Failure to extract

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by DaveNC, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. DaveNC

    DaveNC Active Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    I'm considering getting something else to carrying and it will probably be a light weight .38 revolver. I haven't shot my P3AT in a couple of months but she stays in a holster (not in my pocket) so the weapon stays clean and it was clean when I had this trouble. I had a friend over to shoot Saturday afternoon and ran a full mag of self defense (Gold Dot) ammo through the P3. On the 4 round I had a failure to extract so I tried shooting some of my reloads and was getting failure to extracts on almost every other round. Went back to the self defense rounds and the same thing. I'm thinking my extractor spring (NOT MAGAZINE SPRING) is fatigued already and I only have at most ~400 rounds through it. It was working just fine the last time I shot it so there should be no reason this should have happened. The weapon stays loaded 24/7 and it stays clean.

    I checked the fired cases and they fall right out of the chamber every time so I know the cases are NOT getting stuck. I also checked the small screw that holds the extractor in and it was tight. LOCK TIGHT. I examined the P3 pretty thoroughly and every thing looked normal. I can cycle spend brass out of the weapon by hand so the extractor does have some tension on it but when you add the pressure from the remaining rounds in the mag it's a no go. Looks like a call to KELTEC is in order on Monday.

    This really bothers me for two reasons:

    * The weapon was shooting fine that last time I shot it so there is NO GOOD reason why this should have happened. Springs should not fatigue without being cycled. I have never had a failure to extract on this weapon before so this is a first.

    * Now I don't trust it and don't know that I ever will unless I can get a proper explanation by KELTEC on why this happened.

    Today (Sunday) I cleaned the barrel and lubed it up with the normal Rem-oil I always use. I also removed the extractor and checked it out to make sure it wasn't wore or bent etc... and all was ok. Same with the spring. I tried firing it again with the same problem (Failure to extract) Some times the rounds are stuck all the way in the chamber and sometimes they are partially extracted. This is NOT a cleaning issue. My chamber has been polished (NOT SANDED) with flitz metal polish to shine it up which minimizes friction between the brass and chamber. Smooth = less friction.

    Looks like a call to KELTEC is in order on Monday.
  2. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Nothing on the pistol should wear out in 400 rounds unless your extractor spring was marginal from the start, incorrectly tempered or something like that.  I don't think that is a common occurrence but anything is possible.  I would call KT (service, not parts) but I doubt they can diagnose it over the phone.  There are too many variables and they might ask that you send it in.  Short of that,  I would start with them sending a new extractor, spring and screw.  You may as well ask for new recoil springs too.  I would also check everywhere on the gun (slide rails, hammer interface, barrel lugs, etc) for any undue friction slowing the slide.  Maybe there is something here that you overlooked.

  3. MikeN

    MikeN New Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Interesting stuff... good info
  4. raymac1215

    raymac1215 New Member

    Dec 31, 2008
    From all that I have read- Keltec really stands behing their product. I have 2 that have been problem free for over 300 rounds each. Not one single problem. Hope they fix yours.
  5. ctlover

    ctlover Guest

    Nov 9, 2008
    Dave, Since it is obvious that you know a lot about these little pistols and have experience with manufacturing parts for them. I would be grateful if you could keep us up to date on what KT had to say about your extraction problem. If you figure out what is causing this and what the fix is would you share this information with the rest of us. Thanks in advance.
  6. MikeN

    MikeN New Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Great vid - [ame][/ame]
  7. PshootR

    PshootR Banned

    Apr 1, 2005
    In my experience failures to extract are probably the most serious and baffling problems with the P-3AT. Mine will not extract Winchester Black Talon at all. Other brands work fine.

    A few years ago I read reports here, with pics, of P-3ATs that had a groove running down the left corner of the breech that allowed the cartridge case to move too far to the left and  away from the extractor claw. The only fix was when Kel-Tec replaced the improperly machined slides with new ones, entire new uppers, actually.

    There are other threads about doing the "Barrel Hood Mod", an extractor mod and placing a pad on the frame beneath the barrel cam to limit downward travel of the barrel during the extraction process.

    If you visit the Kel-Tec Range website, there is a lot of info in the "Maximizing Miniaturization" section of that board. Unfortunately it is for MEMBERS ONLY, so you will have to join if you want to see it.
  8. DaveNC

    DaveNC Active Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    I called Keltec yesterday morning and they are sending me a list of parts. When I get the parts I'll start debugging this and figure out whats actually wrong with it. I'll post up what I find.

    The links were helpful.

  9. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 13, 2005
    A suggestion...
    Just for the heck of it try lubing it with grease instead of Rem-oil. My P-3AT functions much better with grease than with oil.

  10. mormandy1

    mormandy1 Guest

    Mar 24, 2009
    My experience was this:

    Magtech cheapo fmj ammo: failed to extract 3 times out of 50 rounds, failed to feed a few times too.
    PMC starfire: 20 rounds worked great
    Corbon 90 grain jhp: worked perfectly, and you could really feel the rounds were working the action "strongly" - it just felt "right"

    My theories about this gun are that it needs full power ammo to work correctly. To me the whole failure to extract thing stinks of ammo not hot enough to run the action to an optimal level, though I have heard of these guns doing it with even corbon ammo. I am dying to try the buffalo bore stuff but it is sold out online.

    Normally I would instantly sell any gun that jammed this much, but these little keltecs have so much potential I am going to stick it out.

    These guns obviously have issues my SIG Sauer pistols will never have, but I can't stick my P220 in a pocket and forget about it, especially the pocket of a pair of gym shorts, so I am just going to have to figure out what makes these little P3AT pistols work the best they possibly can.

    For now it is loaded with corbons, and I think every pistol owner needs to practice the drills that involve clearing a jammed weapon, especially keltec owners.
  11. DaveNC

    DaveNC Active Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    I've been using grease at the appropriate spots since I purchased the weapon. I got the information off this site. I only use the rem-oil where oil is supposed to go.
  12. mormandy1

    mormandy1 Guest

    Mar 24, 2009
    Well after a range session today I will have to say my particular p3at has an "across the board" issue with failures to extract no matter the ammo. I tried corbon, federal, winchester, and they all failed to extract at least once a magazine. It had the fluff and buff including a mirror polish of breech face, chamber, and feed ramp with 2000 grit paper, and the extractor was lightly polished as well, and looked fine. I do NOT in any way "limp wrist" either, and with any pocket pistol am very sure to have a firm rock solid grip. This gun is not reliable enough to carry so it will be moved to "plinking" status as my reliable beretta tomcat moves back to carry position. Tomcats are not perfect as the older ones have been known to crack a frame after lots of rounds, and they are a bit thicker, but they are reliable. The funny thing is that my tomcat doesn't even have an extractor yet has no problem kicking out spent cases. The keltec can't seem to extract even with an extractor.

    I am not going to bother with shipping it across the country, if it doesn't work out of the box forget it. And I just want to make one comment about the "wonderful" service of keltec. By this I mean the willingness to fix broken pistols. This is the same mentality that GM and Ford had for years that drove them to the grave. "Build a defective product, but be cheerful when it comes time to fix it under warranty and do it with a smile". This is exactly why Honda and Toyota are now where they are. ANY customer would MUCH prefer to simply have something that does not break down, than to have it break and be treated "nicely" while their defective product is fixed. I feel keltec needs to slow down, emphasize quality, and maybe bump that price up to pay for it. They already "pay for it" with a huge number of warranty claims anyway, as you can tell with a little research.

    Sorry, but after years owning HK's and SIG's, I don't buy this "don't worry, we'll fix it when it jams all the time" garbage, because the next time it jams might be the time you need it to save your life. HK's and SIG's don't jam, so reliable pistols can be made every time, every serial number. Keltec just can't seem to do that judging by all the reports of FTE issues. I would say at least you can plink with it, but it is a painful gun to shoot since it beats up your finger and you can't grip it well.
  13. pocketgun9

    pocketgun9 New Member

    Apr 18, 2005
    I hear you loud and clear.  I was there a few years ago, when my P-3AT kept failing to feed.  Sent it back and they made it right.  It's been 100% for years now but I don't shoot more than a few magazines a year.  Back when I was experiencing failures I just stopped carrying it and went with a J frame revolver - pull trigger, goes bang.  It's only 5 shot but 38 sp+P is a good round. The more I shoot the more I like revolvers for reliability.

    In the next 2 weeks I'll be getting a Rohrbaugh 9mm pocket pistol and we'll see if there is such a thing as a reliable pocket pistol.  I think these tiny little auto loaders are troublesome no matter which make or model.  I have a Wilson Combat SDS 45 and so far I've fired 1200 rounds with zero failures of any kind.  It's a larger auto loader, and it functions 100% reliably.  But it cost $3,200 and for that I expect perfection.  The Kel-Tec is a $250 pocket pistol that in many cases can be made to be reliable.  I have a difficult time trusting my life to a tiny pocket pistol - but when I need to carry something tiny, I go with the P-3AT.  If the Rohrbaugh 9mm is 100% reliable it may become my new pocket pistol but I have my doubts ANY tiny pocket pistol can be reliable.

    I figure the P-3AT is better than nothing - when I can only carry a tiny pocket pistol. But as time goes on I find myself less and less willing to make that compromise.

    Good luck and let us know how it's going.
  14. steve24

    steve24 New Member

    Aug 20, 2008
    When I was having FTE problems with my P3AT, KT sent me a new extractor...but it didn't help.  So, I wound up sending it back to them for repairs.

    When I got it back, it had a new slide and barrel...and it has worked flawlessly since with all types of ammo.

    Good luck with yours and keep us posted.
  15. cbreez99

    cbreez99 New Member

    Aug 18, 2008
    I had complained about this problem as well, on another thread a while back. I did the f&b, and ran 100 rounds through the gun and it seems better, though not totally solved. I still say that it's wrong for the gun buyer to have to use $50.00 worth of ammo, extra range time, and a couple of hours of labor to start to fix this problem. I did not buy this gun to have to work on it. It leaves a sour taste with me. I understand the frustration.
  16. adamsesq

    adamsesq New Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    You don't have to do anything. If it's not working for you then you can send it to KT and they will fix it. Many of us like that we can work on them ourselves and really learn whether the problem is with us or the weapon.

  17. tommy51s

    tommy51s Active Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    Kansas City
    I just put 70 rounds through my P3 this afternoon. It's been about 5 months since I shot it last (got slowed down by a broken ankle). And I had some double feeds. BUT...I'm almost certain it was a limpwristing problem. Or maybe rather a limp finger problem. There's just so few fingers on the grip that if I don't pay attention, the gun pivots real easy, which messes up the feeding. Part way through I changed to a mag with a bersa pinky extension, which makes a BIG difference in that regard.
  18. DaveNC

    DaveNC Active Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    My problem is solved for now. See the picture and notice the lack of curve in the top spring? The top spring is the old extractor spring and the bottom spring is the new one.

    I'm hoping that this is a one time occurrence and shouldn't happen again, at least not for a while. I test fired it with my reloads and ran 4 mags through without a hick-up. BTW my reloads are pretty much full power loads shooting 3.2 grains of bullseye with a 95 grain rainers full copper plated bullet. Read no exposed lead.

    It still bothers me that this happened just out of the blue and I'm still considering a wheel gun. I did not remove the extractor excessively IMO so I don't think I did this.

  19. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    How many times was that? :-/
  20. Moose

    Moose New Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Man, sorry to see the problems.

    Might have had a bad run on the spring for a while, or just a fluke.

    Hope it all works out.