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  1. #1
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    Default The case of the sticky Wanad

    I've had this Radom P83 Wanad for about 5 years now. It is 1988 vintage and has a nice bore, shoots smoothe and is very accurate. Never a feeding, ejecting or firing malfunction of any kind.

    20170828_104243.jpg


    The problem, the slide is very tight... And because it's a blowback pistol with a heavy spring, racking the slide requires a tight grip. The slide is especially tight when it reaches the rear and almost gets hung up if you don't release it flippantly. It feels like the rails and the slide are simply too tight, but it's hard to tell exactly where because you only notice when the gun is together and you're racking the slide. I've put upwards of 1000 rounds through it personally. I dont know how much action it actually saw before falling into my hands though. It could have sat in a Polish policeman's holster for years before being pawned off to Century Arms without being shot much at all.

    So... tigbtness: See, I am 45 and have worked with my hands avidly for 30 years. My hands aren't what they used to be. I have rheumatoid symptoms. My one or two of my knuckles regularly click and snap when I am working. My hands are often sore and stiff. I shoot right handed but have trouble racking the slide with my left hand because of the tightness. Other guns are not a problem for me as of yet... but I like THIS one and really enjoy shooting it. The offhand accuracy is so impressive, that I am very confident with the Wanad as a CCW. But if I should have to reload, now that is becoming an issue. I am writing this today because I just cleaned the gun about an hour ago and when I reloaded it and racked it I did not have enough grip to rack it right. It's partly me and partly the gun. The slide actually got hung up on the sticky part with a live round poised before the chamber. The decocker/safety was on but I was still very nervous trying to unjam it. I got it after less than a minute... But obviously this is not acceptable.

    So here is my first question: After close to 1000 rounds and probably many more before me, can I expect this gun to loosen up any more if I shoot the fuck out of it? Rumor has it that the gun is called Wanad because it has vanadium alloyed into the steel. I have a vanadium carving knife which is a motherfucker to sharpen because few sharpening steels are tough enough to wear it down! And I'm wondering if that might be the case here. And if some gunsmithing is in order, where should I start? It seems that the most sticky part is when the front of the slide meets the the rails in the middle of the racking process. It is a heavy spring too. My Makarov spring feels much lighter although designed for the same round.

    What would be your approach here?
    (Dont say switch guns!)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    Too late, I said it-Change guns.
    That Eastern European relic was designed with a different mind set.
    Gunsmithing it into something you can accept will cause you functional issues down the road and very likely will not be cost effective.
    Crusader's local #556 South Central Asia chapter

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    Have tools and grinder bits and was very successful in converting a Saiga to accept AK mags flawlessly, including fitting other furniture to it!

    I'm not giving up that easy.

    I don't think the problem is a complicated one. It's just that you can only see the problem when the gun is assembled. It's hard to tell just where it is. Many modern guns are built too tight just the same.
    Last edited by FJW; August 28th, 2017 at 11:45 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    The recoil spring is only part of it. You are fighting the hammer spring, too.

    The "really sticky part" is probably where the slide first cocks the hammer when racking the slide with the pistol uncocked, and then the "less sticky part" is where the slide depresses the cocked hammer.

    It might be possible to lighten the hammer spring slightly to reduce the force required to rack the slide and cock/depress the hammer, but going too light could result in light FP strikes on the primer, and even lighter would result in the hammer following the slide due to failure to engage and stay engaged the sear faces on account of insufficient spring force.

    But I don't recommend it.

    I do recommend your trading the Wanad for a genuine "PM" Makarov, either Bulgarian military or Arsenal commercial, or if you have the jack, an East German. The Chinese and Soviet Maks are too expensive for daily carry due to collector interest and demand. The slide on any "PM" Makarov is MUCH easier to rack, and the pistols are inherently accurate, in my experience. The dimensions of the PM are slightly larger than those of the Wanad, but the PM is a great carry gun and I carry one of mine frequently.

    I have a phosphate finished Arsenal Bulgaria commercial PM Mak I could let go if you are interested, but I am not interested in a trade for the Wanad.

    Noah
    If you are not part of the solution, you are the precipitate.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah_Zark View Post
    The recoil spring is only part of it. You are fighting the hammer spring, too.

    The "really sticky part" is probably where the slide first cocks the hammer when racking the slide with the pistol uncocked, and then the "less sticky part" is where the slide depresses the cocked hammer.

    It might be possible to lighten the hammer spring slightly to reduce the force required to rack the slide and cock/depress the hammer, but going too light could result in light FP strikes on the primer, and even lighter would result in the hammer following the slide due to failure to engage and stay engaged the sear faces on account of insufficient spring force.

    But I don't recommend it.

    I do recommend your trading the Wanad for a genuine "PM" Makarov, either Bulgarian military or Arsenal commercial, or if you have the jack, an East German. The Chinese and Soviet Maks are too expensive for daily carry due to collector interest and demand. The slide on any "PM" Makarov is MUCH easier to rack, and the pistols are inherently accurate, in my experience. The dimensions of the PM are slightly larger than those of the Wanad, but the PM is a great carry gun and I carry one of mine frequently.

    I have a phosphate finished Arsenal Bulgaria commercial PM Mak I could let go if you are interested, but I am not interested in a trade for the Wanad.

    Noah
    I already have 2 Bulgarian Makarovs, but thanks. I like the Wanad because it conceals better, is wayyyy better-balanced (it's a Radom), plus I have a shoulder holster for it, and it is deadly accurate. I usually keep my Wanad loaded but I might let my PM, Shield or Bersa take over bedside HD duty while I work this problem out. That is where I usually keep the Wanad, in my nightstand... And sometimes carry instead of Shield when I drive alot or sit alot.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    If it works for you better than the PMs, then it works for you.

    IMO, your possible corrective action would be to get a few hammer springs and maybe some reduced power recoil springs, remove and set aside your original springs (as controls for returning to original condition if necessary), and take one each hammer and recoil spring and start cutting coils or half-coils (maybe one spring at a time) to see if it improves the "stickyness" to a liveable point without affecting function. Wearing eye protection and with the spring in a vise or locking pliers, use a Dremel cutoff wheel and not dikes, as the coils on the mainspring may be too close to each other to admit the jaws of diagonal cutters sufficiently large to cut the hardened spring steel.

    Go slowly, lather, rinse, repeat.

    Good luck,

    Noah
    If you are not part of the solution, you are the precipitate.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah_Zark View Post
    The recoil spring is only part of it. You are fighting the hammer spring, too.

    The "really sticky part" is probably where the slide first cocks the hammer when racking the slide with the pistol uncocked, and then the "less sticky part" is where the slide depresses the cocked hammer.

    It might be possible to lighten the hammer spring slightly to reduce the force required to rack the slide and cock/depress the hammer, but going too light could result in light FP strikes on the primer, and even lighter would result in the hammer following the slide due to failure to engage and stay engaged the sear faces on account of insufficient spring force.

    But I don't recommend it.

    I do recommend your trading the Wanad for a genuine "PM" Makarov, either Bulgarian military or Arsenal commercial, or if you have the jack, an East German. The Chinese and Soviet Maks are too expensive for daily carry due to collector interest and demand. The slide on any "PM" Makarov is MUCH easier to rack, and the pistols are inherently accurate, in my experience. The dimensions of the PM are slightly larger than those of the Wanad, but the PM is a great carry gun and I carry one of mine frequently.

    I have a phosphate finished Arsenal Bulgaria commercial PM Mak I could let go if you are interested, but I am not interested in a trade for the Wanad.

    Noah
    This is about right, including what will go wrong.
    You don't want to change guns, I get it. You're stubborn.
    I repair and modify guns for a living. I have probably been down this road with various customers 1000 times in the last 30 years.
    You'll save yourself a lot of aggravation by simply switching to a more modern, locked breech design.
    Crusader's local #556 South Central Asia chapter

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    Quote Originally Posted by FJW View Post
    So... tigbtness: See, I am 45 and have worked with my hands avidly for 30 years. My hands aren't what they used to be. I have rheumatoid symptoms. My one or two of my knuckles regularly click and snap when I am working. My hands are often sore and stiff.
    More for the source of the problem, have you heard of this stuff? http://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-chondroitin

    Haven't had to take it personally, but our old mutt swears by it - after a month and a half, he can jump on furniture again.
    no size restrictions & screw the limit.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    Quote Originally Posted by Story View Post
    More for the source of the problem, have you heard of this stuff? http://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-chondroitin

    Haven't had to take it personally, but our old mutt swears by it - after a month and a half, he can jump on furniture again.
    Thanks for that! Maybe I'll grab some. My wife may even have some in her little box o potions.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The case of the sticky Wanad

    Quote Originally Posted by cdi View Post
    This is about right, including what will go wrong.
    You don't want to change guns, I get it. You're stubborn.
    I repair and modify guns for a living. I have probably been down this road with various customers 1000 times in the last 30 years.
    You'll save yourself a lot of aggravation by simply switching to a more modern, locked breech design.
    The hammer spring sounds worth looking at in addition to other things. I'll probably take it down and give a good hard look tonight. Wont reload in the house again until I know exactly the problem and/or fix it. I can see how the hammer sprung could add to the difficulty but I don't think that would make it get hung up while half-racked. That's why I'm more apt to check the rails and grooves first. It's probably a cumulative result of several factors, with some being more rectifiable than others. I figure if I offset one or two factors, it ought to be enough to make the difference. I somehow doubt that most P83's run like this.
    Last edited by FJW; August 28th, 2017 at 06:52 PM.

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