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S&W Model 41 alibi

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Post by djw1cav on Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:46 pm

Last night I had an alibi with my S&W model 41.  It worked fine for slow and timed fire.  When I got to rapid fire (magazine #5) I pulled the trigger and nothing happened.  It felt like the safety was on but it was not.  A round was in the chamber.  My alibi was allowed.  I fired the next string of timed fire with magazine #6 and the pistol performed perfectly.  When it was time for my alibi string, I put a new round in magazine #5 and attempted to fire the string.  Again, nothing happened when I pulled the trigger, once again it felt like the safety was on but it was not.  At the time I had no clue what was wrong.  But after giving it some thought it sure looks like it is a magazine problem.

Before I tear into this I wanted to bounce this off of some of the more experienced model 41 users.
Has anyone else experienced this?  If so, how did you correct it?
Do I need to tweak something in the pistol or is it just a magazine problem?

note:
The pistol has 3000 rounds total thru it and 80 since cleaning.  I have never cleaned the magazines.

Doug

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Post by spursnguns on Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:10 pm

Hello djw1cav,

Model 41s have a magazine disconnector.  If magazine #5 is the only one you are having issues with, I would bet that it has a little damage to it and is no longer engaging the disconnector when inserted in the pistol.  Compare it to a good magazine and I bet the difference (problem) will be obvious.

Jim
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Post by spursnguns on Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:13 pm

By the way djw1cav,

Clean your magazines periodically.

Jim


Last edited by spursnguns on Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by STEVE SAMELAK on Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:12 pm

And besides that.....if there was a failure for ANY reason...I would have thrown that magazine into a prominent place until I could examine the components of that failure.
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Post by Aprilian on Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:45 pm

I turn questionable magazines upside down on the gun box magnet until I can examine them at home.  All behaving magazines are feed lips up.   This is the reason that I will never shoot a pistol with only two working magazines.  At a match, one of the spares is always loaded with 5 rounds in case I have an alibi string.   Having it ready to go reduces the stress of everyone waiting for me to load a magazine and gives me a minute to settle my thoughts before the alibi string.

As to the OP question, on my 41 I have defeated the magazine disconnector (I know, that could be called as disabled in a match with guns inspected and I don't use it in EIC).  I suggest you take the right grip panel off your pistol and see if your magazines 5 and 6 hit the disconnector slightly differently.
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Post by mikemyers on Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:38 pm

Aprilian wrote:........This is the reason that I will never shoot a pistol with only two working magazines.  At a match, one of the spares is always loaded with 5 rounds in case I have an alibi string.   Having it ready to go reduces the stress of everyone waiting for me to load a magazine and gives me a minute to settle my thoughts before the alibi string..........

Thanks - I only have two magazines with my High Standard X-Series.  Will buy one or two more.

(This might be relevant here - is there a good magic marker we can use to number our magazines, something that is unlikely to wear off?  If I had doubts about a magazine, I could just write down the number for future reference.  Unless you guys have a better idea, I'll check out Ace Hardware.)
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Post by Wobbley on Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:00 pm

Silver Sharpies work for a while.  Better on plastic pads, but they will mark metal.  I mark mine where there isn’t much chance of it wearing like near the base.
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Post by REConley on Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:07 pm

I experienced what you described with one of my 41's except that when I reinserted the magazine there was resistance from something that the mag had to push out of the way. Then the pistol would fire. Once mine started this I had the failure at about a 33% rate with all mags. Pistol was at S&W for a couple of weeks and is now cured.
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Post by djw1cav on Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:02 pm

Thanks to all that have commented.  I will start by comparing magazine #5 to good mags and see if I can find a difference.  Then take off the grips and watch how they operate the disconnector to verify all makes sense.  No matter what I find, all of my mags will get a good cleaning!  I know that I am guilty of cleaning my guns too often and not cleaning magazines often enough. 
Doug

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Post by REConley on Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:14 pm

The two 41's I have tell me the same thing about a mag that has about 400 rounds on it since that last cleaning. I get a good sounding shot, good case ejection but an empty chamber. That mag goes into the bag  butt up and once I am down to just two mags that has not been fired since the last mag cleaning the mags get cleaned.
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Post by wingnut170 on Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:38 pm

spursnguns wrote:Hello djw1cav,

Model 41s have a magazine disconnector.  If magazine #5 is the only one you are having issues with, I would bet that it has a little damage to it and is no longer engaging the disconnector when inserted in the pistol.  Compare it to a good magazine and I bet the difference (problem) will be obvious.

Jim
Without ejecting the round in the chamber, slip in a different magazines and see if it will fire.

Ray

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Post by SonOfAGun on Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:02 pm

mikemyers wrote:(This might be relevant here - is there a good magic marker we can use to number our magazines, something that is unlikely to wear off?  If I had doubts about a magazine, I could just write down the number for future reference.  Unless you guys have a better idea, I'll check out Ace Hardware.)

As luck would have it, I have in my possession a 'vintage' pantograph engraving machine. Like what a jewelry store would have used before the computer controlled engraving machines appeared on the scene. Each of my magazines gets a unique number.
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Post by LenV on Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:44 am

I should probably not put my neck out like this but what the heck. Go ahead clean your 41 mags. I am sure it is a good idea. I suppose it is. I have to make that supposition since in the last 47 years I don't actually remember ever taking a 41 mag apart and cleaning it. Shame on me. I make a resolution right now if I ever have one fail I will give them all a good cleaning. Rolling Eyes I do use my 40 year old tooth brush on the followers occasionally.

Len
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Post by lyman1903 on Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:20 am

Wobbley wrote:Silver Sharpies work for a while.  Better on plastic pads, but they will mark metal.  I mark mine where there isn’t much chance of it wearing like near the base.


hobby or craft stores sell paint pens in various colors, 

the silver and gold hold up well on metal
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Post by Aprilian on Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:22 am

I use a silver paint sharpie or a label maker - both on the base.  Both last quite a while before needing refreshing.
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Post by CrankyThunder on Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:31 pm

I use a engraving tool and instead of labeling them 1, 2, 3, etc, I label them A, B, C, D and so on.  

That way, it only has one character if you get over 9 magazines.  Lasts forever.  

Regards, 
crankster
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Post by djw1cav on Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:48 pm

REConley wrote:I experienced what you described with one of my 41's except that when I reinserted the magazine there was resistance from something that the mag had to push out of the way. Then the pistol would fire. Once mine started this I had the failure at about a 33% rate with all mags. Pistol was at S&W for a couple of weeks and is now cured.
Interesting.  Did S&W tell you what was wrong or tell you which parts they replaced?
Doug

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Post by djw1cav on Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:54 pm

mikemyers wrote:
Aprilian wrote:........This is the reason that I will never shoot a pistol with only two working magazines.  At a match, one of the spares is always loaded with 5 rounds in case I have an alibi string.   Having it ready to go reduces the stress of everyone waiting for me to load a magazine and gives me a minute to settle my thoughts before the alibi string..........

Thanks - I only have two magazines with my High Standard X-Series.  Will buy one or two more.

(This might be relevant here - is there a good magic marker we can use to number our magazines, something that is unlikely to wear off?  If I had doubts about a magazine, I could just write down the number for future reference.  Unless you guys have a better idea, I'll check out Ace Hardware.)
 I have been using a label maker and attaching label to base for about 5 years.  I haven't had one come off yet.  Clean with alcohol before attaching label to base.
Doug

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Post by djw1cav on Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:28 am

I cleaned the magazines and brushed away the soot that was around the trigger bar.  Then I took my Model 41 to the range last night.  I used problematic magazine #5 exclusively for 45 rounds without a problem.  it appears that my alibi was caused by dirty mags and possibly the soot that accumulated around the trigger bar. 

The soot around the trigger bar was fairly loose, but the trigger bar spring is not a strong one and I think there is a chance that the trigger bar could be blocked by soot in the position where it is disconnected from the sear.  

Now I am wondering if I should do a complete tear down of the frame and give it a good internal cleaning.
Are there any reasons to do this or not to do this?  Does anyone do it (or have it done) periodically?

Doug

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Post by Wobbley on Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:23 am

I’d just take the grips off and soak the frame in mineral spirits.  After an hour or two blow it dry with compressed air.  Make sure you hold it so parts don’t get blown away.
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Post by Steve K on Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:32 am

I've had the same problem and now I field strip the pistol and set it in a sonic cleaner for about 30 minutes. Seems to help.

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Post by djw1cav on Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:50 pm

Steve K wrote:I've had the same problem and now I field strip the pistol and set it in a sonic cleaner for about 30 minutes.  Seems to help.
Steve,
 That sounds much easier that doing a complete tear down.  If I understand you correctly you remove the grips, barrel, slide and recoil spring. Then put the frame in the ultrasonic cleaner.  I assume you blow it dry after.  Do you lubricate inside the frame after cleaning or leave it dry? 
Doug

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Post by troystaten on Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:27 pm

Was wondering what your using in your sonic cleaner on your 41

thanks

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Post by rburk on Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:16 pm

I have a model 41 and will need to clean it soon.  Has anyone taken off the grips and hosed it down with gun scrubber (i.e. carb cleaner)?

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Post by Wobbley on Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:38 pm

Only if it won’t cleanup with mineral spirits.  After the carb cleaner, I’d dunk it in mineral spirits then oil every pin and wear surface.
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