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Drum Not Latching On Kahr Semi


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#1 ranger7

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 12:05 AM

New to Thompsons and this forum. Learning as much as I can.

Just received a Kahr 1927A1 semi-auto from Sarco with an L drum. (I know it's not a "real Thompson". Maybe some day I'll get a full auto or at least an SBR.)

I've had it to the range twice. Shot a few hundred rounds and it seems to work fine with 30 round stick mags even shooting my ball reloads.

There is one problem though. The drum will slide in place but won't latch. The tabs or ears on the back of the drum that should engage the mag latch don't seem to stick out far enough. The mag latch seems to be seating properly but there is still a few thousandths clearance between the high points on the drum tabs and the latch.

Both the drum and the carbine appear to be new, current production. I have nothing to compare the drum to. Can someone tell me how "high" the tabs should extend from the rear surface of the drum? Any ideas on what the problem is.

I've made contact with Kahr customer service but progress there is slow. They say they don't think Sarco usually sells Kahr's stuff new. I've e-mailed the carbine S/N and a complete description of the drum markings to Kahr. I'm waiting to hear back. Would like to avoid shipping the carbine to Kahr, even if that's an option. I'm hoping they'll offer to replace the drum or better yet, I can fix the problem myself.

Any help will be appreciated
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#2 full auto 45

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 08:06 AM

Call Kahr. Sounds like another one of their "problems" with the drums.
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#3 Lancer

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 08:28 AM

QUOTE (full auto 45 @ Nov 4 2005, 09:06 AM)
Call Kahr. Sounds like another one of their "problems" with the drums.

I agree. Sound like a bad drum. Mine did the same thing.

If it were me , I'd try to return the drum to Sarco and get a refund. This may be quicker & easier than dealing with Kahr. Kahr may decide that since you did't buy it "new" they don't need to stand behind it.
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#4 Grey Crow

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:49 AM

I used a metal punch and "gently" raised the bumps <(for lack of a better term) so that they would engage the mag catch. Be careful not to stretch the metal too far as to tear it.
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#5 Lancer

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 11:14 AM

If I recall, the problem with the drum I had was with the front rail being positioned too low causing the bottom of the drum to have a forward tilt in-turn causing the latching protrusions to be positioned too far away from the latch to securely lock in place.
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#6 Grey Crow

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:58 PM

My "K" drum, had 3 problems the bumps too low, raised them both.
Mounting slides ok for alignment just not out far enough. Raised those as well.
Internal guide rails not uniform, aligned them.

After that it works great, not quite as good as the 20's patent L, but ok.

Good thing you threw that in Phil, don't use the opposing bump for leverage or it will be pushed down.
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#7 ranger7

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 12:32 PM

QUOTE (PhilOhio @ Nov 4 2005, 10:48 AM)
Ranger7,

You're probably going to be spinning your wheels for a long time getting an adjustment, unless you just fix it yourself.  FYI, I just measured the latching protrusions on my nearly mint early Colt "L" drum, so we can be sure they are pretty close to blueprint specifications.  The machinist's scale says they are almost exactly 5/32" above the level of the plate from which they are pressed.

So if it looks like building yours up to that height would fix the problem, I'd do it, or get it done.  A wire welder would be good.  The metal is thin, and whoever does it must know what he is doing.  Then a little Dremel shaping, maybe some touchup cold bluing, and problem solved.

At this point, you don't know whether the problem is with the drum or the grip frame.  The 5/32" number narrows it.

After getting the drum latching surface right, and determining that the frame and its latch are also right, you reach the point at which you find out if the drum works, or if you have more fine tuning ahead of you.

You should read some of the threads, archived here, about Kahr drums and what may be in store for you.  It's all doable, but some take more doing than others.

Measured the latching potrusions and they are about 6/32 so it looks like this measurement isn't my problem, although raising them more may fix the problem.

There is at least one other dimension (or more correctly PAIR of dimensions) on the drum that could be a cause of my problem. The rear mounting rail may be too far out from the drum surface and the front rail too close with the net effect of the drum mounting a little too far forward.

I'll try to call Sarco tomorrow and see if they'll agree to replace the drum. Kahr seemed responsive at first. They asked for additional info from me, which I sent, then no further response for several days now.

I'd like a factory/dealer fix to the problem if possible. Any sign of tampering by me, even if it fixes it, will lower the resale value, or collectability of the drum.

Getting a refund on the drum is not the ideal solution for me either. I bought the deluxe model carbine because I could use a drum. If I don't have a drum, then I would prefer the M1 military version carbine. Don't think they'll replace the carbine now since I have several hundred rounds through the it and additionally they would owe me for the difference in carbine prices plus the cost of the drum.
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#8 Lancer

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 02:00 PM

QUOTE (ranger7 @ Nov 6 2005, 12:32 PM)
I'd like a factory/dealer fix to the problem if possible. Any sign of tampering by me, even if it fixes it, will lower the resale value, or collectability of the drum.

Getting a refund on the drum is not the ideal solution for me either. I bought the deluxe model carbine because I could use a drum. If I don't have a drum, then I would prefer the M1 military version carbine. Don't think they'll replace the carbine now since I have several hundred rounds through the it and additionally they would owe me for the difference in carbine prices plus the cost of the drum.

ranger7
I wouldn't count on much resale value and definitely not any collectability value of a Kahr drum. You'll be lucky to find one that even works. Kahr has replaced my drum 4 times since Jan. 05. The one I have now is just barely acceptable.
A WWII production drum would be a much better choice in regard to funtionality, resale & collectability value. If your able to get a refund, take it and put the cash towards one of these.

My .02

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#9 ranger7

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 12:00 AM

QUOTE (Lancer @ Nov 6 2005, 02:00 PM)
ranger7
I wouldn't count on much resale value and definitely not any collectability value of a Kahr drum. You'll be lucky to find one that even works. Kahr has replaced my drum 4 times since Jan. 05. The one I have now is just barely acceptable.
A WWII production drum would be a much better choice in regard to funtionality, resale & collectability value. If your able to get a refund, take it and put the cash towards one of these.

My .02

Assuming I get it working reasonably well, it should have some resale value. As far as collectability, I guess I was thinking of the possibility of another ban sometime in the future.

Wish I had known about how bad the Kahr drums were before I bought this one. I see posts about West Hurley drums going for $250. Are they bad?

I'll see what the best deal is that I can get from Sarco or Kahr.
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#10 ranger7

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 10:48 PM

A little news. Kahr replied to my e-mail. They seem to be willing to do anything necessary to service the carbine itself. They are "reluctant" to take the drum back. They say that Sarco is a wholesaler and surplus dealer. Sarco's source for the drums (and whether they are current waranteed product) is in question. (They apparently have some history with the questionable origin of Sarco's stuff.)

They suggest I get Sarco to replace the drum and if the drum is legit, Sarco can get credit or replacement from Kahr.

My current "plan A" is to try to get a working replacement from Sarco. If that fails for some reason, (plan B ) I'll request a refund. Failing both of those, (plan C ) I'll try to fix what I have or get it fixed.

If I had to do it all over, I'd get one of the copies of the military version and stay with stick mags. It appears that good drums cost more than I want to spend.

Edited by ranger7, 07 November 2005 - 10:50 PM.

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#11 ranger7

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 05:44 PM

More news. I e-mailed Sarco last night and this afternoon, they called my cell while I was at my gun dealer's. They asked what I wanted to do with my drum. I said I wanted a working replacement. They said drums were temporarily out of stock, but issued me a return authorization. They said they would send a replacement as soon as they received more.

When I got home, I found an e-mail from another person at Kahr. They said they would be glad to repair or replace my drum and I should send it to them.

Guess I'll try Sarco first as I have the return authorization. Kahr should have a 1 year warranty.
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#12 Grey Crow

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 10:43 PM

QUOTE
PhilOhio  We're all learning more about Thompsons all the time...and how not to get clipped when buying accessories for them, etc. Search the archives or ask questions before making any future big buys. There's a gold mine of Thompson knowledge in the brains of the collective membership here, and I'm sure your experiences will add to this as you go along.


Never read words that were so true!

If one were to retrieve and somehow organize all of the input from this board it would make one hell of a Thompson book.
A cartoonist could even make a little levity from a few of the squabbles.

Such a book would not only be informative, but entertaining as well.



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#13 ranger7

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 04:21 PM

QUOTE (PhilOhio @ Nov 8 2005, 10:29 PM)
Good show! For everybody who has been critical of Sarco, let's watch and see how this comes out. I've had good luck with them, but I know some haven't. And as for Kahr...let's watch that with an open mind also.

E-mailed SARCO about the replacement (or refund) for the Kahr drum I sent them almost a month ago. They replied quickly saying they were sorry to hold me up. Since they didn't have a replacement drum in stock, they sent mine back to Kahr and just received my replacement. It's ready to ship.

Here's hoping this one fits my carbine (and also hoping it works.)

The more I think about my purchase of the 27A1 semi w/drum, I now wish I had shopped for an M1 SBR even though it may have ended up costing me almost twice as much. Oh well.
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#14 Ron Mills

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 09:43 AM

I have to wave the Sarco flag, because I've had nothing but good dealings with them over the years, and everything I've ordered from 'em has been Thompson-related. Orders, phone calls, emails have all been timely. woot.gif I love that little guy.
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#15 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 01:47 PM

It seems to be a Ranger problem... laugh.gif In WWII in North Africa Ranger Ed Dean charged into a French Foreign Legion fort by kicking in the door with his Thompson at the ready, but the drum magazine fell off in the process. Dean remembers the French soldiers standing there grinning. Luckily they were French and surrendered anyway tongue.gif ... Dean turned in his Thompson for an M1 Rifle after that.

Maybe Ed got a real early KAHR?? laugh.gif laugh.gif
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#16 ranger7

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 05:24 PM

QUOTE (ranger7 @ Dec 6 2005, 04:21 PM)
QUOTE (PhilOhio @ Nov 8 2005, 10:29 PM)
Good show!  For everybody who has been critical of Sarco, let's watch and see how this comes out.  I've had good luck with them, but I know some haven't.  And as for Kahr...let's watch that with an open mind also.

E-mailed SARCO about the replacement (or refund) for the Kahr drum I sent them almost a month ago. They replied quickly saying they were sorry to hold me up. Since they didn't have a replacement drum in stock, they sent mine back to Kahr and just received my replacement. It's ready to ship.

Here's hoping this one fits my carbine (and also hoping it works.)

The more I think about my purchase of the 27A1 semi w/drum, I now wish I had shopped for an M1 SBR even though it may have ended up costing me almost twice as much. Oh well.

The replacement drum arrived from Sarco today. It slides right on AND LATCHES. Hooray!

I haven't been to the range to try it yet. (The ground is snow covered and I don't want to have to dig for large quantities of brass. When the ground at the range is snow covered, I usually shoot one of my wheel guns so that digging for brass isn't a problem.) If the ground doesn't clear of snow in a week or two I may just have to sacrifice some brass to try the drum.

Now I have another question. The drum seems a little loose when on the carbine. With the bolt back and the mag catch latched, I get a little less than 1/8 inch front to back wobble at the bottom of the drum and a little more than 1/8 inch front to back wobble at the extreme sides of the drum. Is this normal, reasonable or should I expect it to be tighter? (Thompson drums - even the "real ones" don't seem to be finely machined to close tolerences. Will a real SMG and vintage drum still work reliably with some slop in the drum to gun fit?)

I realize that the fit can be tightened by careful "forming" of the mounting rails on the drum. I would prefer not to mess with it unless absolutely necessary. (I'd like to keep my Kahr warranty in effect as long as possible.) If absolutely necessary, I'll work on it myself or send it to the drum Doctor.


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#17 ranger7

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:42 PM

I got a chance to try the replacement drum. It seemed to function fairly well. Had a few stoppages (failures to chamber correctly) in the first full drum. After I go it home from the range, I sprayed some teflon lube inside the drum and wiped the excess out. Also added a few drops of FP-10 lube to the center "axle" of the drum. The mechanism seemd to work a little smoother than previously.

I then loaded up the drum and went to the range again for a further trial the next day. This time I noticed that the bolt was locking back every so often - may have been some of the "stoppages" the previous day also.

I tried each of the 4 stick mags I have, that worked perfectly before and I got the bolt locking back every few rounds on them too. Evidently I have a new problem. There is another thread asking for help/suggestions on the new problem.

I guess further testing of the drum will have to wait until the bolt locking problem is solved. (Since the new problem happens with the stick magzines, it seems safe to assume it isn't related to the drum. ) If it was occurring the first day, it apparently got worse the second day.
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#18 Motorcar

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:09 PM

You've got crap in your lower tongue.gif That came out wrong...sorry, the lever that catches the bolt in the rear position on an empty stick mag has debris in and around the lower or has not enough lubrication. The recoil is sticking it up. Mine did the same after 500 continuous rounds when new. I just hosed it out with aeresol bore cleaner, then dropped some oil in there. Ran 100% after that. I now clean that out regularly when I do my other cleaning. Not a big deal, can be running fine in a couple of minutes. wink.gif
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#19 ranger7

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 10:21 AM

QUOTE (Motorcar @ Dec 28 2005, 01:09 PM)
You've got crap in your lower tongue.gif  That came out wrong...sorry, the lever that catches the bolt in the rear position on an empty stick mag has debris in and around the lower or has not enough lubrication. The recoil is sticking it up. Mine did the same after 500 continuous rounds when new. I just hosed it out with aeresol bore cleaner, then dropped some oil in there. Ran 100% after that. I now clean that out regularly when I do my other cleaning. Not a big deal, can be running fine in a couple of minutes. wink.gif


Thanks for the reply Motorcar. When I wrote the question, I thought maybe I should mention that I didn't do any cleaning in the lower yet but I didn't want to "lead" the answer into that area. I actually didn't think it would "need" cleaning after only a few hundred rounds, but it may have some debris floating around that was left over from manufacturing.

I was hoping the solution would be this easy. I really like my semi-auto Thompson and hope it stays working for me. I've field stripped it a couple of times to get to know it better. Later today I'll give it a thorough cleaning and lube with special attention to the area you suggested.

I'll try to post back how I make out when I shoot it again.

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#20 ranger7

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 11:20 PM

Got to the cleaning/lubing today and noticed that the lever (pawl?) that actually engages with the bolt, to lock it back, had an extra little notch peened into the top edge/corner. I'm guessing that because this extra notch sticks up a little higher, it catches the bolt sometimes when it shouldn't. I can also see where the bolt has been locking against the pawl further down (like it normally should?)

I filed off the little extra notch. Still hoping to try it tomorrow, weather and schedule permitting.
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