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Goodbye Taurus, Hello Witness...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MacTech, Oct 5, 2008.

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  1. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    My Taurus PT-99AF was beginning to annoy me, over the past couple range trips, it had been stovepiping on me, and it had inconsistent groups beyond 7 yards, one mag I'd group under 2", another mag, I'd group 3-5", even when braced against a target stand, yesterday it had a rolled brass misfeed, as well as 3 stovepipes out of a box of 50, four failures, I had enough of it....

    Today, after going to the range, and shooting some 4-5" groups with my Glock 21 at 50 yards (the pistol range was being used to teach some new shooters, and I wanted to see what the Glock could do on extended ranges anyway), I really started to dislike my PT-99

    So, I stopped off at my gun store and traded the PT-99 for store credit, getting pretty much what I paid for it (only lost about $20 on the deal), and looked around at some inexpensive used pistols

    It came down to either a RIA 1911 .45, felt good in hand, but the sights were pretty indistinct, or a Tanfoglio Witness 9mm, felt *REALLY* good in hand, pointed well, had a nice heft, the rifling was in good condition, and the slide was buttery smooth, the trigger pull was great, nice and crisp in SA, and smooth and steady in DA

    I decided to make the trade, and was out no money, as I had enough store credit for the gun, I found a couple of CZ75 mags as well, and added them to the purchase, now I have 3 15 rounders

    Off to the range to test it out....

    It balanced well in hand, points naturally, the recoil and sound from the Witness is easily half what the Taurus produced, and at both 7 and 15 yards, it puts down great, tight groups, one and two-holers at 7 yards, and 1 inch groups at 15, target reaquisition time is half that of the Taurus

    However, there is a small problem with the gun, it will regularly FTF, unless I slingshot the slide at full force, the nose of the round tends to hang up on the feed ramp, it happens once or twice a mag, I can coax the slide to close by pushing it closed with my thumb, when it does feed, it feeds well, the FTF happens on both hollow point and ball ammo (Federal AmEagle red box, WWB, and Speer Gold Dot)

    I'm thinking that the recoil spring may just be a tad underpowered here, it's just not pushing the rounds in with the force needed, logically, a heavier Wolff recoil spring should fix the problem

    I admit I'm a little annoyed with the FTF's, especially considering the Taurus had no problems feeding, and had the occasional random stovepipe FTE, but it was less accurate than the Witness, and had both a louder report and snappier recoil

    I'd imagine the only thing the Witness will need is a stronger recoil spring, maybe a little polishing of the feed ramp, any reccomendations here

    Hmm, maybe I should have gotten the RIA 1911 instead, but if I did, i'd have a pile of 9mm ammo gathering dust, and I do want to keep shooting 9mm as well as .45, .45's more fun and I shoot it better, but 9mm costs me less to shoot

    besides, I like to tinker with stuff, and my Glock 21 is too bloody reliable, and gives me no good reason to take it apart, the Witness will be my inexpensive little "project gun", I already filled in the dots on the sights with GITD paint, as the white dots in them were wearing out, I have a big bottle of GITD paint, so even if it wears off, I can reapply it

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. floydster

    floydster Member

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    I have a Witness Elite Match in 38 Super, it is an amazing gun, accurate,
    excellent on recoil and so smooth operating, trigger is great, just a fun shooter, I have over 500 rounds thru it so far and runs fine.
    Am going to get one in .40 cal also.
     
  3. Javelin

    Javelin Member

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    Tell us how it goes. I have never shot a Witness. Can I get a Witness.. LOL

    Be safe!

    Javelin
     
  4. Pistol

    Pistol Member

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    Hi Mac
    If I recall that is similar to the CZ line.
    You will find many CZ posts on THR and a nice CZ forum on the net with practical hands on tips.
    You mentioned the spring, that can be one of the few issues and a new one will do the trick. Look at the ramp to be sure the tool marks are gone.
    Check the CZ forums for recoil/mag spring suggestions.
    My CZ75B is fine the way it is, I just smoothed it a tiny bit overall. It is a terrific pistol. You can find links for trigger assembly smoothing too.

    I have found these to be a real sleeper of a product that minor hands on work can give you an outstanding value. Notice the inverted slide rails, like the target guns use and large locking lugs. These just have good "bones"

    My CZ75B has never jammed yet............... and is the most accurate 9mm I have.
     
  5. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    On a whim, I decided to clean my three 15 round mags;

    Mag 1; Tanfoglio mag... follower was absolutely *filthy*, lots of carbon buildup, mag body had dried crud inside it
    Results; still FTF with anything short of a full slingshot

    Mag 2; little buildup of carbon on follower, not bad actually
    Results; better, but still FTF unless fully slingshot

    Mag 3; CZ-75 mag, had "goop" on follower and at the top of the mag body
    Results; better, but once again, still FTF unless fully slingshot

    strangely enough, the gun feeds 100% reliably when using the slide release....

    I still think it's a recoil spring issue, maybe I'll go up to a 15 or 16 LB spring (stock is 14, IIRC)
     
  6. Don357

    Don357 Member

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    Like Pistol said, Check the feed ramp. I have a Witness P Compact .45acp, it does the same thing. The nose of the bullet actually hangs up on the tool marks on the ramp. I have been working on mine a little bit at a time, sanding and polishing the ramp. It's easy to do, just be careful not to change the angle of the ramp or remove to much at the top of the ramp at the chamber. This should correct your FTF. To do it simply use a dremel tool or some extremely fine sand paper and rub the ramp in the direction of bullet travel until the tool marks are gone.
     
  7. neviander

    neviander Member

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    I haven't got to shoot my EM to the point of failure, but as soon as my crossbreed holster arrives, it will be my main carry piece (big, I know) Shoots lovely now though >:D
     
  8. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    Witness feed ramp;
    [​IMG]
    I had to zoom in to 400% to see any machining marks, but they're there, faint, but noticeable, hard to believe that they'd be the cause of the misfeeds

    Pics of the FTF;
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Upon reading the CZ forums, some people have said that the problem fixes itself if the gun is shot enough, the bullets do the polishing themselves, this is an older second-gen Witness, but it looks to be in remarkably good shape, I wonder if the original owner just didn't shoot it enough, and got frustrated with the FTF's and sold it off....
     
  9. Disaster

    Disaster Member

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    That type of FTF is can be caused by several issues.

    1. Inadequate recoil spring. A heavier spring will push the round home harder.
    3. Rough or poorly profiled feed ramp. You will definitely benefit from polishing the feed ramp.
    4. Weak magazine springs. This one can be counterintuitive. You might think a stronger spring would cause more friction and make this problem worse. That might be true but the problem is usually not caused by the friction in the magazine, but at the nose of the feed ramp. Sometimes a weak spring will allow the rounds to point lower, while a stronger spring will push the nose of the round upward as it is stripped from the magazine. With the nose pointing upward the round slides up the feed ramp with ease.
    5. Improper profile on the magazine lips. This is similar to number 4. If the lip doesn't open up enough toward the front edge it can hold the round down.
    6. Friction in the magazine. Again, this has the same result as 4 and 5. This can be caused by a follower with some flash on it, or molded poorly, or just generally some problem with the interface between the magazine and the follower. I've seen magazines that were slightly dented in near the top that caused the follower to bind just enough to cause this issue. You will often find, in cases where the magazine is binding in one area, the problem occuring only in that area. For example it might not feed the first round reliably...or the third...but the others feed fine.
     
  10. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    I second everything Disaster said above.
    Also I would check the slide rails for any burrs or mis-machined spots or crud or metal flakes. Rare on a CZ or Witness but it happens and it can create a ton of drag on those LONG rails when it does.
     
  11. SureThing

    SureThing Member

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    I thoght Witness Mags were different than CZ mags.
     
  12. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    the only difference I can see is the Witness mag has a longer/wider baseplate, the lock holes and follower shape seem to be identical, the gun FTF's with all three mags

    It might actually be the way I'm racking the slide, the Witness slide has less grippable area than the Taurus, so my fingers drag along the frame when I pull back the slide, if i do a slow rack, FTF, if I snap the slide backwards and let it spring forward, it loads fine

    I'll post some more macro pictures of the frame, slide, and mags tonight after work, I'll also pick up some automotive sandpaper in 1000 and 2000 grit (I can also use it to get my knives beyond Scary-Sharp)
     
  13. CZF

    CZF Member

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    Ya. DON"T Baby the slide. Pull it firmly back and release it.

    You could have a wek recoil spring. How you the gun eject?
    If you are getting some orbital ejection, then the spring could be the problem.

    Wolff #16 should be fine.

    I think that after you get it running right.

    WE will have another CZ convert.

    Most who buy a Witness usually wind up with the
    real deal Cee-Zed.

    On the other hand....

    Those who buy CZs do usually like the design so very much, that
    they buy the equally fantastic Witness pistols.

    Don't be surprised if there is a CZ or Witness 10mm/38 super, or even .45 ACP in your near future.

    Bet of luck getting your 9mm running.

    Stoic design at a good value in an accurate and economical caliber!
    [​IMG]
    Enjoy! We would appreciate your membership.

    10,000 members and growing each day.
    There has to be "something' about CZs that people like:)
    http://www.czforumsite.info/index.php?board=27.0
     
  14. SureThing

    SureThing Member

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    Not always true, I sold a CZ SA to buy a Witness....Elite Match that is....
     
  15. sadp40

    sadp40 Member

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    i had a compact 9mm witness

    when i bought it and went to shoot it, she would only work as a single shot. i sent it back and 2 months later when it came back..boy would it shoot, fast and dead on feeding..you know its coming right? right? it was about 12 inches to the right. back it goes month later its back. now it feeds and is relatively accurate. but it dug into my fingers under the triggerguard that it made me bleed. i wanted to like it. traded it for a smith 19-2.
     
  16. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    I'd be lying if i said I wasn't considering just returning the Witness and getting the Rock Island .45 ACP 1911, the lazy part of me wants a gun that just works, no need to tinker with it (that's my Glock 21 in a nutshell), and the Witness's FTF issues are just annoying me the more I think about it, the RIA 1911 would also be essentially free, as the price for both firearms were the same

    but then again, if I *DID* return the Witness and get the RIA 1911....
    1; there's no guarantee that gun wouldn't have FTF or other problems, it might work just fine, it might be the same, it might be even worse
    2; I'd have to adjust to a set of non-replaceable GI style sights, the gunshop said the sights on the RIA were'nt really set up for target shooting, more a SD setup, and the sights are non-replaceable
    3; I'd have a pile of 9mm ammo that'd either end up gathering dust, or would be sold at a loss back to the gunshop
    4; I'd have no "cheap" shooting handgun, as .45 is by my estimates, expensive ammo, fun, Og yes, it's fun, but it's also almost twice the price of 9mm (yes, yes, I know, bulk online purchases are cheaper in the long run....)

    it'd be a waste to return this gun if all it needs is a little polishing of the feed ramp, and/or maybe a stronger set of springs, the gun was for all intents and purposes, free, I got enough store credit on the Taurus to cover the price of the Witness, so any work/tinkering I have to perform or any parts I have to replace are a non-issue

    Plus, it'll get me into minor tinkering/gunsmithing, and that's good, it'll allow me to "bond" with my weapon in a more personal manner, if I spend time and effort tweaking it to my needs, it's almost the antithesis of Glock, Glocks are "appliances", nothing more, they do what they're supposed to do with a minimum of fuss and bother, they're damn good "appliances" too, but they seem so "sterile", they have no "personality" to speak of, the Witness has it's own group of endearing and not-so-endearing quirks

    if I want a "fun gun" for plinking at the range, where the occasional FTF is really a non-issue, nothing more than an annoyance, the Witness is a great choice, if I want a SD gun, in it's current state, the Witness is not the right choice, the right choice for me is my stone-reliable Glock 21, no matter what I feed it, it...just....works

    Hopefully, a little tweaking is all the Witness will need
    I apologize for the length of this little rant, but I just needed to vent/think out loud, I *want* to like the Witness, hopefully it's an easy fix
     
  17. SureThing

    SureThing Member

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    I say get a CZ. .45's are not more fun to shoot than a 9mm and cost a good bit more to shoot.

    I have 2 9's and 1.45.
     
  18. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    UNRELIABLE is no good....

    Back in the early 80's, I had a brand new .25 Seecamp that would jam, even when using the prescribed cartridges.

    After sending it back, they said they "milled the feed ramp" and the gun did the EXACT SAME THING!

    Then, (at the technician's request) I tried all different brands to see if it still happened, and it did -- with every brand -- some worse than others. Basically, the gun was not reliable for 8 shots (or however many it held).

    I ended up selling it and losing my shirt in the process. I know the buyer and found out shortly afterward, s/he ended up somehow breaking the firing pin! I don't remember dry-firing it, so I don't know how the firing pin would have broken.

    When you pay good money and you want reliability and you end up with UNRELIABILITY, it is a sad:eek:, sad:( story. Unfortunately, by the time you find out how UNRELIABLE the weapon is, you have usually put much time and money into shooting, bullets, etc., etc.:cuss:

    Where are these guns made that you folks are complaining about, China?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  19. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Member

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    in my CZ the bullets point upwards slightly... yours look like they're pointing dead foward... so perhaps part of the problem might be the lips of the magazine, or the mag spring not pushing them hard enough into the feed lips. i had a similar problem with my two original mags that came with my gun and found that they just weren't strong enough. the test was loading them up, and slowly pushing the rounds out one by one with my finger from the back like a slide would. the next round down would come up, but wouldn't 'nose up' like my other, stronger sprung mags..... just something to think about. other than that, see disaster's post. :)
     
  20. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    I'm willing to try a little tinkering on the Witness, the gun fits well, feels good in hand, and I love the sheer solidity of it, I've fired Glock 17's and 19's and they're just too snappy for my tastes, they're not bad, but fire a Witness or CZ, then fire a 17/19, it's like night and day, that heavy steel frame really soaks up recoil

    I *DO* want to add a 1911 to my collection, as it's a classic, and the price is right on the RIA, it's just that switching exclusively to the .45 for my handgun plinking would be too bloody expensive, I shoot (what to me is) a lot, generally 50-100 rounds of 9mm and .45, slow fire, taking time to sight in each round, per range trip (usually a trip on Sat, and Sun.), I know that's not a lot compared to others here, but money is tight for me, switching to .45 would cut my trigger time in half, most of my time at the range is spent on the rifle range plinking with my 10/22 or H&R single-shot (200-400 rounds per trip)

    I need a 9mm for cheap pistol plinking, so I'd like to get the Witness up and running, if the feed ramp polishing doesn't work, I may just swap for the RIA 1911 and call it a day
     
  21. Ash

    Ash Member

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    I have CZ's and a Witness. After Katrina, I expected to be using a 75 with 15 rounds of ammo, but when push came to shove, I just plain felt more comfortable with the 10 rounds of 45 in the Witness. In 9mm I would stay with a CZ all day long (though I actually prefer the firing pin block and safety on the Tanfoglio better). In 45, make mine a Tanfoglio (grudgingly a Witness as I really don't like EAA).

    Ash
     
  22. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Looks/Sounds like a mag issue. EAA/Tanfoglio has been known to churn out defective magazines so... Though it sounds like your using magazines that aren't intended for that gun. Get a factory mag or two (or MecGar) and see what happens.

    It could also be a matter of the round not sliding up the breach face under the extractor. That's actually not an uncommon problem on the Witnesses. Check for burrs, and or issues with the extractor.
     
  23. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    I polished the feed ramp, and that has helped quite a bit, ball ammo feeds at least 90% better, HP feeds about 85% better, out of a full 15 round mag, i was getting almost 50% of the rounds FTF, no difference in any of the mags, after the polish job, i would get one or two FTF with ball, 2-3 with HP

    the spring in the Tanf. mag does seem weak, it doesn't "pop" the rounds up as well as my other two mags, stretching the spring slightly helped a little, more of an experiment with that mag, i know stretching the spring is not reccomended

    I also figured out that I was causing a little drag on the slide when I racked it, since the grip serrations at the back of the slide are shorter and less grippable than the Taurus, my fingers tend to drag along the frame when drawing back the slide, and they slide forward a little bit when I release the slide, slowing it down just enough to FTF

    I still think the recoil spring may be worn/weak/underpowered, and at least one of the mags (the Tanf. mag) will require a new spring as well, looks like a Wolff order is in order

    I think this gun has potential, sure I could just take the easy way out and return it and get that RIA 1911 I'm coveting, but it'd be a shame to ditch a rather capable, and nicely accurate 9mm for what are basically consumable items that will need replacing on a regular basis anyway.....

    considering that the hottest rounds I might *OCCASIONALLY* shoot in this gun would be Speer Gold Dot 147 +P's and that the normal rounds I shoot are Federal AmEagle red box, WWB, and WinCleans, what'd be the best weight spring, stock is apparently 14, I was thinking maybe 15 or 16 would have just enough power to reliably feed....
     
  24. Pistol

    Pistol Member

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    Mac, I see you mentioned cleaning the mags. This is very important on a CZ. The whole gun needs a scrubbing to be sure you get the factory oil out, I assume that was done.
    A little ramp touch up and fresh springs if you doubt their condition should do it. This is not a compact and most folks I see on the net have very few issues with these guns. Well worth the small effort. I got my CZ new and have had zero problems.

    I polished the internals on mine too for fun.
    Really nice, accurate 9mm for the range.
     
  25. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    A fired round slides smoothly under the extractor notch in the gun, I don't think it's the extractor

    the possibilities that I'm entertaining are;

    1; the gun is just not broken in, yes it's a 2nd gen model (AE or EA prefix on the serial #, not sure which, the gun's at home and I'm at work), but given the FTF issues with it, it's possible it's previous owner(s) traded out of it rather than try to fix it, maybe it just needs some range time to break it in

    2; it has a underpowered/worn out/weak recoil spring, and the Tanf. mag has a weak spring, maybe the springs were underpowered from the factory?

    3;the gun may just be bad, and seeing as I bought it used, is likely out of warranty, it may require more gunsmithing than the gun is worth

    I do love the accuracy of the gun, and the way the sturdy steel frame soaks up recoil, but I really don't like the lack of decent rear serrations on the gun, they're thin and difficult for my meathooks to grab on to without slipping off, or not pulling the slide back far enough to chamber a round

    thankfully, my gunstore has a 30 day return policy on used firearms, so I have 30 days to figure out if it's something I can fix with minor tweaks

    Polishing the feed ramp definitely helped with ball ammo, and considering that's 98% of what I shoot in 9mm, the gun's fine for that purpose, but I do have a mag loaded with Speer Gold Dot 124Gr standard pressure for SD, and the gun doesn't like HP ammo as much as it does ball, I want it to be able to reliably feed and fire whatever I feed it, I have no need for a "fussy eater"

    I'll hit the range this weekend with a box of WWB from wally-world, and shoot off my mag of GDHP as well, if it works fine with these rounds, it's a keeper, if it's still fussy, I may have to reconsider my options, as that RIA 1911 is still calling my name and wants to come home with me, thing is, I already have a .45, and don't need another, especially one that "only" holds 8 rounds, when my current one holds 13 (or 15 in the mag with the +2 floorplate)
     
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