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Dusty Devil Dale

Cleaned your '73 extractors lately?

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Posted (edited)

In practicing yesterday, my  '73 Win. began failing to extract the spent rounds, which caused the expected jambs.  I fixed the jamb several times, then finally gave up, packed up, and drove home to work on the rifle.  Upon disassembly of the bolt and upper extractor, I found excessive and very hardened black buildup of old lubricant and powder blow-by residue under the extractor shaft, in the bolt keyway.  It was hardened almost like plastic, and required chemical softening in order to remove it, which required scraping with the tip of a mini screwdriver tip.  The extractor itself was also heavily coated underneath.  The crud was holding the extractor up, partially out of its keyway, just enough to prevent the extractor tip from articulating solidly with the casing rims.  Over time, it had actually deformed the extractor spring substantially upward, requiring replacement. 

 

Two other shooters in our local club have recently had the same kind of extraction problems, so I thought I'd post this note, just as an advisory. 

 

I get razzed a lot because I disassemble my and my wife's '73s after each day of a match for cleaning.  I usually pull out the toggles, carrier, lifter, etc and clean up the easily accessible surfaces of the bolt and extractors with solvent, but I don't usually remove the stock and the bolt assy to press out the extractor pins and remove the extractor itself.  Consequently, over about 6 months, the buildup occurred.  

 

It really only takes 20 min or so to go the extra step to at least occasionally do the bolt removal and deep cleaning, and it can save a match.   

 

Added:  When you think about it, when the bolt closes on a cartridge, the extractor is flexed upward, opening the extractor channel directly and very proximally to the hot blow-by gasses.  So it would be expected that any lubricants in the channel would become burned in place, and mixed with blow-by residues.  And as material builds up, raising and exposing the extractor leaf spring out of its protective keyway, the hot plasma gasses might progressively anneal the spring itself.   Mine was quite softened/annealed seeming upon removal.  I could reform it with finger pressure.  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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.A .45 Colt gun?   Cartridge is notorious for not sealing the very large chambers that SAAMI made to be the standard.   Anneal cases, crimp tightly, reduce blowback into extractor keyway and rest of action.  

 

Can also be a sign that a factory extractor is getting weak.  When you clean and reinstall extractor, check tension.  The extractor should hold a loaded round on it while you shake the bolt.   And if you pull upwards with tip of finger on the tip of extractor, it should hurt your finger before extractor starts to come up out of keyway.  If extractor is not provding that much tension, replace it.   (Don't just bend it - it won't take a new position and tension just because you bent that spring arm).

 

But, yes, extractors need cleaning periodically (6 months to a year, depending on cartridge and usage).  As do magazine tubes!

 

Good luck, GJ

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

.A .45 Colt gun?   Cartridge is notorious for not sealing the very large chambers that SAAMI made to be the standard.   Anneal cases, crimp tightly, reduce blowback into extractor keyway and rest of action.  

 

Can also be a sign that a factory extractor is getting weak.  When you clean and reinstall extractor, check tension.  The extractor should hold a loaded round on it while you shake the bolt.   And if you pull upwards with tip of finger on the tip of extractor, it should hurt your finger before extractor starts to come up out of keyway.  If extractor is not provding that much tension, replace it.   (Don't just bend it - it won't take a new position and tension just because you bent that spring arm).

 

But, yes, extractors need cleaning periodically (6 months to a year, depending on cartridge and usage).  As do magazine tubes!

 

Good luck, GJ

That's all very helpful.  Thanks.   My rifles are both  . 38s, but I see exactly the same issues.  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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If you clean your rifle after every match or every 5  matches you won't have that problem. You do not need to remove the bolt from the rifle or even take it apart to clean under the extractor. Open the lever until the bolt is about half way back. Using your favorite cleaner (ballistol and water work well) drip some on the top of the bolt-extractor take the tip of your finger and work the extractor up and down several time then hit it with a little compressed air the black junk will run out do this a couple of times and it will be clean. We shoot every weekend under normal circumstances and have rifles that have been shot for 6 or 7 years and the extractors are clean underneath and function properly. A couple of them are used mostly for BP. And yes they are straight walled cases 38 and 45 colt.

kR

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Our rifles get cleaned regularly whether they need it or not.  Once every six months or so, 24 matches maybe, I pull magazine plugs and clean the tubes.  I take the side plates off and the links out and spray the heck out of everything with CLP.  Scrub everything down, wipe it down, put on a dab of Rem Oil or something similar  here and there and close them back up and we're good to go for another 24 matches or so.  10 years in and no malfunctions or parts replaced.

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I have had the same thing happen on my 73 (38-357) and that pin that holds the extractor to the bolt was VERY hard to remove.    I will try the trick of cleaning under extractor while I hold it up.  In case I want to remove the pin that holds the extractor into place is there an easier way to remove than pound it out?  Bullett 19707

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Our rifles get cleaned regularly whether they need it or not.  Once every six months or so, 24 matches maybe, I pull magazine plugs and clean the tubes.  I take the side plates off and the links out and spray the heck out of everything with CLP.  Scrub everything down, wipe it down, put on a dab of Rem Oil or something similar  here and there and close them back up and we're good to go for another 24 matches or so.  10 years in and no malfunctions or parts replaced.

I've always been taught to oil rotating parts and lightly grease sliding surfaces.  So I use lithium grease on the carrier, lifter, bolt slides, center toggle pin, and the end articulations of the lifter and lever springs.  I also lightly grease the insides of the side plates, where they rub the outside of the toggle joints. The grease lubes well, but blow-by residue makes a heck of a gunky mess in the grease on the carrier, which then necessitates the disassembly I described earlier. 

 

It sounds like you have had good luck using oil.  I might give it a try.  I do get sick of disassembling '73 rifles. I'm ready for an easier way.  But the upside is I can just about do it in my sleep now. 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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26 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

  I do get sick of disassembling '73 rifles. I'm ready for an easier way.  But the upside is I can just about do it in my sleep now. 

You could always switch to the 92.

Oh, wait... :lol:

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bullett Sass 19707 said:

I have had the same thing happen on my 73 (38-357) and that pin that holds the extractor to the bolt was VERY hard to remove.    I will try the trick of cleaning under extractor while I hold it up.  In case I want to remove the pin that holds the extractor into place is there an easier way to remove than pound it out?  Bullett 19707

Usually the pin drives out fairly easily.  It has no taper, so it will drive from either side about equally.  I always replace with a new pin each time.  I've heard you can use a piece of appr size steel wire, but if it corrodes in there, I'm sure it won't drive out very easily. 

 

I hold the bolt in a vise with lead jaw shields.  I usually start the pin moving with a slightly rounded point hard  steel drift, and then pull it out with long nose jewelers pliers.  If it gets bent, serrated, or the driven end gets flared or flanged, it is much harder to remove.  Soaking the bolt in penetrating oil a couple hours prior works wonders on it too.  After using penetrating oil, be sure to clean up the firing pin, return spring and FP boring.  Lubricant on FPs generally will gum them up fairly quickly. 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Hendo said:

You could always switch to the 92.

Oh, wait... :lol:

That actually "is" funny ... because my Rossi 92 (45 caliber) used to do that every 4200 rounds ... like clockwork. Had to remove the extractor and clean the hardened carbon out of the channel. Then ... good to go for another 4200. :lol: 

Edited by Patagonia Pete
edit: What??!?
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9 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

.A .45 Colt gun?   Cartridge is notorious for not sealing the very large chambers that SAAMI made to be the standard. 

I'm sure you meant to say that the manufacturer's of 45 Colt Rifle chose to use the SAAMI maximum, instead of a more reasonable mid or just above the minimum in the standard range:

45colt.jpg

Note at Bottom right, under "CHAMBER:  All Dia +.004"  My Colt chambers are much tighter than those on my Uberti, Rossi & Miroku rifles.  The fact is, there's no excuse for the rifles to be so big.  Especially the 1873 and 1885.  There's no clearance issue as the round pushes straight into the chamber.   A little more clearance would be reasonable, as the rifles rely on an extractor to pull the case out, where the Colt SAA uses the ejector rod.  I can understand why they use an exceedingly large chamber on the mdl 1892, & both the Marlin 1894 & Winch. mdl 94 rifles, as they need room for the nose of the bullet to make the turn from angled as moving forward to horizontal.  Even with as generous as those chambers are, bullet selection is critical so the round doesn't bind up.  Too large a meplat with any weight over about 230 grains is problematic.  A nice gentle ogive is needed.  But... as always, YMMV!  LOL!

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Posted (edited)

The way I read the spec drawing is the breech end of the tapered Chamber can be in spec if between 0.486" and 0.490".  Even the front of chamber is within spec from 0.481 to 0.485".

The straight-wall Cartridge is within spec if it is between 0.474 and 0.480".    

 

Following SAAMI standard, the manufacturers can NOT get any closer than 0.006" mismatch (maximum cartridge and minimum chamber diameters).   That is a lot of slop.    Worse case match up has 0.016" of slop.    I'd say most of the poor design decision was made by the SAAMI committee.   The poor manufacturers cannot hold a normally tight chamber tolerance of about 3 or 4 thousandths, even if they want to.   The .45 Colt chambers I have cerro-cast have come in at about 0.482" (Uberti) or 0.483" (Marlin) ID.   The makers are already "cheating,"  cutting tighter than (below minimum) specified chamber diameters!  

 

If the manufacturers chose MAXIMUM chamber diameters, they would be finish reaming chambers at 0.490"!

 

Nah, I'd still say the big ole chamber on .45 Colt guns is mostly due to SAAMI committee's decision back in the 1920s.   

 

On the .38 Special, which is within 30 years of the same age as .45 Colt, they held minimum and maximum difference between chamber and cartridge to the range of  1 to 12 thousandths.   About 5 thousandths smaller than the .45 Colt. 

 

Let me know if I have read that drawing wrong.

 

I think SAAMI never expected .45 Colt to keep soldiering on for another hundred years when they were working on the standards.

They did great work standardizing chambers and pressures in American firearms.  They just got sloppy with .45 Colt.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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Lefty Wheeler"s website has a PDF file on bolt cleaning slot that  I thought was very interesting.   Thanks Lefty.  Seems like a very great guy, offering advice and help when in need      GW

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13 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

I've always been taught to oil rotating parts and lightly grease sliding surfaces.  So I use lithium grease on the carrier, lifter, bolt slides, center toggle pin, and the end articulations of the lifter and lever springs.  I also lightly grease the insides of the side plates, where they rub the outside of the toggle joints. The grease lubes well, but blow-by residue makes a heck of a gunky mess in the grease on the carrier, which then necessitates the disassembly I described earlier. 

 

It sounds like you have had good luck using oil.  I might give it a try.  I do get sick of disassembling '73 rifles. I'm ready for an easier way.  But the upside is I can just about do it in my sleep now. 

Don't try it just because I'm doing it.  I'm a luddite when it comes to mechanical stuff.  I'm basically lazy, but like to be competitive.  My approach minimizes gun cleaning without having an appreciable impact on competitiveness, for me.   Some folks like tinkering with their guns, have at it.  I just like shooting them. 

 

The same for reloading, some folks love it, I just do it because it saves me money and insures a supply of ammo.

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Or you could use more powder and/or a heavier bullet to increase chamber pressure enough that the case expands to prevent blow-by.  Then you won’t have to clean it so often.

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31 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Don't try it just because I'm doing it.  I'm a luddite when it comes to mechanical stuff.  I'm basically lazy, but like to be competitive.  My approach minimizes gun cleaning without having an appreciable impact on competitiveness, for me.   Some folks like tinkering with their guns, have at it.  I just like shooting them. 

 

The same for reloading, some folks love it, I just do it because it saves me money and insures a supply of ammo.

In CA, reloading is a necessity for competition or avid shooters.  There is just no way we can buy the quantities of rifle or handgun  ammo needed in face-to-face store purchases, and have enough money left over for entry fees. 

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I've found that my 45 Colt rifles need NO cleaning at all if i never shoot them.

 

They've been clean since last October.

 

:D

 

Joking aside, gunk under the extractor can be problematic and it will usually only be at big matches. :o

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Dantankerous said:

I've found that my 45 Colt rifles need NO cleaning at all if i never shoot them.

 

They've been clean since last October.

 

:D

 

Joking aside, gunk under the extractor can be problematic and it will usually only be at big matches. :o

Harlan Wolff doesn't do CAS rifles anymore, but I got mine while he still did.  He scallops (not sure that's the right word) out a space under the extractor about an inch and a half back from the bolt head.  I can carefully thread a small piece of paper towel under that and clean it out.  I 'think' it allows crud under the extractor to work its way out without forcing the extractor up. 

89C30A60-D6DE-4475-919A-CD3309249F73.jpeg

Edited by Captain Bill Burt
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I use a Bolt Bench Block to hold the bolt for removal of pins. 

A7C0EC7B-5EA5-43C1-B73A-7A068BF0EA8A.jpeg

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Regarding driving the pin out to remove the extractor. Last couple times I did it, I bent my punch, & my backup punch without the pin moving at all. Finally, I tried an old firing pin & ground down the end slightly with my chain-saw sharpener grinding wheel, being careful to keep a flat spot on the end. It worked perfectly. Also, a cowboy bud told me to order the 45 pin because it's longer & easier to hold while driving in. Then, just grind off the excess.

 

Also, I've heard different views from experienced gunsmiths on how much tension the extractor should have. I've owned rifles that shot great with almost no tension, & I'm shooting my main match rifle now with very heavy tension, which also works great. So, I don't have a definite opinion on this one.  If you've tried both & have lots of experience, what's your opinion?

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I had not cleaned under my ext. in 2 years and that would be thousands of rounds down range, just didn't think about it and had no problems. I took it apart and holy crap I couldn't believe it still extracted reliably it had so much  gunk  packed in there, cleaned it up and good to go now, will now be part of my cleaning routine from now on!    SCJ

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Take your bent punch and cut off everything but 3/8 inch and use it as a starter punch.  Really recommend the bolt bench box King Snake is recommending.

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1 hour ago, Silver Creek Jack said:

I had not cleaned under my ext. in 2 years and that would be thousands of rounds down range, just didn't think about it and had no problems. I took it apart and holy crap I couldn't believe it still extracted reliably it had so much  gunk  packed in there, cleaned it up and good to go now, will now be part of my cleaning routine from now on!    SCJ

Mine extracted reliably right up  until it suddenly quit.  I'll be checking it frequently now.  Fortunately it stopped working in a practice session.  I figure that was my one free warning.  

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6 hours ago, KingSnake said:

I use a Bolt Bench Block to hold the bolt for removal of pins. 

A7C0EC7B-5EA5-43C1-B73A-7A068BF0EA8A.jpeg

VERY nice fixture.  And great picture.  I'll be making one shortly.  

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6 hours ago, KingSnake said:

I use a Bolt Bench Block to hold the bolt for removal of pins. 

A7C0EC7B-5EA5-43C1-B73A-7A068BF0EA8A.jpeg

OK, ya got me. Where do you get them bad boys at?

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Yes Sir-ree.....not cleaning can be costly as I can testify to from WR this year.  Although I favor SNG's one-piece firing pin systems, they to need cleaning periodical .  I know the proper way to clean now.  I should have paid more attention in the past, actually guess I could consider myself lucky that I have not had incident before.

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1 hour ago, Hendo said:

OK, ya got me. Where do you get them bad boys at?

Sent you a PM

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7 hours ago, Max Payne said:

Regarding driving the pin out to remove the extractor. Last couple times I did it, I bent my punch, & my backup punch without the pin moving at all. Finally, I tried an old firing pin & ground down the end slightly with my chain-saw sharpener grinding wheel, being careful to keep a flat spot on the end. It worked perfectly. Also, a cowboy bud told me to order the 45 pin because it's longer & easier to hold while driving in. Then, just grind off the excess.

 

Also, I've heard different views from experienced gunsmiths on how much tension the extractor should have. I've owned rifles that shot great with almost no tension, & I'm shooting my main match rifle now with very heavy tension, which also works great. So, I don't have a definite opinion on this one.  If you've tried both & have lots of experience, what's your opinion?

Try using an appropriate size drill bit, with the spiral ground off and end rounded over, as a punch.  You might even be able to press out the pin with the bit chucked in a drill press, but I haven't tried it.  It usually doesn't take a lot of force.  Worth trying.  

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Harlan Wolff doesn't do CAS rifles anymore, but I got mine while he still did.  He scallops (not sure that's the right word) out a space under the extractor about an inch and a half back from the bolt head.  I can carefully thread a small piece of paper towel under that and clean it out.  I 'think' it allows crud under the extractor to work its way out without forcing the extractor up. 

89C30A60-D6DE-4475-919A-CD3309249F73.jpeg

Interesting mod.  I wonder if blow-by heat exposure is a bigger risk when the leaf spring is so exposed? Have you noticed any difference in extractor longevity?

(I hate asking this) Is it an external modification?   I would say NO, at least with the lever and bolt open, which is 99+% of the time, and it is concealed by the dust cover, if still in place.  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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21 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Interesting mod.  I wonder if blow-by heat exposure is a bigger risk when the leaf spring is so exposed? Have you noticed any difference in extractor longevity?

(I hate asking this) Is it an external modification?   (I would say no, at least with the lever and bolt open, which is 99+% of the time) 

I really don't know the answer to your first question with regard to heat exposure.  I also don't know what the life expectancy of an extractor is.  My wife is shooting the first 73 I bought back in 2011.  It's probably had 40,000 rounds or so through it and is still on the original extractor.  The one pictured is mine.  I bought that one new about 5-6 years ago, so it's probably had about 20,000 rounds through it with no issues. 

 

I wouldn't think it's an external modification, never gave it any thought before. 

 

I think he does that to give the crud a way to work itself out from under the extractor, but I don't know that for sure. 

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40 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I really don't know the answer to your first question with regard to heat exposure.  I also don't know what the life expectancy of an extractor is.  My wife is shooting the first 73 I bought back in 2011.  It's probably had 40,000 rounds or so through it and is still on the original extractor.  The one pictured is mine.  I bought that one new about 5-6 years ago, so it's probably had about 20,000 rounds through it with no issues. 

 

I wouldn't think it's an external modification, never gave it any thought before. 

 

I think he does that to give the crud a way to work itself out from under the extractor, but I don't know that for sure. 

I think you answered the longevity question. 

 Let's just agree not to give the ext mod question any more thought.  It is only rarely visible, only if somebody is dumb enough to be looking down into the top of the action while the lever is closed, and the gun is being actively fired.  Nobody in their right mind does that.   I only know one TO who is tall enough to do that, and then only with very short shooters.  Thx. 

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