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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I already have a P-11 and find it just a bit too large for summer carry, and my son has a PF-9 which I also find too large, I bought the P3-AT. I have read about the "peening" problems, failure to feed first round, etc. I decided to go with it any way. If I have a "peening" issue I'll call and get a new slide.

I get it home and field strip, as the dealer would not allow this. I knew the ser no. was in a range that MIGHT have the "peening" issue, J1BXX. I look it over carefully and notice the barrel ramp is VERY clean and smooth, not polished, but smooth. I decide to polish the ramp any way as the barrel is out. A couple of minutes with the dremel and it's a mirror. I lube up the innards with oil and grease where appropriate and reassemble. I'll check for any other areas needing attention after the first 100 or so rounds. I take an EMPTY fired 380 case and load it into the magazine to try a little trigger action. THe case FEEDS right in! This little bugger will feed EMPTY cases without a hitch! I load with live ammo to try manual feeding. Four complete clips of FMJ cycle perfectly.

I install a trigger stop, White style, and wait for tomorrow to range test.

I have two different types of ammo to try, Federal AE 90gr FMJ and Remington UMC 88 gr HP. Shooting at 7 yds the Federal fed and fired without a hiccup, but the accuracy was not what I was looking for. The Remington started out well with the first 3 shots within an inch, then opened up as I had numerous failures to completely feed into chamber. A slight tap on the rear of the slide would complete the cycle, but still disruptive to good shooting. The grouping ability of the UMC was very good however, about 2". It hit point of aim at this distance whereas the Federal hit about 3" low. I have NO faith the UMC will be a carry load and will now start the search for some Gold Dots or Golden Sabers.

Grouping started to get worse as the session went on. I noticed the trigger stop was getting "chewed" up. The trigger is "hollow" on the back side, not solid as on the P-11 or the PF-9.

Upon returning home I replaced the stop with a new one, only lower so it hits the sold portion of the trigger (lower in the guard). I stripped and cleaned the gun checking for any wear marks that may need attention. Noting nothing seriously out of wack, I checked for "peening". Yup, after 120rounds there is a noticeable ridge around the guide rod hole that wasn't there before. I paid attention to the slide face before firing, and is was FLAT. There is a raised ridge around the hole about .020". I will continue to shoot it and see what develops. BTW, I can see the recoil springs on one side of the hole already. I noticed the slide was thin up front, but didn't expect this so early.

I'll keep you informed. BTW, any place to buy a couple of extra mags and +1 extensions more resonable than the factory?
 

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I picked up my spare magazine and extension from DD's Ranch here. There may be other places that have them cheaper, but I didn't bother to look :p I suggest not wasting your time on eBay, because they tend to fetch rather high prices there.
 

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My J9 is also in the zone for peening issues. However, after initially developing a ridge, it has not become higher after 600 rounds. I have done 2 things to keep peening at bay: 1. Ordered a new guide rod - the old ones had a rough surface but the new (free) ones are smooth. 2. I grease the guide rod all over, and spring ends - anywhere there is metal to metal contact. I hope your peening comes to a halt too :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
UPDATE: Today I went to the range and shot the "new" P3-AT some more. I had with me WW WB 95 gr FMJ and the remainder of the Rem 88 gr HP I purchased at Wally World. I started with the WW FMJ and had some failure to fully feed the second or last round in the clip. A slight push with the thumb and she locked up. Grouping was not great at 7 yds, but acceptable for intended purpose, about 3". As I was not totally happy with the results, and looking for brass ALL OVER the place, I thought I might not be holding tight enough. About 30 more rounds fired in 5 shot groups, things changed. She went into FULL FUNCTION! NO FTF's and brass started to show up.

I changed to a new 3" bull and went to a COM hold, and put the pressure to the grip. Viola, a 5 shot group about 1" with 2 cutting 2! Best of all, it hit only 1" low and 1" to right. I loaded up and tried again. Same results with next five falling in the same group, albeit opening it up a bit to 2". Totally acceptable! I think this thing has just broken in, so.....back to the Rem 88 gr HP's that FTF badly yesterday. They performed without a hitch, COM hold, inside 1". I knew they shot accurately yesterday, but seemed unreliable. Not today. They now fed flawlessly and shot the best groups of the 3 loads I tried, the other being Fed AE FMJ. I checked the berm for spent bullets, and as I suspected, the Rem HP's did not expand unless they hit rock.
The "peening" issue appears to have gotten a tad bit worse. The hole now has grown about .060" larger than the rod diameter. I can see the inner spring end entering the hole and coming through about half the thickness of the remaining flat on that area of the slide. I think I'll make a brass or delrin bushing to fit the counterbored countersink and see what happens. This will be similar to the "washer" mentioned on this site.

I KNOW how to fix the problem properly, but why should I? When she wears out, KT will replace it!

Gun now has a total of 197 rounds through it and appeared to break-in at 150. I'll keep you posted.
 

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vaguru said:
I KNOW how to fix the problem properly, but why should I?  When she wears out, KT will replace it!
The only really good reason I can think of is:

What If? It wears out in the middle of a life or death confrontation?
AND YOUR SPRINGS COME OUT THE FRONT END, instead of the next round out of the magazine !

Which is the only reason for packing one of these guns in the first place.

It's just plain faulty reasoning to wait until it fails.
If you know you have a defective Self-Defense handgun, the time to fix it is before you ever need it.

And most Certainly, Not After you need it, and it fails!


rcmodel
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update 2: I have fashioned a guide rod bushing of aluminum. It is basically a ball bearing with a hole drilled through it for the guide rod, then cut in half perpendicular to the hole. It is installed in the counterbore with grease so it pivots with the rod, same as I have seen on some other guns. It measures .100" in thickness and the diameter is .200". I tapped the hole with an 8-32 NC thread after drilling to reduce friction and hold grease. Installed it works flawlessly! NO PROBLEMS of any kind developed.

My take on this "peening" issue is not one of peening, but rather the guide rod wearing the hole larger as being shot due to the angle(s) the rod must perform while operating. The initial problem, in my opinion, is the metal thickness at the hole is TOO THIN! More material at this point will reduce the wear significantly, but will always be there as it is a friction point. By installing my bushing, I have aleviated this wear point substancially.

Again, I have seen this type bushing on other guns in the past, just can't remember which one(s) at this time, but does fuction as the end of the barrel on THIS gun, and many others that don't have a separate barrel bushing.

Now to respond to rcmodel. I appreciate your concern, and I will contact KT about this problem soon, like Tuesday the 29th. I don't feel my mod is in any way compromising my safety if I need to defend myself. My opinion. I have a Colt Gold Cup that has been modified by a reputable, well known pistol smith, with other than factory parts. Should I not trust its reliability either. Not intending to start problems, just asking questions.

I have been a gunsmith for many years, and have seen many differing problems through out those years. Most of my smithing has been to accurizing military weapons for service rifle and handgun competition. Would I take one of these into combat? YES, I would, because I know how to care for them. Would I give one to the standard issue "GI", no, they would require more knowledge of maintenance and function due to tighter tolerances. Do my "modified, accurized" service guns function properly, absolutely! They have to or you're a loser in this "game" too!

Thank you for your concerns, I do appreciate them. Respectfully submitted.
 

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vaguru said:
..a guide rod bushing of aluminum... a ball bearing ... cut in half perpendicular to the hole....installed in the counterbore .. so it pivots with the rod,..measures .100" in thickness and the diameter is .200".

...due to the angle(s) the rod must perform while operating.
Sounds like a very good improvement there vaguru.

using the ball in the "V" fit to allow for changing bore alignment as rod angle changes with slide.

with the diameter 0.200" or just slightly less, the outer spring will seat fully in the slide, while the inner is on the bushing.

what did you drill the inner dia? (#29) or could you get a tighter fit
 

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vaguru, i do not think the concern was can you fix it, your quote was "why should I"...

that indicates you are going to carry a knowingly defective handgun for defense.

best of luck to you should you ever need to use it .. i hope it functions.

i know my carry piece will.

:-/
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
to JFB: I drilled the hole using a #29 bit as required to thread with 8-32 NC tap. This was a good fit, and the threads allow room to hold grease. As I had material left over I tried different thicknesses of the "ball" up to .150". All thicknesses worked flawlessly. I did encounter another problem though, the hammer sear really started to wear and I had to trim down the thickness of my trigger stop from intially .230" to .080" while shooting today. I ran both Federal AE and Win WB for another 100 rounds and had no malfunctions other than the aforementioned trigger stop. I trust the guide rod bushing mod!

to rhauser: Yes the quote is correct! However I bought the gun Thursday before the Memorial Day Weekend, didn't get to shoot it until Friday. Encountered the slide problem that day, and as I knew I couldn't contact KT until Tuesday the 29th, I decided to try one of my ideas/fix. I still have others. The total time to make the "ball" I describe in my mod is less than 15 minutes on a drill press. Did I learn anything? Yes. Do I trust the mod? Yes. Am I going to contact KT and get a new slide and hammer? Yes! Did I notice any more wear on the slide from the guide rod after installation of the "ball"? NO! Did the hole for the guide rod increase in size? NO! Was I able to continue to shoot my new "toy" without fear of the recoil springs popping out the front of the slide? Yes!

I consider the mod I describe to have value, provide informed tested data and to be an improvement on a somewhat weak design. For those of you that do not/may not trust the mod for carry, that's alright. Just put one in for practice at the range and save your slide. Take it out for carry if you desire. I hope I have answered the "why should I fix it" quote.
 
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First- Welcome to the Group Vaguru !

Glad to have you here, and thanks for the good post.

Second- Great ingenuity on the ball bearing / slide fix.

Third-- You may want to try to finance the purchase price of your next P3AT by selling drilled and tapped cut in half ball bearings.

I would be first in line if the price was right.

Or better yet--

FOURTH... Mail me the "other half" of the ball bearing (after you drill and tap it of course) and I will give you a report on how it compares to the nylon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
adamsesq: I disagree with your post-others have been able to understand the thread. But....I will post pics for you in the next couple of days, soon as I get the time!

Nu_Agin_Shooter: At the same time that I post pics for adamsesq I will also post detailed instructions on how to make your own. I don't want to get tied up in mailings or any POSSIBLE liability issues. I didn't come up with this idea to make a profit off of members, just offering a "solution" to a problem. I thought it up, I developed it, I tried it, it works as expected WITHOUT problem and it solves (for me) the premature wear problem/unuseable firearm dilemma. I don't condone its use by others. Use this mod at your own risk.
 

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Good luck w/ the mod vaguru . I'd like to see pics too , I follow what you'v said but you know the old addage a pics worth a 1000 words. I have the washer in mine and plan on keeping it in there till I'm sure I'll get a good slide.
 

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At the same time that I post pics for adamsesq I will also post detailed instructions on how to make your own. I don't want to get tied up in mailings or any POSSIBLE liability issues. I didn't come up with this idea to make a profit off of members, just offering a "solution" to a problem. I thought it up, I developed it, I tried it, it works as expected WITHOUT problem and it solves (for me) the premature wear problem/unuseable firearm dilemma. I don't condone its use by others. Use this mod at your own risk.
Understood. It's just that your approach is so intuitive and we're all searching for THE SOLUTION.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I will post pics and full detailed instructions on this mod, with time saving steps, by the end of the weekend. Might get to it tomorrow evening. Thought I might get to it tonight, but didn't happen. I will post in a new thread called, Aluminum Guide Rod Bushing - P-3AT. Just hold on, I'll get it done.
 
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