Extractor Tuning Tips by Bill Wilson

On October 17th, 2010, posted in: 45 ACP, Bill Wilson, Gunsmithing by Comments Off

A well fit extractor is essential to the reliability of any M-1911 pistol. The following guidelines apply to fitting a new extractor, or properly tuning the one you have in your gun.

1. Correct Tension

With the slide taken off the frame and with the barrel removed, slip the rim of a LOADED cartridge under the extractor hook and position it so that the extractor is gripping the case at the center line, as shown in fig 1a and 1b. You should now be able to lightly shake the slide in any direction, without the cartridge falling off. If this test is unsuccessful, you will need to adjust the tension.

2. Positioning of the Extractor

The fit of the Firing Pin Stop to the groove at the rear of the extractor is crucial to the correct extractor positioning. If there is a loose fit, then the extractor will move or twist, causing inconsistent ejection.

With the extractor installed, the firing pin stop should slide into position using normal finger pressure. If the firing stop binds (when installing a new extractor), you will have to reducve the width of the firing pin stop, by removing material from its right side, where it contacts the extractor.

Remove only a few thousandths of an inch at a time, while being careful to keep the right side parallel to the left side. When correctly installed, the firing pin stop will fit snugly into place, which prevents the extractor from twisting.

Finally, several extractors sold, come rough and not polished or prepared. The following drawing shows you where you have to tune your extractor hook.