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Old August 11, 2012, 07:36 PM   #1
jasmith85
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EAA Witness 45 failing to chamber

My brother gave me an older EAA Witness 45 that he got in a trade. It looks to be pretty well used and with all of the gunk it has build up in it I don't think the previous owner ever cleaned it. After giving it a quick cleaning, just basic field stripping and cleaning, I took it shooting. I put a box of rounds through it and in the middle of every magazine it would fail to chamber a round plus I could sometimes feel the gun jerk with the slide almost failing to chamber the round at other times. Pulling the slide back and dropping it was enough to make it chamber but I'm wondering what could be causing the problem. I'm taking care of the usual culprits. I just ordered a new slightly heavier recoil spring and a new magazine on midwayusa and I'm going to have a friend of mine that knows more about CZ75's and their clones detailed strip and clean it later this week. Is there anything else I should go ahead and get out of the way or have I covered all of my bases?
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Old August 12, 2012, 08:24 AM   #2
Walt Sherrill
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First guess would be inconsistently loaded ammo, or a weak recoil spring.

Mag springs could be a part of the problem, if the recoil spring isn't up to snuff, and the mag springs are very strong. All of this would be made more noticeable if the rounds you're firing are tepid.

Mag springs and recoil springs, from Wolff, are cheap. Get the recoil spring shown as "factory weight" -- don't go higher at this point.

Examine the chamber area of the barrel, too, to make sure it's bright and shiny and not gunked up or otherwise contributing to the problem.
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Old August 12, 2012, 10:30 AM   #3
USMCGrunt
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I would say that I've had my Witness since the late 90's. One thing that was always mentioned when I was looking at getting one was the recoil springs tended to be a little light for the .45ACP and could lead to slides cracking. The indicator to look for was firing pin smears on the fired primer. However, installing a heavier recoil spring got rid of this problem and prevented premature battering of the slide.
Along those same lines, I have had a Kimber Royal Carry, Springfield USGI WWII 1911 and Auto Ordnance 1911 that have all expierenced the same stoppages you have described with your Witness. The cure here was also a heavier recoil spring and they have all been 100% ever since.
If the problem has been happening after cleaning, start with the cheaper parts first and a recoil spring isn't going to be that expensive and something that should be changed out every now and again anyways to avoid the gun beating itself to death. If that doesn't fix it, you might look at trying a different magazine and see if that helps.
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Old October 28, 2012, 01:41 AM   #4
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I'd like to hear if there was a fix.

I'm struggling with an EAA Witness Compact Poly .45, problem is very consistent. On a 8 round mag the middle few will experience a failure to chamber, where the bullet will nose up towards the top of the slide. I am to the point of thinking its the recoil spring. Shooting Federal 230g. I just have to pull slide back slightly and guide bullet into chamber.

I've done the following: Replaced mag springs with Wolff +10's, rounds are very tight to load. I've smoothed the mag lips, polished the feed ramp. Nothing major, but things are very smooth. When its not jamming the gun runs well.

I'm thinking of trying a 20# single recoil spring. Just not really sure if that's the fix, but next step for me would be to obtain new mags if that doesn't work.

Will take some insight from others. Thanks
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:50 AM   #5
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The first thing I’d look at is the extractor. When the case rim slides up behind the extractor hook, it needs a smooth, rounded surface. If there’s a burr or any roughness, the cartridge will catch, the nose of the round will pop up and the thing will jam.

Use a fine stone or a file with a light touch. Don’t try to Dremel it.

Also check the front of the magazine body. If there’s a sharp edge, the mouth of the case can get hung up just enough to make it bounce up and misfeed. I removed a small amount of metal from my .45 Witness mags and rounded off the edge.

My .45 Witness still locks the slide back with rounds still in the magazine, despite replacing parts and springs. EAA refuses to service the gun, saying I caused it by shooting hot handloads. Funny, they never asked what ammo I was shooting, they just accused me, convicted me and hung up.

Typical EAA customer service.
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Old October 28, 2012, 09:21 AM   #6
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When I had a Witness, I found that the magazines caused a lot of failures, in my case, it was an improperly designed follower. Before I did anything, I'd order at least one Mec-gar mag for the pistol and see if that helps. You can find these at several online retailers or from the company's website...

http://www.mec-gar.com/Magazines/Witness

http://www.cdnninvestments.com/eaawi4510anm.html
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Old October 28, 2012, 09:51 AM   #7
jasmith85
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The new recoil spring fixed mine. After I got it installed it ran through 200 rounds without a problem using both the old and the new magazine. I don't know past that though because after I made sure I had it working I traded it off. One other thing to point out though, mine was one of the older full size steel versions so even though the problems are very similar yours could be a completely different issue that my model wasn't effected by.
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Old October 28, 2012, 01:20 PM   #8
Walt Sherrill
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Quote:
I was looking at getting one was the recoil springs tended to be a little light for the .45ACP and could lead to slides cracking.
Tanfoglio has since redesigned the slides. The newer design has more "rounding" and less sharp edges. (I doubt that the round or sharp edges was the issue, but they made the new slides look different.)

I don't think the problem was recoil spring related.

(The slide doesn't take that much of a battering with a weak spring; it arguably takes as much or more battering when the slide slams forward -- and that would be made worse by a stronger recoil spring.)
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Old October 28, 2012, 04:50 PM   #9
DoubleTap007
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Thank you all for the suggestions,I'm going to look at the extractor. One thing that I have noticed is the slide is very hard to rack. I have other guns, this is by far hardest to rack. It has the double spring system, so I am trying to try another recoil spring but not sure where to start. Was thinking about an 18# ?
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Old October 28, 2012, 07:29 PM   #10
Dfariswheel
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Compact automatics have to have strong springs to handle the shorter slide travel.
Generally speaking, the smaller the gun the stronger the springs have to be, in the same caliber.

Many people are shocked at how much heavier the springs are in smaller guns.
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Old August 19, 2013, 04:46 PM   #11
Mosinka
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Glad to find this thread on the .45 Witness. I bought one several months ago (compact steel frame, second hand) and have had the same issue with at least one round per magazine failing to chamber and ending up at a 45° angle.

I called EAA, hoping to be able to resolve the issue short of sending the pistol to them. I asked about the recoil spring, and explained that I had already eliminated the magazines, since BOTH original magazines fail equally (and my Witness ... per its serial number .. isn't terribly old). I have, per the suggestion of friends, polished the ramp, chamber and bolt face. I have cleaned and lubed the extractor (based on my personal experience). None of this helped, and I was hoping that EAA might be willing to send me a recoil spring.

Instead, the technician announced that there couldn't be anything wrong with the gun and suggested that the error was in the way I was HOLDING the pistol. I then explained that the same failure has taken place in the hands for four shooters. This did not dissuade him from his conviction that the failure to chamber is somehow MY fault, and not that of the pistol.

What is it about firearms importers that makes them so difficult to deal with as compared with the domestic manufacturers?

TO cut to the chase, I have ordered a replacement recoil spring from EAA's parts department. For $20, it seems worth testing out the theory that the spring is at fault. Because my Witness has a dual recoil spring arrangement, Wolff does not have a replacement for my pistol. I asked them about it, and they were very honest in telling me that they could not help me, and offered their sympathies.

I will let you know what happens when I have received the new spring and had a chance to test it.
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Old August 19, 2013, 04:59 PM   #12
Walt Sherrill
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EAA seems to have some sociopaths working in their customer service area.

If the slide is hard to rack, a new spring isn't likely to make the problem better. (They're going to send you one that is just the same, and with less use-wear.)
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Old August 19, 2013, 06:36 PM   #13
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Mosinka, I'm not surprised to learn that the same rude psycho is still "servicing" customers at EAA.
That guy hates to do anything useful and once he finds out your gun is 2nd hand (and thus out of warranty) you're screwed.

I had that problem with my steel-frame .45 Witness and found that rounds were hitting a burr on the front of the magazine body and either sticking there or bouncing up and jamming. I trimmed off some metal and rounded off the edge. That solved the problem.

The gun still locks the slide open with rounds in the mag and EAA still won't even discuss it.

It's interesting that, with all the horrible CS stories on gun forums, EAA doesn't ever speak up and offer to do the right thing. They have to know what a bad reputation they have, but the don't seem to care.
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Old August 19, 2013, 06:52 PM   #14
Walt Sherrill
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Quote:
The gun still locks the slide open with rounds in the mag and EAA still won't even discuss it.
Check your slide stop -- and see if you notice some copper or lead buildup.

With some guns based on the CZ model (and Tanfoglio is one), if the slide stop, where it extends into the frame to catch the follower as it rises, is out of spec., the rounds as they push up will nudge it UP prematurely and lock the slide.

Taking a bit of metal off the slide stop (where you see marks from the bullet nose on the slide stop) can often fix THAT problem.
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Old August 19, 2013, 09:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
The gun still locks the slide open with rounds in the mag and EAA still won't even discuss it.
I have a polymer bul impact which is basically an Israely pistol with witness parts. It use to lock the slide back with rounds in the mag. I put more tension on the slide stop spring which fixed the problem. Gun has run fine for years now.
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Old August 20, 2013, 08:18 AM   #16
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1. make sure the chamber doesn't have any residue in it - should be shiny and smooth - use a flashlight or bore light to make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned.

2. Replace the recoil spring with a Wolf spring - you can find the one for your gun on Wolff's website http://www.gunsprings.com/index.cfm?...D=1&mID=19#844 . This is about an $8.00 item.

3. Some of the older magazines had a problem with the followers. If this is an older gun, I'd also try a different magazine. But, I'd do the first two things before messing around with the magazine. It doesn't sound like a magazine problem.
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Old August 20, 2013, 08:21 AM   #17
Japle
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Thanks for the advice, but I've done all that, replaced parts and springs, modified parts and springs, you name it.

If you'd like to try for yourself, I'll sell you the gun with the understanding that it doesn't work.
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Old August 20, 2013, 08:39 AM   #18
Skans
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Have you tried a newer magazine?

Thanks, but I don't need another .45 - if it was 9mm, I'd be interested.
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Old August 20, 2013, 10:13 AM   #19
Mosinka
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In my particular case, I may have forgotten to mention that I DID speak to Wolff about the purchase of a replacement recoil spring. They were honest enough to inform me that they do NOT have a recoil spring for the Witness models that use a dual recoil spring system. Mine is one of these. They only offer replacements for those pistols that use a single recoil spring. I'll look more carefully at the magazines too. According to EAA, this Witness shouldn't be more than a few (as in three) years old. What I resent is being told that it's MY fault. IF that's so, then why don't I have this issue with any of my Rugers, Tauruses or e
Bersas?
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Old August 20, 2013, 02:12 PM   #20
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All of the above is why I am glad I went with the Armscor labeled product over the EAA
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Old August 20, 2013, 02:29 PM   #21
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EAA's customer service reputation was something I had to keep in mind when I convinced myself I wanted to try a Tanfoglio. I bought a Witness Elite Match 2.5 years ago and I'm over 3,700 rounds with it, 98% of which have been my 125gr cast lead bullet handloads.

I chose the Elite Match because it had the features I wanted... but also because the upper tier Tanfoglios seem to have a better reputation than do all the basic-line pistols. The Elite Match is the lowest of the upper-line of guns. (including the Hunter, the Silver, the Gold Team, and others)

I keep hoping to see some scattered posts of an improvement in EAA's customer service, but I haven't yet.

I haven't had to use EAA's customer service. There's a big part of me that prays nothing bad happens with my pistol, where I need warranty service. I think it might work better to learn some Italian and make an international phone call across the pond if I end up with some manner of a problem.
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Old August 20, 2013, 03:42 PM   #22
Japle
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No question, the Elite guns are more reliable and get better customer service than the Witness line.

Tanfoglio knows just how bad EAA’s reputation is. They don’t care. I spoke to Mr. Tanfoglio at a S.H.O.T Show several years ago about this. He refused to talk to me.

They know. They don’t give a damn.
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