EAA Witness 9mm jamming problem - Pistolsmith

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Old 09-16-2017, 02:06 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2
EAA Witness 9mm jamming problem

I have a new 9mm EAA Witness full size steel frame pistol. It jams consistently after a few rounds. It ejects the spent round and almost goes into battery, but is short of full battery by about 1/4". The pistol is locked up VERY HARD and I can only move the slide to the rear about 1/16". The magazine easily comes out. The only way I can free it up is by pressing the top of the slide against a hard object and firmly slamming the heel of my hand against the grip. When it breaks loose, the new round is ejected properly and shows no signs of scoring. It always loads the first round manually w/o any issues. Using 145gr round nose leaded Bayou bullets. OAL has varied from 1.140 to 1.160 with same results. Factory ammo does the same. My reloads are always gauged. Upon further analysis, I found another problem. After loading a round in the chamber manually, the pistol is in full battery. Everything looks OK. However, I cannot rack the slide either with and without the magazine in place. The only way I can rack the slide is by pressing the top of the slide against a hard object and firmly slamming the heel of my hand against the grip as previously mentioned. Any ideas ???

Last edited by Reno; 09-17-2017 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:21 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,800
First, stop all experimentation and trouble shooting with any reloaded ammo.
It doesn't matter how good your reloads are, you trouble shoot with factory ammo to eliminate ammo problems.
If you tell a gunsmith that you're using reloads to trouble shoot he'll immediately suspect your reloads.

The reason for that is because we WAY too often see complaints about gun issues and find the owner is using reloaded ammo.
The ammo is often a problem in THAT gun, and we have the reloader get angry because we question the ammo, which they treat like we're questioning their competence.
All too often, we DO find issues with reloads in THAT gun but the owner has used them in many other guns with no problem and won't accept that the ammo may be the cause.

So, use factory ammo ONLY until the problem is properly diagnosed.
Also, try a different brand and type of ammo. Some guns just don't "like" some ammo or bullet types but work fine with another.

Extract a problem round and closely inspect the round for any damage, scratching, dents, bullet set back, or rifling marks on the bullet which can indicate the bullet is impacting into the rifling and sticking.
Inspect the rim for anything that looks like damage or battering.

Use a bronze chamber brush to scrub the chamber. Brownell's sell these chamber brushes made not only over-sized, but of a much stiffer bristle then an over caliber bore brush and these work much better then a larger bore brush.
DON'T use stainless steel chamber or bore brushes.

Inspect the chamber for bulges, fouling, dents, sharp edges on the feed ramp, or any other issues.
A sharp edge where the feed ramp breaks into the chamber can catch a case and stop it from chambering.
Look for a slight dent or scrape mark on the side of the case caused by this.

Remove the barrel from the slide and drop in a new factory round to see if it drops in all the way on it's own weight.
Press firmly on the case head then see if you can tip the barrel up and the round will fall out.

Closely inspect the breech face for roughness or sharp edges that may be preventing the case from sliding up the breech face.

Closely inspect the extractor for any damage, possibly caused by dropping the slide on a chambered round.
It's probably not a good idea to drop a round in the chamber and drop the slide to load it.
It's better to load the round by using the magazine, then putting another round in the mag.

Dropping the slide on a round in the chamber can damage the extractor and can cause the gun to fire as the slide slams shut if there's ever an unseen problem with the gun.
Firearms are designed to alow the force needed to strip a round from the magazine to "pad" the slide closing.
A bent or otherwise damaged extractor can cause the round to fail to chamber properly.

Inspect the recoil spring to insure the small end is facing the rear of the guide rod.
The larger, open end faces the muzzle.

With the barrel and recoil spring and guide rod out, put the slide on the frame and check for free and full easy movement for the full travel of the slide.
Install the barrel and check slide travel again.
Install the recoil spring and guide rod and check for full slide travel.

If there's any kind of after market recoil buffer in the gun, take it out and throw it away.

Last, unless you KNOW what the problem is, don't start altering or "polishing" anything.
A prime Rule of Gunsmithing is..... Know exactly what the problem is and exactly what to do to correct it before you do ANYTHING.
What we often see is damaged guns from someone "shooting blind" and altering or replacing parts in the hope that they'll hit on something that will correct it.
This often costs even more money to repair because we first have to repair the damage done before we can repair the real problem.

Unless it's something obvious contact EAA and ask for a shipping label so you can send it back on their dime.
You paid for a good, working gun. Make them fix it.
Old 09-18-2017, 08:42 AM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2
Thanks for kindly all the valuable info in your thread. Your assumptions were correct and I had resolved the problem before reading your information. After removing the barrel I found my reloads would not fully seat in the chamber. They were totally bound up after moderate thumb pressure (as was the factory load that I had tried earlier). My reloads were 1.160 OAL. I had to resize them to 1.120 in order to resolve the problem with this particular gun. At that OAL they drop in all the way and are easily removed. The pistol cycles properly now.
Thank you for the valuable info ... lesson learned on my part.
Old 09-18-2017, 05:43 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,800
Good.....Now go shootin' and have fun.

I have a strong like for the Tanfoglio CZ clones and have owned several imported by various companies.

Currently I have a late 90's EAA .45 limited production in stainless steel.
Just the slide and frame are actually stainless, everything else is blued steel.
I really like it and it's smaller and lighter then the huge CZ-97B.

If you'd like even more out of your Witness, check out Cajun Gun Works.
Among their products is a trigger kit that puts the trigger much farther back in the trigger guard.
This is great for we who have short fingers.


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