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Discussion Starter #1
(been a lurker for a while, but this is my first post, and thanks for the great forum by the way)



Not too long ago I was looking for a semi-auto pistol that was good for concealed carry, and I settled on the M&P40c. Based on my prior experience with S&W which includes owning and putting many, many thousands of rounds through 3 of their revolvers and 1 semi (their stainless 1911), I have had nothing but flawless, smooth, precise, dependable operation. So the decision to go with M&P seemed like a given.



So I get the M&P, and through the 1st box of ammo (Speer Lawman Training) there was 1 failure to fire, the primer had a light dent in it. Second session, 100 rounds of reloads I did there were 2 failures to feed. The rounds measured to the same as the Speer factory ammo, nothing looked odd about them, no reason to think I messed up. I don't mean to boast, but I pride myself on precision in my work and for all my other guns I typically make much better ammo than any factory ammo. So anyways, after that the M&P40c seemed fine for about 400 rounds over 4 sessions at the range, just pleasurable, flawless action, and I was most impressed by how accurate this gun was for a compact. I fell in love! :oops: Then in my next range session, the unthinkable: In a mere 50 rounds I had 10 stoppages. 6 were failures to feed, the other 4 were failures to fire with the same light primer strikes I saw on the speer lawman ammo. Again, on inspecting the ammo, no oddities, nothing out of spec. This is unacceptable for a gun my life could depend on.



So I sent it back to S&W, in about 2 weeks it was sent back to me, all free of charge
, they said they changed the barrel. Next day, out to the range. 100 rounds of my fine reloads, things were going great for the first 50 rounds, then HORROR! 3 failures to fire because of light primer strikes, all back to back to back. Then it was fine for the remaining 40-something rounds. Or is it? I don't know! I just bought a few hundred rounds of factory ammo, 3 different brands, just to see if it happens there too, and I'm sure it will. A single failed round and I'm sending it back again. Ill update you all.





I LOVE this gun (when it works). It packs alot of power into a small space and best of all it shoots like a dream (when it works). Until the M&P works, I will continue to just carry (CCW) my S&W 640 revolver, which works great, I just wanted some options.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ToddG said:
Put a couple hundred rounds of quality factory ammunition through the gun and report back.


I shall. That is my plan, as I stated.



However, thats not the point. If the M&P is so finicky about ammo, then I have a hard time trusting it period. Secondarily, I wont be able to afford to shoot it. So it becomes useless to me as a serious gun and either needs to be sold, or just relegated to the category of guns that may not be dependable, but still fun to take to the range now and then. If thats what I wanted, I wouldn't have paid the premium for a S&W. Am I being unreasonable?
 

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What brand primer are you using?



I have been through thousands of Winchester primers in my M&P9 and M&P40 full size without failure.



Also have you removed the striker and cleaned in that area?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have two brands of primers, mostly I use CCI. I recently started using Wolf as well, just to try them out since they are substantially cheaper. Before you laugh and say: "Well theres your problem...". Let me say I have fired now about 1500 rounds in various guns using Wolf primers, with the exception of 3 in the M&P40c, they all went bang just fine. I used some 500 or so in my 9mm Beretta 92fs, no failures. I used probably another 600 distributed over 3 of my 357 Magnum revolvers, no failures. Heres the other thing, it wasn't just the wolf primers that had the light strikes, I had a number of CCI primers lightly struck as well. Both failed, but only in M&P, and no primer has ever failed in my many other guns. Bad luck? I don't believe in coincidences, especially not with large data samples, so theres gotta be something wrong with this gun.



Its a fact, a competent reloader makes better ammo than factory ammo. I say I am a competent reloader. I have many guns, many calibers to reload for, thousands upon thousands of rounds reloaded, and nothing but success to report (other than for the M&P). I keep detailed chronograph data for my loads. Here is a data sample:



My intended velocity for a 180 grain Plated Hollow Point bullet was 1000 fps, since it seems to be the standard for factory ammo of that weight and it keeps within the specs set out by my reloading manuals.



Code:
Cal: 40S&W

Gun: M&P40c

Powder: Winchester WSF  - 6.3gr

Primer: CCI 500

Bullet: Ranier 180gr Plated Hollow Point 



Velocity Data: 1001 1002 1007 985 1004 1001 991 1009 1000 991 



Number of shots: 10 

Average Velocity (Mean): 999 

High: 1009 

Low: 985 

Extreme Spread: 24 

Standard Deviation: 7


Note the both the stellar standard deviation of 7 fps, and how well I tuned the load to my exact velocity specifications. By contrast, here is one factory ammo I also ran over my chronograph.



Code:
Cal: 40 S&W

Gun: M&P40c

(Factory Ammo) Speer Lawman Training - 155gr TMJ FP  



Data: 1104 1094 1075 1075 1077 1086 1079 1094 1055 1060 



Number of shots: 8 

Average Velocity (Mean): 1081 

High: 1104 

Low: 1055 

Extreme Spread: 49 

Standard Deviation: 16




Sure, thats good too, but mine is better. To try to sum up, both factory ammo and my reloads of all types have choked in the M&P so far. How can I sum up but to say ... its the M&P that is the common element in all my failures? Tomorrow I will have some time to go to the range and try the 3 brands of ammo I bought. I will chronograph them as well of course. I shall report my results on their quality and reliability.
 

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A Beretta 92FS has probably the heaviest firing pin strike of any common handgun. A stock 92FS will regularly set off primers that won't fire in a Glock, SIG, etc.



While you may be very proud of your reloading skills, and justifiably so, you should expect most people -- and certainly Smith & Wesson -- will assume that reloads are the culprit. If your M&P is malfunctioning with factory ammo, I'd probably just stick to that as my complaint. Especially if you bring up Wolf primers ... you'll literally hear the Smith customer service rep's eyeballs rolling.

:roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, I know. Ive been around the block. And yes, when I called S&W I mentioned factory ammo. Tomorrow I will shoot 200 rounds of factory made ammo from 3 sources (and not Wolf BTW), just to help satisfy the skeptics.
 

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Ludwigvan1972 said:
Yeah, I know. Ive been around the block. And yes, when I called S&W I mentioned factory ammo. Tomorrow I will shoot 200 rounds of factory made ammo from 3 sources (and not Wolf BTW), just to help satisfy the skeptics.


I asked in an earlier post if you had removed and cleaned the striker. The reason for asking is because my early model .40 full size developed a burr on the striker which caused 1 light strike. When it occured I removed the striker to investigate and found the burr. A couple of strokes with a fine file returned it to service. I had it out again this morning and it still looks good after several thousand additional rounds fired.You might want to investigate that possibility prior to shipping it back to S&W.



Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
TOF said:
I asked in an earlier post if you had removed and cleaned the striker. The reason for asking is because my early model .40 full size developed a burr on the striker which caused 1 light strike. When it occured I removed the striker to investigate and found the burr. A couple of strokes with a fine file returned it to service. I had it out again this morning and it still looks good after several thousand additional rounds fired.You might want to investigate that possibility prior to shipping it back to S&W.Good luck.


I have taken a good look at it under a loop. Nothing unusual about it, no different than any other Ive seen. Good that you mentioned it though.



Also, did I mention that no matter what ammo I use, what primers, etc, I get these really wild looking primer strikes? I'm talking about all the ones that do work. Its not your simple dimple, but more of a dash shaped gash, as if the primer is moving with some force across the extended firing pin. I pick up brass on the range fired through other 40's (Beretta, Springfield XD etc), and their primer strike is just a dimple, little simple punch. I mentioned it in my letter when I sent the gun back to S&W, when the gun came back to me, it still did that. Is that normal for this gun? It doesn't look normal. Sorry, I don't have a camera readily available to show you.



I have another thing to check into now, but it may be a long shot. I wonder if the rounds I make are too hot for this gun? In my latest trip to the range, I ran 50 rounds of Federal American Eagle 180 grain, 100 rounds of Speer Lawman Training 180 grain, and 50 rounds of CCI Blazer Brass 180 grain through my M&P40c. All 200 of those factory made rounds worked. I tried 50 more of mine after that, and I did have one failure. Before jumping to conclusions though, remember that prior to sending it back to S&W, I did use factory ammo in the past that did not work. It was Speer Lawman Training 155 grain, and I remember it was quite snappy feeling compared to their 180 grain ammo. Now all 3 of the factory 180 grain ammo brands chronographed in the low 900's (920-930 or so) through my gun. My hand loaded 180 grain ammo clocks in at 1000 through (which is what I thought I wanted, but now maybe not). There was a significant difference in how the recoil felt. Mine had a harsh snap compared to the softer feel of the factory 180 grain ammo. I have a wild theory that my harsher recoil is messing with the gun's natural rhythm, causing it to on occasion not properly and completely go into battery, which by the way has been a symptom Ive noticed. That could explain light primer strikes, but ... I know the disconnector, etc... yet it could be off just enough though to allow the strike anyway.



So I will try backing off on the amount of powder I use, maybe trying some powders that have less snap to them, so as to ultimately to duplicate the velocity and feel of those 3 factory ammo brands. I shall report. In the meantime, does anyone else hand load for this gun? What's your recipe?
 

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I load but use Vihtavuori N340 powder with Winchester small pistol primers and 180 grain TC FMJ bullet . I load light for practice, 5.5 grain @1.130 OAL which yields 950 FPS. avg. I also load heavy 6.0 grain N340 @ 1.130 OAL which yields 1050 FPS. avg. I have tried a number of other loads also plus some 165 grain HP's. Out of probably 6500 rounds by this time, I had 1 light primer strike as noted earlier.



You have probably done so already but double check to assure that your primers are fully seated in the case. I have seen some occurances of primers that were not fully seated moving forward when struck softening the impact and not firing until struck a second time.



Good luck
 

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OK, a few things here.



1) tight standard deviations tell you more about the powder chosen than the quality of the handloads. For example, using the exact smae components and press setup, I get SDs in the 7-14 range using titegroup depending on what power factor I load to and 18-40 for essentially equivalent loads using universal clays. The ammo is otherwise the same. Some powders just yield lower SD for various reasons.



BTW, what kind of accuracy are you getting out of WSF using plated 180gr ammo? I'm having no luck with plated 180gr above about 160pf using both titegroup and UC.



2) CCI primers are HARD. Short of using winchester small rifle in your pistol loads, you aren't getting much harder.



3) wolf SP primers are soft from what everyone is saying. If they aren't going off, some6thing is up.



4) What OAL are you loading to. Looking at pictures of ranier 180gr hollow points, they appear to be based on their truncated cone/flat point bullet rather than their round nose flat point bullet. I've used some sample montana gold 155gr HP heads to make some test ammo, and their profice was EXTREMELY sensitive to crimp and OAL length, and they are very cone like. The M&P did not like them one bit. Completely round nose, and round nose flat point profiles seem to feed best in it. With a truncated cone, to get reliable feeding, it might take more crimp than the raniers will stand up to. It shouldn't be impossible thoug, and remington UMC 180gr ammo appears to be truncated cone plated bullets, and they work fine. Most factory .40 is loaded fairly short, usually about 1.120". The truncated cone HPs I used REALLY didn't like being loaded to 1.125 much less anything shorter. From my experience, the M&P mags work well with anything 1.137 and under. With a touchy bullet profile, age of the brass can also make a difference. as the brass around the case mouth tends to thicken as it is worked.



5)you say you examined the striker for problems, but did you examine the striker channel in the slide? WHen I first got mine, I had some light primer strikes. Based on some experiences I had with a previous gun, first thing I did was check the striker channel for debris. There were lots plastic "shavings" in there (kind of looked like little snowflakes of plastic). After cleanign them out, everything was fine.



6) The smeary teardrop firing pin marks on the primers is normal provided the center of the roundes part of the dent is roughly in the middle of the primer where it is supposed to be. Much like the Glock, the M&P starts to unlock the action before the firing pin has returned completley. With the glock you get the smeared rectangle. With the M&P you get a smeared teardrop shape. It's perfectly normal. If the initial strike isn't basically centered, something might be up though.



7) check your press/ primer tool. I had some issues with primers that SHOULD have been flly seated not going off. It turned out that due to some debris, the primer ram on my press was wearing unevenly, and this lead to primers that werent seated completely evenly and was causing ammo reliability issues until I found it. A not fully seated primer CAN look like light primer strikes in cases that don't have a real tight primer pocket.



Just some ideas to try and help.
 

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CCI Primers

I too have been in the background learning from the posts on this great forum but decided to join in on the primer light strike issue.



I have not had any problems with my M&P 40 (MPE9***) with factory ammo but began to have a lot of my reloads FTF (about one in ten).



I use Rainier 180gr JHP with 4.4grs Titegroup and CCI small pistol primers. The average velocity is 908fps with a standard deviation of 11. This load is very accurate out of my M&P 40.



All of the FTFs would fire on the second try so I thought the striker was not doing its job. I removed the striker, cleaned everything and measured the spring pressure to be five pounds. After putting everything back together I still had FTFs.



After reading the previous posts, I did a little experimenting of my own. First, I lightly pressed a couple of the CCI primers into cases without powder or bullets. The lightly pressed in CCI primers did NOT fire when I tried them in my M&P 40.



Next I pressed some CCI primers into the same cases using my RCBS hand primer with more pressure and they fired OK.



After the tests above, I loaded 70 rounds and really squeezed the CCI primers into place then fired all 70 rounds with NO FTFs.



I believe that using a lot of pressure to install the primers reduces the distance between the primer anvil and the outer surface where the firing pin strikes. This would cause a similar effect of striking the primer twice with a firing pin that was not quite strong enough to fire the hard primer the first strike.



Maybe I'm way out in left field with these thoughts, but I did not have any FTFs with the last 70 rounds that I reloaded and fired using the same components in my M&P 40.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
TOF said:
I load but use Vihtavuori N340 powder with Winchester small pistol primers and 180 grain TC FMJ bullet . I load light for practice, 5.5 grain @1.130 OAL which yields 950 FPS. avg. I also load heavy 6.0 grain N340 @ 1.130 OAL which yields 1050 FPS. avg.



You have probably done so already but double check to assure that your primers are fully seated in the case.


Thanks. I'll try a 1.130 OAL, I was using 1.125. Factory OAL seemed to be about 1.120, but that was for flat points, not TC's. I just hand primed (Lee) about 500 cases last night using the CCI 500 primers I have. I made sure that they all seated completely, not that I don't ordinarily do that anyway, but I took extraordinarily special care this time. Ill load them up probably tonight and fire them later this week.



raz-0 said:
1) tight standard deviations tell you more about the powder chosen than the quality of the handloads. For example, using the exact smae components and press setup, I get SDs in the 7-14 range using titegroup depending on what power factor I load to and 18-40 for essentially equivalent loads using universal clays. The ammo is otherwise the same. Some powders just yield lower SD for various reasons.



BTW, what kind of accuracy are you getting out of WSF using plated 180gr ammo? I'm having no luck with plated 180gr above about 160pf using both titegroup and UC.


True, to a large extent. I test many powders then tend to gravitate towards more the consistent performing powders, powders that meter consistently on my equipment, etc. In my experience I have found other factors such as amount and consistency of things like crimp and OAL to play a large role as well. Consistency is essential to quality.



I haven't benched the gun, so I cant comment with any certitude on accuracy other than to say they seem fine, and when theres a problem its usually me and how I shoot that day in general. Sorry.



raz-0 said:
4) What OAL are you loading to. Looking at pictures of ranier 180gr hollow points, they appear to be based on their truncated cone/flat point bullet rather than their round nose flat point bullet. I've used some sample montana gold 155gr HP heads to make some test ammo, and their profice was EXTREMELY sensitive to crimp and OAL length, and they are very cone like. The M&P did not like them one bit. Completely round nose, and round nose flat point profiles seem to feed best in it. With a truncated cone, to get reliable feeding, it might take more crimp than the raniers will stand up to. It shouldn't be impossible thoug, and remington UMC 180gr ammo appears to be truncated cone plated bullets, and they work fine. Most factory .40 is loaded fairly short, usually about 1.120". The truncated cone HPs I used REALLY didn't like being loaded to 1.125 much less anything shorter. From my experience, the M&P mags work well with anything 1.137 and under. With a touchy bullet profile, age of the brass can also make a difference. as the brass around the case mouth tends to thicken as it is worked.


1.125 OAL is what I used and what my ammo measures, Ill increase it. I will also try a little more crimp, I wasn't using much at all. Raniers or for that matter most plated bullets do not like to be crimped much, but Ill experiment with more as I know I can go quite a bit further.



raz-0 said:
5)you say you examined the striker for problems, but did you examine the striker channel in the slide? WHen I first got mine, I had some light primer strikes. Based on some experiences I had with a previous gun, first thing I did was check the striker channel for debris. There were lots plastic "shavings" in there (kind of looked like little snowflakes of plastic). After cleanign them out, everything was fine.


No, but I will.



raz-0 said:
6) The smeary teardrop firing pin marks on the primers is normal provided the center of the roundes part of the dent is roughly in the middle of the primer where it is supposed to be. Much like the Glock, the M&P starts to unlock the action before the firing pin has returned completley. With the glock you get the smeared rectangle. With the M&P you get a smeared teardrop shape. It's perfectly normal. If the initial strike isn't basically centered, something might be up though.


Thanks, I just needed that reassurance since I'm not accustomed to that look.







Thanks for all your help and information, guys, Ill try these things and report back.
 

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I don't think there is any magic regarding OAL vs primer strikes, I simply showed what I was doing these days. I have used shorter also with good result. After you load or press primers in, use a straight edge across the back of the case to make certain the primer is even with or below the brass. I don't believe extra pressure is required beyond that required to bottom out the primer in the case. To much pressure might cause an undesirable boom. If you have a pair of calipers measure the primer cup height and compare it to the primer pocket depth. I believe you will find them to be very close to equal.



My firing pin mark is also as you described for both the 9 and 40.



Good luck
 

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SO I guess I resurrect an old thread, I just purchased a M&P 40 this spring to replace my 92FS for PPC and IDPA shooting. I love it. I have put abut 500 rounds through it without any problems. Until I switched from federal SR primers to Wolf SR. Now I get 4-5 light strikes of every box. I Ioaded up 700 rounds with the wolf for the summer league. Now my wife's Glock 23 has no problems with these loads. Is there a fix for this problem or am I stuck with 9000 wolf primers ?
 

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There was a thread about Wolf small pistol primer problems a few months back. The OP indicated Wolf admitted to a problem. True or not , I don't know.



I have used a 1000 piece sample of Wolf large pistol primers in my M&P45 with 100% success. Based on that I now have 5000 Tula (same as Wolf) Large Primers on the shelf and will be loading up 1000 rounds this week. Iv'e not used any of there small primers.
 

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I've seen a similar problem with a Glock 45 with a box of Lawman ammo. It shot fine the first 10 shots then the rest of the box was about 75% FTF and the Primer had a good punch, and even tried running them back through a second time. It was actually really annoying, because we'd hand it to the same Guy and every time he shot it would happen. Another one of us would pick it up, empty the round and the next one would fire or it wouldn't. It wasn't my gun so I don't know what the end result was, but I can say it happens, and we hope it isnt the day we need it
 
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