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Thread: Chamber issue with a falling block, need ideas

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    Chamber issue with a falling block, need ideas

    I just picked up a Bay State Arms falling block in 32 rimfire/32 centerfire (has a dovetailed breechface so you can switch between the two. A chamber cast indicates that 32 Long Colt should chamber. The rifle is a fore runner of the Hopkins and Allen 832 or 932. The riflle was a bit of a basket case when i got it. It was missing the spring and screw that keeps the lever up and the breech block in the firing position the hammer would not stay in the notch on the sear because of wear or somebody trying to make lighter trigger pull(if this was the case all they needed to do was find a screw to use the trigger adjusting mechanism.
    I made a spring and had a screw that fit for the lever. some minor file and stone work fixed the sear so it functions now.

    So here is my issue. At some point something was stuck in the chamber. Could have been someone trying to fit the wrong cartridge into the chamber. 32 S&W won't go in so i have no idea what they tried. Anyway there is a small nick in the chamber where the rim seats. this land is less than a 1/16th of an inch. I would like to stone it out and was wondering if there is a way to do this without messing it up. The dremel is sitting on the bench saying use me but so far i have resisted the urge.

    Let me know your ideas.
    Thanks
    Michael
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    Somebody in it's past did a bunch of dry-firing with the breech set up for RF, and the impacts displaced that portion of the chamber wall/rim recess into the rear of the chamber.

    The remedy is NOT to remove the material, but rather swedge it back into the chamber wall - just like can be done with .22RF chambers.

    FWIW, I used commercially available (Winchester makes a couple of runs each year) of .32 Short Colt in the chamber of my .32RF rolling block (I converted the breechblock from RF to CF) to keep it shooting w/o going through any special loading calisthenics.

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    That sounds like a good idea, I was considering chucking up a cartridge in my drill and using a bit of lapping compound to smooth it out. Its not much but enough to hold the rim up on one side several thousandths. i will report back with results.
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    As Pietro posted, DON'T remove metal to solve that problem. Make a steel plug of O.D. equal to the chamber ID less .001". Carefully file a flat on it just deep enough to let it slip in past the displaced metal. Best to harden it to something around RC45. Polish smooth. Insert and turn to swage the displaced metal back into place.

    If you don't have heat treat facility, buy a gage pin of the right diameter, and grind the necessary flat on it. www.gageshop.com is a good online source, but you can get them on Amazon, too.

    If you remove metal from the chamber, you will soon get to the point where rimfire cartridges won't fire.

    BTW I also have a Bay State in .32 caliber. They were only made for a couple of years, and are rather rare, so I'm a bit obsessive about preserving them intact.
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    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

  5. #5
    Pietro's suggestion does sound the most likely, although of course only if it is located under the rimfire firing-pin. Brownells used to market a device for curing this condition with a .22 although I think it was expensive and/or discontinued, and never was available in .32. Basically a polished steel rod had a flat or slot in one side, and an offset handle. You slip it into the chamber with the flat passing the burr, and then rotate it. Amateur could easily make one good enough for occasional use.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    I am going to post some pictures tomorrow. it sure looks like someone tried to pry something with a screwdriver. bear with me until tomorrow and then let me know what you think.
    Thanks for replies
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Jedman's Avatar
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    I am not sure of what you have exactly but, if it's a nick right at the mouth of the chamber from maybe a screwdriver or some tool someone used to work a stuck casing out with I would try using a steel taper pin or a drift pin of a diameter that would push the Nick back to a round chamber opening.
    Easy does it with whatever you use as like mentioned you don't want to remove the metal but put it back where it came from. Good Luck !

    Jedman

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    So here is a couple pictures
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    starts on the face of the barrel and continues into the chamber. there is some raised metal in the area where the rim seats and a small gouge in the chamber. there is no rush and i am will take the time needed to fix this without screwing it up an more than it is now.
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Yeah - That's not dry-firing damage, although there might be some of that hidden in the gouges.

    If a swedge isn't successful, a repair can be made by re-lining the chamber via drilling the chamber larger, then lining the enlarged chamber with a section of steel rod the same diameter, soldered in place & then bored/chambered with a reamer for the original cartridge.

    Yes, some work, but doable.

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    Baystate Arms was located in Uxbridge, Mass in the 1880's prior to Hopkins & Allen buying them. If you've ever driven through Uxbridge, Mass on Route 146 near the Rhode Island line, you were only a few miles from where the old factory was. Every time I go through downtown Uxbridge I look at where the factory used to be along the Mumford River. Pietro has likely gone by the area in his travels north.

    I know of a couple Baystate rifles that were found locally in the greater Uxbridge area. I even know someone who was able to go into the old factory many years ago and found a BayState Arms poster still hanging on the wall. He has the original in his collection but made a color copy for me. A great local interest story that only lasted a few years, but their basic design lived on in the Hopkins & Allen falling blocks.

    Michael, good luck with yours. You have the right approach, to do your research first and come up with a plan of attack. You can fix what someone else messed up before you, but you certainly don't want to do more harm by rushing into something without thinking it out.

    Jason
    Last edited by JRD; 05-21-2018 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Typo

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    I will see if i can come up with a pin for the chamber but will have to think about how to work the raised metal on the rim seat a pin there may work as well.
    Pietro, the chamber insert idea is beyond my training and well beyond my tools. As for a 32 colt reamer i have not seen one in any searches i have done.
    I did find a 32 S&W long reamer from a rental company. would not be original any more but a lot cheaper to load for. the only issue i see in this is that the rim is a bit thicker on the colt round and could cause a head space problem(.067 for the colt and .055 for the S&W)
    In any event rechamber is the last resort here.
    As for finding any of that new Win 32 short colt ammo on the web they seem to be all out at the moment.
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    There are some great threads on this forum regarding making .32 Long and Short Colt brass from .32 S&W, or even from .22 Hornet:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...p-W-Long-cases

    There are others too.

    I've formed dozens from .32 S&W these are into their fourth loading now, with no issues. I find in my Stevens Favorite that the Shorts are far less accurate than the Longs, I believe the freebore "jump" is just too great with the shorts. I was VERY impressed with the accuracy when I started loading Longs. Your mileage may vary.

    Interestingly enough for me, I just yesterday finished profiling a new barrel for an H&A falling block action I came into, would have been a .38 or .44XL "Taxidermist" shotgun (medium frame, resembles yours there) and I'm chambering mine in .32 Colt. I had to make the reamer.

    For yours, since I agree it doesn't look like a dry firing issue (almost looks like the barrel was stuck and someone tried to "persuade" it) if you have access to a lathe, it "looks" from the pictures like (for the RIM recess) you could just clean that up with no ill effects by removing some metal.

    For the CHAMBER damage, yes I'd avoid trying to ream that; yes you could try the swaging pin with a flat on it, I have one of them for .22s and they do work, as long as the material is still there.

    If you're married to the idea of rechambering, then have a look to see if a .32 Mag reamer is straight walled and if it is then you could run it in to the length of a .32 S&W and stop there, but obviously do your research on that first. Then you'd also be sure you had a nice throat. I say that because Brownells has .32 H&R reamers in stock.
    Last edited by NorthCoastBigBore; 05-21-2018 at 01:17 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdevlin53 View Post

    As for finding any of that new Win 32 short colt ammo on the web they seem to be all out at the moment.

    I never found any .32 Short Colt Winchester ammo online, either - but, when I walked into the Kittery (ME) Trading post, there it was (all I wanted, but could only afford 2 boxes/50).

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    I am in Maine but Kittery is a long full day round trip.
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Chev. William's Avatar
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    My suggestion is to restore the Original Chamber FIRST by pushing the displaced metal back into place.
    Then, work on the rim rebate. Perhaps a piloted 'pin' with an OD to match the rebate Diameter and a pilot end to match the chamber Diameter. A Spiral 'flat' may be needed to clear the displaced metal area so the 'pin' can be rotated gently to move metal back into place rather than cutting it away.

    A while back I purchased a .32 Long RF (same diameters as the .32 Colt Long CF, NOT the .32 Colt New Police) chamber reamer from PT&G so they Can still make them to order, if it comes to that.
    .32 Long RF: body dia=.318"; Rim dia=.377"; Rim thickness=.046".
    .32 Colt Long CF: Body dia=.318"; Rim dia=.381"; Rim Thick.=.053".
    .32 Long Rifle RF: Body dia=.318"; Rim dia=.377"; Rim Thick.=.046"

    Careful measurements of The rim rebate depth and diameter may show something in-between these dimensions or possibly something of a 'hybrid' nature as you say your rifle was intended to fire Both RF and CF cartridges.

    Chev. William

  16. #16
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdevlin53 View Post
    I am in Maine but Kittery is a long full day round trip.

    I'm a lot closer - only 110 miles away from the KTP.


    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    I was able to make a chamber iron for the dimple in the chamber and that is squared away. I am going to my gun club meeting in about a week and i am going to see if any of the members has a small lathe so i could fab up an iron for the rim rebate. i sent off to Buffalo Arms for brass bullets and dies so once the chamber is back to snuff i will take it to the range and test it out.

    Kittery Trading Post has had a make over since i first went there 30 years ago. It was an old time outfitter then and now has a lot of upscale stuff for the turistas. The gun room is still quite a treat and they had powder even when everybody was out. I am up the coast almost to Canada so it is a special stop in when i can.
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Yah, Maine ain't what it was. Big money moved in from Boston and New Yawk. Portland is now San Fran Freako East. My 2nd daughter is living there with her banker hubby, and they keep pressing me to visit, but I remember what it was when I were young, and it grates on my soul to see it now. (I fled New England altogether in 1977; I now call myself a refugee.)

    Before I could get the correct 299153 boolits, I used Hornady .32 caliber swaged wadcutters, breech seated. (See pics below). These were VERY accurate, but of course slow to load. The seater "pliers" I made from aluminum plate, a random offcut that I rescued from a scrap bin somewhere, which accounts for the sexy curved shape. A steel replica of a case is the pusher. Load is 2.0 grains Bullseye, which gets a subsonic velocity that is so quiet that you can't hear it from inside the house. Whenever I get the old girl out for a play date, I take this kit along and fire a dozen or two that way.

    Her playmate in one of these pics is a Hopkins & Allen 932 that I modified from RF to CF by making a new link. The quality of the H&A doesn't begin to compare with the Bay State. H&A hired William Davenport, the original designer, when they bought out the company, but the product cheapening department got the final say. The H&A "Junior" still looks like a Bay State; the 932 is an evolutionary design that Davenport didn't have a role in. Davenport was much better known for his shotgun designs, and I think H&A corralled him for that reason, and the rifles just came along for the ride.
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    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    If you have a single empty 32 casing (CF or RF) that is supposed to fit the chamber, you can use it as a lap to smooth out the remaining small amt of displaced metal in the rim recess cut.

    Drill a hole through the head of the case and insert a threaded screw about 2" long or so from the inside.
    Run a nut and lock washer down on the screw from the outside and secure the case to the screw.
    A dot of locktite on the assembly doesn't hurt to keep things from turning during use.

    Now you have the case on the end of the rod that you can spin in a drill or drill press.
    Place a very small amt of lapping compound,,I use fine valve grind compound,,onto the bottom edge of the rim of the case only.
    Don't smear the side of the case with it.
    Then insert the case into the chamber and with the assembly in your adj speed elec hand drill, simply lap the chamber rim smooth again.
    Take your time and check often. The process won't take all that long.

    Some of the lapping compound will get down onto the side of the case and shine up the chamber wall as well, but keep the lap straight and don't wobble it around. You want to mearly clear the rim recess of offending upset punch marks, nothing more than that.
    Any deeper indented marks in the rim recess will have to stay.
    Removing them may look nice, but you will have deepened the recess quite a bit and increased the headspace spec of the chamber in doing so.

    A simple process you can do for nothing more than a little DIY assembly of a lap and some careful hand work. No expensive reamer that 'almost fits' to buy or rent.

    Clean out the chamber and shank area well of compound after the work is done.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy mdevlin53's Avatar
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    Bay State 32 cal falling block project update

    Time for an update:
    With help from uscra112 i was able to fabricate the missing lever spring. he sent me a photo and some measurementsClick image for larger version. 

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ID:	221687 It fit and functions.
    I was able to smooth out the chamber with a homemade chamber iron and while the rim rebate needs some additional work it is passable.
    picked up some reformed brass from Buffalo Arms (made from 32 S&W Long), some 80g 20:1 heeled bullets and a set of CH dies and produced these
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    on the left are lubed with Rooster Lube and the right with Alox no leading with either.
    the load was 2.5g of Unique with CCI small pistol primers(in old guns make sure your gun is in sound condition before you use this load and use it at your own risk.)
    Here is the rifle
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    and here is the result
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    10 rounds at 25 yards. the rear sight is all the way down and it shoots high and to the right. The front sight is very thin and the notch in the rear is tiny. the rear is as low as can be without modification. not the best setup for my 64 year old eyes but i will work on the sights or start looking for a tang mounted sight like the one above. it is drilled and tapped for one.
    For a rifle with a poor bore and being 120 years old or so i am pleased.
    Thanks again for all the help and advice.
    Michael
    Why Johnny Ringo you look like someone just walked over your grave.

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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