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Old October 13, 2012, 11:16 AM   #1
willmc33
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Stovepipe opinions?

I had a difference of opinion toda with a range officer. My Smith & Wesson 5906 9mm has been completely flawless until today. Now my magazine springs have been WEAK for awhile and I was expecting them to cause a malfunction sooner then later. I had 2 stove pipes using Federal Hydra Shok 124 grain standard pressure Reduced Recoil Ammo. Never had a problem with this ammo before. I have fired +p from this pistol and it worked flawless, I have fired all brands of ammo and it was flawless. I even found an old box of ammo and switched back to that and had no more problems.

Now the cause of the debate was the range officer was of the opinion that the standard pressure reduced recoil ammo was making my slide return to fast to allow proper cycling. That was not my opinion. I feel that it was the mag springs. Especially since I changed to a stronger ammo and it cycled fine.
We didnt get into a argument just a disagreement. Just curious as to if any of you also think that the standard pressure reduced recoil ammo was making the pistol operate to fast to cycle correctly?
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Old October 13, 2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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Isn't the speed with which the slide returns dictated by the recoil spring rating? It returns at the same speed regardless of ammo.
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Old October 13, 2012, 11:52 AM   #3
Walt Sherrill
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I'm not a gunsmith but I've shot a lot and read a lot...

Stovepipe problems are generally case/extractor-related. The spent case is being released too soon for some reason.

If the round's base is improperly formed, or something is different from other cases, the extractor might lose it's grips sooner than it should. Or it may be that the extractor spring is starting to loose some of its power.

When firing hotter rounds, the slide will go back faster, but the feeding part of the cycle, when the slide moves forward and strips the next round off the top of magazine, does so at it's usual speed, powered by the stored force in the recoil spring. Extra force from a hotter round isn't stored.

The only problems I've heard of with hotter rounds is the mag may not push up the next round fast enough unless an extra strength mag spring is used, and perhaps THAT combination of factors could contribute to a stove-pipe problem. To my reasoning, which may be faulty, a slide going back more quickly wouldn't cause the extracted round to encounter the next round any sooner, and if the mag isn't lifting it as more quickly as the slide comes forward, there may be feeding issues, but I'm not sure it would cause stovepipes.

Maybe somebody has a better analysis and can explain how hot rounds or weak mag springs can lead to stovepipes.
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Old October 13, 2012, 12:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Now the cause of the debate was the range officer was of the opinion that the standard pressure reduced recoil ammo was making my slide return to fast to allow proper cycling. That was not my opinion. I feel that it was the mag springs. Especially since I changed to a stronger ammo and it cycled fine.
We didnt get into a argument just a disagreement. Just curious as to if any of you also think that the standard pressure reduced recoil ammo was making the pistol operate to fast to cycle correctly?
I don't see how the mag springs would be causing stovepipes.

Reduced recoil ammo would have less energy. This means the slide might not be getting pushed fully back. This would prevent the casing from being ejected properly, as it needs to make full and strong contact with the ejector to be ejected properly. The fact that you switched to stronger ammo and it worked would only seem to reinforce what the range officer was saying, not argue against it.
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Old October 13, 2012, 12:11 PM   #5
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Stove piping is usually an extraction issue not related to a magazine - its already been cycled through.
Maybe those rounds are a little weak and not pushing the slide all the way back fast/hard enough to kick the shell out?
Or perhaps the ejector is worn a little?
Hard to say...
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Old October 13, 2012, 12:14 PM   #6
willmc33
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Thats what I was wondering. His point was that the reduced recoil ammo was to strong and thats why I was getting malfunctions but then I switched to stronger rounds and it stopped. Thats what had me perplexed is if the weaker round was moving my sllide rearward to fast then how was it working with a round that was harder on the gun? I didnt see how a reduced recoil round would move a slide faster then a added pressure round.
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Old October 13, 2012, 12:23 PM   #7
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If you want to continue shooting "reduced recoil" rounds, you might consider dropping in a lighter recoil spring. That will probably solve your problem with that ammo. Of course if you start to shoot +p rounds in there, you'll be beating up your gun all to heck.

Stovepiping from my experience is usually due to your slide not coming back with enough energy to eject the round fast enough before it starts closing again. Your gun then turns into a brass trap! This is due to weak ammo, or a tight gun, or too stiff a recoil spring and/or main spring, or some combination of the 3 factors.
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Old October 13, 2012, 12:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
I didnt see how a reduced recoil round would move a slide faster then a added pressure round.
No that wasn't his point, though he worded it poorly. When he said the slide was returning too fast he wasn't saying it was returning too fast because the ammo was too strong. It was returning too fast because the power of the round wasn't strong enough to push the slide all the back to eject properly. The recoil spring was overcoming it and pushing the slide back sooner than it should.
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Old October 13, 2012, 01:22 PM   #9
Walt Sherrill
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I misread the original post.

The argument that the slide is going back far enough to extract the round and pick up the next round, but not far enough to hit the ejector makes sense. A good way to test this idea would be to install a heavier recoil spring and see if the problem is made much worse, and even occurs with standard ammo.

How does a standard pressure round also have reduced recoil? What's going on that keeps pressure the same but lowers recoil? (I'm not into reloading, so that's an area where I'm uneducated.)
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Old October 21, 2012, 02:05 AM   #10
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I’m assuming that you’re talking about a spent cartridge that is stovepiping. And that you’re not talking about a live round that is improperly chambering.

If you’re not having this problem with regular power rounds, then the problem is with the reduced power rounds. The slide is not moving back with enough power to properly eject the case.

When firing the gun, check how far back the empty cases are flying. If the cases are landing only one to two feet from you, it means that the slide is not being push back with enough power. If you plan on shooting reduced power rounds going forward, then drop in a lighter recoil spring. Wolff has a few sets of recoil springs and hammer/main-springs with like 9 or 10 separate springs of lower power. Just keep dropping in lighter springs until you get one that allows reliable ejecting.
If the cases are flying eight to ten feet away, then it’s an entirely different problem.

Not all guns will shoot all ammo reliably without some tuning.
For my STI Trubor race gun with compensator, I had to drop in a 10lb recoil spring and an ultralight hammer spring in order for cases to eject properly. The compensator slowed down the slide so much that the slide wouldn’t move back far enough to allow ejection. The same exact ammo worked flawlessly in my non-compensated gun with a heavy factory recoil spring.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:13 AM   #11
.45 Aficianado
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You mentioned live round stove piping. What causes that? I'm seeing that happen in my AMT .45 Backup.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:32 AM   #12
drail
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Buy some Wolff 5% extra power mag springs.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:46 AM   #13
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.45 Aficiando,
Some possible causes for your live round stove pipes are:
Magazine lips too wide and letting the round lose before it can get under the extractor.
Extractor tension weak and not holding on to the round.
The bullet design preventing the round from entering the chamber.
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Old October 21, 2012, 04:45 PM   #14
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G.willikers
Thanks very much. I compared the mag lips in the back half of the mag opening with those on other guns, and they were splayed out. Hope fixing that solves the problem. The gun is new, and I'm shooting FMJ, so I don't think it's the other two possibilities.
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Old October 21, 2012, 05:02 PM   #15
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limitdown nailed it. all the federal rounds were faling right beside my feet but when I switched to the Winchester and Speer rounds they were ejecting far right. I took it out again and didnt use the federal rounds and it ran flawless through another 100 rounds. It is time to start changing parts like the recoil spring because of the excessively high round count through this pistol. Changing ammo has seemed to remedy the stovepiping though.
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Old October 21, 2012, 05:42 PM   #16
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YADA YADA YADA the faster the slide goes back the harder the case gets ejected and the mag spring has nothing to do with that. Limp wrist and you will also cause failures to eject. So if you want to use the reduced recoil ammo gat a lighter recoil spring but it might cause failure to seat or loading jams. These guns were designed to work with certain slide velocities and changes from norm are asking for trouble.
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Old October 21, 2012, 06:36 PM   #17
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re:

The technical term for a live round stovepipe is Bolt Over Base Misfeed. The most common cause is a weak magazine spring, with short recoil coming a close second. Weak ammunition can do it, but it would have to be pretty wimpy.

Grossly overspringing the slide can also lead to a BOB failure.

A severe BOB misfeed is often referred to as a "Rideover" feed. This one usually jams the gun up solidly, often locking the magazine up in the well.
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Old October 24, 2012, 11:32 PM   #18
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drail and 1911Tuner:
Thanks for the clarification, info, and recs. I wouldn't think it would normally be any of those causes in a new gun. On the other hand, the AMT Backup has always had a shady quality control history. In this case, I noticed the BOB on the last round out of the 5-round mag which may lend credence to the weak mag spring being the cause.
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Old October 25, 2012, 02:54 AM   #19
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BOB

Quote:
I wouldn't think it would normally be any of those causes in a new gun...I noticed the BOB on the last round out of the 5-round mag which may lend credence to the weak mag spring being the cause
New pistols aren't immune and...assuming ample ammunition power levels and reasonable recoil/action springs...the magazine is almost always the cause.
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Old October 25, 2012, 06:12 PM   #20
Clifford L. Hughes
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willmac33:

Stove pipes are caused by several reasons, most likely the slide is not making it fully to the rear and causing the extractor to drop the case instead of ejecting it. Another is, but most likely not your problem, is a worn ejector: your pistol is functioning with most brands of ammo. This is an indication that your pistol doesn't like reduced recoil ammo.

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Old October 25, 2012, 10:04 PM   #21
.45 Aficianado
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Quote:
New pistols aren't immune and...assuming ample ammunition power levels and reasonable recoil/action springs...the magazine is almost always the cause.

I guess I find that surprising. I think most of us associate weak springs, including magazine springs, with old guns in general, not new guns where springs should meet specs. In the case of magazine springs, weakness more likely develops in the mag that is fully loaded, and has not been unloaded recently.
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Old October 25, 2012, 10:21 PM   #22
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Magazine springs wear from movement. Letting the magazine sit loaded or unloaded does not wear springs.

Its not always that the spring has grown weak... it just that magazines can be sensitive to being out of tolerance. Bent too much/little, dropped, or somehow damaged, no matter how little, can cause failures. Magazines are usually the weakest point in any semi-auto design.
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Old October 25, 2012, 10:38 PM   #23
.45 Aficianado
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I think wear on a spring is different than weakness. A new gun should have neither. How can one tell the difference? In my case, I sent the pistol back twice to the factory, 1st for broken firing pin, 2nd for unreliabity in feed and extraction including BOB, and still getting BOB. What am I missing?
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Old October 26, 2012, 02:58 AM   #24
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BOB

Quote:
I think wear on a spring is different than weakness. A new gun should have neither.
I had a spankin' new Colt Combat Commander that BOB-ed almost every time on the last round with the factory magazine. A Wolff 11-pound/7-round magazine spring cured it.
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Old October 26, 2012, 09:12 AM   #25
Walt Sherrill
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Magazine springs wear from movement. Letting the magazine sit loaded or unloaded does not wear springs.
Unloaded springs don't deteriorate, for sure, but with loaded mag springs, the story is different. It depends on how the spring is used and the design of the magazines.

We've had a lot of discussions on this topic here on the TFL, and some of those participating were people involved in spring production and design, along with a few engineers familiar with steel. What they all say is that a spring that is consistently pushed to it's design limits will fail more quickly than springs that aren't pushed.

If springs wore out from movement alone, tappet springs in cars would arguably have to be replaced a lot more often than they are -- which is almost never... Those springs are designed for the task, and they are seldom pushed beyond their design limits. 7-round 1911 mag springs seem to be about as reliable as any spring around, including tappet springs, but springs in hi-cap or compact mags often are asked to do more.

Coil springs differ from leaf springs in one important way, as the entire spring typically does the work, not like a leaf spring, where just a key area or two, does most of the work. Coil springs start to degrade with microscopic breaks in a lot of places, causing the springs to get soft and lose their ability to do work. Leaf springs often just break.

Leaving any spring COMPRESSED to or near that spring's design limit will weaken the spring -- because when fully compressed, that spring is WORKING -- trying to lift that column of ammo! If, when fully compressed, it's not near that limit, then there's not likely to be a problem. That is generally the case with 7-round 1911 mags. And it's also the case with most of the 10-round 9mm mags in full-size guns. With most sub-compact and hi-cap mags, the springs are often FULLY COMPRESSED, and there's no reserve left!

A 7-round 1911 spring that has been left fully compressed for decades may still have a long life ahead of it, if put to work; if then used regularly, it may still live a long life, as the spring is, like a tappet spring in a car, being used well within it's design envelope.

Note: Wolff Springs recommends downloading a round or two for most mags, when the mags are left loaded for long periods of time. That's advice intended to prolong spring life, not to sell more springs.


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Last edited by Walt Sherrill; October 26, 2012 at 09:20 AM.
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