HK 53 lock up issues?
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Thread: HK 53 lock up issues?

  1. #1
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    Default HK 53 lock up issues?

    Iíll start this by saying Iím an HK newbie...so bear with me.

    Got a new to me HK53 and took it to the range for the 1st time....

    1st mag...load, drop the charging handle....click...no bang.

    I ejected the round, no signs of a light primer hit. I do this a few more times and realize the bolt isnít going all the way forward and locking up.

    Eventually I get it to lock up and it goes bang. Iíve never fired a 53 before but this thing is throwing flames out the end and out the ejection port.

    I shot it a few more times, same result as above. Only notable difference is all the ďfireĒ seems to disappear when firing with a suppressor on. Obviously the muzzle flash makes sense....

    When I try to run the action without ammo in it, it doesnít lock up 75% of the time.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Shooting factory 55 grain .223 ammo.

    All the flames just donít seem right. I do not have any video. Hoping to trouble shoot between now and next range visit. If it persists I will take video.


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    Last edited by DOTDSD3302; 12-01-2019 at 03:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    We are going to need a lot more info. Factory gun or clone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bauerdb View Post
    We are going to need a lot more info. Factory gun or clone?
    Factory. What else ya need? Iíll provide what I can.


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    My first thought is weak recoil spring or locking lever spring. I would order both and replace one at a time to see what fixes it. I'm leaning towards recoil spring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKaltwasser View Post
    My first thought is weak recoil spring or locking lever spring. I would order both and replace one at a time to see what fixes it.
    Thank you Sir, a buddy of mine also suggested the recoils spring. As soon as I can find one...will give it a run. Thanks again for your suggestion.


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    When you remove the recoil spring, take a close look at it to see if it has one end that is not peened to be flat, i.e., has been cut down from a longer recoil spring. Depending on how this 53 was made, some of the early 93 guns were modified by cutting down longer springs, which will not have the correct tension and will result in both light primer strikes or not going into battery, along with inadequate recoil attenuation which will batter the rear of the receiver (*search on "rail dimples").

    You should plan to replace the recoil ASSEMBLY, as the new assembly will include new plastic bushings and roll pins, along with the firing pin spring which works with the Locking Piece to enact bolt retardation. Additionally, there is a bolt locking lever and spring that should be checked for tension when rotating the bolt into the carrier as on reassembly. This last part does not typically go bad, but we're checking everything on a gun that won't reliably chamber.

    Lastly, all HK roller delayed guns are sensitive to riding the charging handles. When clambering a round, slap the cocking handle out of its retaini g notch and allow the bolt carrier to fly under its own power to chamber the round. Riding the cocking handle forward will ALWAYS result in an u locked breech. Good luck,
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongDuck View Post
    When you remove the recoil spring, take a close look at it to see if it has one end that is not peened to be flat, i.e., has been cut down from a longer recoil spring. Depending on how this 53 was made, some of the early 93 guns were modified by cutting down longer springs, which will not have the correct tension and will result in both light primer strikes or not going into battery, along with inadequate recoil attenuation which will batter the rear of the receiver (*search on "rail dimples").

    You should plan to replace the recoil ASSEMBLY, as the new assembly will include new plastic bushings and roll pins, along with the firing pin spring which works with the Locking Piece to enact bolt retardation. Additionally, there is a bolt locking lever and spring that should be checked for tension when rotating the bolt into the carrier as on reassembly. This last part does not typically go bad, but we're checking everything on a gun that won't reliably chamber.

    Lastly, all HK roller delayed guns are sensitive to riding the charging handles. When clambering a round, slap the cocking handle out of its retaini g notch and allow the bolt carrier to fly under its own power to chamber the round. Riding the cocking handle forward will ALWAYS result in an u locked breech. Good luck,
    Thanks for the reply Sir.

    Plan is to replace the assembly....so far I canít find one available anywhere.

    As for the build...it is a factory 80s build (pre may 1986 for sure). Iím guessing itís just a tired spring. This one has been shot and enjoyed by someone to date.

    Thanks for the tip on the charging handle. I was always hesitant to ďslapĒ it shut but it would appear that is critical to ensure lockup.....darn newbies.

    Any advantage to changing the locking piece to slow down the rate of fire...maybe that reduces the side flame?


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    The 53 uses a #15 Locking Piece, particularly since yours is a 1:12" twist cut-down HK93 barrel meant for 55gr ammo. Changing the Locking Piece should not be necessary once you retrofit the correct recoil spring and firing pin spring. Depending on which LP is installed now (* could be a #7 or #3), it could be allowing the action to open abruptly and early, hence the flames out the ejection port which you mention. With proper lockup and the #15 LP, there is very little ejection port sparking, much less flame. The short barrel accounts for the predominant flames,

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    Quote Originally Posted by LongDuck View Post
    The 53 uses a #15 Locking Piece, particularly since yours is a 1:12" twist cut-down HK93 barrel meant for 55gr ammo. Changing the Locking Piece should not be necessary once you retrofit the correct recoil spring and firing pin spring. Depending on which LP is installed now (* could be a #7 or #3), it could be allowing the action to open abruptly and early, hence the flames out the ejection port which you mention. With proper lockup and the #15 LP, there is very little ejection port sparking, much less flame. The short barrel accounts for the predominant flames,
    Iím confused now, I thought the factory barrels were 1:7 twist?

    How do I figure out the correct recoils spring?

    It does have the #15 LP in it now.


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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOTDSD3302 View Post
    I’m confused now, I thought the factory barrels were 1:7 twist?

    How do I figure out the correct recoils spring?

    It does have the #15 LP in it now.


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    It doesn't' sound like you completely know what kind of 53 you have. Do you have a push pin gun, a sear gun, a funky registered receiver with a make shift sear, chopped barrel sbr, or what. 53 conversions vary widely with the best using a proper 53 parts kit to get the correct cocking tube, 1/7 barrel, and bolt group. Poor conversions can be seen with out of spec cocking tubes and out of spec bolt carriers. In a nutshell, get a new HK recoil rod assembly (hk53 specific) and try that while praying it solves your problem. If not, you may need to provide a lot more info/measurements and could be in for quite an expensive fix if your gun isn't to specifications
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