Saw a PA-63 that blew on the range yesterday...

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by polishshooter, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    When I was shooting the Polish at 100 yesterday, there were some guys shooting pistols down at the 25 yd range.

    The range officer came down to me and said, "Well don't shoot any Silver Bear ammo in your Makarov, we just had one blow!"

    I told him, heck I shoot Silver Bear all the time in mine, what happened?

    He said there must have been an "overload" or something, there was a LOUD boom, the slide flew right off and the barrel is bulged badly. I asked what kind of "Makarov" and he said he didn't know, thought it was Russian.

    I needed a break so I walked over.

    It was a commercial FEG Hungarian PA-63, in 9x18 Mak, with an aluminum frame, NOT a "real" Makarov. There was a NOTICEBLE bulge just in FRONT of the chamber, but there was NO visible damage to the frame, or chamber, or even to the peice of cast aluminum holding the barrel around the chamber! There was also no visible damage to the slide, inside or out.

    The guy said he had shot almost the whole box, this was the last mag of the SIlver Bear, and was just about to switch over to some Wolf ammo when it blew.

    I asked him if there was ANY chance he had "stuck" a bullet in the bore before he fired, and he assured me he didn't, all holes had appeared in the target when he fired, he said. (I looked down the barrel, and you couldn't even see any damage or the bulge, from the INSIDE.)

    I thought MAYBE it had fired before it went into battery, but USUALLY there is a lot of visible damage, right? ESPECIALLY to that "light" cast aluminum frame! I SHOULD have at least seen a CRACK in the frame, or the light casting the barrel was pinned to. Plus I saw the case, just a couple of small cracks around the mouth, NO bulging or cracks at the base.

    The "Heavy Load" doesn't wash either....wouldn't the CHAMBER have blown, or bulged? NOT about 1/2" in FRONT of the chamber, right? IF in the CHAMBER, the casting HOLDING the barrel would have at least cracked too...PLUS more damage to the CASE.

    I STILL wonder if maybe he HAD stuck one becasue of a LIGHT load or one with no powder that still jacked the slide....and pushed the bullet an inch or so out of the chamber into the barrel, and was pushed out by the bullet that fired and blew it.

    I never thought to ask him if he had any other malfunctions, or if this was the FIRST shot of a new mag, DARN.

    While I never owned or shot a PA-63, I remember BobinStLouis used one as his carry gun, and many guys have had good luck with theirs. After holding that LIGHT and cheesy aluminum frame in my hand, though I'm not so sure I would ever buy one.

    It was 95 gr FMJ Siver Bear they were shooting, I've shot a couple of boxes of it through my Makarovs, both all steel, both the EG and the Russian Commercial Baikal I have now Now I usually either shoot the cheap Russian steel cased 95 gr, FMJs or the Brown Bear 115 JHPs.

    What do you think happened?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2006
  2. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

    Mar 5, 2006
    Deep South Mississippi
    One of those user malfunctions huh :eek:

  3. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Feb 23, 2001
    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    That's a real puzzler Polish.....

    BUT.......I've loaded a lot of handgun ammo over the years, and it's been my experience that one of the advantages of a semiauto pistol is that any load light enough to stick a bullet in the barrel is too light to cycle the action on any semiauto pistol I've ever seen......

    Don't have an answer for this one, but I don't think it was a "light load".
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    I have a FEG PA63 and so does my son-in-law. I have worked on both to reduce the trigger pull and to reduce the recoil. I replaced the recoil springs with heavier ones to absorb more of the recoil and am currently evaluating various hammer springs to reduce the trigger pull. A big source of the trigger pull is the trigger actuated firing pin safety. I was able to remove about 3# of the 8# single action trigger pull with a little smoothing of the sear and hammer and removal of some of the preload by the small spring in the firing pin safety mechanism. The guns are reliable, shoot very well and, yes, made of aluminum. But so are Berretta 92, Sigs, and many other pistols.

    I have shot my son-in-laws all steel Makarov and it too is it a good gun and shoots well. While the two share the same ammo, the design is different. The FEG PA63 is a copy of a Walther PP and the Makarov is not. The differences between the PA63 and the Walther PP are slight but in particular in the area of the firing pin safety. The FEG design is fine and I have seen no indication of any metalugy problems with ours.

    It has been my experience that it is what the guy that has the problem doesn't tell you that is the culprit of a failure like this. Maybe he put the wrong ammo in it. Maybe he missed a light load (ammo problem) and followed it with a regular load with a bullet stuck in the barrel. Who knows?

    I have seen this gun completely disassembled as I have many other guns and there is nothing wrong with the design or the execution that I can see. I even have an AGI video on the Walther PPK that uses the PA63 cutaway for demonstration of the working principals of the Walther PPK. The video host, whom I trust as I have many of his AGI course on video, compares the two and says the PA63 is a fine gun and only lacks the finish of the Walther.
    That's hard to say about some of the Saturday Night Specials I have seen through the years (made out of pot metal and literally blow apart when fired).

    People are guns worst enemies. I suspect the nut behind the gun before I suspect the gun. And bargain ammo sometimes is not a bargain at all!

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2006
  5. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Oh I'm not knocking the PA-63, I've never fired one but some guys I knew pretty well had them and shot them a lot and like I said, BobinStL used to trust it as his carry gun.

    I've just never owned or shot an aluminum framed handgun EXCEPT an alloy Essex frame my first full house .45 had...but I got rid of it quickly when I decided to start IPSC...many guys told me it would never hold up to the amount of full house ammo I would be firing...

    And I've probably shot 2 boxes of Silver Bear FMJs, and two boxes of the Brown Bear heavier 115 JHPs through my Makarovs without a snitch. In fact I keep my Russian Baikal Mak loaded with the 115 JHPs, after I throated the barrel slightly and polished the feed ramp a little they feed fine, that was the ONLY problem I had with either of them.

    I'm mad I never asked whether he had jacked the slide by hand at all. He DID show me the empty box of the ammo, and it was 9x18, and so was the offending case...

    I'm STILL thinking he stuck one...although now that I think about it, every round I ever saw without powder (It was pretty common in the 80s when DIllon first came on the market, but had the manual powder drop, guys would get cranking and miss punching the powder drop occasionally, usually only on the practice ammo when they were after quantity not quality...)firing a jacketed bullet the large primers USUALLY pushed it out of the barrel of at least a .45, usually lead bullets were the ones that stuck....although ONCE I saw a 200 gr lead HG 68 "spit" from a barrel and fall straight to the ground about 5 feet from the muzzle after the "Pfft!" It was actually kind of funny, especially when about 5 of us guys saw it, and were kind of stunned, then started chuckling, and one said quickly, "MAN you use some good lube!" :p

    I guess I don't know about a small primer though...
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