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I recently picked up a P232SL that appeared to be completely unfired. Some minor handling marks on the frame, but the internals were immaculate (and almost completely dry).

I did a full function check at home, field stripped, put a bit of grease on the rails and oil on the other moving parts and then cycled a few dozen times, checked the trigger, etc. All of the standard "fiddle with a new gun" kinds of things one does.

It was working flawlessly (or so it seemed) for the first 20 rounds (S&B 92gr FMJ) so I loaded up a few rounds of SIG V-Crown. Around the second round, the slide started to stick, sometimes the round was caught up on the feed ramp, sometimes it failed to fully go into battery. I thought maybe it was the rounds themselves, but then the same thing was happening with the next five rounds of S&B. This continued for one more magazine with more S&B and a couple of rounds of Hornady Critical Defense.

At this point I figured that maybe I had screwed up the recoil spring the first time I tried to reassemble or maybe failed to give it enough oil. Either way I tossed it back into my bag and headed home.

When I got home and got the pistol apart and cleaned, I realized that the problem wasn't lubrication nor was it the recoil spring. Even when fully clean, even when pressing by hand, the slide was really tight and stubborn, needing to be forced into battery on an empty chamber. At this point I started to get really worried that I'd done something stupid and broken it, though I couldn't figure out what I could have done that would cause such a failure. I also wondered if something was assembled incorrectly (perhaps the previous owner detail stripped it and put something together the wrong way) but that didn't explain why it had worked at first then suddenly stopped.

After a bit more experimentation I found the culprit.. I still don't know what happened, but when I removed the slide catch lever, the problem went away. Looking carefully at the lever, it appears to be almost bowed (there is a significant gap between it and the frame).



I didn't take a photo of the internals before firing, so I'm not 100% positive it changed shape, but when comparing it against photos of the part I've seen online, it has a curve where others look completely straight.



So my working theory is that this MIM part might not have been heat-treated correctly, and might have bent ever so slightly each time it locked the slide back under a full power recoil. After a few magazines, it had bent enough to start rubbing on the slide, which is causing the friction. I tried very lightly dressing the contact point with the frame and the topside, but didn't want to remove too much material and that didn't seem to alleviate the problem.



So, I'm kind of stuck at the moment. I found another slide catch lever on eBay and will try to see if that fixes the problem, but if anyone else has seen an issue like this and has any advice to offer, I'd love to hear it.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: tp1l,
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Never seen that. I have a P230SL, and I'm fairly certain that part is 100% straight and flat against the rail. It doesn't seem like there would be enough force on it when locking the slide to bend it like that. Also, the finish looks a bit odd and rough. I wonder if that wasn't a factory part to begin with. I don't think mine is MIM, either.

Interesting.

Glad you actually found a replacement part. Let us know if that takes care of it. I'd be curious to see a side-by-side photo of the two parts, too.


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-- Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. --
 
Posts: 16385 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for that confirmation.

The replacement part (at least the eBay photos) also looks like a MIM part, so we'll see if there are any other differences. It seems odd to me as well that the part could bend list this from just a few firings, but it's the only thing I can see that might have changed from when I did the first function checks.

I'll certainly post a phot of the two parts side-by-side once the replacement arrives.
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is mine in my P230SL. Pardon the dirty pistol. It doesn't look MIM. I can see tooling marks. It also doesn’t have the two round marks next to the hinge like yours. Also, much straighter than yours.





________________________________________

-- Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. --
 
Posts: 16385 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very odd. But dont rule out the recoil spring. If the spring is too strong, it could possibly slam the slide against the lever hard enough to deform it. This would explain why it shot fine for a while until it began to malfunction.
Wild ass guess!


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Posts: 13833 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by YooperSigs:
Very odd. But dont rule out the recoil spring. If the spring is too strong, it could possibly slam the slide against the lever hard enough to deform it. This would explain why it shot fine for a while until it began to malfunction.
Wild ass guess!

That's a really good point. I suspect that the spring is factory standard, if only because the gun looked unfired, but I don't know that for certain. I'll add a replacement, or maybe even one of the Wolff "calibration packs" to my order list.
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by flesheatingvirus:
Here is mine in my P230SL. Pardon the dirty pistol. It doesn't look MIM. I can see tooling marks. It also doesn’t have the two round marks next to the hinge like yours. Also, much straighter than yours.


Thank you for the photos! This pretty much confirms that no matter how it happened, the bent lever is definitely the problem. Now I just need to see if the same thing happens with the second one.

The one coming this week (https://www.ebay.com/itm/353776166993) is definitely a MIM part, with the same stamped "2" in a circle on the inner face. The only other slide catch lever I see on eBay for a P232 (I don't know if they are interchangeable between 230/232) is blued. But it also seems to have a dimple in the same place, so I think they might all be MIM for at least later years of this model.

Hopefully I just got a bad part, though the previous comment about the recoil spring is certainly a possibility...
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The new part arrived this morning. It is clearly still an MIM part, but also looks quite different from the original. Less "grainy" with sharper detail. I wouldn't normally care, but I hope this means it will also stand up better to the recoil. Here are some comparison photos, new part is the one on top:




It also fits much better in the frame. This is what I expected of course, but it's still good to know that I was able to correctly identify the problem.



All function checks are perfect, smooth as butter. It feels pretty much like the original did before firing, so that will be the real test I suppose. I haven't replaced the recoil spring yet. Whether or not I do so before firing depends on how long it takes the replacement to arrive. This certainly does lend credence to my theory that the gun was unfired, not just detail stripped and really carefully cleaned by the previous owner, which is a nice surprise if true.

I'll update after either replacing the spring or the next test fire, whatever comes first.
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Glad to see that it worked out.

Are you going to toss the old part? I wonder if you can use a small hammer and gently tap it straight again. At least then you'd have a last-resort backup part. May not be worth screwing with, though.


________________________________________

-- Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. --
 
Posts: 16385 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by flesheatingvirus:
Are you going to toss the old part? I wonder if you can use a small hammer and gently tap it straight again. At least then you'd have a last-resort backup part. May not be worth screwing with, though.


I'm not sure if I'll keep it or not. I haven't thrown it away yet, and was thinking along similar lines (vice and pliers) just to see if I could get it working again. But I'm not sure it's really worth it either. Whatever happened, it obviously happened in less than 35 rounds and 5-6 times locking open on an empty magazine, so I'm not sure I'd trust this part anyway.

Now I'm in a "race" between the arrival of the parts kit (which includes a new OEM recoil spring) and the next time I can get to the range.

While I'm still not ruling out the spring, and wanted a spare anyway, any part that can't take 35 rounds with a possibly overpowered spring won't last hundreds or thousands of rounds on a normal spring either. Nothing I've read and none of my prior experience with old school SIGs leads me to believe this is a common problem, so I'm still hoping I just got a lemon of a MIM part.
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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No photos at the moment, and I haven't taken a close look at the part yet, but two range trips and about 40 rounds later... things still look good. That is as many rounds as it took in the first place to bend the old lever.

I'm definitely coming down on the side of "bad heat treat" as the root cause. I need to put another few boxes of range ammo and at least one full box of defensive ammo through this before I really trust it for carry, but things are looking promising!
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just watched a TFB TV video on the 230 and he states that mim parts were one of the changes from 230 to 232. Honestly the first I had heard of that.
 
Posts: 9554 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I hadn't done a lot of research on the differences between them, but because this has at least the potential to be a carry piece I chose the P232 because I didn't want to risk getting something that wouldn't feed modern defensive rounds.

I still plan to put a few more boxes of range ammo through this, followed by a few magazines of V-crown before I trust it for that purpose however.

Anyway, I am not strictly opposed to MIM parts on principle, and they do allow you do do things that would be difficult or expensive with traditional machining. But if I run into any more problems, I might start to look at which parts are interchangeable between the models and see if I can find some spares from a P230SL.
 
Posts: 273 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: August 13, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Voshterkoff:
Just watched a TFB TV video on the 230 and he states that mim parts were one of the changes from 230 to 232. Honestly the first I had heard of that.


Would you mind posting a link to this video please ? I have several 232's and a couple 230's and I've never seen a slide catch lever that rough ! I'd call Sig and ask for a replacement, the worst they can say is no.
 
Posts: 529 | Location: Central Ohio | Registered: January 05, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by tp1l:


But if I run into any more problems, I might start to look at which parts are interchangeable between the models and see if I can find some spares from a P230SL.


Almost everything interchanges between the two. Late model 230’s came with a hammer reset spring (and a different hammer to accommodate the spring)which all 232’s have; that’s the most significant change as I recall.


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https://youtu.be/tZ9eY6WeSCc

Again, the first I had heard such a statement.
 
Posts: 9554 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Voshterkoff:
https://youtu.be/tZ9eY6WeSCc

Again, the first I had heard such a statement.

Thanks for posting that I missed it for some reason. I think that's a fair evaluation of the pistol but I agree with you about the MIM parts issue.
 
Posts: 529 | Location: Central Ohio | Registered: January 05, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is interesting. I had the exact same problem just a few days ago. When I took it apart the slide catch lever seemed bowed to me, but, like you, I didn't take a picture of it beforehand, so I wasn't sure. It was really the only part that could bind the slide.

Another interesting fact, is I was shooting S&B 92gr FMG at the time. I had just fired 50 rounds of Armscor 95gr FMG and 50 rounds of Geco 95gr FMG.

I purchased the gun used, so I have no idea how many rounds it's had through it. I have only put 200 rounds through it. It started sticking with about 10 rounds left in the S&B box. I thought it was just gunked up until I took it apart and it wasn't that dirty.

My part is also MIM and I can't tell what kind of steel it is.

Unfortunately, I can't find a replacement part right now, but I'm currently studying gunsmithing and I can fix the bowing of the part, but haven't got to the heat treating part of the course yet.
So stay tuned...I'll post a follow up in the future, but I don't know how far in the future.
 
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