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Old December 22, 2007, 03:06 PM   #1
Willie D
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Walther PPK problems

My girlfriend has whined for a while that she wanted a PPK. I said she should get a Bersa or maybe a CZ83 but while at a Gun Show the other week we stumbled on a beautiful looking PPK and I was overcome with a fit of charity.

It's a lightly used Interarms Walther in .380. I didn't know about the various manufacturers at the time I bought it. The recoil spring has been cut down which has caused some scratching near the base of the barrel. Still quite a stiff slide.

I went to the range yesterday and it took about half a dozen tries to chamber a round. I WAS letting the slide fly forward properly. The cartridge would get wedged between the slide/mag lips and the TOP of the barrel. I was worried I wouldn't get to fire a single shot but eventually I got it to chamber the round. Went thru the first mag OK. Second mag the slide locked back with one round still in the mag.

After that I had a few more jams chambering the first round and one jam with a fresh cartridge getting stuck halfway into the chamber during shooting. Real PITA not beeing able to lock the slide manually while clearing a jam.

Ammo was American Eagle FMJ. After the AE I tested out 2 mags of Speer HP ammo which strangely worked fine (hollow points are not supposed to be the PPK's strong suit).

Any ideas for getting this pistol to work smoothly? I was supprised at how accurately it shot (or how well I shot it) and the SA trigger is excellent. I'd like it to be trouble free for my girlfriend (who hasn't even shot it yet!!).
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Old December 22, 2007, 03:34 PM   #2
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wrong spring?

The interarms are actually recommended over the new SW versions.
Mine works like a charm.

You stated that the recoil spring had been cut down, yet the slide is still very stiff. This leads one to believe that someone replace the spring, using a stiff longer spring and cut it down to size.
Springs are made in various tensions and coils, so I recommend ordering another spring to replace the one you have. I would check with
and order another stock one....or order one from SW and it might work.

Yeah, the PPKs are fussy about feeding the slide back forward. just let it slam, and in such a small pistol, the spring is critical in the timing of the ejection and feeding.
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Old December 22, 2007, 06:22 PM   #3
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What HVR said!!
The proper springs are critical to the PPK's functioning!!
Installing weaker springs or lopping off coils was a popular way to attempt to improve the gun. Alas, more often than not, all it did was screw up the timing!!
My advice is to take it to your friendly family gunsmith (you do have a family gunsmith, don't you?) and have it completely re-springed because there is no way to tell what springs had been tampered with!!
Do that and I bet your gun becomes it's old reliable self!!
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Old December 22, 2007, 06:25 PM   #4
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Hope you got more than one magazine and you can compare the feed lips etc. in case they are bent or something that affects feeding. So you think that the last guy sold it for that? Some wretch just stuck you with his problem gun. That is the danger of gun shows. No place to go when the gun is a lemon.
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Old December 22, 2007, 06:28 PM   #5
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Wolff springs Get the Factory weight spring. 22lbs if I remember. Install smaller end down barrel . Make sure pistol is clean and well lubed. My Interarms is a great pistol and still gets carried.
I would carry my Interarms any day over a new long tang S&W kind.

Hammer spring can be changed out in less than 5 min. If you want to replace it with a new or lighter one
PM me if you want directions
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Old December 23, 2007, 01:18 AM   #6
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Besides an new spring, a new magazine wouldn't hurt.
I like my S&W PPK way better than the Interarms one I used to have; both were/are reliable and quite accurate, but the S&W has a much better DA trigger; in IDPA matches I have no trouble shooting clean with it.
I didn't think much of the long tang myself, but it wasn't anything a bit of grinding with my dremel couldn't fix.
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Old December 23, 2007, 07:01 AM   #7
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Just to add one small item from what's been said. Even though slide travel is short, keep it well lubricated....Hope you figure it out....I suspect spring problems as well....
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Old December 23, 2007, 02:12 PM   #8
Willie D
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Thanks for the advice.

It only came with one mag so I'll start off by getting a couple of mags and a new recoil spring.

Do I want the factory standard or extra power? It says the factory standard is 15#.
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Old December 23, 2007, 02:45 PM   #9
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Have a PP and a PPK. Neat little guns. I did have to carefully rework the lips on two new mags I bought. But, I have had to do this on many semis! A little lip bending goes along way!!!!

My spouse went back to her S&W M36 3" as she would not hold the PPK firm enough and it would not recoil/reload properly. Never an issue with me. They do take a firm hold so that teh recoil does it work on the gun and not just move your limp wrist. And, the rear of the slide can get you until you learn ... won't take long.
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Old December 23, 2007, 03:32 PM   #10
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If it was me, I'd get one of both, since they are cheap enough and you are paying more for shipping.
then you could adjust if the loads change and the gun needed it.

But if choice was down to one, I would choose the standard over the extra strong.
From the sweet grass to the slaughter house; From birth until death; We travel between these two eternities........from 'Broken Trail"
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Old December 29, 2007, 09:04 PM   #11
Willie D
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Got the new recoil springs for the PPK. Put in the standard weight one in for now. Do I need to replace the firing pin spring with the one that came with the Wolff springs? The original seems fine.

Also got a new mag and a snap cap.

FWIW, snap cap feeds fine. "Bullet" part of the snap cap is less pointy than the bullet on the American Eagle cartridges.
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Old December 29, 2007, 09:17 PM   #12
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WillieD, give us a range report when available...Many of us PPK owners have our radar up? Firing pin spring is up to you, but not crucial to your problem..
I've used American Eagle and found it to be compatible...
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Old December 29, 2007, 09:25 PM   #13
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Those little Walthers are very sensitive to ammo bullet shape in the .380 ACP (9mm BS) chambering. (They will feed about anything in .32 ACP.) Remington once put out a batch of ammo that was made to work with the Beretta Model 1934, but wouldn't feed in the Walther at all. Even hung up the gun of Princess Anne's bodyguard when her car was shot at by a man with a shotgun. Remington changed, but for a while, Interarms included a paper with the guns advising use of Winchester-Western ammo.

FWIW, I found the original springs in the Interarms guns too strong; they worked fine after "rolling" them on a belt sander.

Jim K
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Old January 18, 2008, 05:57 PM   #14
Willie D
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Made 2 trips to the range since replacing the recoil spring (standard strength) and getting the new mag. It's very hard to get the gun out of my girlfriend's hands and she's blasting extremely tight groups that put me to shame.

First trip used Remington UMC. No feed problems.

Today shot Remington and Fiocchi and had a few feed problems, all with the older mag. Feed lips and follower look identical. Mag spring *might* be a hair stonger on new mag.

On both days a new problem popped up. The slide would lock back with rounds still in the mag. Happened to both me and my girlfriend.

Not a strong enough spring on the slide stop?
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Old January 21, 2008, 10:24 AM   #15
Willie D
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Any idea where I can pick up a new spring for the slide stop? I could try bending mine open a little further but I'm scared I might break it.
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Old January 21, 2008, 10:51 AM   #16
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After some similar problems I finally have my PPKs working 100% of the time.

My experience seems to indicate the problems as a poor magazine (although it was factory) and ammo. I ordered a couple new factory magazines and they work great.

As for ammo, Winchester's flat-nose seemed to cause the most problems against the feed ramp. AE Federal worked most of the time, but Remington and any HP seem to work perfectly with a slimmer rounded nose.

My PPK/s went from the pistol I wanted to love the most back to one of my most reliable and accurate.

Hope that helps, and good luck!
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Old January 21, 2008, 11:34 AM   #17
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I first got my PPK in the 60s and it was unreliable - stovepiping. Later I took up reloading and found that the gun just needed hotter loads (or a weaker spring - I went for the hotter loads). Never had a problem with any reloads - including 90gr JHPs. I carried it over 20 years and never had a problem with the hot loads. If I carry it now, it's with CorBons or HydraShocks with a couple of Glasers on top. One of these days i'll try some generics just to see.

By the way, lube is very important with the PPK. Lightly grease the slide rails and contact points. That should help some. Or you can use some Eezox/Militec1/WeaponShield on the whole gun to reduce friction (and also corrosion "proof"). I don't carry it much any more. I keep it for nostalgia (or when I go to a James Bond movie)
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Old January 21, 2008, 11:40 AM   #18
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I had a stainless PPKs back in the mid '80s and some similiar problems like yours, though mine was purchased new with two magazines. Slide was very stiff to operate, but improved with use and additional lubrication. One magazine, the one with the flat baseplate, was more prone to malfunctions, than the one with the plastic extension. The single most dangerous problem that developed was the magazine falling out on a few occasions. I'm pretty certain it wasn't caused by my thumbs, as I kept them low and away from the magazine release and the slide. In all probability, it may have been caused by a weak spring in the magazine release itself.
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Old March 13, 2008, 08:00 AM   #19
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Strategic Decision

I stumbled on this forum while trying to reach a decision about my Interams SS PPKS. It is now in the shop for the third time since I've owned it (maybe 1,000 rounds) and I now find that I don't trust the gun any more.

First time I experienced many of the problems mentioned in this thread--stovepiping, failure to completely seat the round, slide locking back mid-mag. I could only fire one in 7 mags without a stoppage. I returned it to Interarms and raised hell when they told me it wold be 4 months to get it returned. I got it in ten days and it worked flawlessly for hundreds of rounds. (I kept extensive notes including which ammo, which mag before and after the problem.)

Next problem was the little spring at the upper end of the frame on the left side near the top of the grip. I'm not sure what it does. My gunsmith told me it became damaged when I let the grips become loose.

Current problem is a broken spring that drives a small pin at the top of the frame, between the magazine well and the hammer. Again, I'm not sure what this pin does but the damage kept me from being able to bring the slide back far enough to take it apart.

I found a local gunsmith who actually worked for Interarms for 10 years. He also detected that the VERY thin wall of the frame on the right side above the grip was peeling apart. Not a problem he said. He could remove it and clean up the edges.

BUT: He said that he was going to have to order my replacement springs from S&W and he was not confident about their reliability. I basically asked him how reliable the fix would be? Would I find myself holding a worthless gun in my hands at the wrong time? He replied that the new springs SHOULD work but that he wished he had something better.

This is NOT a comforting feeling. I don't carry this that often (I'm a university professor and in Florida it is verbotten to have a firearm on campus and I don't really feel the need to have a firearm for most day-to-day activities). But I DO want one from time to time. While my preferred carry is a Kimber Pro Carry in .45 ACP in Florida there are just times when you need to dress lighter. The PPKS is a GREAT pocket pistol.

So--Does anyone have any opinions or resources for getting this thing fixed up so that I can count on it? Any sources of springs? (Not the recoil spring but the little bitty ones that work various parts of the action.) What is YOUR criteria for reliability?

I'm thinking of trading this in on a Sig 232.
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Old March 13, 2008, 11:58 AM   #20
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Earls repair service

Sounds like it might be a magazine problem. If you can't figure it out I would recommend sending it to Earl and Earls repair services. He's a great guy to work with and really knows his stuff when it comes to Walther's. I've had to send him my model 5 and my German PP in 7.65. fast turn around and fixed right.....just my .02
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Old May 9, 2008, 04:01 PM   #21
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I picked a a PPK/S at a gun show. I cleaned it and now the slide will not lock. I have an empty clip in it, still not locking. Any ideas?

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Old May 9, 2008, 07:24 PM   #22
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Check the small spring under/inside the ejector.

If it's broken, weak, or missing, the slide will not lock open.

Here's an exploded view of a Walther PP series gun. The ejector spring is part number 31:

This spring can be a bear to get place in so you may want to see a gunsmith.
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Old May 9, 2008, 08:02 PM   #23
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Thanks for the quick replay. I don't even have the ejector or spring. Hopefully, I can order them from S&W. Where is a good place to get parts?
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Old May 10, 2008, 09:34 AM   #24
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Numrich Gun Parts Corp. Here's a link to the PPK/S section:
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Old May 10, 2008, 02:37 PM   #25
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My older PPK and PPK/s both work flawlessly. The springs on PPK's often look like they are cut off on the back end, doesn't mean they were. An excellent source of Walther information is The Walther Forums. Good bunch, much expertise.
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