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Old 01-10-2020, 07:27 PM
missing link missing link is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SE Wisc
Posts: 115
Hammer travel in retract direction

I have a Rock Island 1911 with C&S ignition parts that runs great. It has a commander hammer and a home made rat tail grip safety. I have run it for 5 yrs plinking and in competition.

The other day I was ‘flicking’ the hammer back towards the grip safety with my thumb. I have always figured that with the home-made-GI-grip-safety-turned-rat-tail that there was too much allowed travel rearward but it was never an issue. There is probably too much allowed rearward travel of the hammer. Playing with the hammer, flicking it, it dropped to half cock a number of times, like 5% of the time over say 100 tries. It never went to half cock during operation or other tests. My finger was off the trigger the entire time.

Is this a result of too much rearward hammer travel and the sear/hammer bouncing off each other?

I have a new grip safety on order and plan to modify it and have it limit hammer travel to a much lesser degree.

Am I pursuing the right root cause?

Any ideas/comments welcome.

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Old 01-10-2020, 08:00 PM
log man log man is offline
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Location: Riverside County, CA
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Perhaps noting that you are doing something that never happens under live fire. No matter how hard the hammer is thrown back by the slide, the hammer resumes its position by riding the rail, and being lowered onto the sear primary, as the slide closes to battery. I do play with my 1911's, but have never considered flicking the hammer as this causes the hammer hooks to slam harder on the sear primary than live fire cocking by the slide.

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Old 01-10-2020, 09:55 PM
pat_jones pat_jones is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Colorado
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I never run the hammer with my thumb. I rack the slide to cock the hammer and I drop the hammer by dry firing it. The sear can be damaged by the half-cock notch when manipulating the hammer carelessly by hand.

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Old 01-11-2020, 12:25 AM
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pistolwrench pistolwrench is offline
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Bad juju.
The hammer should never fall to half-cock.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:26 AM
Bob Rockefeller Bob Rockefeller is online now
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Originally Posted by missing link View Post
Is this a result of too much rearward hammer travel and the sear/hammer bouncing off each other?
Do you have a very light trigger pull? I'm wondering if the sear spring has been either worn out of tweaked for a lighter pull such that it no longer has a solid push against the sear. My understanding is that the sear should always be rotated "back" by the sear spring so as to always catch the primary hooks.

Or, could your primary hooks be worn to less than 0.020", or so?
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:38 AM
missing link missing link is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SE Wisc
Posts: 115
Bad juju indeed, although it is something that doesn't happen in normal operation. So, I am still wanting to make it 100% suitable for use.

More info: Looking at the sear during this exercise while in slow motion, either through the top of the pistol (edge of sear) or with the thumb safety installed such that you can see through its opening in the frame, it appears the sear follows the surface of the hammer, moving slightly closer to the rear of the pistol while the hammer is in its over-travel area.

The pistol has, last time I checked, is a 4.5-5lb trigger pull.

It would seem that the bouncing thing is what is occurring.

I will measure the hammer hook length. When I measured them a long time ago, IIRC, they were 0.022". The sear angles look perfect, that is, not battered but just as clean as when installed.
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:12 PM
missing link missing link is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SE Wisc
Posts: 115
Just an update and maybe a lessons learned for others to apply...

Checked hammer hooks and they were at 0.022”

Ordered a new grip safety (Auto Ordnance part) and shaped it for the hammer. There is alot less rearward hammer travel but still allows cocking with and without grip safety activated. There is just a sliver of light between the hammer and safety when cocking the hammer with the slide without the grip safety activated. Function tests fine now in all modes.

Pictures show old safety behind the newly installed safety.
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