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Discussion Starter #1
My German TPH .22 came back today from a second trip to M&M Gunsmithing. Mr. McClellan had repaired the frame the first time around (it broke where the magazine catch resides, but M&M executed a perfect fix.)

Then, the double-action began failing (the trigger bar was prematurely releasing the hammer.) Mr. McClellan adjusted the trigger bar, and it worked perfectly for the 160 rounds I fired (100 of them solely double action) when I took it for a test run this afternoon.

Very accurate, cycled CCI MiniMags, Federal Gold Medal Target, and some Olin military standard velocity from 1979 without any issues.

I highly recommend Mike McClellan’s M&M Gunsmithing when a Walther pistol needs repairs:
[email protected]

2423 Carter Grove Road
Suite B
Hazel Green AL, 35750

Phone (571) 276-7676
 

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Good news sir - and good info on a TPH gunsmith - i've saved his info. Mine is (I think) a Ranger pistol and it's NIB so I haven't worked up the nerve to shoot it ... :( "My" local kitchen-table FFL picked it up from an estate sale and sold it to me for a sorta-reasonable price. One of the mag floorplates is damaged - still functional but damaged. I have been looking in vain for a replacement but even the .22 mags themselves are over a $100 on both Crook Broker and fleaBay ...


Edited to add: Looking at your photos, I just noticed the tiniest of SN's on the frame of your TPH. Having lived in Germany for 16 years, it was interesting to see that the SN is tiny and almost an afterthought ... since (as I'm sure you know) the barrel is the key/controlled item there. Well, it was while I lived there. I have a P38k, also NIB, that has a not-so-pretty added SN on the frame (done by the US Rod & Gun Club) so that I could import it into the US... The frame originally did not have a serial number on it ... or at least I was never able to find one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
GeoJammy,

Thanks for sharing, Walthers are certainly intriguing, especially the TPH. Acquired my first one in 1989 and carried it as a back-up pistol for several years on patrol during my law enforcement career.

Later, I switched to an LWS Seecamp .32, and the TPH pictured in my original post belonged to Larry Seecamp, and was the last piece from his collection to go up for auction just prior to his unfortunate passing last summer.

Much to my dismay, the frame broke on my first trip to the range to test fire it. The German TPH has an aluminum alloy frame, and often breaks where the magazine catch pivots. The catch, mainspring, and mainspring seat shot out and, luckily I found the parts scattered about on the ground.

Mike McClellan did a fantastic job of repairing it with a very precisely made and fitted pin, and when I took it back to the range I was amazed at the variety of ammunition with which it functioned without any problems (my first, stainless TPH has never been reliable with anything except CCI MiniMag 40 grain solids.)
 

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This thread has revealed three of the four major weak spots in the TPH design.

Broken mag catch: surprisingly high "G" force is applied to any gun when it is dropped from any significant height onto a hard, unyielding surface. Even with a gun as light as the TPH, if it lands on the rear corner of its butt, there is more than enough energy to shear the thin aluminum web retaining the mag catch. On larger guns, from greater heights, or onto harder surfaces, even steel pins, hammer notches, and other small parts will not survive. It's just not possible to design firearms strong enough to withstand every conceivable abuse without making them so heavy that nobody would want to carry or use them.

In the case of the TPH, it happened so often (little guns tend to be dropped more, I guess) that the substitution of a pin for the broken web was first developed as a "fix" by the Walther factory. It requires extremely precise drilling of the frame, and McClellan is a master of this technique.

Trigger bar: With some wear, DA function can be lost. This depends a lot on the tolerance of the parts in the individual gun. Ranger developed a new trigger bar that compensates for it, but only the late Ranger guns have it; the German guns do not.

Magazine floorplate breakage. For some reason Walther's design stamped a tiny hump in the bottom rails of the magazine body (probably to assist retention). It creates a stress point for the mating plastic slots in the floorplate; coupled with insufficient glass in the plastic formulation, it often leads to splitting the plastic. The humps can be carefully tapped down with a punch, thereafter taking considerable care disassembling the magazine for cleaning -- but the lasting solution probably is to carve some floorplates out of walnut with a router and a circular slitting saw.

The fourth weakness wasn't mentioned.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Fourth weakness, at least from a design perspective, may be the lack of a slide stop.

I remedied the humps in the magazine by judiciously squeezing them flat between the jaws of my bench vise. Eventually, those superfluous humps will crack the plastic magazine base.

Then, there’s the sharp area where the right side of the hammer (above the pin hole) is relieved and often impacts the release lever, eventually chewing it up.
 

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Yeah, there's a reason I don't shoot my Ranger much. But what a nifty pistole.
Geo', as regards your flooplate, .22 mags are expensive, while the .25s are reputedly cheap.
Perhaps harvest a flooplate from the other caliber?
Moon
 

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Fourth weakness, at least from a design perspective, may be the lack of a slide stop.
Not a weakness in my opinion, just the absence of a helpful feature.

I remedied the humps in the magazine by judiciously squeezing them flat between the jaws of my bench vise. Eventually, those superfluous humps will crack the plastic magazine base. (QUOTE]

You could do that, too, if your vise jaws have a sharp enough edge. The rails are not hardened, and one tap each with a square-ended punch is quicker and just as effective.

Then, there’s the sharp area where the right side of the hammer (above the pin hole) is relieved and often impacts the release lever, eventually chewing it up.
That is the most ragged-looking, unfinished TPH hammer I've ever seen. Looks like a reject. Who knows if the pivot hole is even perpendicular?

M
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
What’s the fourth weakness?

The hammer depicted in the photo belongs to my first TPH, a fairly early Ranger edition (serial T001835, test target dated 03-12-‘87) which I purchased at Bass Pro for $269.95 in March, 1989.

I’ve shot it quite a bit, but only find it reliable with CCI Minimags. The one part that ever broke happened once when releasing the slide to load a round from the magazine, and the sear spring broke— the hammer followed the slide and discharged that round upon chambering. Fortunately, it was pointed downrange, and curiously it didn’t continue firing until the magazine was empty.
 

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... curiously it didn’t continue firing until the magazine was empty.
I'm guessing that the spring broke while the hammer was cocked. The impact of the slide slamming shut jarred the sear loose from engagement with the hammer; the hammer then fell and the gun fired. On the subsequent cycle the hammer rode the slide back to battery. The TPH hammer is so small that it's already of marginal mass, and without a freefall probably lacks enough kinetic energy to detonate a primer. This is demonstrably not true of the PP or PPK.

Which illustrates the fourth weakness: chronic misfires in DA. Some TPHs (both German and American) show it and some don't, depending on how they are fitted and headspaced, and on the specific ammunition used. There is no simple or universally satisfactory fix. A heavier hammer spring renders an already heavy DA trigger pull even worse than it is, and tighter headspace for better indentation of the cartridge rim by the firing pin introduces the risk of slam firing with American ammo which has a thicker rim than European.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
That scenario seems more than plausible, and I appreciate your analysis. In fact, sir, I’m actually indebted to you, as your recommendation of M&M Gunsmithing is the reason my German TPH was ultimately resurrected.

I don’t post a lot, but I’ve learned this forum’s members like you are valuable sources of information. Your observation “There is no simple or universally satisfactory fix” definitely describes my experiences with the various TPHs I’ve owned.

The fat firing pin must have been Ranger’s attempt at addressing the fourth weakness. The third TPH I owned had one.
 

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The fat firing pin was indeed an attempt, late in Ranger production, to compensate for DA misfires by adding mass to the pin rather than strength to the hammer spring. Partly it was made necessary by the fact that the headspace on later Ranger guns was increased. Early Ranger guns were headspaced according to the German drawings, which were dimensioned for European ammunition. With American ammunition there were reports from the field of slam-fires caused by the thicker rim being pinched between the lip of the chamber and the slide face. This was far more serious than any risk of misfire, so the headspace was opened up.

German headspace, if I remember correctly, was on the order of .040", and American was increased to .042 (or something like that). This in turn meant less firm resistance of the cartridge rim to the firing pin, and a "mushier" indent.

On a gun this small, every fix is a compromise.

M
 

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Some physics is just beyond my ken. The fatter firing pin would strike with more force, but also require more force to accelerate.
Not sure which is in mine, but it works, and I'll leave it there.
Moon
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Some physics is just beyond my ken. The fatter firing pin would strike with more force, but also require more force to accelerate.
Not sure which is in mine, but it works, and I'll leave it there.
Moon
My knowledge of physics is rudimentary, at best, and the physics of the TPH has challenged me for 30 years LOL. But, they are intriguing, and when they work they’re a lot of fun to shoot.
 

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Oh, they're like a baby PPK, and just mighty neat.
It's too bad Walther didn't do a little more engineering before their release, but they were banned from import for the big market (here).
Mike has their flaws figured out; management should have been able to do so as well.

It would be great if current Walther management had another try making them domestically; it appears our steel frame was actually an advantage.
Moon
 
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