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

1254 Views 45 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  Chance-dg
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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For those who always have 100% guns don’t shoot enough. Shoot enough and you will experience a stoppage. Period.
Absolutely correct. I have had to fix a few guns over the years, mostly I have been fairly successful at this. Sometimes it takes a while though you have to find the right parts and such. I remember when I first got a couple of Winchester Miroku High Walls years ago. They do not come with Iron sights you have to scope them or make some other arrangement. Well the thing is as I found out after pulling my hair out for some time is. They only make short runs of them and they change the taper of the barrels when they make a new run. So finding scope rings was about impossible. Finally the great people at S&K were able to get me straightened out. Awesome shooters now.
More to the point I have a BLR that I need to take over to one of their service centers when I get a chance. I have been cautioned not to try and take it apart myself.
Wood Gas Tool Art Metal
 

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I've figuratively stoled a couple of guns that others deemed non-serviceable, and I made them work.

I don't know what my personal problem is with revolvers, but I have had the worst experience with them. My conscience would never allow me to hand off a gun that I knew didn't work at the most basic level. But I had so much trouble getting a few revolvers to work that I couldn't stand to look at them anymore and wanted them out of my sight.

Namely Taurus and S&W...I won't crap all over them in generalities, but both have turned out some pretty horrific revolvers...even dating back to a pinned and recessed Model 19 that I had to do some work on because the cylinder was seizing up.
 

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The “get rid of it” scenario is an issue with me if the condition of lack of proper function is not part of the transaction.
Joe
Be had a couple that I just couldn’t get where I wanted them.

One was my DE1911G that just couldn’t consistently run a full mag without a failure to return to battery. It went back to them twice then I tried several things. Friends who know 1911’s better than me tried stuff. Got it better, but not right. When I sold it I told the buyer all about it. He insisted I just didn’t know what I was doing, but he didn’t care, he was buying it to learn how to gunsmith on 1911’s.

The second was a 9mm S&W Shield. From 10 yards, it shot low and left around two feet off the sights. Not just me. Other shooters (some more competent than me) had the same issue. I sold another firearm and the buyer asked if I had anything else I was interested in selling. I told him no, except for the Shield that needed sent back to S&W and told him about the issue. He wanted to look at it, when we met. We met and he looked at it, made me a reasonable offer and took it off my hands because “I probably just don’t know how to shoot”.
 

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I have patience and lean toward ‘the fix’ - but you have to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.
Bingo!! There is a point where one can throw good money after bad. As well, and not mentioned so far, today's cartage costs to overnight ship to & fro a gunsmith not local can also be a factor.
 
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Bingo!! There is a point where one can throw good money after bad. As well, and not mentioned so far, today's cartage costs to overnight ship to & fro a gunsmith not local can also be a factor.
I'm arrogant in believing that there aren't many guns that I can't make work. I think I've only ever given up on one gun, and so did Mossberg, so they sent me a new one.

But I'm not a gunsmith. I'm just a tinkerer and parts replacer/modifier. If there are no replacement parts to be found, I'm screwed.

There aren't many true gunsmiths left. A real gunsmith can make his own parts and make just about anything work.
 

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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.
,
I had an AMT Hardballer once, too. Biggest POS I've ever owned, and customer service from AMT was not only non-existent, they were actually total a-holes.
 

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I fix, but many don' t seem to. I looked over old SA ultra compact. When I took magazine out with slide pulled pack and pulled back the slide it would not go into battery. What an old used clunker.😂
 

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I can’t help tinkering with a gun that works perfectly, so I generally go the “fix it” route with one that doesn’t. That being said, it really depends. If we’re talking about 1911s, the first thing I do with an unreliable one is measure everything. If the pin holes are not in the right place or if the feed ramp is cut at the wrong angle, there’s not a lot I’m going to be able to do (I don’t have a mill). If it’s not terribly out of spec, it can usually be fixed.
 

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When shooting a 1911, most people that reload their own ammo seem to have more issues with proper functioning.

I reload, but when I am finished reloading, I drop check every round in an EGW chamber checker. If the round does not seat correctly in the chamber checker, I will use the round for "practice shooting' and not for match shooting.

I once had a 1911 with a short chamber, and not enough leade. I had to use a chamber reamer to fix the barrel, and then the gun ran very well....!
 

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surprising ways small variations affect. I builta pistol about a year and half back. I knew it was short chambered. It took Remington factory fine. Winchester factory was a no go.
 

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Depends on what went wrong... I'l absolutely fix a previously reliable gun. Could be springs, mags or a simple extractor worn or broken.

If I had a problem gun from the get go, I'd likely replace it. I have no desire to spend that much time, effort and money on a gun the manufacturer turned out as a turd from the start.
 

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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?
You would think. His experience is well documented here... he sent it back and it was returned worse than he sent it... sent it again and they've been sitting on it for going on 4 months.

Sad state of affairs.
 

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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.
I know what you’re saying. As a builder I expect to have some bugs testing a new build so malfunctions are no big deal. If one starts to having problems later on it’s put on my repair to do list. I do pickup some great advice on this site for those strange problems that pop up. And things and tools to make and check things out like Steve’s extractor testing gauges I now have them for all calibers. For those who don’t build I can see where problems can be a big pain. 1911’s Forever
 

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Most any machine can be repaired. We Po-Folks know that well. But once repairing becomes too annoying - it is time to flick it . Firearms even more so - they must be absolutely reliable. I have owned 2 firearms in my life, that I, or a gunsmith could not make reliable + 1 that was reliable that I hated (just because).
 

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Well, if it's still under a factory warranty then back i should go for them to correct it. Otherwise I'd have to evaluate what the problem is, how severe it, and the cost to repair it.
I have an Erfurt 1918 P.08 that has something up with the hold-open and it does not like to release magazines. I'm not getting rid of it, but I would like to have the problem corrected.
 
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