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Trouble”shooting” (pun intended)

Initial Problem Solving:

Having trouble shooting?  Before you do anything with the firearm, read the operator’s manual enclosed in the box thoroughly, several times. In particular, make sure the ammunition you purchase is only the caliber and type listed, and matches the caliber stamped on the barrel.

After you take the new firearm out for practice, although it is unusual, certain malfunctions MAY be experienced. First consult the manual that came with the firearm.  Your range officer may be able to assist you in keeping the firearm safe from possible injury.

A.  Stuck Live Round

If the firearm has a live round stuck inside the chamber that has failed to fire or eject, follow these steps prior to returning the item for inspection:

  • Follow any directions that may be in your owner’s manual.  If none for this condition, do the following.
  • Remove the magazine or unload the gun to the fullest extent possible. Be very careful where you are pointing it in a safe direction.
  • Pick up as many empty shells or cases you may have spent to be examined.
  • Lock the slide or bolt back, and place a wad of soft spongy material like leather in the open feed port, then slowly release the slide to rest on the material without touching the trigger.  Then engage the external safety if so equipped.
  • Take the gun along with any empty shells in a locked case to a local gunsmith for removal of the live round, and notify Psalm 18:32 GunWorks for instructions on how to proceed further.

This is a very rare but dangerous condition and must be attended to ASAP.  Keep the firearm away from anyone else.

B.  Stuck Handgun Bullet

Rarely during shooting, a “dud” bullet will lodge in the barrel, and if the distinct sound is not noticed (due to earplugs and earmuffs) the shooter may attempt to fire another round on top of it.  Safely remove the magazine and all live ammo, open and lock the slide or bolt, and put a long straight wire into the end of the barrel.  If it comes out the chamber end, the barrel is clear.  If it stops partway down the barrel, there is an obstruction.  If the firearm has one or more fired bullets stuck in the barrel, although the shells have all ejected, follow these steps prior to returning the item for inspection:

  • If the firearm is still under warranty, return it to the manufacturer listed in the enclosed paperwork.  Do not include the plastic loader.
  • Try to enclose any empty shells collected from the firing for inspection.  (This condition typically occurs when off-spec ammo is used in the firearm.  The barrel can rupture during shooting, and injure the shooter.)
  • If the item is not under warranty, return it to the Psalm 18:32 GunWorks for repair and barrel replacement if needed.

C.  Failure to Eject or Load:

Sometimes during semi-auto firing the gun will appear to “jam.”  There are many causes for “jammed” shells. Some manufacturers will say that the gun is not “broken in” until after 1000 rounds have been fired through it.  That may seem unrealistic, but for some firearms it may be true.  Lesser quality firearms can host a number of difficulties in operation.  For the most part, gun cleanliness and poor quality ammo are to blame.  If a malfunction occurs during practice, follow these steps:

Clear the jammed shell by first removing or emptying the magazine and locking back the slide, while making sure the barrel is aimed in a safe direction.

If the empty shell has not fully ejected, pulling the slide back will usually release it.  (The shell usually points empty end up, and is called a “stovepipe” condition.)  The ejector works to kick the empty shell away from the chamber, but if the slide begins to close prior to complete ejection, the shell can’t get out of the way fast enough.  This is a timing problem and requires a gunsmith’s attention.

If the empty shell has ejected but the slide cannot pick up the next fresh shell from the magazine, the magazine spring may not have the right spring load, the gun may be too dirty, or clearances might be too loose or too tight.  These are problems that only the Manufacturer or a professional gunsmith can resolve.  Call Psalm 18:32 GunWorks.

D.  Shotgun won’t fire loaded round

The likeliest scenario for any pump shotgun is a condition called “Short-Shucking*.”  The action on the gun must be cycled using the forearm moving firmly and positively to fully load the round and eject the spent shell, to the ends of travel in both directions.  If you don’t do this, the gun will appear to have loaded the fresh round, but there will be nothing there.  Practice this motion (without using the trigger) smoothly but quickly, enough times to achieve the confidence that the rounds are being loaded correctly.

To quote the best description of it from author Bruce Buck:  “Those 870s are about as reliable as anvils. I am afraid that short shucking is almost always an operator error problem. You are not pulling the forend all the way back before you move forward. It is coming back far enough to eject the shell, but not quite far enough to pop the second shell out of the magazine and on to the lifter. This action happens at the very end of the stroke. Moving your forehand a bit further forward will ensure that you shuck all the way to the rear.”

  •  “Shuck-Shuck” being the feared sound a thief hears from the shotgun wielded by the homeowner.

NOTE:  Shipping a handgun is only done by UPS (aka: Brown).  Not the Post Office, FedEx, DHL or other.  However, USPS and FedEx will accept long guns.  Be sure it is insured and secured in a plain box with no indication that a gun is enclosed.  An owner may return a gun directly to a Manufacturer without going through a transfer FFL.  Consult your state’s laws to see if you can receive it back directly, or must once again go through a transfer agent FFL.