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Old 11-25-2019, 05:30 PM
BradH

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Model 41 Feeding Issues



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I posted this information in another thread, but I am starting a new one so that I don't hijack that thread with my update.

I bought a new Smith and Wesson Model 41 a few months ago.

When I got it home, I gave it a cleaning and took it to the range. I started with CCI Standard Velocity and was pleasantly surprised when the first round hit the “X” ring. However, I was a little disappointed that it stovepiped and jammed. I shot several magazines through it but about 50% of the time I had a failure to eject, failure to feed, all sorts of feeding problems. The accuracy was very good, but the feeding and ejection problems were very irritating.

I did a little research online and found that some people had similar problems and they went away after a break in period. People also recommended shooting high velocity rounds through the gun during the break in period. So, I proceeded to shoot some Federal Auto Match through it for 600 rounds. I still had feeding and ejection issues but much less with the high velocity stuff.

I tried the CCI Standard Velocity and a few other Standard Velocity Target rounds again after the 600 rounds of Federal Auto Match. I still had the feeding and ejection problems.

So, after a little more research I found that people also had feeding and ejection problems when the chamber got dirty. I did not think that was the case for my gun because it had the problems right off the bat but I decided to look at the chamber anyway.

That is when I found what is in the picture below (if I attached it properly) There are several indentations and raised areas in the chamber. I believe that this is what is causing my issues.

The only things that I have put down the bore are bullets, an aluminum cleaning rod with a plastic or brass tip, cleaning patches, and a boresnake. None of these materials could cause this type of damage. I am assuming that a chip or a piece of the reamer broken off and stuck in the reaming operation and caused the gouging.
I sent the gun back to Smith and Wesson and am hopeful the can resolve the issue.
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2019, 05:36 PM
BradH

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I will give Smith and Wesson credit, they replaced the damaged barrel and sent the gun back to me under warranty. It took about 6 weeks but they did take care of it.

The bad news is that it did not solve my feeding and ejection issues. It is certainly better than with the barrel that had the damaged chamber. But I am still experiencing feeding and ejection issues (about every other magazine)

I wonder how many shots they take during test firing, my guess is not very many.

I thought that it was one magazine that was causing the issue but I marked them and they are both having issues.

I did not have a pen or paper at the range so I was not able to log the failures. Next time I will log the failures.

More to come…
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:44 PM
Turtle1903

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Try cci Minni mags and see if if works ! Try the plop test and check extractor with slide out put a round in slide and it should stay shaken it side to side
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:18 PM
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jstanfield103
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what does your feed ramp look like ?
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Old 11-26-2019, 02:22 AM
BradH

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I have tried CCI Standard Velocity and Federal Automatch (high velocity) with the same results. I have some CCI Mini Mags so I will give those a try next time.

A CCi Standard Velocity cartridge will freely drop in, and out of the chamber if I tip the barrel up. I checked the chamber with a borescope and it looks really well cut, I will check the extractor tomorrow.

The feed ramp is clean of any scratches and burrs, nice smooth surface.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:24 PM
JJRR
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From what you say about this pistol I don’t see anything that stands out as something that would be a problem. One thing I would suggest, run it pretty wet with a good LUBRICATING oil, not so wet oil is running down on your hand but more than normal. Obviously it should function with sv ammo so maybe all it needs is some extra lube and a break in period.
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Old 11-26-2019, 06:25 PM
BradH

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I did a little more testing today. I fired 50 rounds of CCI SV out of a cleaned and, well oiled Model 41. I used my 2 magazines and marked them so I could see if it was a magazine issue.

Both had problems.

In summary I had:

1 Magazine full (10 rounds) with no issue (The other 4 had issues)
3 Failure to feed the 2nd round
2 Stovepipes
1 Failure to feed (not the 2nd round)
1 Failure to eject
1 Cycled new round, but did not reset the trigger.

Then I switched to Federal Bulk Pack 500 and fired 70 rounds without issue.

I found some Remington Standard Velocity Target in the safe, I am thinking about trying them next.
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  #8  
Old 11-27-2019, 07:51 AM
LDBennett
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You know, some guns have to be broken in to be reliable. My TX Hi Std came with the instruction to shoot High Vel ammo for about 500 rounds (or was it 200 rounds?) and only then should Std Vel ammo be used. Anyway, the faster slide action with the more powerful ammo tends to wear-in the gun faster. My Kimber 1911 took the full 500 rounds before it became a reliable gun. Today it never misses a beat.

If that fails then inspect the extractor. In a blowback operated gun the extractor does not extract. The gas pressure turns the empty case into a piston that drives the slide back. The extractor's job during firing is to hold the empty onto the slide breech face so the ejector can get a good hit on the case to kick the case out of the gun in the same trajectory every time.

So the case does not fall off the slice breech face, the extractor should only touch the case exactly at the junction of the case body and the rim and NO WHERE ELSE! The extractor should not be jammed up against the case body or riding on the rim. As a test you should be able to remove the slide, slip a loaded round up and under the extractor on the slide breech face and not have it fall off with gently shaking. This test assumes the extractor is tuned as above. Today few guns from the factory have the extractors tuned correctly. Few gunsmith understand this as well.

LDBennett
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:36 AM
BradH

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Thanks for the feedback.

As far as breaking it in, I have lost tract of the exact round count, but I think that it is in excess of 1000. I know that I have put 500 CCI SV through it and I would estimate at least another 500 of HV rounds.

The extractor will hold an unfired round securely when placed on the bolt face. I can shake it all over the place and it will not fall out.

I looked at the extractor under the microscope and it is not holding the case at the rim or the junction of the rim and the body. It is holding the case by the body with a slight gap between the rim and the extractor. It is however holding it quite firmly against the side of the bolt face.

Pictures attached.
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File Type: jpg IMG_6279.jpg (75.2 KB, 287 views)
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2019, 08:02 AM
LDBennett
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BradH:

Note on the picture that the extractor is holding the cartridge on the cylindrical surface of the case body. At best that is a point contact of the extractor tip against the case body. It is easy for the the case to fall off of that point contact under the violent operation of the gun during firing.

When the extractor point is back against the junction of the rim and the case body, the point is touching two surfaces rather than just the case body. That is a more secure hold. The way your extractor is tuned works most of the time but its not as secure as the correct tune.

Everything must be correct for a gun to be reliable. If you suffer reliablity issues and you can identify the extractor is not tuned correctly, that is the first thing to correct. There may be other things wrong (?) but making your gun reliable is a process of elimination.

So what should you do for the tuning of the extractor? You can get a replacement and if it is the same modify it with files and stoning until it meets the criterion. Or you can go to Volquartsen and get their extractor and see if it is any better. That should be a drop in fix.

In earlier times the gunsmiths that assembled guns fitted extractor on every gun. That does not happen today because that is expensive labor which reduces profit. Instead they build the gun with computer design aids and computer controlled machining with the hope it all works out so there is no hand fitting. They also don't use certified gunsmiths but trained assemblers who may or may not understand all the detail of how a gun works. As you have discovered the testing of the finished gun is less than thorough. That goes for the Service part of S&W too.

Another area that is super important for reliability is the magazine and how it delivers the new round to the chamber. If the lips loose control on the round then it strikes the chamber edge. It may go in but the soft lead bullet may be deformed enough to preclude totally seating into the chamber.That may upset everything from the disconnector function to failures to fire to firing out of battery...all of which can effect reliability. The latest S&W Model 41 magazines are not made with the precision of magazine of old. One poster here could not get the magazine into the gun and S&W service told him to squeeze it in a vice because that is the way they do it.

I wish you success in getting this gun to perform reliably. In the end you may have to take it to a S&W Model 41 specialist to get it right. I highly doubt S&W warrantee service will ever be successful (my opinion and yours may vary).

LDBennett

** Great pictures of the extractor!!
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  #11  
Old 11-28-2019, 04:35 PM
webfoot56

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41

Great post on the extractor L D !
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:44 PM
BradH

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LDBennett,

Thank you for taking the time to post that detailed response! I really appreciate it.

I ordered a Volquartson extractor, I figured for $11 it can’t hurt to give it a try and if it does not work I can try filing it to fit. Worst case I am out $11.
I think that you are correct in your assessment that there may be other things wrong. I shot some more and it is starting to appear that the pistol seems to function fine if the cartridges are above 120fp (computed using bullet weight and velocity) of energy.

Under 120 fp of Energy Issues
CCI Standard Velocity, 102 fp (138 joules) of Energy = Feeding, Extracting, and Reset Issues
40 Grain 1070 fps

Remington SV Target, 117 fp (159 joules) of Energy, Feed and Extracted Fine, but had some Reset Issues
40 Grain 1150 fps

Over 120 fp of Energy No Issues
Federal Bulk 550, 127 fp (172 joules) of Energy, No Issues
36 Grain 1260 fps

Federal Champion 137 fp (185 joules) of Energy, No Issues
40 Grain 1240 fps

And the Wildcard
Federal Automatch 128 fp, (173 joules) of Energy, Feeding, Extracting Issues.
40 Grain 1200 fps
Not sure why this one did not work, based on the others above it should have been fine. I may reshoot this just to double check.

So, based on the information above I also got a spring tuning kit that has a 7#, 6.5#, and 6# recoil spring. I figured that I would give a lighter spring a try and see if I am able to make the CCI SV work with a lighter recoil spring.

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:23 AM
LDBennett
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BradH:

If you remove the recoil spring and reinstall the slide on the gun, does the slide move freely? Remember that the slide has to cock the hammer as well and it could be a burr in the hammer system or perhaps a too heavy hammer spring. But the slide should move freely except where the hammer drags on its bottom. Is the hammer front surface that drags on the slide rounded and polished? How about the underside of the slide?

If all appears mechanically sound then I would try the reduced power recoil and hammer springs from Wolf Springs. You might even contact them and see what their take is on your problem with only higher power rounds cycling the gun reliably. It may be that S&W has recently changed the Model 41 to safely handle High Velocity ammo at the expense of not reliably handling Standard Velocity ammo. CCI SV is the competitor's choice normally but I suspect there are more non-competitors that own Model 41's than those that compete. It could be that S&W is bowing to the non-competitors that want to use cheap Hi Vel ammo guns (??).

All these problems are worrisome for a NEW gun.

LDBennett
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:15 PM
BradH

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When I first started looking into this issue, I noticed a burr on the front of one of the slide rails. It was shiny and I could see where it was rubbing on the frame during cycling. I could also feel it when cycling the slide. I thought that I had found my issue. So, I got out the needle files, stones, and carefully recontoured the front edge of that rail. Went down to the range, and no change.

Now the slide is very smooth, if I take the spring out it cycles very easily without any noticeable resistance. I can feel the hammer pressing on it, but it is quite smooth. The hammer looks good, a nice smooth surface and the top edge has a clean radius.

Funny thing is, I wanted an older model 41. But was afraid that I would end up with someone else’s problem gun. So, I ordered a new one. Little did I know that I would have to spend this much time chasing feeding and ejection issues.

From the reading I have done on the internet there appears to be a lot of people that are having problems with new guns and CCI Standard Velocity Ammunition. I am wondering if Smith and Wesson has changed the spring rates? I have the spring kit on order and will play with it and see.

The ironic thing is that I would happily shoot the bulk pack ammunition, except I have seen how accurate the CCI Standard Velocity is in my gun so now I want to be able to shoot it.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:48 PM
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With the Wolff springs, make sure that the open (unfinished), end of the spring goes in the hole in the slide and NOT towards the front! S&W springs are finished at both ends and can be installed either way. If incorrect, the spring can jump the retaining pin/stud in the front and totally jam the gun up.

No experience here since my 1990 M41 runs just fine with the factory springs. Why Wolff doesn't finish both ends, IDK. But I have read of the problems that can happen if installed incorectly.

Just wanted to make you aware before the springs arrive. Pretty sure it has been discussed here and for sure at Smith and Wesson.com (there are 2 sites, the other uses the ampersand).

LDBennett is a wealth of information on all things M41. I've been paying attention to him for well over a decade.

Wet
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