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Discussion Starter #1
I have a SW/PPK/s and always slingshot a round into the chamber when reloading, however I am concerned of the possibility of an accidental discharge doing this especially when reloading in a area not allowing discharge of firearms. Has anybody ever had this happen?
 

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I suppose it's possible, if your particular S&W version was one of those that were manufactured with the faulty hammer block and if it hasn't been through recall. If those situations do not apply to your weapon and you chamber a round with the safety engaged, you shouldn't have a problem.
 

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...I am concerned of the possibility of an accidental discharge doing this especially when reloading in a area not allowing discharge of firearms. Has anybody ever had this happen?
Well, you should be concerned, and not just with a PPK/s, but with any kind of semi-auto firearm. Unintended firings that occur when the slide flies forward (or a rifle bolt slams closed) are surprisingly frequent, and can result from a wide variety of causes involving the gun or the ammunition, some of which are obvious and others much less so.

It emphasizes the importance of pointing the muzzle in a safe direction when charging the first round, or --if there is no safe direction--waiting until you are somewhere else where there is a safe direction. The danger can be minimized --but certainly not eliminated-- by having the safety on when manually chambering the first round, if the design of the firearm permits. Some do not. It also is important to hold the gun rigidly out in front of you, firmly under control when operating the slide or cocking handle, just in case the gun picks that moment to go full auto.

It is disconcerting to go to pistol range (or any range for that matter) and observe the frequency with which shooters very casually slingshot their slides without paying much attention to where the muzzle is pointed at the instant the slide snaps closed. In your mind's eye, draw a line where the bullet will go if there is a slam-fire.

M
 

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What MGMike says. I neglected to add that, but always point the gun in a safe direction (even if you think it's unloaded) and especially when doing any kind of manipulation including chambering a round.

You just never know . . . .
 

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Totally agree. I had a late war pp go full auto and found the firing pin was a tad too long even though it looked to be original in design. Safety first.
 

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Saw one slamfire; a Colt Woodsman on our firing line. Back in the days of my military service, our MPs had a sand barrel outside their barracks for charging their 1911s.
The charging issue presents a problem when traveling with a handgun and encountering 'no-carry' states like the People's Republic of Maryland. It leaves you with the dilemma of not clearing a stored weapon while passing thru', or chancing recharging at some inconvenient spot.
What brings on a slamfire? Out of spec part has been mentioned; presume firing pin inertia is another, high primer as another possibility. It would seem that it is hard to diagnose a problem that only happens infrequently.
What do law enforcement do nowadays when entering prisons, etc? Back in revolver times, a buddy's Smith had a deep groove halfway thru' the recoil shield from endless weapons clearing entering the lockup. Is any special provision made for this, like the MP's sand barrel?
Moon
 

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I was at the range and had this happen with one of my 1903 Colts. Nothing more than the sear failing, and having my hand at the rear after slaping the slide caused it to jam on the next round, or it could have gone full auto. Got her home, tore her down, repalced a few springs, new sear catch, and just like new. I've seen lots of these in the military with our old 1911A1's.
 

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Slam-fires have a multitude of causes. Marginal hammer-sear engagement (from wear, chipping, alteration, packed dirt, broken or missing sear spring, etc.) that allows the hammer to jar loose from the impact of the slide or bolt shutting is not uncommon. In guns that do not have a secondary ("safety") hammer notch, the result is a slam-fire. Same is true with guns that just aren't made right, and have parts out of tolerance; all kinds of malfunctions are possible, as S&W learned --expensively--with its PP-series pistols.

Any firearm that has a propensity to dimple the primer from firing pin inertia is a prime candidate. I have induced slam fires in certain military rifles by once or twice ejecting and re-chambering the same cartridge; each time the dimple gets deeper.

A broken firing pin or one that is jammed in a forward position can cause a slamfire, as can any piece of solid debris stuck on the bolt face. In rimfire guns, insufficient headspace can cause slam-fires. High primers have already been mentioned, but there are also differences in ammunition. Early USA-made Walther TPH pistols experienced a rash of slam-fires with some brands of US ammo, due to insufficient headspace. It turned out that Walther's drawings were dimensioned to European rimfire, which had rims thinner than SAAMI allowable maximum. Headspace was opened up, and the problem went away. Also with rimfires: a stuck extractor can act like a firing pin.

There is also the issue of primer sensitivity. While primers are made to close tolerances measured in a range of inch-ounces (at one end NONE should fire, and at the other, ALL should fire), primer-making is part alchemy. QC cannot be verified except by sample testing. So one should not assume that he'll never encounter an unstable or supersensitive primer which, indented with an otherwise harmless dimple, will fire. Add amateur handloading to the equation, and the possibilities of ammo-related problems increase exponentially.

There are probably eighteen more potential causes of slam-fires that don't spring immediately to mind, but they are out there, waiting.

So hold the gun rigidly, and point it in a safe direction when chambering.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I guess that pretty much puts and end to carrying one in the chamber if on the road. I just passed thru a state that does not honor my CCW permit so after unloading the gun and upon leaving the state, it's not safe to re-chambering a round and riding the slide can cause a jam.
 

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Lots of good material in here, folks -- far too much to let the thread quietly slip down the range and then disappear. Looks like a natural Sticky to me.

The forum owes some thanks once again to MGMilke and his expertise.
 

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Well I guess that pretty much puts and end to carrying one in the chamber if on the road. I just passed thru a state that does not honor my CCW permit so after unloading the gun and upon leaving the state, it's not safe to re-chambering a round and riding the slide can cause a jam.
It's still highly unlikely. I wouldn't worry about reloading one in the chamber. Sometimes you get the impression that the sky is falling around here. That's not to diminish the remote possibility of it happening since anything is possible.

If you listen to all the worry-wart posts you would have hazmat come and pick up your guns to dispose of them before they all exploded.
 

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I didn't say not to chamber a round for fear of a slam-fire. I said to always chamber it in a way that if the remote possibility of its happening does in fact happen, nobody will get hurt. The mere fact that it is a remote possibility does not justify indifferent handling.

Which reminds me of a very common cause of slam-firing that I forgot to list: the moron who can't keep his finger off the trigger when racking the slide. If the disconnector is working correctly, it shouldn't fire when the slide slams shut, but if the forward jerk of the gun causes him to relax the trigger just enough to reset it, it's just waiting for a bump. A fair number of ADs happen that way.

M
 

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Something to think about. My CC semi-auto always has a cartridge in the chamber. After unloading and cleaning it I always put a fresh, unchambered cartridge at the top of the magazine to be loaded when I let the slide go forward. I do this because of the chance of bullet setback and the chance of having a sensitized primer from overchambering. This may be totally unnecessary but I feel better for doing it. Is this a dumb thing to do?

Charlie
 

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I didn't say not to chamber a round for fear of a slam-fire. I said to always chamber it in a way that if the remote possibility of its happening does in fact happen, nobody will get hurt. The mere fact that it is a remote possibility does not justify indifferent handling.

M
Correct, and nothing justifies indifferent handling.
 

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Something to think about. My CC semi-auto always has a cartridge in the chamber. After unloading and cleaning it I always put a fresh, unchambered cartridge at the top of the magazine to be loaded when I let the slide go forward. I do this because of the chance of bullet setback and the chance of having a sensitized primer from overchambering. This may be totally unnecessary but I feel better for doing it. Is this a dumb thing to do?

Charlie
It's not dumb at all. I don't go to that extreme but I do always check for bullet setback and I rotate between the first two rounds in the chamber/mag until I decide it's time to dispose of those rounds.
 

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I always examine the top round when I clear the gun; most factory ammo is well crimped and sized, so that the bullet isn't driven in. It remains a possibility, tho', so it is worth examining. I also check the bullet nose for damage, as that can cause feeding trouble now or later.
I'll put this up for consideration, with the caveat that it won't work with all pistols. Some guns (1911s come to mind) are controlled feed, with the rounds slipping up under the extractor as they are chambered. On the other hand, some S&Ws (a long departed 3913 comes to mind) had a spring loaded extractor that would jump over the rim of a chambered cartridge. I always charged it by dropping a round in the chamber, easing the slide closed and allowing the extractor to snap into place.
Will this technique work safely with any other guns? Opinions?
It was never my counsel not to keep a round in the chamber when traveling, BTW. I will be a lot more careful when recharging in the future, tho' muzzle discipline has always been at the top of my list.
Moon
 

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Whenever I charge the chamber with a round, I always make sure I know where the muzzle is pointed, where my fingers are, and the state of the ammunition. I actually have a sort of "Mental Checklist" I go through every time, almost as a ritual.

Also, when I purchase a new box of ammunition I visually inspect every round. When I get the box home I always slide the insert out of the box and look over each round to make sure there are no primers sticking up, corrosion or signs of damage, and of course if it's the correct ammunition type. That could possible be another potential reason for a slam-fire. If someone tries to put a 9mm Luger round into a PPK, it will fit... sort of. It'll be sticking out the back of the chamber and when that slide comes closed there's going to be trouble. Of course that would imply complete stupidity on the part of the operator (especially since the 9mm Luger round will not go into the magazine) but there is a good saying I always keep in mind.

"Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity."

-Pilotsteve
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Keeping your finger off the trigger and keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction (at all times!) goes without saying but discretely rechambering a round in a state roadside rest full of people does not allow for a slamfire under any conditions. Maybe a wheel gun is safer to carry when traveling.
 

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Keeping your finger off the trigger and keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction (at all times!) goes without saying but discretely rechambering a round in a state roadside rest full of people does not allow for a slamfire under any conditions. Maybe a wheel gun is safer to carry when traveling.
This is exactly the unhappy scenario I had in mind. My journeys often involve passing thru' a brief bit of Maryland, and I generally leave the gun loaded to avoid the potential for a bigger problem with an AD.
Going to have to do some thinking on this; wonder if my everyday carry will respond to being charged gently.
Moon
 
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