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The most common issues with a semi-auto is either a FTF or FTE. However, regardless of the complaint, here are some issues to check BEFORE you start packing your gun up to ship it off to be repaired.

1. Don't Get Mad

  • Remember that your gun is an inanimate object and it's malfunction isn't an expression of having a "tiff" with you... its not doing this on purpose. However, our anger can outweigh our ability to think rationally to diagnose the problem.
  • If, as a golfer, you throw your clubs in the pond or wrap them around trees, then perhaps shooting may not be the best sport for you. Remember that YOU are the PRIMARY CULPRIT if your gun ceases to function.

2. Carefully note the problem while it is happening

  • Whatever the problem, take notes, or better yet, pics with your cell phone.
  • These problems will happen at the range when you don't have the ability to take your gun apart, and after you return to your work bench you will appreciate the aid to your memory.
3. Make a list of what may have changed.

  • If your gun was functioning well, then ask yourself if you changed anything? Guns have a definite "taste" in ammo, and if your gun begins to have digestive problems (FTF or FTE) look first at any changes in ammo.
  • Check your grip on the gun, cleaning or lubricating issues, etc. If the gun WAS working, then don't begin with the presumption that the gun is broken...

4. Inspect the Gun

  • Field Strip the gun at your bench. Look closely as the function of moving parts. Clean and perhaps degrease the moving parts. Look at the extractor, ejector, trigger linkages.
  • DON'T DISASSEMBLE the gun at this point. It is FAR more likely that you will find that just a good cleaning will cure any problems with the gun itself... remember these are made to be durable... like tools... they are intended to last.
  • Be sure that when you are inspecting the gun, use a magnifying glass to look for nicks or unusual wear. Play Sherlock Holmes and know exactly what your gun should look like.

5. Be suspicious of magazine issues

  • Magazines account for MOST of the malfunctions on semi-automatics. Magazines have about as many moving parts as any part of the gun... followers, springs, floor plates. Disassemble the magazine and clean it.
  • Magazines account for MOST of the malfunctions on semi-automatics. Magazines have about as many moving parts as any part of the gun... followers, springs, floor plates. Disassemble the magazine and clean it. Aftermarket mags (with the exception of Mecgar) aren't know for stellar reliability. This does not pertain to 1911 pattern guns, 1911's tend to be much crankier with regards to mags than other guns.
  • The follower binds before all the bullets have been fed... usually at the same point each time...

    Check the follower for burrs or the magazine walls for narrowed places where it may have been crushed.
  • The spring isn't strong enough to keep constant pressure to hold the bullets at the proper feed angle.

    Stretch or replace the spring with a stiffer version
  • The lips of the magazine are too wide or too narrow

  • If you look closely at the angle of the bullet sitting in the magazine, it should be pointed into the chamber. If the angle is too low, it will "nose dive" into the ramp. You may need to find a good functioning magazine and use it for a model to "tweak" the problem magazine.

6. 90% of the problems with your gun will have been resolved before you reach this point. From here you need to explore your options.

  • Have you identified the problem well enough to explain it to someone else?
  • Are you comfortable enough working on your gun to fix the fixable issues?
  • Have you check the forums to see if someone else has a solution to your problem?

7. Prepare to Return Your Gun for Warranty Work

  • This should be a "last ditch" effort. It isn't an option if you can find another "work around"... i.e., changing ammo, etc. No warranty is an excuse for you to demand that your gun meets your "expectations."
  • Write a detailed explanation of your observations... not your diagnosis. Send pics if you have them.

    A car mechanic helped me learn this... I took the car in because it was making a "thumping" noise and I told him I thought it was in the transmission. He worked on the part, but when I picked it up, it was still thumping. Upset, I challenged him... he said, "You told me I needed to look at the transmission, and I did. You didn't ask me to fix the thumping noise!" It turned out to be a fuel line thumping against the fire wall.
  • Be patient... remember the "knot-heads" that have sent their guns in ahead of you because they didn't have the patience to get past the first step.
  • If you are in a hurry... check with your local gunsmith. Yes it will cost you money, but if you are going to go ballistic over a few weeks then you should pay a premium. AND then if it doesn't work... you can fuss at your gunsmith face to face... yea right!

This FAQ was the product of the group effort of all the moderators of Taurus Armed.
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