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Old September 20, 2012, 02:48 PM   #1
Woody55
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Lever Action Timing

During my quest for a lever action rifle that will shoot both .357 and .38, I've run into the comment that some rifles may have to have their timing adjusted. I've seen it mentioned in the context of getting the cartridge off the elevator and ramp into the chamber and/or ejecting an expended case and a live round at the same time.

Does anyone know of a website, video or whatever that explains how to do this? I would like to understand how the different pieces move in response to the lever and how the adjustments are made. Mainly I am interested in the '92 action.

Thanks.
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Old September 20, 2012, 04:09 PM   #2
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My father said that my Marlin 1894 for a long time would only feed 357s but over time it broke in. I dont remember cause I was young when my father bought it and had it shortened to 16.25 inches to better fit me.

Im afraid I wont be much help with the 1892 but it may break in over time...
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Old September 20, 2012, 06:26 PM   #3
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Normally the issue is cartridge length. Some '92s need the bullet on a .38 Spl seated out far enough to at least get close to the length of a .357. There are some lever action guns made for Cowboy Action Shooting that use only .38 Spl. I don't shoot the .38 but if you go to a CAS match you'll likely run into a'92 Shooter who can suggest something.
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Old September 20, 2012, 07:29 PM   #4
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They can "tune" a lever action to take other rounds. Also some times there is a burr that can cause problems. It can be one of a 100 things. Usually a good gun smith can take care of it.
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Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 23 of my guns are 45/70 govt 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:32 AM   #5
Woody55
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What I'm trying to figure out is what is exactly done to "tune" the rifle. I figure it must be adjusting the height and orientation of the feed tray(probably the wrong name) when the lever starts moving the bolt forward. But I'm not sure and wonder how to go about doing it if I'm right.
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Old September 24, 2012, 06:56 PM   #6
Malamute
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It has more to do with keeping the next rounds in the magazine from coming onto the lifter/carrier and tying up the action. Most lever actions are somewhat sensitive to overall length of the cartridges to feed properly. There are some things that can be done to change the relationship of the aprts, is the 92, there' a cartridge stop that keeps the next rounds in the tube, allowing the carrier to raise. The carrier length can be tinkerd with, in this case, it may need to be lengthened. It's a combination of the length of the cartridge on the carrier, and the interaction (timing) of the cartridge stop that determins the allowable length of the rounds it will feed. In one gun, it may have been assembled with the parts "functional", and works with the major named cartridge its chambered for (357), and they didnt care if it fed 38 spls. Some checking, and tuning of the catridge stop (having it come out to catch the next round slightly sooner, but not too soon and hang up on the cartridge on the carrier) may allow it to feed shorter cartridges. If it was set up strictly for the shorter rounds, the longer ones would hang up with the tip of the bullet still in the magazine, and unable to move up when the carrier raised. So yes, it's probably possible to get the 92 action to feed different length catridges, but the factory may not have done it, and simply not cared if shorter rounds worked. It may work OK in some guns, it may be just the luck of the draw in what parts were fitted, and how they happened to work with the shorter rounds. Some guys report their 92 copies work with spl rounds, some say they don't.

Steve of Steves Guns can likely do it, or may sell a video on how to do it. Careful examination may tell you what needs to be done. Watch the action function when operated slowly, and you may figure it out. The cartridge stop is the small spring loaded thing in the left side inside the action. When the bolt is forward, its pushed in, when the bolt opens, it comes out to stop the next round from trying to come onto the carrier, alowing it to raise without interference. When the bolt is closed, it pushes the stop in and the next round snaps back onto the carrier, ready to feed. If you decide to change anything, work very slowly and check it. It's easy to take metal off, it's harder to put it back.
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Old September 25, 2012, 11:55 AM   #7
Woody55
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@Malamute,

Thanks for the information.
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Old September 26, 2012, 09:44 AM   #8
Woody55
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I'll kick this again and add some information from a friend.

There is the issue about when the magazine opens and shuts to allow a cartridge onto the elevator.

There can be an issue with when the locking pins engage the bolt and lock it in battery.

And we wondered about this, but if the elevator is going up while the bolt is going forward, the length of the cartridge may matter. That is, a longer cartridge may arrive at the back of the barrel sooner than intended by the designer and a shorter round would arrive later. In either case, they might miss the hole - especially common pistol cartridges as opposed to bottle neck cartridges - because there is less to aim at. This would be more of a problem if the elevator rotates up as opposed to being raised level.

I will further guess that where everything is at any given part of the cycle depends, directly or indirectly on the size and shape of cam surfaces of the lever or what they engage. Exactly what you do to these surfaces depends on the problem and which way you want things to move.

Does this make sense to anyone?
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:09 AM   #9
Malamute
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Quote:
I'll kick this again and add some information from a friend.

There is the issue about when the magazine opens and shuts to allow a cartridge onto the elevator.

There can be an issue with when the locking pins engage the bolt and lock it in battery.

And we wondered about this, but if the elevator is going up while the bolt is going forward, the length of the cartridge may matter. That is, a longer cartridge may arrive at the back of the barrel sooner than intended by the designer and a shorter round would arrive later. In either case, they might miss the hole - especially common pistol cartridges as opposed to bottle neck cartridges - because there is less to aim at. This would be more of a problem if the elevator rotates up as opposed to being raised level.

I will further guess that where everything is at any given part of the cycle depends, directly or indirectly on the size and shape of cam surfaces of the lever or what they engage. Exactly what you do to these surfaces depends on the problem and which way you want things to move.

Does this make sense to anyone?

The magazine opening and shutting is the cartridge stop. The adjustment of this is going to have the most bearing on the question of using 38 spls in a 92 action.

The locking bolts won't affect the cartridge length.

The carrier snaps up on the forward stroke of the lever, it's in place before the bolt starts forward. It can have a bearing on the maximun length of the cartridge, and can be modifed to allow a slightly longer cartidge, but not by much. If the cartridge stop is set up right, I don't think the carrier should need to be fooled with to let a slightly shorter cartridge to work. At the point when the cartridge stop should be working, the cartridge is held slightly forward by the lever, (thats what keeps the cartridges at the right place by the loading gate so more rounds can be put in, and let the cartrige stop do its work) and is coming backwards as the bolt is opening, to stop against the stop on the carrier.

The lever is pinned into the bolt. It shouldn't have any bearing on adjusting the gun to use 38 or 44 spls as opposed to magnum length rounds. The only thing it "cams" is the firing pin backwards as the bolt is initially opened, and it pulls the locking bolts down on its first movement. Nothing to do with feeding different length rounds really.
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Last edited by Malamute; September 26, 2012 at 10:23 AM.
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