Failure to fire with S&W Shield, Remington ammo


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DeadMoneyDrew
June 2, 2013, 10:49 PM
Hey all,

Today at my range I decided to rent the S&W Shield in 9mm and give it a spin. On about the 4th or 5th magazine, I experienced a failure to fire. I was shooting Remington 115gr rounds.

It happened in the middle of the magazine, like:
Bang
Bang
Bang
Click

ehh....what?

I dropped the magazine and cleared the round. I don't remember if I squeezed the trigger a second time or not.

The range officer called it a "light strike" and said that it was okay to attempt to fire the round again. I decided not to, though, since I was a bit jumpy after hearing a click when I expected a bang.

From a quick search I see that it is not uncommon for the firing pin to not strike the casing hard enough to ignite the primer. Is that what happened here? OK to actually fire this round?

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k57/anerney/online/20130602_221522_zps61eb2951.jpg

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k57/anerney/online/20130602_221409_zpsf7db8368.jpg

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k57/anerney/online/20130602_221344_zps25aacb75.jpg

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OilyPablo
June 2, 2013, 10:57 PM
How thoroughly do they clean their rentals? How many round through the gun total?

DeadMoneyDrew
June 2, 2013, 11:03 PM
In all honesty I don't have much idea on either one of those questions. I'm still fairly new to handgun shooting (6 months or so).

The range seems to be well run and overall well maintained. The gun itself looked to be in good shape, although the magazine looked to have seen a lot of action.

JRadice45
June 2, 2013, 11:06 PM
Looks like the firing pin strike is way off center. Initial guess would be the slide was not in full lockup when the striker let go. What did the fired cases look like?

OilyPablo
June 2, 2013, 11:15 PM
It could be the firing pin sliding contact areas are full of foulness.

DeadMoneyDrew
June 2, 2013, 11:30 PM
Looks like the firing pin strike is way off center. Initial guess would be the slide was not in full lockup when the striker let go. What did the fired cases look like?
good question. Unfortunately I didn't think to save any of the casings from the good rounds. I fired a hundred rounds through this gun, and 99 of them fired with no problem.

Miata Mike
June 2, 2013, 11:36 PM
The primer might not have been fully seated and the first strike seated it properly. Second strike might have actually fired. It does look very off center strike like someone else had noted.

Gtscotty
June 2, 2013, 11:50 PM
Looks like the firing pin strike is way off center. Initial guess would be the slide was not in full lockup when the striker let go. What did the fired cases look like?

That was my first thought too. I have the .40 version, and the pin strikes are pretty much in the center of the primer. Maybe an out of spec round or grungy gun?

Safetychain
June 3, 2013, 12:32 AM
That is a very light strike. Over the years, I've seen a lot stronger hits that didn't fire the primer. I always keep the gun pointing down range for a few seconds, some say 30, I do it for maybe 5, to assure its not a hang fire which isn't the same as a light strike. And light strikes do not cause a hang fire, or so I've been told. I never hesitate to try the shell again. Three possible causes of this:

1. Mechanical problem with gun - broken or weak hammer/striker spring, broken firing pin, or breach face firing pin hole getting hammered to the point of closing down on the firing pin hole. springs and pins though rare can go any time, any gun but when it happens, doesn't get better till replaced. The potmetal guns like my old .25 Phoenix gets the firing pin hole closed up all the time. I'm saving it for the next buy back.

2. As stated above and likely problem with the rental Shield is it just needs a good cleaning. The usual cleaning this type of gun's firing pin gets is a drop of oil. It doesn't usually need any more. This one needs a squirt down with brake cleaner or a similar product and blown out with an air-gun.

3. Another likely possibly for your situation is a high primer. I've had experience with this and very light strikes result from this. My progressive press used to get a little out of adjustment and would start leaving high primers. Now that I've retired with a little more time, I have gone back to hand priming and a Lyman turret press which solved this problem. With high primers the first strike on the primer usually seats the primer and the second hit will fire it. Typical gunstore/range ammo provided for rental guns is commercial reloads. I can't imagine that a commercial reloader has the same quality equipment that Remington, Winchester, etc would use. I've even had an occasional high primer in "good" ammo show up, such that a Ruger Super Red Hawk 44 Mag cylinder wouldn't close. This was 15 or so years ago when I first got it and bought several boxes of brand name to start building up my supply of 44 Mag brass. I don't buy commercial any more except for my carry ammo.

Don't hesitate to ask the forum questions. Most know a whole lot more than I do and there are a slight few that will come across a little heavy handed and make you feel like an idiot (they might think you are a troll). There are no stupid questions, only stupid people that won't ask questions and then do something really stupid that hurts themselves, their guns or the whole gun community.

breakingcontact
June 3, 2013, 02:44 AM
I'm in to follow this. Would like to see some other shell casings.

I had an LC9 that would do this with Remington and S&B ammo.

How about checking the striker channel to make sure it doesn't have debris in it. Also, make sure it ISN'T oiled (it slows down the striker/attracts debris).

wally
June 3, 2013, 07:35 AM
I'd be more worried about the off-centered aspect of it as unless all the fired rounds showed strikes that far off center and the empties otherwise looked normal.

I'd have at least tried to chamber the round again to see if it was out of spec and thus preventing full battery, or the gun is is serious need of some cleaning and maintenance (not uncommon with range rentals).

460Kodiak
June 3, 2013, 09:14 AM
Looks like the firing pin strike is way off center.

Yep, that isn't right. Why did it happen? Not sure.

Why didn't it fire? Hard primer or soft strike. I'd guess soft strike myself.

Did you wait the customary time needed? Hang fires can and do happen.

Taurus 617 CCW
June 3, 2013, 09:48 AM
My best guess for the off center strike is a worn out recoil spring with lots of carbon slowing the slide travel down.

wally
June 3, 2013, 10:03 AM
Why didn't it fire? Hard primer or soft strike. I'd guess soft strike myself.

That far off center there is no "anvil" on the other side of the primer compound to pinch against and cause ignition. Look at a virgin primer from a reloader, off center all you have between the priming compound and the case is air or the tripod legs for the anvil.

If its as far out of battery as it would appear based on the strike location, be happy it didn't fire.

A lot of design effort goes into in to try and insure a gun will not fire if out of battery -- but nothing is 100% foolproof against wear and/or poor maintenance.

JRadice45
June 3, 2013, 12:19 PM
DMDrew, If you could - can you see about getting a picture of the pistols breechface? I have seen firing pin/striker holes mislocated before causing off center hits - but usually they are not that far off center to cause misfires. The general state of maintenance on this particular pistol would tell you alot as well. dirty, little or no oil, weak or worn recoil spring would all prevent the pistol from returning to battery as it should. If the pistol is clean, lubricated properly, and has recoil springs with some action left to them it would then lead me in the direction of a problem with the slide/striker area.

DeadMoneyDrew
June 3, 2013, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the responses here, guys. I learn a lot about firearms every time I come onto this site.

I didn't think to save any of the other brass for comparison, so I don't know how far off center the strike point on the round that didn't fire was in comparison to the rounds that fired. I'll certainly rent the Shield again, and I'll be sure to save a couple of the brass. That might take a couple weeks, though, since I'm pretty busy at work at the moment.

DMDrew, If you could - can you see about getting a picture of the pistols breechface? I have seen firing pin/striker holes mislocated before causing off center hits - but usually they are not that far off center to cause misfires.

Unfortunately it won't be possible for me to take pictures without causing problems with the range. They have a strict "no camera and no cellphone" policy. What I'll do is rent the gun again and then ask if it is okay to do a field strip; I would want to do that anyway since I am shopping for a carry gun. I'll see if I can strip it and then look for any signs of wear or lack of cleaning.

Nothing about this gun jumped out at me as improperly maintained, though I am still fairly new to pistols. It didn't appear dirty and I didn't get any more fouling on my hands than normal. It is a very popular rental gun and sees quite a bit of use, since it is rented out just about every time I go to the range.

wally
June 4, 2013, 07:47 PM
It didn't appear dirty and I didn't get any more fouling on my hands than normal.

The stuff that gets on your hands will never be a problem, and I'm sure the gun gets at least an external wipe down after every rental. Its the stuff that builds up under the extractor and in other nooks and crannies that can be hard to see and will eventually cause problems.

DeadMoneyDrew
June 7, 2013, 09:56 PM
Well folks, I took an impromptu trip to the range today, and the Shield 9mm was available so I rented it again. This time I had no problems with it. I had the range officer show me how to field strip it and he did so, although he wouldn't strip it down enough for me to examine the firing pin. He told me that the rental guns get cleaned about once a week, or more if they get rented frequently.

There was no noticeable buildup of gunk on the rails or anywhere else, just the typical fouling from me putting 100 rounds through it. The recoil spring appeared to have a fair amount of life left to it.

I also saved some random casings as some had asked about the pin strike on the other casings in comparison to the one shown in the original post:

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k57/anerney/online/20130607_214714_zpsc91b4798.jpg

Nothing looks out of the ordinary.

I suppose the true cause of this misfire will forever remain a mystery.

JDGray
June 7, 2013, 11:07 PM
It almost had to be out of battery for the light strike....

The Lone Haranguer
June 8, 2013, 06:17 AM
I think the slide was just a little bit out of battery on that one round. It could have been oversized and not fit in the chamber to start with, or there was a buildup of "crud" in the chamber shoulder or under the extractor. Since I keep my guns cleaner than that range rental I don't believe I would sweat it. This little gun intrigues me. I had a chance to handle one at a gun show a few months ago but wasn't willing to pay the asking price, a good $100 over list. :rolleyes: (It was an out-of-area dealer.)

Certaindeaf
June 8, 2013, 06:33 AM
So that was a rental gun? They'll have issues and then be fixed so they can be rented out again.
The reason that gun didn't.. yea, that first pic something was pretty wrong.

DeadMoneyDrew
June 8, 2013, 08:57 AM
I think the slide was just a little bit out of battery on that one round. It could have been oversized and not fit in the chamber to start with, or there was a buildup of "crud" in the chamber shoulder or under the extractor. Since I keep my guns cleaner than that range rental I don't believe I would sweat it. This little gun intrigues me. I had a chance to handle one at a gun show a few months ago but wasn't willing to pay the asking price, a good $100 over list. :rolleyes: (It was an out-of-area dealer.)
I like this gun. It fits my hand well and is pretty easy to handle. The thing is light as a feather, too.

Cokeman
June 9, 2013, 02:39 AM
It almost had to be out of battery for the light strike....

I think the slide was just a little bit out of battery on that one round. It could have been oversized and not fit in the chamber to start with, or there was a buildup of "crud" in the chamber shoulder or under the extractor. Since I keep my guns cleaner than that range rental I don't believe I would sweat it. This little gun intrigues me. I had a chance to handle one at a gun show a few months ago but wasn't willing to pay the asking price, a good $100 over list. :rolleyes: (It was an out-of-area dealer.)

This is my guess.

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