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Newer 2011 Breach Face Wear


SJBriggs
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During a routine cleaning session, I noticed a little wear on the breach face of my newer custom 2011. I'm trying to figure out what might be causing it, as it still has a relatively low round count of around 6-5k rounds. During practice, I typically shoot factory Winchester ammo (white box or NT). For matches, I shoot my own reloads. I've probably only shot around 1000 reloads through this gun, the rest is all factory Winchester. I know that some pistols, especially the older generation Glocks, would show this type of wear on the breach face when shooting certain types of ammo. If I remember correctly, this was due to microscopic holes that were punched in the primers upon ignition by that pointy striker. Over time, the blowback from those holes would eat away at the breach face, but this was after a ton of rounds. Anyways, I'm trying to get to the bottom of this before I get any further wear on the gun. Any help would be appreciated. 

 

Specs on the gun are as follows:

Custom .40 cal, Atlas slide with a KKM barrel, Dawson XL firing pin, 13 lb. recoil spring, 17 lb. main spring spring, Extreme Engineering trigger group

 

Specs on the reloads:

Once fired Winchester brass, CCI primers, 4.4gr of Sport Pistol, 180 gr Blue Bullets, loaded to 1.18

 

FYI, trying to upload photos of the damage, but it's being difficult...

 

 

 

 

 

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My guess is that it is caused by the primer not sealing the primer pocket upon ignition. With the off center firing pin strike, it could be deforming the primer enough to let gas get by the primer and cut the breech face. 

 

Do a search here on the forum about Winchester ammo and breech face erosion, you might be surprised.

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Sam, it looks like the peening of the hole by the dent I'd what's pushing the strike off center are you sure the dent hasn't been there since you got the gun, it doesn't look like it was made by the gas.

 

The marks from the brass look pretty typical, do they have any depth to them? Can you feel them if you scratch with your fingernail?

 

I'd say you have two separate issues: some gas leaking out around the primer (the circle looks uniform so I doubt the off-center strike is to blame) and the dent in the breech face causing the off center hits (the primers don't look pierced so I suspect it was there all along, I can imagine how it got there though).

 

If you want the primer hole to seal better, switching to Federal would probably work and if you put a slight chamfer on the hole it would probably help bring the strikes back to center.

Edited by kneelingatlas
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That looks like damage from the NT lead-free primers.  Breech face erosion with the lead-free primers is a known issue, and the lead-free primers have a ceramic/glass-like material in them that is very hard on barrels.  There are theories that the lead-free primers allow gas leakage more often that traditional primers.  Why that is the case is not clear to me.

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That doesn't look like erosion to me if you are referring to the intention right next to the firing pin.  Leaking gases would cut around the edges of the primer. 

Looks more like a soft spot in the metal and it is collapsing. You can see that the firing pin hole is not round anymore. Slide may be too soft. 

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The kidney shaped depression looks like impact damage.  Measure your firing pin and true up the firing pin hole with a # drill .001" larger in diameter.  If the bits are long enough, drill from the rear of the slide.

Edited by zzt
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8 hours ago, Don_B said:

That doesn't look like erosion to me if you are referring to the intention right next to the firing pin.  Leaking gases would cut around the edges of the primer. 

Looks more like a soft spot in the metal and it is collapsing. You can see that the firing pin hole is not round anymore. Slide may be too soft. 

Yes, I've seen guns (mostly Glocks) that had this issue, and the wear was much different. The entire breach face was eroded in a circle all around the firing pin channel. To me, this looks different, but who knows... The hole is actually pretty round as far as I can tell. I think the photo just distorts things. 

 

9 hours ago, Scott Gelber said:

That looks like damage from the NT lead-free primers.  Breech face erosion with the lead-free primers is a known issue, and the lead-free primers have a ceramic/glass-like material in them that is very hard on barrels.  There are theories that the lead-free primers allow gas leakage more often that traditional primers.  Why that is the case is not clear to me.

I shoot a lot of NT. Actually it's almost all I shoot. I have an STI and M&P with thousands of rounds through them and there is no damage on either gun. However, the primer strikes are also very well centered up. As for barrel damage, I haven't noticed a decrease in accuracy in either gun. 

 

10 hours ago, kneelingatlas said:

Sam, it looks like the peening of the hole by the dent I'd what's pushing the strike off center are you sure the dent hasn't been there since you got the gun, it doesn't look like it was made by the gas.

 

The marks from the brass look pretty typical, do they have any depth to them? Can you feel them if you scratch with your fingernail?

 

I'd say you have two separate issues: some gas leaking out around the primer (the circle looks uniform so I doubt the off-center strike is to blame) and the dent in the breech face causing the off center hits (the primers don't look pierced so I suspect it was there all along, I can imagine how it got there though).

 

If you want the primer hole to seal better, switching to Federal would probably work and if you put a slight chamfer on the hole it would probably help bring the strikes back to center.

I'm pretty sure that the "dent" is something new. I was careful to inspect everything that I put into this gun, however, I COULD have overlooked the breach face. 

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Just curious, in both the pics of the breachface on the left hand side of the pic.  Is that a millmark or a small crack?  Im on a phone so its hard to tell.

 

Only reason i ask, is if it is a hairline crack, could the slide have compromised metalurgy allowing it to dent and eat away easily by the firing pin hole.

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13 hours ago, 5alpha said:

Just curious, in both the pics of the breachface on the left hand side of the pic.  Is that a millmark or a small crack?  Im on a phone so its hard to tell.

 

Only reason i ask, is if it is a hairline crack, could the slide have compromised metalurgy allowing it to dent and eat away easily by the firing pin hole.

Good eye. I had a tough time sleeping last night, laying in bed thinking about cracks in my slide. Checked it out this morning, and the slide looks fine. Not sure what that was in the photo, but it isn't there now.

 

IMG_4110.jpg

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Here's another photo of a couple factory rounds that were fired out of the gun after I cleaned off the breach face. It looks like the the primer moulded itself into the little dent next to the firing pin channel, as visible by the little bump next to the strike on the primer. At this point, I'm going to take the gun back to the smith and see what he says. Maybe see if he can center up the firing pin -- if that's even possible.

IMG_4100.jpg

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22 minutes ago, konkapot said:

I've shot a lot of frangible over the years and have had breech face erosion. Not sure if this is 100% your problem but frangible life can be a rough road. Can't beat the price though

 

I haven't shot any frangible though it. Just a lot of Win NT, which I'm sure is not frangible.

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That kidney shaped indent sure looks like impact damage.  You can see where it's actually peened over the edge of the firing pin hole.  It's highly unlikely your ammo did that. Maybe there was some foreign object in there.  Offset primer strikes are common on 1911/2011 and usually due to higher lock-up on the barrel.  As long as it's near the center, that's not a problem.  First thing II would do is check the hardness of the slide on the disconnector rail close to the breach face.  Assuming it's good, like 37-41 RC, I would polish the breach face and use a long drill bit to chamfer the firing pin hole.  Then put some rounds through it and see what it looks like.  If you really want to fix that kidney shaped indent, you can weld it and remachine the breach face.  But I'd say it's not worth the time and effort. 

Edited by ltdmstr
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Actually, in looking at the upside down photos again, the primer strikes are near the top of the primer, which means the barrel is low.  And it looks real low.  So, I'd check the lockup and also see what link is in there.  Hood contact on the slide is also uneven.  Seems like you have a number of issues.

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Not only is your firing pin hole not round, like has been stated. It also looks like it's not lined up evenly with the center of the back of the cartridge. Look at the ring, from the edges of the back of the cartride on the breech face. See how the firing pin hole is not centered in that ring? Your barrel may not be locking up correctly and not aligning with the breech face. Or the firing pin hole was not drilled out in the correct place. I bet if you take out your firing pin, it'll be damaged on one side.

I think the gun should be returned to the builder. It looks like they did a poor job of building the gun.

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Off-center primer hits are very common in 1911s.  As long as they aren't too far off center and it's in a good direction (ie: barrel locks up high), it's no problem.

 

IMO the dent is unlikely to be direct erosion from primers, as the dark gray ring in the middle is where the gap between primer and brass is located.  Looks more like something got slammed in there. 

 

 

 

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On 9/6/2020 at 2:15 AM, ltdmstr said:

That kidney shaped indent sure looks like impact damage.  You can see where it's actually peened over the edge of the firing pin hole.  It's highly unlikely your ammo did that. Maybe there was some foreign object in there.  Offset primer strikes are common on 1911/2011 and usually due to higher lock-up on the barrel.  As long as it's near the center, that's not a problem.  First thing II would do is check the hardness of the slide on the disconnector rail close to the breach face.  Assuming it's good, like 37-41 RC, I would polish the breach face and use a long drill bit to chamfer the firing pin hole.  Then put some rounds through it and see what it looks like.  If you really want to fix that kidney shaped indent, you can weld it and remachine the breach face.  But I'd say it's not worth the time and effort. 

👍👍👍

On 9/6/2020 at 2:22 AM, ltdmstr said:

 the primer strikes are near the top of the primer, which means the barrel is low.  And it looks real low.  So, I'd check the lockup and also see what link is in there.  Hood contact on the slide is also uneven.  Seems like you have a number of issues.

👍👍👍

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Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

 

On 9/5/2020 at 4:15 PM, ltdmstr said:

That kidney shaped indent sure looks like impact damage.  You can see where it's actually peened over the edge of the firing pin hole.  It's highly unlikely your ammo did that. Maybe there was some foreign object in there.  Offset primer strikes are common on 1911/2011 and usually due to higher lock-up on the barrel.  As long as it's near the center, that's not a problem.  First thing II would do is check the hardness of the slide on the disconnector rail close to the breach face.  Assuming it's good, like 37-41 RC, I would polish the breach face and use a long drill bit to chamfer the firing pin hole.  Then put some rounds through it and see what it looks like.  If you really want to fix that kidney shaped indent, you can weld it and remachine the breach face.  But I'd say it's not worth the time and effort. 

If the little dent isn't a sign of a bigger issue, then I'm not at all worried about it. Welding it would be more trouble than it's worth. However, I will see if I can get the hardness tested. It has a #2 link in it currently. The slide stop does move freely when the barrel is locked, so part seems to be okay. The barrel 'seems' to be locked up with the slide as it should be, but I will have that looked at.

 

20 hours ago, Postal Bob said:

Not only is your firing pin hole not round, like has been stated. It also looks like it's not lined up evenly with the center of the back of the cartridge. Look at the ring, from the edges of the back of the cartride on the breech face. See how the firing pin hole is not centered in that ring? Your barrel may not be locking up correctly and not aligning with the breech face. Or the firing pin hole was not drilled out in the correct place. I bet if you take out your firing pin, it'll be damaged on one side.

I think the gun should be returned to the builder. It looks like they did a poor job of building the gun.

I'm going to take the gun back to the smith sometime this week and have him verify the lockup and hood contact. I take apart the slide every time I clean the gun, and the firing pin is in good condition. When seen in person, the firing pin hole is actually pretty round. I think it's just the photo that make it look tweaked.

 

I'll provide an update for the benefit of the board after the smith takes a look at it. 

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