Friday, March 9, 2012

My Fix for my Diamondback DB9 Feed Problems

You guys know I like my Diamondback DB9.  You guys also know that I'd really like to feed my Diamondback a steady diet of Federal HST 124 grain HP ammo because it's the best performing ammo from 3" barrels that I have tested so far.  You can see how it performed here.

Unfortunately, I've found that the stock Diamondback DB9 magazine springs lose some of their strength over a few months of use and a perfectly good magazine can all of a sudden become a dud.  A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog entry about using a trimmed Kel Tec PF9 spring in place of the stock DB9 spring.  You can read that here.

While it will take months to really see if this spring change is the ultimate solution to my feed problems, I did want to share what I have learned so far in case you find yourself in my situation and want to try the spring fix for yourself.  My feed issues look like this.  As the round is stripped from the top of the magazine, it will nose dive into the feed ramp and jam the pistol.  This only happens with a full magazine of 6 rounds.


I shot a video of the work involved in replacing the stock Diamondback magazine spring with the Kel Tec PF9 magazine spring, which can be ordered here.  After reading this and viewing the video, you may decide to try this for yourself.  I've had this same feed problem with two different DB9s and the magazine spring change has resolved my issue with both DB9s.  I can't assure you that this will fix your feed problems, but I can say that it helped me.

My how to video explaining the issue and converting a factory magazine spring to the Kel Tec spring follows.

28 comments:

  1. Nice video Bruce. Thanks for your hard work on solving this feed issue.

    hatchet

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  2. Could you give me the measurement for the PF9 spring? I don't need the overall length, just the width and length looking down on top of the coils. Thanks.

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    1. The dimensions you are looking for are .855" and .255". If you find another good candidate spring, please let me know. The KelTec springs have been going strong for over a year, but it's always nice to have other options.

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  3. I hope you sent this to Diamondback. My gun is back at the company for the second time because it will not feed.

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    1. They know, but they don't seem to care about doing anything to improve the magazines. If they implemented a change, they didn't tell anyone about it.

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  4. i have had a db9 for some time. the trigger broke at one point and i sent it in for repair. they said they got it completely up to date. i proceeded to try and re-brake it in. now it does not feed any jhp or any ball ammo. what is the point? now i am thinking small pistols just do not work. i have a non-feeding p3at and now a db9. back in 1984 i got my first pistol, a s&w 3913, small back then, medium sized now. i have never, i repeat never had a problem with it. but i don't care to carry it. i did carry an xds 45, but that is now off on a safety recall. what a pain. the db9 was going to be my pocket carry piece. now i am thinking revolver. before i do, i am willing to try the pf-9 mag springs. but how it was determined that it might work i don't understand. wish me luck. - otto

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    1. update. i find that as long as i only put 4-5 rounds in, the feed is ok with ball ammo. now thinking about the pf-9 mag spring fix. really need to understand where and how to cut the spring.

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    2. I think the video should be helpful on where and how to cut the spring. Good luck to you. My mags are still working fine for me.

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    3. This solution worked for both of my DB9 magazines. Too bad DiamondBack isn't this helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to put the information up.

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    4. I noticed mine would feed fine if I only had 5 rounds in the magazine. I also noticed the sixth round was very tight in the mag so I just cut off the thickness of one round from my mag spring and now no more issues.

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    5. Keep an eye on that shortened magazine spring and make sure it maintains enough power to reliably lift the next round for loading. Glad it works for you, but I've never had much success shortening factory springs and increasing handgun reliability.

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  5. Hi. Took me a while to get the spring in but your suggestion works. I can feed HST, Gold Dot, and Fiocchi hollowpoints. Tonight I'm going to find a ball ammo that will work so I can practice a bit more. Thank you.

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  6. Thanks Bruce. I will try it. I loved the DB9 until it started to give me major feeding problems. I still own, but carry a S&W Mod 37. Nice old revolver. I have no confidence in my DB9. Today, the gun store owner where it was purchased said he has stopped handling them.
    My problem is the bullet is almost looking straight up at me and jams rather than going into the chamber.
    I did notice that as time went by the magazine was easier to load the ammo. The spring must have gotten weaker over time. The man at the range loaded dummies and racked the slide many times without failure. He suggested stretching the DB's spring. I may try that until I get my Keltec PF9 spring.
    Thanks for your help.
    Greg

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    1. I know it's been almost 2 years since that post about stretching the spring, so I guess I'm not replying to Greg so much as trying to help anyone else reading this.
      .
      Yesterday I tried stretching the spring on my DB9. From it's relaxed, disassembled state, I increased the spring length about 3/4" I reassembled it, loaded 6 JHP rounds, racked the slide, and it jammed (nose-dived) just like usual. And although I didn't stretch it that far, and although it only had those 6 rounds in it one time for less than 2 minutes, when I disassembled the mag and inspected the spring I had just stretched a few minutes earlier, it had already gone back nearly to it's original length. So 0-for-2 on that idea.
      .
      For what it's worth, I VERY carefully and SLOWLY ground away just a little bit of the feed ramp (near the bottom) with a Dremel and a small round stone grinding bit to shape a few tiny details where I thought the round might be catching. (It's kind of a guessing game because when the round jams, there's no perspective angle that lets you see the actual catch point. Although today I'm going to try something like bluing dye to try to find the contact points.) And just below the feed ramp is a flat, sharp block-shaped bit that I thought might also be contributing to the jam situation (because it's RIGHT below the entrance to the feed ramp). So very gently put a slight chamfer on the upper edge of that block. Smoothed things out by hand with 600 grit emory paper wrapped around a pencil, and gave it another try.
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      Using the exact same JHP 115 gr ammo that before was jamming (nose-diving) about 98% of the time, it was feeding and chambering smoothly with no hang-up about 75% of the time (i.e. jamming went from 98% to about 25%). So I'm going to give the feed ramp (and that block beneath it) some additional thought and attention today, and if that doesn't get it working reliably for a CC personal defense weapon, I'm going to order up the Kel-Tec springs.
      .
      Thanks to Bruce for all the up-front observation, investigation, trials, and suggestions that he's shared, and thanks to everyone who has also contributed in the conversation. The DB9 is nothing that's going age particularly well or become some valuable family heirloom or bragging topic. Flaws, it obviously has. But if I can get it to cycle hollow-points reliably, it will still be my pocket-carry choice because it is still the LIGHTEST and THINNEST 9 mm semi-auto you can buy (as far as I have found), and it's right there among the very shortest height 9 mm you can buy (overall height being one of the most significant factors contributing to printing in pocket carrying), and it's extremely affordable for those of us who can't afford to buy whatever we feel like. So personally, for all of the reasons I just stated, I have great interest in getting this feed situation resolved and making this my go-to carry gun.

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    2. Thanks for the comprehensive follow up Steve. As you may have surmised, I have to approve every comment posted to the blog due to spammers posting ad links if I'm not being vigilant. I saw all three, but only approved this one because it had the most information in it.

      I thought we would see a Gen2 DB9 by now, but for some reason it seems to be lagging way behind the Gen2 DB380. I'm still very happy with my Gen1.

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  7. Yup! Turned a gun that I had buyers remorse on into a gun that I have confidence in and will carry. Thanks you so much for your solution.

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  8. A Walther PPK spring works just dandy when shortened two loops, although it is pricier than the PF9 spring unless you find a used one around.

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  9. Where did you get the spring?
    Keltec has them for $5.50 and $13 shipping.
    Steve

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    1. It's been some time ago, but I think Keltec shipped them free. Perhaps there is a minimum order amount for free shipping. I ordered a bunch when I purchased them.

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  10. I've never had to work on a brand new pistol before , and of coarse I bought their most expensive pistol at that , and now I find out that the market has nose dived for them used , much like the bullets do in this paperweight , I mean diamondback !

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  11. The replacement spring worked for me. I was glad to see your video. When I purchase a very low priced hangun like the DB9 I dont expect it to hold up to heavy use without some modifications in time, after all when a gun retails under $229 they have to cut a few corners somewhere to keep producing them. This is the only issue Ive had with thise side arm.

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    1. As your total round count gets up over 2500 or so, call in to Diamondback and ask to buy a replacement recoil spring assembly to keep your DB9 running in top shape.

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  12. Headed to the range to see if the mod will save my DB9.

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    1. It must have worked or else I'm pretty sure we would have heard from Ray to tell me it didn't work.

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  13. I couldn't find any where to buy the spring in your video and so I bought the entire pf9 mag from kelt tec but the spring isn't as long as the one you show. I want to add a 1 round extension to my db9 and therefore will need the longer spring for sure now. could you tell me where to buy that spring and or the part # and if you think I should cut off only one section rather than two for the addition of the extension?

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    1. You can order the springs directly from Keltec. The part number is PF9-406 MAG SPRING I just checked the Keltec webstore and it shows them in stock.

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