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  #1  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:26 AM
sophijo sophijo is offline
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Hilton Yam and External Extractor S&W E

Hilton Yam has interesting (+) article in his recent 10-8 letter; regarding the positives of the oversized external extractor in the SW E series. Here's part of it.

In regards to disassembly and maintenance, it certainly does require more tools to switch out an external extractor, but let's be realistic about what we want to do. If you're out on an extended rural patrol or on a deployment, that part of the gun can now be considered one unit, much like the lower of your M4, MP5, etc. Just like those weapon systems, don't take them apart until you're back in a controlled environment. If the use pattern consists of going to the range or a match, then go to the car and get some tools or the spare gun.

The amount of dirt that the external extractor can tolerate underneath it is far greater than that of an internal extractor, which accumulates the dirt right under the claw's locator pad. More dirt under the locator pad translates immediately into lost tension. If you get dirt/mud/etc. inside the slide, you can hit the slide with a hose or some brake cleaner and be done with it. You really have to work hard to get a lot of foreign material inside the external extractor's spring pocket when it's in a holster. If you got blasted with crud at a helo LZ and it's that bad, chances are the rest of your gun looks like a sugar cookie inside too and the extractor honestly is the last of your worries. If you consider how many modern pistols have external extractors that rarely ever see any service on them vs. all the 1911s that require some tweaking to their internal extractors, that's a clue.

As far as unit level maintenance, it's hands down for the external extractor. I don't know of too many armorers who have set up all the guns on a team or department with a fitted spare extractor. That's not very feasible when you need to do that for a whole big group. The very concept of the fitted spare is for a single end user (where it certainly does work well), but it just doesn't fly for a whole team. In fact, I don't even believe in the concept of the fitted spare, I always pack extra guns instead.

Properly executed, the external extractor breathes new life into the 100 year old pistol, and gives it a fighting chance to run with the new kids.
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Last edited by sophijo; 04-07-2011 at 10:32 AM.
  #2  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:27 AM
Carpentermatt Carpentermatt is offline
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Where is that link supposed to go? Didn't work for me.
  #3  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:34 AM
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Hilton Yam

I couldn't get link to work but there's a quote.
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  #4  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:01 PM
Col. Colt Col. Colt is offline
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Hilton is a very well respected guy, and his plug for S&W is noted - but the gun has been doing fine for 100 years with the original design extractor.

But his point is, unfortunately to promote, as the late Col. Jeff Cooper would say "an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem".

The only "problem" with a standard 1911 extractor is the way the current makers fail to stick to original specs and fitting........

The original part was made of spring steel - it was, in essence, a leaf spring with an extractor hook. The originals made 70-100 years ago seldom need replacing, period. They are FINE! The gun with the most extractor tension in my 1911 memory is a 1916 Model Argentine Colt (C - commercial #), and by wear patterns, blue color, etc, it appears to be the original part. 95 years old and not in need of an "upgrade"!

Modern makers have used cast, MIM and ordinary steels, and failed to tension the extractor (which can be done with the thumb) as it was installed. If you use inferior materials and omit an important fitting step during final assembly, is that the fault of the design - or the manufacturer?

What is wrong with the external extractor? More parts, and you cannot completely dismantle the pistol without tools and a bench. Why would you want to replace something simple that works with something more complex? If you ever dunk your duty piece in salt water, I can guarantee you you will want to take it clear down and clean out All of the Salt! You cannot do that with the external design. Sand, dust, whatever, must stay in the gun until you return to civilization. That is an Inferior Design! Not good off the pavement......

But to a guy with a high end gunsmithy and a bench, that seems just fine. Not for me, thanks. CC
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Last edited by Col. Colt; 04-07-2011 at 05:02 PM. Reason: spelling
  #5  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:00 PM
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Did Colt stop using spring steel too?
  #6  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:54 PM
monkey dust monkey dust is offline
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Originally Posted by Col. Colt View Post
Hilton is a very well respected guy, and his plug for S&W is noted - but the gun has been doing fine for 100 years with the original design extractor.

But his point is, unfortunately to promote, as the late Col. Jeff Cooper would say "an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem".

The only "problem" with a standard 1911 extractor is the way the current makers fail to stick to original specs and fitting........

The original part was made of spring steel - it was, in essence, a leaf spring with an extractor hook. The originals made 70-100 years ago seldom need replacing, period. They are FINE! The gun with the most extractor tension in my 1911 memory is a 1916 Model Argentine Colt (C - commercial #), and by wear patterns, blue color, etc, it appears to be the original part. 95 years old and not in need of an "upgrade"!

Modern makers have used cast, MIM and ordinary steels, and failed to tension the extractor (which can be done with the thumb) as it was installed. If you use inferior materials and omit an important fitting step during final assembly, is that the fault of the design - or the manufacturer?

What is wrong with the external extractor? More parts, and you cannot completely dismantle the pistol without tools and a bench. Why would you want to replace something simple that works with something more complex? If you ever dunk your duty piece in salt water, I can guarantee you you will want to take it clear down and clean out All of the Salt! You cannot do that with the external design. Sand, dust, whatever, must stay in the gun until you return to civilization. That is an Inferior Design! Not good off the pavement......

But to a guy with a high end gunsmithy and a bench, that seems just fine. Not for me, thanks. CC

Agreed. My 44'RR still won't quit. It just went past 4000 rounds, only patching the bbl and clp on rails as needed. I use it to introduce new shooters to the 1911.
  #7  
Old 04-07-2011, 11:31 PM
Greyson Greyson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sophijo View Post
Hilton Yam has interesting (+) article in his recent 10-8 letter; regarding the positives of the oversized external extractor in the SW E series. Here's part of it.

In regards to disassembly and maintenance, it certainly does require more tools to switch out an external extractor, but let's be realistic about what we want to do. If you're out on an extended rural patrol or on a deployment, that part of the gun can now be considered one unit, much like the lower of your M4, MP5, etc. Just like those weapon systems, don't take them apart until you're back in a controlled environment. If the use pattern consists of going to the range or a match, then go to the car and get some tools or the spare gun.

The amount of dirt that the external extractor can tolerate underneath it is far greater than that of an internal extractor, which accumulates the dirt right under the claw's locator pad. More dirt under the locator pad translates immediately into lost tension. If you get dirt/mud/etc. inside the slide, you can hit the slide with a hose or some brake cleaner and be done with it. You really have to work hard to get a lot of foreign material inside the external extractor's spring pocket when it's in a holster. If you got blasted with crud at a helo LZ and it's that bad, chances are the rest of your gun looks like a sugar cookie inside too and the extractor honestly is the last of your worries. If you consider how many modern pistols have external extractors that rarely ever see any service on them vs. all the 1911s that require some tweaking to their internal extractors, that's a clue.

As far as unit level maintenance, it's hands down for the external extractor. I don't know of too many armorers who have set up all the guns on a team or department with a fitted spare extractor. That's not very feasible when you need to do that for a whole big group. The very concept of the fitted spare is for a single end user (where it certainly does work well), but it just doesn't fly for a whole team. In fact, I don't even believe in the concept of the fitted spare, I always pack extra guns instead.

Properly executed, the external extractor breathes new life into the 100 year old pistol, and gives it a fighting chance to run with the new kids.
Everything Hilton is saying is old news. While I agree with what he has written as do most honest 1911 smiths, there is more to the story.

With the internal extractor you get the ability to self-rescue. Hilton even hints at this in his article. But his example is a bit off target. If you are concerned with supporting a whole group of pistol carriers, and they aren't pistol people, they don't need an external extractor. They need a Glock.

This self-rescue is a very big concept with the 1911. Not just the extractor. You can look at how it is designed to take parts off the gun and use them as tools to take down the rest of the gun. Hell! Hilton has even made some money by selling "original GI spec" grip-screws. Screws that can be turned with the rim of a 45ACP case.

I mean we want to get all down on the 1911 design, get a frame with an integral plunger tube --which people make. Or get a plunger tube that is staked using 4 legs as opposed to two. Which people make.

Look. I like Hilton's stuff. I think Hilton really tries to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions for 1911 users.

But I don't for one second believe that Hilton Yam sat down with Smith and Wesson and said, "I want an external extractor". There are too many bad experiences with the masses and 1911s for him to want that option.

Bottom line. Smith and Hilton talked about doing a model. Smith said Ok, we know you don't like how high our hook is on some of our previous 1911s. We'll change it for you. But the machining process is set in stone. It will be an external extractor. You in or out?

Obviously we know the answer. And I am not faulting HY for that. Hooking up with smith a great opportunity. Hell! It's the opportunity of a lifetime. But it's a collaboration, not the Hilton Show. He doesn't get everything he wants.

I'm not changing. And I believe, in theory, the external extractor is a better design. For the unwashed masses.....


Regards,
Greyson
  #8  
Old 04-08-2011, 01:10 AM
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Funny that a gun with sooooo many inherent flaws ever made it past its 5th birthday. Yet here we are 100 years later and the true original design is still coveted. As far as a dirty extractor goes, you can have it out of the gun in seconds, without tools, clean it and be running in a minute. What kind of idiot does'nt clean it often enough to have it be a problem ? I don't need an idiot proof gun, there is no such thing. Besides I am a way bigger idiot than they can ever imagine ! To each their own though, if you think you just have to have one then take your pick.
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  #9  
Old 04-08-2011, 02:21 AM
Col. Colt Col. Colt is offline
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Redhat, I believe that Colt uses machined steel, of good quality, but no longer a true spring steel. Which shows that the design is very tolerant, in that it generally works fine with a quality machined steel extractor, correctly tensioned.

The only spring steel extractor I know of that has been generally available in recent times is one made by Cylinder and Slide Shop. The external extractor was an attempt to "cheap out" rather than do it right by Kimber, S&W and others, and that is part of my oppositon to it. I'm pretty sure a little coil spring is not going to last long term as well as a hefty flat spring - which the original is. One of the charming things about the 1911 is that you can generally pick up an original Colt from 80-90 years ago and if it is complete it runs, with it's orignal design (Ball) ammo, without needing anything but decent ammo and magazines.

EGW makes a very high grade replacement internal extractor, and I have had brief discussions with George here about the steel EGW uses, which also works fine, and is probably superior to the original material. I'm just an old guy that doesn't see a need to change what works, and would prefer it be made correctly in the original way, since I don't need any better than what works. Most changes are made to make a part cheaper, or to use a newer, cheaper manufacturing method to make the same part. Not the right reason, for a weapon, anyway. And a great principle Henry Ford gave us is, "Simplify and add lightness." CC
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  #10  
Old 04-08-2011, 08:47 AM
BHP9 BHP9 is offline
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Kimber used the external extractor but went back to the internal unit.

IIRC it was designed by a German and the slides were sold on some Springfield Armory models.

I cure for a non-existant problem.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

John Moses Browning got it right the first time.
  #11  
Old 04-08-2011, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyson View Post
If you are concerned with supporting a whole group of pistol carriers, and they aren't pistol people, they don't need an external extractor. They need a Glock.
In a perfect world, or at least in my version of it, those folk would be required to return to a cubicle before they hurt themselves.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2011, 01:19 PM
Col. Colt Col. Colt is offline
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Or anyone else. Faceless bureacrats with guns, oh my! You need a certain degree of civic virtue to be an armed protector, not just a degree. CC
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2011, 02:50 PM
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Did I see "honest gunsmith"?

I have broken seven or eight extractors in the last forty + years and have seen a lot more broken in matches. I believe some folks see a problem and some can't. And some come up with old sayings or clever little sayings to get by but it doesn't solve a problem. But as long as they feel good and stay away from me then all is well.

The exteral extractor is a problem for one big reason: It has no where to go when it has to overide a rim. John Browning did not get everything right. There are more machine guns, semi-auto pistols and semi auto everything working very well with an external extractor than ones hiding on the inside. Browning never designed the 1911 for thousands of rounds. Just my thoughts and opinion.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:05 PM
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The exteral extractor is a problem for one big reason: It has no where to go when it has to overide a rim. John Browning did not get everything right. There are more machine guns, semi-auto pistols and semi auto everything working very well with an external extractor than ones hiding on the inside. Browning never designed the 1911 for thousands of rounds. Just my thoughts and opinion.
Did you mean "internal extractor"?

As for the 1911 not being designed for thousands of rounds...well, I wasn't sitting next to JMB at his bench but I'm pretty sure he DID design it to go thousands of rounds. The Army test called for it. He knew that going in.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:21 PM
bigwagon bigwagon is offline
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And a great principle Henry Ford gave us is, "Simplify and add lightness." CC

That was actually Colin Chapman, another great car designer (Lotus), but I digress. Otherwise agree on your points.
  #16  
Old 04-08-2011, 03:36 PM
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from Pistol Dynamics website and Paul Liebenberg

External Extractor: A standard feature on our scratch built pistols. This system allows us to precisely position the location of the extractor relative to each caliber. Extraction and ejection is substantially enhanced over the traditional 1911 internal extractor system.

Internal Extractor: We offer internal extractors on our scratch built pistols but we are seldom asked to do so. Because of the infrequency of these requests, internal extractors are single set-up operations and add to the expense of the pistol.
  #17  
Old 04-08-2011, 05:08 PM
Rigel42 Rigel42 is offline
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I had writing off external extractors mostly due to horror stories I've heard from the Kimber experiment. My preference is still an internal, but I'll keep an open mind on the externals.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:14 PM
Shad Roe Shad Roe is offline
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In a perfect world, or at least in my version of it, those folk would be required to return to a cubicle before they hurt themselves.



Much ado about nothing,IMHO. We got bigger fishes to fry.

S&W didn't change as much as they stayed the same with their external extractors.(I've been using them on models 41,39-2,Gunsite,and 108285 for a lot of years.) I reckon the big change for them was making a .45acp, single-action,semi-auto pistol. They just kept the extractor type that has always worked very well for them.

Kudos for S&W changing from the smaller EE to one more like their Performance Center 1911s on their "regular" production guns. The E-series guns are selling like hotcakes. And they have alloy frames!! (I will buy one when they make a LW, 5", E-series gun.)

Liebenberg and Hilton Yam like externals pretty well it seems. I guess I don't understand the strong aversion or preference for either type extractor.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:33 PM
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I guess i don't understand the strong aversion or preference for either type extractor.
+1
  #20  
Old 04-08-2011, 05:36 PM
Kokopelli Kokopelli is offline
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External extractors seem rather fitting on the side of the SIG slide.. One enhances to ugliness of the other.. Just saying.. Ron
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:40 PM
Greyson Greyson is offline
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Originally Posted by Shad Roe View Post
:Liebenberg and Hilton Yam like externals pretty well it seems. I guess I don't understand the strong aversion or preference for either type extractor.
As stated before, I believe the external extractor is a better theoretical design. In the philosophy of the 1911, it doesn't really work that well.

The problem with this debate, and with American psyche in general, is an all or nothing logic. Just because the external extractor is a better theoretical design, that doesn't equate to the internal design being complete garbage. far from it.

We see this same logic applied to the bobtailing of pistol frames. The new guys somehow think if they don't get a bobtail, they are at a disadvantage in concealing for CCW.

But back on topic. When I was a less experienced user, I wanted an external extractor. Meaning I couldn't self-rescue and justified it by saying "For $1500, my Kimber Gold Combat RL II better run out of the box".

With more experience, I actually prefer an internal extractor. Why? Because I can fix it lickity split. Modify it even faster. And have 3 ready to go should the need arise.

I have seen external extractors break on modern polymer guns (gun schools) and they are done for the duration.

Like the other guy posted, I don't care who you run. As long as you can justify it. And don't have any influence over what I run.

Regards,
Greyson
  #22  
Old 04-08-2011, 11:27 PM
Hilton Yam Hilton Yam is offline
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Just to make sure that my article is not taken out of context, here it is in its entirety:

Quote:
In the wake of my testing of the S&W E Series 1911, which featured a wider external extractor than the original SW1911, some discussion came up about the merits of the concept. Almost every modern service pistol design features a spring loaded external extractor design. The 1911 still gets by using a spring tempered hook machined out of a straight piece of steel that is bent to achieve tension. It does surprisingly well with this, but it is certainly not the 21st century answer.

I've spent a lot of time studying the 1911 external extractor situation, to include building a gun through which I fed over 20,000 rounds and countless different experimental extractors. I have also studied the various commercially available external extractor guns. Suffice to say that the bulk of the available options had been less than stellar, and customers were justifiably reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. With the introduction of the S&W E Series, I think that situation is going to change, and I will be watching the progress of those guns with great anticipation.

So what does it all mean to you as an end user?

First, let's consider what the external extractor offers - consistent spring tension over the life of the part thanks to a coil spring which does not get worked very hard, and installation/setup that does not require much more than driving out a pin, stuffing the parts in, and putting the pin back in. Compare that to the current internal extractor design which requires hand fitting of the part into the slide, filing of the hook geometry, and bending of the part to create the proper spring tension. This all requires a skilled hand to achieve optimum results. For a single user, the internal extractor is merely a nuisance that can be worked around by having the gunsmith fit a spare extractor or two when the gun is built. For a group of users - such as a tactical team or a department - that "minor nuisance" grows quickly into a ton of man hours spent chasing extractor function.

As far as approaching maintenance, I think a huge part of the discussion here relates to points of reference. I am thinking in terms of LE unit or department level use vs. a single end user with a recreational or CCW gun, which makes the argument for an external extractor scream to me in a loud and compelling manner. To date, I have yet to hear any convincing arguments in favor of the internal extractor in this realm.

In regards to disassembly and maintenance, it certainly does require more tools to switch out an external extractor, but let's be realistic about what we want to do. If you're out on an extended rural patrol or on a deployment, that part of the gun can now be considered one unit, much like the lower of your M4, MP5, etc. Just like those weapon systems, don't take them apart until you're back in a controlled environment. If the use pattern consists of going to the range or a match, then go to the car and get some tools or the spare gun.

The amount of dirt that the external extractor can tolerate underneath it is far greater than that of an internal extractor, which accumulates the dirt right under the claw's locator pad. More dirt under the locator pad translates immediately into lost tension. If you get dirt/mud/etc. inside the slide, you can hit the slide with a hose or some brake cleaner and be done with it. You really have to work hard to get a lot of foreign material inside the external extractor's spring pocket when it's in a holster. If you got blasted with crud at a helo LZ and it's that bad, chances are the rest of your gun looks like a sugar cookie inside too and the extractor honestly is the last of your worries. If you consider how many modern pistols have external extractors that rarely ever see any service on them vs. all the 1911s that require some tweaking to their internal extractors, that's a clue.

As far as unit level maintenance, it's hands down for the external extractor. I don't know of too many armorers who have set up all the guns on a team or department with a fitted spare extractor. That's not very feasible when you need to do that for a whole big group. The very concept of the fitted spare is for a single end user (where it certainly does work well), but it just doesn't fly for a whole team. In fact, I don't even believe in the concept of the fitted spare, I always pack extra guns instead.

Properly executed, the external extractor breathes new life into the 100 year old pistol, and gives it a fighting chance to run with the new kids.
For reference, my continuing pool of research spans more than 10 years, includes almost 100 guns, and over 2 million rounds. Everything that I write about is based on data that I have gleaned from this body of research, not conjecture, hearsay, or sentimentality.

For clarification, there is no "collaboration gun" with S&W. The E Series is their latest production gun. I am not affiliated with the effort beyond the gun I tested recently and any input I provided to them years ago when they first started producing 1911s.

My article is quite explicit regarding the need for field disassembly and the ease of repair (ie. "self rescue"). You do not need to disassemble the external extractor in the field any more than you need to disassemble the lower receiver of your M16. Use of spray cleaners and compressed air gets the job done. In regards to repair, I can teach someone to service their own external extractor in a few minutes. Drive pin out, stuff in new spring and extractor, hammer pin in. Fitting a new 1911 extractor involves a few more steps, and even that "mere bend with the thumb" can easily provide too much or insufficient tension over the long term.

Ultimately, if you want to enjoy your 1911 in its traditional format because "that's how JMB designed it," then consider that you should only shoot 230 ball only out of 7 round magazines in guns with long spur hammers, tang grip safeties, high ejection ports, unbeveled mag wells, and tiny sights. If you are interested in expanding the function of the 1911 in the modern age, then I have a lot of research that you might enjoy reading.

Thank you.
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  #23  
Old 04-09-2011, 01:00 AM
CWarner CWarner is offline
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Properly executed, I tend to agree with Mr. Yam. I am all for evolution of the 1911 design.

CW
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:25 AM
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Guess i would need to try one.
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  #25  
Old 04-09-2011, 04:32 AM
LBAR LBAR is offline
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L W McVay,

Yes, I meant internal extractor. Thanks,
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