Concern for Reliability: Bullet Setback Issue

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by vonfatman, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. vonfatman

    vonfatman New Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    I have been very happy with my P3-AT...I've had it since the new extractors were introduced.

    For some reason, I'm now having a feeding issue. (btw I am using factory BALL ammo, nothing else)

    When I fire a single round (for example this week while hunting I fired a single round into the ground to scare off wayward mutts) this problem became apparent to me because when I got home, cleared the gun, and looked at the bullet that had been in the chamber, I noticed the bullet had hit/rammed into the ramp by the slide and was pushed back into the case well beyond factory specs.

    I did not notice the slide not cleanly functioning when I shot into the ground.

    I fired another single round and noticed the same thing on that round (again, the round that fed into the chamber after the first shot had the "smiley face"). This time I did notice a slight hesitation with the slide function.

    (please take a look at the pictures)

    I'm not concerned with the "smiley face" but I am concerned that the bullet setback will most certainly increase case/chamber PSI. Perhaps to the point of blowing up/disabling my CCW unit.

    This would not be good in my opinion.

    I called Kel-Tec and spoke with customer service. The gentleman asked me to send them the gun. Geesh, I hate to loose the gun for an undetermined period of time, but I may as well carry a single shot if the second round is going to (perhaps) disable the gun.

    Have others here had this problem and if so, I'd sure be interested in suggestions for a fix rather than sending in the gun.

    Thank you very much.

  2. Hillbilly_Jim

    Hillbilly_Jim Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    mid Mo
    Wow that dont look good. If factory ammo try another brand to see if setback occurs, if not you may just got a box of poorly made ammo.
    If reloads change at once.
    If it sets back with all factory ammo send pistol back ASAP. You are right in that pressures can go very high with bad things as a result.
    For the bullet to have so little tension in the case it could be a number of things, bullet is to small or die expanded to much or did not taper crimp.
    Go with the factory recommendation if you have any doubt. Cheap insurance to prevent an overpressure occurance.
    Shoot often and straight.

  3. fatman

    fatman New Member

    Apr 6, 2005
    What brand of factory ammo were you using? I have seen many smiley faces on my ammo with several different brands but never saw that kind of setback resulting from just one shot. I agree that it is a potentially serious condition.
  4. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
  5. joje

    joje New Member

    Nov 1, 2007
    many 1911 owners, myself included, have had horrible setback problems with 45 acp cci blazer ball ammo. other ammo doesnt set back at all in the same gun. so it may very well be ammo brand related - please let us know what you are shooting.
  6. vonfatman

    vonfatman New Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Mr. JFB,
    Would you have any photos of the part/instaltion of the part?  I'm interested!

    Thanks for the replies...

    I'm using Remington cheapo ball target ammo.

    I want to be clear.  The setback appears to be the result of the bullet being driven into the feed ramp by the slide during chamber feeding.

    The problem is NOT the result of recoil (at least as far as I can tell) as can be the case with lightly crimped cases in magnum revolvers.

    The cartridges left in the magazine show no indications of setback (in fact the caliper proves this).

    I thought about re-crimping the ammo, but I have not done that yet.

    Not sure I want to mess with "upgrading" factory ammo.  Here's the box.

  7. DaveNC

    DaveNC Active Member

    Mar 7, 2008
  8. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
  9. Ape

    Ape New Member

    Jul 16, 2008
    I've just started using the Blazer in conjunction with WWB in my PF9 and my 1911 and I've never heard this before? I haven't had any issues with the Blazer yet either. Is this something that was being discussed on the 1911 forum? :-/
  10. riverkeeper

    riverkeeper New Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    My 2nd gen HZE made smilies on AE Eagles FMJ and Speer GD HP comparable to your pics and it shot smoothly BUT I did a rampectomy and exhaustive F and B anyway.

    No prob for couple of yrs.
  11. vonfatman

    vonfatman New Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Thanks everyone. Looks like I need to either attempt my first gunsmithing or find a 'smith that will do the work.

  12. virtual-rj

    virtual-rj New Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    Houston, TX
    the fluff and buff is not gunsmithing by any stretch of the imagination. you c an do it with common household thnigs. there are links in the tekworks section, and pics too.
    and we can help you do just about anything here that you may run in to. you do not have to strip it more than common cleaning, so good luck
  13. seabear1500

    seabear1500 New Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Wow, I'm new to the KT, but not to the gun world. That looks worse than a fee ramp issue. From the pics it looks like the dent in the bullets is almost right across the middle. Have you changed Mags? I looks more like your mag isn't setting deep enough into the gun, or the feed ramp in the mag is the wrong angle.
  14. vonfatman

    vonfatman New Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Your replies have been terrific. As you can see by the number of posts I've made, I'm not a regular here but you all have made me feel like one with your concern and well reasoned replies. I will attempt the "fluff 'n buff" and see if I can improve the situation on my own. I'm one of those guys who can get within a 1/2 mile of a box-end wrench and my knuckles will spontaneously bleed so I hope you can understand my apprehensive approach to "do-it-yourself"

    I'll try to pick up a set of needle files later today or tomorrow. Anything else??

    Thanks so much. You should be very proud of your Forum and it's members.

  15. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    If you want to try that foam shim and can not find a single sheet (<$0.50), PM me an address and I'll put a piece in the mail.

    Sorry. I don't have a camera.

    the strips are cut about 1/4" wide
    the first strip is about 3/8" long (from the trigger ball to the edge of the magazine well
    the second strip is about 3/4" long and goes on top of the first and the rest down the magazine well, about to the mag release.
    You have to be Very carefull installing magazines so it doesn't scrape it off as mag is inserted.
    To push down and hold for a few minutes, I rack the slide and put a FMJ round between slide breach face and upper barrel hood

    the third strip is 1/4" X 1/4" in the heel of the mag well

    While searching to find the diminsions I made those shims.  I saw an old post where the poster observed the "S" slot in his barrel lug was opening up and caused his to start having smileys after a few hundred rounds.  the wear in the barrel lug allowed the barrel to tilt down and go back farther.

    His wear was mainly caused by the original proud machining marks flatting
  16. vonfatman

    vonfatman New Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    I just wanted to say thank you as I took my gun over to a very handy friend's home yesterday and discussed Flyer’s "Rampectomy".

    I pulled the barrel and he proceeded to work the feed ramp. It's now the recommended shape and has been fluffed & buffed to enhance overall reliability. I know owe him a nice lunch/dinner...his choice.

    I took the gun home and fired a number of single shots with a full magazine...nary a smirk, let alone a "smiley".

    I am very well pleased and sure appreciate everyone helping me with this problem.

    Best wishes and Happy Holidays.
  17. Drivebytrucker

    Drivebytrucker New Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Whoa, i would think it would take alot force to push the bulet back into the casing lke that. Glad you got things going your way.
  18. vonfatman

    vonfatman New Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Thanks. I'm glad to be on the other side of the curve. I know the .380 is a low pressure round, but nonetheless, I was glad I could get a fix to the problem (or potential problem).

  19. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    For anyone else reading this thread thinking that a rampectomy will cure smileys - and not cause new problems...

    After a long time of good, reliable use of my P3AT, I thought I'd cure it of smileys (by doing the rampectomy) and make it perfect. The rampectomy didn't work out so well for me. Now, it's FTE every single round - I'll have to read back in the old threads to find out what to do about it. Just wanted to warn others that may have a dremmel handy  :'(.

    On the plus side, looks like I'll be spending a lot more time with my 357 in tow  :)
  20. vonfatman

    vonfatman New Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Sorry to hear of your problems. I will certainly run a bunch of practice ammo thru the gun to verify the gun's dependability. So far so good.

    BTW, my buddy used needle files and actually took a bit less aggressive run at the ramp than others may have attempted. Perhaps this worked to my favor.