You Can Make Your Own Buffers!
Go to a shoe repair shop and ask for some leather scraps. They may charge you a buck or two. Cut about 3" off of a 1½" wide strip. Fold one end over by 1/3, then overlap the other end on top. Using the old buffer as a guide, locate the position of a hole for the recoil spring rod. Thickness of the leather buffer should be approx. .610" to .675". The thicker the buffer, the higher the cyclic rate. (Don't go too thin, otherwise, bolt will strike and bend pin at rear of receiver.) Use a sharp knife or razor blade to trim the buffer to conform to the upper receiver. I have made several buffers this way and they work very well. If after extended use, the buffer gets too thin, I just cut a square piece of leather, make the hole for the rod, and place it in front of the old leather to get back to the correct thickness. Another PPSh-41 enthusiast, Rick @ Foreign Auto.'s, has recommended a piece of 2-ply side wall from an auto or motorcycle tire. Says it works great and it's free.
Adjust Drum Spring Tension!
If the top round in the drum takes a 'nose dive' and doesn't feed, it usually means the drum spring tension is too weak. To increase the tension of the drum, make sure the drum is empty and the follower is forward all the way at the feed lips' opening. Turn the spring assembly to the left for one or two clicks. Take a screwdriver and remove the screw that holds the cylinder-shaped follower. Making sure the spring tension release button on the back side is away from any surface that might suddenly release the tension while your fingers are inside the drum, carefully turn the spring assembly to the left two full turns, replace the follower back in the same original position, close to the feed lip opening. Try shooting again with the drum. If feeding problems still exist, repeat the above and retry until correct tension produces flawless feeding.
Modifying 9mm Magazines to fit the PPSh/9mm
9mm Sten & 9mm Suomi 50 rd. box mags are the mags I have modified. This would also apply to other 9mm magazines, as long as they fit in the mag well. You have the choice of placing a spacer in front or back. With the Sten magazine I chose the back. I wanted the 9mm bullet as close to the chamber mouth as possible for a shorter feeding distance. Taking a flat plate (.863" wide x .2454" long), I then spot welded a .252" wide x .186" long bar on the plate. Using a dremel tool, I shaped the bar like the one on the back of a regular PPSh mag. Next I bent a couple pieces of metal for the 'wing-like' mag well braces. Before welding the plate, I placed a PPSh mag in the mag well and noted where the top round was in relation to the ejector. Then, placing the Sten mag into the well, I positioned the plate with the bar so the top round is in the same position as the original mag and spot welded the plate/bar to the rear of the Sten mag. Lastly, I locked the mag in the mag well, positioned the "wings" and marked the mag. Spot welded these and the Sten mag was ready to be used with a 9mm barrel. I like the different look of the Sten magazine in the PPSh. (check out the drawing at the bottom of my "9mm Conversion" website page)
The Suomi box mags were easier since the lockup on the rear is identical to the PPSh mag lockup but slightly larger. First; however, I spot welded a 'triangular' plate on the front of the Suomi mag. Made it high enough so I could grind a smooth ramp for surer feeding. Next working the back lockup, I just had to 'dremel' the bar down to the same dimensions of the PPSh mag bar. Also had to file the plate around the bar and keep trying the mag until it fit. The opening at the rear of the feed lips must be filed square so the PPSh bolt can pass through. Didn't put any "wings" on the Suomi mags and it doesn't seem to have affected reliability. I cut the front out of the Suomi mag loader so it fit over the front spacer plate. Fifty 9mm rounds in a compact package!
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