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Old 12-19-2009, 11:51 PM   #1
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jonny46 .22
Question P38 newbie

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Hi, I recently acquired a NIB 69 P38/II. I took it to the range the other day
and was amazed at how accurate this 40 year old gun was! The only problem
I had with it was the slide would not hold open after the last shot. Could it be
weak mag springs? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:24 AM   #2
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Hi, johnny, and welcome to the forum. We trust that you'll enjoy your time here.

Nice score on the P.38II. They certainly are wonderful guns. The easiest thing to do is to swap out magazines and see if that solves your problem; the chances are good, given the circumstances you describe, that you've got a mag problem rather than a gun problem. Keep us posted, in any event.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:16 AM   #3
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MGMike .38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonny46 View Post
...The only problem
I had with it was the slide would not hold open after the last shot. Could it be
weak mag springs? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
You didn't say what kind of ammo you were using. That's the FIRST potential cause to rule out.

M
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MGMike View Post
You didn't say what kind of ammo you were using. That's the FIRST potential cause to rule out.

M
Sorry It was Blazer Brass 115gr fmj (eat'sm like candy)
I tried shooting Federal hollow points 115gr 9pb, and they
would feed if I only loaded 5 rounds in the mag, any more and
the upper rounds would nose dive into the feed ramp and tie-up
the gun. The slide didn't hold open for either one.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:57 PM   #5
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Did the same problem crop up when you shot the FMJ, or was it strictly a JHP round that caused the issue? If it's a hollow point issue, Mike's caution on ammo is right on target (it's right on target anyway, of course). It's often the case that guns that will eat FMJ rounds like candy will choke on hollow points; I've got a P5 that exhibits this hiccup from time to time, especially with Remington rounds. We've found that the Winchester White Box 115-grain ammo generally works well in the P.38s and P1s. You might want to score some of that and see what it tells you. But I'd still swap some magazines around and see what you can learn from that.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:02 PM   #6
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jonny46 .22
Thanks for the quick responses The slide would not hold open with
either fmj's or the jhp's I tried. I think maybe the previous owner left the
magazines loaded for decades and the springs got weak. I ordered a ProMag
see if it works. Winchester WB is one of my favorite target loads, it's just
hard to find good/cheap 9mm these days.
(digressing) I had a P5 back in the 80's, sometimes when I loaded a full mag
of hollow points (probably silvertips) and closed the slide with the release, it
would scoop the top round off and try to throw it out the ejection port, sort
of like a cold stove pipe jam I guess
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:42 PM   #7
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MGMike .38
This is just a hunch but from the JHP nosediving I suspect your mag springs are incorrectly installed. They can be installed four ways, only one of which is correct. The other three are upside down, backward, or upside down AND backward.

The short coil goes on top, under the follower, with the second (longer) coil supporting the lower step in the front of the follower. Pay attention when taking them apart to see if they were correctly assembled. If not, you've found the solution to both problems.

If that fails, remove the slide and insert the magazine so you can observe the interaction of the magazine with the hold-open. That will readily reveal the nature of the problem.

If both of your magazines are original Walther and in good condition, I don't think a ProMag is going to help.

M
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:09 AM   #8
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Keymmebrome .22
P38 newbie

Welcome to CN. Post pics if you have them. You arent that far from Charlotte right? Maybe well see you at some of the Charlotte meets.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGMike View Post
This is just a hunch but from the JHP nosediving I suspect your mag springs are incorrectly installed. They can be installed four ways, only one of which is correct. The other three are upside down, backward, or upside down AND backward.

The short coil goes on top, under the follower, with the second (longer) coil supporting the lower step in the front of the follower. Pay attention when taking them apart to see if they were correctly assembled. If not, you've found the solution to both problems.

If that fails, remove the slide and insert the magazine so you can observe the interaction of the magazine with the hold-open. That will readily reveal the nature of the problem.

If both of your magazines are original Walther and in good condition, I don't think a ProMag is going to help.

M
Thank you for explaining this. I checked mine and the one problematic magazine I have had the spring in backward. It was always nose-diving rounds. Thanks again!
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:47 PM   #10
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Picture of a nose dive jam. Hope this link works
http://i458.photobucket.com/albums/q...8/DSCF0238.jpg
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