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Browning Challenger Iii Not Igniting Rounds


Bill Schwab

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I have a friend's Browning Challenger III, serial # 655PX169XX, that is having some issues. Judging from the serial #, this beauty was made in 1983, the first year for the Challenger III's. The gun is in excellent condition, it appears as though it was a safe queen. It has a 5 1/2" barrel.

With two different brand of ammo (Federal high velocity hollowpoints and Remington standard velocity) the gun will ignite the first round, eject it and feed the next round into the chamber, however after that the trigger does not reset to allow the hammer to fall on that next round (I'm not sure if the hammer is not being cocked or if the trigger is not resetting). By then pulling the slide back, ejecting the live round and feeding in a new round, a pull of the trigger results in ignition of that round, but then the next round that is fed in will result in the inability to fire it. Bottom line: the gun does not reset the trigger after firing a live round, but it does reset it after manually pulling the slide back.

Visibly nothing appears broken or out of whack. I also checked all the screws, they were tight. The slide is not unusually hard to pull back, it's a nice smooth travel with no binding. I have not disassebled the gun yet; first I wanted to know if this is an obvious diagnosable (new word?) failure. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.

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How are you holding it, two hands or one? Sounds to be short stroking. If using two hands, it's possible to lightly riding the slide, therefore causing the short stroke.

I've tried it freestyle, SHO & WHO. And other's has fired it with the same results (both righties and lefties if that matters). I thought perhaps it was short stroking too, so I tried to watch the slide as I fired it (I know that's tough to do, but I'm desperate) and everything seems fine (menaing it looks like the slide is going all the way rearward). I also thought maybe the recoil spring was stiff causing it to short stroke, but the gun was built in 1983 and I don't think it's ever been taken apart so chances are the spring is weak if anything. Also I tried high velocity ammo just to make sure the ammo had enough energy to fully retract the slide.

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Has it been sitting for a long time? A friend brought over a High Standard that had been inactive so long, all the oil gummed up. A full teardown was needed to get the gum out. That might be what's required. The sear could be moving to slowly to catch the hammer.

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