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Thread: Tuning an old Roller

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Tuning an old Roller

    Title maybe a bit deceptive - its an early spagetti gun belongs to my son.
    Was getting light primer strikes
    Interference between top of hammer block where it runs under the main breech block
    Always been a bit sticky toload
    Had not shot it much
    I took the rifle and all his grungy old loads (dirty chinese cracker powder and some had been loaded with lube discs under the boolit that had bled in the heat)

    So -- pulled it down and cleaned a little burr/swelling off the front edge of the hammer block - over the years all those odd strikes from inproperly seated rounds had swelled a little ridge there at the front - so took that off and polished the top of the rear (hammer ) block where it slides under the front block to lock (just a very light polish) shes still not working right - still feel the drag as the hammer block goes forward under the main block .

    Ah ha . !!! There is daylight on closing the block - ejector is interfering with it - dont know originals - only know this gun - the ejector is a projection up off what is a large flat washer that fits a recess in the block around the pivot pin - anyway its not fitting properly into the recess in the block - when its closed that ill fitting is holding the block just a tiny bit open and so the rear (hammer block) drags as it slides under on firing --- these things are simple - but deceptively so its a very clever design - anyway I filed the ejector carefully using prussian blue and a little tap with a small piece of softwood to mark it till I got the block closing properly - then the hammer block had enough clearance to work slick and we still had good lockup on firing. Pulled the lead from all his grungy old loads and spent an hour firing the blanks in the backyard - deprimed - ultrasound cleaned - tumble cleaned - a casting session - reloaded carefully with 63 grains of my Fg powder - Federal LR primers - one LDPE wad over powder - CBE 460 x 535 grain boolit (much like a lyman postell)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Took five shots out - the high one is first shot clean - the other four I like!!!! (100 yards with a tang sight)
    He paid 150 bucks for this rifle years ago, hasnt shot it much, looks to me he was sittin on a sleeper, ....30 inch heavy octagon barrel, nice dense wood with decent grain, comfortable to shoot (it weighs a bit under 11pound), sweet action (now), and a good shooter. Those five shots is good payback for the weekend I spent working on it.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    MrWolf's Avatar
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    Nice job. Congrats on getting a shooter working!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrWolf View Post
    Nice job. Congrats on getting a shooter working!
    Thanks

    Nothing I enjoy more than getting an average gun going nice

    hangin out on these forums has improved my shooting heaps too.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Have seen the extractor problem on others. Sometimes caused by crud and other times by a replacement that was not fitted right.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Good job diagnosing the problem, and fixing it! A lot of guys would get busy removing metal off the block or hammer and not give that extractor a 2nd look at all. The extractor being high can also cause the rims to bend slightly under firing and fired cases wont chamber after reloading unless indexed the same as when fired. So good you found and fixed it properly!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlinman93 View Post
    Good job diagnosing the problem, and fixing it! A lot of guys would get busy removing metal off the block or hammer and not give that extractor a 2nd look at all. The extractor being high can also cause the rims to bend slightly under firing and fired cases wont chamber after reloading unless indexed the same as when fired. So good you found and fixed it properly!
    Once I spotted that little bit of daylight between the breech block and barrel face It was plain sailing - put it back together minus the extractor told me pretty quick what was interfering - they are easy to work on. Its a genius design really.

  7. #7
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    skeettx's Avatar
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    Well done
    Great report
    Thanks
    Mike
    NRA Benefactor 2004

  8. #8
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Once I spotted that little bit of daylight between the breech block and barrel face It was plain sailing - put it back together minus the extractor told me pretty quick what was interfering - they are easy to work on. Its a genius design really.
    It really is a very nice design. Only one I've seen better is Whitney's version with the Laidley improvement. The Whitney-Laidley allows the action to be opened at half cock, so it is a safer design. It requires the gun to be fully cocked before shooting, which is a very neat feature. You can load it and leave it at half cock loaded, and then roll the hammer to full cock once it's on target, or ready to shoot.

  9. #9
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    rfd's Avatar
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    good job joe!

    what kinda trigger?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlinman93 View Post
    It really is a very nice design. Only one I've seen better is Whitney's version with the Laidley improvement. The Whitney-Laidley allows the action to be opened at half cock, so it is a safer design. It requires the gun to be fully cocked before shooting, which is a very neat feature. You can load it and leave it at half cock loaded, and then roll the hammer to full cock once it's on target, or ready to shoot.
    I dont have the gun to check (it belongs my son) but .......did someone market an Italian repro of that one? His has gone through our registry as .. make = "Whitney" ..model = "Phoenix" the serial number is a two letter prefix (TC) followed by four numbers -------I would just about bet it opens at half cock? .. the main block and hammer block are finished white/shiny, action is blued, full octagon barrel 30" with quite a distinct taper, the action pins have a flat milled on them and the brass retaining plate fits neatly to the milled flat, so its between the pins not over top of them like some remys, under the brass plate is a very small allen head screw that retains the main action block in the action body I was gonna post this morning to ask if anyone knew the pedigree of this one - maybe you can help? (just curious is all - I searched Whitney Phoenix last night - different critter entirely)
    thanks for any info

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    good job joe!

    what kinda trigger?
    single trigger - but its good (been worked properly by a pro before we got it) I like my double triggers for offhand ML but a good single trgger is ok if its clean and sharp and not too heavy.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    single trigger - but its good (been worked properly by a pro before we got it) I like my double triggers for offhand ML but a good single trgger is ok if its clean and sharp and not too heavy.
    i agree!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    I dont have the gun to check (it belongs my son) but .......did someone market an Italian repro of that one? His has gone through our registry as .. make = "Whitney" ..model = "Phoenix" the serial number is a two letter prefix (TC) followed by four numbers -------I would just about bet it opens at half cock? .. the main block and hammer block are finished white/shiny, action is blued, full octagon barrel 30" with quite a distinct taper, the action pins have a flat milled on them and the brass retaining plate fits neatly to the milled flat, so its between the pins not over top of them like some remys, under the brass plate is a very small allen head screw that retains the main action block in the action body I was gonna post this morning to ask if anyone knew the pedigree of this one - maybe you can help? (just curious is all - I searched Whitney Phoenix last night - different critter entirely)
    thanks for any info
    A Whitney Phoenix is an entirely different rifle. You may have a Phoenix barrel on a rolling block but the Phoenix has the breach block swinging out to the side, sort of like a Snider. When Remington sued Whitney over the rolling block they came out with the Phoenix. The trigger guard on a phoenix looks almost identical to the one out of a Remington roller.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    What John said! The Phoenix isn't a Rolling Block. The Whutney-Laidley looks very much like any standard Remington, but closer examination will reveal the breech block is completely different. It is multipiece, unlike a Remington, or std. Whitney Rolling Block. Pulling the block open on a Whitney immediately reveals the difference. Grasping the tab to open the block will move the tab separately from the block at first, and then the block follows shortly after. Closing is the same, as the separate tab portion of the block stays with the block on closing.
    You can see the separate tab and thin block section in this old picture I have of my .45-70 Whitney-Laidley. Was shooting the new sight base in this image, but it does show the block pretty well too.


  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post
    Yeah - thanks fellers - thats what I got from my google search (Phoenix is a different critter altogether!)
    I dont have the rifle to hand but its got to be a repro - late 1970's early 1980's I would guess based on when most Italian stuff came down under - its in way too good shape to be any kind of original. Looks like some poetic licence with names !!! - Definitely a rolling block - looks and function wise - block is one piece (plus firing pin and extractor of course) silver finish to the block and hammer - blued action - brass trigger plate assembly - wood has some tiger stripe in it and very dense (maybe a hard maple?) ----next time I see it I will take some pics of the markings. Its a good barrel from what I can tell - no loose and tight patches in it - nice rifling, and it looks like a good shooter with a decent load.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Yeah - thanks fellers - thats what I got from my google search (Phoenix is a different critter altogether!)
    I dont have the rifle to hand but its got to be a repro - late 1970's early 1980's I would guess based on when most Italian stuff came down under - its in way too good shape to be any kind of original. Looks like some poetic licence with names !!! - Definitely a rolling block - looks and function wise - block is one piece (plus firing pin and extractor of course) silver finish to the block and hammer - blued action - brass trigger plate assembly - wood has some tiger stripe in it and very dense (maybe a hard maple?) ----next time I see it I will take some pics of the markings. Its a good barrel from what I can tell - no loose and tight patches in it - nice rifling, and it looks like a good shooter with a decent load.
    Sounds like a Navy Arms rolling block.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post
    Sounds like a Navy Arms rolling block.
    John thanks - that makes sense and it fits the time period - we saw a bit of Navy Arms branded stuff in the early days here - were the early ones made in house or is it a Pedersoli?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I don't believe Navy Arms ever made these Rolling Block firearms. They simply contracted with whoever to build them. Not sure if early Navy Arms were Pedersoli, IAB, or some other maker?

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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