Afraid of the Sig P220


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schmeky
October 13, 2010, 05:09 PM
I've had 4 Sigs total, 2 - 226's and 2 - 220's. The 226's were great, but the 220's not so much.

The first 220 shot to the right about 4" @ 25 yards. I didn't drift the front or rear to compensate. It wasn't me since I let someone else fire it. I was not crazy about the 4" off. I liked the gun, but got a good offer and sold it :(.

The second 220 shot well but had extraction issues (internal style). It was about 98% reliable, which was not acceptable. I never sent it back to Sig; I should have. I sold it but let the buyer know about it.

I still want a 220, but I don't want any problems. Is the external extractor the way to go? Is there something in particular I should be looking for that would help ensure a reliable 220? I know the West German guns are "suppposed" to the be the best, but they are pricey nowdays.

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W.E.G.
October 13, 2010, 05:13 PM
You would have needed to drift the rear sight 0.06" to correct the zero.

Where's the beef?

bluto
October 13, 2010, 05:42 PM
On a P220, I would bet that any reliability problems would be attributable to one of two things: improper lubrication or weak magazine spring.

Left/right impact deviation is the easiest thing to correct. FWIW, I not only drift my SIG sights to zero them (get or borrow a SIG sight tool) but i have replaced the front post on several and always reverse every rear sight so the flat side faces me. Better sight picture IMO.

Want a good P220? Get a Factory Certified Refurbished P220 or join SIGforums and buy from one of the members. You are sure to get a good one over there.

Jeff_Johnson
October 13, 2010, 05:48 PM
I am going to say that you really cannot go wrong with a P220, it was my first handgun I ever bought, my P220 Combat has yet to fail me, I would guess that I have somewhere between 2000 and 2500 Rounds through it, and from what I can tell there is no need to adjust my sights.

rellascout
October 13, 2010, 05:52 PM
On a P220, I would bet that any reliability problems would be attributable to one of two things: improper lubrication or weak magazine spring.

Wrong! The issue he was having was due to the fact Sig did not change the design of the internal extractor when they went to the milled stainless steel slide. They did not want to spend the money to re-design it.

The extractor tolerances are too tight. If they are out of spec you will get FTF especially the last round of the mag. It will also FTE.

These issues are well documented. They started with the P220ST and really got legs when Sig discontinued the carbon steel P220 slides and went to all milled stainless steel.

Many of these guns will need to be tweaked over their lifetime. Many people who have had this issue report that it comes back and the tension of the extractor changes. Sig changed the design to a external extractor recently and after some teething problems they seem to function well.

As for what P220 to get. Look around for a LNIB W German P220. Look for one with the German proof marks and date code under the front part of the slide. Be patient if you are you can find them for under $600. That is about what I paid OTD for this one.

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t213/rellascout/DSCF1911.jpg

JR47
October 13, 2010, 06:02 PM
Wrong! The issue he was having was due to the fact Sig did not change the design of the internal extractor when they went to the milled stainless steel slide. They did not want to spend the money to re-design it.

Ahhhh, so, it's always the factory's need to go cheap that leads to problems? Or perhaps they didn't find the problem in the change-over until enough 220s had been built to cause a number to have the out-of-spec extractor?

I have a P220, bought three years ago, and have had zero problems with it. Perhaps Sig has seen fit in the past 10 years, or so, to improve the extractor?

You can certainly try to find a W. German P220, but, IMHO, it's just going to cost more than you need to pay.

schmeky
October 13, 2010, 06:04 PM
Wrong! The issue he was having was due to the fact Sig did not change the design of the internal extractor when they went to the milled stainless steel slide

I agree with rellascout, it was clearly an extractor issue. I knew about the possible extractor issues when I bought the second 220, so I deduced since the first 220 had no FTE issues, I would be OK. The second 220's slide was chewing on the frame after the first 50 rounds, which resulted in a slightly gouged frame rail. The anodizing on the frame rail on the LH side was eaten off. I found a small metal burr on the slide and removed it. Wish I would have found this before the first range session.

The first 220 I should have kept, but since I was offered a little more than I paid, I let it go.

I like the early BDA's, the first Sig I ever handled was a BDA.

bluto
October 13, 2010, 06:25 PM
Easy there buddy. . . .:D First, the OP said his first pistol shot to the right. Didn't say anything about extractor issues. That was a problem most often seen on the early stainless (P220ST) models. A little research will show that almost all the internal extractor problems, aside from the ST, were experienced with the carry models, not the standard models. According to some, this problem has been speculated to be related to a machining problem in the breech face on those models. Here's the skinny from Bruce Gray at SIGforum on the extractor issue:

Hiya!

I have covered the reasons for the well-known extractor-related issues with P220ST's before, here at Sigforum. Perhaps Sparks will take a moment to do a search or ask a good question, rather than blithely demonstrate his own lack of understanding of the issue whilst casting aspersions upon our efforts to develop and provide a solution.

In brief, the internal extractor used in stainless slide P220's was adapted from the SIG Pro, and works well enough in that great little platform, but I cannot say I like this design. It's hard to make well and it's tension-critical due to it's hook design.

In the P220, it was inexplicably located lower in the slide on the breechface relative to the firing pin / cartridge pocket / barrel chamber than the original extractor found in earlier versions of the P220.

This lower location aggravates the lesser attributes of this design, and contributes to a set of potential feeding and extraction / ejection issues that can be clearly identified, demonstrated and recreated at will by us in the P220ST and XFive.

The occurance and frequency of these extractor-related issues is mediated by a complex of variable factors, to include: extractor tension, extractor fit, cartridge pocket location and depth, deburring, barrel chamber, lockup and unlocking qualities, lube and fouling, ammunition case hardness, power factor and powder burn rate, recoil spring tension and slide mass, among some others.

For sure, the factory design is highly tension and fit-critical. All other contributing factors notwithstanding, we know that with too much tension, the pistol will not feed smoothly, or won't feed the last round from a magazine. Too little, and the pistol may leave cases in the chamber.

This is a well-understood problem with some well-tested solutions, of which our new extractor will be a part. The issue for us isn't understanding the problem, it's making the part as it needs to be. Tough! I have immense sympathy for the folks at SIG Sauer who have struggled with the original design only to finally abandon it in favor of a simpler, proper external unit on new guns.(bolding mine)

Our new design properly locates the hook, isn't tension-critical and permits far more extractor tension without blocking feeding.

I hope this helps everyone understand the problem and our response.

Still looking at November for our first production run of these nasty babies from our new contractor. We deeply appreciate the frustration this long R&D and production process has caused some of you and we WILL make the wait worth your while. That I promise you.

Thanks!

-Bruce

I have both an have had no issues. But since schmeky has now verified that his problem was extractor related it might be adviseable in a used pistol to look for a CPO if the prospect of getting an ill fitted internal extractor is troubling or stick with an external extractor. But the most common reliability issues with SIGS and their new owners are lubrication and magazine springs, not extractors. Oh, and I am not one to worship at the altar of W. German markings. I just don't feel the magic. :D

Jeff_Johnson
October 13, 2010, 06:36 PM
The second 220's slide was chewing on the frame after the first 50 rounds, which resulted in a slightly gouged frame rail. The anodizing on the frame rail on the LH side was eaten off. I found a small metal burr on the slide and removed it. Wish I would have found this before the first range session.

Did the anodizing continue to wear? Some of the finish is showing wear on my frame rails, I don't think the finish showing wear is too big of a deal, but I am going to guess over time my frame will start to wear, but I expected that to happen with a steel slide on an alloy frame.

rellascout
October 13, 2010, 06:43 PM
Easy there buddy. . . . First, the OP said his first pistol shot to the right. Didn't say anything about extractor issues. That was a problem most often seen on the early stainless (P220ST) models. A little research will show that almost all the internal extractor problems, aside from the ST, were experienced with the carry models, not the standard models. According to some, this problem has been speculated to be related to a machining problem in the breech face on those models. Here's the skinny from Bruce Gray at SIGforum on the extractor issue:.... I have both an have had no issues. But since schmeky has now verified that his problem was extractor related it might be adviseable in a used pistol to look for a CPO if the prospect of getting an ill fitted internal extractor is troubling or stick with an external extractor. But the most common reliability issues with SIGS and their new owners are lubrication and magazine springs, not extractors. Oh, and I am not one to worship at the altar of W. German markings. I just don't feel the magic

Bluto you do know that Bruce Gray never produced those extractors. He could never find a manufacturer to do it at a price he could make money on.

Again your info is not accurate. It was not an issue with only early production P220ST and P220 Carry models. It was a problem up and down the P220 line as soon as they went to the mill stainless slide. I know first hand because I had a P220 SAS which had a bad extractor.

Honestly if you don't know your past then you don't know your future. You know before Cohen showed up with all his fancy streamlined production Sigs used to never have lubrication issues. The older carbon steel Sigs would run bone dry not that I advice that. The excessive amount of lube Sig now recommends is because of the milled stainless slides and the hardness and abrasive properties of the Nitron finish. The reason newer Sigs have these lubrication problems is because they are not properly finished. No amount of lube is going to protect a alum frame from gauging if its got a burr on it.

PS. The lemon P220 I owned was a CPO so that program is absolutely no guarantee you will get a functioning gun. I am not your buddy. :)

bluto
October 13, 2010, 06:51 PM
rellascout,

You need to relax and read posts more carefully. The information provided wasn't about Bruce Gray's production of extractors. Who cares? It was about the original extractor saga. A point of information if you will. And your claim about equally frequent across-the-line problems is unsubstantiated. There are many who disagree. But you are entitled to your opinion.

Well, at least we agree on one thing: neither of us likes Cohen's new offerings. No rails. No beavertails. Too many models.

rellascout
October 13, 2010, 07:01 PM
bluto,

Do the research and you will see that the P220 extractor issue occurred in all models of the P220 with a milled stainless slide.

PS I am perfectly relaxed... Read my signature. It's just a gun it does not define you as a human being. Don't make a bigger deal out of it then it needs to be. It is just a tool." I do not take discussions about a hunk of metal personally. :rolleyes:

bluto
October 13, 2010, 07:04 PM
Glad to hear it. Read my edit on my last post.

9mmepiphany
October 13, 2010, 07:42 PM
I still want a 220, but I don't want any problems. Is the external extractor the way to go? Is there something in particular I should be looking for that would help ensure a reliable 220? I know the West German guns are "suppposed" to the be the best, but they are pricey nowdays.

The best way to minimize you chance of having problems with a 220 are to
1. get a folded slide model with the internal extractor
2. get a milled slide model with the external extractor
3. get one with the full length slide...not the Compact

schmeky
October 13, 2010, 07:54 PM
Here's the frame after the first 50 rounds on 220 #2. If you look carefully you can see an area on the rear of the slide that was not machined smoothly. As stated previously there was also a small burr that caused some frame wear.

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/7308/img0701i.jpg

schmeky
October 13, 2010, 07:56 PM
9mmephiphany,

That's the kind of info I was looking for.

m500'92
October 13, 2010, 08:17 PM
I don't think a few bad years defines a company. Anyone here own Remingtons, think about the 597, 504 or 700 (safety that fired the gun issues). Or Beretta, the 92 had weak steel that fractured and shot back pieces of metal at people's faces. Browning, they made guns that they used salt to dry the wood faster.

Jeff_Johnson
October 13, 2010, 09:36 PM
wow, I am sure that sig would have made that right if you would have sent it in. And as M500'92 stated, even having heard about these problems with sigs, I would still not think twice about making another purchase on a Sig. Just can't decide what I would like to add to my collection! that's the hard part.

MK11
October 14, 2010, 04:21 PM
They may have made the sights right but not the extractor. I too have a P220 ST that fails to extract roughly one in every 50 rounds. Ran great for about the first 1,000 rounds.

I called Sig and was told, "Oh, that's an old gun, send it in for our maintenance program." At 1,000 rounds, it's not a maintenance issue, at least not with the extractor. The rep had no knowledge of the extractor problem with the P220ST. I probably should have attempted to plead my case more, but with eight Sigs (and several Sig Academy courses under my belt), I was disgusted by the customer service.

I love that P220ST but with Gray Guns' solution still a concept and not a reality, it's most likely going to get traded with full disclosure about the problem. I've got an old W. German P220 that runs like a Swiss clock (except with PMC) but I don't like it as much as the P220ST.

schmeky
October 14, 2010, 06:15 PM
I think I'm going to put getting a 220 on the back burner for a little bit. I still want one. I picked up this HK USP 45 today and it fits my grip exceptionally well. Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet. It's a little bigger than a 220, but holds 12+1 rounds. The DA sucks, and the SA is so-so. Got it off GB for $555.00 shipped, looks brand new. We'll see.

http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/6981/hk45.jpg

Ala Dan
October 14, 2010, 06:27 PM
Please be advised that SIG's like too run WET; rather than dry, like a Glock.
I have found that the P220's coming out of the Exeter, NH factory are not
quite up to snuff; like the West German manufactuered and assembled guns
are~! I don't believe American workers give a rat's ass, as too what comes
out of the New Hampshire facility. My old West German P220 has QUALITY
built in; as the craftsmanship shows it. My weapon was deadly accurate,
right straight out of the box. And FWIW, so is my West German SIG-SAUER
P228 in 9mm.

*FootNote- SIG-SAUER's are known to break sight pushers; so its probably
a wise decision that you didn't tamper with your sights. I would have made
the effort to contact a CS rep in Exeter, to see what they could/would do
'bout it~!

fastbolt
October 14, 2010, 06:48 PM
I'm in general agreement with 9mmepiphany's response.

I would offer that even the older folded slide 220's with the breech blocks could get a bad extractor, though. One of the local agencies pulled them many years ago when they encountered what was later discovered to be batch of extractors which hadn't been properly hardened. They were returned to service once the extractors were replaced. It can happen with anyone's product, though.

During the Sig armorer class I attended the instructor said that the internal pre-tensioned extractors for the machined 220 slides were intended to be a 1-time use part, meaning if we ever removed them they should be replaced with a new one because it was likely the necessary tension was lost during any subsequent re-installation. A certain amount of excess tension was present to take into consideration pushing them up and into position. I could see how an excess of tension in an occasional slide, especially if any tolerance variation existed in the extractor recess, could lead to an excessive amount of tension and potential feeding issues.

When I asked why they hadn't adopted the external extractor with the off-set plunger & spring, he had no answer. Later, of course, that's exactly what they adopted.

I wondered how Sig would do when they adopted an 8-rd mag instead of their 7-rd mag. They wouldn't be the fist company to experience some last round feeding issues when making that transition. ;)

You'll notice that Sig is very proud and optimistic when they include in their P220 product description, "This is the pistol that can fire off 10,000 rounds in a day, without a single failure".

You can bet a lot of lubrication was needed. ;)

9mmepiphany
October 14, 2010, 06:55 PM
"This is the pistol that can fire off 10,000 rounds in a day, without a single failure".
I always thought that was a funny line...but it was done by a magazine, they had pictures showing the writer standing among all the empties

fastbolt
October 14, 2010, 07:09 PM
Yep, the cost of the ammunition and the magazine loading would seem to be the prohibitive elements. :eek:

schmeky
October 14, 2010, 07:15 PM
I'm in general agreement with 9mmepiphany's response

And I intend to heed his advice. I am very familiar with Sig, but certainy need to know as much as possible before plunking down my money.

Thanks, 9mmepiphany.

I think I'll keep my eyes open for a W. German 220.

1858
October 14, 2010, 07:32 PM
schmeky, I bought a P220 Combat TB and Carry this year but have owned SIGs for almost 20 years (still have all of them too). I bought a CPO P220 for the ex this year as well. As rellascout will happily tell you, neither of the new(er) P220s has a high round count at under 500 each, but so far I'm very pleased with both (with the exception of the short trigger which pinches my finger). My ex is pleased with hers too. None of our pistols has had a single issue with my reloads or three kinds of factory ammunition. No FTFd, FTF or FTE. This morning I installed Meprolight/Trijicon night sights on the Carry using the SIG (MGW) sight installation tool (couldn't get much easier). And yes, Trijicon front sight, Meprolight rear sight. All three P220s have external extractors and I'm sure that the Combat and Carry have MIM parts but the ex's Equinox has a steel trigger so I'm not sure about her model. Anyway, it seems that we're living on the edge and a catastrophic failure is surely imminent! :D

To make things worse, I bought a P239 SAS Gen 2 this month as well ... the horror!!

:)

9mmepiphany
October 14, 2010, 08:01 PM
You're welcome...those are usually the best bet for reliability, balance and looks. I think the new external extractor models are just as reliable, but not as sleek.

My first 220 was an old folded slide model with the older mainspring strut and seat. It has run reliably through thousands of factory duty rounds. I've had it upgraded with the new strut and mainspring boot, action work, beveling and a new sight set.

I do have a pair of CPO 220STs with the internal extractor which I use for teaching. I bought them knowing about possible issues, but I got them for a good price and they have run well over 3-4 thousand rounds (mostly CCI Blazer)...but I wouldn't recommend them as a first choice

WRGADog
October 14, 2010, 10:13 PM
I have a Sig P220 Elite Dark. This is one of my favorite pistols as it is incredibly accurate, reliable, and a joy to shoot. I have put ~500 rounds through the gun without a failure of any kind.

Prion
October 14, 2010, 10:22 PM
My P220 Combat with external extractor has been flawless through several thousand rounds.

In fact, I need to order a couple thousand more bullets to load for it.

Jeff_Johnson
October 15, 2010, 12:28 AM
Prion-

When did you Purchase your P220 Combat? I bought mine in December of Last year, and It has the Internal Extractor, it has also preformed flawlessly, and I have over 2K rounds through it, I was just wondering when they made the switch to the external extractor

1858
October 15, 2010, 12:37 AM
Jeff_Johnson, I'm not Prion obviously, but I bought my P220 Combat TB with an external extractor about three months ago. The G 513 221 serial number puts the build date somewhere between April and June 2010. See manufacture dates HERE (http://sigforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/430601935/m/467100822).

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/pistols/sig_p220/photos/p220_combat_omega.jpg

:)

Jeff_Johnson
October 15, 2010, 01:34 AM
1858-

Thanks! Looks like mine was anywhere between late 07 to early 08, Which isn't surprising, I got it from a little store in Montana, they probably sat on it for a while before I picked it up!

Also, I am diggin the Grips! I've got them on my P220 Combat! Between my P220 Combat, my Glock 21 SF, and my S&W329PD; the P220 is my favorite. I've been thinking about a set of the Crimson Trace Grips, but I'm not sure if they are worth it.

Prion
October 15, 2010, 12:36 PM
I picked mine up Dec of '09. It is undoubtedly my favorite handgun.

It wears standard black Sig grips but I'm thinking about some black G-10's.

I also own a P226 Combat that I bought a couple of months after the P220.

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