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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would ask for some the great experience and advice I see given out an this forum. I'm sure it may seem obvious to alot of you so I hope it is not too much rehash, but I would greatly appreciate what you have to say. I was cleaning my Bulgarian (circle 10) and for some reason decided ot place a live round in the chamber (slide is off). I was amazed to see a fair amount of wiggle room btween the case and the wall of the chamber. I didn't put a wire guage to it but a strip off ordinary copy paper easily slid around between the case and the chamber! Is this normal and if not how much tolerance is ok? I'm thinking of looking at another Bulgarian today at the local shop and want to be a little more knowledgeable than the first time around if this represents excessive wear. Also if I may, I still have I believe the original equip spring. I have thought about the 19lb but not done it yet. Is using something like Tetra gun grease on the slide only hastening destruction of my slide?
Thanks to all and am quickly becoming a devoted Mak addict.
 

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Welcome to the Forum eleyj, first off what kind and caliber of ammo did you try ? That sounds a bit excessive, but for a military surplus firearm, it could still be within spec. However with that much play in the chamber, your accuracy is going to be horrible. A 380 ACP round inserted into the chamber of a 9x18 Makarov barrel would have a lot of play like you discribe, however a 9x18 Makarov cartridge should just be a snug fit in the chamber of a 9x18 chambered barrel.

-George
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
George,
I'm sorry to not have specified but it is 9x18. I use Silver Bear 9x18 JHP's. Does this mean my barrel is junk? Thanks for your reply.
 

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George,
I'm sorry to not have specified but it is 9x18. I use Silver Bear 9x18 JHP's. Does this mean my barrel is junk? Thanks for your reply.
Really hard to say without seeing it, but I just checked several new Bulgarain barrels, and none of them would come close to accepting anything close to a piece of paper with a 9x18 Cartridge inserted into the chamber.

The safest way to go would be to make a chamber cast, and than mic it, see how far out of spec it is. If that is not a viable option, you could try loading just one round at the range, don't even put a magazine in the pistol, where eye and ear protection and fire the one round. Recover the case, and Mic it. Check for bulged case, primer, and check to see if the outside of the case is very dirty / smoked. If any of those signs appear, than stop firing, your barrel is worn out. Something else to check for BEFORE you fire it, look VERY closely at the barrel hood, barrel and frame, check for cracks, or signs of metal fatigue. If you see any of these, than chances are someone has fired a 9mm Luger round in the pistol, in which case its junk. Since you mentioned you had the slide off I am guessing that the barrel is not bulged (signs that a squib round was fired, and than another live round fired behind that, which in extreme cases can also cause the chamber to open up.)

A trick for checking metal for stress or cracks - Clean the frame and other area to be checked very well, get rid of all dirt, grease, etc. Get an old fashioned straight candle, light it, and pass the flame over the metal, just enough to put a thin layer of carbon on the metal. Blow off the carbon layer, or if you have one, use a VERY fine brush (I use a fingerprint dusting brush left over from my LEO days) to brush off the carbon. Any cracks or stress fractures in the metal will catch and hold the carbon, leaving a visable black line on the steel.

-George
 

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Not trying to hijack this, but I've been reading and got curious about it.
I'm wondering how big the piece of paper was. I just pulled a new, never installed Bulgarian barrel out of my spares, placed a Silver Bear JHP in the chamber, tore off a strip from a piece of printer paper about 1/2" long and 3/8" wide and it slid into the chamber next to the casing. It fit tight, (basically it removed the wiggle room) but it went in easily enough. Then I put a Norinco FMJ in the chamber, the same strip of paper went in, but fit a little tighter. Then I started checking my other semi's, all of them will allow the same narrow piece of paper to enter the chamber next to a round, with varying degrees of tightness. There is a little wiggle room I think, so I'm really curious now. Ammo QC issue, maybe, allowing a lot of wiggle on one round (or a particular box?) in Eleyj's Bulgy?
 

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Pretty much any semi-auto handgun you come across is going to have some looseness in the chamber. It is required for a few reasons--but the main ones being reliability and because the rounds feed in a slightly upward fashion from below the bore's axis.

Have you looked at a Glock in .40S&W? Their chambers are "looser" than almost any other handgun on the market (and an attributor to why there are so many glock "Kabooms!").

So, some degree of looseness is normal.
How wide was the strip of paper you used? I can put a narrow strip of copy paper in the chamber of my XD-40 and Makarov (the two I tested) as long as it is no wider than about 3/16".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to all for some interesting thoughts.
PWHITED, I don't think it's the ammo though. The chamber seems to have a slight oval, at least at the breech end. I don't know if this is by design or just wear as I haven't been able to look at another Mak since discovering this. I REALLY need to get a wire guage to see what I'mm talking about as I'm not sure the paper strip test is going to be reproducible enough to make any sense. I will see if I can get a picture of it as well.
 

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Glock Kabooms? never saw that happen! heard they will if you shoot lead bullets.
Put over 6000 rounds down range with my Glock 23 No miss fires,no failure to feed,no failure to eject,no smoke stacks,Just squeeze and bang,every time!!!!!!!
 

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Glock Kabooms? never saw that happen! heard they will if you shoot lead bullets.
Put over 6000 rounds down range with my Glock 23 No miss fires,no failure to feed,no failure to eject,no smoke stacks,Just squeeze and bang,every time!!!!!!!
I got a Glock 19 several months ago and, when I heard of the "Kabooms," I used Google and found this page. http://www.angelfire.com/co3/markcolo/kabooms.html

I haven't fired my Glock at all lately, but it's not because of any "Kaboom" worries, it's because I got my first Makarov.
 

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I pickup brass at the range all the time. I haven't checked any of the 9x18 brass. With the .40 brass, you can tell that there is a difference in chamber sizes when you go to resize the brass. Even the cases that were tight going into the resizing die didn't show any signs of stress or fatigue. You can also measure your chamber with a dial caliper if available. Here are a couple of pics, I measured a Hornady 9x18 round and also the chamber of my PA-63. The round measured .387" and the chamber measured .394". Standard weight copy paper measures .003". As you can see there is .007" difference in the diameter of the round and the chamber but I have never has any safety issues or concerns and no function problems.
 
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