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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To be specific, those that just plain don't work well as purchased. It seems that most pistols and longarms I've bought the last few years required much patience, a trip or two back to the factory and a bit of work by me to make them perform. My short list includes a Savage .308 bolt action that had extraction issues, feeding problem, a serious timing problem that made cocking very difficult, terrible accuracy. Two trips to the factory plus hard work by me on the bore finally made it work and shoot accurately. Next is the SW-99 Walther copy that wouldn't feed, magazines wouldn't lock the slide open. A new barrel from S&W and quite a bit of research by me to find that my magazines had an older defective follower design seem to have it working well. I could name two or three more but my point is that considering modern technology and manufacturing processes, why new firearms are not better is lost to me! I think part of the problem is that 100% reliance on that new technology has replaced craftmanship, we have operators instead of machinists, instead of gunsmiths working in reapair departments, we have parts changers that know less about firearms than we, the customer do.
 

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Dear Demented:

I am with you. In recent years, I have been horrified at my experience with American made firearms which may explain the rise of Glock (and others). As a result my new policy is if it does not work from the box, I give it a shot a a return under warranty. If that fails I trade it back and tell my guy that it does not work.

I lost money on a Kahr Polymer 9 and a Wilson Combat 10 shot 1911. My Springfield 1911 Lightweight worked fine but my gunsmith (who had been directed to make it identical to my other 1911s) found the chamber cut too deep. SA replaced the barrel at no charge with a match barrel and gave me some boot for my trouble (I do however have a personal connection). My KelTec PF-9 worked fine as long as I only used ball so I replaced it with a Walther PPS which shoots pretty much anything so far. My WIN 70 chambered in 308 turned out to be made on a WSM action which caused no end of agony when trying to find bases.

I am a regular IDPA shooter and I can tell you that since I started that game, nearly everything in the world of pistols has changed for me with a few exceptions. I still shoot M1911s (I have 3) but only one is original to before and it has been completely refurbished. I shoot my BHP-35 but it had to be sent to the ordnance folks after a year on the circuit. I even have a spare Glock 34.

Because, if you shoot them enough, they will fail. If you monkey with them enough, they will fail. If you fail to lube and maintain them, they will fail. If you use bad ammo....If you you have bad mags...

But NIB? This is a mess. When you shell out $1000 for a WC, the blinking thing should work - work well. I am with you on this. But as the former Vice President of Colts told me. "most folks don't shoot them enough to know!". Probably why we are in trouble.
 

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You gents are right on the money and you're in good company. I had a Ruger 77 rifle with an out-of-spec chamber and the factory had to replace the barrel. Then there was the Colt Mark IV Series 70 which needed a new trigger fresh out of the box. Not to mention the S&W Model 19 with chamber counterbores too deep on three chambers and misfired regularly, then the (heaven forbid) new BHP which had to also have major factory warranty work after it slam-fired on a fresh loaded magazine. I walked into my favorite gun shop one time and the owner was leaning over the counter with his face in his hands shaking his head. When I asked him what was wrong he handled me a brand new Combat Commander fresh out of the box and told me to look in the magazine well. When I did I could not believe my eyes.....the factory had broken off a drill bit during one of the drilling operations and about an inch and a half of the bit was flapping in the wind out in the middle of the mag well for all to see. I don't know about you gents, but I get nervous as heck about buying a gun from a company that makes a superhoopteedoo deal out of its warranty program, know what I mean?

It gets even worse when you consider large firearms contracts, such as to law enforcement agencies and such. One such agency I am aware of bought several thousand pistols only to start having serious problems with them. The company service guys traveled to the agency and, just to make sure, replaced the offending part in the entire lot of several thousand pistols, only to find on completion that the brand new parts they had just replaced had a manufacturing flaw...... and the poor service guys had to go back and replace the brand new flawed parts with brand new un-flawed parts in the entirety of the several thousand guns in the contract. I'd rather not be more specific than this, but the part was a critical one in the gun, and was only one of the problems the agency experienced with the guns. This is a continuing saga and hasn't been resolved yet....and this certainly isn't the only agency having this problem, nor are we talking about only one gun company here.

So now you might understand why I have been so delighted to find that my three cheapo FEG clones have been delivered without flaw of any kind, as were my CZ 75 and CZ 40B. I agree that we have a problem, but am at a loss to know where it will end or what to do about it, except to quit patronizing companies that turn out bad guns..........that's sortof like turning out bad parachutes.

JayPee
 

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I had a series of three Grendel P-10s (the store kept giving me fresh ones) that did not work. My S&W 60-15's lock self-activated when I oafishly knocked the gun off a counter onto a hardwood floor - exactly the sort of thumping it might have to take in a situation where I'd need it to work.

I've had several other guns over the years that didn't work properly. With one exception (I won't get into it because the company treated me very well and made sure I wasn't out one penny), trips to the factory fixed all. More or less - some design flaws just exist (like, frankly, 1911 magazines - the only brand that I've never had a problem with is Wilson . . . it's an old magazine design that, for me, just has problems).

I think some designs are bad (the original Eagle magazine design for the Remington 597 just flat didn't work - and should never have been released . . . perhaps they've fixed it by now) and some designs are "iffy" given factory fitting (we've all read enough Kel-Tec stories by now to know what I'm talking about, among others) and some individual guns were just not put together properly (everyone has Monday mornings and Friday afternoons ;)).
 

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I think that you'll get enough responses to write a book.When I was a dealer for 9 years about 15years ago, about 15 to 20% of the pistols wouldn't function as supposed to without some type of repair or "tweaking". The funniest "saddest' one 2 years ago was a brand new Browning HP with TERMITES or some sort of wood borer. I definitely left those grips out in the shop so as not to contaminate my other grips and wood.Basicly quality control is at an all time low, Bill
 

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Hello,

I've had my share of firearms that wouldn't function as advertised.

I've sent three Colt Revolvers back to the factory or gunsmiths for timing issues. This is inspite of my real enjoyment of them all!

Funny enough, I've even bought firearms on the recommendation of "Gun-Test" Magazine and they didn't give the same performance for me as they did for them. Ironic, eh?

Well, I believe the search for the perfect firearm is based on one's own experience and have finally decided to "just enjoy the journey"....

Best,

Chris
 

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Two weeks ago I sent a brand new Colt XSE Government Model back to the factory. The rear sight fell off after the first magazine I ran through the gun.
:(" title=":mad:" border="0"/>

I can't slam Colt, though. I have 10 other 1911s from them and those pistols have been problem free.

Tex
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tex, I'm one of those that still prefer Colt over any other brand. From what I've seen the past few years, I think that Colts of the current era are better than anything they've built in the last 30 years. Thats not to say they are perfect, most still need a bit of minor attention to run properly. After 35 years of both minor and major overhauls on 1911's, these do seem to need less than the average 1911.
 

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My Charles Daly 1911 initially wouldn't feed HP ammo and was iffy on ball with any magazine. I fixed the feeding problem - probably not in the accepted way but it works, it looks factory, and above all, it's safe. Strange thing was that it would feed empty cases and wadcutters just fine. Seems like it was tuned for a shorter overall cartridge length.

The slide lock window was too far down do effectively lock the slide. I had to open it up at the top and silver solder and reshape the bottom of the slidelock (not the frame) to make it function correctly. It had a propensity to pop out otherwise.

The front sight fell out of the dovetail. Not willing to experiment with new front sights, I peened the dovetail down and loaded it with blue Loc-Tite. I'm not proud of that job, but it works, and one of these days I'll get around to getting a new drill press and stake the danged thing to the slide.

The ambi safety broke; I shipped it to Charles Daly via the USPS only to find out two weeks later there was no box at the service address they list on the website - it's for UPS only. I contacted the CEO on another website and he gave me the mailing address. I went ahead and fitted it with an STI ambi that is better suited to carry, and have had no more problems with it.

When I first bought my Taurus PT92, it wouldn't eject standard pressure practice casings. The chamber was rough. I polished it, and no problems since.

The way I see it, if you take time to learn how to fix guns, you can get malfunctioning ones pretty cheap, invest a bit of time in them, and have a good gun in the end. That said, I have no idea about revolvers, owning one that works well out of the box, and I won't do any work on them (unless the issue comes up, then I might do some studying.)

Josh <><
 

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Problems are nothing new either. Some time ago guy at the range sold me a pre 64 M 94 Winchester carbine. Held in the highest esteam by all gun fans, Factory was well known for precesion machining and hand fitting. He had bought it for his wife and she only shot a few rounds before deciding it was not for her. Had a open box if 30/30 ammo with 3 rounds fired with the rifle.

Turns out the reason it was not for her was it would not feed from the magazine. Something that would have been returned to the factory when new. It was a big repair to get it right. Lever action feeding is a dark art not many know how to do.

They all have there quirks. One of the most reliable out of the box modern bolt guns is the Remington 700. They all have ejector problems at times. It's a design flaw, you just fix it and accept thats something that has to be delt with.

Boats
 

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...The way I see it, if you take time to learn how to fix guns, you can get malfunctioning ones pretty cheap, invest a bit of time in them, and have a good gun in the end. That said, I have no idea about revolvers, owning one that works well out of the box, and I won't do any work on them (unless the issue comes up, then I might do some studying.)

Josh <><
I agree. I had an electrical instructor once tell me "a good visual inspection goes a long way". It certainly applies to all things mechanical.

Funny you should mention about having no idea about revolvers. That is what I am wanting to learn about, just bought the Kuhnhausen Ruger DA "6" manual in hopes it would help with the SP101. I probably understand and know more about automatics currently.

P.S.: I really like your sig line, especially the "bottomless" magazine.
 

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Problems are nothing new either. Some time ago guy at the range sold me a pre 64 M 94 Winchester carbine. Held in the highest esteam by all gun fans, Factory was well known for precesion machining and hand fitting...

Turns out the reason it was not for her was it would not feed from the magazine. Something that would have been returned to the factory when new. It was a big repair to get it right. Lever action feeding is a dark art not many know how to do.

One of the most reliable out of the box modern bolt guns is the Remington 700. They all have ejector problems at times. It's a design flaw, you just fix it and accept thats something that has to be delt with. Boats
At one time maybe Winchester was known for all that fitting/machining... but they have fallen over the decades. As far as the dark art of lever-action feeding, it ain't all that. The lever-action is one of the simpler designs to work on if the factory specs are right.

The Rem. 700 is a reliable gun if... if you keep the chamber cleaned and without rust or such in it. Also the magnum cartridges are usually notorious for testing that action because of their pressures stretching the cases. That or bad reloads. I am an advocate of putting a Sako-type extractor in the 700 to help that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A major problem I've ran into doing my own repairs is parts availability. Living in the land of frivolous lawsuits, many firearms manufacturers have parts on "restricted" lists, I/E not for sale to us civvies or even a FFL holder. Ruger has been one of the worst, Smith and wesson is speedily gaining ground. This is why, in the future, I intend my handgun purchases to be "restricted" to handguns such as internal extractor 1911's, HiPowers, in short, only those that have spare parts redily available. As an example of spare parts procurement problems, I bought a SW-99, after much work on my part plus a trip back to S&W to make it function, I found that if I wanted a spare extractor and striker, I'd have to send it back to S&W yet again, pay for the parts plus labor costs. An extractor and striker were going to run me in the neighborhood of $100. I also had a S&W 1911sc, same spare parts issue, I sold it because of this.
 

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Howdy folks,

Just a suggestion that might (or might not work) to consider. I once held certificates from both Ruger and Smith as an agency armorer. This was during a time period when I also held both a class 01 and class 06 FFLs. Ruger would not sell me parts on my FFL, but would sell me parts as a factory trained armorer.

Since I have long ago had both rating expire on me, I can not say if they still sell restricted parts to factory trained armorers or not. But if they would sell to anyone, that would be the person I would look for to give it a try.

Another suggestion that I have made to a member on another site who asked me if I was still factory certified - was to try to locate a factory service center. These are usually locally based gun stores or gunsmiths, who have attended the factory training, and are blessed to make repairs locally. The factory views their repair work as being blessed. As such they would certainly have to sell the parts to the service centers.

Just a couple of suggestions if folks are in serious need of a part for a brand weapon they simply can not buy on their own. Hope it might help someone out anyway.

twoguns

P.S. I just thought I would add two thoughts. I recently called the Smith factory and they sold me some parts for a Smith revolver over the phone, taking my credit card. So at least some parts are still readily available throught them. Another source to check when in need of at least certain Smith revolver parts is Midway. They appear to stock a wider selection than I was expecting, at a better than factory price.

I actually called the factory to clarify the correct part number (as Midway sold three versions), with my intention to get the info and buy the part from Midway. The parts rep I was speaking to had a prolonged conversation with me, about this part and several others, and Smiths in general. As a result I just felt he had earned the right to sell me the part I needed, even though it might cost a few pennies more from Smith.

So you can always give the Midway site a check. I have purchased several short/curved Sig P226 triggers from them, as they keep them in stock and sell them cheaper than the factory does. I have been pleased to see how many different parts they do keep in stock for various brands. I also love their attitude on exchanges as well. If I have made a mistake and ordered the wrong part, I simply call them and they say sure, send it back and we will ship you the other part number, no problem at all sir. Sort of nice to have folks call me sir too - which must mean they really don't know me too, lol. But they do have outstanding customer service, so there are certainly an option to consider for spare parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Twoguns, if what I've assimilated here is any indication, I wouldn't hesitate to call you sir, I feel you probably deserve the title. As for myself, calling me SIR is like putting an elevator in an outhouse, just don't belong. (An inexact quote from the movie, "Road House")
 

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Howdy Mr. Demented,

Well sir, you are far too kind, but I do appreciate it. I am also probably in a very select group among our members who know what an outhouse looks like up close and personal too. I think I was in junior high before my grandparents got indoor plumbing (grinning). But it also took away some of that sense of adventure while spending our summers there too.

From personal experiences, I have come to believe that with most manufacturers, they tend to go through peaks and valleys in their quality control. One example I still recall clearly is a Smith 4006 I had purchased as a duty weapon. I was carrying my beloved 1006, when some genius at headquarters computed how much money we could save if we elimnated the purchase of 10mm ammo from our blessed carry calibers. When it dried up I had to drop back and pump, as with a personal weapon my agency would only allow its use with agency issued duty ammo.

New from the box, the 4006 would not reliably feed my issued round. The slide would fail to fully close several times with each mag. I sent it back to the factory, cleaned, along with a letter to explain the malfunction I was having with what was intended to be a duty weapon. It came back from repair, and I immediately took it out to shoot. Of course I was a bit suprised to discover it was as clean as when I shipped it to them too. (Never a good sign following a factory repair in my view.)

It shot better, as now when the slide fail to close, it would from a nudge of my thumb, rather than the previously required slap of the heel of my palm. But still not adequate with a duty weapon, or any weapon intended for a self defense role.

That was the first time I spoke with the head of semi repairs at Smith. We had a pleasant conversation, that only upset him when he replied in response to my question that they did not take the time to clean a weapon after test firing, as that would cut the number of weapons they repaired daily in half. I then asked how many rounds were test fired in weapons following repair. Using his computer he confirmed that my repair had been correctly entered as a LEO weapon. He explained unless problems were noted, a normal weapon was test fired one full mag, and all LEO weapons were test fired with two full mags.

I then explained that my weapon was as clean when it was returned to me following its first repair, as it was when I shipped it to them. Which could only lead me to conclude the person doing the repair had not bothered to test fire it. I stated to me this was totally unacceptable for a LEO duty weapon. He agreed and requested that I return it to his attention. He assured me that he would personally test fire it himself before it was returned to me, and that it would be repaired this time. He also mentioned a particular gunsmith/repair technician was about to have a very unpleasant conversation with him.

True to his word, I received my pistol with a personal note from him, stating the number of rounds he had test fired through my repaired 4006. He was also kind enough to have had Trijicon nightsights installed on my 4006 by way of an apology for a situation that he agreed should never have happened.

I shot it several hundred more rounds and then deemed it suitable for duty use. I did carry it until a co-worker just had to own it more than I did. When I sold it to him, I got a Sig P226 in 40 as its replacement.

Over the years, the only weapons I can personally recall that have never required a factory repair have been any of my Smith revolvers (all pre locks), my BHP pistols, and my various Sig P226s and P229. Oh and my various CZ pistols too.

I am old enough I would like to thing while I agree as gun purchasers we deserve perfection in what we purchase, I am realistic enough to feel this is a unrealistic expectation with all makes and models. Just the way it is to me. I think the best we can hope for is buying a weapon that the manufacturer stands behind fully if repair is required. Beyond that, it simply makes me appreciate those special weapons that for me have worked perfectly from the box and throughout the years.

Just my thoughts, and others may agree or disagree. That is fine, since all of us are simply speaking largely from our personal experiences.

twoguns
 

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New from the box that had problems:
NAA .32 Guardian: jams with every mag. Back to the factory for feed ramp work.
Charco Undercover: light primer hits. Back to the factory. Returned with same problem
AMT .380 Back-Up: Jams with every mag. Locked up tight as a bank vault.
Taurus .38: Light primer strikes. Back to the factory.

Guns that developed problems early on:
S&W 442: cylinder locked up tight. Back to the factory for a new hand and other work
Another S&W 442: major pitting in frame around firing pin. Back to the factory for a new frame.
Kahr MK9: cracked slide. Factory sent new slide. No problems since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Twoguns, I sorta expect an occassional problem, even a full blown lemon every now and then. What does bother me is it seems "occassional" has turned into "nearly all" of the new firearms I've purchased the last five years or so. I can't blame any one manufacturer, all have been culpable.
 

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I think they all have there there quirks and if you campaign a firearm in matches were reliablity is required and a lot of rounds fired you need to know how to make simple repairs. I keep a box of likely parts in my shooting box as well as some simple tools

Having said that I almost allways take two guns so a back up is avalable. Cost to drive to a match stay overnight etc is getting real high and it is a shame to be shut out for some mechanical failure.

Learned a long time ago that the only true reliablity is redundancy. Everything is backed up.

Boats
 

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Howdy folks,

Mr. Boats, I agree with you totally sir. That is why I tend to carry two of my primary pistols on duty. I already have what most of my co-workers consider far too many mags for them, lol. I just grin and then shake my head at that one. But I also know if one should go down for some reason at the point I need it the absolute worst, I just draw the other one and continue on.

I also like you sir, keep multiple spare parts on hand for various makes and models of weapons and magazines. On those rare times when I need a spare part, if timing is not crucial, I will order the part I need, so I know my parts box will still have a spare on hand for emergency situations.

Happily in recent years the only parts at issue have been spring kits I had on hand for various Smith revolvers. Since they were not urgently needed, I simply ordered new spring kits for them.

Mr. Demented, I certainly can not argue with your belief that every manufacture can and does make a rare lemon. Harsh words tend to flow down the mountains, and end up on the head of the one person you want to have an excellent attitude - the person building your weapon, lol. At times there are simply problems too. Even with repairs there can be problems, with the Smith 4006 being a classic example to me.

But while I do not usually consider myself to be a "lucky" person, you are sort of making me feel that way right now too sir. Within the past 5 years, I have acquired 2 HPs (a 9mm and a 40, along with a 357Sig barrel); 1 P229 in 357Sig with a 40 barrel; 2 P226s on the steel frame in stainless, in 357Sig with 40 barrels and 1 9mm down barrel; 1 Kahr K40; and 3 CZ pistols, 2 CZ75B in 40, and 1 SP01 in 9mm. To date, each of these has been fired extensively, and have never stuttered on me at all.

My shooting buddy, Mr. John, always wanted me to bring my 9mm HP with me when we hit the range, and he normally put at least 300 rounds through it each session. I had removed the disconnector, installed Trijicon nightsights, installed Pachmary grips, and purchased spare Mec-Gar magazines. Beyond those changes it was factory stock. He was so impressed with its performance, I finally sold it to him as his primary duty weapon - once I discovered it could legally replace his early HP he had been blessed to carry. My newer MkIII model with it additions was simply far better suited to a LEO's carry HP than was his much earlier, older HP. He still shoots a ton of rounds through it at each of our range sessions.

So maybe I am just lucky, but I sure don't consider myself to be, lol. But I also tend to feel the folks at the factory are better suited than I am to alter their basic design of their weapon. So beyond mag disconnectors, replacing triggers, installing nightsights - i.e., what I consider minor points I feel totally confident to handle, I pay someone like my CZ gunsmith when I feel an action job is appropriate on a CZ75B or SP01. That is simply my system, and over the years I have found that it simply works very well for me.

Others may possess far superious gunsmithing skills to me, and some far less. But everyone needs to decide what their comfort level is when tinkering with the inside of any weapon platform. As Dirty Harry was fond of saying "a man's just got to know his limitations", and I feel I do know mine, lol.

I will soon have 3 Smith pre-locks I need to dance with, but frankly I will be totally shocked if any of them give me the first issue either. But again, while I feel I probably know the Smith revolver platform the best of any I tinker with, even with those I have my limits I will personally not go beyond when slickening them up.

But I must have a bright cloud over my head during the past 5 years, lol. Man I sure would have sworn it was dark and stormy instead. But given the weapons I have purchased during that time frame, (I listed only handguns, I was getting tired of typing), my gunsmithing/tinkering needs have been practically non-existent. Nothing was ever required on any of these. What little was done was geared to taking a great weapon and making it more suitable to my needs.

But it is certainly an interesting observation sir. I also think it has and hopefully will continue to receive informative responses too.

twoguns
 
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