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Subject: Beretta 92/M9 Series Locking Blocks
Cato1    12/18/2007 1:00:48 PM
Several posters have bemoaned the longevity of this critical part of an otherwise reputable firearm. Running the pistol hard (ie. instructional type shooting of +P,+P+ type ammo), how frequently should this part be replaced? Will the use of stronger springs extend the life of the locking block? I have an opportunity to pick up a bone stock 92 with about (give or take) 1500 rds through + a grip of WhiteBox for a steal, but the weapon has been fed an exclusive diet of +P (mainly 115 gr. Silvertip). Should I purchase the pistol, would a new locking block, and springs be in order? Curious Cato
 
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RockyMTNClimber    I would, if it is a really good deal.   12/18/2007 2:07:00 PM
I'd switch to standard ammo for practice shooting and run only a couple hundred of +P's a year through it to keep my edge on those. 1,500 rounds of +P shouldn't have run it loose yet and a competent gun smith can tighten anything you need looked at for a reasonable price. If you buy it cheap enough you are still ahead. Use high quality magazines (and rotate them) and you shouldn't have any problems with the 92, IMO.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
 
 
 
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ChdNorm       12/18/2007 2:23:16 PM
Personally, I wouldn't really worry about it. That's a pretty low round count, even with +Ps. Although most 115 gr. Silvertips are standard pressure, if I'm not mistaken. My personal 92FS, which was my first duty sidearm from the academy thru my first two years, has gone thru well over 10,000 rounds of +P+ (Federal 9BPLE exclusively) so far. Aside from a broken trigger return spring when it was practically brand new, I haven't experienced any real problems out of it.
 
I am big on maintenance and things like that though. I would go ahead and replace the recoil spring if it were me. It's probably not needed, but I'd like to start with a fresh round count to be able to keep a record for future reference. Generally, I tend to replace recoil springs and detail strip to inspect the other misc. springs and small parts every couple of thousand rounds. While you're at it, you might also be surprised how a 16# Wolf hammer spring will improve the trigger.
 
I wouldn't be overly concerned about locking block failure myself. If or when you start seeing any pitting during your visual inspections/cleaning it should be replaced. It is an on condition part, without a specific round count before overhaul. 20,000 rounds is a good ball park figure to keep in mind when the additional wear of an all +P or +P+ diet is taken into consideration. It's a pretty cheap and easy part to replace anyway.
 
By the time you start getting close to that, you're going to be needing a new barrel anyway. All pistols wear out, some faster than others, but they all do eventually. When you figure in the cost of ammunition it takes to wear a pistol out, the cost of the pistol itself and/or the eventual repairs is pretty cheap. I go thru about 10,000-15,000 rounds a year in my duty pistols (between practice, quals, and an IDPA and three-gun match or two a month). I carry Sigs, and never come close to wearing them out. But, I tend to buy a new one every year just because pistols really are just tools, and expendable ones at that.
 
On the whole, in spite of all the bitching and moaning about them that I hear, I really like Berettas. They tend to have very good triggers. They definitely rank near the top in absolute smoothness of action. And they're usually very accurate. I can't really comment on the whole Beretta magazine controversy, because I've never used any aftermarket mags myself. When I bought mine 13 years ago it came with three mags and I ordered another five with it at the same time. Those eight mags have worked just fine for me without a single complaint, other than they get awfully nicked up dropping them on the range. In my experience, they're as reliable as anything else if maintained.
 
There are a couple of things that keep the 92 in third or fourth place for me though. They're odd little idiosyncrasies that may or may not apply for you. The first is a result of my individual shooting technique. Being used to a high thumb grip that comes from riding the safety on 1911s, nine times out of ten the slide fails to lock after the last round. The other little thing that bugs me, is the tendency to swipe the safety on during a clearance drill. A lot of people manually release the slide after a mag change (I don't, I use the slide stop ... if I remembered to keep my thumb off of it) which would introduce another opportunity to accidentally safe the pistol as well.
 
I say but it. A real pistolero needs to be able to perform with any handgun you're likely to run across. The more makes and models you familiarize yourself with, the deeper your knowledge base becomes.
 
 
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ChdNorm       12/18/2007 2:29:30 PM
"I say but buy it."
 
 
 
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Cato1       12/18/2007 4:35:43 PM
Thanks fellas, I think that this is, indeed, an offer I can't refuse. A buddy of mine is leaving LAPD to go Federal , and he is ditching his personal 92, along with his duty piece.  I've had several opportunities to use it at the range, and it is much more accurate than I. I plan on using it in a tactial shooting class, and it will get a real workout. I've not noticed any iregularities or pitting on the locking block, and everything feels tight. The pistol comes with four factory (although only 10 rnds.) mags, all of which I've used without mishap-fire. The weapon feels right in my hand and poinmt superbly, better than my CZ-75, which is damn hard to believe. I guess I am concerned that, unlike the Browning-type linkless, tilting bbl. action, the Baretta's Walther inspired action has a definitive point of failure. I've always viewed the Baretta as a typical Italian piece of engineering: performs superbly within its parameters, but once those are exceeded, prepare for catastrophic failure. Really, though, how bad can it be? 15 John Woo films can't be wrong!

Thanks,
Cato
 
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Horsesoldier       12/19/2007 12:20:10 AM

Thanks fellas, I think that this is, indeed, an offer I can't refuse. A buddy of mine is leaving LAPD to go Federal , and he is ditching his personal 92, along with his duty piece.  I've had several opportunities to use it at the range, and it is much more accurate than I. I plan on using it in a tactial shooting class, and it will get a real workout. I've not noticed any iregularities or pitting on the locking block, and everything feels tight. The pistol comes with four factory (although only 10 rnds.) mags, all of which I've used without mishap-fire. The weapon feels right in my hand and poinmt superbly, better than my CZ-75, which is damn hard to believe. I guess I am concerned that, unlike the Browning-type linkless, tilting bbl. action, the Baretta's Walther inspired action has a definitive point of failure. I've always viewed the Baretta as a typical Italian piece of engineering: performs superbly within its parameters, but once those are exceeded, prepare for catastrophic failure. Really, though, how bad can it be? 15 John Woo films can't be wrong!


Thanks,
Cato

Sounds like a good deal, and 1500 rounds shouldn't be pushing the lifespan of a Beretta locking block, particularly if the springs are at the same round count.  I think the problem we get into with military Berettas is high round counts, +P ish mil-spec ammo, and military maintenance schedules that don't adequately keep the springs good.  For a civilian Beretta owner, taking any or all parts out of that equation seems to yield much better results than we see with the M9.
 
If you're concerned, you could put in a new recoil spring.  Wolff Springs has replacement Beretta recoil springs for under $10, or you can get an entire set of Beretta Springs for around $20.  A new $10 recoil spring every 3-5K rounds will probably ensure you'll never see any locking block problems at all, even if you start pushing the round count taking defensive handgun classes, or competing in IPSC/IDPA, or whatever.  For the typical pistol that gets shot on the range 10-20 times a year, shooting standard pressure ammo, even that may be overkill, really. 
 
 
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