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Hellbender

Wear on aluminum carrier - how much is normal?

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Less than a year ago I purchased a used , very smooth running model 1866 rifle made by Uberti in 2001 that was loaded with Pioneer Gun Works parts.  I had been shooting a '73 with a brass carrier but this one has an aluminum carrier.  I have no idea when the parts were installed, but the first time I took the  carrier out I didn't notice anything unusual about it.  But after a while I began noticing wear, which has gotten more and more noticeable each time I examined it.  

 

I called Pioneer Gun Works and talked to someone who told me the aluminum carriers do get "dings" and that it would not affect the performance.  What I see I think of as gouges, not dings. The 38 special cartridges I use have TCFP bullets and the overall length is in the 1.430 to 1.440 range.  I would appreciate it if someone who has experience with aluminum carriers would take a look at these photos and let me know if this is normal wear and also let me know if it continues getting worse will it start causing me problems.   I assume that most of the gouges I see were made by the base of the cartridge case rubbing against the carrier, but of course I could be wrong about it, so any advice on what's causing it would also be appreciated.  Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

Got mine from C&I

Have been shooting it for more then 10 years. STILL in good shape.

And it has been used A LOT.

 

 

And NO. Mine does not look anything like that.

If going Alum. Go with C&I.

Edited by Anvil Al #59168
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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Anvil Al #59168 said:

Got mine from C&I

Have been shooting it for more then 10 years. STILL in good shape.

And it has been used A LOT.

 

 

And NO. Mine does not look anything like that.

If going Alum. Go with C&I.

C&I carriers are aircraft grade aluminum , I got mine from Jim about 15 years ago I have them my two 73's they still look almost  new after all the rounds and years. Those in the pic's look like before they were a  carrier they were a beer cans ?

Edited by Von Dutch, SASS # 7995
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12 minutes ago, Von Dutch, SASS # 7995 said:

C&I carriers are aircraft grade aluminum , I got mine from Jim about 15 years ago I have them my two 73's they still look almost  new after all the rounds and years. Those in the pic's look like before they were a  carrier they were a beer cans ?

 

46 minutes ago, Anvil Al #59168 said:

Got mine from C&I

Have been shooting it for more then 10 years. STILL in good shape.

And it has been used A LOT.

 

 

And NO. Mine does not look anything like that.

If going Alum. Go with C&I.

Thank you both!  I'm ordering one from C&I.

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That's about right for a pioneer carrier.   That's why i started making my own.   I wore out to many store bought. 

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Put a C&I kit in my rifle last year and my 'smith advised against the provided aluminum carrier because of galling tendencies just like this.

Instead he machined/skeletonized the stock brass carrier to lighten it.

 

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"NORMAL" is a setting on a Clothes Dryer.  The wear on your Carrier Block looks some excessive.  When I was in the business of building Toggle Link CAS rifles, I did not like, and did not install aluminum Carrier Blocks.  Since that time, they may have improved but I have my doubts.  I would much prefer and suggest a milled Brass Carrier Block.  Although I also run OEM Brass Carrier Blocks, Polished to run super smooth in the mortice and like them quite well.

 

YMMV

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Von Dutch, SASS # 7995 said:

C&I carriers are aircraft grade aluminum

 

Hate to bust your bubble but the aluminum used in aircraft covers the gambit from tougher than steel to unfit for beer cans. 

 

What you want in an aluminum carrier is the correct alloy with a hard anodized coating. 

 

Saying it is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum means absolutely nothing.

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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Hey Hellbender,

 

It sounds like you are already on your way to a C&I carrier. I just wanted to give another nod to them. I put one in my new '73 WBAS rifle about a year ago, and it is only getting smoother with no gouging or "dings". I have no experience with PGW, but my C&I carrier seems to be doing well. I hope you have the same good experience.

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Well I guess we can get into a good old long ass discussion about metallurgy...oy...

 

Anyway, I had a C&I Al Aly carrier for some 12ish years before I replaced it.

 

That Al Aly carrier, based on the pictures, looks like someone used a screw driver knife on it a few times...among other things...

 

Phantom

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26 minutes ago, C.N. Double said:

Hey Hellbender,

 

It sounds like you are already on your way to a C&I carrier. I just wanted to give another nod to them. I put one in my new '73 WBAS rifle about a year ago, and it is only getting smoother with no gouging or "dings". I have no experience with PGW, but my C&I carrier seems to be doing well. I hope you have the same good experience.

Yep C.N, I took the plunge and ordered a C&I based on those two very positive reviews.  I'm glad to hear its working well for you too.  Thanks, I hope I'll have the same good experience as you.

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19 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Well I guess we can get into a good old long ass discussion about metallurgy...oy...

 

Anyway, I had a C&I Al Aly carrier for some 12ish years before I replaced it.

 

That Al Aly carrier, based on the pictures, looks like someone used a screw driver knife on it a few times...among other things...

 

Phantom

Glad to hear that Phantom.  I know it looks bad but nothing's ever touched it except cartridges.

 

Hellbender

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I'm curious how a product like Tetra gun grease might work on brass carriers.
This is a very high shear strength grease.
My thoughts are the brass being somewhat porous where a film of this grease can settle.

Tetra is a non-migrating grease, and contains no lithium.

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Sharyn’s main match rifle has probably had around 30,000 rounds through it with a C&I aluminum carrier and had some wear at the top back, I suspect where the cartridge rim clears the carrier when ejected. Nothing like yours though.

 

My main match rifle is probably at about 18,000 rounds, has a C&I carrier and has wear similar to the wear on Sharyn’s.

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Hellbender, your ammo is a tad on the short side, meaning the ramp on the front of the carrier has to push more of the cartridge back into the magazine, and of course those ridges on the ramp surely would affect smoothness.   I would check the magazine spring so see if it is any longer than needed, as that could have worsened that problem, and even with a new smooth carrier you don't want any more tension than needed.

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11 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Sharyn’s main match rifle has probably had around 30,000 rounds through it with a C&I aluminum carrier and had some wear at the top back, I suspect where the cartridge rim clears the carrier when ejected. Nothing like yours though.

 

My main match rifle is probably at about 18,000 rounds, has a C&I carrier and has wear similar to the wear on Sharyn’s.

Thanks Captain, glad to hear that!

 

10 hours ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

Hellbender, your ammo is a tad on the short side, meaning the ramp on the front of the carrier has to push more of the cartridge back into the magazine, and of course those ridges on the ramp surely would affect smoothness.   I would check the magazine spring so see if it is any longer than needed, as that could have worsened that problem, and even with a new smooth carrier you don't want any more tension than needed.

Thanks for the advice Abilene.  I'll start lengthening my rounds right away - would you think in the neighborhood of 1.460 - 1.465 should be enough?  I'll also check my magazine spring length.

 

Hellbender

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14 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

Hate to bust your bubble but the aluminum used in aircraft covers the gambit from tougher than steel to unfit for beer cans. 

 

What you want in an aluminum carrier is the correct alloy with a hard anodized coating. 

 

Saying it is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum means absolutely nothing.

 

Well I hate to burst your bubble but  C&I's carrier must be the stuff that's tougher than steel! Go bust some one else's Balls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

Hellbender, your ammo is a tad on the short side, meaning the ramp on the front of the carrier has to push more of the cartridge back into the magazine, and of course those ridges on the ramp surely would affect smoothness.   I would check the magazine spring so see if it is any longer than needed, as that could have worsened that problem, and even with a new smooth carrier you don't want any more tension than needed.

 

I load my 38 ammo to 1.435 OAL for my '66 and my '73..

My carriers show none of those marks..

I use the lightened (skeletonized) brass carriers tho..

Like Abilene said.. Check your magazine spring..

You should have approximately 3"-4" sticking out..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin I ain't a gunsmith tho:huh:

Edited by Rance - SASS # 54090
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39 minutes ago, Rance - SASS # 54090 said:

 

I load my 38 ammo to 1.435 OAL for my '66 and my '73..

My carriers show none of those marks..

I use the lightened brass carriers tho..

Like Abilene said.. Check your magazine spring..

You should have approximately 3"-4" sticking out..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin I ain't a gunsmith tho:huh:

Thanks  for the info Rance.  I'll check the spring length when I get home but I think I remember there's only about 2" or less sticking out.  This gun has a 24 1/2" barrel and I did replace the rusted spring that was in it with a stainless steel spring, which I didn't have to cut because there wasn't much sticking out.

 

Hellbender

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2 hours ago, Hellbender said:

Thanks Captain, glad to hear that!

 

Thanks for the advice Abilene.  I'll start lengthening my rounds right away - would you think in the neighborhood of 1.460 - 1.465 should be enough?  I'll also check my magazine spring length.

 

Hellbender

 

Hellbender, in a toggle-link rifle, the closer you can get to the max OAL, the smoother, since there is none or less effort required to push the 2nd cartridge back into the mag tube.  So 1.59" would be ideal.  Of course, in a .38 Spcl that is not feasible.  But the longer, the better, as long as you still get a good crimp to keep the bullet from pushing back into the case.  Now, a lot of folks (like me) won't notice that tiny bit of extra smoothness.  My own .38's, like a lot of folks, have been 125gr TC crimped into the crimp groove but lately I've been loading some Bear Creek 125gr bullets that have no crimp groove, and I'm loading them at 1.5" OAL.  But honestly, I can't tell the difference in levering the gun with the longer OAL.  If I ran some shorter and longer ones together, levering slowly and really paying attention, I might notice.  As for your magazine spring, I've heard many times that 2" protruding is enough so I think you are good.

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34 minutes ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

 

Hellbender, in a toggle-link rifle, the closer you can get to the max OAL, the smoother, since there is none or less effort required to push the 2nd cartridge back into the mag tube.  So 1.59" would be ideal.  Of course, in a .38 Spcl that is not feasible.  But the longer, the better, as long as you still get a good crimp to keep the bullet from pushing back into the case.  Now, a lot of folks (like me) won't notice that tiny bit of extra smoothness.  My own .38's, like a lot of folks, have been 125gr TC crimped into the crimp groove but lately I've been loading some Bear Creek 125gr bullets that have no crimp groove, and I'm loading them at 1.5" OAL.  But honestly, I can't tell the difference in levering the gun with the longer OAL.  If I ran some shorter and longer ones together, levering slowly and really paying attention, I might notice.  As for your magazine spring, I've heard many times that 2" protruding is enough so I think you are good.

Abilene, thanks for all your help with this.  I'll be at Comancheria Days and I'd be proud to meet you.  I'll try finding you. ;)

 

Hellbender

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I run my .38s  with an OAL of 1.508 with a 105 grain cone.  They run great with PGW aluminum carriers with no noticeable wear in either mine or my wife's rifle after several years.

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1 hour ago, Ozark Shark said:

I run my .38s  with an OAL of 1.508 with a 105 grain cone.  They run great with PGW aluminum carriers with no noticeable wear in either mine or my wife's rifle after several years.

Thanks for that info Ozark.  Do you think maybe my crimp might somehow be involved in making those gouges or do you think its just the OAL?  I'm using a Dillon Square Deal B so I'm limited to a taper crimp.  Do you think maybe I'm not crimping enough?  I left that setting as it came from the factory.

 

Hellbender

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H,

I agree with all that you definitely appear to have excessive wear, for whatever the reason.  Time for replacement for sure and the excellent C&I aluminum carrier is good choice.  Sassy and I run the C&I aluminum carriers in several 73s.  But with that said,  the last couple of 73s I have had re-tuned and new C&I  5th gen links installed I have had the original  "skeleton-ized" carrier left in rifle rather than replacing with aluminum one.  I now think it about a "toss-up" in skeleton-ized original versus aluminum (even coated aluminum) carriers.  I actually think I might now lean to skel version , but either is a good move in the mechanics of a smooth running 73.  Good luck.

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Hellbender, the crimp should have no effect on carrier wear.  Those ridges on the ramp were caused by the rim of the brass.

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5 minutes ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

Hellbender, the crimp should have no effect on carrier wear.  Those ridges on the ramp were caused by the rim of the brass.

I'm glad to hear that Abilene - thanks again!

 

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56 minutes ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

H,

I agree with all that you definitely appear to have excessive wear, for whatever the reason.  Time for replacement for sure and the excellent C&I aluminum carrier is good choice.  Sassy and I run the C&I aluminum carriers in several 73s.  But with that said,  the last couple of 73s I have had re-tuned and new C&I  5th gen links installed I have had the original  "skeleton-ized" carrier left in rifle rather than replacing with aluminum one.  I now think it about a "toss-up" in skeleton-ized original versus aluminum (even coated aluminum) carriers.  I actually think I might now lean to skel version , but either is a good move in the mechanics of a smooth running 73.  Good luck.

Thank you Billy.  By the way, I've heard your name mentioned a couple times by Texas Tommy Gun - all complimentary! :D

 

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15 minutes ago, Hellbender said:

Thank you Billy.  By the way, I've heard your name mentioned a couple times by Texas Tommy Gun - all complimentary! :D

 

Good guy for sure. Another one of us 70+ duelists.

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7 hours ago, Rance - SASS # 54090 said:

 

I load my 38 ammo to 1.435 OAL for my '66 and my '73..

My carriers show none of those marks..

I use the lightened brass carriers tho..

Like Abilene said.. Check your magazine spring..

You should have approximately 3"-4" sticking out..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin I ain't a gunsmith tho:huh:

My aluminum carriers show a tad of wear on bottom back.  In fact I often put a drop of oil there.  Just one of those little things I do that in my mind, helps.

I like a OAL of 1.44-1.5" for bullets from 105 thru 1.47 grain.

Agree, to much spring is just not necessary.

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4 minutes ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

My aluminum carriers show a tad of wear on bottom back.  In fact I often put a drop of oil there.  Just one of those little things I do that in my mind, helps.

I like a OAL of 1.44-1.5" for bullets from 105 thru 1.47 grain.

Agree, to much spring is just not necessary.

Just checked and I remembered right about my spring - it sticks out exactly 2".  I think I'll go for about 1.48 and see how that works when the new carrier gets here. Where exactly do you put that drop of oil?

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16 minutes ago, Hellbender said:

Just checked and I remembered right about my spring - it sticks out exactly 2".  I think I'll go for about 1.48 and see how that works when the new carrier gets here. Where exactly do you put that drop of oil?

Right at back floor of carrier in edge of the channel.  Doubt of an advantage but gives me a little comfort and at least I think it makes things smoother.

2" of spring and 1.48" OAL should be good combination for that new carrier.  Drop of oil might help "peace of mind" also.:)

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1 hour ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

Right at back floor of carrier in edge of the channel.  Doubt of an advantage but gives me a little comfort and at least I think it makes things smoother.

2" of spring and 1.48" OAL should be good combination for that new carrier.  Drop of oil might help "peace of mind" also.:)

Now I know exactly the spot - thanks!  I'll join you in adding the drop of oil, for my "peace of mind" too. :rolleyes:

 

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I'm curious about the magazine spring length.  The strong spring could increase the wear on the carrier.

 

But, could it be possible that with only 2 inches, is the spring strong enough?  Could the recoil and the lighter spring combination be allowing the cartridges to bang against the carrier ramp a little too hard?

 

If so, maybe a 1 or 1 1/2 inch wood block on top of the spring could preload it just a little an maybe reduce wear?

 

Just wondering and thinking out loud.

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1 hour ago, Marauder SASS #13056 said:

I'm curious about the magazine spring length.  The strong spring could increase the wear on the carrier.

 

But, could it be possible that with only 2 inches, is the spring strong enough?  Could the recoil and the lighter spring combination be allowing the cartridges to bang against the carrier ramp a little too hard?

 

If so, maybe a 1 or 1 1/2 inch wood block on top of the spring could preload it just a little an maybe reduce wear?

 

Just wondering and thinking out loud.

 

Marauder..  I was kinda thinkin' the same thing..

He's got a 24" barrel and said that's the longest spring he could get..

I was always told 3" of spring hanging out of the magazine ..

He's only got 2"..

 Maybe a 1" length of dowel rod right under the cap screw??

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin I ain't a gunsmith tho..:huh:

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10 hours ago, Marauder SASS #13056 said:

I'm curious about the magazine spring length.  The strong spring could increase the wear on the carrier.

 

But, could it be possible that with only 2 inches, is the spring strong enough?  Could the recoil and the lighter spring combination be allowing the cartridges to bang against the carrier ramp a little too hard?

 

If so, maybe a 1 or 1 1/2 inch wood block on top of the spring could preload it just a little an maybe reduce wear?

 

Just wondering and thinking out loud.

 

8 hours ago, Rance - SASS # 54090 said:

 

Marauder..  I was kinda thinkin' the same thing..

He's got a 24" barrel and said that's the longest spring he could get..

I was always told 3" of spring hanging out of the magazine ..

He's only got 2"..

 Maybe a 1" length of dowel rod right under the cap screw??

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin I ain't a gunsmith tho..:huh:

Thanks Marauder & Rance - I'll keep this in mind and try it if after I've run a lot of longer rounds trough my new carrier and I see any wear showing up.  I got that stainless steel spring from PGW.  They say its made to fit a 24" barrel and that if you've got a shorter barrel to cut enough off to leave about 3" sticking out the end.  But there is only 2" sticking out as it came, which was the same amount the rusty one that was in the gun when I bought it was sticking out.  So, I'll just give it time and see what happens.  

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