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How To Sweep Away Stovepipe Jams

Posted by Rob Longenecker on July 18th, 2006

A stovepipe, or a stovepipe jam, is a failure to eject the spent case which has lodged in the ejection port between the breech and the barrel. It brings everything to a dead stop but it’s easy to clear and resume shooting.

It comes from the fact that the firearm that suffers a stovepipe jam very much resembles a stovepipe.

Picture a semiauto pistol with the slide halfway forward and where the spent brass should be ejecting, there is one lodged with the open end outwards, probably smoking a bit too after just being fired, you get the picture.

The fastest method to quickly clear a stovepipe jam is to sweep the top of the slide backwards toward you with your hand palm downward, knocking the spent brass out of the ejection port. The slide will close on a fresh round and you’re ready to fire.

Just sweep the stovepipe away!

Having a stovepipe jam may be a sign that your recoil spring might be too heavy for the loads you are using or that your loads are too light for the gun you are using. Adjust accordingly.

Or it could be that you’re “limp-wristing” (not holding it tightly enough) to the weapon and not allowing for full rearward slide travel.

If it happens more than very occasionally, I would have the extractor looked at.

You can also install an extended ejector, if it is possible for the model of your firearm, to ensure positive ejection of spent brass.

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