Plastic parts in your favorite carbine?
A tale of woe, disappointment and some buyers remorse unfold here, as I regale you with my sad tale of cleaning my Beretta firearms after a day of fun at the range.
Seems I forgot a rather crucial step while disassembling my recently purchased Beretta Cx4 Storm carbine, namely cocking the weapon before one begins to take it down. Seems that when this step isn’t done, when you pull the upper off the lower, the hammer in the up position breaks off the end of the plastic spring guide rod that operates the bolt cycling while the weapon fires. Whoops.
This is a grievously disappointing situation, that the Beretta firearms manufacturing family would cut corners in production by using plastic in crucial parts that the entire weapon operation depends on. I mean, these boys been making weapons for 500 freaking years, you’d think they would do better than this crap! Yep, that tiny ‘T’ shaped bit is the piece that breaks off, leaving you SOL for a firearm. So, what breaks next, the plastic firing pin hammer? Yep, that’s plastic too, with a honking stout spring to drop it on the firing pin, since it has no mass to transfer the hit with and that spring gives the Cx4 trigger it’s ‘feel’. All the neat features, the ability to choose which side the ejected cases go out, the ambidextrous choice of the charging handle, the shared magazines with the Px4 pistol platform, are seriously diminished by these plastic internals.
So, I take the pieces to work, where I have some decent tools, and decide I’ll give it a shot at repairing / improving this plastic junk while my $40 replacement unit from Brownell’s shows up.
I chuck it up in our shop lathe and dress off the end of the shaft where the ‘T’ end broke off, drill it out to 7/64″ diameter about 1/2″ deep and tap the hole to take a #6-32 screw.
I fit the guide tab back onto the plastic rod, press the spring down over the rod (which is amazingly stiff, by the way) and secure it on the rod with miniature vice-grips. Then I screwed the buffer end onto the rod and slathered the whole end with industrial grade super-glue. I let it cure for about an hour, then eased the vice-grips off. Surprise! It stays together!
I really am surprised the stupid rod stayed together at all outside the weapon, considering the diameter of that ‘T’ end is a puny .132″ with the amount of tension on the rod from the spring.
I suspect this may either work surprisingly well, or it will break off again on the first shot fired. I’m leaning towards working well, because I now have a stainless steel screw plus the entire end fitted into the buffer / tail piece and made one with the rod by super-glue to take the load of operation. And when this thing fires, I suspect the spring on this rod is compressed 100%.
Upon reassembly, everything went right back into place just as it should, and the bolt cycles by hand just like it should.
We’ll see. In the meanwhile, I’m seriously looking at some steel replacement parts from Sierra Papa for ending the worry about this ever happening again.