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Thread: Input needed- Safe to Fire again?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Input needed- Safe to Fire again?

    Hey All- A guardian angel must be watching over me. Let me start with that.

    Today I bought a trapper, 94 Winchester in 44 mag.

    A load that wasn't that crazy- 285 grain cast bullet, mold was purchased from a gentleman here. Sized to .432 to run in the blackhawk hunter. Loves 'em. They chambered just fine, first shot and smoke came out of the back of the rifle. Very hard to open- primer blown and case was separated. I was able to use the Cerrosafe that's been hanging around for a few years now. Case removed.

    Rifle stripped down. When bolt is re-assembled into the rifle, there's a spot where it comes to an abrupt stop. The block that locks the action-smooth-perhaps set back? Twist of some sort? On the bolt face I can read what case it was by the brass lettering.

    In determining what made 'er go. The bore is a .429 and I was running a bit more than I should have, with a very fast powder.

    So I am reaching out with some options in my head.

    1. scrap it- lesson learned, rather expensive one at that.

    2. Fit the bolt to make it run smoother and go to the old standby of .429 size.

    3. Sell what parts I can. Hang rest on wall

    4. ?

    Thank you for the time to read and give your thoughts on what you would do in this scenario. Please- I am pretty certain I know what I did-there's no need to rub my nose in it.... too badly.

    Zingger
    Last edited by Zingger; 06-06-2021 at 12:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
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    There's another option: take it to a gunsmith for an assessment.
    There are a few concerns about the scenario - what was the load? Pressure generated?
    I don't believe I would trust that particular firearm without a solid GS opinion.

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Thank God for guardian angels.

    A hands on professional assessment is not a bad idea.

    I know of exactly no one that I trust that would give approval with out actually handling the gun in question. If you have questions, pay the money and get it looked at.

    Robert

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


    GregLaROCHE's Avatar
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    Get professional advice. Advice is worth what you pay for it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    May 2017
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    learn the lesson about very fast powder and heavy boolits in rifles - not nose rubbing - been there done that with a 357 mag and red dot............................

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks all- The load was 10.6 grains of true blue under the Mihec 44/444 300 grain (my cast with sizing to .432 falls to 283-5). The reason I ask all of you instead of a "gunsmith". I have helped at one, considered to be very good- and trust the many experiences that our collective community has shared. In the end, it will be my decision. Doing some checking last night- there is nothing that is a glaring red danger sign. I will be scoping the barrel to see if the separation left a ring. The lockup is still very good-if one flips the bolt in the raceway, smooth as can be. The hitch is the very last 1/2-3/4 of an inch in the rear. I will get some pictures up today. Thanks again everyone!
    Zingger

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    NC
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    “ On the bolt face I can read what case it was by the brass lettering. ”
    I’m no expert, and if that’s just soot, then continue, but if there was sufficient pressure to deform the bolt face leaving an impression then I’d guess that she’s done. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    The plunger marks are clearly visible, and the primer pocket is out of round.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    As bad as the face appeared, it cleaned up nicely- no permanent etching of any kind. There was no damage to the inside of the bolt body either.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cycled very hard- possible thickening of one side. Some very minor fitting and it runs like new.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Everything seems to be in order- nothing is screaming damage- granted, fatigue is cumulative.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Bolt closes with no problems, rifle is re-assembled now. Rear raceway measures tighter than the 30-30 AE trapper that has been my companion for many years.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Spot of the only "hang-up" when I started. It still has a little bit of drag through on opening, but when the hammer is back- is as smooth as my well-worn 30-30. All in all, the rifle cycles the same as before, perhaps a bit smoother as I did do some cleaning-lube on friction points. I plan to try it with 44 specials, then light magnums. Is there anything seen here that would make our members nervous, now that pictures have been added? Thanks in advance!
    Zingger
    Last edited by Zingger; 06-06-2021 at 11:57 AM. Reason: add photos and explanation.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


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    When something has been bent, you have exceeded the yield strength of the metal. You can file and polish to make stuff fit together but I would be leery of the metal itself.

    I get a lot of flack from the guys at deer camp for being a safety nazi so that provides some perspective. I err on the safe side.

    I have two questions. First, do you have a child or grandchild? Second, would you let them shoot the gun?

    BTW, if I did not want to spend the money to get it checked out, this is what I would do. Make up a load that is 20% over maximum. Tie the gun to a tire, tie a string to the trigger, get behind a tree and fire the round off. If the gun bends some more, scrap it. If it survives with no apparent damage shoot light loads in it.

    But I would get it checked out.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
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    Thank you Don- That is some very good insight. I do have children- and really don't hotrod when it comes to loading. Especially pistol loads. This is one of those deals that I just plain didn't think. Period...
    It isn't that I don't want to spend the money- I wouldn't want someone to get hurt because of this error of mine. While it does look completely ok- I would hate to have the unsuspecting fellow (smith or helper, as I was) go out to shoot it and have 'er go. Looks like a trip is in order. After some consulting and a lot of measurements- I am ordering a new locking lug block. Rudimentary headspace is just out and close inspection with the borescope shows a clean bill of health otherwise. More luck than brains for sure. Thanks all for the input.

    It looks like the bolt ran hard-lots of thrust to the locking lugs, which in turn hit the rear raceway. This put an excessive amount of energy into a small area and caused some mushrooming of sorts. The locking lugs took the full force and the indentations can be identified. The new lug is on order-hope to see it by the end of the week.
    Last edited by Zingger; 06-06-2021 at 09:12 PM. Reason: updating

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    When something has been bent, you have exceeded the yield strength of the metal. You can file and polish to make stuff fit together but I would be leery of the metal itself.

    I get a lot of flack from the guys at deer camp for being a safety nazi so that provides some perspective. I err on the safe side.

    I have two questions. First, do you have a child or grandchild? Second, would you let them shoot the gun?

    BTW, if I did not want to spend the money to get it checked out, this is what I would do. Make up a load that is 20% over maximum. Tie the gun to a tire, tie a string to the trigger, get behind a tree and fire the round off. If the gun bends some more, scrap it. If it survives with no apparent damage shoot light loads in it.

    But I would get it checked out.
    I reckon Don gives good advice ----dunno about "get it checked out" tho - I am trying to think where I would/could get that done and would we really trust the result ? a gunsmith can check function and measure - we can do that too - checking to find a hidden fault in the metal???? like magnafluxing a crankshaft ? - gonna take a specialist metallurgist ? --------------------

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Some (maybe not the OP) are surprised when a 94 action wont close with the hammer down......there is simply too much force applied by the spring loaded pusher in the bolt,and the adverse angles on the locking block and hammer face.....Thumb the hammer back to half cock,and the lever closes with a bit of force............Incidentally,if the headspace is wrong ,then various sizes of locking block can be had to adjust it.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The big problem here is you cant actually see the induced stress and fatigue in steel when over loaded. While it may have held it and not appear damaged i may eventually continue to where normal pressures over time cause failure. Once the change happens it is a modification of the materials grain structure, memory, and elasticity.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I can't imagine loads that work fine in a Blackhawk giving a Winchester 94 trouble. That ONE particular cartridge was an overload of powder perhaps? Did you get gas in your eye? I'm surprised that the bolt face didn't get flame cut a bit when the primer left.

    Sent from my SM-A716U using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


    Walks's Avatar
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    I slug the bore of every rifle I have ever shot cast in.
    That's how I know my Win 94 has a .429bbl too. A .44Mag 20" made in 1987 and My Buddy's Trapper from 2004 has a .431bbl.

    Gotta know the bore diameter Before You load ammo for any gun.
    There are no hard and fast rules on bore diameter.

    IME
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy tmanbuckhunter's Avatar
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    I seriously doubt this was a bullet fit issue. Something happened at the load bench here in regards to powder charge.

    As far as rifle damage, the only way to know if anything drastic happened is to check head space. If the lug got set back or anything to bent, you'll know it by testing there with a no go gauge. The hitch in the action you could be feeling is the bolt sliding back over the hammer.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thank you all for the thoughts. A rudimentary headspace check shows it just outside of no-go. my thoughts are that the load was off, too big of bullet. Pressure was very high very fast. Had it sustained I would have become uglier than I currently am! No gas in eye, or any cutting signs. The block was imprinted- new one is on the way. I will check when I get home- at state convention right now. I'm an FFA advisor.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy tmanbuckhunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zingger View Post
    Thank you all for the thoughts. A rudimentary headspace check shows it just outside of no-go. my thoughts are that the load was off, too big of bullet. Pressure was very high very fast. Had it sustained I would have become uglier than I currently am! No gas in eye, or any cutting signs. The block was imprinted- new one is on the way. I will check when I get home- at state convention right now. I'm an FFA advisor.
    You're only .003 over groove diameter. If the loaded cartridges chambered with no resistance, it means you were either at, or just below throat diameter. I highly doubt this is a bullet fit issue and still think you need to re-evaluate your powder measuring technique. This sounds more like a double charge, an off digital scale, or getting your eyes twisted looking at the hash marks on a beam scale.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    There is no disagreement on that. Will tear down and check. I used an rcbs competition model throw, and check every 10. But you are absolutely right, things can (and do!) Happen. Thanks for your insights, sir.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy tmanbuckhunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zingger View Post
    There is no disagreement on that. Will tear down and check. I used an rcbs competition model throw, and check every 10. But you are absolutely right, things can (and do!) Happen. Thanks for your insights, sir.
    No problem. Just glad you're ok and got out of this unscathed!

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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