Ejecting too farIf the empties are flying out in a pattern about 20' away, it is likely an indicator of excessive slide velocity. This could be due to a light spring, worn spring, or hot ammo. If the spring is worn or weak, try putting in a new spring. A 5" Government Model should run a 16-18.5 lb spring with normal ammunition, and a 18.5 lb for +P velocity ammunition.
Empties dribble outIf the empties are barely rolling out of the gun and falling at your feet with every shot, your recoil spring is too stout or your ammo is too weak. This is a less common situation, and generally seen only if running 185gr SWC bullseye match loads or the equivalent. Even reduced velocity 230gr loads which meet USPSA/IDPA Major power factor will typically cycle with a 18.5 lb spring. A 14 or 15 lb recoil spring runs nicely with these various reduced power loads.
Ejection pattern is wide and randomIf your gun ejects to 3:00 for one shot, then to 5:00 for the next shot, and occasionally one to 12:00, 6:00, or 9:00, something is profoundly wrong with your extractor. The correct fix for this is to have the extractor properly profiled and tensioned by a skilled 1911 specialist. Some common home remedies are often thrown out for this ailment, and it is worth our time here to address why each one is not going to correct the problem.
- Change the recoil spring: As discussed above, the recoil spring affects the distance of ejection, not so much the consistency.
- Open up the ejection port: On GI pattern guns with small ejection ports, ejection patterns will be reasonably consistent if all else is correct, though the brass may eject high. The brass is typically striking the slide on the way out, but should be striking every time, providing a pattern of ejection.
- Tune the ejector: The ejector tip affects the direction of ejection, but if it is affixed tightly in the frame, it is hitting the brass the same way each time so consistency is not affected by the shape. Loose ejectors can contribute to inconsistency, but not as much as you might expect. Ejector shaping in an optic sighted competition gun will help tune ejection to clear the optic and mount, but in an iron sighted gun with modern ejection port dimensions (ie. lowered) it is typically not that critical. As long as the brass makes it out every time, that will do the trick.