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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a new PPS 9mm (haven't fired it yet) and noticed that the proofing brass had a little bit of "necking" to it. It was as if the upper 1/5 of the case had not expanded on firing, but the rest of the case had. Upon inspection of the chamber, I noticed a distinct "ridge" before the normal ring where the rifling starts. Here is a picture:



Can anyone verify that this is not a manufacturing defect and is normal? I've seen that some older 9mm pistols had stepped chambers like this, but wasn't aware of any modern production firearms that hadn't switched to a tapered chamber, and I saw a similar thread on a different forum where an individual had sent his PPS in for inspection and repair because of identical brass necking, and a similar chamber step.

-mcdori02
 

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I've seen this, before, and believe that ridge to be a defect. I own two PPS's and neither has such a ridge...

You took a good shot there. I recommend you get that photo to S&W customer support along with a shot of the 'necking' in the cases you are experiencing. They'll likely ask you to send it in...

Surreal
 

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After reading this post I checked my PPS 9mm chamber and it has the exact same ring just prior to the beginiining of the rifling. After the break in period I have had no malfunctions except with one type of ammunition(Fiocchi 124 gr JHP, not the XTP just regular JHP). It fails to extract maybe one rd per clip. I just stopped using that ammo in my PPS and all other types of ammo have functioned flawlessly with no further issues. Now I am concerned that there may be a defect in the chamber.

I actually spoke with Walther CS about the FTEs and they said they test the guns with CCI ammo and if it worked with that ammo then they considered the gun good to go and did not recommend returning the gun. It mentions in the manual about the possibility of failures to extract and if a chamber cleaning did not help then just switch to another brand of ammo. I did and have had no further issues with the gun. I am not sure if those FTEs are related to the chamber ring or not but now I am beginning to wonder.
 

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That ring will cause a neck-like indentation on your brass -- which can be a long-term concern if you reload the same brass repeatedly as most reloaders do.

Surreal
 

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What you have there is a perfectly NORMAL 9X19 chamber. All of my 9x19 pistols ALL have the same ring including the H&K and Glock.

Nothing to see here ... move along.
 

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ME -- What's oddball is it's necking the cartridges and apparently not all PPS's have this. If nothing else it warrants a call to S&W to let them decide...

Surreal
 

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I checked the chambers on my early model P99, late model P99, and my PPQ that I just purchased a week ago. The only one that doesnt have the ridge in the chamber is the early model P99. Take it for what its worth. All three guns have given me flawless service. I dont reload 9mm at this time so I dont really care what it does to the brass but I can see how a reloader would. It is a bit odd that the early P99 doesnt have the ring and the later ones do. I am not sure what Walther is thinking when it comes to the differences in the chambers.

I would recommend a call to S&W also.
 

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It's not a defect, but it's not exactly normal either. The 9mm Parabellum cartridge case and its chamber ordinarily have a slight continuous straight taper. However, some chambers have been machined to have a straight, parallel-walled section, as visible in the photo. Its purpose is to extend the time during which the chamber is obturated as the cartridge case is extracted. (The seal formed by a taper breaks almost instantly.) Georg Luger patented the idea in 1911, and it was used on practically all Luger pistols made by DWM and Mauser through WWII, as well as on some German submachine guns. Many 9mm autos don't have it; my Browning High Powers, Radoms, and P38s, P88s --and the only P99 I have, a very early one-- do not.

Until now I was not aware that this feature had been resurrected.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
An email to Smith and Wesson, including an attached photographs of the chamber step and brass "necking" produced the following response from Mark Rossini:

Sir –the gun uses a stepped chamber
This seems to indicate that at a minimum, some PPSs use a stepped chamber, but doesn't indicate whether Walther recently made a switch from tapered to stepped chambers in the PPS line, or why some individuals (Surreal) would have PPSs without the step.

I have a customer service email outstanding with Walther Customer Support as well. I'll post here if anything interesting or informative comes of it.

-mcdori02
 

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I think it is safe to assume that it has been recently introduced, probably to compensate in some measure for the irresistible impulse of many shooters to use the most powerful ammunition they can find.

M
 

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If S&W says it's fine then it's fine; better safe than sorry. I wonder when they started doing this to the PPS...

Surreal
 

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I think that there is a misunderstanding here that is leading to some misinformation. MGMike, you are correct. The SAAMI drawing is absolutely a taper reamed chamber and not a step chamber. That is because the SAMMI dimension for the 9mm IS taper reamed. I have seen the drawing of George Luger's patented chamber step. It clearly shows the "step" in the drawing. The position and depth is clearly shown in the old drawings.

In fact, very few modern 9mm luger weapons have chamber steps. HK and some Walthers are all I have seen. I have owned, reloaded and "smithed" on Glocks for twenty years...they do not use a chamber step, they use a SAMMI taper reamed chamber.

Why some Walther PPS barrels are stepped and some not is very strange. I wonder if the barrels are being made by multiple contractors?
 

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Here is a pic of SAAMI taper chambered 9mm brass and chamber stepped 9mm brass. The difference is very evident. Keep in mind that both types of chambers fire SAMMI dimension 9mm luger cartridges. The difference is in the way that the chamber is reamed. One is a SAAMI chamber and the other is a step chamber.
 

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I suspect that it's not a contractor variation but rather a midstream modification, possibly to reduce slide velocity.M
Lance states in this post that his 2008 PPS has a stepped chamber.
 
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