339.00 NIB (1993) I figure I got a good deal.
  17. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Pretty much another vote to cut the leade. Have you run into any factory ammo that won't fit?
  18. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    My trigger was terrible and I'm not a trigger snob. It wasn't even the weight as much as the grit and creep. But, in just 100 rounds it has gotten better. I'm definately going to leave this gun with the smith and let him clean it up. I bet he can get a near match trigger out of it with the stock parts in about 5 minutes. I'll play around with some of the other 1911's that will be there to feel different trigger weights. I'm guessing I'll want somewhere around 4# or so, not too light, but definitely CLEANER on the break.

    Mine came with nice checkered stocks, so I'm good with those. How do I avoid screwing up the grips screw bushings?

    ETA: those MG and GD bullets might be more like ball in that the long ogive means the full diameter of the bullet is in the case. It seems there can be NONE of the bullet with a diameter of 0.452" or greater out of the case. The Rem ammo I have has only ogive sticking out, so I'm wondering if the manufacturers know that 1911's are like this and the ammo accounts for this.

    Is the gun right and my ammo is wrong? I don't want to change the gun to fit ammo that isn't "correct", but then there is no way the Hornady TAP or Custom factory loaded XTP's are going to fit in this thing.
    #17 WiskyT, Jan 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  19. Steel Head

    Steel Head Tactical Cat

    Custom and TAP 200 & 230's chamber and fire perfectly in my NM# Springfield.
    They should in yours too.
  20. njl


    No...but as mentioned, factory .45 ammo seems to have all the bullet's bearing surface in the case. I was really shocked when I chamber tested these and found how far off they were from fitting the SA barrel. Originally, I was loading them to 1.200 and 1.210, which was actually too long for the Glock chambers...but they still ran in the Glocks. I really don't think the SA would have gotten fully into battery with them.

    Shooting them at 1.210" probably wasn't a great idea...and it was right before a recent GSSF match that I made the discovery and shortened a batch already loaded, just to be safe.
  21. FWIW, I have several 45 pistols, and the only one I have that has given me fits with factory ammo is a Kahr. Hornady TAP, several other brands of .45 SD ammo, and even GI ball touches the rifling, and sticks to one degree or another. I've had good luck with Speer 230 Gold Dots, though.

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