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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new here with a new P-3AT and I have after 100+ rounds had about 50% FTE. Most if not all the cases are bulged at the mouth indicating that the chamber appears to be oval.

Droping a live round in the barrel indicates that the chamber is too loose and this likely results in the case expanding too much to extract.

I have had to muscle some of the cases out and most of them have some of the rim scraped off from the ejector.

Is this typical that the barrel chamber is oversized so much that the cases expand too much and fail to eject?

Thanks all!
 

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The oversized chamber is normal... apparently Kel-Tec made them deliberately oversized to accomodate a wider variety of ammo.
It sounds like you need to polish your chamber well. This can be done with 400 grit sandpaper on the end of a round pencil/pen, wrapped around it and then inserted into the chamber, polishing in and out, like a cartridge being repeatedly chambered. Be sure to get the entire inside surface, and finish up with some 600 grit or even finer, depending on how shiny you want it to be.
This is likely to reduce your FTEs significantly.
Also, remember to use a firm grip - some of these may be limpwrist induced.
Flyer
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting advice.

I might agree with polishing, but since the position of the cartridge in the chamber is determined by headspace, wouldn't it be unwise to go about polishing the chamber using the method which you describe?

I would think that this might damage the case heading seat and barrel throat.

Or is this the generally accepted method of fixing this type of engineering.

Does everyones fired cases come out bulged toward the case mouth?

I would think that if you have to drive a case out of an obviously over-sized chamber with a dowel that it needs more than just polishing.

Thanks Flyer!
 

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Tomfrost, giving this thought, I think your thinking is flawed.

That being the idea that because a chamber is slightly oversized that the expantion of a cartridge would be any tighter against a cylinder wall than the same pressure causing a case to expand to the chamber wall of a tighter tolerance?

I agree with the chamber polish recommendation, and I would bet that you see your issue disapear. Unless you are using some odd ammo, headspace should not be an issue.

If you have any doubts though, I recommend sending it back to Kel_Tec for a look-see. The gun is warrented for life.

Do you have a digital camera, where we could see one of the cases you describe?
 

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The chamber polishing is probably THE first thing one does when performing a Fluff & Buff.
When suggesting someone do this, I'm assuming they've got the sense NOT to disturb the rifling or throat of the bore.
Also, you didn't mention what ammo you were using.
And yep, most all P-3AT cases come out with a bulge.
If your chamber is really as oversized as you're describing it, it's a wonder you can't just drop in a round and have it fall all the way through the barrel and out the muzzle.
Polishing the chamber IS the way to fix this.
Flyer
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I tried taking some pics but my camera will not focus down close enough to get a good look. But here is what I got, see attachment.

The case is actully belled at the mouth and the expansion starts at about half way up the case. There is no discernable expansion in the case web area.

I cannot drop a fired case back into the chamber. It takes more than a little thumb pressure to seat a fired case back into the chamber and that should not be on a chamber that is oversized as much as this one is.

What this is telling me is that the walls of the chamber are not parallel or symetrical.

I am a Bullseye shooter and I can take any fired hardball case and it will drop right in my national match chamber.

I will give polishing a try and see if that works. I will let you know tomorrow.

Thanks for the help!
 

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I would probably just send it back and not spend time polishing. You can just trade out the barrel/slide assembly and not have the hassle of shipping the complete pistol.

BIGIRON
 

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What ammo???

Looking at the picture, I suspect reloaded ammo, or some kind of foreign stuff. Reloads that used spent cases that were already slightly expanded might just do what you are showing. Gun shops are notorious for selling "bargain" ammo with fancy brand names like "American" that are reloads. You can tell if it is by looking at the cartridge end out of the box. Some might say Speer, some Fed, some Win, etc. None will say the brand on the box.

Out of my P3AT I get the following typical measurements with good grade "new" factory brass ammo:

.........new cartridge diameter......0.371"......typical

.........fired spent case diameter...0.380"

Other kinds of pistols may get even bigger spent diameters. Then when reloaded you are starting with a "fat" cartridge that will load in your chamber but expands again to make a bulged look and FTE.

A micrometer is a valuable tool to have and might tell you something about the ammo you are using.

Now, if I'm wrong with my guess, and you are using good grade factory ammo made in the USA like Federal, Winchester, Speer, etc., ......then you have a problem that Kel Tec should look at and you may need to send the gun back.

Let us know. This is an important question you have posted.

og
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They are new RP and Wolf ammo.

I got a mic.

The largest dimension of the RP case sample is .387.

The largest dimension of the Wolf case sample(in the pic) is .382.

The measurement were taken at the mouth.

The base of the RP is .372, and the base of the Wolf is .371.

I polished the chamber and ramp and they are nice and slick and ready to test tomorrow morning. I will let you know how it turns out. I am going to buy some Federal and Winchester tomorrow and give them a try.

You guys are great!

Thanks!
 

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There you go... you just posted a picture of the problem.
Don't use Wolf. It's not surprising that steel-cased ammo expands without contracting to it prior diameter, and the Wolf makes a bad situation worse by it's coating, which sticks like glue to a hot chamber.
No kidding, here... your P-3AT will like you FAR better if you only feed it brass cases.
Flyer
 

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Excellent!!

Great!! My second guess was closer, foreign, Wolf, has a bad history with lots of folks, like Flyer says. That is, their center fire ammo which is still made in Russia with the steel cases and varnish coating to keep the steel from rusting in shipment.
Oddly enough, the Wolf rimfire, .22 ammo is made in Germany with brass cases and does pretty good (a little dirty though).
You can get some pretty good Winchester ammo at WalMart if one is near you.

Hope to hear a report after your next range trip. Keep posting. And having a mic helps us all with the data you've posted.

Cheers,
og..........BTW tom, glad you're here with us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Actually, that is the only Wolf I have ever used besides the .22 Match, which just about every silhouette shooter in our club uses. I didnt know they were steel cases.

But the RP wasnt much better.

I will stop by Walmart on the way tomorrow.

Thanks!
 

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yep, ammo DOES make a difference

I began my P-3AT shooting with Winclean and my little gun did not like it very well. I switched to UMC 95 gr FMJ and have not had a malfunction since.

You can buy it for cheap at Wal-Mart. I'll predict that you will experience no further problems.

Best Wishes.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Everything functioned perfect today. No FTE or FTF. I used UMC and Winchester Target/Range Value Pack from Walmart and both worked perfect.

SO, dont buy Wolf ammo, unless its .22 Match!

Still not sure why the RP would not function well either, but it is all gone so I wont buy any more of that.

Thanks everyone for the great advice. This is a wonderful resource.

Now on to the next bug-a-boo. When I grabbing the handle and fire, sometimes I eject the magazine if my thumb is held low. The mag does not hit the ground since it is in my hand, but I have to push it back in and move my thumb and cycle the slide to shoot again. On a gun this small used for defense, I think it would have been nice to put the button somewhere else, since in most circumstance where this gun will be deployed, reloading is not an option. Has anyone else done this?
 

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Yep, plenty of people hit the mag release accidentally.
One solution is to sand it down until it doesn't protrude as much.
I myself use a grip that places my thumb almost straight along the frame, against the assembly pin. My other thumb rests on the first, so it pretty much eliminates this problem.
Depending on your grip style, then, shaving the button down a bit may be the best solution.
Flyer
 

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dumb suggestion

If you don't like Flyer's idea of sanding or grinding the thing, try some duct tape over it. Flexible enough so you can still push it to release mag but it "smooths" over the projection so it won't be so easy to accidentally push in when firing.
If you don't like the grey duct tape color, try black electricians tape.
Just a dumb thought based on experience with a dumb derringer I once had where I had to put duct tape on my thumb to keep from getting bloodied when I shot the thing.

Besides, duct tape is the answer for everything. Too bad the shuttle guys didn't have some to fix the tiles and the last disaster wouldn't have happened.

OH! BTW, tom, Congrats on your successful range trip with the new ammo. Good job, and thanks for reporting your experience.

FWIW,
og........aha! bedtime!! going to range tommorrow to shoot a friend's new titanium 38special. Might need to wrap my wrist with duct tape and use a real heavy glove to handle the recoil. Let you know later.
 

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Hah.. he.. hrmph.. hmph...
You have no idea how hard it is to hold it in and not throw this thread so off topic it'd merge with the rings of Saturn!
He... (hiccup!)... ha...
Flyer
 

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the real thing

tom,
thanks, and all along I've been using the cheap stuff! :lol:

og.....I love this site.
 
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