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Desert Eagle 44, But HOW do I get it to Cycle?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Huntolive, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Huntolive

    Huntolive Member

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    Hey guys a few months ago I bought a used Desert Eagle 44 that appeared to be in great condition they had also recently been cerakoted.
    Anyway it's cycles like crap which is to say it doesn't cycle.
    I have to manually pull the slide back between almost every shot and it also ejects the shells back at my chest or neck sometimes so at least it does eject the shells after it fires every round.
    Also it never picks up the last bullet from the mag.
    The guy got it from said that it would need to be shot a little to smooth out the cerecoated finish.

    I could really use some help here before I give up.
     
  2. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Not cycling and hitting you in the chest with brass? Definitely limp-wristing, which Desert Eagles don't tolerate at all.
     
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  3. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    A firm grip and stout loads. Takes a bit of force to get all that bulk moving. A friend of mine had a 44 mag d.e. that would only run under the very best of circumstances, but if everything was right (clean gun, strong ammo and a firm grip) it would run about 95% reliable . if this is indeed a cerakote issue you should be able to feel excessive resistance drawing back the slide. But if the guy you got it from says it'll need one thing or another to run right, he knew something was goofy and was dumping off on you.
     
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  4. 94045

    94045 Member

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    Sounds like you are letting your elbows flex when firing. Every bit of motion you allow the pistol to make when firing is energy that didn't go into cycling the pistol.

    If you fire it like a .500 Linebaugh I can guarantee it won't cycle.
     
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  5. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Limp wristing.
    Low power loads.
    Dirty gun - Has it been disassembled down to taking the bolt out and cleaned thoroughly?
    Recoil springs worn - The gun will usually cycle but not fully return to battery... not what you described.
    Gas port in barrel blocked from shooting it with lead bullets - run a steady stream of water through the gas cylinder on the barrel, you should see a steady stream of water coming from the gas port inside the barrel.
    Undersized piston or over sized gas cylinder - a slightly larger piston will redirect more gas energy into the slide for a stronger cycle.

    Where the frame rails and internal rails on the slide cerakoted? That could cause cycling problems. If you remove the recoil springs and reassemble without them does the slide cycle smoothly? Some times a touch of metal polish like Flitz on the rails then cycling the action by hand a hundred or so times will loosen it up if you have binding due to Cerakote buildup... but don't over do it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  6. Huntolive

    Huntolive Member

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    Wow so if everything is perfect I get 95% reliability that sounds like a gun I don't want to have...
    I have heard the 50ae please cycle better is that true?
    What 44 mag ammo do you suggest I use?

    Are you suggesting I should lock my elbows w my arms fully extended when I shoot it?

    The only thing that's good about it is it is accurate
     
  7. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    Lock your elbows and shoot jacketed ammo rated at least 1200 FPS.
     
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  8. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    A friend of mine had a 44mag DE and like mentioned it takes a stout load to get it to cycle. He reloads and I can't even begin to quote his load data, but his reloads were 100% reliable most factory loads he shot were not.
     
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  9. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    That is one person's experience, nothing more.

    I have a Mk VII .44 now, had a Mk XIX .50 before. Neither had/have reliability issues with me, nor did any other example I have fired, but inexperienced shooters or those with poor control of the weapons experienced myriad malfunctions.

    If you're having difficulty with a .44, a .50 is gonna be worse. They have a lot more recoil.

    You have to handle these guns, you can't treat them like a typical short recoil autoloader in a standard auto pistol chambering. The reason my first reply stated unequivocally that it's your recoil management is because of where you say the ejected brass is hitting you; the only way the brass will hit your neck and chest is that you're allowing the gun to twist significantly under recoil. This is a classic problem for people who are new to the Desert Eagle.

    Also, do not teacup the grip. If you put pressure on the magazine base plate, you will have malfunctions.
     
  10. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    I have a Desert Eagle in .44 Mag. It requires fairly hot ammo, but I've reduced the charge from near-max published data by 3-4 grains with the powder (can't remember which) I was using with no problems cycling.

    That said - and as others have said - if you don't control your Desert Eagle, it will control you. I have let other people shoot mine and it usually results in a jam (and I always try to explain how to make the gun work).
     
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Huntolive

    A buddy of mine had one in .44 Magnum and he never had any problems with it as long as he stuck with jacketed bullets and fairly stout handloads (even though with reloading it was getting to be a bit of an expensive propostion).

    As other's have said already just get a solid, two-handed grip on it, lock your elbows, and it can be a really fun gun to shoot!
     
  12. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Using a GI Joe, Kung Fu grip is mandatory.

    Stout, proper Magnum loadings is mandatory.

    But.

    Before I got too worried, I'd disassemble, popping the barrel and with the tension released from the springs, note the slide-frame interface. I've dealt with a couple of plated and coated D.E.s that had their functioning queered by excessively applied aftermarket finishes.

    This, to an already notoriously finicky pistol.

    Todd.
     
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  13. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    I have a friend who owns a MK I in .44 mag, he bought it new back in 1987ish as I recall. The instructions stated to fire full power 240gr jacketed ammo. The gun ran flawlessly on IMI 240 JHP and with IMI 180 gr it ran, but sluggish. Since your gun is Cerakoted I would check the gas system components and make sure the coating isn't interfering somehow. I would find out what generation your DE is and find out what ammo is recommended, I strongly suspect that all the gens run best on full power standard bullet weight loads for each cartridge.
     
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  14. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I have the Desert Eagle L5 which is the light weight Desert Eagle with a 5" barrel. The L5 is more finicky than the full size DE. I get pretty much 100% reliability once I worked up .44 mag loads and .50ae loads that it liked. The off the shelf ammo was always very reliable for me... I think I had Hornady 300gr JHP for .50ae.

    Lock your arms but more importantly lock your wrists. The flexing of your wrists while the pistol is recoiling is referred to as "limp wristing". When you "limp wrist" the recoil of the pistol goes into bending your wrists instead of actuating the slide.

    .44 mag has been equally reliable to .50 ae once I worked up a load for both of them. I use reloads because it is much more affordable to load my own ammo for these big cartridges... not because I had issues with off the shelf ammo. It took some tries before I got my reloads to be as reliable as the off the shelf Hornady ammo. When I was working up loads for my DE the shape and OAL of the bullet made more of a difference than the powder charge. Round nose bullets feed best for me. Your problem with failure to extract should not be related to bullet shape though. Bullet shape affected my failure to return to battery.

    The biggest problem I have had with my L5 is it started to fail to return to battery after several thousands rounds. Replacing the recoil springs fixed this issue.

    I am sure you know that you should not shoot lead bullets in your DE.
     
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  15. sequins

    sequins Member

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    Did he clog the gas tube and unload it on you after the fact? That's the first thing I'd che k if your grip is good and you're shooting full power loads.
     
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  16. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    The Desert Eagle uses a direct impingement gas system, so the slide is not actuated by recoil. But the gas impulse only starts the cycling, momentum of the slide against inertia of the pistol does the rest. When you like wrist, you reduce the inertia, and the rebound of the slide + energy stored in the recoil springs which strips a round from the mag and returns the slide to battery is less than it needs to be.
     
  17. Japle

    Japle Member

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    I have a DE .44 and, once I got the loads cranked up (it takes hot loads to cycle these guns) the gun shot 100%. I have loads with 180, 240 and 265 gr bullets and all work well.
     
  18. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Reminds me of one time I was at the range and the guy next to me had a DE .50. was having problems and asked me what I thought.
    I looked at it and said not sure but it looks like it could use a couple drops of oil. (completely dry as far as I could tell)
    A couple drops of oil and I shoot a whole mag without issue.

    I guess I didn't know they were hard to shoot right.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  19. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    They're not, but you can't handle them like a service pistol and expect good results any more than you would find driving a Viper enjoyable if you expect it to behave like a Camry. Higher performance machines just require a more attentive & capable user.
     
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  20. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I have owned a Beretta 92 INOX for 25+ years now. It has always been completely reliable and shoots ammo that other guns just won't. A few months back I took a friend from work out because he wanted to buy a gun for backpacking but didn't have any background with firearms. He could barley get 1 mag through my Beretta 92, more than 75% of the rounds stove piped or other FTF. I have Hogue finger groove grips on my Beretta which adds a pretty good bit of girth to the already pretty chunky grip. He just could not get his hand around the grip enough to hang onto it well so he didn't have good control of the firearm. I shot a mag with 100% reliability exactly like I expect from my Beretta.

    A Desert Eagle has a very big grip. I suspect that if you have a shorter hand you are going to need a lot more grip strength to shoot the Desert Eagle well / reliably than I need with my very long hands.

    He ended up purchasing an XD mod 2 compact in .45 acp which he is extremely happy with (identical to my XD mod 2 .45 compact that he shot very well). He shot the smaller lighter gun with a more powerful round (pretty hot Golddot hand loads) much better than the heavier larger gun with pretty wimpy target loads.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  21. Huntolive

    Huntolive Member

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    I am shooting full power loads 240 grain focacci well over 1200 feet per second.
    Someone suggested I try Winchester 240 grain white box.
    Someone mentioned to use jacketed ammo and I hope they did not mean fully jacketed as I hope to hunt with this if I ever get it worked out.
    I hunt with big bore revolvers so I'm used to much more powerful recoil than this in fact I felt hardly any recoil whatsoever from the desert eagle.
    But with my 454 Casull 44 magnum and 357 revolvers I don't usually lock my elbows completely and there's no issue I guess because their revolvers.
    I'll start by switching ammo and then locking my elbows and wrists
     
  22. Koroner

    Koroner Member

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    I love my "baby eagles" in 9 and .40 so don't get me wrong about IMI (and I have a galil for the apocalypse).

    A friend has a Desert Eagle in .44 that I got 100% reliability out of. But, and apparently there are other owners on this thread, I'll ask you the same question I asked him; WHY????

    To me it is a boat anchor. For the same weight I have carbines.

    Please don't tell me the "cool factor". Every time some idiot actor pulls one out in a movie I gotta face palm.
     
  23. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Since you shoot big bore revolvers I would tend to guess that you are not limp wristing the DE. If you shoot a couple of shots concentrating on locking your wrists tight and it doesn't solve your problem I would guess it is safe to dismiss this as the problem. I doubt not locking your elbows is causing a problem in my experience it is usually the wrist flexing that is the issue. (From your first post we couldn't tell if you were an experienced shooter or a newb).

    I would expect both the 240 Focacci and 240 Winchester to cycle the DE properly. I would definitely try at least two different brands of ammo as a test.

    The bullets just need to be jacketed where they contact the rifling in the barrel so lead doesn't get shaved off and plug the gas port inside the barrel. Softpoints should be just fine. I have some Speer hollow points that I use that work great.

    If you assemble the gun without the recoil springs does everything feel like it slides pretty smoothly?

    Take the barrel out. Run a steady stream of water from the kitchen sink into the gas cylinder on the bottom of the barrel. When you look through the barrel you should see a tiny steady stream of water coming out the gas port inside the barrel (i.e. A little water fountain within the barrel). If you don't I would suspect a plugged or restricted gas port.

    I have heard of guys that have purchased non-functioning DE and gotten them to function by removing the bolt from the slide and cleaning out years worth of built up powder fouling. I wouldn't expect this to be a problem with your DE since it was freshly Cerakoted. It should have been completely disassembled and thoroughly cleaned as part of the coating process.

    There is a pretty good Desert eagle Yahoo chat group. I recall one of the guys on there had a DE that just wouldn't cycle properly no matter what he did... but he had a couple other DE's that never had any issues. He found that the gas cylinder on the barrel was a bit larger than his other DE's. He ended up making an over sized piston and all his problems went away. There was just a slight bit too much gap between gas cylinder and gas piston. I am not sure how to test this other than trying the piston and barrel from a different DE that functions properly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  24. Huntolive

    Huntolive Member

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    Thanks for all your suggestions.

    As to Why a DE?

    For me Accuracy. And overall Potential.

    If I'm hunting I don't care much how heavy it is, I would take a rifle or other pistol if hiking far, but many places I don't walk more than 50 yards.

    The downside is the notorious finnick annus that has turned out to be a reality.

    I'm not giving up yet, and the seller has offered to polish it internally & invited me to his range and workshop he is a retired Navy armorer. He says it worked fine for him with handloads but that he occasionally had to push the rail with his finger to get it to go into full battery after it was cerekoated, he thinks that will change simply by shooting it more I don't want to spend $100 on AMO getting frustrated
     
  25. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    Keep after it. These pistols are capable of real hunting accuracy.
    The DE is probably the most devisive gun around. Love it or hate it with no in-between.
    I've been lucky I guess, as all of my DEs have functioned from day one. All bought used.

    Can't afford factory so my .44 reload is, 23.5 grs. H110 under 240gr. SPs with a gentle taper crimp.
    The load is accurate in all my .44 DEs as well as a Ruger carbine with no set back.
    Never got the same accuracy with 2400 or 4227 in the DE, and H110 in a 6" barrel has a bit of flash (to say the least!)
    so I shoot the 10" barrels almost exclusively. I have Millet sights on all of mine - all calibers and barrel lengths except the 429?
    and the Bain & Davis.
    de3 - 10.jpg
    MUCH less muzzle flash.
    And they carry (for short trips LOL!)nicely in the Gould &Goodrich skeleton holster.
    de holsters.jpg
    The .440 and .50 will wear out springs, the 44 not so much.

    I agree that the .44 chambering requires keeping the wrists locked, but disagree that the arms need to be locked. I shoot from field positions all
    the time without locked arms.
    The whole limp wrist/brass to the face thing with the .44 in particular is what I've always called 'the Israeli learning curve - short and to the point'.
    The .357 can be shot from the hip and the .41 does not require the same grip as a .44. Never been hit with a case from either of those calibers.

    Can't say I have seen a cera-coated gun before, so don't know if you should get it off the rails or not, I probably would.
    I have always used canned air and and two earplugs to test the condition of the gas system where shooting is not an option.

    As to the last round not feeding. The DE manual requires the magazine to hang free with no upward motion from the support hand.
    Because I prefer shooting with my support hand slightly cupping my gun hand,
    I went to the hardware store and picked up a selection of 1 1/2" dia. rubber 'O' rings in varying thicknesses.
    All of my DE magazines wear one of these (diameter matched to the caliber) and feeding is flawless.
    Just requires loading the gun open or giving the mag a smack when seating it with the slide forward.
    Here is a pic of one on the magazine of this conversion kit.
    de conv. 1.jpg

    The pistol is worth messing with a bit.
    Hope you keep us updated. JT
     
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