How to remove Sterling Arms 380 firing pin?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Paul56, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Paul56

    Paul56 New Member

    Mar 16, 2011

    I've bought a Sterling Arms Mark II model 400 .380 about 30 years ago, only putting about 700 rounds through it in all that time. I know the gun has a very poor reputation, therefore a gunsmith to fix the gun would cost more than it is worth.

    My problem with the gun is that after each discharge, or even just pushing the firing pin manually, the firing pin sticks and protrudes from the breech. Through the last 30 years, each time I fired the gun, I cleaned it afterward. I followed some advice on this forum and tried both brake cleaner and then WD-40 to flush out the firing pin area, but the firing pin still sticks. What I want to do is remove the firing pin and make sure the area is clean, the spring is good, and the firing pin is straight. So...does anyone know how to remove the firing pin on this gun???

  2. goofy

    goofy Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    hello paul 56.I would suggest that if you have never broken down a weapon like this that you spend the $30.00+or- to have a smith do this for you.You have to remove the slide.And some disasembely from there to remove pin so I say again if you never have done this it is worth paying to get this done......GOOFY:)

  3. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    I agree! I used to work, apprentice, at a gun shop, and you would not believe the number of guns I have seen come into the shop in a box! If you just have to do it yourself be sure to find an exploded diagram for you gun, and search the net for instructions on how to DIY.
  4. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    Couple things come to mind. 1 your firing pin spring is probably broken so it won't retract back out of the breech face. Some of those poorly made guns use a cheap steel (if you could really call it steel) but over time the firing pin which is possibly tapered has wallowed out the pin hole and now it is wedging itself in the hole. I've seen this a few times. Also the firing pin retaining pin can cause this b/c its dragging on the pin itself. In all cases a trip to your smith would be best.
  5. Paul56

    Paul56 New Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    I have the original owner's instruction sheet with an exploded view of the gun, but the detail is not good enough to help, and I have not found any helpful info on the web either. I can break the gun down, but I want to learn how to remove the firing pin myself, as I enjoy learning more about my guns.

    I believe the spring is good, as I feel the resistance as I push the pin back and forth, until I push too far and it sticks. I think you may be right about the pin wedging itself in the hole as the pin snaps back when I push it back through the breech face. I realize that a gunsmith will help, but I still want to know how to remove the firing pin myself. I'm pretty sure I need to start by removing the safety, but I do not see a cutout similar to the Walther PPK design.

    Thanks for the advice!
  6. goofy

    goofy Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    Paul56 I'm very serious here this is a cheep gun it does not have the tollerence of a quality weapon any forceing prying or makeing of a part to come out can be dangerous and stripping it will be easy compared to reasembely! You can count on parts flying and not being able to see where they came from!A part of a smiths job is to know the weapon and some times we are working with no pappers or books (They may not be available) so we have to rely on our knowledge of past weapons and what the parts do and how they do it.Working blind is NOT for the beginer.TAKE YOUR GUN TO A SMITH!!! ask if you can watch so you can learn your weapon.You do not want to learn the hard part wrong can cost you a body part(eye,finger,face,LIFE)I,m not trying to be a hard a.. or a know it all(I DON'T)just ask the others on this site i have asked some dumb questions AND I AM A SMITH!!.so instead of telling you how to do this i'll stick with GO TO A SMITH and watch him first................GOOFY:)
  7. aj982

    aj982 New Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    I have one of these pistols that was handed down to me from my dad. It's very old and after a few tweaks and a good cleaning, it works very well. I have since fired over 200 rounds with it and it is pretty reliable as long as it's well maintained.

    To answer your question, remove the slide and while pushing the pin towards the front of the gun with a small rod or screwdriver, pull the safety barrel out. It's kind of tricky but once you get it the first time, you'll get it every time. Careful the spring and pin don't go flying. That happened to me the first time.
  8. Paul56

    Paul56 New Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    Thanks aj982. I have tried that before, but the head of pin would not budge any further than about the mid point of the safety barrel (the tip of the firing pin extending about 1/16 of an inch beyond the breech face), and so I stopped because I thought I might damage the pin. With your answer, I just tried it again, with more enthusiasm (and a rubber mallet) this time. It still won't budge any more than before (it jams in that position). I can tap it back out, and it moves freely back and forth until I reach that one point where it sticks.

    I have been positioning the safety in the fire position when I try to move the pin forward. I have also noticed that the safely will rotate a little further, but must be held in place, and have tried to remove without success from there too.

    I could try a bigger hammer. What do you think?
  9. Paul56

    Paul56 New Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    OK. So I didn't try a bigger hammer, but I did use my rubber mallet again, with a lot more enthusiasm. I had to pound the pin all the way forward to be able to remove the safety barrel, and then I had to pound the pin back to finally remove it and the spring from the cylinder.

    There were a couple of very small metal slivers near the flange at the aft end of the pin. After a thorough cleaning, it appears that for some reason the flange at the rear end of the firing pin is now too large to slide freely in the cylinder (I know it doesn't make sense). I have looked for any burrs in the cylinder and didn't find any, so my next step is to gently smooth down the flange edge by spinning it against some emery cloth.
  10. aj982

    aj982 New Member

    Jun 29, 2011

    That is definitely not normal. I have no idea unless the pin isn't original. I'll take it apart tonight and snap some pics.
  11. aj982

    aj982 New Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Paul, I couldn't get any pics because my camera is crappy but I think I can explain it to you.

    The safety on this pistol works two ways:

    The first thing it does is prevent the hammer from striking the pin by blocking the pin with the safety barrel. The safety barrel has a flat face, when the safety is on, the flat face is hidden and the hammer strikes the safety barrel before it strikes the pin. When the safety is off, the flat face is visible and the hammer strikes the pin before it strikes the safety barrel, allowing the pin to strike the round.

    The second thing it does is locks the pin in place. When the safety is off, the firing pin is free to move and compress the spring. When the safety is on, two "fingers" grab the conical part of the firing pin and prevent it from compressing the spring and contacting the round.

    Did you try to press the firing pin in with the safety on and off? From the sounds of it, you may have forced the firing pin through the safety "fingers" on the safety barrel. That may be why you saw the metal shards... Hopefully not.

    Wish I read your replies sooner. I would have stopped you from bringing out your heavy tools.
  12. Paul56

    Paul56 New Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    Thanks aj982 for the advice and concern. After owning this gun for over 30 years I do have a pretty good idea of how the safety works, I just didn't know if the safety barrel was held in by anything other than the firing pin. I've been waiting months for an answer because I didn't want to damage the gun. But after you told me the answer, I felt more certain that with the safety barrel in the correct position (safety off), that whatever force was necessary to move the firing pin forward, would be the right thing to do. did it turn out???

    I took the gun to the range today and put 200 rounds through it with not one problem from the firing pin. I did have just a few failures to feed, so that will be my next project. I don't rely on this gun in any way for personal protection, so it has become my learning device to help me with handgun knowledge. I do intend to get it working perfectly though!
  13. aj982

    aj982 New Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    I'm glad it worked out for you.

    I'm on the same boat here. I can't rely on it for home protection. Although it works most of the time and is getting better as I tinker, and clean, and adjust it, it still has some hickups. The last problem I have is that the safety rotates to the "on" position occasionally while firing. Really annoying.

    It is a fun little pistol and I will soon retire it. My dad had it for about 30 years like you and when he passed it down to me, I just wanted to get it working so we could go shoot it together. He gave it to me all gummed up and filthy. I plan on getting a p226 soon to replace it.
  14. drahopa7

    drahopa7 New Member

    Feb 22, 2014
    I see there are some fans ( and haters).
    I recently got a sterling MK 400 stainless in a trade.
    The double action didn't work.
    The trigger spring was broken.
    I got a new spring but I am not sure which pin to loop it over.
    Anyone have a picture of the trigger spring in a functioning gun I can look at?
    The exploded view on gun digest is sad at best.
  15. 221fireball

    221fireball New Member

    May 20, 2014
    A little off track but at one time Sterling Arms rented part of the building i was working in. They made a single shot like the Contender. TC complained so Sterling stopped making them.
    The local gun shop sold Sterlings. Said the only good part about them was they were made here in town and when it screwed up and it would just take it back and Sterling would fix it.
    A 6 million dollar law suit put Sterling out of business. A woman dropped her 22 and when it hit the ground it fired and shot her in the head. No more Sterling.
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