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So dad brought back a clean p38 from the war. it functioned pretty flawlessly for quite some time with sporadic use. Now dad finally handed it over to me. Its now developed extraction issues. Even after new slide and mag springs, About every 3-5 rounds the spent brass gets jammed, not quite clearing the slide. Could it be the range reloads that I’ve been shooting are low on velocity? Or are their other extraction issues on these vintage p38s?

I thought I read that there is an extraction spring in the slide to replace but some posts claim this is no the case.

Looking forward to some wisdom.
 

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Reloads....


Try some better ammo before condemning the pistol.
 

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There is an extractor spring, in the slide behind the extractor. But if the casing is coming out and then jamming (stovepipe), then I doubt the extractor is the issue.


Beyond damaging a WW2 weapon (and I have done it to one), I would be worried about an oops, a possible hot reload. Although if you MUST shoot a clean WW2 bringback, light loads are the only ones.
 

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Hmmm. If it's a nice enough gun, why chance it using reloads that are unknown?

Then again, store bought ammo can KB too.

I'd run a decent brand of shelf ammo....in standard pressure, too.

Try that. I'd bet that the issue fades away... ;)
 

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Try some better ammo before condemning the pistol.
This. You might also want to try using some 124gr bullets. They kick a little more than the 115gr bullets that you're probably using now and should give a little more energy for ejection. I would also inspect the chamber for corrosion. Any rust or pits would delay extraction and could cause a failure to eject. There's not much you can do in that case.

Welcome to the forum. Let us know how things work out for you.
 

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"You might also want to try using some 124gr bullets. They kick a little more..." (C)

You can try anything...
But remember that the original 38-s are usually made of Swedish steel.
Which during natural aging becomes more solid and brittle.

Many old weapons from those places perished in this way. 30-40 years ago they still fired normally.
And today, "suddenly", when firing with conventional ammunition, the locking details break down.
 

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"You might also want to try using some 124gr bullets. They kick a little more..." (C)

You can try anything...
But remember that the original 38-s are usually made of Swedish steel.
Which during natural aging becomes more solid and brittle.

Many old weapons from those places perished in this way. 30-40 years ago they still fired normally.
And today, "suddenly", when firing with conventional ammunition, the locking details break down.
An interesting theory but do you have any proof at all? Steel is strain aging but that is something altogether different.

Herr Plohmann at the Beschussamt in Eckernförde proofed quite a few WWII handguns for me, Walther P.38s, Mauser P.08s and others and we usually chatted for some time. They all withstood the test with the special proofing ammo.

Somehow my b.s. flag is coming up here.
 

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An interesting theory but do you have any proof at all? Steel is strain aging but that is something altogether different.

Herr Plohmann at the Beschussamt in Eckernförde proofed quite a few WWII handguns for me, Walther P.38s, Mauser P.08s and others and we usually chatted for some time. They all withstood the test with the special proofing ammo.
Ooh-oh, lucky! :)
So nothing threatens You. LOL

What proof do You need?
We, it seems, are not in the bank and not in court.
Try talking to someone who repairs, not Sunday salvage shows "with the special proofing ammo".
Or, at least, just search in Google "P38 slide broken".

This does not happen as often as with the Beretta 92, but it happens.
 

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I was under the impression that the Swedes sold ore to the Germans rather than steel and that was in limited quantities in order to stay neutral and therefore keep Russia from invading.

I certainly am willing to be educated. It is an interesting subject because Germany had a dearth of natural resources to draw from.

I'm not here to argue, I'm interested in the information. Let's try to find out. Andyd has a wealth of information and resources at his disposal as do others here. I wonder if it is possible to track this down or even if metallic origin would be a factor in cracks...
 

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I too try to find source information on certain assumptions, the reason is not one of mistrust, but rather, one of wanting to know the source information so I can make my own assessment of that information.

My personal favorite: That loading a PP series pistol with the safety on will lead to breaking the safety drum and that Ulm & Interarms manuals recommend loading with the safety on to avoid lawsuits.
 

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Ooh-oh, lucky! :)
So nothing threatens You. LOL

What proof do You need?
We, it seems, are not in the bank and not in court.
Try talking to someone who repairs, not Sunday salvage shows "with the special proofing ammo".
Or, at least, just search in Google "P38 slide broken".

This does not happen as often as with the Beretta 92, but it happens.

Broken P38 slides online and gunsmiths who handle repairs have nothing to do with establishing the root cause of the issue. Have any actually destructive tested and electron miroscope examined a sample of the failed part to establish it was, in fact, the root cause? A link please if you claim such has happened.

An example of a root cause that is NOT the "old" steel? Undercharging of handloads.
A common activity among those who think the "old" steel can't withstand pressure like "new" steel, it can actually INCREASE chamber pressures to levels that can cause steel failure.
When the powder doesn't cover the primer, the entire powder surface ignites at the same moment.
Some who grenade old guns with lower powder charges blame the steel, when in fact, THEY might have caused the failure. Since they are already of the "old = weak" mindset (proven by weak loading), what do you think they blame?

Powder has a "rate of burn" for a reason, and it ONLY works when the case is over ~ 75% full.

What proves that the steel is still strong enough to handle the pressure of firing? Proofing ammo.


I'll be shooting my just purchased all original 1900 JVMartz/Luger in 7.65x21/30 Luger (~120 year old pencil barrel) in the next week or so, the ammo? Winchester Super X, over 1200fps, and over 300 ft/lbs.
 
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Ooh-oh, lucky! :)
So nothing threatens You. LOL

What proof do You need?
We, it seems, are not in the bank and not in court.
Try talking to someone who repairs, not Sunday salvage shows "with the special proofing ammo".
Or, at least, just search in Google "P38 slide broken".

This does not happen as often as with the Beretta 92, but it happens.
After this b.s. answer, I am gladly using the ignore function for you, if you ever make it to the U.S., your English will improve rapidly.

The steel used in firearm parts is killed steel which - unlike unkilled steel - doesn't age.
 

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I was under the impression that the Swedes sold ore to the Germans rather than steel and that was in limited quantities in order to stay neutral and therefore keep Russia from invading.

I certainly am willing to be educated. It is an interesting subject because Germany had a dearth of natural resources to draw from.

I'm not here to argue, I'm interested in the information. Let's try to find out. Andyd has a wealth of information and resources at his disposal as do others here. I wonder if it is possible to track this down or even if metallic origin would be a factor in cracks...
The subject of ore supplies is (perhaps) interesting.
But it has no direct meaning.
All that I personally know is that the 38-th sometimes "explode".
This does not occur often, but regularly.
The same applies to Swedish Husqvarna m/40 and Finnish Lahti L-35.
But very rarely happens with weapons of other serious manufacturers.

2+2, how much? ;-)
 

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Herr Plohmann at the Beschussamt in Eckernförde proofed quite a few WWII handguns for me, Walther P.38s, Mauser P.08s and others and we usually chatted for some time. They all withstood the test with the special proofing ammo.

Somehow my b.s. flag is coming up here.

***

After this b.s. answer, I am gladly using the ignore function for you, if you ever make it to the U.S., your English will improve rapidly.

The steel used in firearm parts is killed steel which - unlike unkilled steel - doesn't age.
So I understand, in fact, You nothing to say? What, in fact, was expected.
Not surprising. ;-)

A little clarification on how it works.
Try to explore:
SMALL ARMS SAFETY EXAMINATION AND TEST PROCEDURES, Feature Articles- FirearmsID.com
Particular attention should be paid to "Compliance with these controls and standards is voluntary and no legal or industrial sanctions are invoked for non-compliance short of litigation resulting from an accidental firing or pressure related gun failure."
For smallarms strength tests, special cartridges equipped with MPSM, which for 9x19 is 35600 CUP, should be used. (At standard pressure 33000 CUP)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_units_of_pressure
In fact, no one shoots old weapons with such cartridges, since this poses a significant risk to the integrity of the test sample. In addition, such certified cartridges cost a lot of money, and it is impossible to buy such cartridges in the store. Therefore (at best) they launch a cartridge equipped with MPLM (for 9x19 - 34000 CUP). This means that even if a weapon can withstand one shot with such a cartridge, it must also withstand a shot with an ordinary cartridge. But he is not necessarily able to withstand 100 such shots.
At the same time, we recall in the link above.
As I might think, You are an ordinary marketer who pursues his interests in the form of:
1. Direct motivation. Interested in the speedy sale of accumulated piece of iron. And they are not interested in possible doubts of buyers in these pieces of iron.
2. Indirect motivation. This is an interest in the least possible quantity pieces of iron mentioned on the market, as this increases their value.
Therefore, it would be strange to expect a different attitude to the problem. LOL

P.S. You can set Your b.s. flag in any convenient place. LOL

All the best
 

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So dad brought back a clean p38 from the war. it functioned pretty flawlessly for quite some time with sporadic use. Now dad finally handed it over to me. Its now developed extraction issues. Even after new slide and mag springs, About every 3-5 rounds the spent brass gets jammed, not quite clearing the slide. Could it be the range reloads that I’ve been shooting are low on velocity? Or are their other extraction issues on these vintage p38s?

I thought I read that there is an extraction spring in the slide to replace but some posts claim this is no the case.

Looking forward to some wisdom.
https://www.waltherforums.com/forum/classics/119894-p1-ejection-pattern.html
 

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I was visited by a stupid thought ...
If the extractor and ejector are fine ...
I would check the condition of the chamber, in the sense of traces of corrosion.
Shells from rust in the chamber are a common cause of such problems.
Corresponding marks should remain on the cases.
If so, then cartridges with higher pressure can only worsen the situation.

Semi-offtopic
https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?210453-Durability-of-Handguns&

Off-topic
Picture from [https://simpsonltd.com/vkt-l-35-holster-z38486/
Lahti slide, restored after fatigue failure.
https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-zq2...11418/61888/Z38486J__70880.1553376315.jpg?c=2
 

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My Dad and I wondered about the function of his very clean P-38, which he brought back from WWll. We called it his "one-shot automatic," because it seldom got past a single round without hanging up. Either the empty cartridge hung up leaving the chamber, or there wasn't enough energy to fully cycle a new round properly.

We thought it might be lighter loading of modern day ammunition. We even shot wartime contemporary ammunition to see if there might be some problems there. Others thought the "WWll era 9mm parabellum had a slightly different case [said to be ever so slightly tapered], and today's brass is parallel..." I stuck with factory loads and fiddled with as many variables as you might. Heavy bullets, light bullets.

Old "one shot" remained a single shot weapon.

I cleaned and cleaned and lubricated, thinking there had to be an answer to why a weapon designed to be a last resort was not completely reliable. A couple years ago I applied the old 'oil if it spins, grease if it slides" to my clean-up regimen.

Guess what? It has never failed to smoothly fire every magazine since. The final oil wipe-down of all the parts was leaving lubrication that didn't suit the P39. It was not what I thought the answer would be, but it clearly worked in this particular case.

I think my Dad would have been pleased that we finally figured it out.

Obviously if the alloy fatigues over time, the gun is not safe, and this is all moot anyway.
 

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There is nothing to lubricate. CORRECT P.38 works with any grease or no grease at all.

Another thought came up.
Perhaps this is due to wear (or deformation) of the pin controlling the locking block. If the locking block does not fully open when shot, this does not stop the slide, but may slow it down noticeably.
In any case, enough for weak pullbacks.

I think this can be easily verified.
You need to assemble the pistol without return springs and shake it. Of course, holding the hammer with Your finger so that it does not rub on the slide.
In a working pistol, the slide should open smoothly and completely under its own weight.

PS If this does not happen, then Your gun is defective or (more likely) was assembled from non-native parts.
 
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