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Ramblin Gambler

Sticking Lever

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Newlee's topic reminded me of something I've been meaning to ask the wire about.  I bought a Winchester 71 a while back and the first time I shot it, the lever stuck.  It kicked so hard I thought I had a double charged load or something.  But I turned the gun over and pulled with both hands and the round ejected.  I looked it over closely and I didn't see any bulges or cracks in the case.  Now mind you, I'm not a reloader, so I'm not practiced at case inspection like most of you guys probably are.  I also checked for a backed out primer and it wasn't backed out.  Then I compared it to an unfired case and I definitely saw some dimensional increase.  I didn't have a caliper with me, nor did I have the SAAMI specs, so I don't know if it was out of spec.  This was winchester white box factory ammo.  I also happened to have some leverlution ammo and buffalo arms (or is it buffalo bore) handy.  I compared those unfired cases and noted that the winchester case seemed to run smaller.  Seeing nothing wrong with the case, I fired again and it still kicked like an angry mule, but the lever was easier to work.  When I switched to the other brands ejection was easier.  I went back to winchester at the end to make sure the gun hadn't just 'loosened up' (I know I was loosening up from the recoil).  The lever was easier to work than the first shot, but still quite a bit harder than with the other brands of ammo. 

 

The lever also popped open on the first shot, which made me think it was an OOB.  But someone else suggested that maybe I had opened the lever under recoil.  This is absolutely the hardest recoiling gun I own, so maybe I'm just not used to it.  That would sort of make sense since I was better prepared on subsequent shots and it was never that hard to open again. 

 

So my question is, I'm looking for ideas on what could have caused this, or is this normal for a 348?  I'm planning to take it to a gunsmith to install a tang sight, so I'm going to have him check the chamber size first.  Is there anything else I should get the smith to check out?  I'm also going to bring him the empty brass to see if he sees something I didn't. 

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.348 Winchester will have some recoil.  Here's a quote for you - "The .348 was one of the most powerful rimmed rounds ever used in a lever action rifle"

 

But, sounds to me like a bad batch of Winchester ammo.   I would not have fired the second one of those!

 

Good luck, GJ

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I may not be the smartest man in the world, but I make up for it by taking stupid risks. 

 

 

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Could have been some crud in the chamber that was causing the brass to hang up.

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Was the bore and chamber clean, or did it still have manufacturing/shipping (rust preventative) lube in it?

 

Good luck, GJ

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1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Was the bore and chamber clean, or did it still have manufacturing/shipping (rust preventative) lube in it?

 

Good luck, GJ

 

Definitely no manufacturers gunk, as it is a used rifle.  It's an original and they stopped making them before I was born.  I cleaned it as soon as I got it, but the bore looked like it was already clean so I didn't spend a lot of time on it.  I will look in the chamber though.  Could be that it's rough or there's something embedded in it that I can clean out with a bigger brush. 

 

The previous owner said he didn't have any problems like that, he just had another Mod 71 he liked better.  On the one hand, I don't know how trustworty he is because he's just a guy who had a table at a gun show.  On the other hand, he gave me his number and we spent about a half hour texting back and forth after the range trip. 

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Were it mine, and it kicked that hard, it'd already been sold on.:ph34r:

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Sounds like some really hot ammo to me. Were the primers flattened? Cartridges of the world says the Winchester factory load is a 200 grain bullet at 2520 fps / 2820 me. Buffalo Bore heavy loads are 250  gr. J.F.N. Bonded Core(2,250fps/M.E.2,810 ft.lbs   I'm loading a 215 grain gas check bullet at  2200 fps. It kicks a bit but is totally manageable.

                                                                    Jasper

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348 is one of my favorite cartridges some say it kicks really hard but I've never thought that (maybe a little more than a 06 but not bad). The lever opening a little on firing is common it's your hand hitting the lever under recoil with the shape of the pistol grip. As for the ammo and locking up the action sounds like some bad shells. Are they new Winchester bought from a reputable dealer (know it sounds bad but could someone stuck some handloads in a Winchester box)? The reason I question this is I've found Winchester factory loads at least the ones that have been made since the 80's have been loaded a little lighter than 2500fps. Also, Winchester hasn't made any 348 factory ammo in at least 8 years. I've had sticky extraction with grizzly ammunition and buffalo bore but never Winchester in 3 different 348's. It is a great cartridge and with the 200 gr. Swift a frame works great on anything in north America (even know of several brown bears that have been taken). Hope this helps.

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15 hours ago, Jasper Agate said:

Sounds like some really hot ammo to me. Were the primers flattened? Cartridges of the world says the Winchester factory load is a 200 grain bullet at 2520 fps / 2820 me. Buffalo Bore heavy loads are 250  gr. J.F.N. Bonded Core(2,250fps/M.E.2,810 ft.lbs   I'm loading a 215 grain gas check bullet at  2200 fps. It kicks a bit but is totally manageable.

                                                                    Jasper

 

I'll have to look for that on the primers.  What do flattened primers mean?  Off the top of my head, I don't think so.  I'm pretty sure they had a good dimple just like any other healthy gun.  Because while I don't know to look for flat primers, I did look at the primer to see if it was backed out. 

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14 hours ago, Blackhawk Kid said:

348 is one of my favorite cartridges some say it kicks really hard but I've never thought that (maybe a little more than a 06 but not bad). The lever opening a little on firing is common it's your hand hitting the lever under recoil with the shape of the pistol grip. As for the ammo and locking up the action sounds like some bad shells. Are they new Winchester bought from a reputable dealer (know it sounds bad but could someone stuck some handloads in a Winchester box)? The reason I question this is I've found Winchester factory loads at least the ones that have been made since the 80's have been loaded a little lighter than 2500fps. Also, Winchester hasn't made any 348 factory ammo in at least 8 years. I've had sticky extraction with grizzly ammunition and buffalo bore but never Winchester in 3 different 348's. It is a great cartridge and with the 200 gr. Swift a frame works great on anything in north America (even know of several brown bears that have been taken). Hope this helps.

 

What do you do about the lever opening?  Is there a better way to hold the gun, or do you just have to make sure you're pulling back harder?  When I'm shooting rifles, my shooting hand gets real relaxed. 

 

The Winchester ammo came from the guy I bought the rifle from.  So I can't rule out handloads, all I can say is that he told me it was factory ammo.  He also said that Winchester does a run of ammo every year.  The other 2 boxes were bought online from people I've used before.  Midway and Outdoor Limited. 

 

When your lever sticks, how bad is it?  Does it take quite a bit of effort to move it, or is it more like a hitch that you might not even notice if you were working it fast? 

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34 minutes ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

 

Hey!  That site is written by Jim Finnerty, my original reloading instructor!

 

I've never met anyone with a better understanding of reloading issues, or with more ability to communicate with beginners.

 

A great guy; glad to see his knowledge in circulation.

 

LL

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I just looked at it today.   I again just looked at it now.

 

You are doing something wrong.

 

Good luck, GJ 

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4 hours ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

 

I'll have to look for that on the primers.  What do flattened primers mean?  Off the top of my head, I don't think so.  I'm pretty sure they had a good dimple just like any other healthy gun.  Because while I don't know to look for flat primers, I did look at the primer to see if it was backed out. 

flattened.jpg

The primer on the left is normal, the primer in the middle is a little flattened and the primer on the right is flattened

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Look at the EDGE of the fired primer.   High pressures wipe out the "groove" between the case and the primer surface.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Well I guess the net police are once again filtering stuff I want to see.  I tried a different wifi network and it's still not working.  I cannot see Jasper's picture either.  Guess I'll have to bookmark this page and look at it when I get home. 

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The lever opening a little on firing in my experience is kinda a personal problem for some people just the way recoil affects them just try holding it a little tighter, but either way I wouldn't worry too much it's kinda like a pump shotgun where you can use recoil as an advantage to racking in another shell (remember Winchester had Alaska/Yukon in mind with the 71). The warm loads I had only needed a  little extra force nothing too much but after 2 I stopped with the grizzly shells (had 2700+ fps chrono). The Japanese 71 I tried these in has a short throat so that probably didn't help. One thing about the 348 is the heavy taper causes more back thrust on the bolt so make sure that the chamber is clean and dry. I would rethink the tang sight in my opnion I think it might be a little too close for comfort. Most of the 71's are drilled and tapped for receiver sights keeps the sight a little further from your eye.

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How hard a gun kicks can depend on what you are comparing it to.  Do you shoot any other powerful rifles?

 

Duffield

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20 hours ago, Duffield, SASS #23454 said:

How hard a gun kicks can depend on what you are comparing it to.  Do you shoot any other powerful rifles?

 

Duffield

 

I mentioned the bolt action 30-06 hunting rifle.  Other than my cowboy rifles, which don't count as rifles when it comes to recoil, I shoot various 30-06 rifles the most by a wide margin.  I shoot 32WS and 30WCF too, but those don't kick like any of the 30-06s.  Oh and I shoot 45-70 quite a bit, but I haven't touched any of them since last summer. 

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I just sold a .444 Marlin, It feels like it has a lot more recoil than my 30-06s do, but no more than my .300 H&H.

Sadly, I didn't ever expect to get to take the .444 elk hunting again, but it was perfect for the dog hair timber where we hunted in Wyoming.

 

Duffield

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On 2/21/2020 at 10:08 PM, Jasper Agate said:

Sounds like some really hot ammo to me. Were the primers flattened? Cartridges of the world says the Winchester factory load is a 200 grain bullet at 2520 fps / 2820 me. Buffalo Bore heavy loads are 250  gr. J.F.N. Bonded Core(2,250fps/M.E.2,810 ft.lbs   I'm loading a 215 grain gas check bullet at  2200 fps. It kicks a bit but is totally manageable.

                                                                    Jasper

 

Finally back home and wouldn't ya know it I can actually read that massreloading link.  It may be hard to tell from pictures, but I think these fall into the middle category of primer flattening.  According to that site, it may indicate a pressure problem or may be normal.  They also say that the sticking lever is a better indicator, but I'm guessing they are assuming nothing is wrong with the rifle though.  I'm going to try to take them to a reloading expert but maybe you guys can see something in the pictures.  All of the fired brass has a shiny band next to the head.  It's easiest to see on the buffalo bore and HSM. 

 

These were the Winchesters.  They stuck the most.  Oh and i had a question about the color change on the unfired round.  Is that from annealing the case? 

 

WIN1.thumb.jpg.3829fdd4c1995096a3dd918425f922ff.jpgWIN3.thumb.jpg.9abb555cabb8d20d67151aefe1c52dd6.jpg

 

Hornady Leverlution

LEVER1.thumb.jpg.b8084d3ea83327f39089d4674bee086e.jpgLEVER3.thumb.jpg.8045aef621984902923d698ed0a11b67.jpg

 

HSM

HSM1.thumb.jpg.8d72a4a5df31aa191f9c7f9de14463ff.jpgHSM3.thumb.jpg.e55ad4a249b67cb22007cd36e3831d2e.jpg

 

Buffalo Bore

 

BB1.thumb.jpg.d820f52d66d175115c8bc5baa92849a8.jpgBB3.thumb.jpg.bb3cb21632e75043aad91e30aae7a703.jpg

 

 

 

 

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If that discoloration is from annealing, the factory annealed VERY far down the case.   Factory usually does not anneal much below the shoulder of the case.  And annealing usually leaves more of a blue-gray surface color.   I doubt that is annealing coloration.

 

Your primers DO NOT show abnormal pressures.   Compare them to the unfired load in each batch.   Only the Buffalo Bore shows the edge of the primer flattening from the factory shape, and that is slight.  And well within expectations for that type of load.

 

I think you have a rough action or some burrs that are catching when you fire the gun.  And possibly the locking bar of the action has been battered and needs to be cleaned up.  If you are not experienced with slicking up a gun, then a cowboy gunsmith can probably find this easier than the guys who now only know about changing parts on Glocks and AR guns. 

 

Good luck, GJ

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Just in case anyone was following this, I finally got it all figured out.  First off, the line on the unfired cases wasn't annealing .... it's from where the cartridges were sitting in the styrofoam.  I shoulda known that, I've run into that before. 

 

As for the sticking lever, my gunsmith said that it looked like a previous owner honed the barrel and left a shelf with a sharp edge because he mis-used the tool.  So when the case expanded, it had to drag across that shelf when ejecting.  He beveled it and now the lever is no harder to work with a fired round than it is with an unfired round.  The good news is that other than that, the previous owner must have done a good job.  I asked about honing the barrel and he said it was already done. 

 

It aint got the same recoil anymore.  My gunsmith suggested a different way to hold the rifle.  Between that and being more familiar with it, I hardly noticed the recoil this time.  Amazing.  He suggested I keep forward pressure on the fore-end instead of pulling back into my shoulder with both hands.  That way it acts as a shock absorber. 

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Thanks for the update

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Never discount the possibility that a previous owner caused a problem, especially if they have "smithed" on it.     As my Dad used to say, "You Touched it?  Well, you broke it."   Made me very cautious to work on important tools of the trade until I knew exactly what I was doing.   That, plus getting electrical shocks out of my first wiring project.  :o

 

good luck, GJ

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16 hours ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

He suggested I keep forward pressure on the fore-end instead of pulling back into my shoulder with both hands.  That way it acts as a shock absorber. 

 

That would be the only recommendation I have ever seen for doing that!    You really want the butt to be firmly on the shoulder so that the gun never has a chance to develop high-speed recoil that then punches your shoulder instead of shoving it.    Your extended left arm will not be able to stop recoil, but your shoulder at least can dampen some of it.  Speaking from years of experience as a certified NRA Rifle and Shotgun instructor, we NEVER teach that.

 

Such a hold will be very detrimental to accurate shooting, and will kill your ability to run a lever gun real fast..

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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I never heard of pushing forward on the forend to reduce recoil.  I do know that you can push forward on the forend while pulling back with your other hand to reduce and control muzzle rise when firing full auto.  So maybe it would help some with recoil as well.

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Sounds like the same thing.  You obviously want more force pulling back to keep the gun snug on your shoulder.  The smith said he was taught to do that to control recoil in one of those big bore double rifles.  It might be similar to what I see a lot of AR shooters do where their hand is on top of the barrel. 

 

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