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Is Bigger Always Better On 1911 Extractors?


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Para Ord has their "improved" extractor (compared to JMB's design) and it was shown in an ad with the title of something like:

"Shown on the right is the MASSIVE CLAW of the Para blah, blah, blah...."

Well, all it has to do is pull the empty out, it doesn't have to hold up your house.

My Para's original extractor was a cast piece of junk, which begs the question:

Did they need to redesign the 1911 extractor or just build one as per the original design?

Is their "power extractor" enough of an inmprovement to justify it's existence?

I still have the original extractor in my STI and it has done over 20,000 rounds and is still fine.

Edited by bountyhunter
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I can't speak for 38super or 40's. But I've never had a failure to extract or high quality extractor give me problems. So IMHO it is a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. Now I've seen glocks and various 9mm that get a case stuck and extractors won't get them out, but they were all cause by carbon rings in the chamber. So maybe the high pressure rounds add to problem.

In fact I've never even had to retension a 45 extractor. I have had problems on various guns getting extractors fitted properly, too long, too loose so they rotate, striking barrel, hole in slide not in right place, not hooking on rim correctly due to head space problems, but once fitted and deburred they just run and run.

Now I fit mine a little different then I've seen instruction for. Most say bend on hook side of nub to get right tension. I bend mine near the firing pin block, then fit the nub in middle if the extractor isn't in the right position in relation to the breach face. I have no arch between nub and hook. That way mine is sprung from rear and it movement is limited by nub in middle. I hope that's clear. As far as tension goes, I just set them so a loaded round won't fall out when I tap the slide on the table.

I'll be curious to see what other people experiences are?

Edited by cking
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I've owned a lot of 1911s and have never had an extractor problem.

I've replaced really old extractors before with Ed Brown replacements, never had to adjust the tension.

My Para .40 Limited gun has more than 60K rounds through it on the factory extractor. I have another fitted and ready to go, but no need so far. Still waiting on that gun to have another failure since the first one (barrel bushing broke). Probably stupid to leave that extractor in there, but I've decided I'm going to take a chance. I was stupid to leave that factory bushing in place, but I got lucky and it broke in practice.

I read about a lot of extractor problems, talk of having to constantly adjust the tension, etc... but I've never seen a problem and have only changed one for PM purposes.

I even left the factory extractor in a Charles Daly .45 for over 20K rounds before changing it for the heck of it.

I have no idea why Para or Kimber felt the need to "improve" extractors. I won't buy another new gun from either as long as they are "improved". I believe Kimber saw the error of their ways though.

Edited by JFD
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i've had trouble with some 1911 extractors, changing tension over time, getting tighter or getting looser. i've also had extractors i haven't touched and they just keep running for many 10Ks of rounds (38/9mm & 45).

from what i've read on this forum there is no such thing as a perfect extractor. many people on this forum have complained about Para's new extractor. they've had nothing but trouble with it. I've also read complaints about external extractors - S&W and Caspian, and there are complaints about the Aftec extractors too. Nothing's perfect.

is there a problem with 1911 extractors? yes/no. there might be better designs out there, but they probably all fail at a certain rate. i doubt there are any perfect systems in any guns. it might be easier to correct or tune a particular design. but Para's new extractor has not been the miracle worker that their advertisements suggest. i have a recent LDA. i've only shot a few hundred rounds through it and no problems thus far, but i won't be shocked when it fails. In fact i got a real kick out of a magazine article that was reveiwing a new Para with the super-duper extractor. Ha - it failed during the test. i laugh every time i see their ads, talk about false advertizing. but those marketing boobs keep shoving it down our throats because they want to sell more guns. marketing promos don't have to be true, they just have to sell more products.

we tend to shoot the heck out of our 1911s - a genuine torture test for any firearm. things will break, things will bend, things will change tension. its rather like the second law of thermodynamics - things deteriorate over time - and punishment. the 1911 extractor design is not terrible and the testament of shooters on this forum supports that. on the other hand, sometimes its a real pain to get one tuned just right. i've had extractors that i've set according to the golden rule - enough to hold a cartridge in place - and its still too tight or too loose. no wonder i'm bald!

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As said above, I've yet to see a good extractor fail. The ones I've seen lose tension were made of materail too "brittle" and so the tension you get from the bending procedure goes away (sometimes pretty quickly) as the steel takes a set.... and you nee to bend it again.

Brain dead manufacturing, not a design problem.

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It makes them easier to manufacture-- somebody can just throw the parts in there instead of tuning each one when building them at the factory.

I've broken standard 1911 extractors a time or two-- they do wear out if you shoot enough. There's a reason a lot of 1911-ers like Aftecs as well.. something to do with less tuning and tweaking, IIRC..

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I'm still running the original extractor that came in my 1969 Colt .38 Super.

I've worn out 3 barrels on the gun, so I figure it's had a few rounds through it ;)

Weren't extractors made out of spring steel at that time?

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On a 45, I have about 40,000 using the same extractor. Seems like a "no-brainer" to me. I suspect "other" reasons(problems) can cause extractor issue. Mag, feed ramp not allowing proper pickup, etc...don't know.

I haven't "read" great things about the Power extractor on this forum, where people actually shoot their guns a fair amount. ;)

On the Glocks, CZs, etc what is the realistic "life span" of the external extractor?

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