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  1. #1
    SP3's Avatar
    SP3
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    Light strike vs. hard primer

    so, after having essentially no problems with the wife's Bersa Thunder .380 across many types of ammo, I had some FTFires yesterday. I had 5 yesterday (which makes 6 total) from the same box of Blazer Aluminum. All fired on the second attempt. The gun has had a further 250 rounds of both round nose and hollow point ammo of six brands/types.

    Also on the same trip, I had four FTFire in my SW9VE. Two fired on the second try, the others came home as duds (multiple tries). These were all from my batch of LAX Ammo reloads which previously (180 rounds) had been perfect. The Sigma had had about 450 rounds (7 brands/types) through it with zero issues. The four 'new' types I tried yesterday ran perfectly (2 round, 2 hp).

    It was a weird outing to say the least. Not my normal lighting (dusk to dark), temperature (40 and falling fast), or ammo failure rate (practically zero over my shooting lifetime of 35 years).

    SO!, this has me wondering. How does one determine if your firearm is having mechanical issues or if it an ammo issue? I'm a mechanical guy and I can see a bit of issue that way. But, the trend (albeit small sample) could also show ammo issue in both instances as well. Neither gun was cleaned after their last outing but that wasn't that long ago and was only about 50 rounds each. I usually am a cleaning freak so shame on me but, I'd say the vast majority of guns in this country are far filthier on any given day than my worst ever day. They are both getting a scrubdown before the next trip.

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  3. #2
    Glock Doctor is offline Banned
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    My suggestions? Sell the SW9VE to someone who'll appreciate it more than you. Next, do either/or of the following: Clean that Bersa up real well; and, then, lubricate it with the slipperiest gun lubricant you can find. (I like Sentry Solutions products.) If this doesn't do it for ya, then, start replacing the springs.

    By the way, you might want to think about running higher quality ammo through the gun.

  4. #3
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Most Likely: Is there too much lubricant, or even crud, in the firing-pin's channel? In cold temperatures, oil becomes thick and gluey, and enough of it would cause misfires.

    Is there too much lubricant, or crud, around the hammer or within the hammer spring? That would slow things down.

    Modern primers should not be particularly sensitive to cold, but, still, that could be the problem.

    Is the tip of the pistol's firing-pin smooth and well-rounded? Or is it rough looking, which might indicate that it's been broken?

    Generally speaking, people tend to over-lubricate. In cold weather, there should be only a very minimum of lubricant present.
    (Some people even lubricate with molybdenum disulphide flakes or graphite powder, when it's coldóbut that's really messy.)

    Does that help?

  5. #4
    rex
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    Some powders are temp sensitive,and in general what would be considered a light load at 80+ degrees may fall short at 40.Personally,it's BS to me because a manufacturer shouldn't pull that without specifying it's a light target load,but ..........

    You have 2 choices:

    1. Crap ammo and try something better,last I knew Blazer was CCI primers which aren't as sensitive as the rest.It isn't really the primer is harder in the cup,it's the sensitivity in the anvil and the primer compound that makes it ignite.Federal ignites easy,then Rem,Win and CCI.That's not including the benchrest and military type primers.

    2. Pull the firing pin and clean the goo out,you may not have shot much but what did the factory do to preserve it until someone bought it?A VERY light protective coat of oil on the pin,spring and any safety BS is all that's needed in there.Any more and gunk will collect and hinder operation,especially with crap dirty ammo.

    I've shot lots of Blazer ammo years ago with no problems,but things have changed and then isn't now.I put WWB above it now and it's bottom of the line but decent.

  6. #5
    SP3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glock Doctor View Post
    My suggestions? Sell the SW9VE to someone who'll appreciate it more than you. Next, do either/or of the following: Clean that Bersa up real well; and, then, lubricate it with the slipperiest gun lubricant you can find. (I like Sentry Solutions products.) If this doesn't do it for ya, then, start replacing the springs.

    By the way, you might want to think about running higher quality ammo through the gun.
    Appreciate the Sigma more than me? What the flying fuck is that supposed to mean? Honestly? I love it and appreciate it.

    Yes, I did not clean them after the last outing but they are not 'dirty'. 50 rounds doesn't constitute a dirty gun (unless you're running WWB).

    I've run Blazer (aluminum and brass) many times in the past without issue. I don't consider it to be 'low quality'. If you do, what was your experience? Curious. The reloads were a gamble for sure. Up to yesterday, the gamble had paid off. I've got about 75 rounds left so we'll see what happens.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Most Likely: Is there too much lubricant, or even crud, in the firing-pin's channel? In cold temperatures, oil becomes thick and gluey, and enough of it would cause misfires.

    Is there too much lubricant, or crud, around the hammer or within the hammer spring? That would slow things down.

    Modern primers should not be particularly sensitive to cold, but, still, that could be the problem.

    Is the tip of the pistol's firing-pin smooth and well-rounded? Or is it rough looking, which might indicate that it's been broken?

    Generally speaking, people tend to over-lubricate. In cold weather, there should be only a very minimum of lubricant present.
    (Some people even lubricate with molybdenum disulphide flakes or graphite powder, when it's cold—but that's really messy.)

    Does that help?
    Over-lube - probably guilty as charged. During the sprucing, I will pay attention to how much there WAS and lessening the amount applied.

    I wondered if the cold might have something to do with it. But, it really wasn't that cold. I mean it was still around 35 by the time I quit. In real terms, I don't think that's 'cold'. I say this in regard to the primer/powder. Cold AND over-lubed? Now, I can see that.


    Quote Originally Posted by rex View Post
    Some powders are temp sensitive,and in general what would be considered a light load at 80+ degrees may fall short at 40.Personally,it's BS to me because a manufacturer shouldn't pull that without specifying it's a light target load,but ..........

    You have 2 choices:

    1. Crap ammo and try something better,last I knew Blazer was CCI primers which aren't as sensitive as the rest.It isn't really the primer is harder in the cup,it's the sensitivity in the anvil and the primer compound that makes it ignite.Federal ignites easy,then Rem,Win and CCI.That's not including the benchrest and military type primers.

    2. Pull the firing pin and clean the goo out,you may not have shot much but what did the factory do to preserve it until someone bought it?A VERY light protective coat of oil on the pin,spring and any safety BS is all that's needed in there.Any more and gunk will collect and hinder operation,especially with crap dirty ammo.

    I've shot lots of Blazer ammo years ago with no problems,but things have changed and then isn't now.I put WWB above it now and it's bottom of the line but decent.
    Interesting comments. And, it answers my question in the reply above about findings regarding Blazer. I used a box of WWB in my Sigma a while ago and decided not to buy it again unless it was significantly less expensive than anything else because it was so filthy. Of course filthy with bangs is better than clean and clicks. I've run plain Federal in both before with fine results and will again. And, again, they will both be cleaned before going out again and I will make sure to do a super-OCD type job before a lighter lube job. I'll start with something other than the Al Blazer in the Bersa and the reloads in the Sigma before trying them again.

  7. #6
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Another thing to check if you are getting misfires with either pistol; are the hits on the primer centered, or slightly off-center? If off-center, it may mean the slide was not fully closed when the hammer fell, and some of the hammer/firing pin energy may have been wasted in closing the slide the rest of the way, causing or contributing to the misfire. This much more likely with the S&W, as I assume the .380 has a fixed barrel vs falling barrel, but it could still happen with a fixed-barrel pistol if the round was not fully chambered.

    My experience with .380 pistols is that some of them can be very intolerant of granules of burned/unburned powder in the chamber area, and some ammo may leave more firing residue than other types/brands. If it happens only with one ammo type/brand, chalk it up to incompatibility and for best results, don't use that ammo any more.

    Hope you get it figured out; reliability problems can be really annoying. Good luck!
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  8. #7
    rex
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    I didn't think of it last night because I was 3 sheets to the wind,but do oyu ever check the primers of ammo for proper seating?Those that went off the second time may have had high primers so the first try seated them and the second set them off.Factory ammo is usually pretty good about it but I can definitely see it on the reloads.I always drag my finger over the rounds in the box to make sure they're below flush.

    The 2 reloads that didn't go off,could be a few things.If the firing pin indention was light,a piece of gunk may have prevented the FP block from fully clearing the pin-if those have one because I never followed the Sigma line.Being reloads,it could be that the anvil fell out and wasn't caught in the process.It isn't something that's real common,but I'll get one or 2 every couple thousand and put them back in.Another oddball occurance is the priming pellet gets broke from overseating the primer,sometimes they might ignite and sometimes not.DJ had a good point of a possible out of battery.Being reloads the OAL may have been off and bottomed in the chamber,holding it open just enough for the FP block to drag the striker or pin.

  9. #8
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    Check the primer seating like Rex suggested. Clean the guns and wipe them down good. try different ammo. Bersa's are historically "finincky" (in my experiance, I know there are bersas thats shoot 200 rounds wuithout incident) Sometimes you just get bad bullets. Sometimes you need to be sure your grip is correct. Some times you should just go home and start the day over.....

    Asking people on forums like this for advise on things they did not witness is risky at best. Unless you have a strong skin some replies will cause you to become defensive when it is not the intent or even worse a internet expert will tell you what to do.

    My advice is look to form first, then to the bullets, are they made well? then the gun. will the bullets you cant fire, fire in a different gun? if 35 degrees made your bullets stop working in your guns then you need a better guns or better bullets or better care for one or both. 35 degrees should not stop a good bullet from working or a good gun from firing or good lube from lubing.

    Good luck with this in the future.

    CG

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    Alright, Bersa is now clean again, lightly lubricated, and ready to go. Findings with it? Probably too much lube, SOME gunk on/around the breech face and SOME muck on the firing pin and in its bore. Not having any previous .380s, I can't say if it was obviously too much crap and/or if the lubricant was now too gummy. I can say that it is cleaner now than at any point in its lifespan. Hey, I said I was going to give it a super-OCD cleaning. I will also have a look for proud primers on all the ammo I have (and in the future). I took tomorrow off so maybe I'll run out with the Bersa and have another go. Fresh firearm, two more boxes of the same kind of ammo (different lot, though), and plenty of remnants of other types that had no issues. And more daylight. Off to clean the S&W.

  11. #10
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    Sadly, it took until yesterday to make it out to the range again. But, it appears that (at least partially) the issues were lubricant and/or lubricant:temp related. My brother is up from TX and we went out with the problem children (and my Marlin 60 - love that thing!). It was nearly 50 degrees and sunny. We went through about 250 rounds between the two, with a variety of ammunition. For the Bersa, this included a full box of Blazer Aluminum (different batch). Not one problem. We ever rapid fired the Bersa with defensive rounds and it performed perfectly. It now has 385 rounds through it. Sigma performed just as well, happily. Won't use the previous lube again and will lessen the amount applied from here on.

  12. #11
    rex
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    Good deal,glad they're working again.

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