Makarov Malfunction...need advice


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hm
January 18, 2006, 06:26 PM
I have a Bulgarian Mak from SOG I got (Very Good condition at least) and have had some trouble that surprises me given the rave reviews I've seen all over this board regarding Mak reliability.

Here's the deal.

1) On occasion, the slide fails to lock back after the last round is shot. Anyone else have this problem? Ideas on a fix? I've noticed that sometimes when I whack a magazine into the gun while the slide is locked back, the slide snaps forward on its own without my having to press the release.

2) This thing jams like crazy on Silver Bear/Brown Bear. S&B and Hornady shoot fine. Anyone else have this prob?

I clean the gun after every outing and only put 30-50 rounds through it each time. Since I've owned this Mak (about 1 year ), I'd say I've put maybe 300 rounds thru it.

Ok y'all, whatcha think?

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gripper
January 18, 2006, 06:37 PM
Could be a magazine follower issue,or maybe the feed lip. Its been yeas since I shot(or handled) a Mak. Being a blowback(albeit a stout one) thats the first thing that comes to mind.

dairycreek
January 18, 2006, 06:42 PM
The problems you describe are, in my experience, associated with faulty magazines as opposed to the gun itself. FWIW

hm
January 18, 2006, 06:46 PM
Dairy...I hadn't thought of that. Hope you're right! :)

Scottmkiv
January 18, 2006, 07:40 PM
Did you take the magazines apart and really get all the cosmo out?

Northslope Nimrod
January 18, 2006, 07:50 PM
No advice here.....but I hope you fix the problem. Mine has never jammed on Silver Bear, Wolf or anything else! GOOD LUCK!

MrTuffPaws
January 18, 2006, 08:00 PM
The slide lock on a Mak is not the best design in the world. It is rather thin and prone to wear. If worn, it will fail to lock the slide back. You can get a replacement for cheap at makarov.com

As for ammo, my Mak used to jam so hard with wolf that I would have to use a stick to remove the round from the chamber. It got better after a few 100, but still, it irked me to no end. The only ammo that feeds like it should for me is S&B ball. The burnal JHPs are okay, but just the other day, one got stuck going into chamber.

1 old 0311
January 18, 2006, 08:09 PM
At each shooting session I also bring a black Sharpie. If I get a malfunction of ANY KIND I mark the magazine. After a few sessions if one mag. has 2,3,or 4 marks and the others none. I know it is a mag. problem. Now I am too cheap to throw it away, but will keep it marked and only use it for range work.

Kevin

grimjaw
January 18, 2006, 10:21 PM
On occasion, the slide fails to lock back after the last round is shot.

As others have mentioned, that sounds like a magazine problem. If you have multiple magazines (they are cheap, pick up more), see if the problem happens regardless of the mag. +1 on MrTuffPaws suggestion about slide release, too.

This thing jams like crazy on Silver Bear/Brown Bear

Silver Bear hollowpoints are the only ammunition that's ever jammed my Makarov. If you really like that ammunition, there are tips out there to polish the feed ramp, which improves its reliability with hollowpoint ammunition in general.

jmm

denfoote
January 18, 2006, 10:30 PM
Disassemble and clean yer mags!!!

I bet you are gunna find traces of cosmolene!!!

I had the same problem and that fixed it!!

Silver/ Brown bear ammo had had QC problems!!

I have a box of SB 115gr jhp that refuses to load in the mag!!

Have you detail stripped and made sure that ALL the cosmolene is gone???

Have you visited www.makarov.com , yet??

The_Shootist
January 19, 2006, 12:14 AM
Either drop them overnight in some kerosene or spray them liberally with "Gun Scrubber (which is great stuff - what I used to clean up my Bulgy).

Buy some extras as well - Mak mags are cheap at about $ 9/mag. I know they look kinda hokey as a jammamatic waiting to happen with their open sides but I've never had a problem with any of my mags.

Of all the ammo I use, I've settled on Silver Bear and never had any problems. i'm working my way through a 1000 rd case right now :evil:

Also ordered some of the new Wolf 120 gr round to see how it would shoot. Hope to have it by the weekend.

SemiAutoMan
January 19, 2006, 12:24 AM
My mak has a problem with silver bear hollow points to they jam in the mag and I have tried loading them into more than 1 mag 1 or 2 will load fine in the mag any more and the lip around the hollow point catches in the mag ball ammo however feeds load and works fine

jem375
January 19, 2006, 01:11 AM
I had problems with S&B ammo, so now I use Barnaul and forget about anything else.

Teakwood
January 19, 2006, 07:49 AM
I am not sure what you mean by "Silver Bear/Brown Bear since they are brands and have several flavors.
One of the things that people often neglect to remember is that the Makarov was designed to function with 95 gr FMJ. As long as you stick to that, you should have few problems.

When you go to heavier rounds and JHP problems can arise with feeding, sometimes in the magazine and sometimes on the feedramp, mostly with Russian ammo. It is due to bullet shape and cartridge dimension.

For example, Wolf 105gr/109gr with the conical bullet has caused me feeding problems in a few of my EG Makarovs. It would jam halfway into the shamber. I did two things: polished the feedramp and stopped using Wolf.

A couple of years ago, some of the Russian ammo was sold under the name "RAM", which really stood for Russian Ammo Manufacturer. The 95 gr JHP bullet was stubby and had a wide mouth (like a gaping bass!). This caused jams sometimes by "nose diving" into the end of the mag. The action I took on this was to slghtly open the lips of one mag. That did not work completely and I stopped using that.

Then there is 115/120 gr mmo, variously sold under one of the Bear labels. This stuff has overall dimensional problems. If that is causing jams for you, the only real cure is to re-seat the bullets back a little. I don't use that either.

Now, understand each Makarov is a little different. Some Makarovs, especially the IJ70s, were made to looser tolerances, or are older than others and can handle any of the rounds. However, many (especially IME some of the EGs) do not handle some of the stuff that is not 95gr FMJ.

There are a few things you can do:
1) Make sure that the mag is clean (this is really the least of the problems)
2) Polish the feed ramp and "crack" the bottom edge by slightly rounding it. This can easily be done with a Dremel felt with tapered tip and some rouge. It can also be done by wrapping some ~400 grit sanpaper around a small cylinder, like a chainsaw file.
NOTE: I DID NOT SAY TO USE THE CHAINSAW FILE DIRECTLY - ONLY AS A SHAPE TO WRAP THE SANDPAPER AROUND!
Remember, the idea is "polish", not grind.
3) Stop trying to use that crappy ammo and get some 95 gr FMJ.

Now, I advise against getting into a big witch hunt over the magazines. Just clean them.

As to the slide not locking back, this can be due to the magazine or it can be the slide stop/release. If it occurs with more than one mag, it is most likely the slide stop/release. Replacements can be had from Makarov.com. Another problem can be serious wear inside the slide where the slide stop catches, but that is rare and only occurs on Maks with much wear.

hm
January 19, 2006, 11:33 AM
1) When deciding whom to approach for help with this problem, 2 sources of advice came to mind...y'all and makarov.com. I chose you guys first (be honored) ;)

2) Lots of excellent advice! Thanks! No, I never really cleaned the mags for cosmo (but the gun is clean!) I'll try cleaning the mags and/or some new mags (and mark each existing one as each slide slip occurs). If I get no love from that solution, a new slide release will be purchased directly.

Thanks as always y'all!

shooter58
January 19, 2006, 02:13 PM
I always polish the ramp on any Makarov as soon as I have cleaned the cosmoline off the firearm. My Maks feed anything....no problem. It takes very little polishing to accomplish what you are after. Good luck.

Trebor
January 19, 2006, 06:54 PM
The Silver Bear ammo is known to cause problems in many Maks. Some people says it runs just fine, but many people report problems. Try some different ammo. I agree that it also sounds mag related.

Btw, I've seen a Mak jam up bad with Wolf ammo as well. We had to use a range rod to push the cartridge out from the muzzle end. The whole round was jammed in the chamber follwing a double feed.

sigma 40ve
January 19, 2006, 08:50 PM
Hey hm,

I have had both the exact same problems with my Bulgie. After experimenting about the "hold open" I traced the problem to the ejector/hold open lever. I replaced the one in the Bulgie with my East German just to see if it was it and all was ok with that ejector/hold open.

When I took the East German back out I compared the two side by side and noticed the Bulgie was formed or bent a bit different than the EG. I done some tweaking of the piece, now it is fine. All total through trial and error it took me about 45 minutes to get it to be where it should be. This was done by doing a "tweak", assembling the pistol and trying out the slide hold open, and if it didn't hold open or released when the mag was removed I took it apart and "tweaked" the piece again. Now it functions as it should and I have had no more issues in regards to hold open/slam shut.


As far as Silver Bear I polished the feed ramp and it fixed my ammo problems. Also, I put a 21 lb recoil spring in my Bulgie and East German.

Sulaco
January 19, 2006, 09:17 PM
I looked at two Bulgarian Makarovs at a local shop. Both appeared fairly new and were in excellent shape. Upon light inspection, they appeared pretty clean as well. The mags matched the guns they were with and the springs were nice and strong. I asked the guy why they were there (this place doesn't sell milsurp normally so I knew they had to be trade-ins or something) and he said the previous owner was having problems with them jamming. He said the cheaper of the two was worse. This shop isn't big enough to do much work cleaning up guns and whatnot so he just didn't give the guy much and put low prices on them.

I got the cheaper of the two for $50.00. I took it home and cycled some Brown Bear HP's through it. The first round out of the mag jammed on the feed ramp. I worked the slide a second time and it fed. This happened once or twice more and then I decided to tear the gun COMPLETELY down (mag too!).

It took me two hours to clean all the cosmoline out from under the follower, off the mag spring, out from inside the extractor hollow in the slide and out of the trigger group area of the frame. There was also a bunch between the main spring and the frame where the main spring rides.

I took it to the range and shot 100 rounds of the Brown Bear without a single malfunction.

When you clean a milsurp weapon, expect malfunctions until you actually CLEAN IT! You have to completely detail strip it and clean it until it is spotless. Then saturate it with a good oil, wipe it dry, lube the wear points and reassemble.

If you still have problems (which will be very rare in my experience), start looking at things like the mag spring and follower, or the mag body feed lips, extractor edge, extractor spring, etc.

Teakwood
January 19, 2006, 10:16 PM
What Sulaco said

hm
January 20, 2006, 03:32 PM
Ok...I'm gonna strip and clean the sucker this weekend (including mags), polish the ramp and see how it goes. If I still have failures, I'll likely try a new mag and/or slide release. Will report back to this thread soon.

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