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1894 chambering issue help
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March 10, 2022 - 3:21 am
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All, I have a new to me 1894 rifle I’ve talked about here a touch, it is a 32 win special. When it arrived the hammer seemed to take quite a bit more force to operate than on my 1955 carbine. Pulling it back by hand or cycling the lever, either way seemed stiffer than expected. This is issue number one. 

issue number two arrived tonight as I was able to load up a dummy round to check and see how it cycles. It loads good, feeds as expected (with that stiff hammer) but when I reach the last point of closing the lever, it is pretty dang hard to get the dummy round to chamber. A lot of force is needed to close the lever. The dummy round is made to saami spec for coal. When ejecting the round it does so as expected, but there are marks on the brass around the neck of the case as well as some down the body of the case. I’ll attach a couple pics. I’m scratching my head a bit and looking for some assistance or advice on what may be causing the issue.  Thanks! 
 

First pic is the case and marks left on it

second pic is the position of the lever when chambering resistance is met 

third pic is of the position of the round where resistance is met 

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March 10, 2022 - 3:57 am
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Ok, I went back out and scratched my head some more. The issue of the makers on the brass was my fault. I made my dummy round with a piece of new, untouched brass as opposed to one that I had sized. So I went and made a new one with a piece of sized brass, and wouldn’t you know it, that one chambers with no marks because it is .005” smaller in diameter. It still is hard to close the lever the last little bit, with an audible “click”. It seems as though this is the extractor passing over the rim of the case. Maybe the extractor is really stiff? Any tips on a remedy for that?

Still don’t know how to explain the really stiff hammer operation?

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March 10, 2022 - 1:37 pm
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Back off the main spring strain screw on the bottom tang in 1/2 turn increments until the hammer retains sufficient force to ignite the primer but not so hard as to cause the difficulty you describe. The screw closest to the stock screw on the lower tang holds the main spring, the next one forward is the strain screw.

Erin

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March 10, 2022 - 4:44 pm
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Thank you very much Erin, I’ll give it a shot and report back !

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March 11, 2022 - 1:33 am
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Matt, be sure to have a hollow ground screwdriver that fits the screw correctly. In my experience those screws are very tight due to age and dirt. They are easy to damage. If it doesn’t want to turn you might want to remove the stock and use some Kroil or other penetrating fluid on the screw.

You are on the right track. The last bit of lever travel requires a bit of force to get the extractor over the rim of the case. You might want to use some Kroil to loosen up the extractor a bit.

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March 11, 2022 - 9:37 pm
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Thank you Mark!

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March 12, 2022 - 3:46 am
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Erin, I did as suggested and attempted to adjust the strain screw. Surprisingly it wasn’t under much tension and moved freely while loosening. I actually backed it out so far that it was no longer flush with the tang and a little bit raised. It didn’t make a discernible difference in the hammer stiffness or force needed to work the hammer. I screwed it back into the tang until I felt a small amount of resistance and stopped there. I was wondering if maybe the screw is broken in the tang but won’t know unless I dig further and take the rifle apart. I can’t imagine that’s the issue but could be wrong.  Any suggestions from here? 

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March 12, 2022 - 12:22 pm
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I doubt the screw is broken, they are basically nothing more than a plug screw that is about 1/4″ in length. Hammer tension directly relates to the main spring, I would pull the butt stock and see if the spring is original or if it is a “gunsmith” made spring. Maybe take a picture of it and we can help confirm if it is an original.

Erin

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March 13, 2022 - 5:35 pm
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March 13, 2022 - 6:06 pm
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Spring looks OK.  Have you tried to adjust the screw for more tension?

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March 13, 2022 - 6:21 pm
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Chuck, I tried backing off the strain screw as Erin suggested, but there was already zero tension on it. I screwed it back in just until I felt it touch the spring. Open to other suggestions at this point : )

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March 13, 2022 - 9:58 pm
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I’m not sure and it may just be the photo but the spring appears to be slightly bent upward about an inch from the hammer. If it is bent that would surely increase your spring tension. Possibly from a previous owner trying to increase the spring tension and not aware of the strain screws function. 

It is an original spring for sure….

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March 13, 2022 - 10:42 pm
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 If you think spring pressure is a problem just loosed the spring screw a turn or two, forget about the strain screw. T/R  

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March 13, 2022 - 11:37 pm
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Thank you everyone for the assistance. The advice from TR did the trick, I backed off the spring screw by a half turn or so and it made a world of difference. Backing off that screw much more though would make it very loose. As it sits now, it is just under flush of the tang. 

thanks a bunch

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March 14, 2022 - 4:34 pm
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Matt Herman said
Chuck, I tried backing off the strain screw as Erin suggested, but there was already zero tension on it. I screwed it back in just until I felt it touch the spring. Open to other suggestions at this point : )  

Sorry I wasn’t more specific.  I was not talking about the strain screw.  TR gave you better advice.

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March 14, 2022 - 5:34 pm
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Winchester did not design any of their fasteners to be run loose, the strain screw is there for a reason. The problem is the spring, either replace it or slightly bend it to reduce the tension. If you are going to run the spring screw loose put some blue loctite on the threads.

Erin

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March 14, 2022 - 10:08 pm
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Erin Grivicich said
Winchester did not design any of their fasteners to be run loose, the strain screw is there for a reason. The problem is the spring, either replace it or slightly bend it to reduce the tension. If you are going to run the spring screw loose put some blue loctite on the threads.

Erin  

 We might be back to what Chuck has said about the 1873 model springs. Clearly in the 1875 Winchester Catalogue on page 16 it has a paragraph  titled  “To Stiffen The Spring”. In this paragraph it lists three springs that require adjustment to their stiffness, leading one to believe some adjustment is necessary over time. That said, not all fasteners were designed to be turned tight. In the case of a carrier-lever or finger-lever spring it appears this is a screw to adjust. If a hammer spring has a strain screw one would think it was designed to be set tight. So in this case the spring is to strong for the current state of the action.

 Old Colt SAA’s have a hammer spring without a strain screw and it is common to adjust the spring with the attaching screw and leaving it less than tight to get the action to work smoothly. Many well used old Colts have a loose screw so to speak.

 Yes Chuck, you were always right about the screws. T/R

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March 16, 2022 - 4:12 am
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The screws aren’t loose.  The spring tension against the screw keeps it from moving.  Now in my case I do have some loose screws and plenty of worn out springs.

The paragraph TR mentions is for all toggle link guns and I believe any of the other hammer screws.

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March 16, 2022 - 4:25 am
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I’m learning alot here, even in this one thread. Thanks all 

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