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Old December 31, 2000, 05:30 PM   #1
444
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AFter raving about my Makarov, it is now giving me trouble. The problem is failure to fire, and it seems to be getting worse. At least one round/magazine doesn't fire on the first pull of the trigger, but every one fired on the second pull. I thought at first it was just dirty so I gave it a decent cleaning. No help, so I figured the firing pin spring was weak. I tore it apart and found that it didn't even have a firing pin spring, so now I am thinking mainspring. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I don't want to just start buying all kinds of parts trying to find the culprit.
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Old December 31, 2000, 06:15 PM   #2
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Did you clean your magazine? What about the firing pin channel? Did you try different ammo?
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Old December 31, 2000, 08:13 PM   #3
Stephen A. Camp
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Hello. If the mainspring feels strong enough...and you'll know and you've cleaned the firing pin channel, etc, it leaves two possibilities: the ammo and the firing pin. I don't know what ammo you are firing, but you might try another brand, preferrably made in America where we know that there are fewer "hard" primers or defective primers. I would also trust Fiocchi. IF the problems go away, it's ammo-related. IF not and if you're sure the mainspring is strong enough, get a new firing pin and compare to what you've got right now. Perhaps yours is chiped or a bit of the point broken off? They're very easy to change and if it's not the problem, you have a spare.

Best.
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Old January 1, 2001, 02:38 AM   #4
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Most likely ammo related. The msin spring in Makarov is leaf-type and usually outlasts just about every other part in the gun. The firing pin is free floating, so the pass thoud always be clean and OIL FREE. When you shake the gun, it should ratle.
What type of ammo are you using?
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Old January 1, 2001, 09:12 AM   #5
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Look at a primer on a round that did not fire. If there is just a very tiny mark from the firing pin it was caused simply by chambering the round (because the firing pin has no spring, this is normal). That would mean that when you pulled the trigger the firing pin never hit the primer at all. This seems especially common in East German maks and seems to be caused by the safety somehow blocking the hammer. Believe it or not, you may have to replace the slide.

Check out this link:
http://www.hotboards.com/plus/plus.m...2.075088701725
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Old January 1, 2001, 11:54 PM   #6
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Ok more info. I have a Bulgarian mak. It was a commerical gun that I bought used and it supposidly had only eight rounds through it. This makes me wonder if he had the same problem and dumped it. The ammo I am using is some kind of Russian in a green box (I am at work, so can't be more specific). I have a couple boxes of some American ammo, again I don't remember the brand but I think it is Federal. I didn't clean the magazines, the gun feeds fine and it didn't seem to be that the magazines could be related to the problem. Yes the firing pin channel is clear. In the course of this problem I tore the gun completely down and cleaned the whole thing with carb cleaner. I then scrubbed everything with Hoppes and ran a wet followed by a dry pipe cleaner down the firing pin channel. It was also appropriately lubed. I never ejected a round after a failure to fire and examined the primer. Each time I just pulled the trigger again and kept going. I will do that the next chance I get. I thought about the "hard primer" problem and that very well may be the problem, but I would think that a miliatry pistol would be made to handle anything out there, not just commercial American loads.
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Old January 2, 2001, 10:52 AM   #7
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This problem has been reported more and more on the web over the last several months,usually about EG Maks. Over at Makarov.com some have suggested that its a safety and/or slide problem. Unfortunately, even Maks are not perfect.
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Old November 13, 2001, 06:43 PM   #8
BTR
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My bulgarian needed a double strike on two occasions when I used a slow DA trigger pulling. Using a hard, fast DA trigger pull I have had no problems. It's worth a try, if you were doing a slow DA pull on the failures.
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Old November 13, 2001, 07:54 PM   #9
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444, You can easily take out your mainspring and increase the tension on your it by tweeking it a little. It will make the trigger pull heavier but it will make the firing pin hit the primers harder. Just slide the spring retainer off the mainspring and out it comes. Mark
Attached Images
File Type: jpg makarov pic.jpg (84.9 KB, 139 views)
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Old November 13, 2001, 11:58 PM   #10
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There are two ways to reinstall the mainspring in relation to the hammer.

One will cause light firing pin strikes--particularly in DA.

Find a website and verify that you have reassembled the gun properly.

It's hard to describe without pictures, but the shorter fork of the mainspring is probably in the wrong place.

I'll write what I have in my own notes to myself on reassembly.

Install the firing spring (mainspring). Take care to insure that the firing spring mates properly with the lever (trigger bar) pivot. Both stems of the firing spring should contact the hammer, NOT the lever (trigger bar) pivot. Note the position of the small firing spring fork in the figure below.

The figure below (which I can't draw here) shows the trigger bar pivot (the swinging dohickey on part # 7 in the Bulgy Mak manual) with the short stem of the mainspring positioned between the pivot point of the trigger bar pivot and the first protrusion on the side of the trigger bar pivot. Not in the little channel formed by the protrusion and the protrusion at the swinging end of the pivot.

Sorry for the poor description in place of a figure, but I don't have a scanner.
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Old November 14, 2001, 03:13 AM   #11
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Note that I posted this question almost exactly a year ago. I also never fixed the problem, so thank you for the information. I will play around with it as soon as possible. I figued, I am not using the Mak for self defense, so it was no really big deal and never messed with it.
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Old November 14, 2001, 05:26 AM   #12
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This is unusual in a Bulgie Mak. I have five Maks and all are 100% reliable. They safety may be the culprit. If you can swap safeties, that may help. If not a replacement slide will do the trick. Check with Karl at http://www.makarovpistol.com I think that's the link although it may have changed. The discussion forum is now on http://www.gunboards.com

Don't give up on the Mak.
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Old November 14, 2001, 07:52 PM   #13
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If there is no enertial firing pin, you can't carry with the hammer down, safety off, right? So what's the point of a DA trigger if you have to have the safety engaged?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how the gun works.
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Old November 14, 2001, 08:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
So what's the point of a DA trigger if you have to have the safety engaged?
Because thumbing the safety off while drawing is easier than cocking the hammer.

Because it allows a rapid second hammer strike in the event of a misfire.

And, I suppose that if something related to the sear or sear spring broke, it would let you keep using the pistol in a pinch.

Also, if you carry it the way it was intended to be carried (in a full coverage holster with a lanyard attached to prevent dropping the gun), you can carry it with the safety off. In that case, the safety is only used as a decocker.
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Old November 14, 2001, 09:26 PM   #15
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You could just take it to a gunsmith and have it gone over.
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Old November 14, 2001, 09:33 PM   #16
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So a Mak would go off if dropped, not on safe.

Does everyone who carries one of these know that?

The usual assumption with modern pistols is that the DA trigger is for carry, but it sounds like it would be less likely to go off if dropped with the hammer cocked.

Seems like even inertial firing pins aren't considered safe enough anymore; most pistols have a firing pin block as well.
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Old November 14, 2001, 11:10 PM   #17
Russian Furry
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Akarov has a hammer block, so unless trigger is pulled, the hammer can not contact the firing pin.
The mass of firing pin is small, so for enertia alone to fire the primer the gun bould have to lend muzle down from 500 ft or so.
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Old November 15, 2001, 06:46 AM   #18
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Russian Furry,

I guess I wasn't clear.

The Mak does not have an AUTOMATIC firing pin block, otherwise you wouldn't get the slight ding on the primer from chambering/cycling.

What it does have is a hammer resting on the firing pin resting on the primer. That sort of direct physical connection will result in ignition if the back of the hammer hits anything solid. This is the same reason a Colt SAA .45 must be carried with an empty chamber under the hammer. I know a man who fell in the woods with a pre-safety Ruger single action. The round he had foolishly left under the hammer went off when the holstered weapon hit the ground. He has a permanent .30 caliber scar on his calf.

So the only safe way to handle/carry this weapon would be with the safety engaged. Or is that the hammer block you meant?
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Old November 15, 2001, 08:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
So a Mak would go off if dropped, not on safe.
There is no firing pin block other than the manual safety. It certainly should be possible to fire the gun by dropping it on its hammer or by striking the hammer (both of these when the hammer is in its 'at rest' position).

You might be able to get enough inertia to run the firing pin forward to fire the pistol by dropping it on a hard surface on the muzzle. Don't know--never tried it--it seems pretty unlikely to me. Dropping it on a soft surface or even on a hard surface so that it didn't land on the hammer would NOT result in it firing.

Besides (as I have previously mentioned), the guns were designed to be carried in full coverage holsters which eliminates having the hammer struck. They were also designed to be carried with a lanyard which eliminates having the pistol dropped. SO, if the guns are used as they were designed to be used, they are perfectly safe to carry with the safety off and a round chambered.

AND, as I mentioned in my previous post, DA guns offer benefits EVEN when they don't have automatic firing pin safeties.

That should be VERY EASY to see since lots of manufacturers were making DA/SA pistols BEFORE automatic firing pin safeties became commonly used.

Quote:
The usual assumption with modern pistols is that the DA trigger is for carry, but it sounds like it would be less likely to go off if dropped with the hammer cocked.
The Mak is not a modern pistol. That's why some models can be purchased on Curio & Relic FFLs.

I'm not really sure what you're pushing toward here. Like all guns, the Maks have design limitations that the users must live with.
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Old November 15, 2001, 09:25 PM   #20
Handy
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The issue is not the existence of a firing pin block safety, many pistols still don't have that. But they do at least have inertial firing pins. You need one or the other to carry hammer down on a chambered round without a manual firing pin block.

So Joe Gunguy goes to the dealer and buys a Mak ("Hey, it's a Walther copy, but alot cheaper!") and decides to carry it like a Walther or any other DA pistol, trusting that hammer down means safe (or safe enough). What happens when that guys gun falls out of the holster, or out of his hand, or he raps the back of the hammer on a table, or he stumbles into something hard without a flap holster.

People here are always going off about "If you use proper gun handling skills" and all that, but if you're not fully aware of the dangers inherit in a guns basic design, because no western manufactorer would build a pistol that way, you're not going to be able to guard against it's flaws. And even if you are aware, does that guard you against the unexpected.

Every combat handgun I own can be dropped at any point in it's use and not go off.

I'm curious if every Mak owner here on TFL was completely aware of this design and it's proper handling.
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Old November 16, 2001, 12:28 AM   #21
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Quote:
So Joe Gunguy goes to the dealer and buys a Mak ("Hey, it's a Walther copy, but alot cheaper!") and decides to carry it like a Walther or any other DA pistol, trusting that hammer down means safe (or safe enough).
It's roughly a copy of the Walther PPK. The Walther PPK is not equipped with an automatic firing pin safety either. Therefore it is perfectly safe to carry the Mak in the same way you would safely carry a PPK.

Quote:
because no western manufactorer would build a pistol that way
Most Colt autopistols and many 1911 style pistols are not equipped with an automatic firing pin safety and will discharge a chambered round when the uncocked hammer is sharply struck--that's the main reason that cocked & locked carry is popular for these guns.

In fact, not even the manual safeties on the 1911 style pistols block the firing pin. That means that a 1911 with a chambered round is theoretically susceptible to discharge from being dropped on its muzzle-regardless of the position of the safeties or controls on the pistol.

Quote:
I'm curious if every Mak owner here on TFL was completely aware of this design and it's proper handling.
Probably not.
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Old November 17, 2001, 11:25 AM   #22
Handy
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John,

I mustn't be stating this clearly enough. The issue is not a firing pin block. It's the lack of INERTIAL firing pin.

An inertial firing pin must fly several milimeters before impacting on the primer. There is a spring that holds the firing pin aft away from the primer. If you drop the weapon on the hammer, the hammer can not transmit enough enough force from the rest position to move the firing pin fast and hard enough to impact the primer. That firing pin spring also helps prevent muzzle drop firings. 1911's, PPK's and every other western design works like this.

The Mak firing pin has no spring and fills the entire distance from rested hammer to back of the primer. So the hammer is essentially resting on the primer. That is not the case with a PPK.

If you hit the back of the hammer on a Mak with the safety off, it WILL make the round go off. It doesn't matter if you bump a door knob, whack it with your wrist watch, drop it, whatever, it will go off. That's really dangerous in a way no other weapon is, except a SAA with a round under the hammer.
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Old November 17, 2001, 01:06 PM   #23
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Ok, I pulled my PPK and one of my Maks out of the safe and did a little testing.

1. The PPK firing pin will protrude from the breechface when the hammer is resting against the slide. I.e. it is not an inertial firing pin although it does have a spring.

2. The Mak firing pin will protrude from the breechface when the hammer is resting against the slide. I.e. it is virtually identical to the PPK configuration except that it does not have a firing pin spring.

3. The PPK hammer does not rest against the slide or firing pin. There is an interlock built into the gun that doesn't allow the hammer to travel fully forward unless the trigger is fully rearward. To do the test in part 1, I had to hold the trigger back and push the hammer forward.

4. The Mak hammer does not rest against the slide or firing pin. There is an interlock built into the gun that doesn't allow the hammer to travel fully forward unless the trigger is fully rearward. To do the test in part 2, I had to hold the trigger back and push the hammer forward.

Your comments about the Mak being a uniquely dangerous gun are not borne out by the facts. Its safety features are identical to those built into the PPK, and probably very similar to most DA guns that were designed prior to the advent of automatic firing pin safeties.

So to recap.

Quote:
The Mak firing pin has no spring and fills the entire distance from rested hammer to back of the primer. So the hammer is essentially resting on the primer.
Not true.

Quote:
If you hit the back of the hammer on a Mak with the safety off, it WILL make the round go off.
Only true if you strike the hammer hard enough to destroy the internal interlock.

Quote:
That's really dangerous in a way no other weapon is
Not true. It's essentially identical to the PPK configuration--the only similar gun I have to compare it to. The only difference is the firing pin spring--which is, by the way, quite weak and really only serves as a return spring.
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Old November 17, 2001, 04:16 PM   #24
Handy
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Ah, thank you John. I had never heard mention of the hammer blocking device in either pistol. That explains the non-sprung firing pin perfectly and should be about as safe.

It is surprising that it took five questions about the hammer resting on the firing pin for the answer to come up.
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Old November 17, 2001, 10:29 PM   #25
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Alright, just go ahead! Say it!

If I hadn't been so lazy, I could have opened my safe, done a 2 minute experiment, and answered the question right the very first time!

Ok, I admit it--I'm lazy! Just don't tell my wife...
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