View Full Version : Bent Rifle Barrel, perhaps?

September 22, 2007, 06:30 PM
Hey, new to the forums, been searching around all day, and I think this place is great. I suppose I'll introduce myself now before I forget. My name is Travis, I live in Maine, I'm 16, and I love to hunt and shoot.

I do have a problem though, and I can't find a solution anywhere. My dad has a Winchester 1892 .44 magnum, and it shoots high. The sites are adjusted all the way down, and even when we aim at the bottom of the target, we still hit above the bullseye. It's been like this for many years, we just never used the gun much. Since my sister is going to start hunting this year, we now need the gun. We are pretty sure that the barrel is bent, but my dad doesn't wanna drop the money for a new barrel and the hassle of installing it if the current barrel isn't bent. Is there any way to check the barrel for straight-ness?

Thanks, Travis.

September 22, 2007, 06:37 PM
Remove the barrel bands and use a straight edge. I highly doubt the barrel is bent upwards as enough force to bend it would show damage to the mag tube. My advice is get a taller front sight.

September 22, 2007, 06:48 PM
Well, we don't believe that it was bent by force. The barrel has repeatedly been heated in one spot to try to repair something on it. I can't remember off the top of my head what was broken on it, but it had to be fixed multiple times. It was about halfway down the barrel. I think that the repeated heating and cooling caused the barrel to bend upward permanently. The more you shoot it, the higher the bullets fly. Which makes me doubt that it's a sight issue. But I will check the barrel with a straight-edge. Thank you for the suggestion.

September 22, 2007, 07:06 PM
If it's a rifle instead of a carbine it could have been the tabs for the nose cap.
I know a guy from another forum that arc welded the loading lever latch on an 1860 Colt and it shot high afterward, not from bending the barrel but from scaling the inside of the barrel and destroying the rifling in that one spot.

T. O'Heir
September 22, 2007, 07:37 PM
"...barrel has repeatedly been heated..." Got any idea how hot? Assuming you were even there when it was heated. If it was heated enough to take out the temper, the barrel is toast and needs replacing. It doesn't have to be heated red hot to do that either. Any change of the colour of the steel will do it.
The only way to find out if the barrel has lost temper is to have it tested. You might be able to have that done at school, if there's a metal working shop(machine shop. Lathes and mills and drill presses, oh my.) and they have a hardness tester. Talk to the shop teacher. Even if you aren't in those classes, they'll usually help, if they can. For Pete's sake, don't just show up with a firearm. The hissy fit would be life altering.
A short spirit level or a steel ruler on the spot will tell you if it's bent.

Jim Watson
September 22, 2007, 08:06 PM
It might not be a sight "issue" but a taller front sight is the only reasonable way to deal with the problem. A little trigonometry will tell you how much taller front sight you need, Marble's, Lyman, and Williams all make a selection.

If the barrel has been warped by heating, you will just have to sight it in a shot or two at a time so it will be on target when cold; so Sis can hit her deer on the first try.

Is this a real Winchester '92 that has been converted from .44 WCF (.44-40) to .44 Magnum or is it one of the reproductions from a few years ago? If it is the real thing, it might be worth a new barrel.

September 22, 2007, 10:30 PM
It's the real deal. Original Winchester 1892 converted from .44-40 to .44 magnum. And I found a good deal on a new barrel the other day. It was about $50 for a 16" barrel with a muzzlebrake. Total length with the muzzlebrake was 18 1/4". I just figured I'd better make sure that the barrel was the most likely culprit before I told my dad to drop $50 on a new barrel. If we were to get a new barrel, how hard is it to change?

September 22, 2007, 10:46 PM
How long is the magazine tube? It's a gunsmith installation as it has to be headspaced

September 22, 2007, 11:01 PM
Well, if I had to guess, (the gun is upstairs, and I am tired, so I'm going to guess) the magazine tube is 12-14". It only goes up to the end of the stock forearm. And since the .44 magnum is a rimmed cartridge, doesn't the rim take care of head spacing? Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm a gun fan, not an expert gunsmith. (yet).

September 22, 2007, 11:20 PM
doesn't the rim take care of head spacing?


Jim Watson
September 23, 2007, 08:30 AM
A $50 barrel with a muzzle brake for a '92 Winchester?
Oh, well.
Is it threaded and chambered to fit the action?
If so, it might be a simple installation for somebody with the right tools. Winchester was more careful about their threading than most and frequently barrels are interchangeable. You might get lucky.

September 23, 2007, 08:43 AM
Is it threaded and chambered to fit the action?
If so, it might be a simple installation for somebody with the right tools. Winchester was more careful about their threading than most and frequently barrels are interchangeable.

Headspace still needs to be checked. You can buy a set of go/no go gauges but if it's off it'll still have to go to a smith.

You might get lucky.

If you don't have the headspace checked you might not be so lucky. If the front sight lines up correctly it still doesn't mean headspace is correct. I'm not trying to be an AH but headspace is a serious issue.

Jim Watson
September 23, 2007, 09:06 AM
Don't get me wrong, I would not recommend that a Winchester lever action be rebarrelled by anybody but a gunsmith familiar with the type. There are too many opportunities to screw up the gun by a DIY attempt, and headspace is one of the lesser ones.

The REAL problem here, which I remembered after sleeping on the question, is that the Winchester 92 is of marginal strength for .44 Magnum in the first place. The lockup will hold, my .44-40 was fired by the previous owner with loads far above anything in print today, the problem is the small size of the barrel shank. It would only take one round at the high end of Magnum chamber pressure to bulge the barrel where it is thinnest under the threads.

Travis, my recommendation to you is to hang the Winchester on the wall and get Sis a modern gun that will shoot where she aims and will not be at risk of damaging itself in normal use.

4V50 Gary
September 23, 2007, 11:52 AM
You can tell if a barrel is bent by looking down the bore. Put a mirror to it such that light will shine down the barrel. Look through the bore. A bend will throw the shadow off. It can be straightened too (some old time gunsmiths use to whack it against a tree). The factory can straighten it too (so why replace it?). The have a press that holds the barrel up against a light (same technique as described above). They rotate the barrel until the find the kink, then they tweak it to straigthen it. That press is shown on the HK Factory talk on YouTube.

September 23, 2007, 04:43 PM
Well thank you for all of your suggestions. My dad told me today that he's just going to leave as it is, since it was his dads gun, and just get really close to the deer before he shoots. :cool: But again, thank you for all of your suggestions. I can tell I'm going to like this forum.

Harry Bonar
September 27, 2007, 07:28 PM
You need to read the extensive and very fine post Jim gave on "thread timing" that few are even aware of!
Harry B.

Harry Bonar
September 28, 2007, 03:36 PM
Yes, if the bbl/ was heated on the same side several times, yes, it could have warped it.
Harry B.