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The Annals of Troubleshooting a Pardini SP BE 22

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The Annals of Troubleshooting a Pardini SP BE 22 Empty The Annals of Troubleshooting a Pardini SP BE 22

Post by Gravy on 3/22/2020, 2:04 pm

I have been shooting Bullseye (BE) since 2013 and started out with a bent barrel Ruger (BBR) MKII slab side which was tricked out (ultradot, volquartsen BE grip and vulquortsen trigger) for BE.  I shot it for 3 years and my scores started in the high 230’s;  but, I plateaued in the high 240’s.  So, I decided to change guns, not so much due to the gun because gun shot better than I could; but, I noticed other shooters were shooting less heavy guns.  So, I found a Browning Target Pro, fully adjustable trigger and even though it was 30 yrs old, it had not been shot.  I changed guns, changed stance to be more of a parallel stance, practiced a lot and improved my scores over the next 2 years to high 250’s.  Then, I purchased a new Pardini SP BE 22 in the spring of ‘19, read about and observed how the best and Olympic shooters shoot and changed the way I shot, again.  I added an opaque eye cover to glasses for my left eye and added a diopter to focus my ultradot for my right eye and I also practiced, a bit more - approximately two bricks a month.  But, the biggest impact on my shooting was the purchase and use of an economical electronic target system (iTarget) and a .22 laser (22 LaserLyte Laser Trainer) that allows my gun to be used for trigger control practice at home.  It has really helped me improve my flawed 50 year old trigger finger.  Now I am fairly consistent in the 270’s with an occasional 280. 
 
Some say that the Pardini SP BE is the Cadillac of bullseye 22’s.  It was certainly a game changer for me.   Over a period of 4 months, I shot ~3,500 rounds through the gun and it functioned flawlessly.  Over the years, I have seen a number of alibies during our club shoots that were due to a dirty gun.  However, unlike some of my fellow shooters, I shoot a clean gun. 
 
With my new 6” Pardini, my practice sessions consisted of 10 shots each for 5 slow fire targets and 10 shots each for five more targets, alternating between timed and rapid fire.  The gun shoots CCI SV just fine;  but, the wax buildup on the face of the bolt and breach was excessive;  so, I cleaned it with a bit of Hopps #9 on a q-tip after every 100 rounds.  I also clean the wax off the inside/front and feed ramp of the clips.  And, I would run one patch with a bit of Hopp’s through the barrel a 3 or 4 times, focusing on the chamber by pushing the patch through the barrel past the chamber and pulling it back through so it doubles up and is tight, then I would twist the patch in the chamber.  Doing this just a couple times, the pistol passes the cartridge drop test (thud test) every time and there was never a need to put a brush to the barrel or chamber.  I also disassemble the gun (one bolt to remove barrel and bolt) and clean it after every 500 rounds or so.  But, then it happened, a failure to eject (FTE).  For the next 3 months, I suffered with 2 to 4% FTE.
 
I was perplexed because, this new 6” Pardini SP BE is supposed to be less particular on ammo.  My education is Chemical Engineering and aside from a few equations, what engineering really teaches is to apply methodological problem solving techniques to find solutions to problems.  I am also traditionally trained in probabilistic risk analysis;  which has taught me to think in failure space.  I am racking my brain to trying to get this gun to shoot like it is supposed to do.  So, I started problem solving by changing one parameter at a time and then trying the gun out again.
 
The failure to eject cases were usually jammed between the inside of the bolt and the next cartridge being loaded and at 90 deg (perpendicular) to the next cartridge which is partially chambered.  Here is some data:
 

  1. The FTEs were ammunition independent.  The first 3500 rounds were CCI Std and Aquila SX Std.  The FTEs started very soon after I opened a new case of CCI Std.  So, I tried Eley, RWS, Lapua, and Aquila Pistol Match to rule out an ammo dependent failure.  I had fewer jams on European ammo and it was faster than the CCI.  But, the CCI had a velocity standard deviation of <1% and this was better than any of the European ammo I tried.  Note:  ammo which chrono’ed over 1000 fps seemed to jam less.
  2. The FTE occur with all 3 clips I have and it happens on round 2, 3 or 4 (e.g., no pattern).  And, it does not seem to matter whether the gun is warm or cold.
  3. I tried a friend’s clip from a Pardini version a few years older than mine and my gun worked flawlessly for 50 rounds – granted, that is not an exhaustive test.  But, his clip springs are much stronger; hence, the bolt would have more friction on it and would likely not cycle as fast.  Thus, allowing the spent case to eject properly?

I did get some good advice along the way.  One fellow shooter offered to buy the gun for $50, even though it didn’t shoot consistently.  And, at one point I was considering this offer.  But, letting a $3k investment go for $50 to end my frustration was like having to kiss my sister.  I just wasn’t going to do it.

My shooting mentor that sold me the BBR claimed that the Pardini was too clean to function properly.  But, watching him get his hands black every time he picked up his Pardini just didn’t interest me.  So, I rifled through the bullseye forum and found others suffering FTE with the Pardini.  Several were offering suggestions like:
 

  • CCI std. is too long – But, from what I can tell, the new SP BE clips are a couple thousands longer and they fed CCI std. just fine through my gun for the first 3500 rounds.  So, I wasn’t convinced this was the issue.
  • Replace the springs on the clips – This had merit because my testing with other older Pardini clips, which had much stronger springs;  but, my clips were almost new.  I did increase the tension on my springs by adding a base plate to effectively shorten the springs.  But, I still had FTEs.  So, this didn’t seem to be the issue.
  • Test different ammo – been there, done that without any appreciable result.
  • Bend the Ejector in ~10 degrees to put more pressure on the shell to eject it quicker.  This interested me because from an engineering perspective, shortening the distance between the ejector and the extractor would in theory force the case out quicker.  Tried this as well with no noticeable change in the FTE rate. 

Well, my mentor stepped up again and said that the gun friction surfaces were too slick because I was using a Teflon based oil.  I was even counseled “Don’t call Pardini, they will just say use better ammo”.  But, I had done my best to figure this thing out and to no avail.  So, I called Alex at Pardini and he suggested replacing the recoil spring. Previously Alex had told me to replace the recoil spring when it was ½” shorter than factory and I still had 3/8” to go – it was only compressed by 1 ½ coils.  But, I replaced it anyway and the FTE rate went down but, I still experienced failures.  Alex is great to work with, a capable shooter and easy with which to do business.  {Shout out to Alex!}
 
Still grappling with the issue, my mentor said that my grip was not strong enough.  Now this really puzzled me because I exercise rather heavy and use a Deathgrip exerciser regularly.  I can generally max out on a grip meter in the 150’s and have occasionally hit 170 lbs with either hand.  So, it is not than I am weak;  but, with the new BE SP palm riser, it is easy to relax the grip.  So, I practiced with intention of a tight grip.  Still had FTEs.  And, for what it is worth, I could shoot the gun without a tight grip for the first 3500 rounds.
 
I even thought, perhaps the gun was finally broken in and this is how it will perform with CCI.  So, I ordered another Pardini just so I had a good gun for Bullseye season.
 
And, then in forums, I read one note that described the same jams I was getting and the shooter simply said it is always due to the extractor.  So, I pulled the old extractor out and it looked just like a new extractor.  But, the extractor spring was crushed.  It only had a fraction of the spring constant of a new spring. 
 
I pondered the cause of the crushed spring.  As it turns out, my mentor was right.  My gun was too clean.  Or at least the FTEs were a result of my cleaning the gun.  Yes, it was because of my gun cleaning techniques.  You see, my mentor had told me to be sure and clean behind the extractor.  To do so, I would pull the extractor back with my thumb nail and the clean the bolt face exposed by the disengaged extractor.  This cleaning technique crushed the extractor spring so it no longer applied the necessary force on the extractor. 
 
I replaced the extractor spring and the gun now shoots like it is supposed to.  I have experienced a couple FTE in the last 2 bricks of ammo and I am attributing this to a loose nut on the grip.  I am trying to remember to grip tighter each time I shoot.
 
I have started shooting the backup SP-22 more now and recently cleaned the counter balance weights.  I noticed during reassembly that these 6 weights dropped in with a thud.  I also observed that the gun only moved about ½ the amount of my first Pardini.  In fact, at 50’, it does not even go off the target.  So, it is easy to get back on target for the timed and rapid fire.  As opposed to my first SP BE.  When I drop the weights in it, they go down very slowly.  I tried a light oil.  But, that just made the weights drop even slower.  My hunch was that the weights were dropping slow was due to a tighter tolerance.  To fix this, I ran each of the weights across a large whet stone to create a small flat spot down the length of the weights.  As it turns out, that was the problem and the weights now drop in with a thud and in theory, this should significantly reduce the movement due to recoil.
 
I have noticed some discussion in this forum about the O-ring stack which serves as a recoil buffer.  By my measurements and direct comparison to purchased O-rings from Pardini, the newer Pardini SP 22 uses the following 0-Ring which is available from McMaster-Carr and you get 100 of them for less than the price Pardini charges for one O-Ring:
 
Part number 5308T113, Buna-N, Durometer Hardness (90A), 0.07” Width, 0.070” ID, 0.201” OD
 
Regarding lubricants, the Pardini manual says do not use organic lubricants.  But, this gun is mechanical and I have used Teflon based lubricants for many years with superb wear surface results.  So, and the Pardini is working just fine with a Teflon based lube.  However, I have recently started using SLIP 2000, similar to Pardini recommended oil.  And, I must admit that this does not attract powder residue like the Tetra Oil.
 
As Closing thought:  I am keeping the Pardinis;  but, may start looking for a new shooting mentor. Wink

Gravy

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Post by radjag on 3/22/2020, 2:41 pm

Gravy (au Teflon jus!),

What an excellent report on your experience and investigations - almost deserves to be a sticky!

Thank you.

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Post by Jon Eulette on 3/22/2020, 3:20 pm

As Closing thought:  I am keeping the Pardinis;  but, may start looking for a new shooting mentor. The Annals of Troubleshooting a Pardini SP BE 22 Icon_wink


I love it LOL.


Jon
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Post by lablover on 3/22/2020, 5:57 pm

Wow, this is a great post.  Maybe one of our Admins will make it into a sticky!  

Printing it just in case...super valuable. Especially the o ring part numbers

Thank you for the time put into this

Joe
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Post by CraigB5940 on 3/23/2020, 7:56 pm

Your the Man!
Thanks for the o ring info, you saved me some measuring and searching the Mc Master web site!

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Post by ssauer2004 on 3/24/2020, 9:45 am

I'm interested in cleaning the weights.  I've never seen any information regarding this.  I'm not sure Pardini even discusses it.  Could you provide us with more information regarding why you cleaned them?
ssauer2004
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Post by Gravy on 3/24/2020, 10:31 am

RE:  cleaning the weights.

The weights/springs are an inertial dampener - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertia_damper for more explanation.  If they do not move, they are no different than shooting a pistol which is front heavy.  When they move, the pistol moves much less;  hence, it is much faster/easier to get timed and rapid fire follow on shots.  The weights need to move easily.  So, they need to be clean.  To confirm that they move easily, remove the cover, springs and number the ends of the weights so they can go back in the same order.  Then clean the weights with some alcohol or something like Hoppes #9 - i still like the smell after 50 yrs of using it.  My wife rubs a bit behind each of her years before we go to bed.  :-;

Clean each of the holes - again alcohol or Hoppes #9.  After a couple minutes (all liquid is evaporated or cleaned off), point the pistol up and drop the weights back in their original hole.  If it hits with a thud, you are done.  If not, first attempt to dry everything off again.  Any liquid (including oil) on the weight will block the displacement of air when the weight moves (albeit, the volume of air is very small).  More important is that the stiction (see Wikipedia) is limited as much as possible.  To do this, make sure everything is clean and dry.  If it still does not drop with a thud, it is most likely too tight to let the escaping air move out quick enough.  To fix this, i simply took the weights and held one at a time (thumb and index finger on each end) and used a large whetstone to make a flat spot on the weight down the length of each weight that did not drop with a thud.  A belt sander would have been much easier;  but, i would have had to move the Harleys out of the way to get to the belt sander.  After cleaning the weights again, they now move almost frictionless and drop with a thud.  If yours do not move easily now, this should make your follow on shots much easier.

For what it is worth, i called Pardini and spoke to a representative.  They really did not understand the engineering principles of an inertial dampener and simply told me to oil the weights.  Oil will keep them from rusting;  but, i don't shoot my gun in the rain and it will hinder the inertial dampening.

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Post by fc60 on 3/24/2020, 12:15 pm

Greetings,

With the dampers, I clean the Aluminum shroud holes well along with the metal dampers.

Then, I lay the dampers on a paper towel and spray them with CLP BreakFree and let the lube soak overnight.

Next day, I wipe the excess lube off and reassemble.

Watch out for the two M3 socket head screws. Early guns had traditional hex fittings and the newer models use Torx head.

The Torx seem to last longer.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by Gravy on 3/25/2020, 9:32 pm

Dave,

Your CPL process is a great idea.  Thanks for sharing!

mark

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The Annals of Troubleshooting a Pardini SP BE 22 Empty Thanks again on the O ring info!

Post by CraigB5940 on 4/16/2020, 8:05 pm

I ordered the O rings from Mc Master Carr using the part number listed above and they work perfect! I really needed to replace the factory recoil buffer O rings after 15 K rounds. 200 rounds through the Pardini after replacing them and they appear to work same as the factory O rings.

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Post by Pac918 on 6/5/2020, 11:32 pm

I’ve been meaning to reply to this, as I had a very similar experience earlier this year with a new SP that ran great for 4-5k rounds and then went into consistent FTE mode. Long story short: extractor spring! I’ve since encountered other Pardini shooters who’ve had similar experiences, but I also know some veteran Pardini shooters and even a veteran Pardini gunsmith who seemed unaware of this pattern. So, for emphasis and to save others some alibi time, I thought I’d echo this. 
And Pardini USA seems to be catching up on parts:)
Best,
P.

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Post by fc60 on 6/6/2020, 11:55 am

Greetings,

"veteran Pardini gunsmith"

I'll bite. Who is this person and contact info, please.

Cheers,

Dave
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