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Thread: How to remove a stuck cartridge

  1. #1

    How to remove a stuck cartridge

    Well, I am in a fix now. I have an Argentinian Mauser, rechambered (not by me) to 30-06 many years ago. To the best of my ability to tell, the chamber reamer must have been minutely undersized, because cycling is not easy, often requiring a good smack upwards on the bolt handle, to extract a round. I was in the process of locating somebody to take a look at it, but figured I would go ahead and develop a short-range pinking load, while waiting for an answer to my queries. That has proven to be a mistake; I now have a live round stuck in my chamber. The extractor jumped the case rim, deforming the brass in the process; even if I force the bolt back into battery, the extractor would have significantly less to grip. I've tried hammering it out with a dowel and a cleaning rod, but have only managed to push he projectile deep into the case. Since it is a relatively soft boolit, the lead is also deforming around the cleaning rod. All this to say, the case isn't budging. Any ideas?
    Last edited by HumptyDumpty; 03-27-2020 at 10:15 AM. Reason: grammar

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Find/buy a 1/4" hardwood dowel longer than the barrel + chamber. Slide it into the bore of the rifle, take it outside and set it muzzle down on the end of the dowel. If any power falls out, clean it up. Use the weight of the rifle to drive the dowel into the cartridge case. Then bump it once, check for more powder, clean it up, and repeat until it comes out. Might take a while, but that should get it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Ouch!. Perhaps standing the rifle on the butt (bolt removed), pour either Ed's Red or 50%/50% acetone/transmission fluid mix down the barrel and hope to (1) desensitize powder ~ primer and, (2) slick up the contact/tension between the breach and cartridge. Personally, I'd do it for a few days (or at least some time) before getting back to it. Driving it from the muzzle end has probably "squished" the boolit and now it conforms to a tight slug within the barrel. Don't use a wooden dowl or cleaning rod, but rather a near caliber sized brass rod. Put the bolt somewhere away from the gun. I'd expect that the liquid would not get into the cartridge, but worth the effort, anyway. Good luck. I guess a drill bit welded to a rod could open the lead bullet, but would be a touchy deal. (But, having been a bomb tech for 6 years, I can tell you skill and caution can overcome touchy deals.). Working on the wrong end of a smoke pole is a bad idea, and I don't recommend it.
    I like the prior post idea best.

  4. #4
    I'll be near the hardware store later today, so I'll pick up all the supplies mentioned. I really have tno choice but to keep working at it; until this thing cartridge is out, the rifle can't be shipped to a gunsmith The good news is, this was the last round of my testing session, and I did find a nice, accurate load.

  5. #5
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    I suspect you may have a ringed chamber.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I suspect you may have a ringed chamber.
    I am not familiar with that term. It's an m1898 pattern Mauser, if that helps.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    Ouch!. Perhaps standing the rifle on the butt (bolt removed), pour either Ed's Red or 50%/50% acetone/transmission fluid mix down the barrel and hope to (1) desensitize powder ~ primer...
    I'm not sure putting something flammable in there is a good idea. Soapy water would be safer, and less likely to cause other problems, except that it may expand the dowel enough to block exiting gunpowder. Brass rod IS a good idea, if OP has or can afford one. That would eliminate the swelling dowel problem. A shot of WD-40, Ed's Red, your 50/50 mix, or other penetrating oil on the head of the case from the chamber side might be helpful at making the case slide easier. Combine the brass rod, soapy water in the shell, and penetrating stuff on the head in the chamber, and the weight of the rifle alone might do the job if OP is patient. Spray or drip some every day with the rifle butt up, and resting on the rod, whatever material it is. This will not work if the boolit is mashed into the rifling, or outside of the case. It will work eventually if the boolit has been driven back into the case, though it may still require bumping now and again. And I forgot to mention that the bolt should be removed in any case.

    Wasn't a bomb tech, but spent ten years as a photographer going out with them every now and again. Two years of that was several times a month with EOD at Eglin AFB's Armament Development and Test Center. Pro tip for photograpers: If the EOD guys are running, try to keep up!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Repeat, DO NOT USE A WOODEN DOWEL. Brass is good or steel with a wrap of tape in 3-4 places to prevent contact with the bore. Put a tablespoon of penetrating oil down the muzzle and let it sit for an hour or two. Then insert the rod about halfway down the barrel and drop it. This allows keeping your hands away from the muzzle. Try several of these light taps before resorting to a hammer.
    Spell check doesn't work in Chrome, so if something is spelled wrong, it's just a typo that I missed.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I removed one last year by using the method Scrounge suggested except I cooled the cartridge first by inverting a can of compressed air {like you would use to blow dust off your computer} and spraying into the chamber. The brass will cool way faster than the steel and you can then tap the cartridge out. I sprayed into the chamber until I could see condensation forming on the outside of the barrel. Cartridge popped out easily with one tap.

  10. #10
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    Nix the wood dowel...they can break and then you have two problems.
    Use a close to bore fitting steel rod and strike it straight on after flooding the chamber with penetrating oil (50/50 acetone - ATF is one of the best) let soak 24 hours .
    Gary
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by HumptyDumpty View Post
    I now have a live round stuck in my chamber.
    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I suspect you may have a ringed chamber.
    A ringed chamber might be indicated if a fired cartridge was stuck, but that is not the case here.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    This is a tuff one.
    Never had to do something like this.
    Worse one I had was a broken case extractor, that had been pounded on, from both ends.
    Owner had a broken shell in it, didn't have the correct caliber extractor.
    Friend said "see if this one will fit"
    OOOOOps!!!!
    Took a while to get that one out without doing more damage.
    Got it out, put the barrel back on, and it shot fine.
    Did the firing pin hit the primer????
    Dud primer????
    Did any powder come out of the barrel????
    If all the powder didn't come out, I'm be a little leary of pounding on it.
    Is it a lead boolet stuck in the case?????
    If it's a lead boolet, powder might be stuck under it.
    I would remove the barrel to work on it.
    Not all that hard to do.
    More working room, and safer.
    Stick it in the freezer, and try prying on the rim to pop it out.
    If not drill a small hole next to the primer, and gently pry it out.
    Once the primer is out, any number of ways to remove the case.
    Kind of like a stuck case in a die.
    Good luck. Be safe.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    If bullet is not to far down in the case take extractor off bolt and shoot it. Then drive out empty case.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HumptyDumpty View Post
    Well, I am in a fix now. I have an Argentinian Mauser, rechambered (not by me) to 30-06 many years ago. To the best of my ability to tell, the chamber reamer must have been minutely undersized, because cycling is not easy, often requiring a good smack upwards on the bolt handle, to extract a round. I was in the process of locating somebody to take a look at it, but figured I would go ahead and develop a short-range pinking load, while waiting for an answer to my queries. That has proven to be a mistake; I now have a live round stuck in my chamber. The extractor jumped the case rim, deforming the brass in the process; even if I force the bolt back into battery, the extractor would have significantly less to grip. I've tried hammering it out with a dowel and a cleaning rod, but have only managed to push he projectile deep into the case. Since it is a relatively soft boolit, the lead is also deforming around the cleaning rod. All this to say, the case isn't budging. Any ideas?
    You have two issues. First is the safe removal of a loaded round with a light charge and a cast bullet. Second is what is actually creating the issue?

    First I would fire the round to remove it if it can be done safely??? It may not be safe if you pushed the bullet back too far. If you are using a load like 10 grains of Unique it would not be an issue. Other powders it could be very dangerous. What is you powder and charge weight?

    If that is without the extractor that is not a big deal just be aware that without the extractor gas handling is decreased. You want to be on the side when you fire it or better yet is to tie if down and fire it with a string. If you are not comfortable with that do as Traffer suggested. Nitro based powder apparently can be set off with impact. 20 or 30 years ago a female brenchrest shooter was killed when a stuck bullet in a loaded round was being pounded out. They didn't have the bolt in and it was the case head/case that hit her.

    Second a rough chamber or a ringed chamber will cause difficult extraction. Short headspace or a undersize chamber will cause difficult bolt closing. If you only have difficulty with bolt opening and or extraction most likely is not an undersize chamber. Bolt lug setback can also cause difficult bolt opening.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 03-27-2020 at 06:10 PM.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    There is a gunsmithing tool made specifically for this purpose. I'll do my best to describe it.....let's see.....first a collet is made. That is a piece of cold rolled steel about 4-5 inches long. It is drilled out in the center so it is hollow to about 2/3 or 3/4 of its length, and the sides are slotted so that the resulting fingers, 3 or 4, can be squeezed inward into the drilled out area. The tips of the fingers on the open end are machined so as to grip the stuck cartridge's rim or extractor groove as the case may be. A hole is drilled crossways through the middle of the fingers, side to side through the collet, and threaded for a small bolt, maybe a size 12 or a bit larger (diameter). This is so that when you fit the open end of the collet fingers around the rim or extractor groove you tighten the bolt and it squeezed the fingers together getting a very firm purchase on the rim or groove. On the other end of the collet, which is still solid, you drill a hole of about 3/8" diameter completely through the solid end of the collet lengthwise into the hollow center of the collet and thread it to fit a piece of all thread rod about 2 ft. long. Screw the rod into the collet, but not far enough to interfere with the fingers squeezing together. Now you need a heavy piece of steel or lead with a hole through the center that is bigger than the all thread rod. So, squeeze the collet around the cartridge rim/groove by tightening the cross bolt, screw the all thread into the other end of the collet, put the heavy steel or lead piece over the rod which is sticking out of the rear of the receiver. Screw a couple of substantial nuts onto the end of the rod to stop the travel of the heavy sliding piece of metal which becomes a pull hammer and whack the pull hammer against the nuts on the end of the rod. The stuck cartridge will usually come out after just a couple of whacks. Making one of these tools isn't as complicated as describing it--and maybe you can find a picture or drawing of one somewhere. I would hesitate to use some of the methods described, and think you'll likely just make the problem worse. Good luck with this problem.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    There is a gunsmithing tool made specifically for this purpose.
    I was not aware of this. That is the best option.

    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...r-prod972.aspx

    Last edited by M-Tecs; 03-27-2020 at 06:26 PM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Man...that's a nice one!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    Man...that's a nice one!


    It's definitely a slick tool, and one of those things that make me wonder why I didn't think of it years ago. I don't think that collet is gonna slip off any cartridge very easily. I looks like it has a ridge to slip into the extractor groove.

  19. #19
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    Go to the welding supply and get a 1/4" brass welding rod to use to try and drive it out, not a dowel rod.

  20. #20
    Well I was unable to work on it today, so I have bit more time to digest all this information. The load is 30 grains of H4895, under a 160 grain boolit. Not a mouse fart load, by any means, but noticeably milder than commercial or military ball ammo. I must assume, at this point, that the projectile is firmly pressing against the powder. Removing the extractor, and firing, is not an option; When chambering this particular round, I encountered a good deal more resistance than normal. I stopped after applying only a little extra pressure to the bolt, but that seems to have been enough.
    The Brownells tool looks ideal, but pricey. Perhaps a combination of soaking, chilling, and a brass rod, would get the job done. If that doesn't work, I may try to create my own tool (as Der Gebirgsjager suggested). If all else fails, I suppose I will have no choice but to give Brownells some money.

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