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S&W Walther PPK Ejector and Firing Pin Issues

8811 Views 25 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Schwa
Hey everone,

I wanted to add onto here some issues that I'm sure people have had issues with regarding their PPK. I myself have the one made by Smith & Wesson and recently I've started to notice light strikes on the back of my bullets. I shoot PMC Bronze for target and also Remington Golden Saber bronze JHP for defensive rounds.

For obvious reasons, these malfunctions are unacceptable for a CCW fire arm and also for safety reasons (hang fires?)

I did call Walther Arms today and they let me know that S&W did make firing pins that were a tad shorter than they should be. This is was disconcerting but nonetheless it was my initial thought regarding the firing pin, other than the springs.

As for the ejector, the gentleman at Walther Arms told me that wear and tear over the years will cause the ejector piece(s) to be worn down and you should send them in to be replaced. A bullet will get chambered, and that same bullet will remain in the chamber while the ejector is trying to seat another bullet behind the loaded one.

I bought my Walther PPK in Nov 2010, in used condition, so I should've known there might have been an issue. It took me this long to actually get it sent out and I just wanted to share my experience with you all. Hopefully the issue gets fixed soon.
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It was informative...I didn't know S&W had saved money on short firing-pins too until you mentioned it.
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Yeah, it's a real shame, but when S&W chose to make alterations to the PPK, they seemingly didn't consider what impact these changes could have on the overall design.

Thankfully, in a recent e-mail I sent to Fort Smith regarding the new PPKs, a Rep responded by telling me that while he couldn't go into detail about the design of the new PPKs, that they were trying to adhere to the original design as much as possible, so hopefully internally the Fort Smith PPKs will be closer to the old school PPKs rather than the S&W configuration.
S&W's attempt to improve on the original design was commendable, but overall it was a failure.

Let us know how your PPK treats you once it gets back from Fort Smith, as I'd love to hear how well it runs afterwards, and it could give us an idea of what kind of quality we can expect from the forthcoming PPKs set for release later this year.
Schwa,
I have a S&W PPK/S SS .32 that had a series of issues when I had purchased it (used). The primary issue was light primer strikes, that I ultimately found to be caused by a short firing pin that had a flat face on the striking nose of the pin. The short pin had measured 1.586" long. The replacement pin that I purchased measured 1.598". I in fact purchased a few of these pins to have as a repair part and all measured over 1.592" and all had the traditional rounded striking nose. This solved the light strike issue (amazing how 0.010" can affect the performance of that part. It reliably fired all brands and reloads that I ran through after that (+/- 1500 rounds). The ejector has not been an issue for me, but I guess it can get worn, it's a mechanical component.
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Schwa', the ejector is a pretty simple piece; it would take a pile of shooting to wear it out. It is also the gizmo that acts as the slide stop in the PP series. Are we talking about the same thing?
What exactly is your gun doing/not doing? Is it actually misfiring, or are the FP marks in the primer not as deep as you would like? Presume the gun was firing previously by reading your post? With the slide locked back and the safety off, does the FP move freely when pushed with a small screwdriver?
Moon
Schwa, the only way I can make any sense out of the report from Walther? is that they were talking about the extractor. The ejector doesn't play a part in extraction of a spent case, removal of a round from the magazine or feeding. It holds the slide open after the last shot and acts as the ejector so that a spent case bounces off of it and is ejected out of the pistol. Everything wears....but it would take a lot of wear for the ejector to be worn out. M1911

I was recently trying to help a Member with light firing pin strikes on a S&W Bodyguard. We measured everything. Turned out the firing pin would not move quite far enough forward.



The smith said that while the pistols are manufactured precisely...there could still be a bit of difference in the chamber, fit of the breech face against the rear of the chamber, etc. all adding up to effect the function of the firing pin. Pictured above is the hand fitted, by SaW, firing pin that resolved the issue. This is the purpose of test firing but this particular pistol would fire 24 out of 25 rounds and slipped through. The owner sent me this picture and mislabeled the replacement pin as a new model. He told me it was his mistake...there is no new pin only this hand revised one specifically for his pistol. The math isn't correct either but you should get the picture.
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Schwa', the ejector is a pretty simple piece; it would take a pile of shooting to wear it out. It is also the gizmo that acts as the slide stop in the PP series. Are we talking about the same thing?
What exactly is your gun doing/not doing? Is it actually misfiring, or are the FP marks in the primer not as deep as you would like? Presume the gun was firing previously by reading your post? With the slide locked back and the safety off, does the FP move freely when pushed with a small screwdriver?
Moon
I should've used the word extractor, the part on the weapon that disposes of a spent shell; or when the slide is cocked back and ejects the round.

What exactly is going on with my Walther is what I described in my post. When I pull the slide back once, it will load the first bullet. When I pull it back a second time, the first bullet remains in the chamber and does not eject. The second bullet then attempt to be seated directly behind the first bullet.
Presume the gun was firing previously by reading your post? With the slide locked back and the safety off, does the FP move freely when pushed with a small screwdriver?
Moon
To answer your question, I did fire the weapon about 2 months ago the frequency of the light strikes was not often. I could fire 18 rounds no problem, and then possibly have 2 light strikes within the next 18 rounds.

The firing pin did move freely when the safety was off, I didn't test it with the safety on.
Yeah, it's a real shame, but when S&W chose to make alterations to the PPK, they seemingly didn't consider what impact these changes could have on the overall design.

Thankfully, in a recent e-mail I sent to Fort Smith regarding the new PPKs, a Rep responded by telling me that while he couldn't go into detail about the design of the new PPKs, that they were trying to adhere to the original design as much as possible, so hopefully internally the Fort Smith PPKs will be closer to the old school PPKs rather than the S&W configuration.
S&W's attempt to improve on the original design was commendable, but overall it was a failure.

Let us know how your PPK treats you once it gets back from Fort Smith, as I'd love to hear how well it runs afterwards, and it could give us an idea of what kind of quality we can expect from the forthcoming PPKs set for release later this year.
I plan on reporting it once I get it back. I am leaving the country for a short vacation so I am hoping to check out the performance just before February starts.

The smith that I spoke to was very nice and professional and told me they will fix the issue no problem. I really want my Walther to eat up any ammo I throw at it as well and I'm hoping this will be the case.
It was informative...I didn't know S&W had saved money on short firing-pins too until you mentioned it.
I am not sure it is a matter of skimping quality or pinching costs, like 1917-1911M said, it could have been a combination of things that prevent the pin from moving forward.

Hoping things will get resolved. Thank the Lord for that limited life-time warranty on ALL of their Walthers!
I too had a problem with part nomenclature. I stated that I did not have a problem with the ejector until Moon described the function of the part. I did, in fact, have to replace the "ejector" because it would not hold the slide open on an empty mag. The holding edge was worn / rounded. It has functioned perfectly since I replaced it.
I have not had a problem with the extractor. I have removed it several times during my firing pin troubleshooting excercise and keep it clean when I do a routine dis-assembly of the side after every 300 to 400 rounds.
If your PPK/S is in for a factory "spa" treatment, I would assume it will return in fine shape. I'm looking forward to reading the results.
3
What exactly is going on with my Walther is what I described in my post. When I pull the slide back once, it will load the first bullet. When I pull it back a second time, the first bullet remains in the chamber and does not eject. The second bullet then attempt to be seated directly behind the first bullet.
Here is what I suggest if you have time before shipping the pistol off somewhere. Unload it and scrub that chamber out until it shines. Inspect your fired brass for any significant scratches. Lubricate or remove the extractor and clean it thoroughly. Clean the breech face thoroughly and that means the edges too, where debris can become packed in. For some reason your pistol is not extracting a round from the chamber. That is the job of the extractor. Something is wrong with your chamber or your extractor. Below are some pictures of what each should look like. M1911 goes off in search of pictures.



Here is a PP in .32 breech face. Close enough to illustrate what needs cleaning. See that debris at the corner of the breech face, see that debris around the edge of where the rim sits......? All of that stuff needs to come out of there leaving clean metal. Dirt around the outer edge could keep the slide from closing properly and dirt around the inner recess for the rim could cause the round to not seat properly and of course your extractor could be damaged, the spring weak or it could be not functioning properly due to dirt. In any event I think it will be easy to get to the bottom of your problems.



I don't remember which pistol this is but the chamber should be clean and free of burrs. If the pistol was functioning properly I expect the chamber is still good although it might be dirty. I assume you are having this problem with several makes of ammo and don't simply have one box of bad stuff.



Ah...this is the only picture I have of a Smith PPK/S extractor. If the pistol won't hand extract a freshly chambered round it should be pretty easy to determine what the problem is. The extractor should certainly catch the rim and at least attempt to pull the round out. What happens if you chamber a round, drop the mag and then try to remove the chambered round by pulling the slide back. It will be normal for the round to fall off the face of the breech at some point as your hand cycling is very slow compared to firing and there is no longer a mag in the pistol to support the extracting round. Make sure the cut out for the extractor isn't damaged at the edge of the chamber. How does the tip of the extractor look? Does the extractor move freely although stiffly?
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...


... The owner sent me this picture and mislabeled the replacement pin as a new model. He told me it was his mistake...there is no new pin only this hand revised one specifically for his pistol. The math isn't correct either but you should get the picture.
A perfect parallel to how things were done at Houlton.

M
Gentlemen, my pistol has been sent off. It is currently on route to Walther Arms. When it returns, I will upload pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Thank you for all your help in the meantime, I will give this thread about a week or two (depending on them) before I reply to show the results of the factory treatment and their diagnosis on the pistol.

Thanks again!
We will be waiting for a report. My money says you need a new extractor and spring. Good luck and be sure to let us know. M1911
Schwa', rereading your post, was the extraction issue occurring when you were manually cycling the slide, or when you were actually firing?
Because of the stiff recoil spring in the .380, it isn't unusual to have tie-ups unless you have the hand strength to violently cycle the slide.
1911' touched on this in his very clear explanation; I'm reiterating to make sure we're clear on this.
Hope your gun comes home right; keep us posted.
Moon
When firing the weapon about 1-2 months ago, spent shells were ejected properly. The only issue during test firing was light strikes. I would get a stove-pipe, but only very rarely. It's happened maybe 5x out of 5 years I've owned the weapon.

Manually cycling the slide is when I was having tie-ups. But the thing is, before when I would practice with snap-caps or test cycling ammunition from magazine it worked fine. I never had the issue where the first bullet would stay stuck in the barrel.

The Walther PPK is no firearm for a weak handed person, you do need hand strength and I agree on this point. I've had women shoot it before and I don't think I've ever seen a girl (roughly around 10 different women) able to cycle the slide manually due to the hand strength and grip required. I always told them to push the frame and pull the slide.

As I'm sure most of you have other firearms, the Walther does require more strength than most to cycle manually (in my mind).
We will be waiting for a report. My money says you need a new extractor and spring. Good luck and be sure to let us know. M1911
Thank you for your detailed posts. They have helped me better understand the weapon.
Schwa, snap caps may well be easier to hand cycle than live rounds as regards dimensions and materials. I wouldn't put too much stock in being able to hand cycle them, and the PP package (as you have noted) is hard to hand cycle anyway. The question is, 'does it work when firing live ammo?'. So ya' know, the .380 iteration can be ammo-cranky at times. There's been a lot of discussion of it here.
Moon
Schwa, snap caps may well be easier to hand cycle than live rounds as regards dimensions and materials. I wouldn't put too much stock in being able to hand cycle them...
One should place no reliance at all on snap caps for anything other than dry-firing. That's why they are called "snap" caps. They are nothing but firing pin cushions. For diagnostic purposes they are not a substitute for live ammunition or dummies made from real ammunition, and tell you absolutely nothing about how a gun will function.

Probably only the 17th time I've written this...

M
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