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Old June 30, 2009, 01:44 PM   #1
rwhichel
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H&R Replica 45-70 Trapdoor Carbine

I just recently purchased a H&R Trapdoor Carbine. It was built in 1973 and is in unfired condition. I bought it to shoot and enjoy. I plan to use "starting loads" as given for the springfield trapdoor carbine in my Lyman reloading manual. I would like to hear from those of you that have and shoot one of these rifles. My primary concern is that I have recently found an old internet post discussing a possible safety issue with these rifles. I would like to know whether or not there actually is a legitimate safety issue. The post I saw (from back in 2001) or something like that, says there are a couple of easy fixes for the problem. Just trying to find out if this is a legitimate safety issue that I need to address before I start shooting the rifle. All responses will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Ron W.
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Old June 30, 2009, 02:07 PM   #2
Big Ugly Tall Texan
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What I know about the .45-70...

I don't have one of those rifles and did not sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but.

My Hornady book has three different loads for the .45-70.

The lightest is reccomended for the Trapdoor Springfield. The hottest approaches the .458 Winchester Mag and is for strong bolt actions only.

I think they sell factory loads that are also either hot or mild and are labeled.
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Old June 30, 2009, 03:38 PM   #3
Molasses
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IIRC (disclaimer: let's just remember that I have a mind like a steel trap: rusty, mangles anything that gets in it and is more'n likely illegal in multiple states...), the safety issue had to do with the H&R repros using a setscrew to hold the locking lever on the shaft of the locking cam for the action. Or was it the locking cam on the lever shaft? Got CRS here. Pretty much the same situation, just different part being held by the setscrew.

I don't know if this picture will help. Unfortunately for the discussion, it's an original and doesn't have the setscrew construction:

The action is open and the breechblock is flopped over past vertical above the chamber. The unlocking lever on it's shaft is sticking well out to the right side of it and the locking cam is that vaguely prism-shaped thing on the very top of the breechblock. When the action is closed, the locking cam pops into a recess in the rear of the receiver opening and the lever moves accordingly along with it.

Problem wasn't that the arrangement used in putting together the H&Rs was weaker than other trapdoors or anything like that, but that over a period of use, the setscrew could (and sometimes has) gotten loose or otherwise let whichever piece it was holding rotate into a new position on the shaft where the rifle was barely or even not at all engaging lockup with the action closed and the unlocking lever in position where the rifle can be fired.
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I'm pretty sure I remember seeing a diagram of a fix for this involving removing the setscrew, using an appropriate-sized drillbit to put a dimple in the shaft for the screw end to fit into and reassembling with LocTite. It occurs to me that an unobtrusive witness mark, even just a faint scratch across the junction of the lever and shaft would be useful for regular checks to make sure things are still as they ought to be, with or without doing the fix.
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Old June 30, 2009, 10:48 PM   #4
rwhichel
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Thanks

Thanks for the replys guys. I really appreciate it. That is a great picture Molasses. My rifle looks almost identical. On my rifle ,the thumb lever and and shaft are all one peice. The locking cam is held in place on the thumb lever shaft by a single setscrew. The old internet post I read tells of the same problem that you describe. I think I am going to do the fix with drilling a shallow hole in the shaft for the set screw to seat into. I am trying to come up with a way to drill the hole without messing up the existing threads in the locking cam. I especially like your idea of making an inconspicuous mark for checking that everything is lined up correctly. In fact, what do you think of this plan.........1.First make the mark that you mention,....2.Then loosen and remove the set screw,......3.Then make a tiny punch mark on the shaft at the bottom of the set screw hole,....4.Then pull out the shaft while holding the cam in place against its spring,.....5.Then after removing the shaft ,drill the shallow hole in the shaft at the punch mark (made in step 3) using my drill press,.....6.Then make sure the end of the set screw fits properly in the hole,....7.Then reassemble the peices using the mark ,made in step 1, to line everything up correctly and install the set screw with loctite. How does that plan sound. Thanks, Ron W.
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Old June 30, 2009, 11:19 PM   #5
vostracker
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rwhichel: I have one and have shot standard loads and custom light reloads for turtle plinking. I never have had any problems. Thank you for bringing up the issue about the setscrew locking problem. I'll have to check mine out and make sure everything is OK. My only complaint with mine is the rear sight they came with. Pretty crappy to me. I'm getting a new set from Uberti which is like the original.
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Old July 1, 2009, 09:25 AM   #6
Molasses
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Quote:
How does that plan sound.
Sounds good to me, but I haven't ever done it myself, so I'm in the same boat as you.
But. It does sound like you've looked everything over and visualized the steps needed to pull it off successfully. Only advice I can think of to add is to just take your time, look at everything and think through the process as you go and work with care to do it right the first time.
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Old July 1, 2009, 08:41 PM   #7
rwhichel
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Thanks again for the responses guys. Vostracker, Will your new rear sight fit in the existing dovetail on your rifle or will you have to have your barrel drilled and tapped? How much is the new sight going to cost you? I might be interested in getting one. Thanks Ron W.
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Old July 1, 2009, 09:16 PM   #8
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Vostracker, how big do turtles get out your way?
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Old July 1, 2009, 10:50 PM   #9
vostracker
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rewhichel: I dont believe it fits in the dovetail and will have to be attached by drilling and tapping the barrel. The company is "VTI Gunparts" 860-435-8068. If I remember right it was 75-80 bucks for the complete site.

Swampghost: Just the usual size softshell and snappers. You dont always have to hit them. The concussion will do the trick, which helps with aging eyes. LOL
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Old July 1, 2009, 11:26 PM   #10
Dezynco
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Shooting anything with a 45-70 is entertaining! I like to make little rocks out of big rocks! Of course they are at a safe distance from me!
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