When the hammer won't stay cocked...
Malfunctions in which the hammer won't stay cocked between shots and follows the side back to battery are not uncommon.
There are basically four causes:
1) Short recoil. By far the most common cause. Even if the fired case gets ejected, the slide may not be moving rearward far enough to recock the hammer. Try other, more powerful ammunition. Or, if it's a used gun, check the recoil spring to be certain that a previous owner has not substituted a stronger spring.
2) Grips (usually Pachmayrs) are fouling the sear or the trigger bar, preventing unimpeded movement. Remove the offending grips and throw them away.
3) Worn hammer. Cock the hammer with your thumb then try pushing forward on it with moderate pressure to see if it holds engagement. Then, with the magazine removed, try retracting the slide fully to the rear and letting it slam home a few times to see if the hammer jars off from the impact of the slide. In either case, if the hammer won't stay cocked, the toe of the hammer is worn. Or one of the sear rivets is broken or wobbly, or the sear is broken or chewed up. If you have to replace the hammer or the sear, it's likely that the decocking lever will then be out of adjustment. It will release either too early or not at all. Fixing it is a gunsmith job. Trying to set a new rivet or fix a bad one is a good way for an amateur to bend the frame and wreck the gun; that also is a job for a gunsmith.
4) The safety drum is kissing the decocking lever as the slide closes, decocking the hammer. The decocking lever is sitting too high. A telltale sign is if manual decocking drops the hammer too early. The hammer should be released when the red dot is 1/3 to 1/2 covered by the safety lever. Fixing that problem is also a gunsmith job.
MGMike excellent troubleshooting post. Also the post below was the the one that solved my hammer won't stay in S/A mode problem. It was the hammer block spring that was broken on my PPK. I appreciate your valuable expertise.
Well, you caught me napping.
I should have added a number 5 to the list above, which would be to confirm that the cocking piece spring (i.e., the hammer block spring) is present, unbroken and has enough strength to do its job.
Thank you for bringing this into the discussion. It's an important point.
I've also seen that in previously owned (Ranger / USA Interarms) PPK/S .380 pistols - there were hack efforts to reduce the hammer *toe* so to maybe lessen the double-action trigger pull (travel).
I've seen hammer toes that clearly looked "filed" down. This also correlated to the hammer "slipping" -or- not staying cocked. The sear was fine. When I replaced the hammer, this problem went away.
Hello out there in Walther land
I have a pp and I have tried all of the tricks you recommended here and still no luck getting the hammer to say locked back, even tried a new used hammer still no luck. What I am wondering is there a gunsmith out there that really understands the PP that you folks trust that I could send it to or take it to if they live close to southern Idaho. Please any help would really make me happy.
The closest guy to you who comes highly recommended here would be Tom Heller:
Gun Parts Sales & Repairs
Tom Heller (Luger Doc)
P O Box 398
St Charles MO 63302
Email: [email protected]
Excellent Post re Cocking Stability
I am a newbei to handguns and just got my first Walther PP L sport. It will not stay cocked after ever slide cycle like the trouble others have had with older PP's.
After reading Mike's post here I dug in deeper to my particular problem and although I have nothing to compare the surfaces of my sear and hammer toe with, close examination shows no wear that I can see. As the hammer is narrower than the sear, wear on the sear side should show; hammer wear not so much but the edge looks as good as I would expect new to look.
After figuring out how to remove the hammer spring, hammer and sear spring and associated components (watch out, very small) I think my problem is related to sear spring pressure. My spring once removed, measures 0.4" and does not feel overly positive in situ with the trigger linkage engaged. Applying some extra down finger pressure to the sear produces a slapable trigger that hods cock. For you guys looking for this problem, I think a good first step when the gun fails to hold cock upon firing is to: with an empty gun, manually cock the hammer. Now fan slap at the hammer with your hand or flick it back quickly with your thumb several times to see that it holds without fail. Mine will fail every few slaps which is about what it is doing at the range. Also applying moderate forward pressure to the hammer will cause it to trip. When you can push the hammer and cause it to lose cock you have dangerous gun in my opinion.
I am off to Earls to see if he will sell me a new, hopefully stronger sear spring. I will post back with results when I have some.
If anyone is going to attempt removing this spring themselves, the trick is to disengage the sear linkage (up towards the top of the gun slightly) which allows the sear to drop below normal removing a good portion of the load off the spring allowing you to sidestep the spring retainer out of its notch. Upon reassembly don't forget to reengage the linkage to its normal position.
Caution! these be little parts with springs; Flying object warning!!
Thanks to all for this great forum!!!
Slapping the insolent hammer does not replicate what happens when the slide recoils. If you can push the cocked hammer out of engagement with thumb pressure, the geometry is faulty and I don't believe a stronger sear spring will cure it. Moreover I am not sure that you have correctly identified the sear spring. The sear is powered by the hammer block spring, not the trigger bar spring.
Make sure both sear rivets are not loose. They should be firmly set to the sear, not to the frame.
Mike you are correct regarding me using my own names to describe Walther parts. :) Looking at a copy of the manual, I think the English version was translated by some non technical person or, it might be a literal translation.
The part I called the sear = #6 - cocking piece
The part I called sear spring =#9 or 9C, 9 is not referenced in the description is called Hammer arrester spring with bush. This spring and it's associated parts (9 & 30) apply downward engagement force to the cocking piece and it's engagement with the hammer.
I guess the question is: does the reliability of the assembly to hold cock depend on this spring or is the spring merely there to ensure the cocking piece is in place quickly?
We really are talking about two separate problems here. 1. a hammer which fails to securely hold cock (forward push releases) and 2. a hammer that in a dynamic situation, fails to achieve cock. Both conditions may or may not be related to the same defect as I see it.
On another issue I have see talked about - jamming, reading the specs at the bottom of the parts description page today I noticed the magazine capacity to be only 8 rounds! Is this a misprint or could this be the reason some people experience jamming with full (10) clips?
The sear (i.e., the "cocking piece" in Walther nomenclature) is powered by the spring that also powers the hammer block (i.e., "hammer arrester"). It is a tiny spring no bigger than a grain of rice. It doesn't need to be strong, but it does need to be present, and to work to keep the sear in a position where it can be engaged by the hammer. However, replacing the spring is unlikely to cure the problem, so forget the springs. The problem is more fundamental.
Engagement between the hammer and sear occurs when the hammer lifts the sear to a point past dead center, resembling a pair of swinging doors hinged "too closely" together (with intersecting radii) so that one of them can be set to wedge them both partly open. Once properly engaged, the hammer spring (i.e., the "mainspring") provides all the power needed to hold the engagement. The hammer thus can be released only when the sear is lifted (via the trigger bar) to provide just enough radial clearance for the toe of the hammer to drop. This is why the geometry is critical.
A hammer nose that is not correctly fitted may engage the sear ledge too early, either before or just at dead center (but not well beyond it), and thus it won't hold against thumb pressure. Even if it does hold precariously, the impact of the slide slamming shut in counter-recoil can jar it off. So push-off and failure to cock are the same problem.
Your pistol is a Sport Model. Is it SA only? Does it have the original "bat's ear" hammer, or has a standard PP rowel hammer been substituted by a previous owner?
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