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For those of you who missed it, I picked up my P-3AT, finally, on Tuesday, Dec 30.

Click Here

Now for phase 2 of the saga: the life and times of living with a P-3AT. I went to my range today. It was obvious no one has been there since 4' of snow buried the place on two consecutive weekends. I slept till 3pm and it was 4pm by the time I got there and starting to get dark... I climbed over the snow banks left by the plows and waded out to the closest target stand, which was unfortunately at the 25 yard line and firmly frozen in the snow. (Mental note to self: buy my own target stand). I fired 50 rds of UMC ball. I only fired 5 rds at a time ejecting the last round to reload it as the bottom round in the mag to avoid smashing up the follower as I haven't done any mods to the gun at this point. No malfunctions... only 1 round grazed the top of my hair line. After about 6 mags of this, my last round failed to go into full battery because it had been smilified 6 times and suffered considerable malformation of the nose of the bullet and about 2mm of set back. I didn't count this as a malfunction. I'm not used to the sights. The sights were very hard to see in the light I had... and 25 yards is a bit long for shooting this gun. Needless to say, I had a great deal of difficulty keeping the shots on the paper let alone establishing any groups. By the end of the 50 rounds my right wrist was limping along but that still caused no FTF problems. Here's my smiley... it seems rather deep:



I'll grab the calipers later, along with a fresh box of UMC, and see if I can measure any discernable set back from a single strike. All in all, I'm reasonably happy so far. Since I'm certain it will feed the UMC ball reliably, I'll carry it with that for now until I think the gun is broken in. Then I'll make a determination as to whether I need to mod the feed ramp (seems inevitable) and can test various HP rounds I've accumulated.
 

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midi,
I do believe that's the single deepest, well-defined smiley I've ever seen!
If you used a standard 25 yd. target, you did very well to keep them on the paper at that range! That's a LONG ways away, with a brand-new tiny pistol with a strange trigger! Throw in the lack of really usable sights, and keep them on the paper = good shootin'!
Good thinking, for a way to protect your follower...
Sounds like you did good! Looking forwards to Part Duex.
Flyer
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here are a few other observations:

I experienced no pin walk.

Ejected cases exhibited a slightly flattened area near the mouth and a scratch or nick above the rim where the ejector grabbed them. No extreme tearing of the cases as reported by others. I would consider them reloadable if I was inclined to reload .380.

I noticed the SLIGHTEST wear on the inside of the front of the guide rails, nothing on the outside. Nothing more than the finish wearing off... no malformation of the rails themselves.

I can see copper on the base of the feed ramp which is what is causng the smileys. This will make it quite easy to see where material has to be removed to modify the feed ramp.

The UMC ammo seemed very clean. The pistol came back with almost no residue inside the frame, slide or grip. Shooting Winchester in my Glock always leaves a LOT of residue all over the inside of the gun.
 

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Good News, Indeed!! I mean good you got the pistol.

Midi,
Good news!! so glad you've got the pistol. But smileys are not good news. Now you can help make sense of the things we've been seeing.
That is a scary smiley. It's not even smiling, just glaring it's teeth at you. I'm amazed it has only one gash if you reloaded it like you said, unless you aligned the round the same each time.
Please try the stuff we've written up before. You don't have to be at the range to do it.
Just hand cycle some rounds, drop the mag and see if rounds are getting pushed forward like we've seen.
This will be even more noticable when firing and dropping the mag after it cycles, have to do that at the range.
Is your mag a Mec Gar with slippery black enamel like most of us got?
Sure be interested in what you find and think about all this.
og
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: Good News, Indeed!! I mean good you got the pistol.

oldgranpa said:
That is a scary smiley. It's not even smiling, just glaring it's teeth at you. I'm amazed it has only one gash if you reloaded it like you said, unless you aligned the round the same each time.
That's not my "pad round". That's a single strike smiley.
 

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Re: Good News, Indeed!! I mean good you got the pistol.

oldgranpa said:
Just hand cycle some rounds, drop the mag and see if rounds are getting pushed forward like we've seen.
I don't need to hand cycle a round. If I just pull the side back 1/4 inch, as if to release the takedown pin, the top round will slide forward. But I don't think that's an issue. Yet. And, yes, the mags are Mecgars, just like everyone elses.
 

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That's not my "pad round". That's a single strike smiley.
!!??!!!!?!
Well!
You'd know you'd get the meanest and maddest P-3AT out there!!!
Let's see...
You'cn always just skip the ramp mod, and instead file a short series of notches in the front... that'll give it TEETH!!! :mrgreen:

Flyer
 

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Double WOW!

OK, Mid,
For a single strike smiley that's a biggey! you said about 2mm setback which is about the max I saw before the mods.

And the other things you saw are the same here... the flat area on the cartridge case (what the heck does that?), slight dent from extractor (only tearing I got was on softer Winchester brass, no tears on UMC), wear on front of guides normal like most of us have seen.

Looks like you've got a "normal" winner.

Do give consideration to that slick magazine. I'm convinced it's part of the smiley problem and needs the mod I did.
During cycling, the recoil, inertia, momentum, whatever will kick the next round in the mag forward a lot causing a smiley even if you do a minimum ramp mod.

It just blows my mind that other people here are saying they have no smileys. Either they do and won't admit it, don't care, or don't know how to look for one, or Kel Tec is pulling a fast one on some 3AT's being shipped and not telling us.

You forgot to tell us your serial number first part.

Again, glad you've got the pistol.
og 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Later that same night...

We find our intrepid hero with his barrel in vise (that sounds almost profane). I figure Flyer's ramp mod is inevitable so I notched a starter hole with a small triangular needle file... opened it up with a round needle file... and polished it up with a dremel. It still hand cycles Hydra-Shoks fine, hope to test it out on some more UMC tomorrow. Make that... later today.

I put my calipers on 10 fresh rounds of UMC and they measured out between .968" - .977". The smilied round (measured across the dent, not parallel to it) came in at .957". Setback could be anywhere from .011" - .020".

 

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prediction

Excellent looking ramp job! More uniform than my first try. But see those "ears" on each side. Prediction is they will still hit the bullet head. Looking at your smiley picture, note how the ends of the smiley are wider where the edges of the ramp are hitting it. The "ears" are what closes the cavity on a hollowpoint round hit by a smiley. If you can, use a few hollowpoints in your next test.
Any bets?
og
 

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Midi,
Glad you finally got your P-3AT. Nice ramp job. I did an "ear" removal like oldgranpa talks about on a P-40 barrel and widened the feed ramp considerably - all with a Dremel. It originally looked like it had been milled for 9mm instead of .40 S&W at the factory and didn't match the other P-40 barrels I had. Now it feeds perfectly every time. I guess I'll be doing surgery on my P-3AT when I finally get one.

Regards, Keys 8)
 

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Hey man Congrats on getting the 380. It only took forever to get it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: prediction

oldgranpa said:
Excellent looking ramp job! More uniform than my first try. But see those "ears" on each side. Prediction is they will still hit the bullet head.
I widened the cut to the point where the "ears" are still full length but razor thin. Should give me a little more wiggle room.
 

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\"ears\"

Only the range will tell.
Maybe have to "round off" the "ears" a little.
I rounded them way off and my AT still functions fine.
og
 

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Back to the range today before work to test my ramp mod. One mag of FMJ indicated only the slightest scratch on the side of the bullet running perpendicular to the orginal smiley dent... caused by the slight remants of the ears I left on the feed ramp. One mag of Hydra-Shok PD .380 showed 2 petals about 1/3 of the way into the diameter of the bullet dented inward. I'd say I'll be trimming the ears off completely later tonight. Will post pictures later as well.

Ok, it's later... here are the bullets:

 

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Yokay, daz it!
I'm attackin' my feed ramp as we speak. All instruments of Ramp Destruction, present and accounted for...
When I'm through the very CONCEPT of a smiley will be incomprehensible to this P-3AT! 8)
Flyer
 

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Re:

Flyer said:
Yokay, daz it!
I'm attackin' my feed ramp as we speak. All instruments of Ramp Destruction, present and accounted for...
When I'm through the very CONCEPT of a smiley will be incomprehensible to this P-3AT! 8)
Flyer
I've just done ramp job #3. This time, an earectomy. I wouldn't say it's down to a nub yet... but that's next!
 

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Next range trip

Midi,
I think you will be very pleased at your next range trip. With a clean, lubed AT, the first several magazines will have no or minimal smiley scratches. Since this is a self defense pistol intended for CCW and not target practice, carrying it clean and lubricated will be just fine with either JHP or FMJ in the magazine.
What I do is carry Silvertips for now. And I load a round into the chamber from the magazine. Then I drop the magazine and note if the top round is pushed forward a little. If so, I push it back in the magazine then reinstall the mag in the pistol. Now I am guaranteed 2 JHP shots with no petal damage at all.

If you have time at the range when you go again try shooting 4 or 5 magazines and then look for smileys again. Some of us see them show up after the pistol gets sooty caused by the ramp in the slide pushing rounds forward more during cycling. You can verify this by checking the mag for forward push after the first 2 or 3 shots and then again during the 4th or 5th magazine.
For CCW this doesn't matter since hopefully only 1 or 2 magazines would ever be needed then to stop a threat. But it's an interesting test to see what's going on in the P3AT.

Thanks for your valuable information. Watching for Flyer's results after what he is doing.

og :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I finally got to the range today to test the most recent ramp modification I did over a month ago. The end result: there is still some SLIGHT scratching on the surface of the most recently fed bullet. Nothing on the order of a dent and nothing I feel worthy of any real concern.

I shot 50 rounds. 44 UMC FMJ and 6 Fed. Hyrda-Shoks. I experienced two FTEs during the last two mags. I don't attribute this to limpwristing. I think the things just get dirt fast and don't like it. Since the sole function of this gun, for me, is CQ self defense, and I never carry more than 13 rounds, I don't feel it would prevent me from getting those 13 rounds off. I don't see this as any major cause for concern.

Of slightly more concern is the sight's point of aim. The gun shoots approx. 3-4" to the left at 4 -5 yards. At any significant increase in range I would be lucky to hit the target at all. I suppose I'll just remember this in the event I need to actually use the gun for its intended purpose and shoot a few inches to the right. I would prefer that the sight placement was a little more accurate.

The few shots that seem to be properly placed in this target are shots which I eventually started aiming right after seeing where the bulk of the other shots ended up.

 

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Do you shoot left handed or right handed?

I'm left handed, and have been hitting slightly to the right of center with most of the shots. I think it's mainly due to a mild flinch, since the first shot is usually centered left to right and not much more than an inch off vertically.
 
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