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What the heck has happened to my LC9s?

This is a discussion on What the heck has happened to my LC9s? within the Ruger Pistols forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; My LC9s will not shoot Hornady FTX or ATX ammo in the 9 round Mag. The primer end of the casing is caught on the ...


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Old March 2nd, 2017, 10:40 AM   #31
 
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My LC9s will not shoot Hornady FTX or ATX ammo in the 9 round Mag. The primer end of the casing is caught on the magazine and the bullet tip is caught on the feed ramp. Acts as if the live round is to long to enter the chamber. Sometimes the live round will be sticking straight up (bullet end up) like a stovepipe, on the semi closed slide. Happens only on the 9 round mags. 2 of them but not on the 7 round mags. Happens at least 3 times per 9 round magazine.



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Old March 2nd, 2017, 10:53 AM   #32
 
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Ruger or Pro Mag ?
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 10:56 AM   #33
 
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Ruger, I only use Ruger parts.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 11:35 AM   #34
 
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Sorry, I don't have an answer but I did see a similar issue on the other Ruger forum but no answer except call Ruger.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 11:51 AM   #35
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennsy View Post
Sorry, I don't have an answer but I did see a similar issue on the other Ruger forum but no answer except call Ruger.
That's something that actually makes me sick to my stomach. Call Ruger. Call Springfield. Call whoever.
Some folks just don't want to learn to do anything for themselves.
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 04:26 AM   #36
 
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That's something that actually makes me sick to my stomach. Call Ruger. Call Springfield. Call whoever.
Some folks just don't want to learn to do anything for themselves.
I called Ruger and they sent me another 7 round and 9 round mag. I have not tried the NEW 9 round mag yet but the other 9 rounders feed Everything from ball, flat nose Winchester, Federal and others along with 6 other Self Defense brands of ammo.

I stopped using Hornady SD ammo. It is not worth spending money on Unreliable ammo that does Not feed properly and that I DO NOT TRUST when all other brands work without failure.

When you have 3 failures per Every 9 round mag. with just 1 brand of SD ammo, that is an indicator. I shot a box of Hornady FTX and a box of ATX and each box had the same failure rate. Easy Cowboy

Yes, the problem is probably the 9 rd. mag. and I will know more at my next range trip but I lost confidence in the FTX and ATX ammo.

Last edited by charlieboy; March 3rd, 2017 at 04:29 AM. Reason: correction
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 06:04 AM   #37
 
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My only Ruger 9-round mag seems to work fine with all ammo I've tried; but the ProMag 7-rounder won't feed the last round fer nuthin'!!! I've got 4 Ruger mags between the LC9s and sPro, so the ProMag is used for range and practice drills only.

By the bye, I've been shooting the Independence Aluminum for a few boxes and it's running great...no problems at all!
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 06:22 AM   #38
 
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Don't tell me "easy" like I just crawled up your butt, my post wasn't directed towards anyone in this thread. Not a single person here offered "Call Ruger" as a first resort. Was your first resort to call Ruger? No. Were you satisfied with that advice when it was given to you? No. You worked on your own to figure out the problem and asked for thoughts from other people. That's exactly the kind of thing I love to see. My post wasn't directed towards ANYONE who seeks advice, but to those who's only advice is "call customer support".

Even Pennsy there. Wants to help, tries to help, has seen similar discussion... and if someone had offered some more helpful advice in those similar discussions, Pennsy would have shared that with you! But you see where this widespread phenomenon of "call customer support" leaves us all hanging with our butts out in the breeze? Here we have someone who could have been able to offer some more helpful insight, but CAN'T and is even apologetic about it. Because "call customer support" is the go-to answer for far too many people.

Like this guy. Second post. The rest are from people who *gasp* paid attention in class and actually had some real insight. And the best part? I LEARNED something that I can share with others if I see this come up somewhere else.

Super Blackhawk, is it supposed to be like this?

Now here you are. You've pretty much got your issue worked out, it seems to be ammo related. So what are you going to do if you see someone else chime in with the same problem?
Are you going to share your experiences with them, or are you going to offer the cop-out, "Call Ruger"? Probably going to share your experiences.
Know what I'm going to do? If I see someone say, "I'm having problems with my 9 round mag, I'm shooting Hornady..."
I'm gonna say, "Hey! I ran into this feller goes by Charlieboy, had that same problem with the same ammo! He tried a bunch of different brands and narrowed it down to an issue with Hornady, so try different brands before calling Ruger."
See where I'm going with this? Pennsy could have offered something similar if that sort of experience had been shared before, and probably will now.

Ruger probably does have some of the best CS in the world. They're going to stand behind their product no matter what, if it's old, normal wear and tear, abuse, factory defect, they don't care, they've got our backs. But that doesn't mean we have to rely on them for everything.

Thank you. You've shared information that likely will help someone else out quite a bit, save them some time, frustration, and money.

Now, I know another owner who has two 9 round mags, and can only fit 8 rounds in them. Know anything about that? I told him to make sure the spring is seated inside the follower, as I've had the same problem with both my 7 round mags after reassembling them improperly. That didn't help. Are they really hard to top off, like the springs are super stiff and maybe just need some breaking in? Think that could somehow be ammo related? He didn't share the type of ammo because that does seem to be irrelevant.
Edit to add: these are Ruger mags.

I'll never hold it against anyone for trying to help themselves. I'll never hold it against anyone for offering help, or offering help that doesn't work. But I HATE seeing "help" that is completely unhelpful.

Last edited by SteelHorseCowboy; March 3rd, 2017 at 06:25 AM.
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 09:44 AM   #39
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelHorseCowboy View Post
When my girlfriend and I, each having our own LC9s Pro, started having this exact same issue at approximately the same round count of right around 1K (I believe I had around 900, and she had maybe 950-1050), I tore them down to the nitty gritty.
...

I've shared this writeup with three other LC9s owners who were having the exact same issues at a similar round count and it solved their issues, as I'm hoping it solves yours.

I disassembled and cleaned the slide and all components thoroughly, and it was horribly filthy. It seems the LC9s Pro is fond of collecting nastiness in the striker channel, particularly brass shavings. This can affect it's function drastically.

The striker has no return spring, which usually leaves the striker tip partially exposed in the breech face during the slide's rearward travel after firing. It takes minimal pressure to push it back, since while the striker is in it's forward/firing position, it's basically floating, but not quite freely.

The spent casing usually bumps the striker back into it's channel, serving as a striker return. If you look at the wear marks on your breech face, you should be able to see where the spent casing kind of rotates across the breech face.
My apologies, I can't get a clear picture of my own, but I can see the evidence myself.

However!
I suspect the motion of the spent casing rolling across the breech face during ejection, while also serving as a striker return, is what causes the brass shavings to accumulate inside the channel. If you rub your finger across the breech face, you can feel that's a rather sharp edged little striker hole. When soft brass goes head to head against sharp steel, the brass will always lose.
.
.

So here's what happens.

Brass shavings and gunk build up in the striker channel. The little cups that hold the striker assembly together fit rather snugly in the striker channel, helping to align the striker with the striker hole as well as holding the whole shebang together. But those snug fitting rubber cups don't like trash in their house.
When it starts to build up too much, approximately 1,000 rounds seeming to be the magic number, the striker assembly starts to drag as those cups fight with the trash. If the spent casing doesn't manage to return the striker, you will start getting failures to eject.
When it reaches that point, you will also start getting failures feed if the base of the next round has a hiccup on the exposed striker tip, assuming you don't get a failure to eject on the previous round.
This will also cause failures to return to battery as the plate of the dragging striker snags on the striker release, leaving the gun about 3/16"-1/4" out of battery, and failures to fire when the striker assembly fails to overcome the buildup in the striker channel.

So, if you haven't already done so, tear that slide down and clean the hell out of it. If you already have, then maybe I've wasted my time or maybe this post will help someone else out.
And don't forget the striker block. It doesn't seem as prone to buildup, but if you're detail stripping the slide you might as well clean it real good too. Keeping it clean should also help to keep your trigger pull nice and smooth over time.

Overall, the LC9s Pro is an ingeniously simple and well designed firearm, but it's not without it's flaws. Sometime in the near future I intend to experiment with it, give the striker hole a light deburring/chamfering, may apply some grooves to the striker assembly's cups. But for now, I'll just detail strip and clean it every time I shoot. I find the cleaning tasks as therapeutic as the shooting anyway.

I already have a plan to reduce the length of the trigger pull, just haven't done it yet.
SHC

Good job on a very informative post with good pictures and diagrams.

I also agree with your comment about many people first suggestion is to call Ruger. Yes, Ruger does have the best customer service in the industry. But that has started to change. It used to be Ruger fixed almost everything without charge. Now there are reports of people having to pay for certain issues. I believe that is happening because some have taken advantage of Ruger.

I agree with your comments about cleaning the striker channel, especially early on cuz they often come with heavy grease that causes issues with light strikes. I do mine about every 1000 rounds. I run them virtually dry.

I have 4 striker fired pistols, only one has a "return" spring that ensures the firing pin retracts (SA XD 9mm SC Mod.2). The others, A LC9s, Ruger SR9c and a XDs .45 do not and the firing pin remains extended until the slide almost returns to battery. (My SR9c has over 7000 rounds fired and I fired more than 2200 rounds thru my LC9s.)

Early LC9 models have big issues with light strikes due to a build up of dirt and shavings in the firing pin hole. Those models were hammer fired. Ruger fixed the problem by chamfering the firing pin hole. Those who didn't want to send their pistols back to Ruger were able to fix the problem by themselves.

However, I respectfully disagree with your premise that the exposed firing pin is causing the problems that the OP has/had with ejection and stovepipes.


There are millions of firearms like all Glocks, Rugers SR center fire series, etc. that leave the firing pin exposed after firing. As the barrel drops and the slide moves back, the firing pin actually drags across the primer and makes a distinct impression. The primer does not cause it to rebound and retract into the channel. There are multiple threads in this forum and on other forums that confirm that.

On my SR9c, the firing pin is exposed until about the last 1/2' of the slide moving forward and closing. The front of the round is well into the barrel as it is being chambered. The striker is not free floating. The full force of the striker spring is keeping the firing pin exposed. During that last 1/2" inch or so, the trigger has reset and the sear is about to catch the tab on the striker and partially cock the striker an retract the firing pin on the end of the striker.

On the Glocks and SR centerfire series, pulling the trigger moves the striker even further back until the sear releases it. The LC9s is fully cocked by the slide. The sear is released when the trigger is pulled.

While I can't argue that you and your friends didn't fix your issues by cleaning the strike channel, I'm guessing that you also cleaned other areas at the same time. Perhaps it was those areas that were the key.

Here is some really good trouble shooting info that I ran across years ago:


DIAGNOSING FUNCTION PROBLEMS with firearms


To diagnose function problems they must be divided into either extraction or reloading problems, and the causes are not always the same.

Extraction problems are further divided into failure to extract from the chamber, or incomplete ejection, usually seen as a form of "stovepiping". Incomplete ejection is usually caused by incomplete slide retraction, or a missing or broken ejector. Underpowered ammo will cause incomplete retraction and "stovepiping".

Failure to extract causes include a defective or missing extractor, burrs or abnormalities in the chamber, or too powerful ammo causing swelling of the case. Incomplete slide retraction is often misdiagnosed as an extraction problem when the fired case is pushed back into the chamber. An oversize chamber will allow brass to expand beyond its elastic limit so that it remains tight after the shot is fired. One caution here, inspect the chamber carefully for cracks that let it expand abnormally.

Complete slide retraction and storage of recoil energy in the recoil spring is necessary for proper reloading. One cause for incomplete retraction is often lack of lubrication wasting the recoil energy through friction losses. In light framed guns, "limpwristing" allows relative slide vs frame speed to slow, thereby diverting and failing to store recoil energy in the recoil spring.

Reloading problems are further divided into magazine problems, or in some cases, extractor or cartridge guide(throating) problems.
Deformed magazine lips or a "sticking" follower are the usual causes. Inadequate springs are seldom the cause.
Although a dragging follower or deformed mag lips can often be overcome with an extra strength spring, this is not the best solution, since intermittent failures will probably continue with the possibility of extractor breakage.

Deformed magazine lips may hold the head of the cartridge down too long in the reloading cycle, so that when it is forced out by a strong magazine spring it rises late and very fast, "jumping" ahead of the extractor instead of smoothly rising up behind it. This forces the extractor to jump over the cartridge rim to reach battery. This may eventually break the extractor, and often mutilates the case rim.

Even when the magazine lips and spring are correct, the extractor can be too tight or the breech face can have a rough surface, so that the cartridge cannot easily slide up behind the extractor as it should. A symptom of this is usually a hesitation or halt going into battery. This is usually misdiagnosed as improper throating.

Stovepipes are usually either of two different problems. Either the breech face/extractor slot is too rough or tight for the cart to move up smoothly behind the extractor and it gets kicked forward without being caught by the extractor. It can then either tilt up to a stovepipe or go on into the chamber.

Guns with this problem can seem to run normally most of the time if the extractor jumps over the rim after the cart is seated in the chamber. It is deceptive. One clue may be a mark on the back of the rim made by the extractor jumping over the rim. This is not always present, so lack of a mark is not conclusive.

Or..the mag lips are open too wide and release the bullet end of the cartridge too soon. This is more critical because they can also release too late by being too tight. For instance, the early P11 and P40 mags were modified by cutting back the lips slightly to cure the to late release problem.

The late release problem could either stovepipe or seem to jam on the ramp. Jamming on the ramp is almost a myth. If the cartridge is up in the magazine where it should be, it is already well above the ramp.

Careful study is needed when a usually reliable pistol begins to malfunction. I have attempted to correct some of the misconceptions about semi-auto malfunctions, but there are many and sometimes multiple problems.

Good luck and stay in the X-ring, Jack F


http://www.gunsmith.fuselier.com



Last edited by mndoggie; March 3rd, 2017 at 09:47 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2017, 05:49 PM   #40
 
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Mndoggie, I'll be copying that troubleshooting write up for future reference, thanks for sharing it.

As far as the shaving problem being solved with chamfering, I'm very glad to hear that chamfering does solve the issue. But mine and my girlfriend's guns are most definitely NOT chamfered. On both of them, I can feel the sharp edge around the striker hole, and we are both getting shavings in the striker channel. There's simply no room for disagreement on that, it's just a fact.
As far as how they've been cleaned, on our two I can assure you the only thing I did differently was to detail strip the slide and clean it all out.

For the other three owners I've shared this with, I can't confirm whether theirs were chamfered or not, nor can I confirm whether or not they cleaned anything else differently. And at the time, I didn't think to ask whether or not they could feel a sharp edge around the striker hole. I can say, they experienced the same problems we did, and they did tell me they had shavings in the striker channel, and that their guns ran fine after cleaning it out.

Now here is the reason I believe the exposed striker is what's causing the malfunctions:
As you pointed out, the primer dragging across the exposed striker does cause a distinct impression in the primer. That impression looks exactly like what it is, like the primer was pushed across the striker. However, with both of our guns, after the striker channel has been freshly cleaned, there is no such deformity. It's a perfect looking strike. As the round count increases, that deformity shows up and continues to become more pronounced as the round count continues to increase. The last time we went to the range, I checked intermittently to see how hard it was to push the striker back in and it did seem to be getting stiffer as the number of rounds increased. That was just with my gun, I didn't interrupt her shooting to check on hers. I only shot 400 that day and she only shot 200. Her brother showed up with his Taurus .45 (their sig imitation model I believe) and wanted me to teach him how to shoot, so I put mine away. Side note: he shot my FNS just fine, but neither of us could hit dirt with his Taurus.

So the reason I think it's the exposed striker causing the issue, is because it just makes sense to me, especially when I consider the steep angle of the chamber while the barrel is unlocked.

As far as the fired round causing or not causing the striker to rebound, here is what I've observed:
With my gun freshly cleaned, I can release the striker on an empty chamber and pull the slide back, and the striker is exposed every single time. I could probably do this all day long without a change.
Yet, with it freshly cleaned, when the slide locks back on the first empty mag, the striker is not exposed.
After shooting for a while, the striker is left at least partially exposed and sometimes fully exposed at slide lock on an empty mag.
Now obviously I can't get in there and watch the whole process in slow motion, but when I've observed this put together with watching the primer strike deformations start at non existent and steadily become more pronounced, it's led me to believe that's exactly what's happening. Maybe I'm dead wrong, wouldn't be the first time and I'd be disappointed if it were my last, but it's what my observations have led me to conclude. It's very believable to me that it's not INTENDED to rebound the striker, but to me it looks like it's doing it anyway.

Then again, some folks amazingly still believe the Earth is flat.
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Old March 5th, 2017, 06:23 AM   #41
 
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Then again, some folks amazingly still believe the Earth is flat.
I've driven I-20 across Louisiana more times than I care to count...that drive will convince you that the Earth IS flat!!!
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Old March 5th, 2017, 06:51 AM   #42
 
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Does anyone know if the striker channel can be cleaned without breaking down the slide ? Perhaps spray cleaners ?
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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:07 AM   #43
 
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Talldog - I'm sad to say that my experience with the LC9s was similar to yours. After 800-900 rounds, I started having feed problems, and often fresh rounds would "stovepipe" rather than go into the chamber. I also had magazine catch problems. After three trips back to Ruger, I traded mine in for a Shield 9.
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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:23 AM   #44
 
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Originally Posted by Kelly Mac View Post
Talldog - I'm sad to say that my experience with the LC9s was similar to yours. After 800-900 rounds, I started having feed problems, and often fresh rounds would "stovepipe" rather than go into the chamber. I also had magazine catch problems. After three trips back to Ruger, I traded mine in for a Shield 9.
So Ruger CS wasn't as great as others have said in your experience ?

Last edited by pennsy; March 5th, 2017 at 07:35 AM.
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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:31 AM   #45
 
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After reading through this thread, I broke mine down after a range trip the other day. I don't have a high round count through this gun yet, but was curious. The striker was very "gummy". I cleaned it with some alcohol and did the channel with a Q-tip. The channel was dirty, but no shavings. It is totally clean and dry now. It's the first time I took the Striker apart. I'll keep watch on this issue as I shoot it more. Thanks to all for for the info.

G.
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