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Old 05-07-2014, 07:52 PM   #1
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Cartridge jam/Troubleshooting P38 magazines

My ac44 p38 ocasionally jams a shell during fireing! One quarter of the unfired shell protrudes from the breech, and it appears the signal pin is on top of the unfired shell with the next shell in the magazine pushing on the part of the shell not seated in the breech.Any thoughts?
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:44 PM   #2
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...Any thoughts?

T.bone
Yes. Scrub out the chamber with a bronze brush and get rid of the el Cheapo handloads.

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Old 05-08-2014, 08:22 AM   #3
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Will do! I do use store bought though!115gr Luger Winchester white box F.M.J.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:50 AM   #4
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...I do use store bought though!115gr Luger Winchester white box F.M.J.
...
Have you made any alteration to the gun, such as by installing new recoil springs?

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Old 05-08-2014, 09:06 PM   #5
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No,I have not,although I was considering it! Yea,nay?
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:47 PM   #6
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If you had, that might have been the origin of your problem.

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Old 05-09-2014, 12:35 AM   #7
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t.bone, please keep up posted on what you find. It's not often that P.38's experience the trouble you describe; I'm interested in helping you through this if necessary. We'll get it running!

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Old 05-09-2014, 10:39 AM   #8
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Troubleshooting P.38 magazines:

Note that it is possible to insert the magazine spring four different ways. Only one of them is correct.

The spring is installed with the short coil upward, supporting the roof of the folower; the second (full) coil supports the lower step of the follower. Observe this relationship with the spring and follower out of the mag body. Note that the spring can be incorrectly installed upside down, or backward, or upside down AND backward. When reassembled, toggle the the follower with your thumb to check for excessive fore-and-aft play; the follower should fit closely enough not to “nosedive” from forward pressure.

Best and quickest way to test a magazine is to try it in a gun known to function correctly. Conversely the way to eliminate the magazine as the source of a malfunction in a given pistol is to substitute a magazine known to function correctly. However, if you have neither another magazine nor a spare P.38, try the following:

Visually check for magazine lips for bent or damaged lips. The inside width between lips of a new magazine is about 8mm. (The drawing calls for 8.0mm +0.2) After some use it will spread a little, to between about 8.15mm to 8.25mm, but it’s still serviceable as long as the top cartridge is presented more or less parallel to the angle of the lips.

Dismantle the magazine, wipe out the inside until it’s shiny and look through it (like you would a shotgun barrel) for dents or distortion, especially at the feed lips end. The walls should be straight, not convex (looking from the inside). Insert the follower without the spring and feel for smooth movement up and down. If it sticks anywhere, discard the magazine. If there are any cracks around the lips, especially on the back, discard the magazine. Any mag with plier marks on the lips indicating that it has been tweaked by some prior user is suspect, and should be stripped of usable parts and thrown away.

One other possibility, much more common in late WWII P.38s than in postwar guns, is a misshapen or mislocated seat in the frame for the magazine catch trunnions, or mislocated or damaged trunnions. In such case the magazine, when latched, will have excessive vertical play. This allows random presentation of the top cartridge and may produce feeding malfunctions. This is sometimes aggravated by some shooters who grip the pistol with their free hand under the butt, putting upward pressure on the magazine.

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Old 05-09-2014, 12:10 PM   #9
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That information is too good to tuck away. We'll have to Stick it and alter the title of the thread to match. Nice job, MGMike.
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:51 PM   #10
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I may have sent my reply to the wrong site!Oops!What I said was " my luck it would be an oddball problem" Will check my magazine springs ,although I do have a couple of them and the jam occurred w/ both! I did field strip and clean w/ Hoppes"9" I do have a brush that came w/ my post war cleaning kit that I will use on the breech. Will not have a chance to test fire for a couple of days though so bear w/ me for results!
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