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Fix it or get rid of it? The 2 extremes.

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The premise is this: You have a gun that's malfunctioned, do you try to fix it or get rid of it?

In this scenario, I always see proponents of the 2 extremes, those who absolutely refuse to trust a gun ever again after a malfunction and so they'll get rid of it, then there's someone like me who will try to fix it if possible. Yes, I admit, I'm on one side of the extreme.

The thing is, I understand both.

Now, in the beginning, I didn't understand those who'd just get rid of a gun rather than fix it. I figured you could always test it out to ensure reliability after the repair. But here's the thing: Testing it takes time and money. Ammo's not cheap, and sending a gun to be repaired may take time and/or money, depending on whether or not the gun is under warranty. And if you already have guns that are considered to be reliable, why waste time with something else when you can just practice with what you already have and hone your skills.

As someone who's actually "polished a turd", so to speak, I can personally attest that my shooting skills have diminished since polishing said turd, which is saying something since my shooting skills weren't great to begin with. I was afraid of another failure, another malfunction, so I didn't care to test my gun again after whatever repair I made.

On the flip side, there is the fact that my gunsmithing and troubleshooting skills have improved. When my wife had a failure to feed with her 380EZ, I instantly recognized that she had accidentally hit the magazine release. I've also recognized that my tools need to be upgraded as I've had difficulty filing away metal due to cheap, worn out files.

So there are some pros to fixing the gun rather than just getting rid of it.

So here's my takeaway: I think the priority for any new gun owner is to get a gem before ever trying to polish a turd. Get something very reliable and accurate from a brand that's known for it. After that, I think it's a matter of what you like to do and how much spare time and money you have.

The mistake I made with my 1st gun purchase is getting something with less than stellar reviews and allowing my confirmation bias to fool me into thinking it was a good idea. I can't say that fixing the gun was a mistake because of all the new information and skill I got from the experience, but personally, I think that improving my shooting skills would have served me just as well if not better.

So, if I had to judge which attitude would be more beneficial, fixing it vs getting rid of it, I'd have to say that those who just get rid of it have the advantage. Ultimately, it's just a matter of personal preference, what you want to do and how you like to spend your time.
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Fix it is my answer. I usually won't give up and need to solve the riddle. Good tools and patience are essential.
There have been a few rare situations were I bought something that simply required too much work/cost to get it set up to my liking. For example, a sporting shotgun or rifle that was not working for me. I sold them off and got what I needed.
 

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I can fully appreciate the concept of "polishing a turd" as my first 1911 was an AMT Hardballer. I was attracted to the all stainless construction, and as an engineer aware of the galling potential. Using some regular wheel bearing grease on the rails, I fed the thing probably 15,000 rounds of GI issue 45ACP. The barrel was worn almost to a smooth bore and I foolishly tried to fit a new barrel and some fire control parts. NOTHING fit, even the trigger track was a non-standard size. I know my gun-plumbing skills are not worth much per hour, but even at minimum wage burger flipping, I could have bought an Ed Brown for the time I spent.
AMTs are nice looking guns, and usually reliable with grease on the rails, but never work on one unless you follow this procedure:
1. Completely disassemble.
2. Place all parts in a large pot of boiling water.
3. Discard all parts that do not float.
 

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Depends on the fix. Is the fix a bandaid repair or was the cause identified and corrected?
I am doing a thread on this now.
 

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I am in this same boat, I have one by a well known and desired maker that is just a turd and the frame damage is obvious to anyone looking with a simple field strip. I can't sell it in good conscience. I would take a good loss if I tried to sell it. I also had a Ruger SR 1911 that I just had to have when they first came out. I was a babe and had no idea how to address the small issues it had. It felt like a freight train cycling when it would cycle and I put it in the safe for a few years and finally sold it. It just needed good magazines and a lot of shooting/lubing to get it broken in..

I have too much invested in this one to give up on it just yet and I can feel the money I will have to spend on it to get it 100% I am stuck with getting it 100% with the attention of a GOOD 1911 Smith. I do not have the skills to address it myself even with all the help this forum has to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Fix it is my answer. I usually won't give up and need to solve the riddle. Good tools and patience are essential.
There have been a few rare situations were I bought something that simply required too much work/cost to get it set up to my liking. For example, a sporting shotgun or rifle that was not working for me. I sold them off and got what I needed.
That was part of my deal with the SCCY, I wanted to know why it wouldn't work. Now, it works just as I though it would. The problem with my gun was always too much material here and there, primarily on the trigger bar and hammer.

I have 3 other guns to fix, a H&R 22lr revolver with gutter sights that got mangled (easy fix with putty and a file, but it'll be ugly), the M38 Carcano which just needs some tlc and new finish, and last (maybe) is the Winchester 94 30-30 where the lever doesn't go against the stock disabling the trigger safety.

The thing about the Winchester is that they changed some things up on the later models, such as the hammer automatically goes into the half-cock position while you had to put it there manually with the older models. The lever has play and will drop a couple inches if it's not held against the stock. I have to do some research and make sure whether or not this is a malfunction or if it's now designed that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am in this same boat, I have one by a well known and desired maker that is just a turd and the frame damage is obvious to anyone looking with a simple field strip. I can't sell it in good conscience. I would take a good loss if I tried to sell it. I also had a Ruger SR 1911 that I just had to have when they first came out. I was a babe and had no idea how to address the small issues it had. It felt like a freight train cycling when it would cycle and I put it in the safe for a few years and finally sold it. It just needed good magazines and a lot of shooting/lubing to get it broken in..

I have too much invested in this one to give up on it just yet and I can feel the money I will have to spend on it to get it 100% I am stuck with getting it 100% with the attention of a GOOD 1911 Smith. I do not have the skills to address it myself even with all the help this forum has to offer.
Is the frame damage bad? Does it need a new one?

If the maker is highly desired, why couldn't you send the gun back for repairs? Wouldn't they want their reputation to be impeccable?
 

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The premise is this: You have a gun that's malfunctioned, do you try to fix it or get rid of it?

In this scenario, I always see proponents of the 2 extremes, those who absolutely refuse to trust a gun ever again after a malfunction and so they'll get rid of it, then there's someone like me who will try to fix it if possible. Yes, I admit, I'm on one side of the extreme.

The thing is, I understand both.

Now, in the beginning, I didn't understand those who'd just get rid of a gun rather than fix it. I figured you could always test it out to ensure reliability after the repair. But here's the thing: Testing it takes time and money. Ammo's not cheap, and sending a gun to be repaired may take time and/or money, depending on whether or not the gun is under warranty.

I think the priority for any new gun owner is to get a gem before ever trying to polish a turd. Get something very reliable and accurate from a brand that's known for it. After that, I think it's a matter of what you like to do and how much spare time and money you have.
Any gun can malfunction, and every one is reliable and trustworthy until the first time it does. And you never know if it will be at the range or during the armed break-in at your home. You can believe "it will improve with use", keep shooting it until it fails again, and then judge whether it's become a problem child that needs professional help, or something you need to get rid of, and quick. The problem child may just need a simple tweak, like pinning the ejector or polishing the feed ramp, and a trip back to the factory, or a trusted gunsmith, may be all it needs. I bought a Commander size 1911 that had a feeding issue, I tried shooting it enough to "break it in" and fix it, but the problem was frequent enough that I sent if back to the manufacturer, who took care of shipping both ways and fixed it at no charge (and I'd bought the gun used). They polished the feed ramp, pinned the ejector and tweaked the extractor. Hasn't missed a beat since, and I've put several hundred rounds through it since then, so I feel pretty good about carrying it.
That doesn't mean that the next time I fire it, it won't malfunction, but the odds are very much in my favor it will perform when I need it to.

Yeah, ammo isn't cheap, but you still shoot it for practice, don't you?Practice does more than improve your shooting skills, it verifies the reliability of the gun (or lack of it). If you're not shooting to practice, you can never be sure of the gun's reliability. You can't buy a gun for protection and never shoot it, you'll never be able to trust it, or yourself.
 

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Is the frame damage bad? Does it need a new one?

If the maker is highly desired, why couldn't you send the gun back for repairs? Wouldn't they want their reputation to be impeccable?
It is there for the 2nd time, 13 weeks and counting with no resolution in sight. I told them the frame should be replaced. It had a chunk knocked out of the frame below the barrel ramp fixed it looks like with JB weld shaped in and now a gouge dug into the dust cover where the recoil spring is binding under full compression. Thru the finish and into the aluminum. Not just a cosmetic issue and it will only get worse unless the underlying issue is addressed. Ugggggg I am so upset over this one. I have put it behind me and just got a Garrison 9mm to add a 38S barrel set up when I get it worked in. When and if I ever get it back I will have a competent 1911 smith go over it, it is my only option now.
 

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I’d say fix it, as long as it’s not something that needs high dollar specialized tools basically. Or not too much to have a gunsmith fix it. if you’re still not happy with it after fixing it, then you can decide to sell it, but at least what was broken was repaired. Or sell it with the issue defined. You will still be shooting for practice, so you can take it out to see how it functions after it’s been repaired to see if it’s now reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is there for the 2nd time, 13 weeks and counting with no resolution in sight. I told them the frame should be replaced. It had a chunk knocked out of the frame below the barrel ramp fixed it looks like with JB weld shaped in and now a gouge dug into the dust cover where the recoil spring is binding under full compression. Thru the finish and into the aluminum. Not just a cosmetic issue and it will only get worse unless the underlying issue is addressed. Ugggggg I am so upset over this one. I have put it behind me and just got a Garrison 9mm to add a 38S barrel set up when I get it worked in. When and if I ever get it back I will have a competent 1911 smith go over it, it is my only option now.
Yeah, an ugly repair definitely lowers the value of the gun and they should replace it, IMO.

If they were smart, they'd just junk the whole thing and give you a new one.
 

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My protocol is first: make sure my grip was firm, both push and pull. Second: change ammo. Third: change magazines. Forth: send it back to the manufacturer. Fifth: send it to a 1911 gunsmith. If it still isn't reliable, sell it.
 

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I fix stuff. I come from a family of mechanically inclined people. My father was a master heavy equipment mechanic for Caterpillar, my uncle was the senior pipefitter in the union for Dupont. It's in my blood. I've been all though our dishwasher, electric range, and I'm a pretty good halfazzed plumber. I had four years of Industrial Arts in school (wood and metal shop). I have tools and know my way around the toolbox. I fix stuff.

I have a shelf full of books and videos on every gun I own ... I don't know a gunsmith. I've never sent a gun back to a manufacture except for the SIG 320 trigger safety recall. I like to tinker, customize and fix stuff.
 

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I've never quite understood people that will never again trust a gun that's had a malfunction. Makes me wonder if they trade in their car every time it needs new brakes, or just throw out their washer or drier instead of calling a repairman. Mechanical things break, most often they can be fixed.

Time & money can be an issue, but a lot of us aren't talking about our first pistol. If we're talking about a new gun that doesn't run, my usual answer is send it back to the manufacturer and let them deal with it under warranty. Failing that, let a gun smith do what they're paid to do.

But trashing a perfectly good gun because it had a few malfunctions? Well...I do like getting gently used guns off the used gun shelf, so it's to my benefit that people continue that practice I guess...but I'd sooner fix it and re-vet the pistol after repairs are made.

With respect to expense when it comes to vetting a gun...you're gonna shoot for practice anyway right? No reason you can't kill 2 birds with one stone. Really the cost of vetting or breaking in a repaired or new gun is almost null since it overlaps with practice anyway.

Goes without saying if I can, I'm gonna repair it (or have it repaired).
 

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If I couldn't get it fixed I would sell it with complete disclosure to the purchaser. That being said I have had one or two pistols and one rifle the just did not want to run right. A Sig P220 Carry, a Ruger Commander in 45, and a Winchester Trapper in 30-30. The Sig went back to Sig and came back working. The Ruger took 2 trips back to Ruger and one to a gunsmith and I fixed it myself by reading the 1911 forum's stickies on 1911 extractors. The Winchester went to a gunsmith who told me to trade it off and one that didn't want to mess with it. Finally I found a SASS gunsmith that got everything in spec and it works about 90% of the time. So I am still tinkering with it. That being said on the 2 pistols once I function tested them at the range a few times I would carry either one without hesitation.
 

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It depends on what it is and how much I like it. If it is something still made, a junker I would just as soon get rid of it. But I bought a fairly expensive rifle a couple of years ago that I knew was not going to run well when I bought it. That was also going to be expensive to fix. But then you do not run into 1887 Winchester high Walls very often.
Air gun Wood Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory
 

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Well, here's the tickler:

  1. Like a used car, putting in what you paid for it suggests it's time to MOVE ON.
  2. Selling off a derelict or a lemon means you TELL the buyer at least SOME of the issues and you absolutely give him a BARGAIN - because he is either heading to the shop for work, or will be ordering parts and putting in the labor.
One thing that's peeving me over the last decade or so is folks trying to screw-over fellow shooters and reloaders. It's wrong.
 
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