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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 1973 Polizei P-38 recently developed a problem where the slide sticks in the aft (rearward) position (with no magazine in). I am forced to push the slide forward with a slight nudge from my palm. It is clean and well lubricated. Does anyone have any ideas as to how I might fix this problem?
 

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Before you can fix it, you have to find out what's causing it. If it's just started to occur recently, it's not rocket science, it's Sherlock Holmes. Field strip the gun and examine very carefully all the parts you can see. Look for raised burrs or deformation. Remove the locking block and check it carefully for any cracks.

Try assembling the slide to the frame without the barrel assembly. Does it still stick?

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Before you can fix it, you have to find out what's causing it. If it's just started to occur recently, it's not rocket science, it's Sherlock Holmes. Field strip the gun and examine very carefully all the parts you can see. Look for raised burrs or deformation. Remove the locking block and check it carefully for any cracks.

Try assembling the slide to the frame without the barrel assembly. Does it still stick?

M
M,

I followed your advice and field stripped the gun down to frame, slide and barrel. I was unable to remove the locking block as I'm not quite sure how to do it without damaging the retainer spring.

The slide moves freely on the frame without the barrel attached. I attached the barrel to the frame (without the slide) and noticed that when I press the barrel into the frame (against the springs), the locking block drops BUT, the barrel stays in that position after I release my hands. Stated another way, the plunger springs do not have enough tension in them to "push" the barrel forward. I believe this is caused by the locking block sticking in the lowered position. I also noticed there is some wear on the parts of the barrel (both sides) that are adjacent to the locking block (see attached photos).

In order to thoroughly understand the issue, I definitely need to remove and inspect the locking block. Can you tell me how this can be done safely? Once removed, what types of defects should I look for during my inspection of the locking block?

I appreciate your willingness to help.

V/R,

Mark
 

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To remove the locking block, invert the barrel and just pivot up the block at the rear, while maintaining some forward pressure on it. It will pop loose from the spring (which is merely a retainer).

The barrel is not designed to compress the recoil springs, so the fact that it sticks in the rearward position doesn't tell you anything. The internal abutments in the slide are what compress the recoil springs.

Examine the block for cracks or a missing chunk. Try assembling everything without the block and see if it moves freely. Use the process of elimination.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
M,

Still unable to remove the block as it's a very tight fit. Not sure what the problem is, but am hesitant to force it lest I break something. As a result, I did the next best thing... I "showered" the block in gun solvent. This seemed to "loosen" it up a bit... enough to chamber and fire some rounds.

Initially, the shooting went well... no jams due to slide. However, on the 12th round, the slide cover and rear sight blew off the top in a fiery albeit subdue explosion. I was, fortunately, NOT hurt at all... all the force of the blast was directed vertically. As I was only able to recover the slide cover, I have ordered a new rear sight.

AFTER ACTION REVIEW: Since I was shooting rounds that I personally reloaded, I assume the cause was due to a round that I inadvertently "double charged". This is merely speculation on my part, but it's the only reasonable explanation I can conceive. Do you know of any other situation that would cause the slide cover and rear sight to depart the pistol vertically?

Prudence dictates that I take the pistol to a gunsmith for a complete overhaul.

V/R,

Mark
 

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.. or at least follow through with your thought of taking the pistol to a qualified smith.
 

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Marlor, I'm very glad you weren't hurt. Here's the best advice I can think for you at this point: it's gunsmith time. If you cannot remove the locking block from the barrel of a P.38 you are most definitely not qualified to reassemble the now-compromised slide of your pistol. Reinstalling the cover is a trick in and of itself, and the slide needs to be inspected. I'm not wanting to come across as a jerk, but damn dude!

-Pilotsteve
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. I will, most certainly, take the P-38 to a qualified gunsmith for a complete overhaul. As for the recommendation to consider stamp collecting... "Been there, done that... too many paper cuts."

Perhaps it's time to retire/trade-in the P-38 for something else... perhaps a PPX or PPQ M2. Any thoughts???

V/R,

Mark
 

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It depends a great deal, of course, on what you plan to do with the new pistol, as well as with the old. There's nothing wrong with a P38; they run fine (when they are all put together, at least), they are fun range companions, they generate a great deal of interest and positive buzz among gun fans when you pull one out and the brass starts flying off to the left ... all in all, a pleasurable experience. But it wouldn't be my first choice for concealed carry, nor would it be my second or third or fifth or tenth. As and for home defense, there are better pistols (and shotguns) on the market for that as well.

My vote, for what it's worth, is that you get the P38 back together, take it out for some range work, have some fun, and then decide what you want to do next. But I wouldn't give it away easily, especially when it's up and running.

Do keep us posted.
 
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