Finicky .380

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by lead, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. lead

    lead Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2004
    I bought a Renato Gamba version of the Mauser HSc recently. It's a high cap, all steel, Italian made pistol. What I've since found out is that it's very finicky on ammo. It jammed on Magtech ammo, very accurate, but wouldn't always feed it. It does do well with Fiocchi and S&B, which are a little more expensive, and not as easy to find.
    I like the gun, but I sometimes wonder if I should just get rid of it and get something else that I know will eat any ammo I put in it. I've had a Bersa for 6 years that has been trouble free.
    Do you hang on to picky guns, or does reliability with any ammo trump everything else?
  2. al45lc

    al45lc Active Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    colorful colorado
    I take it as a challenge and make 'em work! (usually!)
    The .380's can be very difficult due to short cartridge and feed ramp angles, and one of the big ones I've discovered through the years is the extractor.
    Many .380's can have extractor issue's which effect feeding (the cartridge must feed up and into the extractor of course) due to burs on the extractor and varying case dimensions such as extractor goove (rim) thickness and diameter.
    I've seen problems with the slide face too, rough machining can catch at the cartridge head and hang up the slide, saw and fixed this on a Bersa once, as well as an AMT "backup".
    I have a Walther PPk/S that was a regular POS until I deburred and polished the extractor. Same with an old "pony" .380 years ago.
    So it depends on the gun, if it's not cost effective to take it to a Smithy, it might be best to sell it.
    In my book, reliability, (for a CARRY or home defense piece) IS the ultimate factor. Otherwise, it's just like an expensive brick.

  3. firefighter1635

    firefighter1635 Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    FEMA Region V
    Alot of .380's are finicky as al45lc stated. I've got a Sig P238 and it hates hollow point ammo but it don't bother me as I prefer to run FMJ ammo in my .380 to get a bit more penetration. It'll run any FMJ I can throw at it, and that's good enough for me.
  4. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    SW. Florida
    I bought a new Mauser HSc imported by Interarms back in 1974 becuse it looked like a good little gun that would be easy to carry. I got rid of it after a couple of years because I never could get it to cycle even ball ammunition reliably. It would fire the round in the chamber and then jamb on the 2nd shot more often than it would cycle normally. I won't own a gun if it's not reliable, so I traded it for a Beretta Model 84 and never looked back. The Beretta is 100% reliable. :cool:

    If your little pistol is a copied version of the HSc, I'm sorry to say you probably won't be able to make it reliable. I tried everything. :(
  5. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    The HSc was designed around the .32 ACP and in that caliber it was reliable, however when Mauser up it to 380 it picked up a reputation of being very finicky, I don't imagine going to a high cap magazine ( Gamba )made it any better. I'm not a engineer and I don't don't know why this is so, but the number of complaints about the feeding habits of this gun far exceed those who are satisfied with it. I had one of the original Mauser HSc's in .380, it was not a gun I felt bad about parting with.
  6. lead

    lead Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2004
    I took it out again today with Fiocchi and some Remington, all FMJ. It did fine with the Rem. this time, jammed a few times on the Fiocchi. It only does this on feeding, never an extraction problem, and still very accurate.
    I think this is going to the next gun show with me. I'll be honest to anyone looking at it, but this gun just isn't reliable. Maybe someone else can find a way to make it feed right.
  7. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    You do that by either working on it yourself, or you take it to a gunsmith. If you can find a smith to work on that gun, he can get it to feed properly with just about anything you want to feed it.