Tokarev and P-64 issues


August 26, 2010, 05:56 AM
First of all, thanks to those who responded to my earlier thread in which I contemplated and later purchased a Romanian Tokarev and Polish P-64.

I shot them yesterday, and enjoyed both, however there are some issues I'm hoping you good folks could help me with.

The P-64 tends to bite, cut and rub raw the webbing of my firing hand between the thumb and index finger. Any ideas for cutting down on this other than wearing a thin leather glove for that hand?

The Tokarev issue might be a bit more involved. I noticed that the slide isn't fully cocking the gun after every shot. I can "rectify" this by using my thumb as a "cocking assist" and it will fire and it's a roll of the dice whether subsequent shots properly cock the weapon.

Does anyone have ideas on how to fix this?

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August 26, 2010, 06:32 AM
I can only help you with the P64. It shouldn't do that, or at least mine doesn't, so maybe you need to do something to any sharp edges. Mine shoots really smooth and doesn't bite or cut at all.

August 26, 2010, 08:52 AM
What ammo are you using in the P64? They work and feel the best when they use ammo loaded with bullets of around 90gr or less. The Silver Bear I use is 94gr, it's sharp but doesn't cut or bruise (at least through 50 rounds or so, about all I fire during a range trip). The Marchal (spelling?) grips that are sold through a link on the p64 resource forum are supposed to help by spreading the force better and not concentrating it on the web of your hand.

August 26, 2010, 06:15 PM
Mak: thanks for the insight. I enjoy shooting a lot, so I'll either add rubber slip-on grips or purchase a thin leather glove to protect my hand. Will also check the positioning of my hand on the gun itself, too.
Do you know of any other resources I can find on the Internet to get more detail about my Tokarev issue, including how I might fix it myself?

August 26, 2010, 09:17 PM
The Tokarev issue might be a bit more involved. I noticed that the slide isn't fully cocking the gun after every shot. I can "rectify" this by using my thumb as a "cocking assist" and it will fire and it's a roll of the dice whether subsequent shots properly cock the weapon.

Prior to going to the range did you disassemble the TT-33, thoroughly clean it of the nasty storage grease (and whatever other crap has been picked up along the way), properly oil/grease it and reassemble it?

If not, storage grease is probably the culprit.

August 26, 2010, 09:31 PM
+1 on cleaning the Tok. I thought I had thoroughly cleaned my last one until I ran the first few magazines through it and then let it cool off. The nasty cosmoline crept out from who know where and mixed with the dirty ammo deposits and locked it up. After I cleaned it completely again (boiling is best), no more sticky unreliable problems. This may not fix your problem but it is the cheapest way to eliminate a very common cosmoline problem.

August 26, 2010, 10:25 PM
Google P-64 and you should find the "unofficial P-64 resource." In the P-64 forum, you will find lots of advice about replacing the recoil spring and mainsprings of your P-64 using a Wolff Springs product. This will take much of the bite out of the recoil.

Clean your Tok real good...cosmoline is likely gumming up the works.

Shadow 7D
August 26, 2010, 11:38 PM
First what type of tok is it.

Second, the usual slide problems are
weak springs (they are almost 80)
gunk (cosmoline or other stuff like soot) gumming up the slide, the cure for that is cleaning.

August 27, 2010, 09:00 AM
He IDed it in the first sentence as a Romy.

BTW the "cosmoline" that came in the Romy TT-33 that I purchased from SOG a few weeks ago was very reminiscent of what was often referred to as "sticky-snot" cosmoline that graced the Albanian SKSs that came in several years back. That was some nasty stuff and did not quickly melt away in a mineral spirits bath ... you had to scrub it off.

August 27, 2010, 09:58 AM
Diesel Fuel will dissolve any and all cosmoline but please,
Use this outside in a well ventilated area,,,

When you say the Tokarev is not fully cocking, does that mean during slide cycle the hammer falls back to the half cock notch?
If so the hammer or sear notches may be chipped or deformed.
It will hold if you manually cock the gun but during the jarring of slide cycle, the hammer is knocked off the sear ledge?

Replacing the hammer and sear should correct this.
A gunsmith can also recut the hammer and sear notches but will also have to reharden the parts as these gun parts are quite soft underneath the original hardening.HTH

August 27, 2010, 10:19 AM

I'm pretty sure it goes past the half-cock. I can *always* get a clean trigger press if I manually thumb-cock it an extra
milimeter or two.
One thing I noticed when dry-cycling is very inconsistent levels of force needed to rack the slide.

August 27, 2010, 01:24 PM
I'd replace the recoil spring on the Tokarev. You can get them from Wolff, at The gun should be fully disassembled, cleaned, and oiled, preferably with Breakfree. Breakfree will dissolve the nasty stuff, though you may need to let it soak a while.

As for the P-64, put the heaviest recoil spring that Wolff makes on it.

August 28, 2010, 05:10 AM
Makarov918, I have no idea what you're talking about. That makes no sense whatsoever. And everyone I know who's knowledgeable about the P-64 will say the same thing I did. Everyone says put the strongest recoil springs in Makarovs, P-64's, PA-63's, etc.

August 28, 2010, 09:21 AM
Tokarevs are notorious for having a bizzare and sometimes impossible to manipulate slide assembly.
It is usually best to full cock the gun, then rack the slide.

As for your description, if it isn't a chipped sear or hammer notch, the through holes for the retaining pins may have become wallowed out or,,,,

That damn import safety is causing the trigger to bind against the fire control parts.

Try removing the safety and firing the gun and see if that improves the shooting qualities any.

August 28, 2010, 09:28 PM
The Tokarev's slide cannot be racked while on half-cock. If you start to rack the slide with the hammer down, you have to follow through or it will go into half-cock and lock. But as stated before, I suspect your spring is binding or otherwise flawed. If not, well, Tokarev parts are a dime a dozen. It'll be very easy and cheap to fix regardless.

North Bender
August 29, 2010, 12:40 AM
Please check out the P 64 and Makarov Forums to expand your knowledge base on fixed barrel blow back design Eastern European Military pistols.

If you do check out the Makarov forum you'll find advice to change to a heavier recoil spring if you're gonna fire stouter loads. Look at too. Why put a 351 in a '66 Falcon? To each his own.

August 29, 2010, 11:33 AM
Gentlemen: thanks for the info so far. I feel that the "biting the hand that feeds" issue was 95% resolved with hand placement and use of a thin leather "fingertipless" glove. (which I don't even consider an imposition - in fact I like the extra confident hold it gives me on the gun).
As for the Tokarev, I'll follow up on that at the Unofficial P-64 Resource board - I appreciate that tip, as well.
That said, I found that "pre-cocking" the Tok after the insertion of a freshly charged mag helped.
After firing it a bunch of times, I've gotten a "feel" for when there's an issue with the pistol before I attempt a trigger press.
If that happens, rather than doing the "manual thumb cock" which slows down the firing tempo, I modify a technique for clearing a stovepipe failure. The drill involves sweeping the hand over the top of the slide - my variation is to simply conduct the hand downward to "catch" the serrations on the hammer.
I'm currently away on vacation, but near a very nice public shooting range, so I'm away from a good table for disassembly/reassembly, not particularly near a stove for "boiling" away Cosmoline, and without my cleaning supplies.
Thanks again! :)

August 29, 2010, 03:42 PM
I've got to agree with fully cleaning and properly lubing the Tok before changing any parts. I have a good collection of them, and just about every one of them was packed with cosmo when it arrived.

August 29, 2010, 04:50 PM
makarov918, are you TRYING to make his pistol rust? Good grief. No offense, but I've found LOTS of shady and ill-advised advice you've given in this thread that contradicts everything I've been told about these pistols both here and on their respective forums ( and, and contradicts my own personal experience with them. I know these pistols very, very well. Your advice is bad mojo. The acetone for chamber fouling, I can't really argue with, but everything else you've said is sketchy.

I own:

Romanian Tokarev that I've refitted with a brand new chrome-lined barrel and a compensator. I also recently purchased the barrel, bushing, and magazines to shoot 9mm Luger. This is, by far, my favorite pistol to shoot. I have learned this gun's functioning very intimately, and have absolute respect for its design and function.

Bulgarian Makarov. The finish on this gun proved surprisingly weak, and surface rust ate through it even in the dry climate of Arizona, something NO other gun I've seen has done, including the Arisaka rifle that's been here since World War II. It is currently completely disassembled and packed in oil until I get around to taking it to Azex for parkoting. I refitted it with a heavier recoil spring, as recommended, and it dramatically improved its performance and shootability.

Polish P-64. My father and I both carry these guns. Mine is on my side right now. I have replaced the hammer spring and recoil spring on both of them, and can shoot it with extreme accuracy. Both our pistols are wearing wood Marschal grips.

Hungarian PA-63. My most recent acquisition. This pistol has a number of innovations that are almost 1911-like, including a firing pin block and a humped grip with dovetail. Replaced the hammer spring with an 11-pound and the recoil spring with the strongest one Wolff makes. It made it very pleasant to shoot.

I know these guns inside and out. I have checked various forums and received advice on them. Your advice, makarov918, contradicts most of what I've learned about them. Please, please stop giving people advice that will either damage their guns or result in unnecessary abuse to their hand from recoil. I know what I'm talking about.

Shadow 7D
August 29, 2010, 11:05 PM
so my 2 cents

If you know what you are doing, the steaming SHOULDN'T hurt the gun, BUT after steaming (actually I'd rinse it with warm soapy water, them steam then rinse again) you have to cover every inch in oil again, because the steam will drive the oil out of the metals pores, so if you just steam it, you will get rust if you don't relube imminently. It isn't that far from the boiling water dunk method of cosmoline removal.

Secondly, corrosive ammo is started with soapy water, but you run a wet oil patch through once the barrel is dry.

August 30, 2010, 12:37 AM
Bluing is a very poor rust preventative, and rust can easily eat right through the bluing. Every square inch of that gun needs to be DRY and oiled after you do that. You might as well just put it in an oven on low to dry it, then drop it in a vat of oil. It's the only way to ensure it won't rust after you've got water in every nook and cranny. Stop telling people to do things that will probably result in them damaging their guns.

Johnny Guest
August 30, 2010, 09:12 AM
[Obsolete reference redacted.] is one of the shorter and more on-point entries concerning cleaning (many) firearms: The best thing I have found for cleaning Mil Surplus firearms is steam. Those little Shark Steamers are ideal and no flammable chemicals needed. Put them in a old pot, steam them good and flush with hot water. Lube as required and you get one little slick pickle ready to live again. For you guys shooting lacquer steel cased Russian ammo, acetone works great to clean a fouled chamber and can be found at Wal Mart as fingernail polish remover in the cosmetics department. This is good advice. The only item with which I'd take issue is the part I've made BOLD, and this is mostly a matter of word choice. Lubrication deals with making parts move together more smoothly. What we want after removing all the oily stuff from gun parts is a moisture barrier, to prevent rusting. That phrase might better have been written, "Oil throughly."

And, really, the "Shark Steamer" appliance is not truly necessary. Boiling water has long been the method of choice for removing many types of fouling from firearms. Go to any black powder forum and look for "black powder cleanup." Many patent cleaners are available but the simplest is to merely disassemble a handgun and wash all the parts in HOT, soapy water. Use a brush to remove caked deposits, and then immerse the parts again in VERY HOT water. Shake off the clinging water and set on a clean, dry cloth, where they rapidly dry of their own heat. This is one of the few times a spray can of WD-40, RemOil, LPS, or the like is good for the gun. Coat well with the spray, turn the parts and spray again. Let cool and wipe well with another clean cloth. Reassemble and you're done.

For several decades into the smokeless powder era, all US Government ammo was loaded with corrosive primers. This same method was used to remove the corrosive salts from barrels, though it will do little to remove jacket metal fouling.

Precisely the same process is excellent for removal of Cosmoline, Rangoon Oil, or "grease, overseas shipping." This preservative removal is expedited if you immerse the parts in water at a rolling boil. They should be suspended above the bottom of the container. I use a wire basket that holds small parts an inch or so above the bottom of the large pot. The water will not be above 212 degrees F. and WILL NOT harm or "draw the temper" from the metal.

When using acetone to clean chambers, you're also removing any moisture barrier from the metal. Be sure to oil properly afterward.

All of the above may easily be found at numerous sites on the 'Net. Use any search engine and verify to your own satisfaction. Y'all all be nice to one another, y'hear?


August 30, 2010, 01:28 PM
Don't be scared away from replacing the recoil spring on the P-64. I own one and I've replaced the recoil spring with the stiffest that Wolff offers. I've also replaced the trigger spring with a much lighter one. I've been a member of the Unofficial P64 forum for quite a while now and I would say a majority of the P64 owners have replaced the recoil spring and have not had any difficulties or problems from it. It won't quickly turn a pistol into a paperweight. I've got probably close to 2000 rounds through mine and it's flawless functioning. Others on the P64 will say the same, I'm confident.

As others have said, the P64 isn't a "shooter's" pistol. It's not meant for plinking. I've never been "bitten" by mine, but I would say your grip is just a little too high. Make sure your wrist doesn't flop around when you shoot either. Let your arms and shoulder absorb the muzzle flip instead of your wrist.

As for the web of your hand getting raw, happens to me too when I shoot more than 100 rounds at once. You're not alone. A lot of people recommend a shooting glove with extra padding in the web area. I've also heard that the Marschal grips work too. I don't have them on mine, but anything to widen the surface area will spread out the force over a greater area instead of concentrated in a small area.

August 30, 2010, 02:03 PM
Olympus: Thanks for the additional advice. I've already gotten a decent glove and altered my grip - made a long trip to the range with it (and several other pistols) far more pleasant.

August 30, 2010, 02:59 PM
I'm glad your most recent trip was more enjoyable. What you described is pretty much exactly how I shoot, I don't bring the P-64 as my only gun. I pack it along with several other pistols. I usually only bring about 100 rounds and I save the P-64 for last. I find that if I shoot it first, I develop a bit of a flinch when shooting my other guns.

August 30, 2010, 06:25 PM
I'm not as concerned with the "bite" of the P-64 as I've mitigated that with better hand placement and a glove.

The Tokarev's somewhat unreliability is more of a concern for me.
When I have some time, I'll disassemble and clean it thoroughly.

I just called an internet vendor regarding Tokarev ammo - most of it apparently has cracked necks. The rep on the phone told me it's not an issue, but it doesn't sound all that appetizing considering that it seems to be a high-powered round...

August 30, 2010, 07:35 PM
I shoot S&B and Brown Bear in mine. Both brands run smoothly.

August 30, 2010, 08:41 PM
I prefer Silver Bear to Brown Bear, as it uses zinc coating instead of lacquer. You get fewer cleaning issues that way, and it's still cheap enough. I mostly shoot S&B, though, because the local indoor range doesn't allow bimetallic jackets. PRVI Partizan is good, too, when you can get it. I put it on par with S&B.

August 31, 2010, 09:21 AM
If I was cranking out 500+ rounds out at one time, I'd probably shoot the Silver Bear too. But you're a tougher man than I am if you can shoot 500 rounds at once with the P-64. For shooting 100 to 150 rounds at a time, the Brown Bear has never been a problem for me. A good cleaning when you get home will get rid of any laquer build up and you'll be raring to go again the next time. I've easily put over 1000 rounds of Brown Bear through mine and I've never had a single malfunction.

August 31, 2010, 05:12 PM
Olympus: no claim of being a tough dude, or anything. I rarely shoot more than 150 rounds of anything other than .22lr anyway when I'm at the range. I just found that with the glove and better hand placement, the allocation that I usually shoot is quite easy to handle.
My "biting" issue with the P-64 occurred on my first time using the gun, so there was all of this inexperience and lack of a glove accompanying it.

My other concern was about the cracked neck issue in surplus Tokarev ammo. I can't really pass up the $120 with shipping for a tin of 1260 rounds. The vendor, of course, assures me that this isn't a safety issue, but what do you guys think?

August 31, 2010, 06:38 PM
"I just called an internet vendor regarding Tokarev ammo - most of it apparently has cracked necks. The rep on the phone told me it's not an issue, but it doesn't sound all that appetizing considering that it seems to be a high-powered round"

The phone rep was right. The imported surplus Tokarev (7.62X25) rounds are notorious for splitting at the neck. It's the way they're crimped. You won't be reloading those casings, but otherwise don't worry about it.

August 31, 2010, 07:04 PM
NOTE: I am not a mechanical engineer. I am not a reloader.

However, it seems that the most critical point for a case to be cracked would be near the base, where the chamber meets the bolt. The neck is probably fully supported by the barrel, and as such is probably in no danger of causing a failure. There's a reason why magnum belted cartridges have the belt near the base...

Maj Dad
August 31, 2010, 07:22 PM
I put a Hogue Handall Jr slip-on grip on my P64 & it makes it much friendlier to shoot. I also shoot the 94 & 109 gr ammo (bought a pile of it before the feeding frenzy started) and the 94 is definitely easier on recoil. The 109 is fine in the full-size Mak.

August 31, 2010, 09:13 PM
Yeah I wouldn't worry about the cracked case necks. Pretty much all the Tok ammo I shoot is like this and my Romanian Tok wolfs it down like Mrs. Obama on hot fudge sundays and french fries.

August 31, 2010, 10:46 PM
I ordered the ammo (cracked necks and all), and cleaned the cosmoline off with hot, soapy water.
Applied Hoppes to the inside of the barrel, then patched it thru with some oil.

However, the cocking effort still seems really inconsistent - I think it's the hammer assembly itself that's at issue - perhaps there's still some cosmoline lurking in there, or is it possible it's a spring?

Is it possibly to just get a new hammer assembly online? What is a good online source of Tokarev parts?

Shadow 7D
September 1, 2010, 02:49 PM
Numrichs (

Ebay and Gunbroker both are good for parts

Before you dump the hammer assembly, take the time to read up on it, it's a pretty simple piece of clockwork (spring powered machine)

September 19, 2010, 11:50 AM

Thank you so much for the advice. I bought a Tok "Service Pack" from Wolff Springs, and with the replacement of the recoil and hammer spring the pistol cycles perfectly - no manual thumbcocking at all since I performed the operation.

Now... I did go ahead and purchase a new hammer group, in case I, uh, messed up the spring changeout or if I did it correctly, but to no avail.

So, now I have an extra hammer group - not the worst thing in the world
to have anyway.

And man, what a pleasure that gun is to shoot now!

September 19, 2010, 04:47 PM
Memo For Record

- Regarding several of the above posts, it must be noted that so far as the following:

"Nasty cosmoline"
"Nasty grease"
"Nasty stuff"
"Nasty storage grease"

- *I* am not responsible for any of these substances and any resemblance is purely coincidental.

- Furthermore, if the subject of "Nasty ammunition" is presented, I am also held harmless.


September 29, 2010, 04:50 PM
I also bought magazine springs from Wolff. My two Tok mags went from only holding five rounds to easily holding eight.

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