Frustrating day at the range (M&Ps)...


PDA






tydephan
July 18, 2009, 08:47 PM
So I loaded up my M&P9, M&P40, and AR and headed to my range this afternoon.

With me, I took some new 223 reloads for my AR, some factory WWB 9mm, and some new 40S&W handloads.

What followed was one of the most frustrating range sessions I've had in recent memory.

Let's talk about the M&P40 first.

I was using some handloaded rounds:
180gr FN bullets
Winchester Nickel Brass
Remington 5 1/2 primers
4.2gr of Hodgdon Titegroup
COL - 1.125

Out of 50 rounds, I experienced 14 failures to fire. All rounds appeared to have a decent strike on the primer. Primers were not seated too deep.

After the first 5 FTF, I rechambered those rounds and attempted to fire them again. Only one fired on the second chance.

In contrast, my father fired a box of the same loads from the same loading session out of his Glock 22 and all fired just fine. He also chambered and fired the remaining 9 rounds my M&P originally failed to fire.

So, I don't know what is wrong.

Then, my frustration was compounded with the M&P9, which jammed 3 times on 4 mags of rapid fire with WWB ball ammo. All failures were a total failure to eject. As in, the round was still suck in the chamber.

Both weapons were clean to begin with.

So my confidence in my M&Ps have been shaken dramatically. I guess I will call Smith Monday morning and talk to them. The M&P40 is one of the first models on the market. Its just now getting broke in good. The M&P9 is one of the earlier models as well.

This sucks.

:(

If you enjoyed reading about "Frustrating day at the range (M&Ps)..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
The Lone Haranguer
July 18, 2009, 08:59 PM
I was using some handloaded rounds:
180gr FN bullets
Winchester Nickel Brass
Remington 5 1/2 primers
4.2gr of Hodgdon Titegroup
COL - 1.125

Out of 50 rounds, I experienced 14 failures to fire. All rounds appeared to have a decent strike on the primer. Primers were not seated too deep.

After the first 5 FTF, I rechambered those rounds and attempted to fire them again. Only one fired on the second chance.

In contrast, my father fired a box of the same loads from the same loading session out of his Glock 22 and all fired just fine. He also chambered and fired the remaining 9 rounds my M&P originally failed to fire.


In this case I think the gun did its job and the primers were faulty. Your dad's Glock probably fired those rounds because its firing pin impacts the primer with more force, in a slightly different location or a more concentrated area.

Mags
July 18, 2009, 09:18 PM
My buddy had a M&P45 that striked the primer on one of my reloads and the cartridge did not fire. I believe it to be the primer I was using as it had a fairly good hit from the M&Ps firing pin.

rbernie
July 18, 2009, 09:18 PM
Actually, I would suspect an overly-rolled crimp on the 40S&W handloads that allowed the brass to headspace on the extractor/rim rather than the case mouth. Worth a look-see, anyway. I have run oodles of handloads thru my M&P40 and M&P9 with nary an issue, but I also do not roll-crimp my case mouths..

The failures to extract on the M&P9 are curious, and a real problem. I cannot recall there being anything systemically wrong with the M&P extractor, so it's possible that yours is chipped or malformed. It's also possible that the WWB was simply out of spec - that happens more than you think - but I'd still look at the gun first just to rule that out.

nelson133
July 19, 2009, 06:35 AM
I have seen a problem with reloads on occasion where the primers weren't seated fully. Some runs of brass have tighter/ deeper primer pockets and the firing pin strike will move the primers enough to soak up some of the impact. Some of my guns fired the stuff anyway and some didn't.
I also had a problem with an M&P .45 that had crud build up around the firing pin and thus shorten the stroke, cleaning fixed that.

MadMercS55
July 19, 2009, 08:17 AM
On the M&P .40, If it's one of the first ones to market, chances are it may have some issues. From my reading on the 'net, there is very likely an "upgraded" striker assembly that S&W should provide. I have a very recent production 9mm M&P and I notice the striker channel does get a little more gunk into it than my Glocks ever did. Maybe try cleaning out the striker channel and such?

For the 9mm, checking the M&P forum reveals that some runs of the 9mm's seem to have rough chambers that would often result in failures to extract. Combined with some extractor tension issues. These issues seem to be easily remedied with a trip back to S&W. Again, these problems seem to be rather sporatic and do not effect every M&P out there, from what I've been reading. I have a couple 9mm fullsize M&P's made 5/2009 and they are flawless, rustless, etc. Seemes the newest ones are the safest bet.

earlthegoat2
July 19, 2009, 08:26 AM
Not that isnt anything wrong with your M&P but Glocks some of the hardest priimer strikes in the industry maybe only eclipsed by factory Browning Hi Powers. Bad batches of primers are not unheard of and WWB ammo of all calibers is suspect at the best of times. If you have the same problems with American Eagle or Blazer Brass then your gun is probably fubar and it needs to be repaired. If not, then there could be a plethora (sp) of problems involved in the handloading process that may need to be tweaked.

sammy
July 19, 2009, 07:20 PM
rbernie has an excellent point. What is the measurement on your crimp? The FTE's I can't help you with but look at the ejector (loose?) and the extractor (chipped, spring tention?). I hate unreliable guns and am currently struggling with my G20 :banghead:. Best of luck sorting out the problems, Sammy

shooter1
July 19, 2009, 07:47 PM
Assuming your dies were made in the last couple of decades, they are taper crimp dies. It would be-------- possible------- to slightly over crimp, but doubtful enough to cause head space problems. The light strike problem is likely caused by:
Excessive oil and gunk in the striker channel, or high primers. The failures to extract are likely caused by a damaged extractor, or gunk/debris in the extractor channel. Occasional, complete disassembly and cleaning of the upper on striker fired pistol is essential to reliable function. Good luck!
str1

tydephan
July 19, 2009, 08:22 PM
On the failed rounds out of today's session, the case mouth (crimp) measures at .420 - .422. COL varies (out of 8 rounds) from 1.125 - 1.128.

And dies are recently purchased RCBS dies, using a Dillon 550 press. This RCBS die seats and crimps on the same stage.

I thoroughly cleaned the gun last night, but in the light today when I stripped it in the field, there may be some gunk in the striker channel. I'm about to take it apart again and see if I can clean some of that gunk out a little.

I didn't shoot the 9mm today. I'm going to try to get the 40 straightened out first.

Out of today's session, I carried 50 handloads. Out of the first 20 rounds attempted through the M&P40, I had 9 FTF. All had strikes on the primer.

I loaded up 15 rounds of the same handloads and touched them all off without fail through the Glock 22. Alternatively, I fired 15 rounds of UMC factory ammo through the M&P40 without fail.

I'm beginning to think the combination of a "lighter" strike from the M&P and some seriously hard primer cups on the Remington 5 1/2 primers is the culprit. But like I said, I'm not dismissing gumming in the striker channel as a possible issue just yet.

tydephan
July 19, 2009, 09:28 PM
Well, I cleaned the gunk out of the striker channel and ran to the back of the farm to test.

13 rounds. 3 fails to fire. All 3 have a solid strike on the primer, albeit a little off center.

tincanhunter
July 19, 2009, 10:14 PM
On a different note, be careful with Titegroup in your 40. I loaded a test set using 155gr RN bullets and the minimum powder charge 5.8gr. Fired 1 round and found a nice flattened primer with machine marks in it. Needless to say the rest went home and were disassembled. Just something to keep an eye out for.

David E
July 19, 2009, 10:16 PM
Well, I cleaned the gunk out of the striker channel and ran to the back of the farm to test.

13 rounds. 3 fails to fire. All 3 have a solid strike on the primer, albeit a little off center.

Well, you're finding out what it isn't...

How does it do with factory ammo ?

tydephan
July 19, 2009, 10:29 PM
How does it do with factory ammo ?
Runs like a champ on everything I've fed it. Multiple range sessions. I'd estimate between 1000 and 1200 rounds through it. Never a hiccup.

On a different note, be careful with Titegroup in your 40. I loaded a test set using 155gr RN bullets and the minimum powder charge 5.8gr. Fired 1 round and found a nice flattened primer with machine marks in it. Needless to say the rest went home and were disassembled. Just something to keep an eye out for.
Will do. Thanks for the warning. I've been watching for any signs of overpressure.

shooter1
July 20, 2009, 06:56 AM
On the off center strikes that failed to fire, were the strikes in the 6 O Clock? If so, your pistol is not in full battery when the striker falls. How many rounds does the recoil spring have on it since it was new?
str1
edit: If you can, I would suggest crimping as a separate operation from bullet seating. The Lee Factory Crimp Die is my choice. It can solve a lot of problems. Perhaps even the one with the M&P .40. Good Luck!

tydephan
July 20, 2009, 09:19 AM
Shooter1,

Recoil spring has less than 2000 rounds on it. Probably ~1500. As far as the location of the strikes, it's hard to tell as I hand-cycled the round out. So I'm not sure of its original orientation in the chamber, if that makes sense.

I spoke with Smith this morning. They are dropping a new striker assembly in the mail to see if that fixes the issue with the M&P40. The news isn't so great about the M&P9. It's making a trip back to the mothership for the FTE issues.

shooter1
July 20, 2009, 10:25 AM
tydephan,
Great! Hope the striker assembly fixes your MP! I don't own one, but I am curious to know if the striker spring is replaceable or it has to be replaced as a unit.
str1

HoosierQ
July 20, 2009, 10:31 AM
Shot approximately 2500 rounds through 2 M&Ps, all factory WWB, Speer Gold Dot, and Federal 147 Hydrashoks. Never a a failure to Feed, Fire, Extract, or Eject.

The fact that so much of your trouble was on the handloads has got to be suspicious.

I had a part break on my M&P 45 so I sent it back, all expenses paid. Sent it out on Feb 3, got it back on Feb 9...100% ready to go. So if it does turn out to be a gun problem, S&W will fix it. (They tossed in a free mag too).

Good luck.

tydephan
July 20, 2009, 10:37 AM
The fact that so much of your trouble was on the handloads has got to be suspicious.
I made it a point to tell Smith about the handloads and how I've never had a single issue with factory rounds through the M&P40. I wanted to make it very clear, IMO, that the gun was not "broke." However, I was having an issue, and I believe that issue to be a harder than usual primer cup in the Rem 5 1/2 primers I'm using for my handloads. Not Smith's fault at all! But if they can help me fix it... :D Know what I mean?

So if a new and improved striker assembly will fix the issue, then I'll be tickled pink. As I've collected about 3000 Rem 5 1/2 primers and that is all I currently have to load, I'd prefer, at this point, to fix the gun if I can. Afterall, the Glock 22 shoots the same handloads without fail. IMO, a slightly harder than normal primer cup shouldn't result in as many FTF as I'm experiencing.

As for the M&P9, well, it may have deeper issues. I've used Smith's customer service before with an M&P9c and it was extraordinary. I expect no less with this experience.

Shooter1,
I pulled the assembly apart last night to clean it thoroughly. I can just replace the spring, but they are sending me an entire striker assembly. :D

shooter1
July 20, 2009, 05:03 PM
tydephan,
Sure might as well replace the entire assembly. Hope it fixes the problem!
str1

kmbrman
July 20, 2009, 07:11 PM
tydephan
I've noticed that on my M&P9mm ,the striker channel needs to be cleaned often, not so much after shooting Amer. made ammo, but after shooting the import stuff. Gun always doesn't give any trouble untill I shoot some of the Eastern Bloc stuff. Seems to dirty up fast and then I get weak primer hits. Just wanted to let you know it's happened to others of us shooting the cheap ammo sometimes! My Glock22 never had trouble with this ammo ,but the M&P seems more prone.

tydephan
July 20, 2009, 09:11 PM
Thanks a bunch kmbrman. The striker channel was a lot dirtier than I expected it to be. When I saw how dirty it was, I thought for sure I had found the issue.

rbernie
July 20, 2009, 09:40 PM
For two years or so, I shot my M&P9 range mule a lot. Like 200 rounds a week. All handloads. All 125gr cast lead RN boolits, using 4gr of Unique behind 'em.

The lube goo and powder fouling buildup that would accumulate on that pistol was extrordinary.

I would normally clean that pistol about, oh, every SIX MONTHS.

During this same time, I carried a (clean/shiny) M&P every day. My treatment of the range mule was part laziness and partly to see how the platform would stand up to filth and hard use. It literally never once blinked, through thousands and thousands of these functional-but-filthy handloads.

My point is that these things can take a lot of abuse and dirty conditions. My bet is not on a dirty gun. Either the loads are suspect or the gun's mechanical integrity is suspect.

shooter1
July 20, 2009, 09:49 PM
If the new striker assembly doesn't fix it, it's gotta be an ammo issue. Either OAL or crimp problem.
str1

RH45
July 21, 2009, 07:20 PM
Do you measure the length of your brass before you load it?

Even though rifle brass gets longer when it's shot, for some reason, handgun brass seems to get shorter.

I've never tried Remington primers in my M&Ps, just Winchester and Federal.

tydephan
July 21, 2009, 08:09 PM
So tonight, I loaded a few rounds just to make sure I was seating the primer all the way down.

I loaded 30 rounds. Same formula as listed in the original post, except I used once-fired RP brass this time.

15 rounds through the M&P40. 4 failures to fire.
15 rounds through the Glock 22. 0 failures to fire.

So while I might not have been seating the primers deep enough originally, I think I can now rule that out as a possibility for the failures to fire.

RH45 - I have not been measuring my pistol brass before loading it. I do it religiously for 223, but have read in multiple places where it was not necessary in pistol rounds.

With the failures now of both RP brass and Winchester brass, it may be safe to also assume case length is not the problem. Hellifino. :D

shooter1
July 21, 2009, 10:24 PM
tydephan,
I know these little problems are mind bogglers, but you will work through them. When you mentioned that the primer strikes were slightly off center on your misfired primers, my first thought was the pistol was not completely in battery when the striker released. It's a problem I ran into with a Glock 21 with an aftermarket barrel years ago. The problem was the slight bulge in the case caused by the seated bullet. The rounds chambered and fired fine in my other .45s, including my 1911s. The case bulge prevented the round from fully chambering by a couple thousandths. That's when I discovered the LFCD I mentioned earlier. I changed my loading process to seating and crimping (LFCD) as separate operations. Problem solved. I kept the Glock about 9 years after the change, and shot it a LOT. You may not have the same problem, but it's worth checking out. You have adequate die stations on your 550 to give it a try. If you don't like the LFCD, I believe Dillon makes a final crimp die as well.
Good luck!
str1

tydephan
July 21, 2009, 10:32 PM
Thanks shooter. Let me ask you this - if there was a bulging issue, the rounds wouldn't just drop into the chamber when I test "drop" them into the barrel (separate from the gun of course) would they? Wouldn't there be some slight friction?

Here's an image I took tonight from one of the FTF from this evenings session:

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k40/tydephan/072109_barrel_drop007.jpg

shooter1
July 21, 2009, 10:49 PM
In the Federal Ordinance barrel I had in the 21, the rounds would drop in. There was slight resistance removing the round with a fingernail. Good picture! If the case is in the firing orientation in your chamber, it is slightly low toward the 6 O Clock position. It looks to be pretty light as well. Do the rounds that fire show the same primer strikes? Do you have a stock power striker spring?
str1

shooter1
July 21, 2009, 11:12 PM
I'm doubting you have an ammo problem. Chances are the new striker assembly will cure the problem. I would be interested to know what that problem is. The M&Ps I see at the club seem to be pretty much problem free. Hope the new assembly comes in quickly. I know this is wearing on you! Let us know how it works out.
str1

tydephan
July 21, 2009, 11:23 PM
In the Federal Ordinance barrel I had in the 21, the rounds would drop in. There was slight resistance removing the round with a fingernail.
These drop in and out. I can drop one in and rotate the barrel and they just drop right out without any coercion. I don't think that dismisses the possibility of what you're talking about though.

I doubt the round is oriented in the photos as it was when it was struck. The strikes look maybe very slightly lighter than rounds that have been ignited. Hard to tell on some, and then others very definitely look lighter.

Thanks for the help. We'll wait and see. I'll be sure to update when I have some new results. As for now, this one goes in the safe until the new assembly arrives.

ETA: If the striker assembly doesn't fix the issue, I'll investigate the seating and crimping in different stages option. Thanks a bunch!

kmbrman
July 22, 2009, 11:54 AM
Another problem I've run into with the M&P is that some out of spec. factory rounds don't chamber or eject well. Some Aguila 9mm I've tried would have to be pushed into the chamber by hand the last smidgen to seat fully. Also the bullets were seated too deep in the case,compared to American made rounds and when the length was measured they were shorter than other rounds of the same grain [115] bullets! This is of course not a fault of the gun.

tydephan
July 24, 2009, 10:22 PM
I have good news! The new striker assembly seems to have fixed the issue. I fired 65 rounds this afternoon after installing the new assembly and experienced 0 failures. Obviously I'll put several more hundred rounds through the gun to make sure.

Check out the differences between the new striker (left) and the old one (right).

I bought this gun used, and I'm almost positive the previous owner has done some sort of milling on the part of the striker exposed from under the slide.

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k40/tydephan/striker_comparison.jpg

kmbrman
July 25, 2009, 12:02 AM
The striker in your photo on the right side of the picture has had it's profile changed by someone doing their own gunsmithing. In Dan Burwell's trigger job info that's on the internet, he tells owners not to change the contact surface on the striker face ,and only to polish and to NEVER remove metal. It should always look just like the new one in your picture. If the profile of the face is changed the firearm could be dangerous and discharge by accident by having the hump that is seen, removed by careless Kitchen Table gunsmithing .

fastbolt
July 25, 2009, 03:05 AM
I was going to say that I'd suspect you have a M&P 40 from the production period before they revised the striker. A change was made to increase the material located on the front of the striker's foot to allow more spring compression and increase the force of the striker's impact.

You posted a good picture of the difference, but since I've already copied them I'll post a couple thumbnails anyway.

The first is of a current production striker laying on an image of the earlier production striker in an earlier armorer manual which allows you to see the difference in between them on the front edge of the foot, and the second image shows the same pictures from the pages of 2 different releases of the M&P armorer manual (which also displays the difference in the striker foot dimensions). Enlarge each of them a couple of times for a bit better detail.
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/fastbolt/th_MPstrikers2.jpg (http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/fastbolt/?action=view&current=MPstrikers2.jpg)


http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/fastbolt/th_MPstrikers.jpg (http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/fastbolt/?action=view&current=MPstrikers.jpg)

shooter1
July 25, 2009, 06:09 AM
tydephan,
It appears your MP40 did have the earlier striker assembly and/or had been cobbled up. I'm sure your problem is solved! Just keep the striker channel clean and dry and misfires are a thing of the past. GREAT news, enjoy your pistol!!
str1

tydephan
July 25, 2009, 10:18 AM
Curious as to why someone "might" have modified the striker assembly and pickup bar (pictured below), I asked Dan Burwell for his comments.

Below is what he had to say:

Niether of those were done by the owner.

What you have there is a second generation striker. they did not have the extra step. the extra step gets a little more retraction on the striker loading the spring more.

they slide is they way they slides came for awhile. S&W would have the slide melonited then finish the pick up. Don't ask me why.

This is the "modification" I thought was made to the pickup bar:
http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k40/tydephan/slideproblem006.jpg

kmbrman
July 25, 2009, 03:52 PM
Guys , I'm glad we found some interesting facts out about the striker changes to the M&Ps. Mine has the HUMP on it so it's the other design. By the way the M&P can benefit from the new after- market sights from Dawson Precision .I added the staight target version with black on black, with screw click adjustments for windage and elevation. Come in really handy to zero different loads.

If you enjoyed reading about "Frustrating day at the range (M&Ps)..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!