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Thread: Great western derringer, firing pin question??

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Colorado
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    Great western derringer, firing pin question??

    I picked up a nice old Great Western Arms derringer in 38 S&W
    over the weekend. Made in 1957. It's a copy of the original Remington derringer.

    Planned on using it for work carry, small, very easy to conceal.

    However after checking it out good it has one issue I'm a bit concerned about. It does have a half cock safety or rest, depending on the correct term? It will sit there all day until you cock it to fire. Half and full cock are fine, good heavey trigger pull as expected with a derringer.

    The issue I am concerned about is the firing pins. There just like a simple single shot pin set up. Pin, spring, flash plate. However the firing pin is sprung so that the pin is pushed through the firing pin hole, so basically when a round is chambered the firing pin is held firm against the primer by the firing pin spring. Unloaded the pins stick through the flash plate (firing pin hole) you can push on them and feel the spring pressure.
    Is this normal for this particular brand of derringers? I have checked the parts diagram I have and it appears like it was designed like this. Going to pull the pins and have a look just to make sure.

    Seems to me under everyday carry this could be a bad safety issue, week primer a good bump and instant hole were your probably not wanting an extra hole!!

    Anyone? Any ideas on this rig?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Three-Fifty-Seven's Avatar
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    I won't be home till next week ... and I have a Bond ... but I will look ... I do know mine has a "cross bolt safety" which blocks, or prevents the hammer from contacting the firing pins, but not sure if the firing pins are under spring pressure against the primers ...
    Shawn


    John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
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    Those can fire if dropped or stoutly banged. Modern derringers have safeties or mechanical blocks that prevent this sort of thing, but the GW Remington copies were built to closely copy their Ilion grandsires and lack this protection. A very poor choice of a defensive handgun, IME.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    I believe the gun you have is an Italian import sold under many different names. Probably good quality manufacture but the design is woefully lacking in safety unless you carry it unloaded. I would advise just using it as a range toy. If you want a double derringer, may I suggest the current Cobra models. They are very safe when the cross bolt safety is engaged and quite functional guns for their low cost. I have had a few of them over the years.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  6. #6
    Banned

    44man's Avatar
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    I have never seen a spring on any firing pin that will protrude the pin. They are meant to retract the pin.
    I think your hammer is down on the pin, holding it out. Some guns have an inertia hammer that bounces back after firing. I suspect you have one and other internal parts are gummed up to hold the hammer on the pin. There is no way a spring would be put behind a pin to push it out.
    You have the hammer on the pin and are feeling pressure against the hammer spring.
    Sorry your post does not make sense.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    ​my Cobra has the cross bolt on it, so as long as the safety is on, the hammer cannot hit the firing pins. And yes, the firing pins rest on the primers. It has NEVER gone off by accident, and I have dropped it. If I were you, I would put it in a vice or something, put it on half cock, and TRY your HARDEST to force the hammer down. If to moves forward, don't carry it. Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by psweigle View Post
    ​my Cobra has the cross bolt on it, so as long as the safety is on, the hammer cannot hit the firing pins. And yes, the firing pins rest on the primers. It has NEVER gone off by accident, and I have dropped it. If I were you, I would put it in a vice or something, put it on half cock, and TRY your HARDEST to force the hammer down. If to moves forward, don't carry it. Hope this helps.
    obviously, make sure it's not loaded!!!!!!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Those Cobras are fun little guns for sure. I think I need one in .32 Auto!
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check