is there a way to test the stick or check it to see if the washer is loose without opening it up first?
Thread for this issue already.
Depending on where you purchase your stick from, I would ask the store to let you take it out of the box and complete several full circle moves in both directions.
I could literally feel the joy stick snagging on something within the first few minutes of use (although this could be related to the srping, but went away after securing the washer).
In either case, I would not recommend getting a SE stick unless your are planning on glueing down the washer or replacing the stick as I do not see an immediate solution to this problem- Madcatz would need to re-design the plastic on the bottom of the stick to be deeper to secure the washer better.