If you have more than about one failure to eject in three hundred rounds with a particular pistol, you need to read on.

I will assume that you thoroughly clean the action and chamber of your pistol at least every 300 rounds. I will also assume that you are using commercial ammo or that you are a careful reloader.

Contrary to popular opinion few "stovepipes" are caused by the wrong recoil spring strength; but letís eliminate that possibility first. Fire the gun several times paying special attention to whether the slide cycles fully. It should come all the way to the rear with a light thud on each round. If it does you have eliminated the recoil spring as the culprit.

Next letís jump to the cause of more than 95% of stovepipes. This is improper extractor condition or tuning. To check this out, you can conduct a simple test in your home. Load an empty unswollen case into the chamber and slowly pull the slide backward while observing the case. The case must come out remaining horizontal and snug up against the face of the slide or bolt. If it falls before it contacts the ejector you will have many stovepipes! If it droops, even slightly you will have too many malfunctions for bullseye competition. This test should be done with and without an empty magazine in the pistol. The empty case must clear the magazine in its way back. (unless you have certain european guns that have the ejector built into the magazine near the rear.). If your gun doesnít pass this simple test go through the following corrective steps, or have a pistol mechanic do it for you.

When you get your pistols in shape to pass the simple tests above, you will find that you wonít have to select a special brand of commercial ammo to make your .22 have minimum stovepipes. You wonít have any! Your .45 loads will not have to be too hot either.