View Full Version : Walther ppk/s cycling problems

March 20, 2008, 06:57 PM
I have owned my Walther ppk/s for some years now, and an ongoing problem is that the gun jams...repeatedly.
It is not my only firearm and my other pistols are very reliable, so I have not had a 'need' to address this issue.
While shooting the spent cartridge will 'stovepipe', getting stuck without being properly extracted. Additionally, if the spent casing is ejected sometimes the pistol will miss feed the next round, the cartridge then getting stuck and I have to release the magazine and drop the round through the frame. This problem occurs about one in six shots.

I am not ready to give up on this pistol, however, I am now simply fed up to the point of wanting to fix the problem. There must be some manufacturing flaw or malfunction, however upon first glance (my untrained eyes) everything seems to be normal.
I would like to try to fix this myself if possible, and learn about the detailed workings of the pistol and the firing mechanics.
I have disassembled the pistol and am somewhat mechanically inclined (an engineer).

The problem occurs with many different types of ammo, quality store bought and reloads...specialty and full jacketed. I am convinced it is not an ammunition issue. Also It has been fired many times. My first thought was that I needed to 'break-in' the gun...but there is no way the break in process is this lengthy.

Any ideas will help, also if I must take it to a gunsmith, can anyone recommend one in the South East US? (preferably one that will let me watch and learn)

-R Weaver

Six Shooter Steve
March 20, 2008, 07:03 PM
Are you only using one magazine? Might be a mag problem. Never had a problem with any PPK I have had.

March 20, 2008, 07:07 PM
I have two mags, and I have experienced the problem with each, however I am not sure if the problem is worse with one more than the other...I have not performed a controlled test firing for the mag performance in some time.

March 21, 2008, 08:18 AM
Do you know of anyone who has a solid machine (ransom type) rest you can fire the firearm from? I may be way off base here- but I've seen more than a couple PPK's fail due to... well, basically limp-wristing. Not to attack your shooting skills, but that model seems to show up at our range and classes with irritated owners fairly regular compared to 232's and Bersa's.

March 21, 2008, 07:44 PM
First, was this a used gun, or did you buy it new.
If it's used, you should be very suspect of things like the recoil spring, and the magazines.

People will routinely replace recoil springs to "make it work better", and in fact screw up something that wasn't.

Non factory magazines are also well known to cause problems in the Walther's.

Some suggestions:
Field strip, clean and re-lube the gun AND magazines.
Make SURE the magazine springs are installed the right way around.

If there's ANY question about the recoil spring, replace it with a new FACTORY spring. NO "extra-power" springs.
Make sure the spring is on the barrel right way around.
The wider open end of the spring points toward the muzzle, the smaller, closed end goes over the barrel.

Check the extractor to make sure it's not chipped, broken, worn, or is fouled. It should move freely in and out under strong spring tension.

Make sure there's no interference between the slide and the grips, or any internal parts.

Make sure the ejector has spring tension holding it down.

Have someone else shoot the gun. DON'T tell them the problem. See if they have trouble.
If this doesn't solve the problem, I'd recommend sending the gun in to Earl's Walther or S&W/Walther for factory level repairs.
I don't know of any qualified Walther gunsmiths in the South East.

Grandpa Shooter
March 22, 2008, 01:22 AM
Check the extractor to make sure it's not chipped, broken, worn, or is fouled. It should move freely in and out under strong spring tension.

Bingo! Last time I saw a PPK fail, it was an extracter issue. I'd check that first.

March 22, 2008, 01:58 AM
you say you have multilpes of this gun? Take the problem child and a good working one and dissassemble both (don't mix parts) and look and compare between parts.

March 23, 2008, 09:44 AM
Thank You for your thoughts,
I also thought I may be 'limp wristing' the pistol, but after focusing on my grip I still encountered the issue.
I have had others shoot the pistol and they experienced the same isues I am writing about.

I like the spring response from Dfariswheel. I will check the springs and be sure that:
1) main spring closed spring end toward the chamber and the open end toward the muzzle opening.
2) magazine springs are positioned correctly ( both end of spring look the same)

The ejector is under spring tension and looks to be in good shape (no chips, nicks, not worn...)

Ill check the springs.

March 23, 2008, 10:14 AM
I will try reversing the main spring position, and see if that has an effect on the performance.

Steve in PA
March 23, 2008, 10:45 AM
Do NOT lube magazines.

Check the function with different ammo. The PPK/S can be feed sensitive with certain types of ammo.

March 23, 2008, 12:01 PM
Thanks for the tip about not lubing the mag.

I am sure it is not the ammo, as I have shot everything from reloads to factory loaded FMJ rounds to self defense rounds, All having the same effect.

Where can I find the factory specs on the dimensions of the extractor?


March 23, 2008, 02:46 PM
+1 on the ammo; stove-piping and short-stroking (the slide not going far enough to the rear to strip a new round out of the mag) are quite often ammo problems.

March 24, 2008, 03:27 PM
The PPKs and PPK work the best with stoutly loaded ammo - try some +P stuff such as http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#380

March 24, 2008, 08:44 PM
OK...so I'm not 100% sure about the ammo, I will get my hands on some 380 +P from the recommended site and then get to a range this weekend.
I will test the magazines, the main spring position, and the ammo.
I will report back when I have some data.

James K
March 27, 2008, 12:01 PM
The factory recoil spring on some of those guns is too strong, and the problems you describe are common. I have fixed a number of them by rolling the spring on a belt sander but Wolff (www.gunsprings.com) has springs of 14,15, 16, and 17 pounds (the factory is 20 pounds) and will sell a kit of one each for around $25. I would buy the kit and start with the 17 pound.


March 28, 2008, 01:50 PM
I've had similar problems with PPK's before. I picked another used PPK/S about a year ago, and immediately sent for springs. I ordered a Wolff reduced power recoil spring and a reduced power mainspring, (hammer spring), and then polished the feed ramp with an electric drill, not a Dremel. I've shot quite a few different bullet profiles through it including flat points without a hitch. Personally, I think the stock springs are too stout on the Walthers. It seems to shoot better with the lighter springs.

James K
March 28, 2008, 04:03 PM
As I understand, the specs for those recoil springs were set by Walther, based on the higher power of German 9mm Kurz loads. U.S. loads are not as "hot" and don't function the guns properly.


March 31, 2008, 01:42 PM
GREAT advice,
I took the gun out this weekend after obtaining some .380 +P ammo.
You guys were correct, as indicated it shot much better. Only one mis-feed in 40 firings.
The mis-feed may indicate a need to polish the feed ramp.

When compared to the previous rate of ~2 mis-feeds per 7 shots , I am hopeful that the solution is close at hand.

Higher power ammo, gun works better.

This indicates, as you all have mentioned, that the main spring is too strong to work with normal ammo.
AND that the feed ramp should be polished.

I will take your advice and order the spring kit. While I am waiting for that, I will polish the feed ramp with some fine grit sandpaper, using the eraser end of a pencil.

I am very hopeful that the spring kit modification will solve the performance issues with the Walther. It makes perfect engineering sense to me that the new springs with a lower spring constant will allow all ammo to work reliably in the pistol. Thank you very much for the recommendation and the link to the supplier.

I will report back with my findings once I have installed and tested the various springs and spring/ammo combinations.


April 3, 2008, 12:33 PM
Yeah, the PPK's can be pretty picky about their ammo.
The first time I took mine out not to long ago, I ran two mags of some remanufactured fmj and it fired great with no jams.
I did some research on the most reliable self-defense ammo for the PPK's and came up with the Remington jhp and Federal hydrashoks(not the low recoil).
I went back a while later with FOUR boxes of CCI blazer fmj ammo and a box of the hydrashoks. Oh lord, the blazer turned my PPK into a single shot. I had to bump the slide forward almost every shot. After that agonizing two-hundred rounds I went through two or three mags of the hydrashoks with no trouble.
The spring change is a good idea. I never thought about that. I figured Walther would put the right one in to begin with.
That reminds me, I read the PPK's were intended for 95gr. ammo.
Take care

James K
April 3, 2008, 08:46 PM
The .380 PP/PPK has always had problems. The PP was originally designed for .32 ACP (7.65 Browning) and worked superbly in that caliber. The .380 was something of an afterthought and never worked really well.

At one time, Remington .380 ammo had a rather pointed bullet, used because it fed much better in the Beretta Model 1934, of which there were tons around. Remington probably crunched numbers and decided to go with what the Beretta liked. But the Walthers didn't like it at all, and for some time Interarms (then the Walther importer) put a notice in with every PP or PPK in .380 to use only Winchester-Western ammunition.

I don't know what ammo was involved (I heard it was that Remington stuff), but one time Princess Anne was shot at by some nut with a shotgun. Two of her bodyguards fired their Walther pistols and both jammed! Also missed. An unarmed "bobby" subdued the guy and took his now empty double barrel from him.


April 16, 2008, 10:10 PM
I have owned several Walther PPK's but my last one, a stainless model in .380 is the worst handgun I've ever had. I had shot 1 round when it locked up. Gunsmith opened it up and a extra spring fell out. Worked for a total of 15 more rounds, all shot slow fire when the gun stopped working all together. It is now in the shop with three broken parts. It has been there for a month now waiting for Smith and Wesson to send the parts to fix it. I used only Remington factory ammo. Smith and Wesson says they have had a lot of problems with the PPK and the parts are on back order. So, I used to carry a PPK for a backup gun in the summer, but now I just can't trust them to fire when I need them too. It's a shame cause they are neat little guns. But can I trust my life to one from now on. Unfortunately no. I wasn't even aware that Smith and Wesson was making them until I needed to have it fixed. Now I'm back to carrying my Colt Officers model .45 and it's a lot bigger gun to try to hide. But until I can find something small that will do the job I'm stuck with the extra bulk of the Colt.