The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 14, 2001, 09:07 PM   #1
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
Both guns and ours...

There's another thread where someone voices concerns about wearing out his shotguns. I understand his position, after all our cars, computers, and marriages sometimes seem to wear out way before the payments are done.

But, most good quality shotguns will last longer than we will,assuming sanity on the owner's part and reasonable maintenance. Some examples....

At PGC, I shoot sometimes with a brighteyed gent old enough to have been a Command Pilot, 8th Air Force, WWII.

He alternates between a beautiful Model 12 Trap, an 11-87 of recent vintage and a Kolar. His recent comment on running 25 straight the other day was he was glad the Model 12 still had it. He had been given the 12 as a present when he graduated OCS, 1941 or so. His guess as to how many shells he had run through it was nothing more than a shrug. He took up trap before the Korean War.

Another fellow there has a single bbl Parker trap model, made around 1935 and tight as new. The owner thinks(W/o devoting much time to it)he may have put 15,000 rounds a year through it since purchasing it around 1992. Who knows how many rounds through it since the 30s?

Colonel Joe, mentioned above, says that Rudy Etchen, one of the all time great clay shooters, used a 870 for 50 years, and still shoots it. A top skeet or trap shot like Etchen will go through a case of ammo a week to a couple of cases. Do the math(G)...

So, if you've a quality, well made shotgun, it will serve for far longer than you might believe possibly,especially if you....

First, keep the heavy loads to a minimum. No clay game I know of needs more than a 3 dram, 1 1/8 oz target load,oft less, and only waterfowl need more than that for wingshooting under most circumstances. Like driving a car at 80 rather than 55, hard use accelerates wear.

Second, keep it clean and lubed. Grunge is abrasive, and grunge buildup will loosen up even a fine gun faster than a clean, lubed gun will. And, learn where and how much YOUR shotgun needs lubing at. It may be a good idea to invest a few bucks and have a gunsmith take it apart and clean everything annually. And when you pick it up, quiz him as to what you should do to keep it looking and working at optimum.

Third, for those with autos,change the springs,O rings etc,at regular and frequent intervals.

HTH...

Dave McC is offline  
Old April 14, 2001, 10:14 PM   #2
Kingcreek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 29, 1999
Location: rural Illinois
Posts: 589
The fellow that recently introduced me to skeet shooting has shot the same 1100 for trap and skeet for over 20 years and until 2 years ago also hunted with it. It has been factory rebuilt and rebarreled twice. He is the range master, a serious competitor, and I would consider him a HIGH volume shooter.
I never worried much about wearing out any firearm. As you point out, start with quality and keep up with maintenence. I had to shoot my Browning double alot just to loosen it enough to drop the action open with one hand and a little snap from the elbow.
Kingcreek is offline  
Old April 15, 2001, 08:41 PM   #3
C.R.Sam
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 29, 1999
Location: Dewey, AZ
Posts: 12,859
One handed open popping pretty rough on the action.

Sam
C.R.Sam is offline  
Old April 15, 2001, 09:44 PM   #4
Kingcreek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 29, 1999
Location: rural Illinois
Posts: 589
It doesn't bottom out, just opens about 1/2 way. I still have to use my front hand to take it full open to eject empties. If I wanted to bounce it hard enough to go full open, I could now. but many rounds ago it took both hands firm hold and a little leverage over the thigh to break the action.
Kingcreek is offline  
Old April 15, 2001, 11:38 PM   #5
C.R.Sam
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 29, 1999
Location: Dewey, AZ
Posts: 12,859
Gotcha, I had visions of it slamin full open and bangin things......sorry.

Sam
C.R.Sam is offline  
Old April 16, 2001, 04:29 AM   #6
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
This might be a good time to mention this....

Some of the double gun folks I know get emphatic on how to open and close a double, both SXS and O/U flavors.

While they differ slightly on the techniques,the common thread of these folks is that the opening and closing should be controlled in a way that precludes "Bouncing" and/or slamming the action. Most hold the action lever over while closing and then ease it to the middle. And most also raise the butt end to the bbls, rather than vice versa.

This is supposed to reduce wear.....
Dave McC is offline  
Old April 16, 2001, 07:41 AM   #7
PJR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2000
Posts: 1,127
Longevity and quality

In an over/under or side by side the important issue is proper lubrication on the hinge. Five years ago, I bought a 25 year old Krieghoff Model 32. I wanted a Krieghoff and the price of a new K80 was out of reach. The Krieghoff technicians at the Grand said the gun was very well used and estimated that it had fired many tens of thousands of rounds. They told me the barrels were wearing at the action trunnions and eventually it would develop a headspace and begin misfiring.

I carefully lubricated the trunnions with STOS lubricating grease after each cleaning and some 4 years and 25 thousand additional rounds later it began misfiring. Back to Krieghoff it went and for about $600 they TIG welded up the barrels, recut them to fit the reciever, reblued the barrels, and replaced the firing pins and springs. I don't know how many rounds have gone through this gun so far but certainly over 100 thousand and possibly many, many more. Today it is like new and my total investment is about one quarter of the price of a new K80. I was a teenager when this gun was made and with a little TLC I now expect it will outlast me.

On the issue of how to close a breaking gun, I close it gently with the top lever held all the way to the right but I do not ease the lever over. I was taught that letting the lever spring into the receiver naturally ensures proper seating of the locking mechanism.

Paul
PJR is offline  
Old April 16, 2001, 10:22 AM   #8
fulltlt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 31, 2000
Posts: 120
That would be me that posted the original question at http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...threadid=63635

I really appreciate the responses I got and TFL for providing this forum.
fulltlt is offline  
Old April 16, 2001, 02:19 PM   #9
Clemson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2001
Location: Greenwood, SC
Posts: 820
Etchen must be shooting one of the Original 870's, since it was introduced in 1950!

That aside, it is a really well thought-out design.

Clemson
Clemson is offline  
Old April 16, 2001, 03:32 PM   #10
K80Geoff
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 1998
Location: NE Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,640
Closing the gun

I was taught to hold the lever and close the gun on doubles. And it is a good technique for most doubles. However with guns like the K32, K80/20 Remington 32 and 3200 and the Tikka that have a sliding top latch I have found that it is better to gently shut the action with the lever in its normal position. The top latch is held open by a lever on the right side of the action that must be tripped by the barrels to close. If you hold the lever to the right the action may not close completely. This is more a problem with newer guns.

The beauty of this system of holding the action closed is that the latch self corrects for wear.

I have seen a friends winchester 101 so worn that the gun came apart when the bottom barrel was fired. We teased him about having a true break action gun and made him get the gun repaired.

As far as triggers go, you will never know what a great trigger is untill you shoot a K gun. Out of the box they shoot better than most triggers that have been worked on by experts. There is a reason they cost so much!


Geoff Ross
__________________
I am no longer a member of this forum. Bye!
K80Geoff is offline  
Old April 16, 2001, 06:15 PM   #11
General Tso
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2000
Posts: 133
Longevity....

Another place you're seeing a lot of old shotguns still in use is Cowboy Action shooting. A lot of guns have been brought out of retirement for the sport and most are still going strong.

I use a 1907 manufacture Winchester 1897 pump that I picked up a couple years ago. Not sure of the exact round count now but I've pt an additional couple thousand rounds through it since I got it. Not the kind of volume that some of the trap shooters are doing but enough to give it a steady workout.

Like Dave mentioned, I use light to moderate loads in it ranging from Remington #6 game loads to Federal 7 1/2 and 8 shot. Good enough for CAS shooting anyway. I've actually been thinking about taking it out in the field too as it still wears it's original 28" tube with full choke and shoots like a dream. The action is slicker than goose **** and provides very fast follow up's, especially with the light loads I'm using in it.

I picked it up in well used (read beat )condition for about $250 and had it safety checked and tightened by a local smith and rust blued and the wood restored by another smith (I'm not generally into having stuff refinished but this thing was whooped bad when I got it). It's ended up being a great shooter and, whhile it's loosened up a bit (it's a take down model) it still functions 100% and shoots great.

Here she is next to my Spanish .44-40 92 levergun.

General Tso is offline  
Old April 17, 2001, 05:56 AM   #12
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
TLT, you're very welcome. Glad to help.

Paul, thanks for that. A smith of my acquaintance tells me that most old doubles that have become loose are well worn in the hinge,and tightening the pivots up is the cure. Some replace the hinge pin with a larger one, some build up with weld, some bash the hook with a BFH.

General, both CAS and the Vintagers have brought many old shotguns out of the closet, so to speak(G). Congrats on your 97, it must be heartwarming to restore an old soldier like that.Betcha it would work for trap, shoot a few rounds and enjoy! BTW, like your saddle carbine also...
Dave McC is offline  
Old April 17, 2001, 07:26 PM   #13
General Tso
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2000
Posts: 133
Yep, CAS has been a great excuse for putting some great old guns to use. Next purchase for that will be an old mule ear double. Just have to stumble on to teh right one.

The carbine is pretty interesting. Found it at a local shop mixed in with a bunch of original Winchester 92's. It's a Spanish "El Tigre" chambered in .44-40. 22" barrel, 12 round capacity and a flip up ladder sights with a sliding door on the but for a cleaning kit, a saddle ring and sling swivels. Info has been scarce on them but from what I've gleaned they were made in the 20's or so and most went to Latin and South America where many saw use with paramilitary police departments. They were imported surplus into the US in the 50's and some will be seen with police stampings.

I've only seen 3 in the flesh including mine prices ran from $395 to $450 with mine being the cheapest and by far the nicest one of the 3! From talking to guys on the Net and on the SASS Wire they're not terribly common and have sold up in the $600's out in Cali although I don't think you'd get that for one around where I live.

They're very close to a Winchester 92 and quality is excellent (a lot better fit and finish than the Brazilian Rossi 92's, the compare favorably to teh Winchesters of teh era). The barrel is a bit heavier than the Winchester or Rossi and the configuration is a little unique (as described above). It's been a great shooter and something a bit different than the run of the mill Winchesters and various repro guns.

Now if only I could find a sport that'd give me an excuse to take out the Krag and the '03 Springfields I'd be set .
General Tso is offline  
Old April 18, 2001, 06:00 AM   #14
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
Uneven heat treatments and metal quality were the banes of Spanish gunmaking for decades, General. A good one,tho, stands even with the Winchesters and Colts of old,IMO.

As for a sport that can involve those lovely Springfield 03's and Krags, the grapevine tells me that there's some silohuette matches now that have both Old West and Military divisions,so one can bang away at distant iron with a Quigley rifle or run up that ladder sight all the way(G)...

Dave McC is offline  
Old April 18, 2001, 11:58 AM   #15
General Tso
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2000
Posts: 133
Hey, that'd be okay! I'll have to start harangueing the guys at the local club, long range sillouhette would be great.

Know what you mean about the Spanish metalurgy too. My first pistol was a NIB Star BM in 9mm. Great little single action auto that fit my hand superbly and shot real well. Only problem was that the metal was soft and it eventually started peening the slide where the hammer struck. Real shame because it was otherwise a well designed and good shooting piece.
General Tso is offline  
Old April 18, 2001, 03:16 PM   #16
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
One range I frequent has a 30-30 league,40 shots, 200 yards offhand at silohuettes. Maybe one of these days...

HAd a couple of LLama 22s, the ones that looked like a 1911 scaled down. One was great, the other, welll....
Dave McC is offline  
Old January 5, 2002, 05:02 PM   #17
labgrade
Member In Memoriam
 
Join Date: November 29, 1999
Location: west of a small town, CO
Posts: 4,346
Just got finished cleaning up a Wingmaster 12 ga - it's recently shot some slugs & figured I'd make it one of those primary HD shooters.

(BTW, did a search in shotguns for maintenance & figured this was as good thread as any to stick this - "longevity." - seems appropriate somehow .... )

Disassembled & spray-cleaned the shotgun, an older Wingmaster with an 18" iron-sighted bbl. & lubed up some parts, checked some springs & just did a general once-over-type of thing.

Damnable gun would not! go back together & after looking at the destructions again & again, I knew I was doing everything correct. Problem was, the gun didn't go back together - action bars kept hanging up (I thought) at the "& then, push up on the slide release & your bolt will go home" point. Didn't, because the locking block assy kept hanging up on the upper part of the receiver.

Not being that much of an idiot (debatable to many ), I started doing the failure analysis bit - what is the matter here?

Turns out that the firing pin had broken off right at the juncture that holds the fp return spring, bound up the locking block assembly, etc. which didn't allow a ready re-assembly.

Actually a good thing, or I would have a primary SD weapon that could never go bang. - a bad thing in my book.

Firing pin broken at that point gives about a 2" difference between its (now) end & that of a shells' primer.

The shotgun cycled perfectly, I shot it just yesterday ... yada & wah!

If I would not have done some cleaning, etc. today, I would have
one primary home SD weapon totally ineffective .......

BTW, this particular shotgun has probably been dried-fired more than it has been actually shot - something to consider.

It's a mid-70s Wingmaster with, I'd bet, not 500 shells through it - but, that very big but, I have dry-fired it (apparently) to death.

Pulled an Express 20 ga from the safe that doesn't get all that much use, salvaged the firing pin from it, & rebuilt that "primary" Wing-870. I did cut off the shot charge/powder, chamber the shell & insured that it does go bang again. Come Monday, think I'll order about another extra dozen firing pins - just to be on the safe side.

Once again, I find that I don't "know" (& I am an "expert" = not & go figure ) anything regards firearms. (most likely a good thing, though it's a bit humbling)

One of my "most-ever-bullet-proof" guns died today (yesterday?) & I had no clue.

Better now than "then," I guess, but it is a humblimg experience.

& too, while disassembling that "seldom used" 20 Express, turns out that its extractor is binding to such an extent that I wouldn't trust it either. .... more work ....

In any event, figured I'd pass this on. Something to coonsider.

I know I never do enough proper maintenace on my shooters to make certain that they all go bang when I want 'em to .....

Why would I? 870s are totally bulletproof, aren't they?

Right, & a big lesson learned today.
labgrade is offline  
Old January 6, 2002, 09:03 AM   #18
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
When it comes to defensive weaponry, NOTHING should be taken for granted.

There's testimonial evidence that dry firing an 870 in cold weather can snap the FP, I replaced one for a buddy who did this maybe 15 years ago.

Try dismounting that extractor,cleaning the cavity, lubing it and reinstalling. Maybe some grunge got caught up in there...
Dave McC is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:04 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12384 seconds with 7 queries