FN Model 1910/22: John Browning goes to Europe

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In a previous post, I covered the Colt Model 1903, now we’ll move on to another John Moses Browning .32/.380 design which, just as before, and as always, was ahead of it’s time.  Except this time, Colt didn’t want to make it, and looking back with that 20/20 hindsight, that was probably a poor choice, since the FN Model 1910 was in production all the way until 1983.

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Innovations in this model included a new type of recoil system, wherein the recoil spring surrounds the barrel.  This made for the handgun’s signature slim design and light weight, as it removed the need for a guide rod.  This style was later used in the Walther PPK and made standard in the Makarov.  It also incorporated a Striker firing mechanism, included a grip safety similar to the earlier Colt 1903 and later 1911, a magazine safety (no trigger activation without a magazine inserted), and an external safety lever at the rear.  This made up what was referred to as the “triple safety.”  Hmm, an innovative striker fired handgun with triple safety features… can we get some photo comparisons between JM Browning and Gaston Glock, we may have an immortal engineer on our hands.

DSCN1395Anyhow, in 1922, some modifications to the design were made, lengthening the barrel, slide, and handgrip, lending to increased accuracy and an additional 2 rounds in magazine capacity.  This was done for the purpose of military contracts.  Sadly, the military they’re most associated with would be the German army, as they were produced by the Nazis after Belgium was occupied.

This guide is specific to the  Model 1922 or 1910/22, but for a Model 1910, simply ignore the steps involving the Front Barrel Cover.  Obviously (but I’ll say it every time) make sure the weapon is unloaded, and no ammunition is in your workspace.

  • Remove magazine from weapon by pressing the magazine release on the bottom of the grip to the rear, and withdrawling.  Also, disengage the thumb safety if it’s engaged.DSCN1397
  • Find the lever on the front lower left of the slide, this is used to release the front barrel cover on the 1922 model.DSCN1398
  • Twist so that you’re twisting the front sight blade towards the right side of the weapon.  When it’s at 90^ from it’s original position, the front barrel cover should pop off revealing the front of the barrel and spring.DSCN1399DSCN1400
  • This is the only tricky part, as unlike the Colt 1903 and other handguns that use a rotating barrel design, there’s no mark showing you how far you have to pull the slide back to free the barrel to rotate.  See picture for approximation, but basically slide it back slowly and keep attempting to twist the barrel (same direction you turned the barrel cover).  Once you have rotated it as far as you can, you should be able to withdrawl the slide forward off of the frame.DSCN1401DSCN1402
  • Rotate the barrel the rest of the way in that direction until it’s lugs are no longer locked into the slide, and withdrawl it from the front of the slide.  Remove spring for cleaning.DSCN1403 DSCN1404
  • Remove the firing pin from the rear of the slide.
  • Clean, then reapply lubrication to obvious contact surfaces (groves, barrel lugs, etc.) remembering that a little goes a long way.DSCN1405DSCN1408

Reassembly:

  • Reinsert firing pin into channel, observing how the post fits into the grove.DSCN1406
  • After replacing the recoil spring, reinsert barrel into slide from the front with the lugs facing down.  When the lugs are lined up with the gap where they engage with the slide, rotate the barrel 90^ into them.
  • Replace the slide onto the frame and again begin feeling for that spot.  When you’ve found it, rotate barrel the opposite way as before until it locks in place.
  • Attach front barrel cover with the front sight blade 90^ from center to the right (same direction as when it popped off).  Push flush with the frame and twist so that you’re moving the sight blade back up into position, it will click into place.  Be sure not to do this backwards, or you’ll end up with a front sight post on the bottom :pDSCN1409

 

Glock 19 Gen 3 Erratic Ejection, a/k/a Brass To Face. *FIXED 5/20/2014

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So, yet again, I’d intended to do a primer on getting a maintenance kit up and running with all kinds of fun links, opinions on products, and pictures- but yet again, something came up that I thought I’d address immediately.  I still may make this a bonus post, however, and still do the post I’d orginially planned, especially as this one will likely be a to-be-continued as I wait for parts and test solutions at the range.

Right, so on to business- I’ve fallen victim to a problem that seems pretty widespread in late Gen 3 (~2013) and Gen 4 Glock 17s and 19s.  Begin typing “Glock 19 er” into google, and it’ll go ahead and complete that thought for you.

It would seem that many people with these guns are getting the original Glock Perfection(tm) experience for the first 600-1000 rounds, but then, startingly, began experiencing extremely erratic ejection behavior along with several flavors of FTEs.  Mine began at about 600 rounds right on the nose- opened the box of the same PMC Bronze that I’d had zero problems with for more than half of the previous 600 rounds (I’ve been talking this G19 up like crazy, seriously, 0 issues with anything I wanted to feed it, it felt like this thing was magic up until this point).  Was all poised to take this thing up to 650 rounds, and within the first 2 magazines I experienced 2 FTEs and noticed some brass marks on the front of the ejection port.  Made it through 40 rounds with no additional problems before handing the Glock off my lady friend, who, upon commencing firing, was greeted by a hot case-mouth to the cheek, followed by a strike to the forehead.  After clearing and checking the weapon, nothing seemed broken or out of place (aside from previously noticed brass marks on the front of the ejection port), so I loaded another magazine and tested it.  4 of the 15 rounds struck me in the forehead or landed on the top of my head.  1 of the rounds FTEd, and they all seemed to be ejecting fairly weakly.

For reference, here’s the information on this weapon:
Glock 19 gen 3
S/N range: VEX***
Test Fire Date: 6/5/13

So, after taking it down and having a look, then quite a bit of research, and quite a bit of ignoring the fanboys at Glock Talk who will blame any and all malfunctions on sissy wrists and not shooting like a man, I’ve learned the following:

  • At or around Oct. 2010, Glock began to use a different process to manufacture internal parts including the locking block, firing pin, and of note to us here, the extractor.
  • The manufacturing process in question is “MIM” or Metal Injection Molding.  This is in contrast to the previous machined/tooled parts which were of much higher quality.  This was clearly done as a cost-cutting measure.  There have been cases of other manufacturers switching to MIM parts and also having severe quality problems.
  • The QC on the LCI (loaded chamber indicator) extractors, specifically the 9mm ones, seems to have suffered to the point that they’re out of spec, though Glock wont admit it, and many of them have been measured and shown increased distance between the Breech Face and Extractor Claw, allowing too much play with the case as it’s being extracted.
  • This problem, combined with the fine-pointed shape of the original ejector pin (marked 336), has caused the erratic ejection pattern, mostely due to the round bouncing around haphazadly around between the breech face and interior of the slide before finding it’s way out, or not, in the case of the FTEs experienced.
  • Glock has been rather cautious to not put out any direct statements about the problem, but have redesigned the ejector to a more broad shape (now marked 30274), and have been replacing the older ejector on Gen 4 pistols sent in for service that were having this problem.  Sadly, it usually takes a couple of round trips before any progress is made, and even after all that, many people report the problem is not solved.

So, that being said, I’m going to work this out myself, and avoid several months of thumb twiddling each time wondering if my gun is going to come back from Smyrna, GA in working condition, or if it’s just going to nail me in the forehead and/or try to burn my SO’s cheek off again.  I’ll start with the cheap (and in this case, the most widely reported solution), and work my way from there.  First stop, replacing the 336 ejector with the newer 30274 ejector.  Now, since you can’t just buy the ejector, as that would be WAY too easy, you have to buy a replacement trigger housing.  But- they don’t make a gen3 trigger housing with the 30274 ejector (they probably they don’t want to admit there’s a problem), we need to order a gen 4 trigger housing, extract the ejector pin, and swap it into my gen3 trigger housing.  Luckily, it’s an easy enough job, and the new trigger housing is only $9.95.  You may want to go ahead and order a new gen3 housing with the 336 pin in it, and swap those, just so you’re not altering your original in any way, but I’m not going to worry about that.

*UPDATES TO COME*  The first part is in the mail, later updates will come.  Just in case you’re following along and want to go ahead and get all parts in one go and not have to play the waiting game in case the ejector doesn’t fix your problem- my plan B is either swapping in a Lone Wolf Extractor or (more interestingly) swapping in a .45ACP extractor used on the G21/30.  This has reports of being a good fix, because the parts are dimensionally similar enough to fit, and the .45 extractor has a slightly shorter gap between breech face and claw.  It also holds the case at a slightly different angle, more reminicent of the older non-LCI (loaded chamber indicator) extrators on gen 2 Glocks (back when they worked like a charm).

UPDATE #1

Thanks to Mr. Humke at GlockParts.com, LLC, I received my new Gen4 Trigger Housing with the 30274 ejector within 3 days.  The difference between the new one and the older 336 ejector was pretty huge.

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Sadly, due to my schedule, I haven’t been able to get back to the range to test it just yet, but hand-cycling snapcaps produced a perfect pile at the weapon’s 4 ‘o clock, so we’ll see.  *UPDATES TO FOLLOW*

As for the installation, I’d say if you’re comfortable field stripping, this isn’t too much of a stretch.  The Glock is easier to work on than I thought, they weren’t kidding when they say how few parts there are.  The only tools you’ll need are a punch, preferrably a Glock Disassembly Tool (pictured below) and a tiny flathead screwdriver. After removing the slide from the frame, you’ll need to use the tool to push out the marked pins from the frame.  These are different sizes, so be sure to keep track of which one’s which (though it’s easy, big, medium, small, from front to back).

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After this, you’ll need to use something to pry up the Locking Block (pictured below).  It should come right out rather easily.  When removing this, note the position of the Slide Catch Lever, you’ll need to put this back in afterwards.

Locking BlockAfter the Locking Block is out, you’ll be able to remove the Trigger (along with the Slide Catch Lever) and Trigger Housing out of the frame.  You can disassemble further, but this is really as far down as you need to go.  The Ejector pin simply pulls forward out of the Trigger Housing, though you’ll likely need to use the flathead to push it from the rear to get it started (you can see rear of the Ejector pin at the rear of the Housing).  After getting it far enough out, either pull out with your hand, CAREFULLY use the screwdriver to pry it out from the front, or use a pair of needle nosed pliers (you’ll want to wrap cloth or electrical tape so as to not scratch) to pull the pin out the rest of the way.

Once you have both pins out, push the 30274 ejector into the Gen3 housing, making sure it’s fully seated, and reassemble your weapon in reverse order.  The only tip I have here is to get the Slide Catch Lever in place after the trigger, then put on the Locking Block, which compresses the spring.  Use your Glock Disassembly Tool to help align things when reinserting the roll pins.

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UPDATE #2: Confirmed Fixed.

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Well, there we have it folks.  Fired 65 rounds today, nearly all perfect 4-5 o’clock ejections with one stray towards 6 o’clock, but soared a few feet over my head.  I think we have a winner.  Time (well, a few hundred more rounds) will tell, but based on how miserable the last 35 rounds were prior to replacing the ejector, compared to how it performed today, I’m going to have to call this one a win.  GLOCK- please start using the 30274 ejector in all current production 9mm models, not just the Gen4 models.  That is all.

Dealing with 90 year old glue, starring: Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless

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Well, I intend to do a more in depth review and teardown guide on this handgun, but since an issue came up that required a quick fix, I thought I’d document and share.

First some background on this firearm.  This little Colt is yet another marvel of turn-of-the-century design by John Moses Browning, predating the 1911 by a couple of years, but sharing some design features and having ergonomics very similar to the later Colt Government.  Though mechanically different (striker vs. hammer), you can see the relation between this handgun and the FN 1910/22, a later model by the same legendary designer (which I’ll be featuring at a later time).  This was basically the one of the first Concealed Carry autoloaders, with a very slim profile, “hammerless” (internal hammer) so as to not snag, low-profile rounded sights, and higher capacity and more firepower than an equal sized revolver.   This role was well embraced by characters throughout history such as Al Capone who was said to always have one in his coat pocket, and Bonny used one to break Clyde out of jail by getting one in taped to her thigh.  John dillinger was carrying one when he was shot by the FBI, and those very agents that shot him were likely carrying these as BUGs.  This didn’t go unnoticed by the government either, and the OSS and later CIA used these as concealed carry guns all the way until the 1970s.

Anyhow, if there’s interest, I’ll go into more detail in a later post.  As for this one, the S/N puts it’s production in 1920, making it a type III.  It’s my significant other’s current favorite range gun, because it fits her tiny hands perfectly, is lightweight, firing a lightweight but still useable round (.32 ACP / 7.65, get the Fiocci, europeans load it hot), and it’s got that extra bit of history and panache that her Colt Government lacks.  …part of which led to our problem.

I like to imagine this thing was carried by a gangster in the roaring 20’s, as it was ordered from Colt with custom mother-of-pearl grip panels.  Unlike the wooden or hard rubber grip panels of the period, these were simply flat backed, and didn’t have a raised area that fit into the frame.  This meant that simply screwing them in would not hold them in place, so they were glued in place.  I’m not quite sure what kind of glue was used on firearms furniture in the 1920’s, but I do know that they clearly weren’t taking into consideration how disgusting and inconvenient it would be to future owners in 90 years.  After this piece of history’s long slumber was awoke by the report of several hundred Fiocci 7.65 FMJ rounds, the glue decided to finally give out, forcing me to clean and reattach the grips.

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Now… this may not be the BEST way to handle this as I was risking the finish under those grips, but this thing’s no museum piece so I wasn’t going to baby it, the main concern was getting the grips back on and still in one piece, and making sure they’d stay that way for a couple more decades.

After unscrewing and GENTLY rocking them back and forth, freeing from the remaining glue, both the grips and frame needed that ancient gunk removed.  Enter my new best friend (which will be featured in the next post about proper cleaning supplies), Mil-Comm MC25, sprayed on the back of the grips and on the frame and allowed to soak for a bit.

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A makeshift scraper out of a cloth-wrapped mini flathead and some (very careful) elbow grease later, and that evil crud has been removed.  It didn’t bind very well to the pearl, and was very easy to remove (practically wiped off with cloth after the MC25 got to it).  I’d have preferred to use a wooden or plastic scraper of some sort, but with the effort required to get some of this buildup off, it would’ve likely bent or cracked.  I still managed to get this stuff off with minimal scratching to the finish, all in areas that will be covered by grips anyway.  Just to be a bit anal and not want to leave unprotected scratches, even under the grips, I filled in the couple scratches I did make with a Birchwood Casey Presto Gun Blue Touch-Up Pen
(sorry, not pictured, stopped taking pictures at the point that I had funky old glue residue on my hands).

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A fine bead of Locktite Super Control Gel and 2 screws later, and we’re back in business.  I’ll be sure to update with how well this holds up, but I’d like to think that super glue technology has gotten better in the last century.

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(Also, regarding this last picture, I never really noticed the difference in grip size on either side, odd.  It does fit the hands really well though, and I’ve been told they’re at least period correct if not originals, so I’ll just chalk up another one to turn-of-the-century ergonomics)

Online Ammunition Shopping Made Easy

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Let’s face it- sometimes, the local WalMart isn’t going to have the ammunition you need, especially with the current shortage we’ve got going on.  Even when the local big-box store is in stock, you’re normally subject to purchase limits, either on certain calibers (.22lr comes to mind), or on total.  So off we go, to the internets, to find the cartridges we crave.

There are a couple of old standbys I used to use quite a bit, like Ammunition-to-go (still a pretty good choice), and of course Cabela’s / Bass Pro / Academy’s online stores are usually pretty well stocked, if pricier.

But, a few months ago, I found the ultimate place to find the best deals on ammunition, and a new go-to even if just to see what a particular cartridge is going for at the moment.

Seriously, Gunbot is where it’s at.  It’s not a store, but rather an aggregator, whose creater I would like to buy several beers (though he can likely afford his own through the money I’m sure he raked in on affiliate deals).  Basically, you go there, choose your caliber, and you’ll get lists that you can sort by price-per-round, age of offer, brand, and store.  The site will link you to the website making the offer, and you go there to do the buying.

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They have some additional features if you create an account and donate ($20/yr at the moment) such as email alerts based on price thresholds you can set.  THIS feature, wins.  Back during the darkest months of the current shortage, when .22lr was impossible to find anywhere besides price gougers on gunbroker, you could set email alerts when it was available.  More than a few times, I’d get a ping, get online ASAP, see a few boxes available somewhere, add to cart, and it would be gone in mere minutes of being listed in stock, so apparently I wasn’t the only one using this feature.

Things have calmed down a bit since then, and by watching trends on here, much like watching stocks, you can see the prices slowly settling back down.

Anyhow, just wanted to share this tool, hope it helps!  Next week, I’ll try to have an introduction to cleaning post that’ll help the newbies know what their bare bones cleaning kit should look like.

Getting Started!

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Welcome to Grey Arsenal

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Right, so I’m new at blogging- cut me some slack for the first little bit while I get things up and running here.  First order of business, getting myself a decent set up for taking pictures.  This I promise:  No more terrible on-the-bed or carpet pictures like the ones I’ve taken above.

I also promise that I don’t even own that comforter any longer.  Not sure what I was thinking there.   Anyway- as soon as I’m good to go with getting some non-distracting pictures on here, I’ll probably kick this thing off with some quick ‘n dirty takedown guides.  Honestly, all of these will be available elsewhere, but as mentioned on the About page, these will be partially existing as guides by me for my friends and family, and I’ll try to make them as clear and detailed as possible.

Later on, I’ll get into some slightly more exotic ones that may not be as easy to find, ones I know I had to dig around for a bit to find (anyone in the audience need to know how how to disassemble their FN Model 1922 or DWM P08 Luger?  Stay tuned.)

Disclaimer: I’ll be handling some fun stuff here, and as much as I’d like to laugh evilly whilst twirling my waxed mustache and claim that everything you see belongs to me, I’ll likely be showing firearms belonging to friends/family here too, generally for the purposes of doing a tear down guide or review on something to which I wouldn’t otherwise have access.  Also, the information here is for, well, information purposes only, don’t rely solely on what’s posted here, especially if you’re having an issue with your firearm, and especially ESPECIALLY if it’s an immediate safety issue.  I’m just giving a guiding hand, and am not liable for you ruining your brand new boomstick.  For any problems/issues that can’t be addressed by a basic strip-n-clean, it’s always best to either contact the manufacturer to check for warranty, or a local well-reviewed gunsmith.

Firearms tear-down guides, reviews, and more.