Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by jfh, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. jfh

    jfh New Member

    41
    Oct 15, 2007
    Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    OK, here's what's up.  

    I continued my P3AT breakin today, using WWB 95gr FMJs.  I have two magazines, one with the Grip Extension and one without.

    The mag with the grip extension drops with every shot fired..  The next round doesn't feed in--the mag has dropped first.  This is not a hand / grip issue--by the time I finished trouble shooting while at the range, I have no doubt I was not 'bumping' the mag release in recoil, or limp-wristing, or anything like that.  

    Both mags are the standard MecGar; I added the Grip Extension myself.  I can find no discernible difference in the two mag shells, although I haven't put a caliper to them yet.  The one with the Grip extension "seats" with about 1/32" more showing between the grip bottom and the top of the floor plate /  grip extension, and the mag release "wiggles" with that  grip-extension-mag installed; the flat floor plate mag fits pretty flush, and the mag release doesn't wiggle.

    I can't figure out what's wrong--I have a spare mag release on hand, but I'm reluctant to do parts replacement until I know what's wrong.

    fifteen minutes later: I've chased this a bit more--I exchanged floor plates, and I have determined that the extra 1/32" showing is mostly a function of thinner flanges on the top of the grip extension. The lips on both magazines appear to be set the same way, and the mag springs feel to be of similar tension.

    I did try the plus-one extension, but removed it because it didn't work well--do those extensions have a more powerful spring, and I might have left that in one magazine when I switched things out?

    I can post pictures if you want--but any advise is most welcome.

    Overall, this P3AT now has about 200 rounds through it; it's been kept clean, and no other operational issues seem to be showing up, nor any defects--no peening, no slide / spring dimple, etc., etc.--just this mag drop problem.  

    Jim H.
     
  2. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    We have seen this before.  The leverage that your finger/hand exerts on some mag extensions can put extra pressure on the mag catch and cause it to pop free upon the jarring of the gun being fired.  More than a couple of times, I have seen mags with extensions that would come loose when fired while unaltered mags would not pop loose in the same gun.  It is most likely your hand size-geometry, a marginal mag catch, or a combination of both.  A few folks gave up on the extensions for that reason.   Also, check to see if there is any extra polymer flashing on that mag extension that could be keeping it from fully inserting.  If so, see if you can trim or file it.  If not, or that doesn't help, since you have one, try the new mag catch.  In the future, depress the mag release when you insert the mag. This prevents the sharp cut out in the mag tube from shaving/wearing the polymer mag catch.  
     

  3. jfh

    jfh New Member

    41
    Oct 15, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    heh, great minds that pass in the dark, or something like that.

    Your explanation makes perfect sense, TxCajun.  I'll try going back to the standard floor plate and probably install the new mag catch.  I do know that the first few times, I did just slam the mag home, so to speak--so if the mag catch has been shaved, then the hand geometry observation shows I am popping the mag loose.  

    Jim H.
     
  4. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    Yea, I would change the catch and then baby it. That doesn't happen to most folks. As I said, it is probably just the way your paw fits the grip/extension and possibly a bad catch, espcially since it only happens with the extension. To experiment, you could try the extension on the other mag. See if the problem follows the extension. If Two Pistol Packer ever gets back up and running, his metal mag catch might solve your problem for good.
     
  5. gilbertfamily2000

    gilbertfamily2000 New Member

    126
    Dec 3, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    Hey Tx,
    Is there anywhere else to get a few metal mag catches?

    GoVols
     
  6. tkc

    tkc New Member

    11
    Oct 21, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    I had a similar problem where I had one mag that was prfect and a second one that just would not stay locked.  I did all kinds of shaving the butt plate and measuring but nothing seemed to work.  Finally I took out my dremel tool and much to the shock and concern of others around here I shaved about 1/1000 of an inch off the top of the hole where the catch goes in the mag.  Since then once I seat the mag in place it doesn't drop unless I press the release and I haven't had a single problem with it feeding jhp or fmj.  It has been perfect.  It just appeared to me with the measuring that the hole where the catch goes is a little out of tolerance preventing it to lock in.  

    Both mags are factory supplied megars or whatever brand it is.
     
  7. nottestuser

    nottestuser New Member

    23
    Jan 24, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    I've had similar problems with my finger extension mags. I replaced the catch with a metal one from 2PP which stopped them from dropping. That catch held the mags a little higher and I had to trim a little off on of the floor plates to get it to seat properly.

    After 2-300 rounds of that setup I ran in to another problem. The magazine bodies started to crack in the front after getting beaten into the front of the frame below the feed ramp. My pinky was levering the front of the mag forward during recoil and the mag catch, being metal and tight fitting now, had no give to it.

    I've since given up on the finger extensions. For me they're only a nicety since the middle of my ring finger just makes it on to the grip so I do get the full advantage of that finger in my grip.
     
  8. jfh

    jfh New Member

    41
    Oct 15, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    Update:    With the Holiday routine pretty much over with, I finally got to the bench to replace the mag release.  Using the disassembly instructions 1bad69 provides, I had no real issues with disassembly.  

    For those of you tackling this repair--replacing the mag release--it's also a good opportunity to do a "semi-detail" strip and clean.  After I pulled the receiver (trigger block) assembly, I was surprised at how clean it was, and I elected to not get into the assembly at this time.

    Mag release replacement tips:  

    1.  Once you get the receiver out of the way (see the 1bad69 procedure and photos), you can pull the release spring (and retainer) with a long / thin needle nose.  Note the spring is inserted into a hole in the top of the release, and 'caught' on the right to put the spring in tension.

    I was a bit surprised at how mis-matched the two sides of the mag release casting were--that is, there is an obvious parting line on the casting, but I did leave it alone.  When I installed the new release, those same needle nose pliers worked to get the spring into the retainer hole and to push / slip the spring into the right side grip niche.

    2.  Watch the release spring--it can sproing away.    If you order mag releases, order some springs as well; Kel-Tec was kind enough to send them along, even though I didn't know enough to specify them....

    FWIW, I found the original release to be noticably beveled on its upper edge, and that was obviously part of the problem.  I haven't been to the range yet to test fire it--but I'll bet the problem was fixed.  I've held off sanding the release down until I see how firing it (particularly one-handed) goes.

    However, given the location of the wear on the release, I suspect the problem was not caused by aggressive mag insertion, but by the 'leverage' / hand size & geometry issues, and it might recur. It would be smart to have more releases (and springs) on hand if you have to do this repair one time.

    The whole was not a big deal for me--but I do have a lot of experience with 1911 (and other) semiauto strips and reassembly. For those of you new to firearms disassembly and reassembly--but I would definitely print and read the 1bad69 file and get the receiver removal sequence firmly in your mind before you start.

    When you re-insert the receiver is when you will most likely run into trouble:  Be sure to orient the trigger-spring housing properly when you drop the receiver back into the grip, and when you finish dropping the receiver back into place, have a small flat screwdriver handy to set up and 'trip' the hammer catch / block before you attempt to drop the back into place.  Although it takes a firm push, don't force the receiver, IMO--the reassembly holes will line up nicely when you do it properly.  Be sure to re-install the pins from the correct side, with the correct head orientation.  FWIW, mine drove out by hitting on the left.  

    recommended tools:    A pistol punch set, small hammer (I have a Lyman kit, and supplemented my larger punch sets with another small set), long needle-nose pliers, and a gizzie or two.  (I'll let you look up gizzie definitions.)  Dental picks and hooks are handy, but I simply used a longer screwdriver to push the trigger spring base through and then up-and-over into the grip pocket for it.

    Jim H.
     
  9. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap New Member

    69
    Sep 4, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    I never had any luck with the magazine extension myself. I eventually took it off.
     
  10. adamsesq

    adamsesq New Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    I have them on every one of my carry magazines and love them!

    -Scott
     
  11. jfh

    jfh New Member

    41
    Oct 15, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    I know that from the last range trip that I "need" the extension for one-handed shooting. Without it, I definitely squeeze the grip harder, and I am bumping the mag release. So, I'm going to try to get this release problem solved while keeping the extension in place.

    Jim H.
     
  12. jfh

    jfh New Member

    41
    Oct 15, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    Update--Mags, Mag extensions, P3AT function.

    I finally made it to the range today and did the function test with the replaced mag release and the two magazines. This was with older ammo--a WWB equivalent of 85-90FMJ, IIRC.

    The function was perfect with the MecGar Mag with the Kel-Tec finger extension. I had no FTFs, FTEs in 36 rounds--and that includes the last two magazines in a 'faster' measured-rapid-fire (about 6 shots in 4-5 seconds). All shooting was done one (strong)-handed, and I was conscious of keeping my thumb off the mag release.

    But the second magazine refused to seat. This, too, is a MecGar, with the Kel-Tec floor plate--purchased from the LGS / dealer at the time I got gun. It had worked before, I thought--WTF? Maybe it 'seated' before only because of the shaved release. I didn't fiddle with it; I had lots more shooting to do. When I got home I discovered the flanges on the floor plate are too high--so maybe I got a wrong mag--is this a P32 mag. I think I have one more finger extension, and I'll install that now.

    This P3AT now has over 200 rounds through it, and appears to be broken in. Today's experience gives me the confidence to call it a BUG, without reservation.

    Jim H.
     
  13. John_W

    John_W New Member

    140
    Oct 2, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    Congrats!

    These are the pinky extensions, right? Rather than the +1s?
     
  14. jfh

    jfh New Member

    41
    Oct 15, 2007
    Re: Mag problem:  Has Kel-Tec Grip Extension

    Right, these are the finger extensions only.

    When I first started setting this gun up I did try a +1 extension and was very unimpressed--I may try that again, too.

    Jim H.