report on problems with my magnum research baby eagle


April 7, 2003, 05:26 PM
About 6 months ago I purchased a compact baby eagle .40 for carry. It came with one mag. In the first two or three trips to the range, the magazine follower broke. I called magnum research and asked them what they wanted me to do. They told me to send it in to see if basically it is covered under warranty. Not wanting to be without a magazine, I told them I would send them the mag but I want them to send it out immediately. They told me they had to look at it. This would be understandable, but they only provided one mag, so I was a bit upset. I got more upset when it took three weeks for the magazine to come back. I had to call and follow up on it several times.

The firearm had several problems from the beginning:

1. The double action trigger staged.
2. The finish wasn't complete.
3. It failed to go into battery 5-10% of the time.

I didn't send it in right away as I wanted to try various ammo, make sure I was maintaining it correctly, and wanted to make sure it didn't have an extraordinarily long break-in period. I sent it back about five weeks ago. I called them about a week ago and they said they hadn't looked at it yet. It arrived back at the dealer the following day....

They said they touched up some of the finish which a little bit of it had been, but not under the take down lever/pin where it was most important to me. That was bare steel still. Their paperwork said they fired 20 rounds of American Eagle and it functioned fine. Side thought: I'm reporting a 5-10% failure and they only fire 20 rounds? They said the finish under the take down lever/pin was normal? Neither of this sits right with me. End side thought.

I took it to the range on saturday and put 400 rounds through it. 200 of UMC and 200 of mag tech.

I found that it failed to go into battery 2% of the time (4 times with each type of ammo). Additionally, now some of the brass was severely misshapen after ejection. The edges were jagged as though the brass got caught in the ejection port yet they had fully ejected. Additionally, just to the rear of the ejection port there are now severe scratches in the finish. A new problem has arisen. On four occasions on two of the three mags, the slide didn't lock back but instead started back forward but caught on the follower severely nicking one of the followers.

I am sending it back this one last time. If it doesn't come back functioning flawlessly with some serious investigative work and serious resolutions to the problem, I'm done with Magnum Research for good. I have found their investigation of the problem and the solutions to be completely inadequate as well as tedious.

The dealer has indicated that he will take care of the problem one way or another for me which is appreciated and why they get my the entirity of my business. I've also told the dealer I will not consign this weapon as I don't want to just sell my problems to someone else. If it functions, I will keep it. But I wanted to let people know what I have encountered if they are looking at any of the Baby Eagle pistols.

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April 8, 2003, 10:35 AM
Dawgone, I hate to read this. I feel bad for ya. I've been planning to buy the compact in 9mm. I have the full size (baby) and it functions flawlessly. It has become the favorite in my stable.

The more I shoot it, the better it gets. Even the DA trigger has smoothed out.

If it's any consolation, I have bought a HK USP that stovepiped every round. Had to go back.

And also, a S&W 617 that shaved lead so bad that it would splatter every one around and tie the gun up so that it would not shoot. It went back twice.

Both of these messed up guns cost over 500 bucks each.

Hopefully you just got a bad one, and it doesn't reflect on the whole line. But then again it seems alot of these companies are getting a little sloppy.

Hope your luck changes.

April 8, 2003, 01:52 PM
my Baby Eagle Compact 9mm functions flawlessly...............NOW

I had to do some simple work on the takedown lever/slide release-- enlarge the spring contact grove and polish up the slide contact area.

So you had some small easily fixed problems. Dude, it's a $300 (NIB)* pistol that is a proven combat tested design. Go to CCDN and get a good mag to replace the crappy factory one, don't worry about the 'finish' so much and go shooting!

*sorry if you payed more!

April 8, 2003, 02:16 PM
I'm sorry, but I didn't think that expecting it to function correctly was "whining."

I also don't think expecting the gun not to have exposed bare unfinished steel is asking too much.

Also, where has this been combat proven?

April 8, 2003, 02:29 PM
from the Middle East to South America (LOTS)

It is a Military sidearm that does have a common & easily fixed defect which you expierenced

Stop dealing with Magnum Rersearch as they only sell the pistol(s) and the factory mags are a bit crappy. A good gunsmith will quickly see the problem and true it up pronto. And will take care of any finish issues.


April 8, 2003, 02:42 PM
Could be break in foibles. Just a guess:

1) Fail to return to battery on a small percentage could be from tight slide/frame fit or a tight extractor. On a new 1911, I had similar problems.

2) Stovepipes and fail to lockbacks on new guns are common as they tend to "short cycle" slightly due to tight slide/frame fit and very stiff recoil spring. .40 recoil springs are usually 18# and can be very stiff when new.

3) Creepy trigger pull is also common on new guns, dry fire away and it will probably improve. Good grease in the right spot also works wonders.

Not to sound cynical, but a 2% "failure rate" in an autoloader (be it stovepipe, FTRB, jam, whatever) sounds a lot like what I see in my auto collection and I own some very expensive guns. If I want reliability, I take out a gun with a wheel where the bullets go in.

CZ 75 BD
April 8, 2003, 02:52 PM
.40 S&W Uzi Baby Eagle to MR. They "tuned" the slide stop, replaced the spring, test fired, cleaned and lubed, all at n/c. Turned it around in 2 days. Maybe they knew my son paid full price ($500) at a gun show. :rolleyes:

We were impressed with the service and wrote back to tell them so.

April 8, 2003, 03:02 PM

......scheese! There is a shop in Portland (Kieths') that sells the entire Baby Eagle line for $299 NIB w/2 mags. $279 at the last big gun show.

Oh well, it is a fine weapon no matter what it costs y'all. Good to hear that MR did you right.

I look at it this way- why put up with the hassle of shipping the gun back off to the dealer/manufacture to make it 'perfect' when you can drop a few 20s at your local smith and have it done locally and in person. Sure it is not free but the hassle factor is much lower!!!

FWIW- For me anyways, the BE compact 9 is on a par with my P7. The compact 13 rounders from CCDN are awesome and I have lond since dumped the factory mags

April 8, 2003, 03:22 PM
Bounty Hunter,

This gun strangely never stovepipes. It also has approximately 1800 rounds through it. Has been lubed and dry fired extensively. Its pretty clear to me that there is something wrong with this particular gun. I don't know if it is the line of guns, but there is something wrong here. I've only 2 other center fire semi-autos (a bersa, and a glock) which I have had a whopping total of 1 jam in roughly 2000 rounds between the two of them. This is significantly lower than the 100+ failures I have had with the baby eagle. This gun had me turned off to semi-autos and I was shooting and carrying nearly exclusively my Ruger as a result. The bersa is what changed my mind.


I kind of resent the implication that this is somehow my fault. The fact is that the gun was not finished properly nor does it function properly and that is the responsibility of the manufacturer. You may be willing to pay for someone else's mistake, but I am not. I don't ask for much, I just want people to do their job.

April 8, 2003, 03:30 PM
If you would rather deal with the hassles then rock on! I'd just pony up some cash locally and get it quickly over with (like I did with mine, no hassles).

The implication that it is your fault deals with you wanting the gun to now be made 'perfect' such thing and whatever MR does for you will not be enough. It's a military firearm and finish is not a major issue.

OTN- as it is a millitary pistol and never made for CCW, aint it a bit heavy??

April 8, 2003, 03:41 PM
if you want to get it fixed and over with, what you need to do is this:

-dremel a deeper grove favoring the opposite direction from the lever. This will push the lever away from the slide. You might also have to do one more step depending on the angle and interferance between your lever and slide.

-polish the back of the lever perhaps removing some material where it is contacting the slide 'finish'

Work/repeat until the lever freely returns to it's upward position. takes about 10 minutes. A bit of bluing to touch up any exposed steel and she is a 'go'

April 8, 2003, 04:01 PM
Ok, Dude, you basically starting to tick me off. Perfect is not in the same league with "functions properly." This gun being incorrect is frankly not my fault and is not my responsibility to fix. I am further baffled by your adamance in assuming you know more about me than has been said. I want it to function and I don't want it bare steel. Period. End of story. If I wanted something with a pretty finish, I would have bought something in nickel. I do have the luxury of having more than one firearm available for carry and as such I am in a position to expect them to fix their problems. If you are willing to accept improperly functioning guns from the factory, fine. If you are willing to shoulder the responsibility of fixing it and alleviating their burden of their product and their QC and their responsibility of honoring their warranties, fine. That's all you. But I like warranties because I expect things to work. Car doesn't start every time and its under warranty? Take it to the dealer for repair. I've built houses and restored old cars, don't even have a handyman or plumber's number. But when it comes to a warrantied item, that's their responsibility. I feel that when we start relieving companies from the responsibility of providing the product as it is supposed to function, we can soon expect more and more of the products not to function. You may be willing to accept them, but I am not.

Island Beretta
April 8, 2003, 04:43 PM
..its getting hot in here so ...:fire:

anyways, these pistols are very good pistols and combat-proven as a number of posters have may have picked up a lemon or the problems may just be minor.. have a gunsmith look at it and tell you..from there you will know whether to fix or dispose of. Their magazines are their weak points so get some elsewhere...probably CDNN.

Again do not let this make you lose faith in a very good line of pistols..;)

April 8, 2003, 09:49 PM
Regardless of what some other posters have said(and I'm not knocking or flaming anyone) you have some real concerns.
I personally will not own a firearm that will not function properly 100% of the time.

If there is a quirk, it is fixed or it's sold.

I have two full capacity mags and one 10 rounder bought from the company. I had two FTF with the new one.

I could tell that the feed lips were rough and that it would take some polishing or lots of rounds to make it right. It also was very tight.

I loaded the mag to full and left it for about a week and have had no further probs with it.

I have had none of the other probs that you have had so I have no advice.

It is very possible that you have gotten one that is not up to par. Maybe made on a Friday. (Boss said: You get these done and you can leave" Type thing. LOL

It happens.

Gunsmith or factory, it's up to you. I personally would send it back a few times(if needed) to get it right. Some of these guys sound like they have some pretty good gunsmiths around.
Personally, I don't. So that reflects some on my opinion.

Good luck

Sir Galahad
April 8, 2003, 11:45 PM
I have a 9mm full-size and mine works perfectly. Mine is the Israeli Military Industries made one marked "Jericho 941" with the IMI logo on the grips. This one is the "twotone" with hard-chromed receiver and parkerized slide. Has the decock lever safety on the slide. Got some Hogue pau ferro wood grips for it from Magnum Research and this pistol just LOOKs great. And it shoots great, too. The many features on the Baby Eagle are well known to folks in the know about them. But it's one of the best buys on the handgun market, I think.

If yours isn't working, send it back for repair. Every product has a couple lemons that make it out the door. Most of the folks I know that own Baby Eagles are more than happy with them. So just send it back and respectfully ask them to return it to working order. I have been doing warranty repair (not firearms) for well over 10 years now, and I could tell you about some lemons that appeared among some very well known and respected name products that all building tradesman would know. Didn't mean the whole line was bad, it just meant some defective ones got out the door. It happens. That's what warranty departments are for. We're here to serve the customer. :p

Al Thompson
April 9, 2003, 07:35 AM
Dude, I'm with MJRW on this one. The factory needs to fix it or replace it. If your lucky enough to have a good smith nearby, you are indeed lucky. There are essentially none where I live.

April 9, 2003, 10:15 AM
Oh well, I hav'ent sent a gun off for repair since 1983......but I remember the hassle. (POS Valmet M-76)

MR already told you they will not re-finish where you desire and after you said this in your first post:

"I am sending it back this one last time. If it doesn't come back functioning flawlessly with some serious investigative work and serious resolutions to the problem, I'm done with Magnum Research for good. I have found their investigation of the problem and the solutions to be completely inadequate as well as tedious." will never be happy

enjoy the hunt!

April 9, 2003, 03:49 PM
and FWIW- the car warranty comparison is not quite valid.

While my Nissan trucks have never need any service, the VW Beetle does (alot!) and I do take it in for free factory service. But they do not box it up and ship it back to the factory in Mexico!! They fix it right there at the service department and there is none of the 'waiting w/o answers' thing.

OAN--I will not buy new firearms from shops that will not accept the firearms back for warranty service, but rather you send it back to the manufacture yourself. The shop in Portland that I was reffering to above with the cheap NIB Baby Eagles makes you sign a form saying you will not bring the new firearm back to them for service!! Screw that. I did buy my compact 9 BE used there for $239 though........sweet deal.

April 9, 2003, 05:13 PM
Is paying for repair of a slightly malfunctioning gun an acceptance that the company isn't really responsible for manufacturing quality goods? At what point is the malfunctioning just luck of the draw and when is it a problem?

These questions are something we each decide for ourselves so MJRW, here is what I think, based on 15+ weapons used experience. Take it as you will.

Occasionally, a lemon will come along... I know, it is crappy when you get one, if you ever get one. But that's life. How to remedy the situation? Well, here's my procedure when I discover a repeating jam.

1. Tear down. Visually inspect.
2. Vary ammo loads.
3. Have someone more familar with the weapon model look.
4. Gun dealer/gun smith look at it (never met one who wouldn't look for free)
5. If not an option, the the company.

You did just about all that, to whatever level of detail you saw fit. Now, the weapon still has failures of on kind or another. Well, I would ask other owners if they experienced these problems and if the pass on with time. A number of poeple told me the P99's trigger might be alittle rough but would smooth out over time. Now, I don't honestly give a crap how the trigger feels. That's unimportant to me, so long as it works consistently and reliably.

If no one can help you and the company seems to be ignorant/stupid about your problem, then maybe they either don't understand teh true nature of the problem or don't care. If you can determine that it is the latter, let know they suck and dispose of the weapon as you see fit. I argee that if you have enough failures to where you aren't comfortable with the weapon, especially for carry, get rid of it. Ignore those who say there are some things that you find annoying must be accepted.

Dude is clearly someone who doesn't mind tearing down and "editing" himself. I know I don't feel that comfortabel with my machinist skills to attempt what he recommends. I, for the record, own two guns that have performed without gun-related fault through out their service lives. One has about 3,000 to 4,000 rounds through it and the other has somewhere in the neighborhood of 9,000 to 10,000 rounds. THe previous owner told me he'd never had a problem in the roughly 2,000 rounds he put through and the nearly six years I've had it, it preforms without fault, due to regular and careful maintenance.

If you decide to dispose of the weapon, when you tell people of your experience, be sure to keep in mind that yours was one gun. If anything, I'd be more pissed off at the lack of customer attention.

April 9, 2003, 06:56 PM
MJRW: you are preaching to the choir here about gun dealers not taking responsibility for the stuff they sell.... that's a pet peeve of mine and a soap box I've preached from on many occasions.

At the risk of sounding like a lawyer: licensed dealers in any product are required by law to assume a level of responsibility for it's quality way above that of a private party seller. Every state I know of has an "implied warranty of merchantibility" which is lawyerese for saying the thing has to work like it's supposed to. If not, THE DEALER is legally liable to take ownership of the problem and make it right with the customer and then fight with the manufacturer to recover his expenses.

For a reason I have never understood, gun dealers have managed to side step this and nobody calls them on it. They sell whatever crap ships in from their distributors (sometimes knowing it has problems) and the just point you to the manufacturer when the gun doesn't work. Guess what? That's not only morally wrong, it's also ILLEGAL in every state I'm aware of.

April 9, 2003, 07:39 PM
It's also not kosher for dealers to add a percentage to the price if you want to use a credit card............which the dealer I was reffering to above also does.

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