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Thread: Bent firing pin. How on earth did that happen?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    3rd September 2018
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
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    Bent firing pin. How on earth did that happen?

    I have a Springfield 1911 Mil-Spec (model P9108L - Ca) in .45 ACP. I bought it brand new a year ago. Surprisingly it has become one of my favorites. Having paid under $800 (including tax and California fees), the quality has been better than I expected.


    Last week I had two unusual events that I suspect may be in some way related to each other. My hope is that some of our more knowledgable members might be able to make sense out of what I experienced.


    Event #1) I was doing a “ball & dummy” drill at the indoor range here in Modesto. The dummy rounds were 200 gr LSWCs with a wooden dowel spacer in the case and no primer. The live rounds were the same brand of 200 gr LSWCs with 5.2 grains of W231 and CCI 300 primers. I’ve used this charge so long that I can’t remember the last time I changed the setting on my old RCBS powder meter.


    Towards the end I couldn’t get the action to open to eject a dummy round. I had to get a range employee who used his “squib tool” to free the dummy round. My first thought was I might have damaged that dummy over time by chambering it repeatedly. I looked and saw no defect. I isolated that dummy from the others for further review back at home. I had only 1 1/2 magazines left to go anyway, and the gun worked perfectly as I finished the day’s shooting.


    Back at the house I put that dummy in my Wilson Case Gauge, expecting it to only go in part way. it dropped right in, going all the way. This told me the inability to open the slide was not due to the dummy being out of spec.


    I field stripped for cleaning and got an unpleasant surprise when looking into the barrel. There was a rather thick black ring of fouling. It wasn’t just on the bottom, it went a full 360 degrees, extending about 1/2” or so from where the rifling began. Using countless patches with Hoppes and scrubbing until my bore brush was worn out, the black ring was still there, as if immune to my efforts at cleaning. I don’t remember ever getting a barrel that dirty with just 70 rounds fired since the last cleaning.


    JB Bore compound was next. It took quite a few patches of that stuff but eventually the bore was clean.


    Event #2) I lubed and reassembled the pistol, then did dry fire. I dry fire every day so the sound of each of my 1911s in dry fire is familiar to my ears. This time the Springfield didn’t sound right. I tried pushing the firing pin forward, but it wouldn’t move. It should have, since this gun doesn’t have a firing pin block safety. I used a drift tool, but didn’t pound with a hammer, just force from my hands. I was then able to get the firing pin far enough forward that I could remove the firing pin stop. To my surprise the pressure from the firing pin spring wasn’t enough to push the firing pin to the rear. I then used a drift with hand pressure only and was able to push the firing pin to the rear enough that whatever was binding released and the pin was out. To my disappointment I saw the titanium firing pin was bent. It was about the last 1/4” of the firing pin. I didn’t measure but guess the bend was about 10 to 15 degrees. I also saw the firing pin was covered with thick black fouling, just like the barrel’s lands & grooves had been. Unlike the barrel though, the fouling on the firing pin was easy to wipe off.


    What I’m wondering is whether early in my shooting session I had a very weak primer that gave enough ignition for some of the powder burn and to push the bullet beyond the muzzle. I had a big enough hole shot out of the target that the absence of a new hit on the paper would not have been of concern. I wonder then if the unburned powder might have been forced into the lands and grooves by subsequent rounds fired, which made the gun so difficult to clean. As to how that crud might have gotten into the firing pin’s channel in the slide in sufficient quantity to gum up the works, I just don’t know.


    I apologize for the long explanation, but I wanted to make the circumstances clear. If anybody has experienced this or has knowledge, I’d be delighted to read what you have to offer.
    i sold all my handguns. . . . . . . . . . except for the 1911 style pistols in .45 ACP.
    Likes (1) :
    JD11 (30th June 2020)


  2. #2
    Join Date
    2nd October 2006
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Fl
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    Have you checked to be sure that the barrel isn’t bulged where the “ring” of fouling was?

    A squib round followed by another round can bulge the barrel, and most likely cause fouling to be blown back inside the FP channel.

    I hope this isn’t the case; just trying to identify possible causes.
    "Sights are for the unenlightened."

    Rick

    IDPA Certified Safety Officer
    Likes (2) :
    Hawkmoon (28th June 2020), MuyModesto (29th June 2020)


  3. #3
    Join Date
    2nd June 2004
    Location
    Terra
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick McC. View Post
    Have you checked to be sure that the barrel isn’t bulged where the “ring” of fouling was?

    A squib round followed by another round can bulge the barrel, and most likely cause fouling to be blown back inside the FP channel.
    From the description of the incident, it sounds like this is a distinct possibility.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside
    Likes (1) :
    MuyModesto (29th June 2020)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    3rd September 2018
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
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    Rick McC, and Hawkmoon, my thanks to both of you. Visually I don't see any bulging of the barrel. Running my fingers over the barrel i don't feel any. Using my digital caliper I didn't get any indication of bulging, either. Just to be on the "safe side", I'm going to have my gunsmith look at it.
    i sold all my handguns. . . . . . . . . . except for the 1911 style pistols in .45 ACP.
    Likes (1) :
    Rick McC. (29th June 2020)


  5. #5
    Join Date
    2nd June 2004
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    Terra
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    You are measuring the outside. Buy a couple of fishing weights from Walmart and try slugging the barrel. If there's a spot that offers less resistance to pushing the lead slug through the barrel -- there's your bulge.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside
    Likes (2) :
    MuyModesto (30th June 2020), Rick McC. (29th June 2020)

    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 30th June 2020 at 15:07. Reason: typo


  6. #6
    Join Date
    18th August 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuyModesto View Post
    [COLOR=#000000]
    Bent firing pin. How on earth did that happen?
    My best guess is the firing pin was probably stuck forward and protruding from the breechface from all the gunk build up. Then a case rim caught it during feeding and bent it.

    Titanium firing pins are not as tough as steel firing pins. You might consider replacing the bent one with a steel one of the correct diameter.
    Likes (3) :
    JD11 (30th June 2020), MuyModesto (30th June 2020), Rick McC. (1st July 2020)


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