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New to Open, New 9mm Major Gun, Troubleshooting


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Yesterday, I received my first open firearm from the GS after shooting Limited for about a year. I shot it for the first time last night. I ran into a few hiccups and was wondering if anyone here had some ideas.

** New Gun Info **

It's a 9mm major, STI frame, Modified Caspian slide, Modified STI grip, custom comp, extended ejector, aftec competition extractor, Schumann barrel, standard length firing pin, 11# Wolf variable RS and running Superior Firearms tuned mags with SC insert (omitting other stuff as probably not relivent).

** Load **

Experiementing with various loads but all have 1.170" OAL, mixed previously fire brass, small rifle CCI primers. I'm experimenting with True Blue, Silhouette and autocomp. I wipe down and case gauge all loads. I was not visually inspecting primers, but should have... and am doing so now.

GS had about 250 rounds through it before plating, and another 50 or so after plating. He had some light primer strikes and a few rounds that didn't chamber.

I put another 200 through it last night for the first time.

** Issues **

Of the 200, most fired great but I had several problems:

About 15 rounds had light primer strikes and didn't fire

About 8 rounds kept the gun from going into full battery and didn't quite load into the breach all of the way

1 round blocked the breach and was vertically covering the breach

** Observations **

About 175 of the 200 had no issue and all went bang, so it seems like its close.

The gun is new and tight, so heavily oiled with high performance lube.

I realize some amount of problems can occur until the gun is broken in. I am not quite sure how many rounds it will take before I should no longer expect 'breakin' to be the culprit.

Several of the rounds I loaded had primers that were sticking out slightly too far. When you set the round down on a flat surface, there was some minor amount of wobble as the case was not sitting flush with the horizontal surface.

When the case had wobble, I noticed the primer was canted in the primer hole slightly so that one side was high and one was not.

** Remedies **

I use a Hornady LNL 5-stage progressive press and noticed the primer feeding assembly was dirty and the actuating component that positioned the new primer under the case was not going into full position, thus, when pressure was being applied, the insert pin could cause angled or canted seating. Furthermore, the seating pin on the press has created a small indentation in the press itself, so placed a penny under it to ensure I was getting adequate seating depth.

I have a McLearn extended firing pin on order from SC.

I'm looking for some different primers from local vendors. I would like to try some small rifle Federal and Winchesters.

**Question **

So, what else should I be looking at?

How many rounds in a new Gunsmithed gun do you run in open before you say, the gun is broke in and 'tight new gun' should no longer be the culprit of problems?

I am most concerned about the 8 + 1 rounds that didn't chamber correctly... what should I be looking at to remedy these?

Thank you for any comments and suggestions in advance,

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So far you seemed to have identified several problems and you are fixing them correctly.

You identified high primers and you ordered an extended firing pin--- Excellent so far. Once you identify the down force needed to make sure you seat primers completely, you'll be ok.

Before you attempt any other changes, see how the gun works then. Don't try to make numerous changes all at once. One thing at a time is best.

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Could you post here as well? I am interested in your suggestions.


Sure. Basically what I told Rob was :

Some of the things that can cause the slide from going fully into battery are friction, tight extractor, too light of a recoil spring, a sharp corner on the extractor, not enough crimp on the case (a sharp lip on the case could hang up on the top of the ramp), etc, etc.

I asked him:

What pound recoil spring is in it?

Did the GS polish the feed ramp?

Check the edge of the extractor to see if the corner was rounded..I'll send you a link to an article that tells what to look for:


If the extractor has too much tension, it will make it more difficult for the round to cam up under the head of extractor. As i recall the typical tension on the extractor is around 1 pound 6 to 9 ounces.

Also, on a brand new gun everything is tight and sticky. Sometimes after I build a gun I have to go to a slightly heavier recoil spring for a short time just to get things broke in a little. If Robs' gun has a very light recoil spring like is usually used, this might be causing the occasional problem. Run it with a 10lb or 12lb for a few hundred rounds, then come back and put the lighter spring in it.

If there is any friction anywhere, this could slow down the slide.

Also, the disconnector can slow the slide down and create the problem you describe. If the GS didn't sand out the disconnector tube (the frames are sand blasted before shipping and are rough), the disconnector could be hanging up in the tunnel, causing the slide to slow down.

Also, if you have too much tension on the middle leg of the sear spring, which would make the disconnector harder to push down, this would slow down the slide. Sometimes I've see the hammer strut pushing against the sear spring that would also cause this.

Also, sometimes the top of the disconnector can be rough and cause friction. Polish the hell out of it.

As you see, many things could be causing the issue.


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Assuming "GS" mean the gunsmith that built it for you, I'm surprised he didn't make sure there were no lite-strikes b/4 handing it over to you? Since you mention he encountered light strikes as well.

You want to stick with SRPrimers, or even magnums if you choose. Jim anglin always recommended Federal or Winchester primers to me.

CocoBolo will probably chime in soon about primers as well.

Good luck

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175 out of 200 is 87.5% reliable - that's no where near close to "right", yet ;) Some observations:

- did you ask the GS about the issues? In the end, it's his baby to fix, and you should probably rely on his experience with his builds for the right answers, unless doing so proves fruitless down the road...

- if you have high primers, you can't blame the gun, as you recognize. Definitely take whatever steps you need to take to resolve that issue.

- failure to chamber is quite possibly your ammo, as well - you may have bulged cases, or something to that effect. There's several threads on the forum about dealing w/ bulged 9mm cases that should help. It's possible your chamber's a little tight, too - you'd have to double check with your smith about how to handle that, as well. Ask him how you should be loading ammo for this gun... I'd be curious, though, if the gun would go fully into battery if you tapped the back of the slide? As Darren indicates, a freshly chromed gun can fail to go into battery to some extent due to the added friction, etc.

- CCI primers are a little on the hard side, but the gun should be able to light them off if they're seated appropriately deep, but... what weight mainspring is in the gun? If it's a 15, you probably want to think about bumping it to a 17

- normally, any gun is going to need some rounds put through it right after plating (assuming you mean chrome?) to smooth things out again. 50 rounds just isn't enough, and the additional 175 you put through it helps, but still isn't enough. Normally, 500 is a good number - sometimes it takes more (especially with a brand new, tight gun that's then plated)

- that said, only the "failure to go into battery" issues are typical of a freshly chromed gun...

Also, I'll add to Darren's list of "things that can make a gun not go into battery" - cases that aren't getting fully resized will do it, too, as they allow the bullet to be set back into the case, which robs energy from the recoil spring, which consequently stalls the process of closing the slide...

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Since Rob hasn't posted yet I'll add this...the gunsmith [he used] usually builds 38 supers and hasn't messed with 9major. Due to this, Rob made some rounds and also borrowed 50 rounds from me [to give to the gunsmith for testing].

....I'm wondering if the 50 rounds I made for him ran? I know for a fact that they all case gaged and had well seated primers.


[edited to add the stuff in brackets]

Edited by ExtremeShot
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Argh! :eatdrink:

Way too many suggestions. If you try to do them all your gun will never run right.

High primers will cause light strikes, and may cause failure to chamber fully.

There may be nothing at all wrong with the gun. Do another batch of ammo that has primers seated properly. Chamber check them all in your barrel. Then see if your gun will run on them. Don't make any other changes until you fix your ammo.

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First thing to check Ammo. Case gauge and chamber check each round

Second thing to check mags. Try the mags in a gun you know runs like a top.

Get both of those things in check before you even think about touching the gun.

Third after you are certain you have the other stuff in check. Call gunsmith, let gunsmith do their thing, pick up gun, test fire.

If the gun will still not function properly... Get a new gunsmith.

Edited by OperationHitFactor
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First thing to do is run enough rounds through the gun to break it in. Do not try to correct anything until it is broken in. I think the absolute minimum is 500 rounds on a blued gun or one of the high tech finishes and 1 M on a hard chromed gun. The surface on hard chrome is rough and needs to be worn in. When you get it broken in correct one thing at the time.

Check you ammo with the barrel from your gun. Sometimes case gauges are larger than the actual chamber.

Welcome to the dark side!

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1st, message received. The gun needs broken in, don't do anything but work on the ammo right now - Got it.

Darren, he went through 40 of the 50 you gave me. No light primer strikes on those, but he reported some not chambering all of the way out of that batch. I fired off the balance last night from that batch. I had no light primer strikes and I had no chambering problems with the final 10. I think you used Winchester on those maybe?

On the much larger batch I gave him, he reported that he did not have chambering problems. However, he had "several" light primer strikes. He showed me 6 rounds that he kept which had tiny wobble to them on flat surface, light strike appearent, and visibly could tell some had a small but noticable cant to them. When asked how the others in the batch I gave him went, he said no issues. He gave me all the brass to inspect.

Last night's results are posted above in the original post.

I have racked the slide some 700 times tonight. I also picked up some Federal and Winchester primers. Working on some rounds now to take to indoor range to go through more.

The gunsmith (GS) prefers to use a nickel plating technique he learned from the US Navy, and I like the wear I've seen on several of his guns that are 20+ years old. So went with it.

Everyone, all of the info, detailed responses and wisdom is much appreciated. Thank you.

All the problems aside, I love shooting this thing! I really hope I have a reasonable goal of getting it running good enough for a classifier match on Sunday at PASA.


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I run 4 guns in 9 major, all with the same mags, I also load on a LNL.

First off I use mostly Small Pistol Magnum Primers. With Silhouette and a 124gr CMJ the OAL is 1.165 7.7gr with SPP or 7.5gr w SPM. I do use the Dawson Extended firing pin.

With the lock and load primers are best set with a jab on the up stroke and feel it when it bottoms out. No, I never set off a primer in 100k rounds, thanks for asking.

Since this gun is new there maybe be some assumptions that are not correct like the OAL, back it off .005, to 1.165 or go a bit farther to 1.160. In a standard 9 mm barrel the Zero JHP will only go to 1.145. Anything longer has been head spaced ream. I head space reamed 3 of mine for longer OAL, the 4th my new custom build is so accurate and runs 100% so 1.165 works its not broke don't need fixing.,

During the break in you might consider a 10# recoil spring so you can keep it running long enough to break it in. Only one of my guns will run with an 8* spring and it is nice a lose, the other 3 need atleast a 9# to operate reliably.

Don't even waste your money on magtech small rifle primers they are the hardest primer... Easily recognized they have a D on them. Magtech, CCI, Win SPP or SPM primers all work fine with my preference being the magnums. Win SRP work good as well.

I find that when the Aftec starts to get dirty it will start failing to go in to battery, that is when I take it out and clean the extractor tube. A little too much tension on the AFTEC can cause the same issue, however in your case running a stronger spring for a while will allow it to break in.


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How many rounds in a new Gunsmithed gun do you run in open before you say, the gun is broke in and 'tight new gun' should no longer be the culprit of problems?

Depends on the gunsmith I guess. I picked my 9MAJOR Open gun up from my builder last May and it has been 100% right out of the box. Never an issue.

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Ron, great info there, will keep it all in mind.

I placed a penny under the primer seating pin in the Hornady press (just to eleviate the detent that the pin was creating on the press and ensured that I was seating to maximum potential, just in case). I also cleaned the heck out of the primer pickup channel that allows primer to actuate from the tube to under the shell plate using the Hornady one shot degreaser dry lube.

After loading the new batch of 100, I still had some Federal primers that sticking out just enough (mixed prev fired brass) to get a tiny wobble when setting the round on a flat surface... That puzzled me as I know, for sure that the primers are seating all the way. I even spent time cleaning out some primer pockets on various differnt types of brass to see if that made any different, it did not. Still got some slight amount of primer sticking out that would cause the smallest of wobble when setting the round on a flat surface, primer down. So I was concerned, but I confirmed no canted primers on this batch.

I wiped all down. I case gauged and checked them all against breach. Everything looked good. (except that primers were slightly high still when placed on flat surface, even though by visual inspection they looked good)

HUGE thanks to Lee Edwards over at PASA for recommending that I rack the &*^% out the slide before firing it again... I literally racked the slide 900 times tonight. (yeah, I counted.) I figured it could only help and better than going through 900 rounds of ammo just to break in.

With an hour left before closing, I also picked up one box of Federal loads at the range. Just to have a factory comparison. All 50 ran of those ran. All 50 went bang, all 50 chambered.

Next I loaded up my new batch of 100 with Federal primers. Great news - EVERYTHING chambered, everything went bang! Was it the press cleaning, the federal primers, the dry racking of the slide almost 1000 times... all the above... don't know for sure, but it ran. I was grinning ear to ear at the range!

I will continue to run it nightly and observe performance as another 150 rounds is not enough to build confidence, but it was a welcomed positive sign tonight.


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Argh! :eatdrink:

Way too many suggestions. If you try to do them all your gun will never run right.

High primers will cause light strikes, and may cause failure to chamber fully.

There may be nothing at all wrong with the gun. Do another batch of ammo that has primers seated properly. Chamber check them all in your barrel. Then see if your gun will run on them. Don't make any other changes until you fix your ammo.

I'm with this guy. Him smaht.

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Are you missing the Brass with Crimped primer pockets? You can force a primer into them but its ugly!

Be sure to keep an eye on those federal primers, if you start to see primer flow, STOP USING THEM, this will erode your slide, and you will be getting that empty wallet feeling.

Win is the next hardness in primers, I use the SPM win all the time work very well.

GET THE Extended firing pin, its like a spare tire, if not needed no problem but if needed great you got it.

Great to hear you are making progress.


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If primers are not seated all the way, a lot of the firing pin strike is used to seat the primer and then you end up with a light strike. I'd recommend sticking with the small rifle primers, a long time ago I had a CMC (STI) with all titanium parts in the ignition system and the only rifle primers it would not work with were the Remington 7 1/2 Match primers. They were/are really hard.

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Just following up.

I put another 150 rounds through it before the weekend with no issues, all using Federal primers. Again, everything went bang.

The extended firing pin arrived, but I could not get the firing pin stop off with the punches I had. After thinking about it, and it being the day before the steel match, I said to heck with it. The gun was running with the Federal primers, so why risk a change before it's first outing?

I cleaned the gun and shot it at Steel challenge on Sat and classifier match at PASA on Sunday. I'm happy to report that the rounds and gun worked great. One of my mags did something odd... and strong hand / weak hand only with Dot may be a new skill I need to practice... but had no problems with the gun.

Now, I'm not sure if I should put the extended firing pin in, or just run it.

PS... If interested,

A. the mag problem was that the spring stayed compressed and no rounds were chambering. The spring binded or got caught somehow. I'm using Superior firearms tuned mags (bead blasted custom sti tube, grams springs and followers DP 1+ basepads and Shooter's connection insert).

B. the draw to dot was new in competition, but I'm getting the hang of it. The freestyle reload and switch to strong hand or freestyle and switch to weak hand is causing me some time loss. I'm losing the dot when switching to a single hand. I'm going to look around for tips on that next.

C. On the classifier, if I can trust the online calculators, it looks like I'll start as a C in Open. I shot

1. Razor's Edge, C

2. Cracker Jack, D (dropped shots)

3. Easy Street, B

4. High Standards, C (had one weak hand make-up shot in Virginia Count as lost the dot for sec)

5. Payne's Pain, D (mag spring locked, caused feeding issue, extra reload, lost time)

6. Night Moves, C (draw finding dot got me, weak hand finding dot really slowed me again)

Thanks for all the help everyone,

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Glad you have fixed your problem.

I would not switch firing pins. The extended pin does nothing you need.

I disagree. I had primer flow issues before using the extended firing pin. After putting one in the problem went away. Others have reported on the benefits of the extended pin. I've seen them first hand.


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