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Para Ord Question....... Light firing pin strikes

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by mr.mark, Apr 8, 2009.

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  1. mr.mark

    mr.mark Member

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    Slightly off topic....

    I have a new Para LDA it is the PDA in 9mm, for those not familiar this is there 1911 frame, double action (sort of), with 3" barrel. I've only fired about 300 rounds since it came in 2 weeks ago but have already noticed that it won't set off CCI primers reliably. Sometimes having to rechamber and fire the same round 2-3 times after the first attempt only leaves a dent on primer. My sig, cz, smith, kahr, ruger all function 100% with this ammo.

    Yes it is a handload and I plan on picking up some remington primers to try with the para, but my question is: Has anyone had problems like this with para or other 1911 variants and if so what was the solution? Do I need a lighter firing pin return spring? And if so where would you recommend sourcing such a part? I don't want it to be ammo specific, it needs to function all types of ammo reliably.

    I have tried the factory route and got absolutely nowhere..... Just got off the phone this morning. They recommended I only shoot Winchester factory ammunition as it is what they test with. Good luck finding any when you need it, you have to be at Wally World when they unload the trucks and then fight off the other shoppers when they wheel the pallet down to sporting goods.

    I also asked about the fit and finish of parts, namely the thumb safety that appears it will take another 2-3k cyclings to wear in be fairly smooth, they simply said to mail it to them and they would look at it. They told me not to take it apart as this would void my warranty, but it obviously was just a dropped in part from the factory.

    I just want this thing to be 100% reliable and smooth functioning with any ammo I put through it and was hoping it would be that way after paying a grand for it. Knew I should have bought another Kimber, para isn't even in the same league.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,

    Mr. Mark
     
  2. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    I have no personal experience with the pistol (I have a P-12 - which I love), but my gunsmith HATES the LDA's - his take is they contain way too many parts and it is too easy to get something out of whack with them.

    That being said, there is a member here who specializes on the Para's and a note to him might be well worth the effort - Ross Carter is his name.


    Ross Carter
    Carter Custom
    302 W Central
    Harrison, AR 72601


    shop 870-741-2265

    Sounds like Para Ord. is giving you the run around - I went through the same thing with them when the frame of my P-12 broke (alloy). They just said 'from the serial number it is too old with too much usage.' But I knew exactly how many rounds had been through - very few by their standards - the problem was most likely caused by extreme temperature cycling from being stored in a car safe right by the heating/AC vents.

    Resolution only came when I happened to reach a technical person rather than someone from the office - one week later the frame was replaced for free.

    Good luck
     
  3. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

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    Thanks for the recomendation HSLDS. MrMark the first question I have to ask is if any gunsmithing has been done to your pistol at all? If so that is the first place to look as the lda is much more complicated than a standard 1911. In the meantime carefully check your reloads to make sure the primers are seated as deep as they can go, below flush is best. If they are high it will cause missfires. CCI pistol primers have had a reputation of being harder to ignite for years, they say they have changed but I haven't used them. Another question is if you get missfires during rapid fire or slow fire or does it matter?

    I don't recommend taking the bottom end apart but I would clean the slide and make sure the firing pin channel is clear and the firing pin lock is able to move freely. Don't ever put any lube on the firing pin btw. A broken firing pin spring can leave a piece of coil on the firing pin which will bind up when the pin tries to move forward and fire the pistol. So clean and check the slide and all parts.

    Will have more q's when you get back after checking these things. Ross
     
  4. mr.mark

    mr.mark Member

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    Thanks for the two great replies....

    No gunsmithing has been done on the pistol, it is as it came from the factory.

    I have taken the firing pin out and examined the channel as well as spring and firing pin. They both move freely and the channel is free of debris.

    I did notice that occasionally when it would misfire... when I would lock the slide back and examine the breech face, there would be a small piece of brass in the firing pin hole. I have read somewhere that having a lighter firing pin spring will allow the firing pin to stay put longer and possibly not allow this to happen. Would this possibly be my problem? Not sure where to get a different rate spring or if I could just cut the factory spring.

    I have also read about the cci primers and as a result am planning to get some remingtons this weekend. The cci primers I am using are 80s vintage, but loaded in the rounds that won't fire through the pda, will fire without a hiccup in my other 9mm pistols.

    I guess I was just expecting a $1000 gun to function perfectly and be reliable with all types of ammo. Hoping to be able to make it that away, since it didn't come from the factory quite ready to go.

    Thanks again,
    Mr. Mark
     
  5. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    First choice Federal primers, second choice Winchester primers. Next I would take the firing pin and give the bearing surfaces a once over with some 600 grit wet and dry paper. HMB
     
  6. Sky Buster

    Sky Buster Sky Buster TS Supporters

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    Mrt. Mark:
    If the firing pin lever is not lifting the firing pin plunger high
    enough, the firing pin will drag on the plunger slowing it down
    enough to resulting in light primer indent. Make sure the plunger
    in the slide moves freely.
     
  7. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

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    If you are getting primer shavings in the firing pin hole that could easily be the problem. The shaving will act like a brake and cushion the blow. Then the next cycle it gets knocked out of the way and the pistol works.

    Are your primers showing pressure signs such as flattening or cratering, what load are you shooting? If it is too hot this can happen. If the firing pin hole is oversize for the firng pin size you can get shaving. I have a feeling your load is too hot for the combination. You do not want a lighter firing pin spring. There are other more complicated causes but let us know your load even though it works in your other guns it may not be good for this one.

    Skybuster is correct, if the firing pin lock isn't completely unlocking it will stop the firing pin. If this has been happening you will see some peening damage on the cup shaped part that the spring fits into which is the actual lock located at the rear part of the slide Cutting down on trigger travel such as putting a trigger stop in will cause this if you adjust it too tight. Believe it or not in any pistol with the 80 series safety system some people can get off the trigger fast enough in rapid fire to allow the firing pin lock to be startto lock before the hammer hits the primer causing missfires.
     
  8. mr.mark

    mr.mark Member

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    My load is from the Sierra manual edition V.

    Primer: CCI-500
    Brass: have used both wincehster and remington, all once fired
    Bullet: 115gr fmj
    Powder: Unique have tried loads from 5.8 gr up to 6.4 gr, favorite in other pistols is 6.0gr.
    Seat: 1.1" and have tried out to 1.12

    Haven't chronographed any of these loads through the pistol because I can't get it to fire a multi shot string, but in my SIG 239 I get 1160-1180fps with the 6gr load.

    Haven't seen any kind of pressure issues thus far in any of the pistols with any of these loads. Including the shells I have shot through the para, one at a time...

    I had wondered about the "series 80" safety mechanism, it doesn't bind in this pistol and seems to move freely, but not sure how I could check it in the gun? I may try removing the firing pin spring all together and then cycling the pistol (empty) and moving the trigger and then hold the gun up and down to see if this allows the firing pin to move freely back and forth. Any suggestions on other ways to test?

    Mr. Mark
     
  9. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

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    MrMark, you can't depend on your load working the same in one pistol the way it does in another especialy with reloads, and in your case a specialized pistol with a shorter barrel than a 1911 was ever designed for. Do you have any problems when shooting factory loads?

    One way to check the firing pin lock. With the pistol unloaded, pull the trigger and hold the trigger back while you take a small punch and see if the firing pin will move forward without drag. Another pair of hands is handy because you have to get the hammer out of the way so you can use the punch to move the firing pin forward. Not sure on the LDA, don't have one handy to check, but with a real 1911 you can hold the hammer and trigger back together and do the check. Another check I do is with the gun unloaded take a pencil and drop it down the barrel eraser end first. With the pistol pointed straight up pull the trigger, the pencil should clear the barrel pretty good. If it doesn't move out of the barrel you have a problem.
     
  10. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Ross,

    Be careful what you tell people - we might see a "Pencil Accountability Law" in the future...

    Actually - I love the idea - so simple, so elegant.

    Thanks,

    David D.
     
  11. mr.mark

    mr.mark Member

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    I tried the pencil, shot it 2 1/2 to 3 feet straight into the air.

    With the hammer and trigger held back, can easily depress the firing pin from the rear with a punch and feel no drag or binding on it.

    It really may be that the gun just doesn't hit the primers hard enough because of too light of a hammer spring?

    As far as cycling ammo, it cycles every time. After a round is fired, the slide comes all the way back and it loads another round, no problem, and the slide always goes fully back into battery.

    I haven't had any problems whatsoever with factory winchester and cci ammo, but that is not the point...... If the gun won't cycle any type of ammo I put through it then it is junk and I don't want it. The whole purpose for getting rid of my .40s and having mostly 9mm is the availability of ammo worldwide and factory surplus ammo. This was the idea behind the orignial ASP and Devel Conversion S&W 39. I really want a good looking, compact, single stack 9mm that functions with any ammo you stuff in it on the go....

    I also tried the pencil test with my Kimber Ultra Carry CDP, 3" barrel .45-- shoots the pencil 4-5 feet in the air. My SIG 239 9mm which has never failed to pop a single primer in 4 years of shooting and close to 5000 rounds, barely even gets the pencil clear of the muzzle, I tried it 20 times and it never got past 2" clear of the muzzle.

    I'm truly at a loss as to what to do next. But thank you all so much for the good advice.

    Keep it coming,
    Mr. Mark
     
  12. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    The pencil test shows that the problem is with the primers. Try some Federals and the problem will go away. HMB
     
  13. mr.mark

    mr.mark Member

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    I hope you're right HMB, I am headed to buy some primers tomorrow morning to load up Sunday. Hopefully this will fix the problem and I can burn up the rest of these CCI primers in my trusty ole SIG.

    By the way..... since the SIG didn't pop the pencil but just past the muzzle, why is it so reliable and accurate to boot? Half of the times I tried the pencil in it it didn't get it out of the barrel and when it did, the max was 2" past the muzzle. Why is this? Does anyone else have a SIG like this that has done the test? For whatever reason, it will outshoot almost everything else in my collection, but it isn't really as handy to carry as my Kimber and others.

    Confused?????

    Mr. Mark
     
  14. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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    The primers are not the problem. They are only exposing a problem. I always used CCI Magnum primers to test my trigger work on my 1911's and S&W N frames. If I could fire those reliably I knew the gun would fire anything. I am not familiar with the gun mentioned but if it fires everything else reliably the springs may be the problem. Mainspring too light, firing pin spring too heavy. How light is the trigger pull?
     
  15. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    You could also have a headspace problem. That gun headspaces on the front edge of the shell casing. If the overall length of the case is short the primer will be too far from the firing pin. HMB
     
  16. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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    mr.mark , As for the safety, it should not be very stiff. That can be easily fixed. All the ones I replaced were not drop-in parts. The part about voiding the warranty by taking it apart is ridiculous.
     
  17. mr.mark

    mr.mark Member

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    Jerry,

    The safety looks like on the left side where it contacts the pin that hold it up or down needs to be smoothed so the pin will ride over the safety smoother, like on my Kimber. I haven't ever taken the safety off of a 1911, because the two 1911's I have had, both Kimbers, were super smooth from the factory. In taking them off, it appears, since this is an ambidextrious safety, that the two halves just pull out to each side. But then it appears that this is what has the grip safety and hammer pinned into the frame. Is there a special way to take these components apart for polishing?

    Can't wait to pick up some new primers to try, headed to Cabela's in the morning, hope they aren't out of stock! That would be my luck...

    Mr. Mark
     
  18. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    The Sig - vs - Para might be this - the firing of the primer depends on the total displacement of the bottom of the primer. A long skinny punch or wide and shallow one can impart the same deformation to the primer.

    I suspect your Sig is hitting a wider area, but traveling forward a shorter distance. In that the rubber eraser absorbs some of the energy the transfer efficiency of the energy is disrupted.

    Try this test - take and empty shell with a fresh primer in it. Fire some of these in each of your pistols and then examine the firing pin mark on the primer - there will be no pressure curve, slide movement, etc. to 'reform' the case and primer so you will get a better picture of what the firing pin is actually doing when it hits the primer - might be telling.
     
  19. mr.mark

    mr.mark Member

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    Wow, where have all the components gone???

    Hit Cabela's, Bass Pro, Ray's Sporting & Hardware, 5 Wal-Marts along the way and only came up with 1k Win small pistol primers! No other small pistol primers to be found! Was able to get some more red-dot powder, only found 8 lb. total in all my stops, and only found a few rem sts 209 primers. But the score of the day was a used beretta 391 for $600 and I finally found a used 3913 S&W, I'm in love already! Stay tuned, the Para may be up for sale very soon.....

    Plan to try the new Win primers tomorrow and see how the para functions, if it seems to only like factory ammo, then it will belong to someone else very soon.

    Thanks for all the great help,
    Mr. Mark
     
  20. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Mr Mark (and anyone else with questions about a Para Ordnance gun),

    I can not stress enough the work Ross Carter can do on these pistols.

    I have 'spoken' to him and as soon as I get my S&!t together I plan to send mine off to him.

    If you have questions/concerns be in touch with him.

    He is to Para's what Cole is to Beretta, or Jaqua is to Perazzi

    David D
     
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