Picked up my M40A1 last night - many problems

Discussion in 'M, C, L and S Series' started by seraphi, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. seraphi

    seraphi New Member

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    I was so excited to get my new M40A1 from CDNN last night! I picked it up and went right from the store to the NRA range.

    *I should note that this is my first gun, and I am not a pro at operation nor terminology*

    The guy at the store took the gun apart to give it a quick inspection and oiled the appropriate parts. I picked up a box of cheap ammo. I do not recall the brand, but it was a white box of 50 with blue writing and cost about $13. The bullets were 180g copper colored FMJ

    I got to the range and took some time to read the manual and familiarize myself with the pistol. Finally I loaded up both clips, sent my target down range and was ready to begin. First shot was dead on target and hit the red center dot.

    My 3rd shot FTE and jammed. It took me about 20mins to figure out how to get the stuck shell out.

    In all, I shot 36 rounds and had 5 FTE. I had one fail to fire after pulling the trigger. After resetting the trigger and pulling it again, the round did shoot.

    What should I do? I know this is supposed to be a very reliable gun, so something must be wrong. I have not taken my magazines apart to check the springs, but it is pretty difficult to get the 12th round in, so I am assuming it is the correct spring. I will try to find the thread that explains how to take them apart and check though.

    What should the back end of a spent round look like? I guess I was expecting a single round impression directly in the center of the primer. I am pretty sure I was looking at my own round, but there was kind of this vertical line that went from about the center of the primer to the edge, and then up on the brass a little bit. Is this normal?

    Thanks,

    -Seraphi
     
  2. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

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    Couple of things...

    1) Did the pistol come from CDNN or Davidsons, or was it something your dealer just had in stock?

    2) Oiling the pistol prior to shooting is better than nothing, but honestly - you REALLY should have stripped it down and
    gave it a good cleaning first. Most of these pistols have a lot of crusty old grease caking and coating the internals - a fresh layer of oil should help, but I would still expect problems. There are detailed tutorials on the homepage for basic field stripping and full-blown disassembly. A good slide disassembly + clean + lube would probably do a world of good.

    3) Knowing the ammo type is pretty important - be sure to take note next time.

    The primer streak is pretty common - IIRC, the LCI has something to do with it. I would add that you should try not to be so discouraged - IMHO, the pistol didn't really get a fair shot, it was being fed oddball ammo, and it isn't broken in yet. I'm sure we'll get it sorted out in short order... :)
     

  3. seraphi

    seraphi New Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    I got it directly from CDNN.

    I looked at my reciept, the ammo was Independance.

    I took the gun apart into the four main peices as described in the manual:
    Handle
    Barrel
    Slide
    Spring

    Even after the 36 rounds, it is not very dirty. I cleaned it up though and put a new coat of oil on it. I called Steyr this morning (before checking the ammo brand) and they suggested I get some name brand ammo, put 200 rounds through it, then if it still has issues to send it back to them.

    Is independance ammo any good?
     
  4. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

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    I seem to recall hearing good things about Independence. If you've done a proper clean and lube, I would clear 200 rounds before concluding it needs factory service. Since the pistol came from CDNN, it is possible that it is old stock that does not have the new extractor/plunger design...
     
  5. ChillyWilly

    ChillyWilly New Member

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    I myself have had no failures yet but when I took apart my trigger and really got in there I saw for the first time what some of that dried up goop can look and and it is not pretty. I would clean her up real good. Go slow and give your self alot of time, get into every nook and cranny. Also there is issue with too much oil in the firing pin slot thingy (sorry for the techy term) so watch for that.

    One other thing I am in CA so I am limited to 10 round mags, open your up just to be sure that the spring thing is not your issue. Also you mentioned first gun, beware of limp wristing....this is not an insult but rather an inexperienced shooters mistake.

    clean er up
    load er up
    let her rip

    P.S. if you get more FTF's make sure you wait a minute before you clear it and always keep the gun pointed downrange. A bullet can still go off a minute or two later. If after the 200 they say you still have issues then re-evaluate.
     
  6. m00t

    m00t New Member

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    A note on cleaning:

    What you've described is consistent with an old stock weapon right off the shelf - there's a ton of anti-seize and anti-rust grease loaded up in very important areas, which needs to be cleaned out well. Make sure you do these things in addition to a normal breakdown:

    1: take the firing pin out of the slide, clean well, inside and outside, and set aside. You'll likely see copper colored anti-seize on this that needs to be cleaned off. You don't have to clean the plunger and spring thoroughly, just lube a little, wipe off excess, and put back inside the firing pin. If you want to improve your trigger while you're at this stage, read BigTaco's tutorial on the main page regarding these parts :)

    2: take some q-tips and clean out the firing pin channel - a bunch of the same anti-seize will be in there. Make sure to get it all out... then oil up your firing pin, work it back and forth in the channel, and see if there's still crud around. Before reassembly, make sure to wipe the pin and channel with a dry cloth so there's only a light coating of oil left behind.

    3: take the extractor out of the slide, and use q-tips in the same manner to clean the extractor area of packing crud. This thing is tricky to get back in, so make sure you've read the tutorials on the main page a couple times. Also, you'll either have the domed extractor pin or one with two flat angles in it. Make sure that the angle is facing the right way upon reassembly (should be covered in the tutorial) Again, here, before putting it all back together, make sure everything is clean and dry, and apply only a light coating of lube, mostly for rust prevention. Any more will attract dirt and require cleaning again.

    I have the old extractor assembly on a yr 2000 S series, and it's never failed me in several hundred rounds, even during break in - mostly because I did all this before firing a shot.

    Also, the primer smear happens on striker fired weapons (glocks too), because there's not a spring holding the firing pin inside the slide - only the one that pushes it forwards. Lock your slide open and hold your pistol with the barrel downwards, and give 'er a shake. See how the pin protrudes from the face of the slide? It's doing that during recoil, staying in the dent it made in the primer, while the barrel is tilted downward away from it. That creates the smear, though it is generally contained in the primer itself. I'd suspect yours goes to the brass because of the crud in the firing pin channel. It should lighten up, and rest assured that primers and brass are both softer than the firing pin, and it won't damage the weapon. There will also be a small dimple in the rim of the case from the LCI, but this will lighten up significantly with use.


    Hope this helps! Remember your weapon will work as well as you take care of it, and has a short break in before becoming completely, utterly reliable.
    -m00t
     
  7. kraigster414

    kraigster414 Guest

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    All the advice you received so far is spot on. Let me me suggest also a few other things since you are new to firearms. First, we need to rule out "limp wristing." This occurs when you don't have a rock solid grip on the gun. Grip that Steyr like you're life depended on it (and it might some day). Failure to maintain a tight grip (more important with the weak hand vs. the strong) will contribute to the failures you described. Secondly, I highly recommend a liberal application of grease to the slide rails instead of oil for the first hundred rounds. A light viscosity grease like Brian Enos' Slide Glide Lite is excellent for breaking-in a new gun. Thirdly, try a different brand of ammo such as Winchester White box 180 grain sold at WalMart (I know a change in ammo has already been mentioned but very important).

    By the way are you experiencing failures with both magazines? (Let's hold up on a discussion of magazines and magazines springs for now but they too can cause functioning problems.)
     
  8. madecov

    madecov Active Member

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    Get some ammunition from a local Wal Mart or gun store. Go with Winchester or another "name" brand.

    Independence isn't exactly a name brand ammunition, this will rule out ammunition issues.

    Steyr's tend not to like the Remington UMC, but Winchester USA (white box) seems to be a quality ammo the Steyr has no problems with.

    Also make sure the weapon is well cleaned and lubricated.
     
  9. seraphi

    seraphi New Member

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    m00t, Thanks for the detailed info. I have a new cleaning kit coming on Tuesday and will do a thorough cleaning per your instructions.

    I picked up a 100 pack of Remington UMC JHP 180g, as well as a 100 pack of Winchester white box FMJ 165g and went back to the range today. I also took the gun apart last night and applied a lot of lube.

    I was alternating pairs of magazines loaded with each brand. In the first 150 shots I had zero FTE. I did have two problems though. Twice I had the slide lock back after firing a few rounds, but before the magazine was empty. I looked inside to find that the back end of a new shell had started to feed out of the magazine, but the front end had not moved yet and the slide has closed on it. So the slide was pressed up against the back edge of the brass(only slightly), and the front was still in the magazine. I pulled back the slide the rest of the way and let it go forward which fixed the jam in both cases.

    With 50 rounds left, I was really hoping the FTE issue was gone since last night I could seemingly not finish a clip without at least one. In these last 50 I had two FTE in the same fashion as last night.

    In all, things went more smoothly tonight, but still had some issues. I have now put 236 rounds through the gun in total.

    I have two crappy camera-phone pictures of what I am calling FTE which I will try to attach to this thread. The gun jams with a spent shell half-in/half-out of the barrel. The back of the spent round in pressed against the top of the bullet next in line. The slide comes forward and jams it up.
    Here are the pics:
    http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/image. ... cd4e48.jpg
    http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/image. ... 7c5c37.jpg

    I also would like advise on how to remove them when this happens? Sometimes I can pull the slide back, lock it, drop the magazine, and then it is easy to grab the spent round since it is half way out of the barrel already. Other times it takes a lot of force to get the slide back because it is stuck, and I end up in a position where I have no leverage to hit the slide lock. I let it go forward to reposition my hand, and the spent shell is pushed all the way into the barrel. I have not figured out a good way to remove a shell from the barrel. I’ve tried pulling/prying at the rim with a pocket knife and screw driver with no success. I tried taking the slide off but was unable to do so since the gun would not close all the way. The only thing I have been able to do is poke a pencil down the barrel to dislodge the spent shell. Is there a better way to do this?

    Other issues:
    The user manual says to put the magazine into the gun while the slide is forward. Then cycle the slide once to arm the weapon. I can't seem to do this. The slide will not go back when the full magazine is inserted(I should not have to pull really hard right?). It starts to slide back just a little and then gets hung up it seems. I have been loading the magazine with the slide locked back instead.

    Magazines:
    The pistol came with two 12 rounders, and I got two more 12 rounders today. I searched all over to find the thread about correct spring length but was unable to find it. All four of my magazines have the same size springs. They are 7" and have 13 coils. Does anyone know if this is the correct spring size for a 12rd magazine?

    Other questions:
    1. Can I leave the magazines fully loaded with 12 rounds all the time 24/7, or will this shorten/weaken the spring over time?
    2. I seem to have problems getting leverage on the slide lock sometimes depending on how the gun is resting in my hand. Any suggestions on this? I have pretty large hands, am right handed, and use my right middle thumb knuckle to press the lever. If my hand is not just right, my thumb knuckle has no leverage and can barely move close enough to the gun to press the lever.
    3. Cleaning: The front plastic part of the gun near the barrel is covered in powder stains. Should I try to clean this, and with what chemicals/tools? I know solvent is not good for plastic.
    4. Aiming: I noticed that with the pistol on a rest today, that I can align the sites to be aiming at different parts of the target just by moving my head. The gun does not move. Obviously this means that the position of my head and alignment with the gun is very important. Any suggestions on how to do this well and consistently?

    kraigster414 I have not really paid attention to which magazine is in when the problems occur, but I will try to do this in the future.

    Thanks for all the help guys!

    -Seraphi
     
  10. heavymetalmachine

    heavymetalmachine New Member

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    My M9-A1 is hard to cycle the slide with a full mag. I can do it I just have to pull hard on the slide.

    As for the mag being loaded for long periods of time I do it all the time and have not had any trouble..

    Now for the slide release I use the thumb on my weak hand (left) to drop the slide as I handle the pistol..

    And for cleaning I still use good ole Hoppes#9

    Maybe this will help http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yohikhl ... ed&search=
     
  11. m00t

    m00t New Member

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    Looks like your extractor is slipping off the case rim before fully extracted - from what I've read, it can be caused commonly by 2 problems:

    1) Extractor channel with lots of crud built up in it/factory grease/possibly badly oriented extractor pin or extractor needs to be upgraded. Look at the pin that's pushing the extractor forward: does it have a small fillet (flat face) in the edge facing outwards, is it domed on top, or is there a large flat face? Correct me, gents, if I'm wrong - but don't all the new extractors have the dome shaped pin? In the old extractors, orientation is critical.

    A note: it's unlikely that this will happen from abusive situations, like running sand and dirt and sh*t through your gun as in torture tests, as the extractor will be fully closed once cleaned well, preventing dirt from entering in the position that would keep it open. Powder blast can enter and build up, though, so clean it out every so often (few thousand rounds?)

    2) Some people have reported that limp wristing can cause this malfunction. Has it happened after firing a bunch of rounds?

    Since it happened more often right out of the box, I'd wager it's a gunked up extractor problem which is going away with use as the factory stuff becomes more liquid and spread out. Make sure to clean that thing out, and apply just a little oil to it. I like to put a thin coat of dri-lube (spray teflon) on the sliding metal surfaces before the *thin* coat of oil. I look at oil mostly as a rust preventative and anti-binding agent, as too much will really attract dirt, and it can run easily too. Grease is nicer for slides and stuff IMHO but unneeded most everywhere else.

    -m00000000t!
     
  12. Shooter

    Shooter Premium Member

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    First gun..............lots to learn...........my first advise would be to get some good training....REAL training from someone in your area that is top notch, gun school trained and learn it right........Steyrs get better with more shooting. If you are handy you can do some of the gun fixes in the archives here......But cleaning is a must for new Steyrs...yours might have been sitting in storage and got gummed up.......your lack of experience may have caused some of the FTE's..........take the time to learn your pistol well and buy lots of ammo.......... :beer:
     
  13. yugo308guy

    yugo308guy Member

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    I don't think that is right. I, just this week, broke my firing pin washer, and Jeff at SAI was good enough to send me a couple for free. In addition, and without request, he shipped me a new extractor and plunger. I assume it is the newest one and it had the small beveled edge on it. The MA1 I just received from CDNN had the dome shaped plunger, so I replaced it with the new one Jeff just sent me. I had't even fired it yet with the old one, so I don't know if there would have been a problem with it, I just figured I might as well have the newest one.

    On a side note, maybe I'll do some expirementing with the two plungers and see if either causes any problems.
     
  14. ChillyWilly

    ChillyWilly New Member

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    1. Can I leave the magazines fully loaded with 12 rounds all the time 24/7

    yes

    , or will this shorten/weaken the spring over time?

    no

    2. I seem to have problems getting leverage on the slide lock sometimes depending on how the gun is resting in my hand. Any suggestions on this? I have pretty large hands, am right handed, and use my right middle thumb knuckle to press the lever. If my hand is not just right, my thumb knuckle has no leverage and can barely move close enough to the gun to press the lever.

    On my CZP01 I cannot reach it so my solution is to use my support hand to disengage the slide lock. I have my normal hold and just shift the thumbs without releasing my grip so its pretty fast and its very positive because the way the support thumbs hits the release I have more power (I mention that because stretching the firing thumb to release has sometimes made it real hard)

    3. Cleaning: The front plastic part of the gun near the barrel is covered in powder stains. Should I try to clean this, and with what chemicals/tools? I know solvent is not good for plastic.

    I just use an old tshirt to wipe down my guns after a session...the crude comes off real easy...breaking out the chems is not worth it....the crap smells rediculously strong and is really not necessary. Save the chems for the real cleaning jobs

    4. Aiming: I noticed that with the pistol on a rest today, that I can align the sites to be aiming at different parts of the target just by moving my head. The gun does not move. Obviously this means that the position of my head and alignment with the gun is very important. Any suggestions on how to do this well and consistently?

    Practice your natural point of aim. Just raise and shoot. This gun is special...at least for me it is...
     
  15. kraigster414

    kraigster414 Guest

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    A lot of things in play here but we're gonna get you through it. If I read you correctly, you've had bullets stuck half way in and half way out of the chamber causing difficulty in moving the slide to extract the round. That typically happens with improperly sized/seated reloads and the occasional crapola factory round. I am very interested in hearing how you do with a different make of ammo. I would use Winchester White Box 180 gr. as your control as few folks report problems with it.

    The issue with the slide not locking back on the last round can be caused by a faulty mag release lever or the magazine. Since folks have reported problems with out of spec mag springs - myself included so this is something that needs to be looked at also. Unfortunately, I have the 9mm so we can't compare notes. I'd like you to try some other mags if you can and compare spring lengths. It's always a good idea to have a few extra mags anyway.

    And a reminder to avoid limp wristing.
     
  16. Polymer Proselyte

    Polymer Proselyte New Member

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    A mild detergent and an old toothbrush will clean up the receiver. I've used Simple Green or Breakfree CLP on the frames of my polymer handguns with good results. If you really want to sex up the polymer a light spray of silicon brings it up nice once its clean (Don't over do it around the grip).

    Cheers PP
     
  17. bigtaco

    bigtaco Active Member

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    i use regular old dawn dish soap on the grip. works great. gets all the grease off. also works for spaghetti sauce stains on a tux shirt!!

    i wanted to reply to your question about the sights and your head alignment....

    a few observations will have you and your sights pointed in the right direction.

    1) the relationship between the front sight, rear sight and barrel is fixed at all times the gun is in battery (slide closed).

    that being said, your sights are always aligned with your barrel and your gun is always aimed at something.

    2) we use our eyes as a third point of reference to gain an insight as to where exactly our sights are aimed.

    3) the more intuitively we can get our sights on our target, the more success we will have with hitting it.


    the aspect of practice to focus on is having the gun correctly sighted with minimal effort on your part.

    the best way to do this is to:

    1) pick a very small speck on a wall (preferably in a safe direction with a backstop capable of stopping a bullet)

    2) carefully align the sights on the speck.

    3) close your eyes and concentrate on how your body position feels.

    eventually, you'll present the weapon to the target with your eyes closed. upon opening your eyes, you'll see a perfect sight picture which is exactly on target.

    the goal here is that your muscles memorize their positions such that you're never really hunting for a sight picture. anytime the gun is in front of you, you always have the triangle in the trapezoid and you're merely moving the triangle around as you punch holes in the center of your target(s).



    also, lots of lube is no solution to a cleaning problem. remove the sub-frame from the grip and hose it down with a solvent. (dissolves grease and oil) wd-40, kerosene, gasoline all work fine. or feel free to buy a gun specific product. flush the action under steaming hot running water to blow all the crud away. THEN, lube thoroughly using a lube. i like rem-oil.

    also, your feeding problems sound like the round in the mag is starting at the front of the mag which puts it in a position to nose into the front wall of the mag instead of sliding up the feedramp. this can easily be fixed by tapping your mags. once the mags are loaded, gently tap the rear of the magazine against your leg. this will seat all the rounds to the rear of the mag and should instantly fix your feeding problems.

    as far as the slide being difficult to pull back with a mag inserted, just know that the same force required to get that last round in is exerted on the slide when the mag is inserted. brand new stiff springs will gradually lose a little of their strength. and the rails on the bottom of the slide will gradually be polished smooth all resulting in easier loading. in the mean time, feel free to insert mags with the slide back.

    just be prepared for the slide to drop if you insert the mag with any chutzpah.

    my posts are too long... i suck
     
  18. babj615

    babj615 Premium Member

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    WTF is that all about????

    :stupid:

    BT, your posts are always perfect!

    :clap: :clap:
     
  19. Shooter

    Shooter Premium Member

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    Funny, I was just thinking "damm" that's a long post. Where do these guys get the time to talk soooo much.........I don't have the patience........ :notworthy:
     
  20. seraphi

    seraphi New Member

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    Thanks for all of the suggestions guys, but I am still having this problem. I am shipping it to SIA today. I will be sure to post my experiences with them, and a follow-up report on the problem.