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Steyr M40 Malfunctions

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DefRev is going ahead and publishing the following letter, which was submitted by an anonymous visitor of our site, due to the fact that it looks legitimate and involves a matter of weapon reliablility/user safety. However, in the future, DefRev will only publish this kind of submission…

if it is performed using a valid username. In other words, after this, only stories submitted by DefRev members with valid email addresses, and who provide their username with their submission, will be published on our site. I would appreciate it if the person who submitted this particular letter would please contact me at [email protected] to let me know who you are. I will not make this information public.

David Crane

Here it is:

The following letter to Steyr describes serious problems I experienced with my M40:

August 6, 2002
Steyr Mannlicher AG&CO KG
4400 Steyr

M40 Malfunctions

Dear Sirs,
I own a Steyr M40, serial number XXXXXX. This pistol was purchased as a law enforcement weapon, from GSI. The pistol was returned to GSI for the trigger upgrade and returned to me shortly after. I did not have an opportunity to fire the pistol until August 1, 2002. I fired the pistol with CCI Blazer, 180 grain FMJ and Speer Gold Dot 180 grain JHP ammunition. My experience with the pistol was very disturbing.

Upon shooting both selections of ammunition, I experienced multiple malfunctions. I fired 150 rounds of Blazer and 50 rounds of Gold Dot ammunition. The pistol experienced the following malfunctions with the Blazer ammunition:
15 failures to go into battery, the slide could not be pushed forward by hand.
10 failures to extract a fired casing.

The pistol experienced the following malfunctions with the Gold Dot ammunition:
5 failures to go into battery, the slide could not be pushed forward by hand.
3 failures to extract a fired casing.

The pistol experienced the first failure to go into battery within the first 10 rounds of ammunition fired. As the pistol began to heat up, the failures to go into battery became more frequent. At the end of my firing session, with no ammunition or magazine in the pistol, the slide would not go into battery. The slide stopped at the same position as when it failed to go into battery during firing. I could not push the slide forward into battery; it would only travel to the rear. With the pistol empty and containing no magazine, I allowed it to cool down. When the pistol cooled down, the slide would again function properly.

I believe that the internal steel frame is becoming hot and warping during firing. This problem is compounded by the fact that the plastic exterior frame has poor thermal conductivity properties. The plastic frame traps heat within the interior of the pistol. One possible problem is that warping causes the position of the breech lug to changing in relation to the barrel ramp lug. The other possibility is that the frame rails may be spreading apart from the heat. Due to the angled design of the rails, as they spread apart, the slide is pulled downward. When the slide is pulled downward, the position of the barrel ramp lug may be changing in relation to the breech lug. Both of the aforementioned conditions would cause the barrel ramp lug to impinge upon the breech lug. This would prevent the slide to go into battery.

At random, the pistol failed to extract fired casings. The casings would remain chambered and the slide would be impinged upon the top cartridge in the magazine. I also observed that the primer cups of all casings were completely flattened after firing, no firing pin indent remained. The primer cups had metal scraped from their surface, in a circular pattern. I observed metal scrapings from the primer cups within the interior of the pistol.

I believe the extraction problem and the primer flattening/scrapping problem may be related. I believe that upon firing, the barrel of the pistol is unlocking too soon.
The chamber pressure does not subsided sufficiently to allow the fired casing to be freely extracted. The casing may still be swelled within the chamber, thus causing excessive drag. The excessive drag causes the extractor to pull past the case casing rim. The primer cup is flattening and scraping on the firing pin hole. When the barrel is pulled out of battery too soon, pressure remains within the primer cup. Excessive pressure, coupled with a lack of firing pin support and a sharp edge at the breech face, cause the primer cup to be scraped.

I am not an engineer, nor a gunsmith. I came to the aforementioned conclusions by employing logic. I do not know if the problems can be corrected within a reasonable amount of time. I understand that Steyr has not been producing weapons for an extended period of time and GSI no longer imports Steyr weapons. I understand that production will resume in the future. I am requesting that Steyr address the problems I am experiencing with my pistol. The pistol remains dirty from my firing it. Leaving the pistol dirty will allow it to be examined for primer metal shavings. Please notify me as to the actions that will be taken to rectify the problems with my pistol. I am not able to utilize the pistol as an off-duty weapon; doing so would place my safety at risk. If the problems cannot be rectified within a reasonable amount of time, I am requesting compensation for the purchase of the pistol, upon its’ return to Steyr.

Note: A copy of this letter has also been mailed via the US Airmail.

Thank you,

Steyr M40 Malfunctions by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.