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  1. #1
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    Beretta Tomcat Jaming Issues

    Hello folks.

    I don't want to disrespect Beretta in anyway. But I am having a problem.

    I bought the 3032 Tomcat because I thought it was the perfect pistol. Not too big, not too small. Totally reliable. When it comes to auto's reliability is number one with me. The only one I ever had was a HK .45. That gun never jammed on me once. As nice as the Smith & Wesson is, every once in awhile those .22's will jam. And it is a serious target pistol. Model 41. But once in the blue moon, it will get one stuck in the barrel. And if you can't extract it, it ain't no joke getting it out.

    Which brings me back to the Tomcat. There are so many things I like about that gun, but it seems to have a feeding problem. I hope it is just a need to be broken in. A need to understand what brands work the best. But here's my deal....

    Beretta claims they test these things and they don't misfire over 1600 rounds. Why I can now cycle it without it not jamming every seventh round confuses me. In my bones, I think the gun is fine. The magazine is the issue. (Please speak of this.) I understand that you never want to oil a magazine, but when I did it fed very well. It seem that every time I have a problem with a semi-auto, the problem is not the gun...it is the magazine.

    Is there a gunsmith out there that can help me with this? I was very dissapointed, but became very familier with the gun. Chamber, safety, tip and extract. Over and over until I can trust it to do that.

    What really bothers me is it should be out-of-the-box pure. But it isn't.

    Am I doing something wrong? Are there some guns that need to be breaking in longer? I don't know. But I'm starting to get a bad taste in my mouth for semi-autos. Perhaps I should have went with the Ruger LCR?

    Help me understand why a new semi-auto should not feed properly. Why should I have to try different ammo and play with the spring?

    Pete

  2. #2
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Many semi-auto feeding problems are magazine related, rather than gun related.
    Frequently it's the shape or temper of the magazine's feed lips. Lubricated or not lubricated does not enter the picture.* Dirt inside the magazine is a killer, however.
    The best diagnostic tool is two or three extra clean magazines. If at least one of them works reliably, it is indeed a magazine problem.
    Some gunsmiths can re-shape some magazine feed lips, sometimes successfully. Most won't even want to try, especially in the case of arcane little guns like yours.

    *You are not supposed to lubricate semi-auto magazines for two reasons:
    First, because oil collects dirt, and dirt jams magazines. If your magazine is oily but clean, that's OK. If it's dirty inside, that's very much not OK. Look and see.
    Second, because oil that has collected inside the magazine transfers that oil to the cartridges it holds. Oily cartridges can cause chamber pressures to rise, with catastrophic results. Oil may also enter the cartridge case, killing either the powder charge, the primer, or both.

  3. #3
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    arcane (smile)

    Nice joke; I'm still laughing.

    But thank you. Yes, I do understand why it is better to keep a magazine skeaky clean. However, I do just have the one and when I was poking it down with a half of a closepin, it had that sound. So after giving it a little "break free," I figured a little Hoppe's drop will help me understand where the problem may be coming from. And son of a bitch! That may have been the problem. Not sure.

    What is interesting about this gun is when it does jam, pulling the mag seats the round back into the mag. No lie. Never saw that happen. That's what this gun does. I don't know a lot, but I was surprised to see that. No lie. This happend a few times and I wanted to know where it went. The cartrige was out of the magazine and stuck in front of the barrel and when I hit the magazine release, it chambered the round back into the magazine. Don't know how it did that; no lie. I saw it happen three times. I didn't think that was possible. But I know it happend. The round wasn't in the barrel. Nowere else to go.

  4. #4
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    I think that you need to buy one or two new magazines.

  5. #5
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    Steve

    Beretta said that there is a "break in" prossess and some cartriges work better than others.

    Is that normal for "out of the box" semi-auto pistols? In my bones I know that can't be true, because cops would never buy them. To me breaking in a pistol should have more to do with sights, not jamming.

    But I have to be fair. After working the magazine and cycling the gun a lot, it seems to be okay, now.

  6. #6
    cougartex's Avatar
    cougartex is offline Senior Member
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    CDNN has Beretta Tomcat magazines.

    Beretta Mags

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    . . . Most won't even want to try, especially in the case of arcane little guns like yours . . .
    Hey Steve, I've misplaced my Thesaurus.
    Is "arcane" a synonym for "mousegun".

    Sorry Riverdog, I couldn't resist. I have had a Tomcat for 10-12 years or so.

    Search the keywords below for a long-winded discussion of my Tomcat and three .32 Auto cartridges
    in reply to "Tomcat's" questions. Those three feed fine in my gun. No, it is not used for any SD purpose.
    Your mileage my vary. And, sorry, the html tag is too long to make a link.

    ballistics-101-being-newbie Tomcat

  8. #8
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    You can wait for a semi-auto pistol to "break in," or you can do some preliminary polishing yourself.
    The most important areas to polish seem to be the feed ramp and the chamber mouth.
    But polishing the pistol's feed ramp will not correct misfeeds due to an out-of-spec magazine.

    One of the meanings of arcane is "secret," and another is "hidden."
    Can you think of a better way to describe an easily-pocketable "mouse gun"?

  9. #9
    Piscator's Avatar
    Piscator is offline Junior Member
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    I had the same problem, on and off, and have worried about the reliability of mine as well. I thought it was the magazine and bought another one only to find out it had the same problem. I recently read a post in another forum (sorry I can't remember which one) that explained the problem and one solution. It isn't really the fault of the magazine so much as it is the ammo itself. My guess is that you have the problem with JHP's.

    The 32 ACP is a "semi-rimmed" cartridge (so is the 25 ACP); unlike the 380 ACP, 9mm, etc., which are "rimless". This means that the rim protrudes beyond the side of the cartridge a little. Similar to rimmed revolver rounds, but not to that extent. JHP's aren't as long as the FMJ's and one of the rounds in the mag can move forward a little in the mag so that its rim is in front of the rim of the round above it. Then the rim of the round above it can get caught on the rim of the round below it and it won't feed. This generally doesn't happen with FMJ's because they are a little longer and can't move forward like the JHP's. I haven't had the chance yet to try to recreate this situation to see if it is indeed the problem I was having, but IMO I think that they are probably dead on with what the problem is.

    Their solution, and probably the best one, is not to use JHPs. With 32's you don't really have to worry about over penetration, so using FMJs isn't a problem; plus the extra penetration from the FMJ will probably help offset the fact that your using a non-expanding round. Another solution is to be very careful when loading your JHPs to ensure that each round is seated to the rear of the magazine so the rims don't catch on each other, though there's always a chance of still having a FTF as rounds can move around a little as they are pushed up the mag, so why take the chance. Something that I'm considering is to use JHP's for the round in the chamber and the first round in the mag and then use FMJs for the rest of the rounds in the magazine. That should also solve the problem and still allow use of JHPs for the first two rounds anyway.

  10. #10
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Now, that seems like the true explanation of the problem.
    Thanks, Piscator!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piscator View Post
    . . . The 32 ACP is a "semi-rimmed" cartridge . . . Then the rim of the round above it can get caught on the rim of the round below it and it won't feed. This generally doesn't happen with FMJ's because they are a little longer and can't move forward like the JHP's . . .
    I agree with Steve. Nice "catch" on a logical explanation.

    My safe had three .32 Auto loads. In order of height, they are
    Magtech 71 grain FMJ, Federal 65 grain Hydra-Shok, and Speer 60 grain Gold Dot. (Federal & Speer "almost" the same).
    The FMJ is not really much taller. But, not much IS big on this cartridge.

    I loaded five FMJ's. And then five Gold Dots. If I was going to do this much, I NEED a loader.

    I could actually feel a tiny "pop" going over the rim to push to the rear of the mag. Both kinds.
    I've always "firmly pushed" rounds to the rear of the mag. Maybe they can be moved by recoil ?

    Next time I'm out shooting, I'll play around with "rim stacking" hollowpoint rims versus FMJ.

  12. #12
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    A little better now.

    Thank you for all the good posts. You folks hit on so many of the thing I experianced and was wondering about. All of your posts were right-on.

    As much as I was dissapointed with this guns feeding problem, I have to admit I know the gun ten times better then any gun received with no flaws. I would never know this gun as well as I do right now if I didn't have to "work" it.

    So many of your comments were right-on and what I experinced. Your saying the chamber mouth could be an issue that has to be worked out. Funny you should mention that. After speaking to you the other night, Steve, I did notice that. And here's the deal. I noticed that when they powder coat the gun, the chamber mouth is also coated. And it won't go away until you work it. 100 rounds will not do that. Here's what did. Hoppies and wire. That took it all off. (smile)

    The guy that posted eariler was right-on. He knows. And Beretta does say that some ammo will do better than others. They will not say what you should load. I can understand that, because they all should and it becomes a marketing thing. They will never say buy Winchester or Remington or a hollow point.

    I did notice (and this has nothing do with the gun) that some bullets are squared off -- for whatever reason -- but has little to do with a better feeding process. What I did notice is Remington dosen't play that game. Most of their bullets are rounded to feed very smooth. That is a good design. (Has to be in the barrel to work.) I was ready to dump the Federal hollow point, but it was probably not the cartrige but the gun.

    One quick question. I too am a kitchen-table gunsmith. Here's what I don't understand. In my bones, I feel the feed ramp may cause semi-auto problems. Why is that? And a much larger question. Magazines. More often than not the first one or two rounds tip up in that 16 degree angle and when you load the next few, they lay flat. I always wonder if that is right or not. I would think all of the rounds would want to tip up, because that's the way they want to feed. I guess what I'm tying to ask is, should the last fully loaded round still be tipped up in that same 16 degree angle? (Maybe it's a ten degree angle, you know what I mean.) Not flat.

    That's for you comments folks. It's amazing how you folks were right on spot. I do thank you for all of your feedback.

    Pete

  13. #13
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiverDog View Post
    ...One quick question. I too am a kitchen-table gunsmith. Here's what I don't understand. In my bones, I feel the feed ramp may cause semi-auto problems. Why is that? And a much larger question. Magazines. More often than not the first one or two rounds tip up in that 16 degree angle and when you load the next few, they lay flat. I always wonder if that is right or not. I would think all of the rounds would want to tip up, because that's the way they want to feed. I guess what I'm tying to ask is, should the last fully loaded round still be tipped up in that same 16 degree angle? (Maybe it's a ten degree angle, you know what I mean.) Not flat...[emphasis added]
    A rough feed ramp can catch the nose of a hollow-point bullet, and that hesitation, even if only momentary, can jam the pistol. Usually, it doesn't happen with round-nose slugs.
    Sometimes crosswise machining marks are left on the feed ramp, and these ridges are the culprit. You remove them by polishing the feed ramp lengthwise.
    This job is best done by hand, and should not involve a Dremel tool or other motorized polisher!
    (If you need instructions, send me a PM.)

    The angle of each cartridge inside the magazine is set by the shape of the magazine's feed lips and by the "set" of its follower. This may not be consistent for each of the cartridges in the magazine. The last one or two may come up at a strange angle, as you have observed. But as long as the cartridges all feed successfully, the best thing to do is leave everything alone.
    If all of the cartridges don't feed properly, the best thing to do is to try one or more different magazines. A really good pistolsmith can adjust magazine feed lips, but it is an art and not a science, and not everyone can do it successfully.
    If you have a bad magazine, and you have other good ones, you might consider experimenting with slight symmetrical bends of the bad magazine's feed lips, and small changes to its follower.
    Who knows: You might become expert at it, at least for that model of pistol.

  14. #14
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    Steve, Pis and all:

    I may have made too much of it, but you know when you get something out-of-the-box and it is gamming on the range. Not a good feeling.

    What I thought at first was what Pis said. Try different companies. That's what Beretta says in the owners manual. But I don't think that was the real problem.

    Magazine? Maybe yes or maybe no. When it comes to semi-autos, it's always the magazine that is the problem. (smile)

    When I was talking to Steve the other night, I think he nailed it. As all good gunsmiths will. Sit down on the kitchen table and work it. I know he nailed it.

    I think when -- out of the factory -- when they power coat the gun (and the barrel), what is also powder coated is the little ramp into the barrel that Steve talked about. Being a newbe kitchen-table gunsmith, that made perfect sense. (I thought just shooting rounds through there would clear it, but that is not true.) So out came the wire brush and the Hoppies. That accurally wroked better than you may think. In five minutes, it was down to the milling process. A drop of oil and now everything is racking very nice. (Winchester white box.)

    In all honesty, Beretta says there is a breakin process. They agree that some rounds work better than others. Mine came from the US. That's was sported the $329 pricetag. I didn't have a problem with that. I always wanted it; sold. What I have come to understand from a gunsmith that was just talking to me about the CZ auto, is out-of-the-box can mean a lot of different things. He explained to me what CZ does to their pistols before they leave the factory and it is a class act. Not too much talk about the CZ pistol. He said he pumped 400 rounds through the gun and it just dosn't jam. Talk is cheap. Still working my little Beretta.

    But I understand. They are all little mechanical devices. They all will work fine. WWII, Cong, Cops, there are a lot a avantiges.

    Me? My mind? It can never jam, misfeed or misfire. The one time you'll ever care is 99.9% of the time and it had better go off. (Or rack cleanly if you're not one of those chambered types.)

    I'm glad I have had these few problems. It has forced me to camber and release hundreds of rounds through that gun. And now I really, really, know that gun.

    Maybe this should be a post for a different forum, but while we are here....

    Very few people become fimilar with their gun. They don't know how to break it down, they don't know how to unjam it. Never really spent too much time with it. Should the littlest thing go wrong,


    Too late. That's why I feel first time shooters should have a double-action revolver. First, it is very simple. Second, it will never jam. (bad load, click again) Third, you know their finger will be in the trigger, but with a 10 pound pull, that's okay. (Not a target semi-auto)

  15. #15
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    Who knows: You might become expert at it, at least for that model of pistol.

    Smile. Tell about it! Who else would send that much time on one problem?

    Thank you for your help.

    Just a few more questions:

    -More often than not, a semi-auto will try to chamber a round (rack or fire) and the round will get cought just under that little onramp. That is the part that I'm not understanding. It just doesn't make technical sense. For instance, when the mag is loaded and I look into the gun, it would seem the cartrige would have no other way in but into the barrel? So how does the round get cought up underneath that? That dosen't make any sense to me. When the mag is loaded, I can understand that the round really dosn't have to be tipped up. It looks like it is just a simple slide forward. So how does that get screwed up?

    Unless it doesn't ramp proberly and gets hung up into that chamber because of the spring forcing it anywhere. So the whole cartrige just sits down and you think it had a problem loading up when it was just pushed down?

    I don't have a clue how that whole thing works! Ten to one I will figure it all out. But I need your help. Please help me.

    You know, I think I figured it out. Same as you told me before. (Quick look at the Beretta)

    I think you were right, Pis was right and Beretta was right.

    I bet you any money that when Beretta powdercoats the barrels, they powdercoat the little onramp. And when the spring comes forward, if the round can not come forward, it just get's pushed down.

    That makes perfect sense to me. When you look at the jamed round, it would seem that it jammed way lower then were it did. Now I understand. It got hung up on the little onramp and when the slide pushed forward, the round got pushed down.

    Accually, it's working fine now. That little ramp is like is was when it was milled. And I'm using a more rounded copper jacket. I know Remington dosen't square the tips off for something nobody can claim works any better. That's probably the ticket. First, just get it into the barrel. (smile)

  16. #16
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you Steve

    You done good boy; you done good. Thanks from the Ohio Valley.

    The 3032 is cycling just fine now. I'm trying to make it jam and it can't. (smile)

    I do thank you for your wanting to help. I really like and will never forget that. You learned a lot on that kitchen table. Thank you very much!

    Pete

  17. #17
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    Break in Done

    The little pocket pistol now works like a champ.

    It cycles so smooth.

    You might not believe it, but I am happy it wasn't perfect out-of-the-box. I hate to say it, but if it was I would never had got this well with the gun. I would have never cycled that many rounds through the gun. Now I can do it in my sleep.

    There is a lot I like about the Beretta Tomcat. (now that is works like oil)

    There is only one thing I don't like about the design, but it is somewhat of a moot point because it can't fire. I don't keep chambered rounds and just rack a load. To chamber a round on the Beretta Tomcat, the safty must be on. That's just the way the gun works. When I was cycling all those rounds through it for the last few days, the safty was on. That's just the way the gun works. It's a double action semi-auto pistol. It has a beautiful safty, but you have to understand how the gun works. And it's kind of simple.

    Maybe this is the wrong forum for this?

    In a nutshell, the Beretta design fits most of everything and everybody. Let me explain.

    I hate to do this, because I don't want to wast my time. Maybe that I've gone to sad to very , very, happy, I'll start a new thread. I'd love to talk about this gun. It's a little different, but it's really simple and sweet. (Once everything is working proberly, of course.)

    Some people thing the tip up design is for simple cleaning or whatever; bullshit. Did you ever have a missfire and a shell stuck in the barrel? Try to get that shell out fast. Good luck. Say is't a bad primer thing? In short, anything in the barrel can be ejected in one second. The second second is tipping (slapping) it down and racking another load. If you were in a hurry, two seconds would be a long time because when you tip the barrel, it ejects the round. It does it by just fliping it out. Really. If you tip the barrel with a concerted effort to take the round out manualy, it will flip it accoss the room. So that's not a problem.

    So now we have a way to end any shell in barrel stick ups. Hmmm?


    So where's the next problem? There is none. The whole freaking gun is the handle magazine. Really, if you take off the barrel, the whole gun just feeds from the magazine and pin pop, pop.

    So what was up with my rant?

    When it come to guns and gun companies and all of their claimes, I say put up or shut up. There are some companies that put up but you don't want the company that...when you are in your bedroom and you are racking a load that dosen't fit. Come on.

    There are five good reasons for owning an semi. None of them make sense to me in the bedroom.

  18. #18
    Piscator's Avatar
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    I was listening to the Handgun podcast today and this issue was discussed (problem with semi-rimmed JHP's jamming semi-auto pistols). Eric called the condition "rim lock" and said that it is a common problem with many (if not all) .32 Auto's firing JHP's. He also recommended using only FMJs.

  19. #19
    RiverDog is offline Junior Member
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    That is what I was thinking the first time it happened.

    But I have to be very honest and fair. And here's the deal. Beretta says there is a break in period and some rounds work better than others. (Although they don't say which.) Just because it's too cold and you only have an outdoor range doesn't mean you should get too pissed too soon. I understand why a new gun will not feed properly...sometimes. It's a little tough and it's 25 degrees and this isn't all that fun right now.

    Don't ask me why they let it go out of the factory like this, but I'm convinced. When they do, there is powder coating on the barrel and feed ramp that isn't the beautifully milled metal it will be unless you clean it off with rounds or a wire brush and Hoppies. No lie. Once that ramp becames milled metal and the powder coat (over spray) is gone, it cycles like a champ. Through all of that, I am using Winchester white box.

    If you feel the bullet has anything to do with it, Remington has a very nice rounded design. For feeding purposes, it can't be beat. And when it comes to the .32, the jury is out. From what I now understand, you are better off with a FMJ. If anyone can speak more on that I'd love to hear it.

    Anyway, the Beretta Tomcat is cycling just fine now. And that was very important, because I don't like to have a chambered round. For me, it's just a safty thing. And it's so quick to chamber a round. I really have a problem with a round sitting in front of a firering pin. Safety, rack load, it just takes a second to do that.

    I'm becoming convinced that the Tomcat will do that every time. I'm not a tip up barrel type of guy. I like to rack and load. However, it does have some advantages I'd like to talk about.

    Thanks for your replies.

  20. #20
    EliWolfe is offline Member HGF Gold Member
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    I generally love Berettas. I had Tomcat. It was recalled for feeding issues. They also had problems with cracked frames. All in all, the Tomcat may well be the most troublesome pistol Beretta makes. But that's old news I hope, though I won't ever have another one. Little semis seem to need to be "just right" on all fronts to be reliable shooters. Some may argue the point, but I have had two M21s in .22 cal., and both worked great from the get go. For me, it is a more reliable gun than the Tomcat despite being a rimfire. But as they say, results may vary! Good to hear yours is up and running.
    Eli

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