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Model 69A Firing Pin Spring Question
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October 18, 2023 - 6:13 pm
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In July of 2004 I purchased a Model 69A rifle, which appeared to be “Unfired”.  It has a grooved receiver and no provisions for barrel or receiver sights.  I decided it was probably best to not fire it and keep it “as new”.  I removed the bolt and it has remained in my safe only coming out to be wiped off a couple of times a year.  After being informed by Jeffery Abendshie, who wrote “The Winchester Model 69” book, that there were other rifles similar to it around and therefore it is not a ‘special rifle’, I finally decided to shoot it. I was disappointed when I discovered it wouldn’t fire.  It went “click” but didn’t have enough firing pin energy to set off the Winchester Super-X cartridges. I was not aware at that time, that the Model 69A is cocked on opening, so when I removed the bolt it was in the “cocked” position.  So all that time it has had a compressed firing pin spring.  By switching to Federal Target Ammo I was able to shoot the rifle off and on a few times. My question is:  Should I try to replace the spring or is there a chance the spring may regain some energy siting in the fired position?  Most important, are the springs difficult to replace?  Thanks, RDB

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October 18, 2023 - 8:14 pm
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rogertherelic said
My question is:  Should I try to replace the spring or is there a chance the spring may regain some energy siting in the fired position?  Most important, are the springs difficult to replace?  Thanks, RDB

  

Roger, not to make you feel more guilty, but any bolt action can & should be de-cocked merely by holding back the trigger as the bolt is replaced.  I do it every time I shoot.  JWA can guide you regarding the spring when he returns from Europe, but if you’re aiming to keep it “like new,” do you really want to go this route?

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October 18, 2023 - 9:42 pm
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Thanks Clarence, your point is well taken.  My effort to add a little room between guns by removing the bolts and prevent the bolt from contacting it’s neighbor is where I fell down.  I always pull the trigger when closing a bolt that is intended to be stored.  This bolt was not in the rifle when stored and I was not aware of the fact the bolt was cocked when I removed it.  Another late learning lesson in life.  RDB

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October 19, 2023 - 4:35 pm
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I’m wondering if some old oil or grease may have hardened inside the bolt, keeping the firing pin or spring from working like it should. 
Have you tried a spray cleaner into the bolt?

 

Mike

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October 19, 2023 - 6:57 pm
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Just used Remington “Rem Action Cleaner” spray can, blow dried and then sprayed with “G-96”.  Tried a CB cap and it worked fine.  Will see Monday how it does at the range.  Thanks,  RDB

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October 24, 2023 - 4:43 pm
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Update on my 69A.  The very first round fired on the first trigger pull.  After that, firing was sporadic.  Some rounds took two, three or four trigger pulls, but all fired eventually.  I installed a single shot magazine to simplify the process.  If a round failed o fire I just opened the bolt far enough to “re-cock” the firing pin, then closed the bolt and tried it again.  This process did allow me to make sure there was no flinching or bad trigger pull.  The accuracy was very acceptable.  

Are any of you aware of the existence of other late Model 69 A rifles that have no provisions for metallic sights?  No dove-tails or tapped mounting holes for receiver sights.  This rifle only has the “Grooved receiver” for the scope.  It is a late model with the chromed bolt and trigger guard and tapered stock.  Thanks, RDB

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October 24, 2023 - 5:05 pm
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rogertherelic said
Are any of you aware of the existence of other late Model 69 A rifles that have no provisions for metallic sights?  No dove-tails or tapped mounting holes for receiver sights.  This rifle only has the “Grooved receiver” for the scope.  It is a late model with the chromed bolt and trigger guard and tapered stock.  Thanks, RDB

  

Maybe you’ve got the only one, as I can’t find such a variation in JWA’s book.

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October 25, 2023 - 2:22 am
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I would check the indentation of the fired cartage against the non fired cartage. Just a visual check may reveal a problem. Also some ammo requires a harder hit than others. Try other ammo before tearing your rifle apart.

RR

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October 25, 2023 - 3:46 am
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Clarence,  JWA looked at my rifle at the Reno show shortly after I got it.  He noted that it was somewhat of an anomaly, but didn’t give the impression that it was anything overly special.  

Win61, I saved the fired cases from Monday’s firing and will see what I can learn from the firing pin strikes. 

Especially the cases that have more than one firing pin dimple.  

Thanks Guys for your input.  RDB

22-fired-cases-001.JPGImage Enlarger22-fired-cases-003.JPGImage Enlarger22-fired-cases-004.JPGImage Enlarger The center case was fired in a model 63 for comparison.  The heads on the other four cases are not flat, but seemed to have a slight dome shape.  Some have more than one strike, which was necessary to get them to fire.  RDB

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October 31, 2023 - 9:42 pm
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Hi Roger,

Sorry I am late to the party.  Your cases look like you might have an excessive headspace issue, they typically should not be bulged like that.  The firing pin forward travel is limited by a cross-pin in the bolt body so excessive headspace can cause a light strike.

The firing pin springs are replaceable fairly easily if you know the technique.  I can send you the Winchester instructions if you decide to go that route but personally I would check the headspace first.

I have seen 2 other rifles like yours without any provision for iron sights.  They were not a catalogued variation so that is why they did not make it into the 69 book (although I think I mentioned them in the text somewhere).  It is unknown whether they were specially ordered or a “lunch box special” assembled by an employee.

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November 1, 2023 - 4:24 pm
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Thank you JWA.  I was hoping you might get a chance to comment.  What options do I have to “fix” the headspace?  I don’t intend to shoot the rifle a lot, but it’s so nice I would prefer it to be working correctly.  It is very accurate.  I found a very nice Mossberg “4MD 4” power scope to put on the rifle and that matches the scope on the 69A in the Winchester Inventory that is listed on page 444 in your book.  RDB

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November 1, 2023 - 5:13 pm
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rogertherelic said
Thank you JWA.  I was hoping you might get a chance to comment.  What options do I have to “fix” the headspace?  I don’t intend to shoot the rifle a lot, but it’s so nice I would prefer it to be working correctly.  It is very accurate. 

  

Roger, before you “fix” anything, have the headspace tested with a “no-go” gauge.  If there’s no gunsmith close by to do it, you can buy one from Brownell’s for not too much.  Surprising if the gun is both “very accurate” AND has excess headspace, because usually this cond is very detrimental to RF accuracy.  .22s that I’ve had lined or re-barreled, I’ve asked to be set for “zero” headspace.

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November 2, 2023 - 12:19 am
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Hi Roger,

The headspace is dictated by the squared surface at the base of the bolt handle that contacts the face of the notch/slot in the receiver.  Unfortunately it is not adjustable (like adding a shim washer on the Remington 513).  It is VERY unusual for a 69A to have excessive headspace as it takes significant wear or a component to be machined out of tolerance for it to occur but based on your slight case bulge it is worth checking.

If it is an issue, you can try a different bolt and/or try a different bolt handle so see if that corrects it.

If your headspace is ok, then we can move forward and replace the firing pin.  Wolff makes (or made) an “extra power” FP spring for the 69A/75 but I have always just used the factory springs with no issue.  Most often when I have light strikes it is due to dried oil/gunk in the bolt (which I think you already cleaned?).

For what it’s worth, on the military Remington 513’s I have, some had excessive headspace which I corrected with a bolt shim but the change in headspace did not seem to affect accuracy much, if any.  Maybe that is more prevalent with centerfire than rim fire?

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November 2, 2023 - 12:37 am
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If it is an issue, you can try a different bolt and/or try a different bolt handle so see if that corrects it.JWA said

 

Way headspace was “adjusted” on ’03s was merely by trying one at a time different bolts until one was found that provided correct HS; sounds tedious, but I expect the assemblers doing it all day long learned to work rapidly. I also know from Hatchers’ Notes that .22 rifle team members sometimes switched bolts in an effort to find one that gave better accuracy in their particular rifle; a common enough practice that Gen. Hatcher spoke out against doing it.  And I happen to have an example of just what he was talking about, a M1922 with a mismatched bolt that it hurts my eyes to look at!

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November 2, 2023 - 4:02 am
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Hi Clarence, that is basically the same way it is corrected on the 69A.

The +/- tolerance and chamber dimensions were more strict on the Model 75 than the 69A so that is why the bolt was fitted and numbered to the gun on the Model 75.  I have never (knock on wood) seen a 75 with an original matching bolt be found out of spec.  The greater tolerances on the 69A, plus tolerance stacking, can get you close to excessive headspace, but not quite, it takes an additional “nudge” such as wear or incorrect dimensions to cross the line to “no-go” on the 69A.  At least that has been my experience (so far).

I wish I had Roger’s rifle in my hand/shop, that would (hopefully) settle the issue quickly.

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November 2, 2023 - 3:33 pm
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Clarence and JWA thank you for your posts.  When the rifle fires, using the Federal target ammo, it is very accurate and due to the almost pristine condition I will probably leave it “as is”.  Finding a different chromed bolt that “might work” would be impossible.  I have a few other 22 rifles to shoot.  Including two verified 697 rifles.  (A first Model and a second Model).  There is a a great possibility that the rifle is a “lunch box special” and it is what it is.  It’s a special rifle to me and I’m just glad to have it for “Show and Tell”.  You guys are great and I thank you for your expertise and help. Laugh  RDB

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November 2, 2023 - 4:01 pm
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There is a a great possibility that the rifle is a “lunch box special” and it is what it is.  rogertherelic said  

IF that’s what it is, it could explain why testing diff bolts to obtain proper HS wasn’t done.  But it would still be interesting to find out for SURE if it has excessive HS by testing with a gauge.

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