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Thread: Problem with a Henry single shot

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    Problem with a Henry single shot

    I recently went hunting in MI for their 2 day antlerless only season Sept 16 - 17.
    I always take more than 1 rifle on all hunts even if it is a one time hunt. So first morning I was using a Henry that I bought used that was rechambered from 357 mag to 35 Rem. rimmed or rimless. I had just fired it about a dozen times a few days before I left for upper MI to hunt and it shot spot on .
    The first morning between day break and 9 AM I tried to shoot 8 TIMES ! The first 3 deer I tried to shoot I changed to a different shell even seeing that I had super light primer strikes.
    Afterwards I thought I would leave the same shell in the gun and maybe it would fire on the second or third time ? I ended up walking back to the truck that 3 of us had went out in on a 123 acre piece of private land that a friend of my friend owned .
    To make this shorter l took 2 doe that evening and next morning with a Marlin 375 win. and the guy I drove up with also got 2 doe so all was good.

    After I got home I called Henry and once I mentioned that the gun had been rechambered the women I talked to said they would not touch it. So usually I just tear into a simple gun like this and try fixing it but this time I thought I would ask first if anyone has removed the firing pin or had this same problem with a Henry 015 rifle ?
    If it is the firing pin I usually can make it myself but wanted to first ask if there is anything else that would cause light primer strikes as I have never worked on a Henry.

    Thanks, Jedman

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have went thru the triggers on several of them, with no issues. I had some light hits, but it was super hard cci primers, my mauser with a #26 firing pin spring would not set them off either. Could be some debris in the firing pin channel, I have found several new rifles with a suprising amount of gunk in them from the factory.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I’d guess that your problem is headspace. Take a few cases and put primers in them and see how many go “bang” and see what your primer strikes look like. If they all go “bang” they should fire with powder and bullets. A good reason not to buy a gun that’s been rechambered.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I have owned the gun for over a year and fired it many times prior to this mishap on my hunt.
    It hasn’t been a problem in the past ?
    When I pull the trigger and push the hammer forward I am only getting about .010 protrusion thru the breech face.

    Jedman

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    It's possible that there is some sort of debris in the firing pin channel that is preventing it from fully protruding. I've had a single shot shotgun firing pin break similar to what you're describing, but it was pretty clear that the pin had broken as the tip was no longer rounded. Bought a unissued SKS back in the 90's and first time out a primer was punctured by the sharp flat tip of the firing pin. It actually cut a little round disc out of the Wolf ammo's primer which was blown down into the firing pin channel which stopped the gun from firing. Figured I'd just missed some cosmoline which was causing the issue, but found the little brass disc when cleaning out the firing pin channel in the bolt. Still had the empties and looked through them and found several that had a nice hole in them. Removed the sharp edge on the firing pin tip and all has been well for the last 30 years. Buddy and I used to do an Enfield deer hunt every year and the first time I tried taking my #5 it wouldn't fire. WWII grease in the bolt hardened up in the PA cold and snow when I tried to shoot a doe. That gun had worked fine every other time I'd used it before (it was warmer). Luckily I also had a Remington 700 30-06 with me and that's what I used that afternoon to get a doe. Eventually cleaned the old grease out of the bolt and the Enfield worked fine again.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    If you’ve reloaded those cases several times you may have a problem with headspace. The original cartridge was a rimmed cartridge, now you’re shooting a round that headspaces on the shoulder. TC Encores and Contenders have this problem and Bellm has made a full time job of selling parts to correct it. I know it’s not the same gun, but you might have a similar problem. Hope you find the cause.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    Thanks, Mike Bellm was the one who rechambered the gun, he has his name stamped on the barrels underlug. I watched a video from Henry on how to disassemble a 015 and I has able to remove the breech face disc and firing pin by just using an Allen wrench thru the hammer opening , very simple.
    There was some weed chaff in the receiver and may have been the problem. I did walk thru a swamp getting to my blind the first day of the hunt. I will clean and reassemble and see if itís good.
    Thanks for the replies everyone !
    JedmanClick image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master Tatume's Avatar
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    You said your gun was cut for a rimmed or rimless 35 Rem, but you didn't say whether you were using rimmed cartridges. The rimless 35 Rem is notorious for the problem you describe. Try forming some rimmed cases and your problem will likely vanish. Personally, I like to reform 303 British, but 30-40 Krag works well also.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I was using the 35 Rem rimless case. I do have some 303 Brit brass and have not yet played with it.
    If you only seen how many project guns I have in different stages of being finished you would go blind.
    Hope to get to that and maybe next year get revenge on the deer that walked and got to laugh at me.
    Here in the lower part of MI we can get up to 10 doe tags and being a senior they are only $5.

    Jedman

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I had a similar problem with my Ballard 22 assembled years ago by the late Joe Harz. He converted one of the flat, reversible firing pin for 32 LR by cutting off the original pin protrusion and soldering in a piece of drill rod, shaping the nose to a good chisel shape. Until Saturday it always went bang on cue but at the match this weekend I just got the smallest trace of a mark on the rim. I pulled out the firing pin, inspected and cleaned it and reassembled, but although I got a better mark on the rim, it still wouldn’t fire. In my case, I’m guessing I’ll have to split the block and look for more debris inside.
    Stuff happens, usually at the most inopportune times!
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    What is the firing pin protrusion now?

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedman View Post
    I was using the 35 Rem rimless case. I do have some 303 Brit brass and have not yet played with it.
    If you only seen how many project guns I have in different stages of being finished you would go blind.
    Hope to get to that and maybe next year get revenge on the deer that walked and got to laugh at me.
    Here in the lower part of MI we can get up to 10 doe tags and being a senior they are only $5.

    Jedman
    Are you making 35 rem rimmed with the 303 brass?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Like NSB, I would suggest a headspace problem. The tiny shoulder on the 35 Rem can get pushed forward by the primer as 'most' loading data for the 35 Rem is low pressure and will not fully expand the case into the breech face. You might check fired cases for primers backing out because of the low pressure.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    Right now I am really busy with fixing cars. I went to put the Henry back together and found a spring on the floor ?? I didn’t have time to mess with it any farther so I put the parts in a small ziplock bag and put it away for later I couldn’t see where the spring came from but I know it cam out of the gun so I will get back after it when I can.
    Jedman

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    Had a chance to make a new firing pin for the Henry. I made the back part where the rebounding hammer hits about .030 longer and now I get enough pin protrusion that it looks good when I hold the trigger back and push the hammer forward.
    I had 2 of the loaded shells that didn’t go off when I was hunting and tried to fire them in the gun with the new firing pin but the first one took 2 hits to go off that is the left one in the picture. The second shell I snapped the hammer on it 3 times and it wouldn’t fire, the shell on the right.
    So now I think it’s the primers as they did seat hard in the Hornady brass I was using ,primers are PPU LRP and looked flattened when I gave them enough seating pressure to where they felt flush with the bottom of the case with my finger tip. So I will have to try some Winchester primers I have to see if they fire 100 %.
    JedmanClick image for larger version. 

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  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master Tatume's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sukivel View Post
    Are you making 35 rem rimmed with the 303 brass?
    I do exactly that, to cure exactly the problem the OP is having.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I plan on using the rimmed 303 case for this gun but have a lever action Marlin also in 35 Rem. and just wanted to work with that case first. I have RCBS dies in 35 Rem. and when I compare a fired case to what a sized case looks like the shoulder is different. The fired case looks to have more of a pronounced shoulder and the resized case looks like less. Either the reamer that Bellm used is different than spec. or the sizing die is wrong ( less likely).
    The rimmed case should eliminate most of that and I can then partially neck size the fired brass as this single shot doesn’t need much neck tension or a crimp.
    For a break action rifle with a cheap fixed power 4 X scope it does shoot well, with Hornady 200 gr. jacketed PSP bullets it will shoot very near MOA.

    Jedman

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moleman- View Post
    What is the firing pin protrusion now?
    Sorry I didn’t answer this question. With the factory firing pin holding the trigger back and pushing the hammer forward as far as it will allow I estimated that I was only getting .010 - .020 protrusion.
    This stumps me how the rifle was firing fine at the range , but I must have been using different primers.

    With the factory pin if you used a small screwdriver or an Allen wrench and pushed the rear of the firing pin forward as far as it would allow the protrusion was at least .100 so I thought it needed more length on the rear of the firing pin as the rebounding hammer is at least 1/8” back from the end of the firing pin at rest. Now with the new pin I made It looks like I am getting .050 - .060 protrusion .

    I need to spend a lot more range time before I have a handle on the problem but that will have to wait until I have more free time. I have been fully retired since 1995 and it seems I have less time now than when I was working. Less energy is mostly the cause.

    Jedman

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    It is very easy to oversize 35 Remington brass and reduce the headspace. A Lee collet neck size die could stop the problem if this is what it is. You might measure the headspace dimension on some of your fail to fire loads and compare this to new brass.
    Good Luck,
    Rick

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    hmm.. any chance the fire pin spring is still set for 357.. ? rifle primer cups are usually harder than pistol. That and some headspace issues for a rimless cartridge.. AND the low fire pin protrusion all spell disaster.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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