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Old January 13, 2000, 08:30 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: December 30, 1999
Location: parker, co, usa
Posts: 14
I've noticed on my .40 Hi-Power that the slide hits the top of the hammer as it slides backwards. It does pass the hammer but there is a pause of resistance. I notice this when I pull back the slide but can't say whether I notice it during firing. I suppose that the hammer is touching the slide the entire time it goes back (assuming it's been fired) but there is definitely some resistance when passing the hammer completely.

Could this explain excessive stovepipes and such? Should the flat part of the hammer (not where it contacts the firing pin) be honed and smoothed for easy passage of the slide?
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Old January 13, 2000, 08:33 PM   #2
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Join Date: December 30, 1999
Location: parker, co, usa
Posts: 14
Also noticed that the inside of the slide is worn where the blackening has been removed exactly where the hammer rubs as the slide passes backwards. I don't know if this is normal or not. I've only fired about 175 rounds so far.
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Old January 13, 2000, 09:47 PM   #3
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Join Date: November 14, 1998
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 885
I hope I understand what you are saying - if not, please don't be offended - but it sounds like you are describing the normal function of a semi-automatic pistol.

The slide cocks the hammer during it's rearward stroke. There is a flat surface built into the slide that performs this task and the hammer does remain in contact with this surface until the slide goes forward. The sear catches the hammer and holds it in the cocked position.

If you start with the hammer down and retract the slide, you can watch the slide cock the hammer. There will be some resistance until the hammer is nearly all the way back. If you perform the same operation with the hammer already cocked, the resistance will be less.

The wear you describe, if evenly distributed on this surface of the slide, is normal. If it is uneven it could indicate a burr or poorly machined parts.

If it is malfunctioning it may just need a clean and lube session. Usually continued firing will work some of the new stiffness out and get all the moving parts used to each other.

One more comment, remembering that I have no way to know your knowlege or experience base - be sure you take a firm grip when firing your Hi-Power. Shooting with a limp wrist can cause stovepipes.

You may already know these things and I apologize if my answers seem too elementary.

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Old January 14, 2000, 12:32 PM   #4
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
Hi, folks,

Mikey's description is partly correct, in that slide contact with the hammer is normal and of course there will be wear on both parts. But the hammer does not stay in contact with the slide all the way back, even though most diagrams of the pistol operation show it that way.

What actually happens is that the slide is driven back hard and fast. It hits the hammer so hard that the hammer loses contact with the slide and moves on its own inertia until stopped by part of the frame (the BHP) or the grip safety (1911 type). This is why we can have "hammer bite" even though it does not appear when working the gun slowly that the hammer would go that far back or down.

The hammer then bounces off its stop and, because the slide has been moving backwards, hits the bottom of the slide somewhere forward of the firing pin stop. A BHP or 1911 type that has been fired very much will show a dent or dents in that area. Different loads will produce dents in different places depending on how fast the hammer rebounds off its stop.

(If anyone thinks steel doesn't bounce, buy a set of those swinging little steel balls.)

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