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Troubleshooting S&W 41

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Post by Spurls on 3/9/2020, 9:37 pm

I’m posting to help a fellow shooter in our local league. He’s shooting CCI standard through a model 41, performance center, and is getting light primer strikes a few times each match with the occasional failure to eject.  Gun is cleaned and lubed regularly. We’ve been chasing our tails trying to help him, but can’t pin point the problem. Any suggestions to lower the alibi occurrences would be appreciated.

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Post by REConley on 3/9/2020, 10:47 pm

I am thinking he may not be getting the full travel of the bolt carrier to the rear resulting in the cartridge not being completely chambered, due to lack of energy, and the firing pin is just pushing the round forward. Hence a light strike. I have a PC 41 I have been shooting since the first of Nov 19 and I found I needed to make the following changes. 
Dropped the recoil spring weight to 6 1/2 #s. 
No buffer in the pistol. 
Added as a lubrication step a very small amount of gun grease spread across the bottom of the bolt (the shinny "T" area) where the bolt makes contact with the hammer and rides over it. 

The only issue I have had for the last 10K rounds has been with the new magazines and the spring not being able to over come a dirty magazine follower resulting in an empty chamber. My only solution has been to remove that mag from usage for cleaning. 

Hope some of this might help.
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Post by r.tornello on 3/9/2020, 11:27 pm

FTE: clean the chamber, run a bronze brush only the length of the brass. If you are able polish the chamber do it, or have a skilled gunsmith undertake that. The M41 PC is not all its cracked up to be. Yes the barrels of most 22s will X ring but the quality of the total build is questionable. I know many people swear by S&W P. Center. And what I'm about to say is blasphemy, I swear at them. I had my M41 2019 build completely redone and not by S&W soon after I purchased it. It didn't feel right.

Some things I do:

Light primer strikes can be caused by improper seating in the bolt face. Keep that clean. Clean the magazines. They can be taken down. It's a bit of a pain. How you load the ammunition is important. additionally, I use only OEM springs. Measure the recoil you have against the length of a fresh one. No HV ammo no buffers. Try two boxes of as many different types. 22's have  diet issues. Last but not least keep all the rails clean, I use a light oil and clean after every shoot.


I also run a drop of oil on only the 1st round for the days shooting. The gun is spotless before I hit the line. I use CCI .035  it's okay but since I don't compete any more I'm not that fussy. When I was using a Pardini it liked RWS Target Rifle, cheap  and dirty but it worked.  

If you are shooting or truly training to be at the master level and want to be competitive, get a Pardini or an AW93 and don't look back. The support and quality of these two guns is beyond yours or my S&W M41. I've own both.

Respectfully,

Rick Tornello
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Post by r.tornello on 3/9/2020, 11:30 pm

typo corrections

...clean after every shooting time.

...I've owned
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Post by Outthere on 3/10/2020, 5:30 am

I would send it to a Model 41 Gunsmith, and be done with it. 

Alex Hamilton, KC Crawford, David Sams, Roddy Toyota can all do the job.

You may want to have them re-line the barrel while they have it.
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Post by estuck on 3/10/2020, 7:49 am

My nephew just started shooting bullseye and picked up a PC M41  for the winter indoor league. He started shooting CCI SV and had the same problems you described. I gave him a couple boxes of Eley target (yellow box) and he has not had a problem since. My experience with the 41 is it is very ammo sensitive. You may want to start there and see if it helps. Good luck.

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Post by r.tornello on 3/10/2020, 8:32 am

if you're going to send it out, RODDY TOYOTA would be my suggestion. He has a post in commercial selling. He worked my gun over. It works as long as I do my part.
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Post by mikemyers on 3/10/2020, 5:21 pm

Before you send it out, take the next 5 rounds and roll them around on a paper towel to clean off the (excess) wax stuff.  Then try again.  That might solve his problem.  Some of those CCI rounds are oversize due to the lube.
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Post by bruce martindale on 3/10/2020, 7:05 pm

First thing is the plunk test..shell should drop into chsmber with a plunk. If not, try other ammo, then clean chamber with Kroil and tight patch on jag. Oil shells thereafter to prevent buildup

Good luck

I use a cigar lighter for 5 seconds to bust crud then brush

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Post by joem5636 on 3/11/2020, 6:26 am

I worked on a friend's 41 that came new with a fairly heavy grease. Cleaning and using a light lube like CLP fixed his problem.

My own 41 recently needed a new extractor after many years/rounds. In replacing it, I found the pin holding the slide together had broken, too.

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Post by PhotoEscape on 3/11/2020, 9:13 am

I might contradict all who posted on this tread, and suggest another test first before sending gun for overhaul. I came to realization that many 22s are quite sensitive to wrist limping or arm relaxation, and that exhibits itself in exact symptoms described by OP. So my suggestion would be to have more experienced shooter in your league shoot this M41 with shooter's ammo. Please keep in mind that there were numerous issues reported on this forum with new CCI SV ammo, which are also in line with outlined problems. So if problem confirmed by more experienced shooter, I would suggest a second test preferably with 100+ rounds of old CCI SV.

That is IMO what should be done before concluding that it is pistol.
AP
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Post by Aprilian on 3/11/2020, 10:09 am

Check over on Rimfire Central - lots of M41 PC problems and solutions.   Without seeing and playing with it, I wouldn't want to suggest the solution. 

It still amazes me that these leave the factory without confirmation they work with a particular ammo or instructions on how to break them in or tune them for a particular ammo.   According to some posts on RFC, S&W gets plenty of them back.
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Post by r.tornello on 3/11/2020, 10:54 am

I thought about the weak hand aspect after I wrote what I did. Auto loaders are sensitive to that and the 22 especially. I went out and shot for a while yesterday, (gout and all) and toward the end of the session I noticed the ejections not flying as far as they did in the earlier part. I made it a point to tighten up. 

I do brush my extractor, breech face and all that throughout any practice. I considered the possibility of poor grip.

When I changed from single shot practice to timed fire, I had a few FTE. I re-oiled the next magazine top round and that ended that. I'm wondering  along with limp wrist, if the heat/expansion and the size of the CCI may have an effect too.

If any of you remember back in the 1980's the M41s were better doorstops than guns, as per one of the S&W master GS I spoke to. I had a 1970's and an early 1980. The 1980 was useless. My 2019 M41 needed internal work as delivered. I sent it to a pro.

BTW a new M41, Herrett grips, and reworking by a G/S come to about $2000.00. A good used current generation Pardini or FW93 are about that, plus or minus. Think about that.
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Post by Dockokol on 3/11/2020, 12:31 pm

If the pistol is clean and passes plunk test, he may have a bad batch of cci ammo.  My model 46 was adjusted by KC and working like a champ until I bought a few bricks of cci standard vel in the new box design.  I was having the same issue that you note.  I called CCI, and they had me return the ammo.  They tested it and found that it met their velocity standards, but showed issues when fired from a target pistol.  They replaced the ammo. I dont know if the replacement fixes my problem, I have been away from home, but I am hopful.

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Post by r.tornello on 3/11/2020, 2:54 pm

Target Pistols are particular to ammo, dirt, limp writs and all sorts of thing, just like Ferraris, and other exotics. And like some exotics, a few are just poorly assembled and or designed. Over all the M41 is a simple and in a fashion, elegant design. Could it be made better and designed with some more current technology? Sure, but then it wouldn't be an M41.
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Post by xman on 3/12/2020, 5:52 pm

Rick are you advocating for that people take the buffer out of Smith and Wesson model 41s ? I have a had only one instance of light strikes and it was twice on the same bullet so I guess it all is the primer compound that was defective your thoughts ?
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Post by r.tornello on 3/12/2020, 6:04 pm

I've been told by a few GSs not to use one. I tried it anyway and did not like it. I use SV ammo which the gun is designed for. There is no need for a buffer. It's a steel on steel design. If there were a need, I assume S&W would have installed them in their guns and put out the automotive equivalent of a TSB referring to years of manufacture and SNs.
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Post by Roddy Toyota on 3/13/2020, 9:31 pm

Hi SPURLS,

Your issues are a common issue with all M41's.  First thing is to see if the slide might be rubbing on the underside of the rear sight rib.  You'll see the bluing wearing off.  See if the slide stop/ejector is causing any interference.  See if there's a dent at the top of the chamber breech face, from being hit by the firing pin.  Check all mags, and see that they are clean inside, and that the follower moves up and down easily.  If the M41 has the factory recoil spring and you are ONLY shooting std vel ammo, order a WOLFF M41 6# recoil spring.  The factory spring is about 7.5#, which is too heavy for shooting std vel ammo.  Actually order two of the 6# springs.  Cold air temp has a real effect on .22 ammo and so shooting in the winter time even indoors can be problematic.  If the 6# spring still has issues, maybe cut 1/4" off and try that.  About 1/4" is the most you'd want to cut off, which is why I suggested ordering two springs.  Also, anytime you have a feeding/ignition problem with any ammo, rimfire or CF, you should save the bad round and inspect it closely.  In the case of the M41 light strikes, look at the bad round and see if there is any marking on the bullet.  Usually it will be a "smiley mouth" cut/scratch on the bullet.  This is caused by the bullet being marked up as it trys to feed into the chamber.  The mark will be on the underside of the bullet and is caused by the sharp edge at the top of the feed ramp and chamber mouth.  This can be fixed by using a burnishing/polishing bit to chamfer this area.  Do this carefully, as you only want to polish and round off the chamber entry area at the top of the feed ramp.  Also, it's a good idea to plug the chamber with tissue paper so you don't get the polishing dust into the chamber/barrel.  When you are done working, push out the tissue paper from the barrel end and make sure you clean out all the polishing dust; you don't want to be shooting thi
Cheers,
Roddy
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Post by mikemyers on 3/13/2020, 10:13 pm

One note I should add....    the Wolff springs come (came?) with directions for which end of the gun the "cut" end of the spring should point.  The solid end of the spring should point towards the target, which is the opposite of what My Wolff spring directions said to do.  

If the open end points towards the front, there is a small hole that the wire can get into, and work its way out through the hole until the entire gun jams up.  There are threads and photos of this on the S&W forum.  


Also, clean off the ammo, and see if that fixes things.  My "new" CCI ammo, which they sent me to replace my defective ammo, still has too much "stuff" on it.  It even created problems on one of my revolvers.
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Post by Domino1 on 3/15/2020, 8:15 am

^^^^ What Mikemyers says above is good advice.  Wolf should finish both ends of the spring like OEM.  It would eliminate the spring jamming up the slide.

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Post by Outthere on 3/15/2020, 9:56 am

Domino1 wrote:^^^^ What Mikemyers says above is good advice.  Wolf should finish both ends of the spring like OEM.  It would eliminate the spring jamming up the slide.
Wolff is aware of this problem. Their response was, (following forum guidelines here), ".... ...". 

They have no intention of changing them anytime soon.
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Post by mikemyers on 3/15/2020, 10:28 am

If you read the threads on the S&W forum, you'll read where Wolff had to replace two S&W Model 41 guns that were ruined by this.  No kidding, ruined.  The guns were locked up so tight that they were impossible to disassemble.  

Maybe Wolff won't change the springs, but I can't understand why they don't at least provide a warning to  include with the springs.

It's equally sad that so few people seem to know about this.  I'm sure gunsmiths would be aware of it, but how about shooters who are told to always put the spring in their 1911 the other way 'round?  I put the Wolff spring in my own 41 incorrectly, until I read about the problem.
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Post by mikemyers on 3/15/2020, 11:43 am

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t14411-how-to-destroy-your-model-41-by-following-the-instructions#125598

I thought this deserved its own thread.
There's LOTS more information about this on the S&W forum - I posted links to one of the discussions, and to some of the disaster photos.
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Post by Domino1 on 3/15/2020, 2:58 pm

Outthere wrote:
Domino1 wrote:^^^^ What Mikemyers says above is good advice.  Wolf should finish both ends of the spring like OEM.  It would eliminate the spring jamming up the slide.
Wolff is aware of this problem. Their response was, (following forum guidelines here), ".... ...". 

They have no intention of changing them anytime soon.
That is a great response from Wolff and I will avoid buying their products going forward because of that.

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Post by Outthere on 3/15/2020, 6:41 pm

I paraphrased their response. 
Other than refusing to update their Model 41 springs, Wolff is an excellent company to deal with.
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