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Thread: Sig p230

  1. #1
    walleye is offline Junior Member
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    Sig p230

    I inherited a Sig P230 .380 caliber. I do not know much about this model and find it hard to find anything about this exact model as it seems to be no longer made. Can anyone tell me the good or the bad about this gun? I am not really up to date on handguns, but am currently very interested in them I also recently bought a SW MP 9mm. Any information or comments on the P230 is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    ADDED: I just noticed that while using hollow point bullets, they get hung up for a millisecond while entering the barrel. This does not happen with non hollow point bullets. I just finished cleaning the gun and went ahead and run some through it. I noticed the hollow points do not enter as smooth as non hollow points......Any comments on this?

  2. #2
    EliWolfe is offline Member HGF Gold Member
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    The 230 is a fine old Sig .380 from what I have heard. I believe they now have the same basic gun as a model 232. As for the feeding, not knowing how "used" your gun is, it might need some freshening up from a good gunsmith. Or,sometimes you just have to experiment with a bunch of different ammo before you find a winner. Somewhat costly and time consuming, but more often than not I have found a round that works in a specific gun reliably. Check and see if your gun can handle modern ammo. The Corbon Pow R Ball and the Hornady Critical Defense rounds are both ball shaped poly tipped hollowpoints and I use them in my Beretta 92 for SD.
    Eli

  3. #3
    Hikingman's Avatar
    Hikingman is offline Junior Member
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    I owned one, and miss that stainless wonder pistol...

    You might try polishing the feed ramp next. When I say polish-I'm referring to a rag and liquid polish and NOT using a battery powered, or other power tool.
    John

  4. #4
    Captain Spalding's Avatar
    Captain Spalding is offline Junior Member
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    I own and love a P230. Recently I bought a case of Hydra-Shok in .380. I went about testing it, and it would fail to feed the first round every time. The profile of the Hydra-Shok is to blame. It's semi-conical, with a sharp lip at the mouth of the hollow point. The lip would hang up on the seam between the frame portion of the feed ramp and the barrel portion. See?



    I gave a handful of Hydra-Shok rounds to a buddy of mine who has a P230 also. They fed just fine in his pistol. So what was the deal with my pistol? Let's not call it a defect. Let's call it a manufacturing variance. The end of the feed ramp on the barrel didn't come to a knife edge where it met the frame. There was a slight step, and that's where the lip of the HP was getting hung up.

    I called SIG customer service and inquired about a solution. I was told that the official SIG line is that hollow point ammo shouldn't be used in the P230. I was disappointed in SIG when I heard this. The manual states that any factory ammo suitable for security or law enforcement use, and meeting SAAMI specs, should be fine. The Hydra-Shok certainly qualifies. As SIG had only bad news to offer, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

    Here's what I did.
    • Disassemble the pistol. (I removed every thing but the takedown lever. I've heard from others that after polishing it's best to remove every bit of polishing compound, as leftover compound will accelerate wear, and that it's easiest just to take the gun apart beforehand.)

      I felt that I needed to remove the barrel to get rid of the step. Since your pistol will feed, but with hesitation, you might not need to go so far as remove the barrel. If that's your choice, skip past this barrel removal part and first just try polishing the lower portion of the feed ramp, the part on the frame. I'll describe the whole procedure, though, to help others who might pass this way.

      To remove the barrel, first remove the roll pin. I used a roll pin starter punch of appropriate size. This was actually the part that took the most physical effort. I used a bench block and tapped the pin out.

      After the roll pin is out, tap the barrel out. I used a soft-faced dead-blow hammer. It has replaceable plastic faces of varying hardnesses. I used a medium hardness. Whenever I have to beat on something, I start with light taps and slowly increase force. Once the part starts to move, I go back to light taps, and hit the part just hard enough to make it move. I find that often a lot of force will be required to start a pressed-in part, but that once it moves, many light taps will finish the job. And so it was with the barrel. It only took a couple of good smacks to get it started, and then it came out easily. I never had to beat on it, and was never worried that I was hitting it hard enough to mar the barrel crown. When looking for advice elsewhere, I was told that a barrel press would be needed to get the barrel out and back in. Not so.

      For the actual polishing I used:

      - a vice with magnetic soft jaws
      - a Dremel tool with a Dremel no.422 3/8" felt polishing cone (it's bullet shaped) on a no.401 mandrel (I used four of the felt cones.)
      - and medium and fine polishing compound (brown, and white, Foredom.)

      It took about 15 minutes on the frame to get the ramp polished to a mirror finish. I was careful only to polish the ramp, and was careful not to round off any edges inadvertently.

      Next, polishing the ramp on the barrel. The ramp is already factory polished, and my goal was not so much to polish but to relieve the small step at the end of the ramp where it touches the frame, while taking away as little material as possible. I spent a little more time with the medium polishing compound to remove the material, and then finished up with a minute or two of the fine compound.

      I cleaned everything thoroughly.

      Refitting the barrel: I was emotionally prepared for this to be a hassle. I thought I would have to use a long bolt, a ratchet driver, and a tube to draw the barrel back into place. But I was able to do it with a little nylon-faced gunsmith's hammer. Just as with removing it, many light taps. Easy as pie. I replaced the roll pin with the same little hammer and roll pin punch, reassembled the frame, and refitted the slide to the frame.

    I loaded up a magazine with Hydra-Shok, popped it into the pistol, racked the slide, and - SUCCESS.

    The whole process took about two hours, and I'm confident that my P230 will feed anything now. If I can do this, you can too.

  5. #5
    walleye is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you fore this post. I took my gun to the range today and shot 50 rounds, 25 with the hollow point and 25 with non hollow point. Although the hollow points slightly "hesitated" to go into the barrel (first round only), they went in and there was not one misfire or jam, and with regular bullets no issue at all. I agree it is the manufacture of the bullet that caused the hesitation. That said, there was no issue at all and the gun shot great.

  6. #6
    Captain Spalding's Avatar
    Captain Spalding is offline Junior Member
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    Hi Walleye. I would not be satisfied if I were you. Maybe I'm a glass-half-empty guy. You came home from the range and summed up the hesitation as "didn't jam." I would sum it up as "almost jammed." And I'd be thinking this gun would jam if it were dirty or not as well lubricated. I recommend you don't load your P230 with hollow points for protection until you deal with the issue.

  7. #7
    walleye is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Spalding View Post
    Hi Walleye. I would not be satisfied if I were you. Maybe I'm a glass-half-empty guy. You came home from the range and summed up the hesitation as "didn't jam." I would sum it up as "almost jammed." And I'd be thinking this gun would jam if it were dirty or not as well lubricated. I recommend you don't load your P230 with hollow points for protection until you deal with the issue.
    I totally agree with you. I am going to try another manufacture of hollow points to see if the same result is present. In the mean time, it will be eating non hollow points. I think I may be overstating the "hesitation". Some might not even notice. I just notice that they do not go in as smooth as non HP rounds do. I will report when I try other ammo. Thanks all.

  8. #8
    Captain Spalding's Avatar
    Captain Spalding is offline Junior Member
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    Just out of curiosity, what hollow point round is it that you are experiencing the hesitation issue with?

  9. #9
    walleye is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Spalding View Post
    Just out of curiosity, what hollow point round is it that you are experiencing the hesitation issue with?
    PMC - Gold Starfire 380 Auto 95 Grs. SFHP As mentioned earlier, they work, just not as smooth as I would like upon initial entry into the barrel on initial load. Never has not auto loaded during shoot. I will be curious to see if other brands do the same with HP rounds.

  10. #10
    Captain Spalding's Avatar
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    I think the rounder the nose and the smaller the hollow point cavity, the better the chance that it will feed reliably.

  11. #11
    caveman60 is offline Junior Member
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    Hello to Captain Spalding,
    I am having the exact problem you mentioned. I'm in the process of getting the equipment together, to tackle this job. I looked all over town yesterday, but could not find the bullet shaped parts you suggested to use with the Dremel tool. I found red, black and green polishing compound, so I guess I'll have to order the dremel parts on the internet. (I found the hammer at Sear's - 4 different heads)
    One question I have: Looking at my P230, the barrel is held in place by "two" pins, a smaller one inside a larger one. I have BOTH size pin punches, but do not know If I should remove the smaller one first, or remove them both at the same time??? If you have ANY suggestions to this question, please advise... Thank you, T

  12. #12
    Captain Spalding's Avatar
    Captain Spalding is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by caveman60 View Post
    Hello to Captain Spalding,
    I am having the exact problem you mentioned. I'm in the process of getting the equipment together, to tackle this job. I looked all over town yesterday, but could not find the bullet shaped parts you suggested to use with the Dremel tool. I found red, black and green polishing compound, so I guess I'll have to order the dremel parts on the internet. (I found the hammer at Sear's - 4 different heads)
    One question I have: Looking at my P230, the barrel is held in place by "two" pins, a smaller one inside a larger one. I have BOTH size pin punches, but do not know If I should remove the smaller one first, or remove them both at the same time??? If you have ANY suggestions to this question, please advise... Thank you, T
    I removed them both at the same time and put them back that way as well. I'm sure SIG would tell us not to re-use these roll pins, but mine went back in nice and tight. I was happy to have a roll pin starter punch of appropriate size.

    As for suggestions: before you disassemble, try to get a clear picture in your mind with regard to what material you want to remove from the barrel portion and the slide portion of the feed ramp, so that when they are separated you don't end up removing any material that you didn't want to. Take your time. Primum non nocere.

    Good luck.

  13. #13
    caveman60 is offline Junior Member
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    Hello Captain Spalding,
    Everything went great !!!! (Except for a moment, when my wife came down to my workshop, wondering what all the "banging" was about and noticed that I was banging on this new gun that I looked for, for 2 1/2 years.) I finally calmed her down and explained the problem. I had the roll pins laying there and she asked what they were. I told her and she mentioned that a hardware store I go to, was moving out of town and everything was 70% off. I tooled down there and found 100 stainless steel + 30 steel roll pins for $3.60 and tons of tools. (That made my day !!! - Thanks to "True Value Hardware".) It's all back together and waiting to be tested... Can't shoot at the club till after 9am... I'll start testing at 9:01... Thank you very much for all that insight...and, yes... I was VERY careful, in removing the material.
    Thanks again, T

  14. #14
    Captain Spalding's Avatar
    Captain Spalding is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by caveman60 View Post
    Hello Captain Spalding,
    Everything went great !!!! . . .
    Glad to hear it. Best of luck at your next range visit.

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