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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently acquired a P38 manufactured in 1968. From the very beginning, it had frequent fail to extract problems. After I read through posts in this forum, I disassembled the P38 slide completely, and cleaned everything thoroughly, especially the extractor. However, the P38 still have the same fail to extract problems, at the same frequency of once every magazine.
Here are the pictures and detailed view of the extractor. Has the extractor been worn out?


















If the p38's extractor has been worn out, I found Numrich has a factory new original extractor. Anyone has good experience with this product?

https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/200190



Wolff Spring sells spring kit for P38. Anyone has tried this product before?

https://www.gunsprings.com/WALTHER/P-38, P-5, P-5 COMPACT/cID1/mID70/dID306

Update on March 3, 2020:
I bought a new extractor from RTG Parts, $15 + $5 shipping. It is claimed to be genuine part made for Germany Army.
https://www.robertrtg.com/store/pc/W...EW-23p2840.htm

New extractor on the left, compare to the old, potentially trouble-making extractor on the right.

https://i.imgur.com/n1QvdQA.jpg

When compared to the original extractor on my P38, I felt that the tip of the old extractor get worn off a big chunk at the tip. The tip is shorter, and the inside curve of the tip is flatter.

After I changed to the new extractor, I shot through about 50 rounds of brass ammo without any problem, and about 50 rounds of aluminum ammo with 1 failed to extract jam. With the knowledge that aluminum case are more abrasive, and causes more friction, it is reasonable that P38 failed to extract one aluminum-cased round in a while.
By the way, the same Federal brand aluminum-cased ammo also caused one jam on a Sig P365 out of 100.
There is a possibility that this brand of aluminum-cased ammo have some cartridges out of spec.

Anyway, I think that my problem with Walther P38 was solved. I am very happy now.
 

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Wolff is the recommended source for the springs. I assume with your last pic that you mean the case remains in the chamber. Have you examined a fired casing rim to see if it is scratching teh rim? The used extractor tooth looks a little flatter, it could be that both a new extractor and spring may fix it, as well as cleaning the slot out well.
 

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A good way to check the extractor is to take the slide off and with the barrel removed, insert a shell into the recessed part of the slide. If the tip of the extractor does not touch the cartridge and holds it firmly in place, or touches it in the wrong spot, the bevels of the extractor can be adjusted for proper outlet or the tip reshaped.
 

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... I disassembled the P38 slide completely, and cleaned everything thoroughly, especially the extractor...
Before you rush off to buy parts:

May we assume from this that in the course of this cleaning you physically removed from the slide the extractor, extractor stay and extractor spring, and cleaned all three, then cleaned out the passage, then replaced them in the slide?

May we also assume that your photo No. 8 shows the location of the fired case when the stoppage occurs (i.e., almost completely in the chamber)?

When this happens, where do you find the next round in the magazine?

Have you looked in the chamber end of the barrel in strong light, especially near its forward end, where the chamber meets the rifling, to confirm that it is bright and shiny? Try the "Plonk Test": with the barrel removed and held vertically, will a cartridge drop in freely and when the barrel is inverted, fall out by gravity?

Your photos of the extractor hook are too blurred and taken from the wrong angle to see what's important. When at rest is the extractor contacting the bottom of its slot in the breech face (i.e., pivoted as far inward as it will go), and when pressed outward with your finger, does it move freely in its slot, with good spring tension?

M
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Extractor Seems To Hold Case Firmly In Place. Ammo Can Fall In And Drop Off Freely

Thank for advice from so many experts.

First, the throat of the barrel is not shiny, but not sticky either.
I can insert a round easily into the barrel, press it in, invert the barrel, and the round fall out freely.
The throat area of the barrel looks like this:





I will use copper wire brush to clean this throat area and make it shiny. I will report back after next week's shooting.

Second, the extractor spring. I use a flat head screw driver to push the extractor outward. I feel that the extractor move out with quite strong resistance. Probably the extractor spring is not the problem.

Third, the extractor itself.
I use a screw driver to push an empty case into the bolt face. The chamber loaded indicator applied a strong force on the bottom of the case. After I pushed the case into the bold face, the extractor holds the case firmly in the recessed area, despite the strong push-out force from the chamber loaded indicator.
I even need to use a little force to push the case out of the recess.







One thing I noticed is that the P38 is very dry. In hind-sight, I must have not applied any lubricant after I cleaned the power residue from this pistol.
Now I want to explain the detail of my shooting experience.
I purchase this pistol from GunBroker. Upon receiving it, I took the barrel and slide out, cleaned the barrel with bore snake, and the slide with rubbing alcohol. I did not disassembly the slide, so I did not clean the extractor and bolt face.
The first time I shoot this pistol, the first two magazines went through without any problem. Then I got fail to extract for every magazine, usually once at the 5th round.
I came home, completely disassembly the slide, and found there is so much power residue caked under extractor hook and many other places. I used rubbing alcohol and copper wire brush to clean every pieces and reassemble the pistol.
I wanted to minimize the powder residue deposited inside the pistol. So I wiped it with rubbing alcohol and did not apply lubricant.
The second time I went to the range, this P38 had fail to extract and fail to eject once every magazine.
I will apply lubricant to the rail before my next range trip.
 

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Buy some solvent, give it a thorough scrubbing (again) paying extra attention to the extractor, chamber, bolt face, etc.
Then lube it up and let us know what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I noticed that the loaded chamber indication put a very strong force on the empty case, trying to push it away from the extractor.
I do not have an obvious use for the loaded chamber indicator. Can I take it out, along with the spring connecting it to the firing pin?
 

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If in the photo a cartridge case is shot from THIS pistol, then it looks like a problem with the main gap.
In addition, the inner surface of the chamber will clearly not mind polishing...

Assemble the barrel with the slider, and try moving the barrel inside the slider back and forth.
If You succeeded by a noticeable amount, then most likely it is wear of the locking unit. Either on the locking block, or on the barrel, or on the slider.
Or (as usually happens) everywhere a little.

PS And YES.
A normal extractor, with a cartridge installed in the slider, should abut against the cylindrical part of the groove in the case. If the cartridge does not fall out of the slider under its own weight, then the extractor is in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Assemble the barrel with the slider, and try moving the barrel inside the slider back and forth.
If You succeeded by a noticeable amount, then most likely it is wear of the locking unit. Either on the locking block, or on the barrel, or on the slider.
Or (as usually happens) everywhere a little.
I tried the pistol in fully assembled form. When I tried to move the barrel back and forth, the barrel stayed inside slide in a very rigid way.
Then I disassemble the pistol, and have only the barrel inside the slide. If I press down on the locking unit, the barrel can move very slightly inside the slide, about 1/32 inch. If I do not press down on the locking unit, only holding on the barrel and slide, the barrel can move significantly back and forth.

I have replaced the extractor and recoil springs. In about two weeks time I may get a chance to go to a range. I will see what happens to this Walther P38.

Thanks for all the help!
 

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Let's make sure that we are talking about the same thing.
On the assembled pistol, with a slider it’s "on battery", the barrel can’t move anywhere. Because it is sandwiched between the slider and the front bump.
You can only check the assembly of the barrel with cartridge in chamber (of course with the block in the "locked" position) and the slider, SEPARATELY from the handle.
Since You do not have gauges, You can use a LIVE cartridge.
NOT a drill and NOT an empty case.
With this assembly, it is allowed to "shift the barrel relative to the slider, which can be felt but cannot be seen".

If the displacement is clearly visible to the eye, especially if it is 1/32", this already corresponds to the "FIELD" gauge.
Such a gun is considered "in need of repair".

PS For P38 (!) It’s completely safe to shoot.
But VERY soon breakdown should happen.
Either a slider or a locking block.
Or both.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You can only check the assembly of the barrel with cartridge in chamber (of course with the block in the "locked" position) and the slider, SEPARATELY from the handle.
Since You do not have gauges, You can use a LIVE cartridge.
NOT a drill and NOT an empty case.
With this assembly, it is allowed to "shift the barrel relative to the slider, which can be felt but cannot be seen".

If the displacement is clearly visible to the eye, especially if it is 1/32", this already corresponds to the "FIELD" gauge.
Such a gun is considered "in need of repair".
Or both.
I took the barrel inside the slide away from the frame. Now I only have the barrel slide assembly in my hands.
With the safety to the "Safe" position, I insert a live cartridge into the chamber.
With the locking block in the "locked" mode, I move the barrel backward. The cartridge get contact with bolt face, and the hook of the extractor firmly gripped the rim of the cartridge.
Now with one hand holding the slide, I use another hand to press down on the locking block. I use the thumb pressing firmly down on the locking block to move the barrel back and forth.
With the locking block pressed firmly by my thumb, the barrel can move very little, barely perceptible to my eyes. The moving distance is much smaller than 1/32 inch. But I can see it moving.
I can see the aluminum frame has been worn significantly where it rubs against the slide. So it is no secret that the previous owner did not lubricate this pistol very often. I will pay attention that I am not shooting this pistol too much. I have Sig P320 M17, which is supposed to last 20,000 rounds.
Thanks for reminding me!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
New extractor on the left, compare to the old, potentially trouble-making extractor on the right.

https://i.imgur.com/n1QvdQA.jpg

The new extractor is from RTG Parts, $15 + $5 shipping. It is claimed to be genuine part made for Germany Army.
https://www.robertrtg.com/store/pc/WALTHER-P1-EXTRACTOR-NEW-23p2840.htm

When compared to the original extractor on my P38, I felt that the tip of the old extractor get worn off a big chunk at the tip. The tip is shorter, and the inside curve of the tip is flatter.
There is hope that new extractor will solve my jamming problem.
I also hope that the locking block and the slide on this P38 will not break too soon.

I heard that Beretta adopted the locking block design of Walther P38 in Beretta 51 and 92. Beretta 51's locking block is very easy to fail. Beretta 92 solved this problem, but has weak slide problem. Only later model of Beretta 92 FS solved the slide problem.
Considering Soviet Union adopted Walther PP design and developed a superb pistol Makarov, I cannot understand why German military chose an inferior design of Walther P38 instead of PP. If the choice is swayed by 9mm vs .380, German military had a series problem in understanding the battlefield. If Walther PP in 1930s still had reliability problem, and Soviet's Makarov solved all these reliability problem, I can only say that Germans may be innovative mechanics, but Russians are superb weapon designers.
 

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A new extractor may help.
For a while.
Without fixing the remaining defects, the problem can quickly return.
Or maybe not... ;-)
You will not know until You try.

P38 is more reliable and durable than PPK.
And the main reason, they needed a pistol for one cartridge with SMG.

PS There were no "Russian superb weapon designers"
All they always did was buy or steal other people's designs and technology.
As the most advanced option, they sometimes managed to glue a more or less decent compiler from other people's designs.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Good news!
My 1968 Walther P38 no longer jammed with brass ammo, after I put on a new extractor from RTG Parts, $15 + $5 shipping.
I also tried about 50 Aluminum-cased ammo through the P38. It has one failed to extract.
Well, we know for a fact that aluminum case are more abrasive, thus perhaps more difficult to be extracted. That failed round may has some dimension a little out of spec, and caused more friction than others.
I also changed recoil springs, extractor spring, and other springs that are convenient for me to change. But I do think the new extractor made the difference.
 

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...It has one failed to extract...
This is not the "only problem", it is the "first swallow", a harbinger of the imminent return of the problem.
I see three possible problem areas.
1. The geometry of the chamber is incorrect.
This means that the cartridge in the chamber "hangs" on the extractor, instead of abutting against the front end of the chamber. When firing, the striker hits the primer in the case and the case strikes the extractor.
This does not seem serious, unless repeated hundreds and thousands of times, then this "small rounding" appears on the estractor.
But such a chip develops slowly, if it does not occur for second reason.

2. "FIELD" gap.
When the primer is broken, the pressure in the case rises until the cartridge “opens”. In this case, the bullet abuts against the beginning of the grooves and tries to push the barrel forward (the barrel itself rests against the front bump and is stationary). And the bottom of the case rests on the slider mirror and pushes the slider back.
The pressure in the case continues to rise to a value when the case is inflated enough (and further) to “stick” to the chamber wall.
The case stops in the chamber, but the slider has already received a certain impulse and continues to move backwards, as the gap allows.
Here comes the fun part.
If the pressure (at which the "sticking" of the case occurred) was formed after the slider reached the gap edge, everything happens fine.
And if the case is already “stuck”, and the slider continues to roll back, then the extractor tries to move the stuck case, but cannot. And it "turns". At this point, a corresponding dent remains in the groove of the case. And the extractor either "tries to jump out" of the groove or breaks. When there is “rounding” on the extractor, it jumps out.
Accordingly, "the passenger remained and the train left"...

3. The rough wall of the chamber helps the case to stick at an more early stage.

PS In fact, the depth of the chamber (point 1) can be correct, and a violation of the geometry consists only in insufficient taper of the chamber.
However, this is also enough for stuttering.
You can check if the case hangs on the extractor.
Insert an empty new case into the chamber.
Insert a pencil or the like into the barrel.
In the “on battery” position, try to move the case back and forth while pressing the pencil and the firing pin.
If You can understand that the extractor is “moving” from contact with the case, then the chamber is too deep.

PPS IMHO The main problem is gap.
If so, then a replacement locking block is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
This is not the "only problem", it is the "first swallow", a harbinger of the imminent return of the problem.
I see three possible problem areas.
Thank you very much for such a detailed and technical explanation!
I will try to do the test as you described, and report back.
At the same time, I will see if I can buy a new locking block. If locking block is too expensive, I may simply buy several extractors at $16 each, and use them as consumables for Walther P38, in the same way as lubricant.
 

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Easycity: You will be a happier person if you ignore all this palaver. Your pistol had a bad extractor, which you've replaced, and now --despite the fact that you've replaced all the springs-- the gun now works. Quit while you're ahead.

Take the gun out and shoot it and enjoy it.

M
 
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