Hybrid vs Wadcutter 1911 magazine

Hybrid vs Wadcutter 1911 magazine

Colt magazines

BY now, most have read of the difference the “Hybrid” magazine has made in the feed reliability in the 1911, in spite of some damage done to the feed ramp. Not a cure, but a dramatic difference all the same.

His trouble started with “Nose-Dive” misfeeds with the feed ramp stopping the bullet’s progress to the chamber. While the magazine is most often the root cause, sometimes it’s the feed ramp geometry itself. If the angle is too steep…too acute…the bullet nose can’t glance off and angle upward. Enter the tapered lips and the late/gradual release of the “Hybrid” and the original “Hardball” type magazine.

The tapered lips perform two functions. They let the rear of the cartridge rise at a predetermined rate as the round moves forward, maintaining a less severe angle as the round enters the chamber…but it also does something even more important.

As it moves forward into the increasing distance between feed lips…when the bullet nose reaches the feed ramp, it allows the front of the cartridge to more easily angle upward. This makes a feed ramp that’s been cut a little out of spec (acute) less critical.

On a feed ramp out of spec in the other direction…less acute…it combines with the rear of the round moving up in the taper and gives the cartridge a better chance of gliding over the top corner of the barrel ramp instead of forcing it straight into it.

Taking a little side trip before proceeding…much has been made of bullet “Setback” after chambering the same round 2-3 times…and it can happen on the first trip. This does happen, but it doesn’t have to be rule.

Assuming that the feed and barrel ramps are properly to spec…and assuming a magazine that is suited to the cartridge overall length is used…one round can be chambered 12-15 times with no more than .003 inch of setback.

In my replies to this thread, there are pictures illustrating the different feeding characteristics between a USGI magazine, and a typical aftermarket “Wadcutter” magazine. A picture is…they say…worth a thousand words.

Don’t touch that dial!

First, we have a “Hybrid” magazine compared to a 7-round “Wadcutter” magazine of unknown manufacture. There is one cartridge sitting on the follower in both…pushed forward to just before the release point with the rim caught on the dimple, but not simulating the upward angle imposed by the feed ramp.

The difference is obvious. Here, the rise of the rear of the cartridge is in evidence.

First, we have a “Hybrid” magazine compared to a 7-round “Wadcutter” magazine of unknown manufacture. There is one cartridge sitting on the follower in both…pushed forward to just before the release point with the rim caught on the dimple, but not simulating the upward angle imposed by the feed ramp.

The difference is obvious. Here, the rise of the rear of the cartridge is in evidence.

In this sequence, we have cartridges in both magazines at approximately the point of feed ramp contact, as the ramp works to guide the round toward the chamber.

The tapered lips let the front of the round “nose up” while the parallel lips maintain the straight shot into the ramp. If the ramp is a half-degree too steep, there’s a good chance that it’ll stop or drive the bullet back into the case…even if it does feed. More importantly, by the time the feed ramp forces it to nose up, the angle of entry into the chamber is more acute. The cartridge has to “Climb a steeper hill” as it were.

At this point, it should be noted that the longer cartridge length typical to hardball gives the wadcutter type magazine the most trouble.

Finally…shown here just at the point of release, but still under control by the magazine…the angles are glaringly obvious. The wadcutter magazine not only needs a nearly perfect feed ramp…that feed ramp needs to be cut deeper into the frame than with the tapered lip GI or “Hybrid” type. Simply put, the original magazine design allows a little more “wiggle” room in the feed and barrel ramp geometries with long ammunition. A perfect example of Browning’s redundant style to insure reliability in the event of a manufacturing problem. No guarantees, and it won’t cover a multitude of ills…but just to provide the best chance to function even if the blueprint specs are a little off.

, , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply