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Pitting 1911 breach face under 1000 rounds. Advice request


DagoRed

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Hey guys, I wasn't sure if this went in 1911 or reloading. Now that I've done a search I think it may be tied to my Winchester primers.

Last night while working on my gun I noticed very notable pitting on the breach face. This is a Springfield Trophy Match with approximately 850 rounds through it. Talk about really ruining my night. By this point it was really late and I didn't have energy to research it I just went to sleep pissed and ready to call Springfield first thing about their bad steel. Before calling I did a little googling and first thing I found was about Springfield 1911 and Winchester primers. the more I read the more it seems this has happened to people in other brands of 1911 using WLP primers.

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After reading that I was curious, I have a TRP <800 rounds and a RI @ a couple grand. I went and got them out and sure enough one tiny pit starting on the RI and a couple on the TRP. Man talking about a suck ass morning.

Here are my questions:

1. How bad is this? do I contact springfield and see if they will correct it or is it not that bad yet? I realize it is hard to tell from a picture that isn't better focused (damn iphone).

I did read where a guy got Winchester to help him out, so they must be aware of issues with their primers

2. obviously I'm going to throw away any remaining WLP primers I have, my question is about the 400 or so loaded rounds and 600-700 pieces of primed brass. I care more about the guns than any money lost, am I crazy to just throw anything with these questionable primers in the trash?

I read that one guy thought he was having the problem more with remington brass+WLP, because of the primer pocket being chamfered. My brass is all mixed at this point (I was waiting for more allowance before buying some starline just for competition) is it worth picking through the brass just to save a few dollars?

obviously I'm switching to Federal, which I was planning to do anyways, these were bought a couple years ago during the shortage.

I'm really not happy guys, please somebody tell me it isn't that bad.

Red

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Why/how are winchester primers causing this? Is it a low pressure hard primer kind of thing? I didn't know soft federals were required to load 45 acp. Or is it specific to SA and Win primers?

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I had a problem with remington brass once, and I was using winchester primers. I use winchester primers in every thing. I found that I was loading too light. The primer wasn't sealing properly and I had some breech face pitting. It was more noticable on the remington brass because of the chamfer. Once I changed the powder charge it went away. Look closely at the brass around the primer pocket. You may see some soot. What are you loading your rounds with? If you really want to throw away the primers, send them to me. :)

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I do remember, as you, there was a person on another forum who had the same issue last year. He was using WW primers also. He had a go round with Winchester. They wanted to examine the slide, and after examination, they eventually agreed to replace his slide. His slide did appear to have more severe pitting than yours though. I don't know if the replacement was a P.R. related write off, or did Winchester really find something with their primers. It looks like your pitting is around the case rim area of the slide, rather than the firing pin area. Maybe it's not a primer issue?

Although undesirable, the pitting you have so far is harmless.

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I use RP brass and WLP primers all the time for my bullseye loads. Powders used are American Select, Clay Dot, Clays, e3, N31 and Solo 1000. I have no pitting. It very well may be a combination of what youngeyes said and the type of steel used in your slide.

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That's the thread I found. This was a mix of loads, some low power w accurate n5 and 185 extremes. Some loaded to major power w w231 and 185's some same w 230's

Im glad to hear it isn't a big deal. I plan to shoot it till it needs a complete rebuild (after having the almost 6lb trigger pull dealt with) but want to prevent it happening any more.

Red

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That's the thread I found. This was a mix of loads, some low power w accurate n5 and 185 extremes. Some loaded to major power w w231 and 185's some same w 230's

Im glad to hear it isn't a big deal. I plan to shoot it till it needs a complete rebuild (after having the almost 6lb trigger pull dealt with) but want to prevent it happening any more.

Red

MIx of loads don't matter, one round with a crap primer/primer pocket will cause that problem. My Les Baer has it from using Fiocchi (SP) and never shot it since. One primers very hot gasses will destroy metal, although a small area like what you have. Mine pitted in the first 500 rounds and over 7000 later with a new finish, the pits are still there and never had one issue.

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All right guys, instead of loading today I picked through the last brass from steel challenge last week, I found about 11 pieces of brass where the winchester primers leaked (all with Remington brass). actually interestingly enough I had dropped that brass at my grandpas where I reload, I had three pieces of brass that had fallen out in my range bag, one of the ones I found was in there.

My best guess is that the primers have a defect of some sort and it is only because the remington brass had a chamfer on the primer pocket that it is able to hurt the breach face. Please remember my macro is the magnifying glass on my swiss army knife and my iPhone, not the best. Lot it came from was either EKLD174 or GDL428G, or both. They were bought about the same time if I remember right.

I didn't want to pop all the primers out myself, I figure I probably will be sending this to winchester.

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Thanks for the pix DR. I would contact SA and see what they have to say about it. It may be an optical illusion, but it looks like there is a slight depression in the breech face. Is your hood length too long? Take a look at the locking lugs on the slide and barrel. If any show any signs of rounding or chamfering, you have a different problem.

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I had the same issue a number of years ago with some local reloaded bullseye ammo in my Springfield loaded stainless. Sent it to Springfield and they replaced the slide no charge. Have also heard that it's caused by low power rounds not seating the primer properly. There is also a thread here about a certain lot number of Winchester primers causing this. I'm still using Winchesters as that was all I could get at that time. But I keep a close eye on my guns breech faces and haven't noticed any issues yet.

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I would have Springfield replace the slide and be done with it. They are supposedly good on warranty stuff. No load out of a book should ever cause that. If it's the primers, Springfield can try to collect from Winchester. The important thing is getting your gun fixed.

That said, I'd probably just shoot it as-is. For all I know, my guns all look like that. I have probably shot more than 850 rounds through them since the last time I removed the slide and extractor as you have in your picture!

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Update:

I had contacted Springfield on Friday and had sent the picture of the breach face. I heard back today quote "My technician seemed to think those mark were caused by gases escaping from the primer area. Sometimes reloaded ammo causes those marks. It shouldn't cause any function problems but keep an eye on it though."

it isn't just about function, it is really irritating that an almost new gun would look like this, my TRP to a lesser extent (has a couple of marks). it's just s*&t. Ultimately it is winchester that I blame. I replied to springfield and told them what I'd found regarding the primers and asked directly what it was going to take to get my guns fixed. If they aren't willing to take care of it under warranty (replacing the slide on the trophy match should be a no brainer actually, fit isn't what it is on the TRP and you can see where they had scratched on number on the slide/barrel and then crossed them out and scratched another one, didn't even bother polishing off the first mark, so instead of looking like a matched set they look like a mistake) anyways, at least tell me the cost for doing it all and I'll take that to winchester.

winchester is smart, no phone number I could find anywhere on their website, so I dug around and found a phone number on another forum where a guy had some small primers from approximately the same time period I think these were bought (2010) fail and couldn't reach them. I think it is promising but they closed at 430 central. I'll try tomorrow and update.

Red

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I really don't understand how this would be Springfield's fault. Reloads=take your chances. I reload too, but if my reloads tare up my gun it is my fault not the gun manufacture's. Also I do think there are some QC issues with some Winchester primers lately. A friend of mine and I have both had some issues with Win primers not feeding correctly on our presses. Change primers and the problem goes away. Mine were LR and his SP, but both had the same issue.

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I am switching primers now, ordered 10k federal.

I don't see how it is my fault that the winchester primers failed. Should I have caught this earlier? maybe. I might have it if I'd even known to look for it. I had never heard of this problem until it happened to me. In my years of shooting and reloading (almost all rifle though) I had never had this problem. Until I started loading again the last few years I'd always used cci or federal though, with the shortage winchester was what I could get and what I went to. I never would have chanced gun damage.

RJ I agree it isn't springfields fault, the only place I would wonder about is if the metal they use is softer than other manufacturers. I asked them what it would take to get it fixed though, at least if they give me a price tag I'll know.

if I had thousands of rounds through the gun already i wouldn't be so irritated, guns wear out, it's because it's a my pretty new toy and shouldn't have this so soon that I'm riled.

Red

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Update:

I want to say that customer service for both Springfield and Winchester have been responsive and timely in working with me. I spoke with a nice lady at Winchester an hour ago and she was most helpful. Before we had even hung up she sent me a pre-paid tag to send them the fired casings and spent primers exhibiting the damage. They are going to send me shipping materials for the live primers I have left (I'm guessing because that will be hazmat?) and she has already said that they will cover the cost on all of the primers. She did not commit to anything on the guns, she did say she'd like to be kept informed of what I hear from Springfield on those and what the cost of repairs would be.

I email the support rep from Springfield back that I would like to go ahead and send them back to get them looked at and find out what we're looking at.

Red

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  • 1 month later...

I think the leaking primer seal turns into a mini plasma cutter.We have seen a lot of firing pins getting pitted out and ruined in the last few year since everybody spooled up ammo 24/7.I have never seen so many blooper loads,visually crappy shells,and shells that don't fire.I think the QC is garbage lately.That is my humble opinion.

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