Letter Re: Checking Your Handguns for Feeding Problems: Round Nose Versus Hollow Points

For those with hollowpoint feeding problems with their pistols, I’d like to recommend the Dremel 516 Abrasive Point, which is bullet-shaped.

Here is manufacturer’s description: “Abrasive point, bullet shaped constructed of compressed non-woven nylon fibers that have been impregnated with aluminum oxide abrasive grains. These abrasive points are great for finishing work and light deburring.”
I find it works well by polishing the feed ramp to a mirror finish as well as lightly rounding the sharp edges of the chamber end of a new barrel.  I stumbled upon this solution when I received one of the first batch of Diamondback 380s.  I had multiple malfunctions with the DB380 using hollow points and was considering sending it back to Diamondback.  I elected to polish the barrel as describe above and it was a remarkable improvement and the next box of hollow points fed flawlessly.  I now do this polishing mod with all my new pistols.  A simple test of bullet to chamber feed is to hold the barrel vertical and simply drop a bullet in from one inch above.  If the bullet doesn’t simply glide into the chamber, hangs up by catching the case rim, or if it rolls around the on barrel rim a few times, buff it a little bit more with the Dremel abrasive bit.  My only warning is don’t overdo it, as you might remove too much barrel material and have a case rupture near the rim (which I have to date not experienced.) Cheers, – Foo

JWR Replies: I concur that feed ramp polishing should be done judiciously. As with any machining process, always remember that it is easy to remove metal, but it is usually impossible to put it back via welding or brazing without ruining a part. Proceed with caution and take your time! Never use a file when you should be using a stone, or your will probably regret it. The old saying is “haste makes waste.” Or, as my father put it: “haste makes expensive trips to the hardware store.” Also keep in mind any time you use any abrasives on your guns, that you need to remove all of the fragments and filings, which might wear on the inner workings elsewhere in your pistol or scratch their protective finishes. For this, I often use a spray can of brake cleaner solvent. (Available at you local auto parts store.) Be sure to wear rubber gloves, and of course properly re-lubricate the parts as you re-assemble the gun, since brake cleaner will strip away all of the lubrication.