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View Poll Results: Have You Had A Failure In A Semi-Auto/Revolver That Rendered It Inoperable?
Yes, In A Semi-Auto 88 32.59%
Yes, In A Revolver 44 16.30%
No, I Have Experienced No Failures In Either 60 22.22%
I Have Experienced Failures In Both 78 28.89%
Voters: 270. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 8, 2012, 04:21 PM   #1
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Have You Had A Failure In Semi-Auto/Revolver That Made It Inoperable?

I have often read (with some amusement) that revolvers are simpler guns than semi-autos and that makes them more reliable. The truth is that there is a litlle more to a revolver than people think and that they can, and do, fail at times.

How many of you have had a failure with either that rendered the gun inoperable at the time? Nothing catastrophic like, "I loaded a cartridge too hot and it blew the top strap off of my Blackhawk" sort of stuff. Just something like a broken spring, extractor, etc. that made it inoperable for the moment but was fixable.

I wonder about this and how it affects people's choices for carry guns. I'm not looking for a revolvers vs. semi-autos arguement as I own and shoot both.
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:31 PM   #2
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First time at the Air Force range in San Antonio, 1970, I got off 2 or 3 rounds and the S&W Model 15 locked up. Tight. Instructor had to play with the ejector rod, then it was fine. I've seen it happen on several other occasions. No mechanical device is perfect. I think what happened was the last guy that shot it didn't ensure the ejector rod was screwed in tight after he cleaned it. No one checked it, certainly not me. Since then I always check it before loading it.
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:38 PM   #3
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I voted revolver. It was long ago. The primer backed out and locked the cylinder. Dad sent it in to S&W to fix.
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:49 PM   #4
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So far, I'm the only one who reported failures in both kinds of handguns.

The auto was a Sig P225. This has been a while and it only happened one. It literally had a "jam", presumably some sort of failure to feed. I was unable to get it working again at the range. I believe that's the only instance of a "jam" like that I ever had but it was inoperable at the time.

The revolver problems I had were both S&W N-frames. One, a Model 29, would become too difficult to rotate the cylinder after about one cylinder full of shooting. Obviously, it was fitted too tightly but it was not a new gun and had been worked on at some point. The other was a Model 28 that also tended to exhibit the same problem, but not so quickly as to be a serious problem.

I've had parts break or come loose on both revolvers and autos but in neither case did the gun become inoperable. Actually, I believe a revolver is more complicated than an automatic but the operation is a little simpler, generally speaking. Some automatics, though, especially Rugers, have a surprisingly large number of parts.
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Old September 8, 2012, 04:56 PM   #5
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In the spirit of the original post...

I had the "firing pin retainer plate" crack and release the firing pin (back at me) once. That stopped everything. See #30 on the diagram here...

And I've also owned a... wait for it... a Ruger that failed as well. the ejector rod washer was split (#17)

So both guns locked up tight and were unusable until I replaced the $2.00 and $5.00 parts. Both still work fine - years later - and are "trust worthy".

I get a kick out these guys who will not "tolerate" any kind of failure at any time. I buy guns from these guys all the time for next to nothing and repair them for pennies and the keep them or flip them. I count on the "never tolerate failure" crowd to keep me in guns for cheap.

If you are planning on never having a failure and never having to deal with one; you have a bad plan.

Mechanical things break, count on it.

DOUGH! - I voted incorrectly for "semi auto" and should have voted for both.
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Last edited by jglsprings; September 8, 2012 at 05:04 PM.
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Old September 8, 2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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I voted neither, but to be fair, I don't own a revolver yet.
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Old September 8, 2012, 05:02 PM   #7
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The only 2 I've had were an issued M9 at BSG that cracked a locking lug during pre-qual in '05 and with my GP100 when a cracked and expanded .357 casing (American Eagle 158gr) locked my cylinder up. 2 TAPS with a rubber mallet and it was cured.

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Old September 8, 2012, 05:05 PM   #8
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Yes, a kaboom with a G22.
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Old September 8, 2012, 05:05 PM   #9
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S&W M57, had a burr on the firing pin bushing, locked the gun up on the first shot...stoned it off, no further problems.

Circa '70's Colt Combat Commander, came with a burr on the barrel shroud, the Sheriff Deputy could not rank the slide open when inspecting it for a Michigan "Safety Inspection Certificate"...stoned it off, never a problem with that gun again.

Circa '70's Colt Series 70 1911, extractor tension incorrect, would jam empties into magazine lips locking up the gun. Applied correct tension to extractor, no more problem.

Circa '70's Colt Combat Commander .38 Super, incorrect positioning of slide recoil lugs, peened the barrel lugs severly...would still fire, never locked up...had to get a new slide and barrel.

Current production, about two years ago, Colt XSE Combat Commander, underpowered recoil spring, would lock the slide in open position (stoppage). Fixed that, then weak firing pin spring, would allow the firing pin stop to drop down during firing, locking up the gun. After swapping out both springs, no more problems. Both grips were poorly checkered, but that was a cosmetic Q.C. problem, not functional issue.

I do not consider the problems I had with the Colts (four out of four) to be any indication of a propensity for 1911's for failure. I consider the problems I had to be a manifestation of a lack of quality control, incompetent Q.C. management, or lack of requisite skills of Q.C. management. Now that Ruger has come out with a 1911, I cannot envision ever buying a Colt 1911 again...I do not need the aggravation, and I am certainly not going to pay more to get it.

Last edited by dahermit; September 8, 2012 at 05:13 PM.
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Old September 8, 2012, 05:07 PM   #10
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I have an H&K USP45c that broke it's trigger linkage while a first time shooter was using it at the range. Result was a dead trigger that would move forward and backwards, but not drop the hammer. Poor kid thought she broke my gun. I explained to her that it had tens of thousands of rounds through and that any weapon no matter how good will break from use eventually.

H&K fixed it for free with no hassle. Thumbd up to their customer service and repair divisions.


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Old September 8, 2012, 05:07 PM   #11
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Yes to both. Broken firing pin on a model 1910 FN .32 acp, and a S&W 442 with a cracked frame.
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Old September 8, 2012, 05:42 PM   #12
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Kimber Royal carry. Magazine was dropped and I didn’t notice it till the next time at the range. Luckily I didn’t carry the gun with that magazine.

Taurus 445. Poorly built gun from the factory, End of the barrel was not flush with the cylinder and clearance was way too tight. A good gun smith fixed.

Taurus 605, shot well until +50 rounds. Started blowing lead out the side of the cylinder. Out of time in less than 100 rounds. Gave it to my gunsmith friend.

Colt Gold Cup, pin that holds the adjustable rear sight came out of the gun as I was firing. Half the magazine hit center mass the remainder of the mag hit 12 inches low. Not bad for a gun with over 5000 rounds.
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Old September 8, 2012, 06:24 PM   #13
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Yes. Colt m1903 .32 acp model. A shooter. Slide locked back and WON'T come unlocked. It is inoperable.
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Old September 8, 2012, 06:26 PM   #14
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All my revolver failures have been ammo related. All my autoloader failures have been magazine related. (there haven't been all that many of either)
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Old September 8, 2012, 06:30 PM   #15
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:45 PM   #16
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the S&W 21-A .22LR pistol I had locked up and the slide would move only about 1/2". Sent it back and was returned with report they replaced something. Fired one mag and it locked up again, same way. Sent it back a second time and after a month finally got it back with report they adjusted the slide lock area. Very mysterious. Concluded it was a lemon so I traded for a Ruger LCR22 which has been excellent.
The action seemed loose from the start so I'm sure it was a factory lemon that got by QC.
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:52 PM   #17
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Both, but both were ammo failures and not necessarily gun failures.

Had a Wolf 9mm round squib in a Ruger P89. Blocked the bore and had to be tapped out with a brass rod.

Had a poorly crimped reload (my fault) jump crimp and tie up my LCR.

Both easy fixes. Neither the fault of the gun. Both bad juju in a gun fight.

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Old September 8, 2012, 07:54 PM   #18
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Had a few revolver failures over the years. Had a squib load in a model 25 and the bullet didn't clear the barrel. That put a halt to my shooting for the day. Ejector rod backing out of the model 10s at work has been an issue over the years. In autos most of my failures have been either poor reloads that wouldn't feed in my P-90 when I first started reloading or failure to go all the way into battery when my Kimber was filthy earlier this year. None of my failures in the autos made me quit for the day though.

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Old September 8, 2012, 09:07 PM   #19
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These posts are making me want to reconsider a BUG.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:26 PM   #20
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Taurus 686 with very tight cylinder gap. Shoot 2-3 loads of ammo, and there is enough carbon on the front of the cylinder to jam against the barrel, and it won't rotate. Still like the gun though, just needs tweaked. Or maybe shot a little more and broken in.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:28 PM   #21
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Three instances with handguns that I personally experienced that made them inoperable:

Had a piece of grit get under the extractor of a S&W 29 during a reload in a IDPA match that locked the cylinder up so tight that the trigger wouldn't move and it couldn't be opened. So much for that stage. Finally had to smack it open with a wooden mallet.

Had the original 2 piece barrel on a 70 series Colt .38 Super separate at the joint, lock up the gun and blow burning powder and particles of brass back in my face. Safety glasses are a good thing.

Had a Taurus 92 that one side of the locking block broke off and locked up the gun. Sent it back to the factory and they fixed it. Sold it soon after.

Had a friend firing some of my bowling pin loads (they were VERY stout loads) break the slide release on his 1911 and the whole slide came off.

Saw the slide come completely off some semi-auto during a Gunsite class and go downrange. Don't know why, seems like it was a SIG.

I've seen a lot of rifles in 3 gun matches locked up from the extractor jumping the groove or tearing through the rim, then double feeding. Gun is inoperable until you punch the empty out with a range rod or cleaning rod. I believe it's the humidity down here and chambers that are not chrome plated or stainless barrels. They get a little rust in the chamber and lock up the brass.

Last edited by 45_auto; September 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:30 PM   #22
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For totally disabled, only two, both revolvers. One was a Model 36 that broke its hammer stud. The other was a Colt OP whose hammer broke off at the thin point. I fixed both without a factory trip, but they were completely disabled. Nevertheless, I have had far more temporary failures from autos, failures to feed, and the like. But then I shoot collector guns and have some odd pistols, so if Langenhahn fails to eject, I don't consider it a disaster, as I would never use such a gun for serious purposes anyway. On the plus side are .45 autos; I logged a Norinco at 8500 rounds with no failures, and a 1943 Colt M1911A1 at about the same. (The Norinco was new; God only know how many had been through the Colt before I got it.)

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Old September 8, 2012, 09:45 PM   #23
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One of each.
S&W model 10. Had the firing pin (hammer dog nose) break.
WW2 vintage FN P35 (Nazi occupation) version of the Browning High Power. Had the end of the extractor claw break off.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:49 PM   #24
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Never an "Inoperable" Failure

I think all of us (that actually shoot K's of rounds per a lifetime) experience either a jam, bad round etc. that results in the need to perhaps 'clear' the weapon which can be done almost instantaneously by a trained shooter. I have found it's always (for me) a result of cheap bulk ammo so I expect it every now and then but I have never had such occur with costly carry ammo.

While not a revolver guy (I actually like them but allocate my funds according to the ammo I have on hand which is 90% semi-auto) I have read more lately of cylinder shell extraction issues' due to bad tolerances' and the like (gun-tests had an article on this) yet I have personally never seen one 'lockup' at the range. In theory this would be a problem if one had to reload for defensive purposes and found he or she had to 'pry' the rounds out.

Point is I think with either platform that "inoperable" failures are an infrequent occurence at best. My Dad (God rest his sole) taught me a long time ago, however, that anything man-made (mechanical) can fail/break at any time--It is precisely for this reasng that I religiously carry a small BUG --it's so small as though IMO there's no excuse not to.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:53 PM   #25
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Yes. Two separate times, and with two different guns. One was a Sig P220, the other was the Sig P220ST. The trigger return spring was the culprit in both incidents; snapped in half and left me with a real pricey boat anchor. This is why I always grit my teeth anytime I see Sig ads in the gun books, or hear somebody else singing the praises of Sig. "To hell and back reliability", my *#?!
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