M9-A1 issues? Check this...

Discussion in 'M, C, L and S Series' started by dwillia29, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. dwillia29

    dwillia29 New Member

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    Hi everyone -

    A tip, and possible solution, for any M9-A1 owners that are experiencing seemingly inexplicable problems and/or so-so reliability.

    I purchased a NIB, relatively early (serial #40xxx) M9-A1 ~8 months ago. It was accompanied with two (2) 15 round magazines. The seller offered additional magazines for $24/per -- not a bad price, and who couldn't use extra mags? -- so I put down the $ for a 3rd.

    FWIW (if anything) the extra magazine body, factory-packaged separately, indicated a 14 round capacity, although, as it's been noted, it held 15 rounds w/o any trouble.

    I noticed that sometimes, but not always, a fully-loaded mag would "rattle". Sometimes the rattle was barely audible, other times it made a RACKET. I read this was normal, shrugged it off, and didn't give it any more thought.

    The handgun is, rough guesstimate, ~99.5% reliable. Not awful, but since my two S9's & Walther P99 .40 are 100%, the M9-A1 would be a reluctant last choice in an emergency.

    Early on I had a hard jam -- exactly like the one that's pictured in a thread several months old where the shooter was using cheap, steel-cased Ruskie ammo and a fired casing was lodged in the chamber. Everyone blamed the ammo -- and maybe they were right in doing so -- but I had to HAMMER out a stuck casing of nickel-plated Ranger-T!

    Only happened once tho, and early on too, so I attributed it to a "breaking-in" period. Which it may have been, I don't know.

    But the "rattling" mags would occasionally fail. I'd pull, "click", wait a few seconds, drop the magazine, and rack the slide. Inevitably, the magazine was about half-full and the follower appeared to be "stuck" midway. I'd turn the mag over and the errant rounds would tumble out like marbles.

    So, I bought a 4th mag from CDNN. Same issue. I was stumped. Mags were disassembled, wiped down w/ Hoppes, and lightly sprayed w/ silicone after each trip, so it wasn't a problem of excess debris. Also it wasn't THAT bad. I've put 1000 rounds+ through the gun and had mag failures only a handful of times. Still, those odd failures really shook my confidence; especially since I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on...

    Well, I figured it out. Actually, that's not true. It decked me like a pound of stupid when all four mags were disassembled and laid out in front of me. I can't believe I didn't notice this before.

    Exhibit A:

    Pictured far left is a std., 10-round S9 magazine and accompanying spring. Never rattles, never fails. The next three magazines (continuing L-R) are 15 round, M9-A1 mags. As is plainly visible, the 15 round mag springs actually have one LESS coil than the 10 round mag!

    On the far right is the "extra" mag I purchased w/ a 14 round body. Note the spring! Some difference, huh!? No rattle and my guess is (admit I never kept track) that this particular mag never failed either.

    If my conspiracy theory is correct -- and I'll bet THREE sub-par mag springs that it is -- this probably applies to some early M40-A1's too.

    My M9-A1 sports an older slide, roll-marked "M9". No biggie, one certainly can't blame Steyr for not throwing out perfectly good, functionally identical slides just b/c they lacked an "A1" marking. But they can (and should imo) be faulted if they had a mountain of surplus, "ban-era", 10-round springs and installed them in "post-ban" 15-round magazines... And, at least to me, that seems by FAR the most likely scenario.

    I mean, what are the chances of getting four mags and THREE of them have 10-round springs mistakenly installed? :roll:

    I'm hoping SAI will replace the springs (can't imagine that they won't). Furthermore, although I'm tempted to wag my finger and admonish "BAD STEYR!", I'm hoping that owners experiencing reliability issues -- whether identical to my own or not -- can trace them back to underpowered springs. I trust my S9's completely, and have little doubt that my M9-A1 will exhibit the same boring, repetitive reliability w/ appropriately powered springs.

    Maybe a lot (most?) of purported Steyr reliability problems are a direct result of something as banal as weak mag springs? A cheap and easy fix to those affected, and suddenly the Steyr has a Glock-like reputation.

    Hey, it's at least possible, right?!

    Looking at these springs, i will say that it's a testament to the handgun's design that it worked as regularly as it did.

    -David

    [​IMG]
     
    Walrus likes this.
  2. heavymetalmachine

    heavymetalmachine New Member

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    I am glad up put this up :D :D

    I got two mags that rattle I will not carry for the simple fact anyone can hear them..

    I will take all 4 I have apart and see what they look like!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    Thanks!!.............
     

  3. babj615

    babj615 Premium Member

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    This is an exceptionally well laid out and helpful post....

    ..I have about 50 magazines to disassemble now, so I am gonna be busy for awhile.....

    :wink: :wink:
     
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  4. heavymetalmachine

    heavymetalmachine New Member

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    :shock:

    50 Good luck that will take some time :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
     
  5. rosebud

    rosebud New Member

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    I recall this being mentioned before, and SAI replaced the springs free.
     
  6. heavymetalmachine

    heavymetalmachine New Member

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    Ok so I took my four mags apart this morning and look what I found :shock: :D

    [​IMG]

    No wonder I had a mag that rattled when full :)

    I guess I will call SAI in the morning see what they say?

    I am also looking at a real heavy trigger and need to ask about that as well....
     
  7. heavymetalmachine

    heavymetalmachine New Member

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    Oh and it is the only mag with 15 on the side the other three say 14..
     
  8. opto_isolator

    opto_isolator New Member

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    how do you take the magazines apart?
     
  9. BulletBait

    BulletBait New Member

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    I'm going to pull apart mine! :shock:

    See that hole in the base plate in HMM's pics? Stick something in there to push down the retainer and slide the base plate forward.
     
  10. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

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    I had the same problem with the two mags that came with my M9A1. I sent them back to SAI and they replaced them inside fo a week. SAI said my mags must have "accidently had 10 round springs installed"...

    https://steyrclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1461
     
  11. babj615

    babj615 Premium Member

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    OK

    So, I get all my Steyr Mags together [only 33 at this time] and start the process of unloading them and then disassembly...

    The S9 and M9/M9-A1 10 rd mags share the same housing with different length base plates, so stands to reason they will share the same spring.

    Same goes for the S40, M40/M40-A1 and M357/M357-A1 10 rd mags.

    The M40/M40-A1 and M357/M357-A1 12 rd mags share the same housing [sans caliber notation] as well as spring assemblies. Makes sense to me.

    Now, my M9/M9-A1 14/15 rd mags all share the same housing [sans the hole for the 15th round] and base plates. So far, so good!

    However, not all my 14/15 rd 9mm mags are equipped with the same springs :? :?

    First, I thought, "Well, maybe they use the shorter 9 coil spring in the 15 rd mags for the extra room....", but, as can be seen quite clearly, this is not the case....

    Seems 3 of my 9mm mags will need some sort of "Natural Spring Enhancement Pill" to accommodate their shortcomings and return their performance to "like new" again.... :wink: :wink:

    Not to bad, I guess.... 3 of 33 is less than 10% error rate....


    [​IMG]

    ..now, just got to get these all back together and loaded!!!

    :roll: :roll: :roll:
     
  12. heavymetalmachine

    heavymetalmachine New Member

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    That must have taken some time!!!

    I hope you have a UpLULA Universal Pistol Loader..

    I loaded 360 rounds today with mine and my thumbs thank me :wink:
     
    Walrus likes this.
  13. dwillia29

    dwillia29 New Member

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    I hope SAI has plenty of 11 coil mag springs in stock; I suspect they'll be fielding an unusually large volume of calls this week... (sorry if I opened up a Pandora's Box Jeff). :wink:

    Based on my own mags and babj615's/heavymetalmachine's pics, the only constant I see is the color of the retaining plate: 11 coil springs have blue plates; 9 coils have black.

    Wonder what the deal is with these 9 coil springs? Seems like they don't belong in any other Steyr? I don't own any 10-round M9 mags, but it looks like they all have 10 coils -- not 9. Which, of course, effectively buries my triumphant theory... :?

    That, and it looks like I really drew the short straw when it came to mags! 3 out of 4 need to bulk up. Anyway, I'm sure SAI will take care of it. Also hope that this has a positive impact on the overall functioning of M9-A1s.

    David
     
  14. dwillia29

    dwillia29 New Member

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    talked to Jeff @ SAI

    In the interest of allowing him to get through his day w/o having to go to the phone and repeat the same answer over & over, I decided to post his response here:

    SAI does not have any mag parts in stock.

    Since the magazines are manufactured by MecGar, Jeff suggested that I contact them directly.

    I sent them an email w/ photo and tried to call (no answer). Anyway, here's their contact info for anyone interested:

    MEC-GAR USA, INC.
    905 Middle Street
    Middletown, CT 06457

    Phone: (860) 635-1525
    (800) 632-4271
    Fax: (860) 635-1712
    E-mail:[email protected]
     
  15. Wulf

    Wulf Premium Member

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    Great post, dw* :)

    That's the kinda post helps SC reader/members wantin' spare mag parts. I got off the phone last Friday ta Mec-Gar, tryin' to speak w/ "Dave". He's the one the receptionist told me would be pertinent to my inquiries, but "he was atta meeting and call back in 3 hrs time", and I failed ta call again, 'cause I forgot. :oops: But, I'm thinkin' the opportunity has presented itself for SC members to make Mec-Gar aware of the Steyrclub and our potential impact to their profits column on their accounting ledger. 3K members oughtta have a little clout, don'cha think? :shock: A few phone calls, say maybe 3000, may just do the trick. :twisted: Just a thought. :roll: Anybody else thinkin' what I'm thinkin'? :twisted: Hava great week. :p

    Wulf <-- off the 'puter and on the phone dialin' "1-800-632-4271...hmmm, no answer...redial 1-800-632...." :twisted:
     
  16. babj615

    babj615 Premium Member

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    ...same here Wulf,

    No answer, No answer, NO answer.......

    Email..... and no answer.....

    :? :?
     
  17. heavymetalmachine

    heavymetalmachine New Member

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    Anyone ever hear back from Mec-Gar?????
     
  18. dwillia29

    dwillia29 New Member

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    I called MecGar again and spoke with someone yesterday.

    She didn't divulge much. From what I was able to discern, Steyr magazines are manufactured in Europe by MecGar, but they are assembled by Steyr.

    Therefore, if MecGar were to ever deliver unassembled magazines with inappropriately sized springs to Steyr -- and Steyr was to assemble said magazines assuming that they were to specification -- MecGar, Inc., would be absolved of any and all responsibility. In perpetuity.

    I was stunned... Who wouldn't be?! I mean a person who can effortlessly advance such a disingenuous argument shouldn't be answering phones! She should be arguing in front of the Supreme Court!

    Thoroughly humbled, and suddenly painfully aware of the triviality of my inquiry, I resolved to cut to the chase:

    "So you won't send me 3 magazine springs?"
    "No."
    "(pause) Ok... But just allow me to clarify: I need the springs only; not the magazine body, baseplate, follow..."
    "I understand."
    "Eh... Are the springs even available? For purchase maybe...?"
    "You'll need to contact Steyr Firearms."
    "Do you have the contact information for the person..."
    "No."

    Heh. Little did she know I already HAD the contact info for Mr. Oliver Bauer, Sales Mgr., Steyr ([email protected]). :twisted:

    That'll show her. Will post what I find out re: magazine springs sent from overseas. And if anyone has better luck w/ MecGar, I'd like to know how you pulled it off!

    David
     
  19. Wulf

    Wulf Premium Member

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    Hi Guys :)

    Just off the phone w/ Dave at Mec-Gar USA. He was cordial and seemed in-the-know on the parts availability problem for Steyr magazines. He explained that Steyr-Mannlicher actually owned the tooling dies and whatnot, that the actual magazine parts are in fact manufactured in Italy and that the Steyr magazines and magazine parts are not available thru Mec-Gar USA. He suggested that I speak with egunparts.com and though there are no Steyr mag parts listed, I should phone their toll free #, 866.686.7424, which he gave me. I asked if there were anyone in particular with whom I should speak to and he didn't know. <shrug> He also offered that he gets multiple calls every week regarding the Steyr magazines and magazine parts. His hands appear to be tied in this situation. So, from this conversational exchange, I'd say, " Mec-Gar USA is a no-go for Steyr mag parts." *sigh* So, SAI says "try Mec-Gar USA", Mec-Gar USA says, "try egunparts". :shock: I guess the next step is to contact egunparts.com and get their story. <shrug> Help me check it out, Guys. Lets get ta the bottom of this, ASAP. So far I'm atta loss to understand why there should be any difficulty whatsoever purchasing magazine parts. Somewhere, I'd say someone's droppin' the ball in this sketchy chain of command. Under normal circumstances, the chain of command would be, Steyr-Mannlicher (Austria)/Mec-Gar(Italy)/rest of the world. I'd say the problem can be found somewhere in the Steyr-Mannlicher (Austria)/Mec-Gar (Italy) portion of our show. Seems like. :roll: But, for sure, the problem is located prior to the mags and mag parts entering the good ol' USofA, IMHO. <shrug> Hmmm...."...curiouser and curiouser...." ;)

    Wulf <-- gettin' a little frustrated from the run around :evil:
     
  20. dwillia29

    dwillia29 New Member

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    Email a pic of the disassembled magazine(s) in question to Oliver Bauer at: [email protected]

    He responded within 24 hours, apologized for any inconvenience, and advised that three replacement springs were en transit to my address.

    David