Bersa Thunder 380 Problems


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Route 66
April 17, 2005, 11:14 AM
I love this little pistol and you can't beat the price to value ratio on this little gem. However after about 300 rounds through it I had a couple of problems. The first is the grip screw. After shooting less than a box during a session both screws will loosen siginificantly. Should I use Loctite? Order new screws from Eagle? Any other solutions?

Problem two relates to the magazines. The one that came with the pistol works just fine. But with the high cost of extra mags I decided to go the eBay way. I bought two for a little more than half the price of the ones from Eagle. They are both marked with the Bersa logo and say "Cal 380 ACP". They both fit extremely tight when inserted into the pistol. When I rack the slide to strip a round to the tube the mag will pop out about a half inch. And when I fire, the mag will also pop out about a half inch. It's not a big deal because I use my offhand at the base of the mag so it holds it in. I guess it's not a big deal but I definitely can't consider it for carry. Any ideas on how to fix this problem? :confused:

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AirForceShooter
April 17, 2005, 11:20 AM
Route 66
yep use the locktite on the grip screws.
For Mags I use the ProMags from midway, around $12 each.
Never had a failure withy them

AFS

wally
April 17, 2005, 11:26 AM
Loctite is probably too strong for grip screws. I use a dab of my wife's nail polish or a dab of "Elmer's" white glue on the threads when reassembling, these seem strong enough to do the job but are easy to break free without boogering up the screw heads.

As to the mags problems, maybe Horge will pipe in, he's our resident Bersa expert it seems. All I can suggest is check the mag catch cut-out on the replacements vs. the original, sometimes you get ones that are a bit undersized and need to be opened up a tad so the catch will "snap" in. You should hear a distinctive "click" if you slowly insert the magazine when the catch engages the cut out.

--wally.

albanian
April 17, 2005, 11:29 AM
I have heard that there were some knock off mags being sold on E-bay as factory mags. It looks like you got suckered on the mags. It happens, live and learn. I would stick to factory mags.

I have a factory mag if you want it. $20 shipped. It should work much better for you than either the Promags or the E-bay junk. It is like new.

As for screw getting loose, I wouldn't really consider that a defect. It is a pain but if you own guns long enough, you will come to think of the odd loose screw as just part of the deal. Guns are machines, machines take some mechanical ability to keep in tip top order. It is better to learn how to do simple repairs and maintanance yourself than to have a gun gun back to the factory for a loose screw.

Locktite is the first thing in everyone"s home armory kit I suspect. Get some. A small bottle will last you your life if you only use it for guns.

gbelleh
April 17, 2005, 11:38 AM
My Bersa .380 also develops loose grip screws after shooting several magazines. I don't worry about it for carry, because I'd never shoot enough rounds to loosen the screws. For the range, I always have screwdrivers with me anyway, so I just plan to tighten the screws every box of ammo.

My Kahr MK40's grip screw also used to loosen after 50 rounds or so.

I bought a factory spare mag at a gunshop and have had no problems with it.

Route 66
April 17, 2005, 12:25 PM
albanian - PM sent

Route 66
April 17, 2005, 01:10 PM
Wally - I like the idea of the Elmer's and I'll try that before the Loctite. And I think you are on to something about the mag catch cutout. The nickel mag on the right is the factory one and the left one is marked "Bersa" but has a noticibly smaller cutout (and the one I'm having problems with). I do hear the "click" when I insert it but at the same time it is very snug and tight fitting with no play whatsoever. Does anyone have an idea how to widen the hole? Thanks for all your feedback so far.

horge
April 17, 2005, 01:23 PM
Hi Route66, :(

Others have already commented on the grip screws.

With regard to the magazine.... well, there have been numerous complaints regarding online sellers/auctions flogging older-model BERSA mags as if they were Thunder 380 mags, and occasional reports of outright fakes.

In many of these mags, there is improper cutout (left side) to allow contact between the slidestop lug and the magazine follower ---sometimes the mag tube's upper edge is too high up, pushing the slidestop lug up so the slidestop is in contact with the slide even with a full mag. Jarring the slidestop (via slide movement) can increase the pressure between the slide, slide stop pushing back down on the magazine by its tube's upper edge.

Worse and more commonly, in some of these mag tubes, the cutout for the mag-catch lug (right side of mag) is off-size or even totally misplaced, not allowing the magazine release lug to positively lock the mag in place. When the downward pressure comes with each slide cycle, there's nothing to keep the mag in place.

Try to compare the appearance of the factory mags with your discount ones.
General dimensions aside, try to note the shape of the mag tubes upper edge, as well as the exact location/dimensions oif the cutout for the mag-catch. Note any contact marks on the discount tube's upper edge.

Views of the mag-release cut-out side--
Here's a factory mag, blued:
http://mabma.thereeftank.com/postpics/mag_factory_topright.jpg

Here's a purported ProMag (could be a FAKE ProMag):
http://tinypic.com/1fkd3p

The other side of the mag is where inappropriate contact between the slidestop and the mag tube (as opposed to the mag follower) may be taking place. Some users have, after careful study, used metal file on small portions of the mag tube to obtain proper fit between it and the slidestop as well as with the mag-catch. Others have simply ditched the junk and bought original BERSA mags.

Good luck. There's been a LOT of discussion in months past about these cheap mags;
at the Bersa Chapterhouse Forum (http://p081.ezboard.com/fbersathunderchapterhousefrm2), as well as at Bersa Talk (http://www.bersatalk.com).


hth,
horge


EDIT: I only now saw the photos you posted above this.
The mag-catch cutout on the cheap mag is too small, and off target as well.
Wally was right :)... though you might as well check out other aspects of the cheap mags for spec.

MICHAEL T
April 17, 2005, 02:32 PM
The screw problem is a factory design so Bersa owners will have something to bitch about :D since the little pistols are so trouble free. :)
Use factory mags and you won't have mag problems, They really only cost a lot when you figure in all the money you wasted on e-bay or on pro mags before you got the real thing. :rolleyes:

wally
April 17, 2005, 03:18 PM
To my eye, the factory nickle mag cutout is "taller" (wider opening between top and bottom) than the Ebay blue one.

Measure carefully as to if you need to move it up (file top side) or down (make opening larger (toward the bottom of the mag) and then with a small file open it up to match the size of the factory mag. Go slow and test often. Might be able to salvage your purchase. If they feed when you hold them in from the bottom they can't be all bad :)

Since you say you hear a click, the top of the catch slot is probably OK, I suspect the slot is not wide enough for the underside of the catch to slip all the way in, but measure twice, cut once :)

--wally.

Clean97GTI
April 17, 2005, 06:52 PM
for those considering Locktite, DO NOT use the red stuff! WAY too strong for grip screws.

Blue is fine.

birddog
April 17, 2005, 07:39 PM
This may have been posted elsewhere, or it may be my own original concept, but instead of Locktite on the grip screws, I've used a dab of rubber cement. It stays flexible for easy removal but provides the friction necessary to hold the screws in place.

The grips screws loosening is the *only* problem I've had with my Bersa, and one I'm willing to live with considering its flawless performance otherwise.

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