Failures to feed with my XD; any ideas?


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yhtomit
March 7, 2007, 10:44 PM
Yesterday I had a (for me, sadly rare) chance to go shooting. Happily, I found that the nearest of the (tax-paid) Stage Game Lands handgun ranges was open -- and though it was several degrees below freezing, even before considering windchill, open beats closed any time. Pre-paid ranges are a nice thing about Pennsylvania -- if they're going to tax people, that's at least a decent way to spend the loot.

Though I had intended to work out two .45s (an XD-45 and a Ruger P345) and my Ruger 22/45, the weather was cold enough that I decided to stick with one gun, the XD. Didn't feel like working the locks on both cases, for one thing. The XD was fully clean at the start of the day, and has -- despite my best intentions -- had something less than 200 rounds through it thus far. Other than stovepiping when firing with a preloaded round in the chamber and an empty magazine well, I don't recall any failures to feed in that small sample.

However, I hit some yesterday. Every six shots (limit, per posted signs, at the state ranges), I'd refill my magazine. (Actually, I usually did it every 12 shots -- shot both mags's worth, then refilled both at once.) Then, would reload by putting the (half) filled magazine into the magwell with the slide locked back, and then release the slide to pick up and chamber the next round. I looked at the cartridge each time before releasing the slide lock, and it seemed to be (as near as my eye could tell) in the same position each time.

However, after about 70 rounds of cheap FMJ ammo (but not no-name -- Winchester and CCI, brass casings), I ran into a strange phenomenon: the top round in the XD's magazine wouldn't feed. The round angled just a bit, catching at a slight upward angle, so the slide could not completely close. So I tapped the bottom of the mag, and then racked the slide with gusto, and the *next* round chambered fine. I inspected the round that had failed to feed the first few times; nothing seemed amiss. This happened using both of my magazines, too, not just one. If I'd been chambering the top round each time from a closed slide, I might have blamed the grip of my gloved hand or inadequate pulling because of my chilled muscles. But instead, I was using the energy stored in the spring to do this -- and though it was rather cold, would the spring really have been that sensitive to the cold? Obviously the chamber wasn't totally inhospitable, since racking the slide chambered the next round just fine.

I could see that the feed ramp was rather dirty looking by that time, but ... considering some of the torture testing that XDs (and Glocks, and HKs, and lots of others) have been through, 70 rounds' worth of gunk should be nothing more than a speck on a mountain, shouldn't it?

But since I don't actually want to die of frostbite, I took the failures to feed as a signal that I wasn't destined to shoot off the brick of 22 I had along, and stopped somewhere short of the hundred rounds of .45 I'd brought.

So, two questions:

1) Does anyone have any good ideas why this might have happened? I hope to get back to the range once more before heading back to school ("spring" break this week from law school), to see if the newly cleaned gun does any better; it might even be a few degrees warmer!

2) I'm prepared for a browbeating, but need to know for next time: was I wrong to reload and fire the rejected rounds? (That is, the ones which failed to feed as described above.) I inspected each one for anything obviously wrong with it, compared it for length against a pristine cartridge, made sure it had collected no debris from its brief encounter with the shooting bench ... but did I commit any cardinal sins by then re-running it through the gun? Since I survived, and only later thought that might have been a Bad Thing, I'm prepared to be told I shouldn't have, but ... if so, Why? At the price of ammo, of course, while I know it's cheaper than a funeral or a hospital stay, I'd really like the answer to be "no problem!"

OK, one more:

3) When it's freezing outside, what do (seasoned) shooters do to keep their hands moderately warm yet maintain adequate grip and trigger-on-finger ability? (Don't say "shoot indoors." Har har.) I used some fingerless ragg gloves, which was better than I expected, but required extra care on the grip (wool isn't non-slip, and it's a bit of a spongy material, so I was squeezing harder than I wanted to be squeezing to adequately couple my hand to the grip). I guess thin leather fingerless gloves would have been better. I tried with a pair of leather gloves (thinnish, but not fingerless), found that it wouldn't even let my finger in the triggerguard.

Insight appreciated!

Cheers,

timothy

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FieroCDSP
March 7, 2007, 11:08 PM
I'm not a seasoned shooter but I work a bit in the cold, and shoot a bit in it too. I don't like bulky gloves in any usage, so I try to find gloves that fit reasonably well so they don't shift a lot (not extremely tight, airspace=warmth), have low profiles (none of those fleece-everywhere gloves), and are full-fingered with dexterity given to the thumb and index finger (usually leather outside with thin fleece lining). With this kind of listing , it's hard to find the right gloves for winter. I had a good pair I picked up in my hunting department, but I lost one in January when we had two days straight of snow. They were camo, with a loose cuff, the afore-mentioned leather finger and thumb, as well as palm, an a thin fleece lining. They fit really well, and I had very little trouble firing my M&P 40 with them. They aren't water-proof, so if you go digging in snow for brass, you're screwed in an hour or two. Sometimes I'll even use just my mechanics gloves, but those get real cold, real quick.

For a recommendation, I'd say test out some Nomex Ice-fishing gloves. They seem to be pretty warm and have decent dexterity, and low profile. Not to mention they often put a soft-rubber grip on the palm. They might not keep your hands extremely warm, but they're waterproof, and provide something. Also, buy heat-packs and stuff one in each sleeve with a cuffed-coat. It might be irritating at first, but it'll probably help keep the hands warmer.

Steve C
March 7, 2007, 11:10 PM
When the weather's cold everything slows down. Bullet vlocity drops, gun oil thickens, springs get harder. All these things can have a significant effect on how well a pistol cycles. You can probably chalk up your propblems to the cold.

fattsgalore
March 8, 2007, 07:21 AM
I personally pull my slide back to release. Never had a problem this way.

GCW5
March 8, 2007, 08:31 AM
#1 I'd agree with Steve, cold weather will slow things down. I'd try the same things when it's warmer and see if there are any problems.

#2 I've re-run ammo, as long as it's clean.

#3 I don't care to shoot with gloves. I've never been able to get the right feel and don't even try anymore.

the naked prophet
March 8, 2007, 01:07 PM
After that many rounds, even in slow fire, the gun should be warm enough that it wouldn't be a problem.

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