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Discussion Starter #1
Hy.
Just managed to break the under barrel lug of my P30L at exactly 30.640 rounds fired over a period of 2.5 years. Just the day I was supposed to replace the recoil assembly when I got home.
The last 10k or so of ammunition was only SB 115 grain.

Ammunition shot during the life of the barrel was entirely commercial(no reloads) composed of a mixture of SB 115 grain(about 75%), Geco 125 grain(about 10%), Fiocchi 115 grain and some 125 grain(about 10%. the other 5% of rounds fired where a mixture of MaxTech, MagTech and some other random brands.

The weapon was cleaned every 2500-3000 rounds.
Before you trash me for neglecting my gun, consider this: I shoot a lot of handgun ammunition(at least 1000-1500 rounds a month), as I am an engineer by trade I have a decent understanding of mechanics and I came to the conclusion that a dirty and lubed gun(we are talking of modern guns with surface hardening on sliding parts), while sacrificing a bit of reliability will have an easier life with full power ammunition, as more of the recoil energy is dissipated by friction and smashing trough grime and only a lesser part will have to be tamed by the recoil assembly and or slide smashing into the backstop of the frame. So I keep my guns(especially range guns that I work hard) well lubed but not necessarily sparkling clean.

Lubrication was applied at cleaning and at half time between cleanings if necessarily(at cca. 1500 round if weaker ejection or malfunctions appear).

Left side of barrel with broken   bit.jpg


Underside of barrel with broken   bit.jpg

Now, I post here not to trash the brand(a bit of a fanboy myself) but to ask if any one of you can share thought on possible causes, as this never happened to me even on less "over engineered" guns.

So far I suspect "random of spec" heat treatment and/or "hairline fractures" induced during last steps of production process as the fracture presents some strange wave like shapes and cracks within. But since I am no metallurgist, maybe someone with more in dept knowledge can help.
 

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Hi,
Feel bad to see a Hk broke. Just my thoughts, no bashing in anyway.
1 I recently had some issue with s&b ammo. 1 over charged and several boxes with bad primer in 2 different lots. I am guessing that it may be caused by overcharged round? I am lucky the over charged round did not do any damage to my bolt gun.
2 weaker barrel lug is another possibility. I did not call it a defect because your barrel had over 30k rounds. I would not call that a defect. More of a bad luck.
 

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IIRC HK Barrels are cold hammer forged.
What is you est rds/min and time between firing strings?
What is your barrel date code?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hy.
I also felt bad about it breaking. Until I get a new barrel(this will take a while due to bureaucratic reasons) I am stuck shooting my Glock 17 which is not my favorite platform. Not to mention it is a striker so my DA first shot will deteriorate.
1. S&B in my area is very consistent, albeit a bit weak and dirty.
When the barrel lug broke I did not notice any increased recoil, muzzle blast, or anything else. Just the weapon failed to eject the spent casing and the slide remained jammed shut(as the broken lug got stuck in the recoil assembly).
After trying to rack the slide I noticed some strange play in the barrel when it was supposed to be locked up and I imagined what could have happen.
So I took my Balistol spray and drowned the ejection port area so that the broken piece would easily slide out of the way. After that I tried to jiggle the slide while turning the pistol up side down, to let gravity move the broken piece. And so I managed to rack back the slide.

2. Come on! 30K rounds should be well under 1/4 of a pistol barrel life. Especially a polygonal rifled one. This type of failure I have only seen on crappier guns with much greater round count. And since I suspect that HK does not skip corners on quality, especially barrel quality, I suspect that there must be a hidden reason for this misfortune.

This is why I ask. So that the next barrel will have a longer life.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
When the barrel broke I was training my reloads so I was shooting slow aimed pairs.
That day I shot cca. 100 rounds before the one that broke the barrel lug.
Usually, since ammunition is not free I do not shoot my weapons until they glow from heat. Usually, after every 2-3 magazines, I lock the slide back and touch the barrel near the muzzle. If I can keep my fingers on it for more than 1-2 seconds then it is OK. Every once in a while when I train for some long strings of fire I might ignore this behavior, but I doubt that this was due to metal cooking.
Date code: BG. That calculates to 2016 and that corroborates with the fact that I know that it shipped from the factory in October 2016.
 

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Need better pics (pic 2).
Show both broken/separated faces of the lug, it appears to have voids in it. Place the broken piece closer to the barrel lug > shine a light (better lighting) > shoot closer.
 

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...2. Come on! 30K rounds should be well under 1/4 of a pistol barrel life. Especially a polygonal rifled one. This type of failure I have only seen on crappier guns with much greater round count. And since I suspect that HK does not skip corners on quality, especially barrel quality, I suspect that there must be a hidden reason for this misfortune....
It has to be QC failure in the HK forging process for the barrel. It happens. I have a friend with 50,000 rounds on his P30L (9mm), and no failures of any kind. HK CS should take care of you. I would just stop speculating on what may have happened. You'll never know for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
60320399_581281995714812_3141209436706570240_n.jpg
60338233_513732865829675_2713120021860581376_n.jpg
60828115_446763902551638_2112646773125152768_n.jpg
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What I can say is that every time I clean the handgun i inspect the high stress areas with a magnifying glass and the other areas just visually.
There where no cracks that I could see at the last clean-up(close to 2000 rounds before it broke).
Also, the parts match when I mate them.
The shiny spots on the fracture surface on both barrel and broken piece I suspect happen when I opened the gun after the part broke(as you can imagine there was quite a bit of persuading it before I had the idea to drown int in CLP to lubricate it). Basically they rubbed on each other while I giggled it.

HK CS might be willing to replace the barrel for free in USA, but in Europe I will definitely pay for a new barrel as their answer was quite clear(weapon has a 2 year warranty).
And I am (borderline)fine with this but I would definitely want to prevent this happening again as the HK barrels are not exactly cheap(this will cost me 1/5 of a medium salary in my country).
 

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Can’t see enough, your pics are not hi-res, but then again it may be a moot point. The lug breaking off in such manner is certainly a warranty/replacement condition in the US.
Lubricating the mating barrel/recoil lug surfaces I don’t think is significant, as the cam action from the first shot would shed the lubricant. Now if the recoil spring has 30K on it (more than the recommended interval), then it puts more stress on the barrel/recoil lugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I was under the impression that recoil spring is to be changed at 30k rounds. More to it, since I have access to a rather precise dynamo-meter I tested it a few times(academical curiosity) and the springs weight had a sudden drop at the beginning(first 1000 rounds or so) but then it remained basically constant.
Did HK come out with a different maintenance schedule? If so, please share a link.

Better pictures I can not produce. Sorry.

As for lubricating the barrel/recoil lug surfaces, my coworkers(one have been studying tribology for quite some time) recommended that since it is a high pressure high acceleration and consequently high speed sliding motion it should be lubricated with grease, NLGI 2-3, high droping point, aditivated with MoS2(not with other crap like graphite, silicone...). Especially the tip of the recoil assembly that by design makes first contact with the barrel lug.
I concur that the soap of the grease will be blown away at the first round but, if you take the time and rack the slide a few times by hand, after you lubricate the surfaces, the MoS2 will bind to the surface and will provide a slicker contact surface(as MoS2 are basically spherical particles that provide a ball bearing like mating surface and also fill the inevitable microscopic imperfections.
Of course that it will not provide long therm lubrication but even if a small fraction of the number of sliding motions are lubricated, it is still better than nothing.

Anyway, as you said these are all moot points as the lug is still broken.
 

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what does the recoil assembly look like?
 

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Service life on the HK P30 RSA is 20k rounds.

HK Lifetime Warranty is only in USA?
Hmm it's world wide I thought? Have never seen an Exception Disclaimer Disclosure in the wordage regarding the Lifetime Warranty. I was unaware...

I recommend using Weapon Shield as a lubricant, arrests wear and tear in high load areas of the HK.

Watch a few of his youtube videos, he an SAE Lubricant Engineer / Chemist, he developed Weapon Shield to be the benchmark.
 
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I saw the exact same thing last October at an FBI firearms instructor development course I was attending. A swat guy from Germantown, TN was on the line when it happened to him. Could have been small batch of bad barrels as this is only the second time I've seen this. Hope you get yours up and running again soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Recoil assembly is in good shape EXCEPT the spring broke(2 coils at the rear end).
Now, I know for a fact that it was whole when I started the shooting session in question(I field striped it that day to show the working principle to somebody). My suspicion is that it broke at the same time the lug broke or after that when the broken part got stuck in the spring/recoil assembly and I messed around with it to have it open.

Recoil assembly to barrel matting surface.jpg

The RSA service life is 20k. OK good to know. Will order a spare one.

Regarding the world wide lifetime warranty I think it would not be cost effective. The whole reason of lifetime warranty in USA is the fact that most people do not shoot long enough to break it, especially in countries where weapon access is easy(say USA) and many weapons are bought. So if one in 1000 is "insane" enough to shoot out his/her gun or jinxed enough to have a warranty issue, it will be counted as accepted losses.

In other parts of the world, where you have to go trough a lot of work to get a gun, it usually means that you will shoot it a lot for obvious reasons. Combine this with fewer sales, higher shipping costs, bureaucratic burden on shipping parts and then you will understand that it is simply not feasible to have a lifetime warranty.
So in Europe I am aware of only 1 producer that offers lifetime warranty. Of course that some choose to go a bit beyond the mandatory(by law) 2 years of warranty but unfortunately it is not the HK policy.
But, as I said, I accept this as it is the general rule in this part of the world.
 

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Based on the limited knowledge, and the inability to paw over the assemblies myself, I'd surmise that you had the spring fail before the lug broke. Losing that bit of spring tension will change the way the slide is controlled, causing extra force to be applied to that lug on the barrel. I would have liked to have seen what condition the buffer is in. I can't honestly say I've ever seen that spring break, and my google-fu on the site here has come up with nothing. That's not to say it's never happened, I just cant recall it doing so.
 
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I feel the same about a slightly dirty gun. Sad to see this, I have a P30L in 40 and to me the P series seem to have nice, stout locking block lugs on the barrels. Especially compared to the VP series. Hope it's running with a new barrel soon.
 

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You cleaned the P30L approximately 10 times. And you have shot 30,000 rounds through it.
On one of my VP9sk, I have only shot 1000 rounds but have meticulously cleaned it 10 times. I must have OCD.

Question for OP.

How much does ammo cost in Europe? How much does a replacement barrel cost? If I shot 30,000 rounds here in USA, it would cost me about $5400 in ammo and at least $300 in cleaning products.....for a total of at least $5700 USD.
If something happened to my VP9sk barrel, it would only cost me $188.00 if HK didn't fix/replace it. $188.00 is just a small amount compared to the amount that I would already have invested.

Gun--------------------$600
Ammo-----------------$5400
Cleaning Products----$300
Holster----------------$75
CCW permit-----------$150
Indoor Range/year---$300
Targets---------------$????
_______________________
Total $6825.00 USD


Replacement VP9sk barrel $188.00 and $40 for the RSA (basically peanuts)

https://us.hkwebshop.com/hkstorefront/hk/en/Handgun-Parts/Barrels/VP9SK-Barrel/p/239333

https://www.hkparts.net/shop/pc/Stainless-Steel-Recoil-Assembly-Complete-VP9SK-545p18660.htm
 

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I change my 1911 recoil springs every couple thousand rounds to avoid abusing the gun, but that’s a standard spring that’s less than $10. I am sure I will change the RSA by 10K rounds on my P30L, if I can find one in stock somewhere. I clean and lube guns I’m shooting regularly by 500 rounds. This may be overkill, but it’s just how I function.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Hy again.
I will try to answer all the questions rised:
@sota:
1. The buffer assembly is nearly as the new one(except some minor dings in the silicone washer). I was just contemplating(before having ordered the complete RSA I was supposed to replace the day the barrel broke) to buy just the spring as the other parts are in good shape and I have the tools and expertise to take out the retaining washer and replace the spring. What deterred me was the minor cost difference.
Pictures of the used one side by side a brand new one:
60717957_2139240212859079_1319586619606433792_n.jpg
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2. I can not contradict you hypothesis that the spring broke and that caused increased stress on the lug, as I have no way of knowing this. However, in my experience when a recoil spring breaks in a tilting barrel or even rotating barrel design it manifests itself by failure to go into battery, as the broken sprig fails to deliver enough "umpf" at the end of the forward motion of the slide. Especially if the gun, especially the chamber and feed ramp, is dirty(I know my gun hygiene is not stellar by this forum's standard) :).

@ JB1:
1. Ammo prices(note that those can vary significantly, mostly up, as I am in a privileged position in which I am in good contact with distributors and am able to buy bulk). Prices are given in $/round
9x19mm: Geco 125gr-0.30$/round, WWB and SB 115gr-0.26$/round, local built brand 125gr-0.23$/round, Fiocchi 125gr-0.30$/round, Fiocchi 115gr-a bit cheaper
.223: GGG 55gr-0.70$, SB-0.40$-1.00$ depending on grain, tip, etc. However since it is CIP(not SAAMI) it is basically 5.56
12 gauge: practice slug, some Italian brand 0.46$/round but this price is a bit obsolete as I last purchased this type 2 years ago, heavy boar hunting slug- +1.00$/round

2. Barrel replacement cost consists of 3 parts: time(frustration that I can not shoot my favorite handgun), bureaucratic burden(tight control, need some approvals to order the barrel), money:
time-I estimate that it will take 2-3 months, bureaucratic burden: +3 trips to the local authorities to get the documents needed, money: depends on shipping costs but it will be about the same as you estimated.

I know that the cost in money is basically zero compared to the ammunition it took to break it, this is why I accept and do not feel bad about it. If I where to put a price on my frustration however, I estimate it at 500$/month(I sell it cheaply) :).

I do not CCW, is purely for range, I do not pay for targets nor range due to my job :) , cleaning products cost me nearly nothing as I have good contacts in the tribology business so I buy industry products not gun products as I found out that gun products, for some strange reason cost 5 times more despite having the same content and, as it was noticed above, I much to rarely use them anyway :)...

@All: I am under the impression that you think that I am somewhat trashing HK products. Far from it. I like their products(aldough the MR223 is heavy, even with the 14.5" barrel so pimping it with lots of aiming devices, grips, lights and so on is out of the question if you plan on shooting it dynamically off hand, unless you push train charts for a living).

The whole reason I started this tread is to open a discussion as what is the possible cause and how I can avid it in the future. So far my take away is: (1)20k rounds the RSA exchange, (2)maybe a defective batch of barrels, (3)maybe a of spec mating surface between RSA and barrel lug causing shearing forces.
All of them can be solved by the fact that the new barrel will receive a new RSA, both being built +2 years after the old ones.
 
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