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-   -   The case of the mysteriously non-operational Match Target Slide stop (https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1171905)

desertmoon 09-15-2019 10:37 PM

The case of the mysteriously non-operational Match Target Slide stop
Ah, where to begin.

Recently, I purchase a well used, slightly monkeyed with but fully restorable Colt Woodsman Match Target ( 6 inch ) 3rd Series from 1969.

I presume that the original trigger was not up to par and someone seriously monkeyed with the sear and sear spring to try to give it an optimal pull. They failed. Spectacularly. Some other things were dickered with a bit and, among other things, the gun had been re-assembled incorrectly in more than one way.

That being said, the main chassis of the weapon was in good condition if a bit holster warn and nicked up.

After purchasing several NOS or excellent condition components, I have her running like a top. I now have a very good, crisp, clean and safe trigger pull. The hammer strut was assembled onto the hammer correctly, ( long story there...it was like that when I got it and that it ran in that condition speaks to the monkeying that had been done to the gun initially ) and I replaced the sear, cut very nice clean engagements on it and I replaced the "tweaked" sear spring. Lord...it seems like a simple job...but it was not. I also had to replace the mag latch spring as THAT had been "toned down" to make the mag easier to release. WHY? I do not know.

Anyhow...an already long story short; she runs like an angel. Just as smooth as you please.....but for one thing.....

.....the slide stop will not engage when the gun runs dry.

Yes, the new spring is installed correctly, it is not bound up into the shoulder of the bolt like the original was when I got it. The side plate is clean. It was binding on the slide slightly (how did the original owner not figure that out????) but is now dressed and fitted to let the slide run free like it should have originally. Funny how I think that this original condition may have been what led to a lot of the future monkeying around.

Anyhow, the SIDE of the side plate is clean and in good order, the spring is new and installed properly, the slide stop rotating is without burr or bind....

If I manually cycle the slide, the lock works perfectly. Yet, no matter what mag I use ( all of mine are in excellent condition but DO sport original springs ) it will not lock open under fire.

I have only one and one half theories, to make sure that I was double insured when installed the slide lock assembly, I used red gun grease to help hold the spring in place ALONG with my technique of keeping pressure on the slide lock, lock screw and spring assembly as I place it into position. I did use a fair bit of grease. The "half theory" is that ALL (?????) of my EXCELLENT condition Woodsman mags have weak follower springs.

Those of you who work on Woodsmans full time know of what I speak.

All other things being excellent and equal, do you think that the grease is slowing the stop enough to render it "non functioning" in that it just can't rise fast enough? NOTE: the slide is not being gouged in any way by a "miss" of the stop as though the stop is almost but not quite making it. It's a clean miss all the way around. Again, I did not skimp on the grease, I will be honest. I know I am probably answering my own question...but everything seems so smooth...I just have to ask it anyway!!!!

Of course, I will try doing a greaseless install this week and try to test it on Thursday.....

...but in case I might be missing something, I thought I would ask.

Thank you to everyone for your time and forgive me for the long post.

Nicioli 09-16-2019 08:39 AM

Im no expert, but if the mag spring is strong enough and the slide stop is moving freely, the only thing that occurs me is that perhaps the recoil spring youve installed is too stout for the recoil to move back the slide all the way upon firing to permit the slide stop to engage the slot.Cutting one or two coils could be the answer ?

Good luck, regards, Nicioli

Camster 09-16-2019 02:34 PM

Try HV ammo to see if an extra kick is needed to move the slide back far enough for the hold open to engage.

desertmoon 09-16-2019 07:11 PM

Good ideas, guys. I am running HV already (mini mags) and I did give the recoil spring a thought as it is fairly stout....but not too much more than any of my other Woodsman or Huntsman guns. I have a near mint 1975 that runs excellently and I think that slide spring is just as heavy...maybe more so?

That being said, I will keep it in the back of my mind.

I am going to pull all of the grease this week and see if that does the trick.

prewoodsman 09-17-2019 06:34 PM

Slide Stop failure
It really is not such a Mystery.

If you closely inspect the Slide Stop Capture Blade you will note the top portion has been rounded. And, an inspection of the Slide Capture Notch will further show signs of of rounding on its lower portion. These failure are actually fairly common when the magazine is not kept clean which lessens the 16 ounce up pressure generated by the average 2nd or 3rd Series Magazine Spring after the last shot is loaded into the chamber and the spring pressure is transferred to the Slide Stop's Foot.

This all starts with a single and arbitrary failure of the Slide Stop to capture and hold open the Slide when the last shot is fired. When left without proper attention the frequency of failure increases to a point where every last shot fails to capture and hold open the Slide.

The cure is to re-hone both the Slide Capture Notch as well as the Slide Stops Capture Block (2nd series) or Blade (3rd series).

By request many of my tutorials are listed on Bob Rayburn's website at: www.colt22.com
Under the heading, accessible on the opening page, Colt Woodsman Maintenance Made Easy "Tom's Tricks of the Trade" or the top left tab "Woodsman Repairs". While many service oriented tutorials are listed such as Slide Stop Assembly R & R, I have not placed the actual repair of the Slide Stop and Capture Notch and leave that tutorial and many others for direct contact with the troubled Woodsman Owner.

Further, when the required repair is completed, it is recommended that the original Magazine Spring be changed out. Years ago I designed an advanced replacement Magazine Spring with increased, pressure which has eliminated the issue and future problems all together. I have hundreds of such springs in field use, all without recurrence of failure.

My offer to speak directly with you as placed on your last posting still hold true.

Tom Platt
[email protected]

desertmoon 09-17-2019 08:18 PM


Thank you very much for the reply. The ideas posted in this thread are exactly why I post first and cut later! :D

I did look for this exact issue when I had the pistol apart last week. It "seemed" okay...but NOT excellent. As this pistol had been monkeyed with, I've been very carefully assessing each issue individually. The fire control group, obviously, was the most important thing.

There WAS a burr raised on the slide stop notch which I lightly dressed. The slide stop seems pretty decent BUT what I will do tomorrow night is compare my Match Target to my minty Target slide and slide stop and see how they visually compare.

Too, it looks like I had might as well order some new magazine springs...it certainly will not hurt.

I am only going to test this gun on Thursday night and if my grease removal does not work, I'll order new mag springs immediately and then test that.

Ever since I removed that burr, there has not been a new burr raised. If the mag springs don't work then I'll reshape the locking surface of the slide and the mating surface of the slide stop. I have done this exact type of job on other weapons so I am familiar with what needs to be done.

Again, everything else is working fantastically. This pistol is VERY, VERY, VERY accurate and is now just dead nuts smooooooth as silk in all other regards.

Much thanks to you, Tom and to everyone who's replied in this tread and my other thread. The information presented has been invaluable to my project. I do my darndest to live by the mantra "Do it right....or don't do it at all."

RFC is a wonderful community!!! Thank you, everyone!

desertmoon 09-18-2019 10:37 PM

All right.

So, I stripped everything down and Tom called it. I really didn't LOOK at it before as I was focused on other things but the slide stop and the slide notched were rounded.

Though I usually only tackle issues one at a time, it was so evident what needed done that I did some judicious file work, cleaned the grease from the slide stop and side plate and blued everything and re-assembled. Then I cannibalized a new mag spring from a Beretta NEOS magazine. It was several coils longer and felt real good. Quite frankly, most of my mags are NOS that I have had for some time but I thought I'd put a little pep in the step of one of my mags, regardless.

Gonna test it tomorrow.

Thank you, Tom and everyone!

desertmoon 09-19-2019 10:49 PM

Success. :D

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