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Afraid of the Sig P220

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by schmeky, Oct 13, 2010.

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  1. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    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.
     
  2. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    You would have needed to drift the rear sight 0.06" to correct the zero.

    Where's the beef?
     
  3. bluto

    bluto Member

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    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.
     
  4. Jeff_Johnson

    Jeff_Johnson Member

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    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.
     
  5. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. JR47

    JR47 Member

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    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.
     
  7. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    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.
     
  8. bluto

    bluto Member

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    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:

    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
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  9. Jeff_Johnson

    Jeff_Johnson Member

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    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.
     
  10. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    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. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  11. bluto

    bluto Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  12. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    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:
     
  13. bluto

    bluto Member

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    Glad to hear it. Read my edit on my last post.
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    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
     
  15. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    9mmephiphany,

    That's the kind of info I was looking for.
     
  17. m500'92

    m500'92 Member

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    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.
     
  18. Jeff_Johnson

    Jeff_Johnson Member

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    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.
     
  19. MK11

    MK11 Member

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    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.
     
  20. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Sorry for YOUR discontent of the SIG P220 - but

    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~!
     
  22. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    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. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  23. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    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
     
  24. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Yep, the cost of the ammunition and the magazine loading would seem to be the prohibitive elements. :eek:
     
  25. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    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.
     
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