Range report for my new Steyr M9... problems, questions

Discussion in 'M, C, L and S Series' started by Dobry, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Dobry

    Dobry Guest

    Let me start off by saying that my inexperience and novice level will definitely show with this range report :D ... but in the interest of learning, both for the benefit of myself and other newbies, I'm hoping that useful info and answers are generated. Yep, I'm dumb and new. ;)

    My background is in .22's and 12 gauges, and that's about it. I owned a .357 revolver years ago, but really didn't get much experience and had zilch training in handguns (used to go out shooting targets with a buddy of mine). Safe to say any serious firearm experience I possess is with 12g hunting, and sporting clays. This is my first semi-auto, and although I've been shooting Glocks at the range this last year, my only real training is limited to my CCW class. I've pretty much been on my own, with the occasional question getting answered at the range/shop. I hope I will get more real training, but surprisingly it's not easy to find an opening with one of the few instructors in the area as they're usually tied up with training LEO's or experienced shooters. Also, I'm new to the area, and I just don't know any other handgun owners, and they're not easy to meet at the range, pretty much everyone rushes-in/rush-out. So, hopefully this will explain a lot, including my questions.

    Yesterday I picked up my new Steyr M9-A1. Last night I field-stripped it, and following DAIadvisor's maintenance guide as closely as possible, I cleaned and oiled it. I must say, the slide was MUCH smoother after I stripped, cleaned and oiled. The difference was very noticeable. The magazines were a little odd though... they came wrapped in plastic and coated with what seemed to be extremely sticky brown grease, hard as heck to clean. I assume that's normal? :?: Dry fired several times, felt very nice. Trigger pull seemed slightly heavier than I anticipated, but still pleasing.

    Today to the range...

    I read thru all of the ammo posts I could find here on the M9, especially the sticky. So, armed with this info I headed out.
    At the range I showed one of the guys my list compiled from the ammo sticky, for target ammo. He looked at me quizzically and said all they had in 9x19 was Sellier & Bellot 115g (which is what I'd been using in the Glocks), and Winchester 165g. That was it. From one of only 2 ranges in the Metro area. So, I took 50 rounds of the S & B, and he did say that they would make good break-in rounds for my Steyr.

    Headed into my stall, set up a B-27 target with an NIC sticker (you almost have to have these... the first 10 yards of the range have almost no lighting, fairly dark, and the last 15 yards are somewhat lighted... I've never asked why. The other range in the area is almost an hour away though, fully lighted, new and nice, but I'm not in a position to be traveling up there often... so, :?: next question, any good reason the first 10 yards are always kept so dark? This is place that I see LE train at a lot, if that makes a difference.

    Loaded a clip with 5 rounds. Range rules, 5-6 rounds only, and from everything I read I also needed to break in the magazine.

    Pulled back the slide, loaded a round, aimed, gently pulled the trigger... *CLICK*! Nothing, nada. I thought to myself, "What the heck??" Took the clip out, then ejected the round, and lo and behold there was sure enough a dent in the primer, but right at the side, and it looked more like a rimfire dent. So, I repeated the process, gently pulled the trigger and... *CLICK*. Same thing. My spirits were beginning to dampen at that point. Honestly, after the fact and a lot of thought I think I know what happened, and I'd appreciate your guys' thoughts, but I'll leave that for the end.

    Repeated a third time, and that was the charm. Fired with a nice trigger pull. Went ahead and fired 23 rounds at the target, at 10 yards, and getting about 5-6" groupings, with an occasional one off of the scoring zone. I know that's not impressive, but for me I was very happy. Again, I've been having to learn this stuff on my own. Getting used to the sights will be my biggest problem, as well as getting used to the trigger. My Steyr felt MUCH better in my hand than the Glocks ever did, and I was able to acquire the target a lot quicker. Less recoil it seemed.

    So... put another target up at 15 yards. 23 rounds+2 more failure-to-fires. Groupings around 7-8" in general. Other than the failures, again I was very pleased.

    The sights will take some getting used to, probably a couple hundred rounds, but by the end of the second 25 shots I was beginning to feel quite comfortable with them.

    The "failures-to-fire"... I'm not sure if these were my error, the Steyr or the rounds. I should note that each of the four rounds had dents in the primers, but unfortunately I didn't keep my spent rounds to "compare" the dents for size.

    But, I've thought about this most of the day and I'm thinking this may be what happened... when I loaded the first clip, I was thinking to myself, "don't want to damage my new handgun, be careful!", and so I didn't release the slide and let it just snap back... rather I held onto it, so it wouldn't snap as hard. Did that with the second round also. The third round I believe I went ahead and released the slide catch, and then things were fine. It's possible I may have done the same with the other 2 failures. :?: Is it possible the rounds simply weren't chambered well because of this? I remember reading somewhere to not use the slide catch, otherwise severe wear-and-tear, instead just let go of the slide and let the spring do it's work. Honestly I never thought or worried about the slide with the Glocks, probably because I didn't feel the need to baby them. So, my error? Or possible gun problem? Or the rounds themselves? I'd appreciate any thoughts, I'm just trying to learn.

    All-in-all, I really like the Steyr, it felt good in my hand, and even with only the first 50 rounds my accuracy was better than with the Glocks. :D
  2. xjrat

    xjrat Premium Member

    Ya just let the slide go and SLAM forward. If you hold it it won't
    fully battery (slide tight forward).
    I also have a problem with failure to battery on some rounds that are
    range reloads that have been shot a few times, the brass gets a little out
    shape and doesn't let the slide get all the way forward and then the light
    strike on the primer. I havn't had a problem with new ammo though. I have about
    450-500 rounds through my m40-a1 which is my first handgun I have always had
    .22 rifles around but never handgun. I too went to the range and rented the glocks
    but am sooooo glad I got the Steyr... Oh ya don't worry about dumb questions here
    these guys try not to make us newbies feel stupid.... :roll:

  3. Dag

    Dag Guest

    Fail to Fire

    Hi Dobry

    First of all, welcome! Second, it does sound like you were "riding the slide down". There shouldn't be any problem using the slide release to release your slide (funny phrasing is intentional :wink: ), that's exactly what it was designed for! If you prefer not to use the slide release, simply pull back on the slide and release. Same effect, just be careful to keep the barrel pointed downrange. :!: Steyr pistols are very tight guns out of the box, and will loosen up after a few hundred rounds. So next time you go to the range, don't ride the slide, and I suspect you won't have any problems. There is a huge amount of information and knowledge available here, so don't be afraid to ask questions. Use the search function, too. Just about anything you can think of has been discussed here previously, so you may well find that your questions have already been asked and answered. Think of it as a huge FAQ. :) Enjoy!

  4. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

    You definitely need to let the slide slingshot forward with all its might. Also, I think I recall another forum member having the same problems with S&B not firing - I think their primers are harder than most. In either event, I do recall for sure more than 1 or 2 members complaining about bad times with S&B - NEVER buy ammo at the range, unless you particularly like the owners. Ammo is usually much cheaper at Walmart, Academy, etc. and they usually have more variety. CCI and WWB are the safe bets, with CCI being my particular favorite.

    Every mag I've ever bought or received with a gun comes wrapped in plastic and caked in sticky oil - nothing to worry about. 8)

    SELFDEFENSE Premium Member

    I had a half case of S&B 115 FMJ that caused many malfs in my Glock 19 (seemed like too light a powder charge).
    If you rode the slide you might cause ignition problems due to improper chambering, but if your primer strikes were way off center it may be something else.
  6. madecov

    madecov Active Member

    I just did a transfer of two M9A1's from CDNN. When we field stripped one of them I noticed that there was a hard caked crud in the frame and in the slide.

    I think the Texas heat is getting to the guns in the warehouse. If you feel up to the chore I would remove the striker from the slide and clean the channel very well. There may be some manufacturing lubricant in there from the machining process that has hardened and is causing the striker to not operate properly.

    I would also try some other ammo.
  7. RiceCakes

    RiceCakes Guest

    If you still want to baby your gun, there is a trick to getting it in battery. My fiancee for some reason has a mental block that disallows slamming the slide forward, so treat it like a low light chamber check. After you baby it, grab the slide and pull it towards the barrel. Also, Ive never shot S&B, but the WWWB valuepacks at Walmart shoot great for me, and the 165 grainers are very accurate for me. I shot 200 rounds the other day (and I was NOT nice about it, papapapapapow! haha) the only FTF (fail to fire) I had was my g/f racking the slide and getting a light strike. I said she was dumb, she glared, racked it like rambo, and shot the piss out of it.

    Forgot to mention, tell us where you live! We are all over the place, drop your city and Im sure you can find a buddy to shoot with. Also, there are several good books that teach very good handgun concepts. I havent read any personally but I know others have, they can chime in with some good ones. I know Massad Ayoob has released a couple good ones, for defensive shooting.
  8. bigtaco

    bigtaco Active Member

    the only singular dented primer that failed to fire i've ever experienced was with s&b. they have hard primers.

    blaser brass, winchester and independence run great. pmc, and american eagle also work well.

    no riding the slide. when you fire the gun the slide slams. you might as well slam it too.

    that cosmoline will be inside the mag too. this may lead to feeding trouble when it gets caked with crud from firing. disassmble it by pushing in the pin on the bottom of the mag and sliding the base plate off. careful with the spring. you kind of wiggle it out.

    clean and lube the innards of the mag for flawless function.
  9. Dobry

    Dobry Guest

    Just the first round primer strike, but I have to admit I really rode the slide on that first round. Again, I was babying it, leary of letting it slam forward.

    The other 3 rounds that didn't fire were all dead center on the primer.

    I'm going back today with 100 rounds of hopefully decent ammo. Wal-Mart in the area doesn't even handle 9mm, and I can't find anywhere else except for Cabella's or Bass Pro Shop. Cabella's selection is very limited... MANY boxes of Wolf (most popular brand according to the gun guys up there :? ), a few S & B, Remington, and I noticed 2 boxes of American Eagle. Since then I've seen a few good posts on AE. So I may be going up there today for those.

    And I'll pay close attention today to where the primer strikes are.

    Bass Pro Shop's selection is even worse. But I'll keep looking.
  10. Dobry

    Dobry Guest

    Thanks guys for all the replies, thoughts and suggestions! I really appreciate them. :D

    And as I said earlier, I'll learn from them. And no "riding the slide"! :lol:

    Now to go hunt for ammo... :wink:

    Oh, and to RiceCakes question... I live in Metro Kansas City... the southwest part, near Overland Park, on the Kansas side. Just moved here 2 months ago. Love the area, it's a great place. Thanks for asking. :D

    SELFDEFENSE Premium Member

    Sounds like you may want to investigate mail order ammo dealers like Natchez and Ammoman.
  12. Dag

    Dag Guest

    On-line Ammo

    Hi Dobry

    You might also check out able's. I've gotten very good service on previous orders. Currently, Blazer 115gr FMJ 50 rounds is listed at $8.41 (plus shipping). For defensive ammo, I'd suggest MAH Supplies or Streicher's. Good selection and great prices.

  13. AGoyette

    AGoyette New Member

    Hi Dobry,
    I don't know if you are still around, but if you are I live in Lee's Summit & I own a M40-A1 & my daughter just bought a M9 at the gun show. If you still need a shooting buddy, just let me know.
  14. Keltyke

    Keltyke New Member

    I assume you have the "trap" sights. These are not your typical target sights, but are a fast acquisition combat sight. They're designed to get the muzzle on target FAST. If you get the front triangle anywhere inside the two rear angled lines, you're gonna hit what you aim at. The gun IS extremely accurate, but, as you note, practice with the sights is required.

    Your light strikes could well be caused by dirt in the striker channel. Take that bugger out and thoroughly clean it and the channel, then reassemble DRY - NO lube. This is one area that you don't want to lube. Grease or oil will trap dirt and you'll begin to get light strikes.

    Let the slide "slam" forward into battery by using the slide release. That's what it's designed to do. "Riding" the slide closed may cause it to not go fully into battery and to not fully chamber the round.

    Ammo selection is easy. My Steyrs eat anything except the aluminum-case Blazer-type. You'll get FTE jams with those.

    Congrats on getting one of the finest guns on the market today. I got 8 and love'em all!
  15. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

    Kel, if I may beg to differ on the lube question for the striker. You do need to lube the striker, you just need to use a dry Moly lube. Kano Labs makes an excellent product which dries quickly leaving a slick finish. One can also purchase powdered moly from Sentry. It can be buffed into the surface and lasts.

    Be careful not to overlube the slide, as it can upset the weapon's timing. Sometimes a little viscosity is your friend. STP, or my favorite, Brian Enos' SlideGlide are some examples of viscous lubes.