View Full Version : Troubleshoot a long-gone gun?

March 19, 2013, 12:06 AM
Many years ago, we had a bolt-action .22 with a tubular magazine. I believe it was a Wards "Western Field".

We sold it (with full disclosure, of course) after it developed a malfunction. Opening the bolt and chambering a new round would cock the firing mechanism as normal, but as you closed the bolt on the new round, it would "de-cock" itself. It wouldn't spontaneously discharge or anything like that - it just looked/felt like the firing pin was slowly moving forward to the "fired" position as you closed the bolt.

I'm just curious now as to what the nature of the malfunction was. Does this sound like anything obvious to any of you?

math teacher
March 19, 2013, 12:32 AM
You might do better to put this question in the Smithy (Gun Smith) forum.

March 19, 2013, 12:32 AM
Thanks - I'll ask the mods to move it.

March 19, 2013, 12:33 AM

It sounds to me like the sear was never engaging. The gun was, as designed, pushing the striker back to cock it as the bolt was opened, but then the sear never engaged it to hold it in the cocked position. So when the bolt was closed, it allowed the striker to return to the "fired" position.

I would guess that the sear and/or striker engagement surfaces were broken or worn.

big al hunter
March 19, 2013, 12:38 AM
Without the firearm we may never know for sure. My best guess would be that the bolt was gummed up. The mess inside was sticky and thick and it stopped the sear from locking to the trigger. The gummy mess also slowed the firing pin. A disassemble, clean and reassemble would likely have cured it.

I have seen the gummy mess of oil and powder residue slow a firing pin enough to cause misfires, but I'm not sure how it stopped the sear from locking up. Maybe the trigger to sear connection was held open by the crud as well.

Did you oil it with WD-40 ? That gumms up real fast and gets to be like varnish after a while.

March 19, 2013, 03:33 PM
Western Field was made for Wards by one of several different manufacturers, including Savage/Stevens, Mossberg, Marlin, Noble, and I can't remember who all else. Not knowing which one it is makes it about impossible to second guess.

March 19, 2013, 04:12 PM
Well, I remember that it had the safety on top behind the "cocked" indicator that you slid left or right with your thumb to expose a red or a green dot.

Regardless, the idea of either the bolt being gummed up or the sear/striker being broken are probably spot-on. I'm leaning toward a gummed-up bolt, because the problem came on gradually over a period of time rather than all at once.

As a young kid, I was good about keeping the barrel clean, but I never recall giving the rifle the detail cleaning it probably needed.

Thank you all for the replies.

mark clausen
March 19, 2013, 10:30 PM
It was a Mossberg, the red and green safety dot gives it away,and JohnKSA is right. It needed a new firing pin. The little nubbin on the bottom of the firing pin that engaged he sear on the trigger was worn out. Reproduction firing pins are availible but can take some fitting to work properly in these old guns. I have been there.:(

4V50 Gary
March 19, 2013, 11:03 PM
Follow down issue. Whatever is supposed to hold the striker, or the striker's contact point with the sear, is worn, gummed up, dirty.