View Full Version : Stubborn screw in 1890 How to remove

March 24, 2012, 11:19 AM
I need to remove the tang screw to install a Marble's tang sight, The screw is clean but has been polished or dressed off on the bottom, flush with the bottom tang. Easy to see because there is a bit of polishing all around it. Maybe it once protruded a bit. Now the end of the screw is out of round, but flush with the hole in the tang, making it a bit oval. Real pretty, unless you want to remove it.

I thought I'd just put enough torque on the screw to swage the end back into round, but I can't. On my last attempt I slipped and peeled a tiny bit from the slot, and that was enough for me.

The screw is not seized, as I can turn it back and forth almost a quarter turn.
This is a gorgous rifle and I don't want to scratch up the nice finish. Unfortuately it is also a shooter, but my old eyes need the peep to make it useful.

Any and all help appreciated, as always,


James K
March 24, 2012, 12:43 PM
Do you have or have access to a drill press? If so, pad the drill press vise very well and set the gun up with the top tang level. (This will require a place to rest the barrel of the gun, or a patient and cooperative helper.)

Buy a short screwdriver blade like those used in power drivers or cut down a regular screwdriver as necessary (obviously do this before enlisting someone to hold the gun). Chuck the short blade into the drill press. DO NOT TURN ON THE POWER.

Bring the screwdriver blade down into the screw slot, moving the vise as needed and turning the chuck by hand until you can get it in. Hold the chuck down with the drill press handle. Turn the chuck by hand.

Since the drill press won't allow the screwdriver bit to jump out of the slot, you can put on a lot of torque that way.


March 24, 2012, 04:07 PM
Go underneath the tang with a dremel stone or ball and hit the bottom of the screw. Sounds like the bottom of the screw is expanded if you can turn it a little.

James K
March 24, 2012, 04:11 PM
Gumplummer, I like the Dremel tool and use it a lot, but unless Mike has a lot of practice with one, doing something like that on a "gorgeous rifle" with a "nice finish" could be disastrous.


March 25, 2012, 03:38 PM
Harbor freight makes a small but robust impact driver that I use on my Japanese carb screws on a regular basis. It is small enough to provide ample control, and a light ball peen hammer blow prevents the bit from jumping.
Mine was less then $15.00

March 25, 2012, 07:33 PM
I have the fmaous B square "screw Jack" and other gizmo's for the stubborn screw but the Harbor Freight impact driver and a squirt of PB blaster will get mostly anything out. even those super narrow slot late 1800's Winchester screws that are welded in from age and rust

March 25, 2012, 08:49 PM
Not nearly disastrous as trying to clamp that "Gorgeous rifle" on a drill press. If you don't have the hand/eye coordination to use tools, why even start?

March 25, 2012, 09:47 PM
Get a few Tungsten Carbide drill bits and yes load it into a drill press....or better yet a mill with a Kurt vise, turn the RPMs up as fast as it will go and VERY slowly drill through the middle, and make sure you keep coolant on it. You'll be through it in no time. Then you can deform the screw in on itself.

March 26, 2012, 08:11 AM
Even better, now that you have a mill involved, you might as well buy a lathe and make the screws like I did. You might as well go all the way and buy a furnace so you can make a receiver if you screw that one up. The impact driver idea is starting to sound better and better.

September 6, 2012, 03:18 PM
I succeeded in removing the screw using a small drill bit on a Dremel tool. With the drill and by hand (risky) I drilled a small hole in the center of the small screw, bottom end. After doing that I hogged it out to the side by simply applying lateral pressure to the bit. I stopped when I got to the edge of the threads. It took a while but by doing that in various directions pretty soon there was not enough thread left to prevent me from turning the screw.

Now, I found that the problem had been that the screw was bent. Wood in the stock was bearing on the screw not giving a straight shot between top and bottom tangs. A small rat tail file fixed that and now I have a period Marbles tang sight that actually allows me to see the front sight and target. I am a happy shooter.

Thank you for all the ideas and wisdom.