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Old 03-24-2020, 07:52 PM
brosky brosky is offline
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Default Model 41 Slide Release/Ejector question

Hello all. I have a one year old Performance Center 41 that developed stove pipe and FTE/FTF issues after about 5,000 rounds. I read as much as I could and checked all of the items from each of the threads, but never found anything that helped. I did send the gun back to S&W over the holidays and a new release/ejector was installed along with a new hammer and spring and a new recoil spring. The gun was OK for about 200 rounds and started acting up again, so I polished the chamber and while it seems to help, I still have an intermittent issue that keep coming up on the first round firing, then a stove pipe, followed with a failure to feed one or two rounds later, which is a killer in timed or rapid fire competition. I had three DNF's this past season, which drove me to sending the gun back and missing six more matches. So my question is really this: the slide release/ejector seems very loose in the frame in that it can move a good amount which could result in a different contact point on the bolt at different times. Is that part supposed to be tight in the frame or should it be free to move somewhat to allow such a different pattern of contact on the bolt? I'm wondering if that could be causing the intermittent issues that I'm having?
Thanks in advance for any ideas.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:27 PM
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Reference the slide stop/ejector, when the gun is fully assembled, the lever is confined in the frame cutout, and it's movement should be up and down. It's upward movement is dampened by a small spring, so during operation and cycling, it should be in the cutout and laying on top of the frame, being held down by the staked in spring. If the lever has a lot of motion side to side after assembly, even with the slide locked to the rear, this would not be normal.

With the Model 41, it seems the list of possible problems is almost endless. Most of them are trouble free, some others are nothing but trouble.

Based on my own experience, most common problems are related to (but not confined to) the following: dirt and shooting debris, ammunition choice, extractor related problems, recoil and magazine springs and lubricants.

Remember when trying to diagnose the problem, it's always best to change one thing and then test for effect, rather than trying a bunch of stuff and having to back-track and start over.

I'd start with a thorough cleaning and re-lubrication first.

You don't say what ammo you are using. I would try different brands of ammo next. Perhaps you'll discover a brand that the gun likes and that groups well. Try something at the upper end of the standard velocity range to see if that helps. These guns are very ammo sensitive. Does it work reliably with high velocity ammunition?
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Last edited by armorer951; 03-24-2020 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:39 PM
brosky brosky is offline
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Armore, thanks very much. The movement that I was referring to seems to be lateral, not the normal up and down movement and again, I'm searching.
I have used CCI STD almost exclusively with no problems through the first 5,000 or more rounds. I use either Pistol Match or Green for competition and again that usually is trouble free up until this past November. I have cleaned the gun in my ultrasonic tank and lubed it well. I had a local smith install a Volquartsen extractor and spring and do a complete clean and lube just before sending it back to S&W but it didn't help at all. Lastly, I have only fried about 30-40 rounds of CCI Mini mags through it and that was during the first several months of owning it so I had no problems with anything at that time. I read somewhere that high velocity was not recommended so I just continued on with CCI STD. Aquila pistol match and Federal Pistol Match ran OK too, but because S&W recommended the CCI I stayed with that choice.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:43 PM
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Additionally, I took all of my mags (8) apart and cleaned them and tried changing springs for new ones in several but still no difference. I tried the Wolff test pack of recoil springs and all worked but sooner or later the problem started again. Sometimes after 100 rounds, other times after 400 rounds and other times after 50 rounds. Very inconsistent.

Last edited by brosky; 03-24-2020 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:50 PM
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I lost a reply somehow so here it is again. CCI STD, Pistol Match or Green Tag. I have tried Aquila and Federal Pistol Match which worked fine when the gun was new, but never ran more than 100 rounds of each. I tried CCI Mini Mags when the gun was new, but someone at S&W tech said to stay with STD so I did. The movement that I was speaking of is the lateral movement. The up and down is working OK and the spring is inside that controls it. I did try the 6.0 and 6.5 from the Wolff trial pack and no difference with either, so I went back to the new factory spring.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:10 PM
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Sounds like you have narrowed the possible issue down quite a bit already. Make sure if you are using a factory OEM recoil spring with a cut end that the cut end is toward the back, down in the cavity in the frame, and the closed wound end is toward the front. I had a cut factory spring in mine that was installed wrong. I switched the spring around and no more problems.

BTW, this is contrary to the instructions in the Wolff packaging, which instructs you to turn the spring with the open coil to the front. Wolff advised me this is because their springs are "variable" springs...so they have to be installed a certain way.....with the open coil in the front. I don't use Wolff springs in my model 41 for this reason.

Very frustrating for sure. I don't believe the ejector/s. stop is a fitted part but I'm not sure. Perhaps you could try replacing the existing ejector with a new or used one. It's possible that the pin attached to the ejector that fits into the frame may be worn, allowing the lateral movement in the cavity.
The one in my gun has a worn spot on it on the exterior of the leg from contact with the slide. This contact holds it firmly against the frame while the gun is cycling.

Any issue with the slide locking back on the last round??
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Last edited by armorer951; 03-24-2020 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:15 PM
brosky brosky is offline
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Lastly I should have mentioned that every change that I have made was and individual change, followed by a period of testing that was at a minimum of a 100 and up to 300 or so rounds. I normally clean the gun well after 300 rounds and do clean the chamber after every 50 rounds since I have found that area and the bolt face to become the dirtiest after shooting. A quick brush of the chamber ID followed with a swab and a plastic bristle brush over the bolt face and breech and extractor groove seem to clean up any particulate left after shooting.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:24 PM
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Thanks again for your reply. When I sent the gun back it had a spring installed exactly in the manner that you suggested. Which was the way that I received it from the factory when new. When I got it back, the new spring that S&W installed has both ends closed on it, so that is what remains in the gun today. I will take it apart one more time since I have nothing better to do with all of the ranges now closed here in RI/MA and I'll switch back to the lube that I used when it was new and up through the first 5K rounds which is Gunzilla. I switched over to Lucas Extreme about two months ago and the problems have seemed to get worse since then. I never gave that a thought until now, but It's worth a try once I can shoot it again.
Also I only dry fire with aluminum snap caps and I check the face of the chamber if I get a dry fire with a FTF to make sure there is no burr on the chamber edge.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:37 PM
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May just be my particular pistol, but I have found that mine will not operate reliably with standard velocity CCI ammunition and a full length factory spring. The new OEM springs are approx. 4.75" long. The spring I have in the gun now has had approx. 1/2" cut off. Since recoil springs are inexpensive, you might experiment with a slightly shorter factory recoil spring. I took mine to the range with a couple of new springs and cut single coils off of the new one installed in the gun until reliability was restored.

If the spring is too long (too strong) like it was in my case, the slide velocity is reduced to the point where ejection is not forceful enough, and the passively ejected casing gets in the way of the susequent closing/feeding cycle. This very important recoil spring strength is tied to the mainspring tension, magazine spring tension, slide motion and lubrication.....so a lot of things are going on that can cause issues during the motion of the slide after detonation.
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Last edited by armorer951; 03-25-2020 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:42 PM
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Occasionally, the slide will not lock back on the last round fired, but that is a very rare occurrence.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:09 AM
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I too had E&E problems with my 41. I tried the plop test and even polished the chamber and the feed ramp. That didn't help. I saw several write ups about Volquartsen extractor and found one on ebay. I also ordered new springs from brownells. When I disassemble the weapon I had to dig the extractor spring out and found rust and crud in the extractor hole. That spring was deformed. I took an 1/8" new drill bit and hand turned it to clean out the hole and the new spring slides in and out easily. Both that spring and the main recoil spring was 1/4" shorted as compared to the new ones. I didn't like having to pay 29.95 for the extractor but since it's no longer in production I didn't have an option. I also deburred all the rails, oiled it up and took it to the range. 100 flawless rounds with no problems using standard velocity federal ammo from Walmart, the cheap stuff. I now know better how to keep it clean and what to check and clean more regularly. I hope this helps others cause it was no fun when spent rounds would no clear and it would not feed properly. My 41 is and 1989 model and works great now. Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:46 AM
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Hello brosky, just a side question. Have you had any one else shoot the gun?
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:09 PM
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This:
Model 41 maintenance
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmborkovic View Post
Hello brosky, just a side question. Have you had any one else shoot the gun?
Ha-ha....yes and I was waiting for that question. Being a pistol instructor forces me to look at the way people shoot and even more so myself. I had another instructor film me and we watched in slow motion to see if I flinched, jerked the trigger, went limp wrist or anything that would cause the problem and luckily I did not. I also had two others who own 41's shoot the gun and they both had a stove pipe and an FTF during their time with the gun.

This afternoon is a good time for the gun to come apart for a detailed once over on everything as I wait for a new spring from Brownells along with a spare firing pin that I ordered.

I will take the bolt out and check to make sure there is no crud in the extractor spring area. I saw that in one of the videos and when I had the smith install the new Volquartsen extractor he said that he was surprised how clean that it was when he took it apart, but that was about 3,000 rounds ago.
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:56 PM
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These are two pictures, one of each side of the frame. Does the wear on the slide release and rear of the frame as well as the other side look normal to you guys? Just under 10,000 rounds through the gun to date.

OOPS!! Sorry, don't know how to post pictures here yet.

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Old 03-26-2020, 12:01 AM
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Order a Volquartsen Extractor for $10 bucks from MidwayUSA. They are forged (not stamped out like S&W uses) and usually fix extraction problems since they are much better quality than the originals. Installing it is a 15 minute process and all you need is a Hammer and a Punch.

NOTE: When replacing the Recoil Spring on the M41, note that some after market versions such as Wolff's have one side unfinished. That unfinished side MUST face the REAR of the pistol!!! If you mistakenly face it towards the muzzle your pistol can and will most likely jam up really bad. ALWAYS install a Recoil Spring on the M41 with the finished side facing the muzzle and the opened / unfinished side facing rearward!
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:09 AM
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I already have the Volquartsen extractor installed already and have a new recoil spring in the gun from S&W repair that is closed on both ends.
Sadly, Volquartsen is no longer making the Model 41 extractors and no dealer that I can find has any available.
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
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I already have the Volquartsen extractor installed already and have a new recoil spring in the gun from S&W repair that is closed on both ends.
Sadly, Volquartsen is no longer making the Model 41 extractors and no dealer that I can find has any available.
Sad to hear that they discontinued it. I wish I had know that - would have bough a few extra ones.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:01 AM
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Wirthwein Guns Boonville Indiana on ebay has them but you'll pay 29 bucks for an 11 dollar part!
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