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More extraction problems and a theory

4295 Views 17 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Ramshackle
Like a lot of Steyr owners I'm experiencing extraction problems on my M9. Namely, the spent shell is still in the chamber with the next round butting up against it. This happens mainly when the gun is warm and occurs with WWB and Blazer ammo.

Thinking about it, four possible causes come to mind:

1. Bad extractor. I polished the hell out of it and it doesn't make a difference. Why does it fail to extract only sometimes? When ejectors are bad they usually fail all or most of the time, not just sometimes. OTOH, a weak extractor with a hot barrel that has contracted may do it.

2. Overly tight chamber. When the barrel gets hot it contracts enough to keep the shell from ejecting. But, when a drop a bullet into the barrel there seems to be enough room. It feels only slightly tighter than my Glock barrel.

3. A bad mag. The round may be feeding prematurely and getting in the way of the spent casing being ejected. The problem is that it does it with both mags.

4. Improper recoil spring. I'm leaning in this direction since I can't understand why the 9mm uses the same recoil spring as the .40. Looking at the power factor of factory ammo, the 9mm has about a 130 pf whle the .40 has a 170. That a 30% difference which would lend itself to using different recoil springs. If the Steyr is anything like the Glock, a 13lb recoil spring would be perfect for relatively low power cheap factory ammo. I doubt the M9 has a 13lb recoil spring.

I've compared the Glock recoil rod and springs to the Steyr. The Steyr recoil rod has a wider head (.491 versus .416 for the Glock) and a thicker shaft. So a Glock recoil spring won't fit the Steyr rod. But, the narrow Glock recoil rod will fit the Steyr and the spring may hold in the slide even with its smaller diameter. I plan on testing the Glock rod and spring in the Steyr later this week.

The barrel on the M9 is 4", the same as the Glock 19, which means the recoil spring should be the same length. While the Steyr uses a flat wire spring like the Glock, Wolff also makes a round wire spring for the Glock. So, any 13-15 lb recoil spring for a 4" barrel should work if the inside diameter of the spring fits onto the Steyr rod. Since Wolff makes recoil springs for dozens of guns, I can't imagine there isn't one that'll work with a Steyr.

If the theory about recoil springs is correct, it might explain why some Steyr's extract fine while others don't. Specifically, recoil springs are notorious for being above or below the advertised poundage, which is why many top competitive shooters check the poundage of the springs themselves. It may also be that Steyr had a bad crop of recoil springs that found their way onto some guns but not others. Anyway, it's just a theory.
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i can tell you that a friend of mine is running a g19 recoil spring on a custom guide rod. it cycles fine and shoots VERY flat. straight back with ZERO flip.

but, since it has less preload, he has battery trouble causing light primer strikes. you could try adding more preload in the form of a rigid spacer, but you can only add as much as will still allow the slide to go fully back and catch the slide lock.

perhaps you could just order a g19 spring that allready had a higher than standard preload.
bigtaco said:
i can tell you that a friend of mine is running a g19 recoil spring on a custom guide rod. it cycles fine and shoots VERY flat. straight back with ZERO flip.


To clarify the quote above, your friend is using the G19 recoil spring on
an M9? Did he make his own guide rod?


Bigtaco, I'm not surprised that your friend's gun shoots flatter with a lighter recoil spring. But, I'm surprised about the preload. In theory Glocks also depend on preloading the slide. Once the striker is fully cocked the striker spring should fire regardless of the weight of the recoil spring. My G34 has a lighter Wolff fp spring and a 13 lb recoil spring and still ignites reliably.

The slide weight of the Glock 19 is close to the Steyr and the M9's slide length is 6.75" compared to 6.85" for the G19. So they're roughly the same. Curious as to why preload would be an issue with one gun and not the other other. Has your friend lightened his firing pin spring or done some other modification?
he did make a custom guide rod and is using a g19 spring. i believe you could use a jack ash guide rod for this but you'd have to ask him.

the light primer strikes aren't related to the fp spring, they're the result of the slide almost being in battery. pulling the trigger releases the firing pin, but the energy is absorbed pushing the slide the rest of the way forward leaving little to detonate the primer.

i think the g19 spring actually has a higher spring rate but less preload. but i don't mess around with glocks very much. so when you get a g19 spring, i would go aftermarket and find one with a stock rate but higher preload. i'm sure there are lots of g19 springs out there.
I have wondered this myself. If the gun was designed around the .40 and few changes were made for 9mm then it seem resonable that a 9mm might not make it work right. Mine has had itermitant extraction problems, I sent it back to Steyr and just got it back. My first mag of Win white box had two FTE's.
The M9 may have a recoil spring too strong for the round, but the ejection problem almost certainly comes from a weak ejector spring. When I stiffened up the spring the ejector problems disappeared. But, even if a lighter recoil spring doesn't eliminate the recoil problem, it may help make the gun shoot flatter.
Ramshackle said:
The M9 may have a recoil spring too strong for the round, but the ejection problem almost certainly comes from a weak ejector spring. When I stiffened up the spring the ejector problems disappeared. But, even if a lighter recoil spring doesn't eliminate the recoil problem, it may help make the gun shoot flatter.

Extractor spring, ejectors don't have springs :wink:
couple of ideas.

most with extraction problems find the solution to be disassembling and cleaning the extractor. this frees it up. i.e. less stiff. if stiffening it is the solution, all of us who started out with extractors that were basically rigid from years of storage would never have had a problem. beyond that, most people go to polishing the bevel and the mating part of the extractor, further freeing its motion.

i have a 40 and a 9. either extractor will extract either round. i'm not sure if there are different extractors for each caliber, but if made to wager i'd have to say not. it is possible that through some combination of cumulative error in tolerances, your particular extractor has a hard time holding onto a 9mm rim.

the recoil spring absorbs energy, storing it and releasing it upon going back into battery. if we take this to logical extremes, zero spring force would slam the gun into the back of your hand, transmitting all the force into you. this would also make the slide travel rearward faster, which would further agravate the extraction problem imho. a very stiff spring would slow the slide down, making it easier for the extractor to hang on, as well as absorb more of the recoil energy i.e. shoot flatter.

i can tell you that steyr has gone so far as to lighten the slide on the m-9. this would be in an attempt to get it to cycle similarly to a 40 round.

i still say that tapping mags fixes a lot of this. you never said if you tapped them or not.
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Madecov, my apologies. Of course it was the extractor NOT the ejector, which doesn't have springs. Think I was just tired.


I cleaned the heck out of the extractor several times. Doused the inside of the channel with brake cleaner then used pipe cleaners. After a while they came out clean. I then polished the bevel, the mating part of the extractor, and the extractor claw. (By the way, your tutorials are amazing!!! THANKS!!!) Actually, these things made it worse. Go figure. The only thing that worked was stiffening the extractor spring.

That may have been a problem with MY extractor, which was corrected by stiffening the spring. I certainly can't make a blanket statement about all Steyr's, but IDPASteyr also stiffened his extractor spring and the ejection problems were corrected.

You're correct that the slide would travel faster rearward with a lighter recoil spring, and that if the extractor were marginal it would aggravate the problem. But, if the extractor worked properly it would handle the increased slide speed, assuming I didn't go down to a ridiculously light recoil spring.

The competitive shooters I've spoken with use the lightest recoil spring they can get away with and still have the gun function 100%. The consensus is that a lighter recoil spring results in the gun feeling slightly more violent -- pushes into the hand harder -- but its shoot flatter. A heavier recoil spring may "feel" softer but will have more muzzle rise.

Since I don't have an M40 I don't know the slide weight. But the M9 slide weighs a couple of ounces less than a Glock 17, which is 1" longer. I'm curious to know where and how much Steyr lightened the M9 slide.

When I was having major extraction problems I tried tapping the mags.
It still didn't make a difference.

I don't know why stiffening the extractor spring worked on my gun and for others the original spring works fine as is. Could be that Steyr had a bad batch of extractor springs. Or that my extractor is dimensionally a little different.
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I would imagine having a slightly stiffer extractor spring keeps tension on the rim. If the extractor is too stiff it can't flex at all. in my mind having a stronger extractor spring makes perfect sense, it causes the claw to hold onto the rim a bit more securly but yet will allow flex if needed
I think (and we all know that's not usually my strong area) that the freely moving under finger pressure test is more of a making sure nothing is binding type of test.
while stiffer springs are to hold tension, they should still have the freedom of movement to complete their arc of travel smoothly.

somewhere cguns had posted a report of a conversation w/ austria in which they acknowledged there are different weights of extractor springs and the newer one is heavier.

also I do know that there is (was when we could order parts anyway) only one part number for subassembly G regardless of which M/S it's for.
the m9 slide was lightened by taking a slot cut in the portion of the slide beside the rails that ride on the round in the magazine.

it does make sense that a stiffer spring would help the claw grab the rim, it was merely my observation that most problems were rectified by freeing the mechanism.

what spring are you using to stiffen it?
BT, I just spoke with Al at Steyr and they don't have a license yet to import parts, only guns. The import license is coming. Until then, the newer springs and extractors aren't available. The spring that I used to stiffen the extractor spring was one I had laying around.

A 1911 plunger tube spring fits perfectly inside the Steyr extractor spring (I didn't use it since it was on a gun and I only had one spring). It will need to be shortened somewhat so that the plunger can be pushed fully into the tunnel.
That funny, they fixed my M9 with a new style extractor without the bevel...
That is odd. The gunsmith at Steyr clearly told me they didn't have the new parts -- the ejector, bevel and stronger springs.
Well, until parts are available I have a 1911 plunger spring on its way and will try ramshackles fix to rid myself of all the fte's!

Keep the idea's coming, one of them will hopefully fix the problem.

Celsee, remember to cut the 1911 plunger spring shorter than the Steyr's extractor spring, otherwise the beveled pin won't go back far enough. On the other hand, you want the extractor spring as strong as possible.

I recently bought a second M9 which extracts perfectly. I'm becoming more convinced that Steyr somehow got a bad batch of ejector springs that found their way into some guns but not others. My first Steyr had a 28XXX serial no. compared to the 32XXX serial no.
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