Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Guest Post by Joe Chambers: Shots “Off Call” - Part One

Friends, over the past year I’ve tried very hard to expand the blog’s presence, and at the same time improve its content. Hopefully I haven’t meandered too far afield from its basic objective of promoting our sport and encouraging new shooters.

What it comes down to, nobody can do it all.

I’m pleased to announce that my good friend and custom pistolsmith Joe Chambers, has graciously consented to write several posts for us over the next year. The subjects will vary, but will mostly be centered on how target pistols work and how to keep them accurate.

I’m thrilled to have access to Joe’s insights and practical experience. Hopefully you will too.

Have you ever shot a string of 50 yard slow fire and had a shot “off call?” Chances are, if you’ve been shooting the BE game for any length of time, you have. Have you ever wondered just what it was that caused the errant shot? Perhaps you thought it was yourself. Your grip was off, stance was loose, shooting glasses crooked, or perhaps you should have had turkey instead of peanut butter on your sandwich with that mustard?

Of course some of these things may be an issue but the truth is there is a real possibility that it had nothing to do with you at all. In fact, I would wager to say, based on my experience, that in many cases it was directly related to either the gun or ammo. “What?!” you say. Yes, there are some seemingly minor things that can, do and will cause fliers on a regular basis with a 1911 style pistol. And one of these issues is what the first part of this series is regarding.

Very early during my training to become a professional pistolsmith one of the main things taught to me was the importance of tuning mags. The general public seems caught up regarding springs, weights, followers, design, color, base pads, and any combination thereof. I’ve heard people say that mag springs are only good for 2500 rounds or less, or that the rainbow swirl pattern on their base pads makes them shoot better. I’ve even heard people say they discard their mags after each season for new ones!

Boy, I’d like to be around when they toss them!

What many people seem to forget is that if the mag does not feed smoothly, consistently and without interruption every time the slide cycles then you will have shots “off call.” In order to achieve this, the mag needs to be modified and “tuned.”

Typically mag related “off call” shots occur when the third round of the mag is fired at the target. This is one of the main reasons to shoot tuned mags in your gun. If the mag has not been modified in a specific way so as to allow the follower to clear the internal parts during functioning (while still locking the slide back after the last round), the rounds will not feed in the same manner every time into the chamber. If the rounds do not feed into the chamber the same way each time, you can get those pesky fliers.

Of course, magazine tuning is only one part of the equation to allow the rounds to feed smoothly and consistently each time the slide cycles. But that conversation is best saved for another article. In the mean time I challenge you to keep track of those off call shots and determine what round they are happening on during cycling. If it is the third round, chances are it is a pretty easy fix that can up your score.

If you’d like to ask Joe any questions about the above post, feel free by using the 'Comments' link at the bottom of the page. Or if you’re so inclined, email him directly at .   


Art said...

How does a person proceed tune his magazine? What is he looking for in the magazine/gun interaction? What might he see in the magazine fit that determines his actions in modifying what part of the magazine?

Tony said...

Art, you bring up very salient points.

Let me say this: The guest posts are a work in progress. Joey and I, in a sense, are trying to find our way.

During Joey’s and my original discussion we talked about the parameters of what would constitute “good common sense,” or what our limits should be with the public. In other words, I thought it prudent not to tell people how to do their own repairs; because of my fears with future potential liabilities. (God help us all if someone’s gun blew-up.) So, lessons on how to be a shade tree gunsmith aren’t gonna happen.

But the post does tell the reader how to diagnose a particular problem and provides a general direction for its remedy.

In the future, I’m certain Joey can give us more in-depth descriptions on the mechanics of how things work.

But if you’d like your questions answered now, please feel free to contact Joe directly. His email address is located at the bottom of the post.

BTW, Art, thank you for being constructively critical.

Jewish Marksman said...

More 1911 madness. Switched my Bullseye guns to revolvers and will never go back!

Anonymous said...

I understand the liability thing but offering a "how i do it" and dont try this at home would at least give us some idea as to what a tuned mag should be, as im sure many pistolsmiths might have different views as to that. Another question i have is if a mag feeds the round and doesnt deform it in some way, looks like the gun would fire a round the same wa=y everytime unless you have a sloppy oversized chamber.