Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stoppage!

Had my first malf of any kind with the M&P 9 at the range on Sunday.

Loading rounds into a mag while conversing with Shootin' Buddy and one of the ROs, I noticed the top round got really hard to depress and glanced down to see that the only witness hole on the side of the mag facing me that was not showing brass was #17. "Oh," thinks I, "It's just almost full," and bear down as hard as I can (as in "put my back into it,") to squeeze the round in.

#17 was still empty. I flipped the mag over and see that brass is showing in #16, so I go to stuff another cartridge in there. No dice. The rounds won't budge.

Whatever. I threw the mag in the pile with the other loaded ones and commenced to shooting.

In the middle of one string of fire, the slide stops out of battery. Examining the mag showed the top round nosedived in the magazine, having been jammed forward by the slide hard enough to set the bullet of the Speer Lawman round (not noted for having anything you'd call a "crimp") halfway back into the case.

Pulling it out of the mag allowed the remaining rounds to rattle around loose in the mag tube. Bwuh?

I tipped the mag upside down and shook it, and the remaining rounds clattered out onto the range table. A look at the mag showed that a corner of the follower had hung up in the cutout for the mag catch, halting its upward progress at a sever tilt, which had presented the rear rim of the top cartridge to the oncoming breechface while the nose of the round was still pointed down into the mag tube.

Weird. Best I can tell, the follower somehow got canted as I was loading it. I used a paint marker to add a little "sad face" next to the number on the mag floorplate and I guess I'll be buying another M&P 9 mag the next time I'm in a gun store. As long as it never does it again, I'll continue using it at the range, but one more foul-up out of it and it's going in the trash after getting pounded flat so that nobody fishes it out of a trash can and potentially winds up getting themselves killed trying to save a couple bucks.

Not to sound like a broken record, but magazines are wear items. Replace as necessary. Do not get married to your magazines.

40 comments:

Pakkinpoppa said...

Don't get married?
But...but...but...I already gave them my ring!

Seriously, folks who think "whatever came with the pistol" is sufficient are Maroons. Especially if it's just two.

DanH said...

I know you have had that for a while. Any idea how many rounds it has seen, by chance?

Bil said...

We shoot our faulty mags - same concept as you pounding them flat. (As, we move them down range and use them as targets...) Mags are an expendable portion of a firearm...

Tam said...

DanH,

I stopped counting sometime after 2k. I'd guess more than three thousand but not quite four, yet.

Al T. said...

My M&P .45 had the sticky follower issue early on, but cleared up with use. (sold it anyway) Perhaps you could round down that corner of the follower to preclude that issue?

Garrett Lee said...

I note that there is an exception for old military pistols, especially German ones, where the magazine has a serial number that matches the pistol. In that case, it is not something you wish to throw away.

New stuff, though... ...yeah.

Eric said...

Would it be prudent to try to fix it, or should you just chuck the whole magazine after a failure like that?

Anonymous said...

I had the same thing happen on a stage of a USPSA match. I got a failure to fire on a Glock 17 and did a tap rack and nothing. Stripped the magazine and looked at a big void were the bullets should have been.

I said to myself, "Well that's a new one"

Then I heard a voice yelling, "Your on the clock! Put another magazine in it and get going asshole!" I have such nice friends.

My ammo was Speer Lawman 115gr.

The magazine resides in the drawer of broken gun parts.


Gerry

Jay G said...

Important safety tip. Thanks Egon...

Anonymous said...

I've had a rash of that with my STI with custom, super duper, aftermarket followers and springs. A new spring cures the nose down thing, hopefully getting rid of the aftermarket followers and springs has cured it. Sad when you come to depend on the mag that has "bad" written on it (first one I changed back). Never a hickup until I tried to improve them. Might try a new spring in that mag, just for grins and a learning experience. Larry Weeks

og said...

"Do not get married to your magazines"

This makes great sense; however, searching through your archives there are multiple posts complaining about "Speer Lawman" cartridges. Are you going to finally use up your stash and stop buying them, or do you enjoy the malfunction drills that much? ;)

Alien said...

I've noticed, or perhaps failed to notice any mention of it, Todd G's "test to failure" series infrequently mentions magazine failures. I don't know if that's because they fail so infrequently, Todd assumes wear items get replaced periodically and does so as a matter of course, or I've just missed his mention of junking X number of mags.

Given that I depend on mags to make the gun function, I've wondered if a calendar-based replacement cycle may have merit. That would require tracking rounds-per-mag, which no one I know does in detail, but most of us have some idea, +/- 1K, how many rounds have gone through a mag.

Having carried my current companion for well over a decade, I've routinely replaced all 4 carry mags (1 in, 3 spares) when any one of them acts strange and engraved them with large Xs and notched the floor plates to mark them for practice only. I'm wondering now if waiting for a failure to identify a problem is waiting too long.

Tamara (remotely) said...

og,

"This makes great sense; however, searching through your archives there are multiple posts complaining about "Speer Lawman" cartridges."

The only problem I've ever had with them that I've mentioned on this blog is them disassembling in that test Boberg. Also, the .45ACP 230gr loads turned a 325PD into a kinetic bullet puller. Other than that, I've never really had a problem with them.

staghounds said...

I suspect that if you mail it back to S&W you will get a shiny new one.

staghounds said...

And as you know, you violated the old "if something strange happens, check it out now" rule.

Tango Juliet said...

Once is coincidence. Twice is enemy action.

JD Rush said...

One of my 12 round 9mm compact mags did that once, on the first time I loaded it. I marked it, never did it again. I vaguely remember filing a small flaw on the follower. Whether that was because it had stuck or the cause of it sticking, I don't know.

og said...

"Other than that,"

That would have been enough, for me. But I don't shoot as much as you.;)

global village idiot said...

Stan,

Depends. In 2005 when my platoon was in Kuwait waiting to go up-country, we discovered during a range trip that several of our brandie-brand-new magazines were failing to feed. Worse, they wouldn't stay put in the mag well - how embarrassing would it be to be in a firefight and have your magazine plunk out right in front of Hadji?

You'd have time to reload because he'd be laughing so hard but that's not the point.

These were the "Okay" brand (usually companies who are proud of their product use more superlative names - would "B-2" steak sauce have sold as well as A-1?).

We'd got them new-in-box right before we left the Reserve center. I'd never seen a new magazine before - I thought they came from the factory with the finish worn off and sticky with duct-tape residue.

Normally the fix for a funky magazine is just as Tam says; to smash it flat. It will never give you any more problems after that. The trouble was, it's a pain in the tuchus to get anything in the way of supply once you'd left the States, so we were kind of stuck with what we had.

I took the magazines and fiddled with them and realized that the front of the mag was such that the nose would get stuck on it before the tip of the bullet made it up the feed ramp. And the hole for the mag detent was not quite just so, but would otherwise work.

Out comes the Leatherman tool, and after a bit of filing and chamfering, they all worked flawlessly.

So sometimes, when you have no other options and it's not a big fix, yeah it makes sense to repair. But when you have the option, always replace.

gvi

Frank W. James said...

Strange. In all my years I've never experienced that problem with any of my .41 Mags.

Must be a 9mm thingie? (BIG Grin!)...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Sport Pilot said...

Tam,

I know you've spent a lot of time with the M&P 9 now but recall reading that you'd gone ahead and picked up a Gen 4 G-19. With that which is now your primary carry gun?

David said...

Gerry - we must have the same friends...

I was Cowboy Action shooting a while back when I short stroked my marlin rifle. I ended up with a loose empty brass and a loaded round both trying to get back into the chamber at the same time. I slapped the lever open, jerked the rifle to the right to clear the receiver and watched both round and brass fly out into the air, where the loaded round seemed to hover, just long enough for me to snatch it out of the air. I was so impressed with my feat of dexterity that I looked at the RO and asked "Pretty good catch, huh?"

As he rolled his eyes and pointed to the timer in his hand, behind me - two of the counters reached over the railing, punched or slapped me in the back and yelled "You're on the clock as, ah, er, moron."

As I finished the rifle and was transitioning to the next window and my shotgun, I heard my 15 year old son (the third counter) behind me say "That was pretty nice that both of you avoided calling him an a$$hole in front of my sister and me."

And my dear wife wonders why all the guys we shoot with like my kids?

Tamara (remotely) said...

Sport Pilot,

"I know you've spent a lot of time with the M&P 9 now but recall reading that you'd gone ahead and picked up a Gen 4 G-19. With that which is now your primary carry gun?"

I got a Gen 3 19 a few months back, and I've been toting it until I can get a holster to accommodate the M&P 9 with the CTC Lightguard on it.

Hopefully the guys from RCS will be at next weekend's Indy 1500.

Jay G said...

"Do not get married to your magazines."

That's legal in MA, I hear. Even hi-caps, because they're over 18 years of age...

Will said...

Might the fact that you were conversing with others been enough distraction that you missed something going wrong as it occurred?

Hmmm...
Memo to self: pay close attention when loading The Real Deal(TM) for the carry piece.

Kristopher said...

If someone timing my shoot called me an asshole, I would call a halt to the shoot, and ask the range master to remove this person from the range for unprofessional behavior.

It might not happen, but I would ask anyway.

I would decline an offer to take that stage over again, since the malf would have given me a losing score regardless.

Anonymous said...

Kristopher,

The RO did his job in the most professional manner possible. It was my goodest buddies who spoke up and got me back in the game.

As an SO I would never haze someone while they were shooting. However if they are friends, as soon as they clear and holster up, it's probably point and laugh time.

Jay,

That was terrible.

Gerry

Scott J said...

Mags do wear. I have some old Colt 7 rounders that will launch a loaded round out the open ejection port when you vigorously slam them into the mag well.

Mike Gallo said...

Tam, on my brand new M&P9 mags, I noticed that if I'm not careful loading, this happens a LOT. It's something binding up in the mag, and it happens with the latest generation followers; you should be able to hear rattling when it happens. I had a similar issue with *gasp* HK mags for my USP .45 once, and it was just an out of spec follower.

I'm hoping it wears in a bit or I can find a burr somewhere.

Kristopher said...

Gerry: I am happy to hear that it was just your friends hazing you, and not serious misconduct by the SO.

Jay G. : So sex with those magazines is right out as well?

NotClauswitz said...

Louis Awerbuck pointedly warned us about ammo during his class, saying if we had malfs of problems it was likely ammo related, and Speer Lawman was a major culprit of bad production and low expectations.
I did not know they had no crimp, but his contention was that real QC problems with OAL were/are a big issue with recent poor production quality across the ATK line.

Gerry N. said...

I've got a Star B that is the love of my life. I bought a handful of spare mags at a funshow, and had to squeeze every dang one in a vise to make 'em narrow enough to go into the mag well without a mallet. Then I started having "fun" with smokestack jams. Polishing the feed ramp with a felt bob and jeweler's rouge in my trusty Dremel Clone cleared that up. My pistol was made in 1939 and the interior finish has a few little "problems". As each one showed up by causing a problem, a quick shine up with the felt bob and rouge took care of it. Now it even feeds the steel cased Russky sh*t reliably. I have to "Marry my magazines, as I can't replace 'em with new ones as far as I know.

Gerry N.

Joe in PNG said...

Of course, as the owner of a Colt 1903, I am kind of married to the magazine...

mustanger said...

.44 mags and .357 mags don't give all this trouble either. But then I thought everybody knew a S&W M&P was a Model 10... no troublesome mags there.

I recall once in a shop I was looking at a 1911 in .38Super. Old guy comes in... I knew him from the range... he said "put that away and get a revolver."

Tamara (remotely) said...

What are these "revolvers" of which you speak?

mustanger said...

Only the greatest hand cannons of all time. The part that spins usually holds between five and nine rounds, depending on make and model, and always lines 'em up with the barrel. Guaranteed to go bang every time. No muss, no fuss, no need to cuss. :D

Tam said...

mustanger,

Maybe I'll give one a try sometime. ;)

Justthisguy said...

Heh. I have exactly _one_ magazine for my Star PD. I have no idea where I can get others, and probably couldn't afford them anyway. I tried a 1911 mag which almost fit, but almost ain't good enough.

I think that piece is more decorative than useful, at the moment. That is a shame. It is a nice piece. It was, however, dang near shot out when I bought it back in '94, afraid of the Crime of Bill.

Anonymous said...

I've been known to take a faulty magazine, hang it out by the berm, line the other magazines for that gun up, and put an FMJ square into the recidivist magazine, pour encourager les autres.

It's an old gamer habit I developed with d20's. . .

Geodkyt

Munitions & Miscellania said...

I had the same issue where the rounds lodged together in the magazine. This occurred on at least 3 occasions with 3 different M&P magazines with different types of ammo. I even had it occur once after I replaced the springs with ISMI springs extra power springs and replaced the followers with updated followers. When you consider that it has occurred 3 times out of about 7k-8k rounds, it isn't statistically bad, but still disheartening.

Here is a link to a thread that I started about it.

[url]http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=51142&highlight=magazine[/url]