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Old 02-07-2008, 02:21 PM
IrvJr IrvJr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 220
Weak Hammer/Sear Engagement

Hi All,

I recently bought a used Colt Commander, manufactured some time in 1952. I ordered a new 18 pound recoil spring from Ed Brown and installed this week. After installing the new spring, I noticed that when I did a test to check the sear engagement (lock the slide back, then release the slide release lever and let the slide slam back) the hammer would fall out of full cock onto half cock. With the new recoil spring, the gun does this consistently.

I am interested in correcting this problem. I would like to use this Commander as a range, home defense, and occasional CCW piece and would like to have a proper (i.e., secure) sear engagement. I am not really concerned about a light pull weight. This would not be a competition or target gun. In fact, I would prefer to have a heavier pull weight for this gun.

I haven't had a chance to do a detail strip of the gun yet, but I would like to get some suggestions on what I should do to correct this problem.

Cylinder and Slide offers a "drop in" hammer, sear, disconnector set,


Should I order a complete replacement set from C&S (I think they are the only vendor that sells a Series 70 traditional Commander style hammer set) or should I take my gun to my local gunsmith (I think he's pretty good at 1911 smithing - I've used him before) to have him take a look at it.

If the C&S is really a drop in kit, it seems like the easiest way to go, but I've never replaced the hammer set on any of my pistols before. Anyone have any experience with the C&S drop in sets?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-07-2008, 03:16 PM
bdavis385 bdavis385 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 6,149
For one the heavier the recoil spring the harder the slide slams shut the more likely for the hammer to be jarred and drop to half cock. Second the issue is more than likely in the hammer to sear engagement, and then in the sear spring.
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Old 02-07-2008, 04:29 PM
Bob Brown Bob Brown is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Lakeside, CA, USA
Age: 87
Posts: 2,477
With an 18# recoil spring and an alloy frame, there's very little resistance when you drop the slide into battery. If you want to see one area of trouble, try holding the trigger back while dropping the slide. This will prevent 'trigger bounce' and tell you whether the trigger is hitting the disconnector/sear and causing the release. If the hammer doesn't follow, you can do 2 things. Install a full power mainspring in the housing and bend forward the center leaf of the sear's leaf spring. This will increase trigger pull weight but, unless the sear/hammer hooks are badly worn, it'll stop hammer follow.

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Old 02-07-2008, 06:44 PM
IrvJr IrvJr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 220
Hey fellas - thanks for the post. I really thing this is one of the greatest forums on the internet!

I did some more tests this afternoon. I switched out the 18# spring with the original recoil spring and the hammer did follow when I let the slide slam forward without holding the trigger.

I then locked the slide back, depressed the trigger and dropped the slide and this time the hammer did not follow.

Then I put the 18# spring (which is noticeably heavier than the worn original recoil spring) back in and did the test again with the trigger depressed and the hammer did not follow.

I guess this means that I am getting trigger bounce. I will do a detailed strip of the gun and inspect tha hammer and sear. I'll also try and switch out the mainspring and the leaf spring and see if that helps with the hammer follow issue.

By the way, I think that when I inspected the gun before purchase, when I did this slide slam forward test, I had the trigger depressed - that's probably why I didn't notice the hammer follow issue originally.

All in all I'm still very happy with this gun. I shot a few magazines through it the other day and it shoots really nicely - right to point of aim at 11 yards with 230 gr FMJ ammo.

Thanks again for the posts. You guys are great! I'll update this post with additional info, once I've had an opportunity to check out the gun.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:46 PM
IrvJr IrvJr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 220
Bob Brown - thanks again for the tip on the trigger bounce.

I disassembled my gun completely, cleaned it, then inspected it. The mainspring looked like a normal weight mainspring. Also, the hammer hooks looked very well defined and in great shape. The sear looked very good too. The center leaf of the leaf spring, however, was sort of straight (i.e., it was not bent forward). I compared it with the leaf spring of one of my other 1911's and it was noticeable. i bent the center leaf forward and then lubed and reassembled the gun.

The trigger pull weight is now heavier, but still smooth. The best part is that now the pistol passes all of the safety test, including dropping the slide without holding the trigger. The hammer no longer follows the slide!

Thanks a bunch. I can't wait to take this puppy out to the range again!!!
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:48 AM
Irishlad Irishlad is offline
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 1,733
"Text-book" post and response for this forum IMHO.

Properly detailed "problem" and response by Bob Brown, who just saved you $200+ and potential aggravation.

Good deal!

Last edited by Irishlad; 02-08-2008 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:30 AM
Deke Deke is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: San Diego County
Posts: 447
Well, Bob Brown certainly does know what he's talking about....he's been building 1911 BE match pistols since the 1950s. He's done a lot of work for me, to include some complete builds, and in a word....he's an artisan. We're fortunate to have him imparting his wisdom on this forum. Thanks, Bob.
"For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack" - Rudyard Kipling
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