New Makarov Owner - Something I Noticed Regarding Firing Pin


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IsoMAcK
April 13, 2008, 02:52 PM
I recently obtained a "like-unfired" ;) Chinese Norinco Makarov. I rarely see a Chinese Makarov, and this particular specimen has one of the best bluing jobs I've ever seen. The quality seems as good or better than the Bulgarian and Russian Maks that I have handled, contrary to what I have heard from people over the years. It is also very reliable, so far.

I replaced the stock 17 lb. recoil spring with a Wolff 19 lb. spring at the recommendation of the folks over at makarov.com. This is recommended to reduce the feel of the recoil and to ease wear and tear on the frame due to the blowback design. Since installing the new spring, I noticed that of any live rounds that I eject from the chamber, that the primers have a small indentation. :eek: I learned that the firing pin in Makarovs do not have any spring, and are free to move around. It seems that with the extra 2 lbs. of the Wolff recoil spring's strength, the firing pin "taps" the primer of the round when the slide is racked normally to chamber a round.

I'm staying with the 17 lb. spring which does not do this. I already checked the firing pin channel for any binding or obstruction, and everything checks out O.K. Someone chime in if this has happened to them. I can't help but wonder about the even heavier spring available (21 lb.) setting off a soft-primered round when chambering.

-IsoMAcK

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Chester32141
April 13, 2008, 03:33 PM
That gun is in beautiful condition ... :)

Paulus
April 13, 2008, 05:49 PM
Welcome, IsoMack!

Uh, yes, this has been noticed before by other Mak owners.

For the record, there has never been a report of a cartridge being fired as a result of the mechanical phenomenon you have noticed.

Enjoy your Mak, IsoMack!

Paulus

makarovnik
April 13, 2008, 06:24 PM
I think the Chinese ones are more rare and valuable. The symptom you are describing really shouldn't happen by racking the slide by hand. I can see it happening during firing of the weapon. Weird.

IsoMAcK
April 13, 2008, 07:32 PM
I've reinstalled the old spring this afternoon, and I've noticed that even the 17 lb. spring will leave a tiny little mark on the primer if I rack the slide with the muzzle pointed down vs. up. I reinstalled the 19 lb. spring, and tried racking the slide with the muzzle pointed in an upward position.... no mark in the primer. :rolleyes:

I guess that this is just one of those things that I am just going to have to get accustomed to. Muzzle discipline is always important, though. I will look for the harder pistol primers once I have enough brass for reloading. Thanks for the comments.

-IsoMAcK

Jason_G
April 13, 2008, 07:51 PM
I've never heard of a Makarov slam-firing. One thing to look out for though, because of the pin design, you will have to invest in some pipe cleaners. If the pin channel gets dirty, it can slow that free floating pin down enough that you get light strikes and only dimple the primer without setting it off. Just make cleaning the pin channel with a pipe cleaner a part of the regular cleaning regimen for it, and you'll be fine.

Jason

Joe the Redneck
April 13, 2008, 08:10 PM
Happened to my brother years ago. At the time, I didn't know about this "habit" the Maks have of tapping the primers. I was conviced he must have hit the trigger, but he insisted he hadn't. Had the gun pointed at the ground so no harm done, just real scary.

"Better is the enemy of good enough." Russian proverb.

JTR

woad_yurt
April 13, 2008, 08:26 PM
Spray out the firing pin channel with brake cleaner. It should be really free to move in there.

alamo
April 13, 2008, 08:49 PM
It should be really free to move in there.


Right, when you shake your Mak you should hear the pin rattling.

I use Q-tips to clean the firing pin channel. I have to tear off a bit of the cotton from the tip to get it to insert.

lee n. field
April 13, 2008, 08:57 PM
I've reinstalled the old spring this afternoon, and I've noticed that even the 17 lb. spring will leave a tiny little mark on the primer if I rack the slide with the muzzle pointed down vs. up.

Something in the nature of a scratch? That's normal.

varoadking
April 13, 2008, 09:01 PM
That gun is in beautiful condition ...

Yes indeed...

Janos Dracwlya
April 13, 2008, 09:19 PM
I've been a Mak user since 1998, and my wife has owned one a bit longer.

First off, the firing pin will dimple the primer regardless of which recoil spring is in place. I think you already discovered that. The solution here is not to chamber the same round too many times. I used to switch it out the round that went into the chamber every time I reloaded to make sure that a round never went through the chamber more than once except for being fired. If a round came up to be the one chambered that already had a dimpled primer, I'd drop it into my range box to use next time I went shooting. A very good friend of mine learned this the hard way, but no harm done and lesson learned since he shared the knowledge with us.

Here are ours: http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d185/Dracwlya/IMG_0001.jpg

Mine is Bulgarian, her's is a Baikal IJ70. Both have 19 pound recoil springs, walnut grips, and Simson-Suhl safety upgrades. Mine also has a threaded, extended barrel for a compensator, but I can recommend against those; mine is nothing but dead weight.

Trempel
April 13, 2008, 09:36 PM
Many guns that have a free floating pin do that. An AR-15, for example, where a much longer and heavier firing pin is free to move, will also leave a mark on the primers of chambered rounds. I've never set one off by chambering, and as long as I mind where I point the muzzle, I'm not too worried.

novaDAK
April 13, 2008, 09:46 PM
I've never heard of a Makarov slam-firing.
I have. There was a thread (I think here on THR) of a gunshop employee looking over a Mak a customer brought in (who was shooting .380 out of the 9x18 bbl) so when the employee was showing that it was really a 9x18 gun, chambered a round, and when releasing the slide, the gun fired and put a hole in the floor. The customer then proceeds to say he had never taken the gun apart to clean it (too afraid :rolleyes:) Employee takes the gun apart and sees that the firing pin was stuck in the forward position.

Moral of the story? Even though Maks are the AK's of the handgun world and will keep working no matter how dirty, please clean them! Especially the firing pin channel. ;)

Bongo45
April 14, 2008, 12:25 AM
Wow, are you sure that it hasn't been refinished? I don't think I've seen a Makarov that looked that good.
It puts my East German to shame. And most Russian versions I've seen look like they were blued with a rattle can.

BHPshooter
April 14, 2008, 01:23 AM
I've never heard of a Makarov slam-firing.

I have. There was a thread (I think here on THR) of a gunshop employee looking over a Mak a customer brought in (who was shooting .380 out of the 9x18 bbl) so when the employee was showing that it was really a 9x18 gun, chambered a round, and when releasing the slide, the gun fired and put a hole in the floor. The customer then proceeds to say he had never taken the gun apart to clean it (too afraid ) Employee takes the gun apart and sees that the firing pin was stuck in the forward position.

Yep, that was me. What a fun day that was, let me tell you. :uhoh:

You can read about it here: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=268882&highlight=slam-fire

Beautiful Makarov, by the way. I need to get one of those...
Wes

IsoMAcK
April 14, 2008, 01:47 AM
Thanks Bongo45, I am pretty sure that this quality of bluing reflects how some of the commercial Norincos came across during the early nineties. Almost as deep of a blue as some old Colts I've seen IMHO.

I live in Mass, and I have the Mass-approved handgun roster to contend with :fire: , so this was an even rarer find for me. I saw another with the Pierce grips years ago that wasn't Mass compliant, and I've been thinking about it ever since. The bluing was just as good on that one, too.

The only weird thing about the commercial Norincos is that the standard grips have a thumb shelf, and the sights are some silly excuse for adjustable (the "adjustment" screws don't turn enough to be effective, and they just snag on clothes). This was undoubtedly done to gain importation "points" with the BATF before the ban on Chinese small arms. I replaced the rear sight with a fixed one, and some classy Marschal grips are on the way from Hungary. I wish I had an EG Mak, too but I might have to wait until I obtain my C&R license in this state.

-IsoMAcK

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