Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Tokoloshe Safaris, Jun 5, 2019.
I doubt very much that Rigby intended for the stock to ensure proper headspace.
You can always twist a barrel on past the point of proper alignment. The sturdy, powerful plunger spring is supposed to catch in the detent before you get away with doing that. 20 degrees excess rotation is quite common.
I doubt Rigby would depend on a spring to set headspace. The threads are worn excessively on the loose ones.
They certainly do. Think about a number of considerations. First imagine this, to make any of your rifles "take down" you'd need a barrel wrench to center the barrel up each time. IF you weren't allowed to use a barrel wrench, how much fewer degrees would you be able to turn your barrel onto the action with your bare hands? And of course the threads on a take down get fouled with every use, so how much play do you have to introduce so that you can still get the barrel on after gunk gets in the threads from old cordite powder? How do you prevent someone from overtightening the gun each installation and ruining the threads immediately on a take-down?
Answer: you have to introduce play that results in over extension of the threads. How do you reduce this over tightening phenomenon? By the thickness of the steel plates mating and the ball detent. What happens over a century of use? The forend shrinks and the gap between the forestock and butt stock grows at the plates, which has nothing to do with the barrel being in the correct vertical position.
If the gun is in the States and is cheap, ruined, and nobody else wants it, I'll put my money where my mouth is on this one. I'll buy this lousy rifle that everyone believes is the take-down magazine rifle version of "off face". A go / no-go check is the only fact I need to make a decision on this one. The rest is easy.
@rookhawk Where did you serve your gunsmith apprenticeship?
You're so far off base, it's funny.
I think both arguments are correct. Threads wear and the plates could have separated over time. Any Model 12 owners know about thread wear and the compensator Winchester built into those guns.
All that said, if I wanted to truly restore this rifle, it would go back to Rigby. And yes, that restoration effort would likely exceed the value of the rifle - even if were gifted to you. But it would be ready for another century.
Shims, springs, detent buttons, wear plates, etc., all down and dirty fixes that will treat the symptoms, loosey goosey worn out tenon threads. TIG weld the threads and chase new ones. Add some metal to the mating ring at the forward end of the tenon, remachine/face off to proper headspace. YMMV.
After threading a few thousand barrels I am almost willing to bet that I've gotten more than just a few right...... Well......almost...
A couple of decades ago a fella brought in a really nice rifle like the one you fellas are talking about and his complaint was that it was just way too difficult to thread the barrel in and too difficult to get a true multi point lockup.
He started with, " it must be..." And a whole lot of , "it might be ...." I offered that my Outlook on the whole situation was that I was in business to make money and either a $20 bill or a ice cold case of PBR would get him about the best answer he was ever gonna get that would most likely set his shade tree paws on the path of fixing the problem instead of turning that beauty into a tomato stake to be used in my "Kitchen Table Gunsmith Garden of Shame".
He came back 3 weeks later with tomato stake in one hand and Cold PBR in the other.....I feel that if he had a third had his hat would be in it.
He looked at me....shook his head and pitched his tale of woe.
He came in looking to pick my brain for free on his fix turned into firearm damnation which befalls many a claw hammer wielding woodby Gunsmith with a braintrust of drunken friends with bags full of bent screwdrivers.
The weapon in question sat in a cloth lined wooden box for many a lustrum and during that time some kid or clumsy adult took it out and looked at it, "fingered it" and ever so slightly dented on of the threads making the already very tight mating surfaces of barrel and receiver even a bit tighter....which by the way I would have fixed for him while he watched the first time.
Unfortunately both he and his friends conjered up many numerous complex and idiotic "it's gotta be that" fixes which had not , nor could they ever have had anything to do with the problem as he saw it.
I sat there in awe as the arrived at the decision that it must have something to do with that the threads must have never been cut right to begin with or they has swelled on the barrel. So without so much as a piece of string to use as a measuring device "They" saw their only solution as one of second guessing a slew of master gunsmiths and firearms designers and simply got out what rusty pile of files and with a "kazam"...."kerpow" and numerous "zowies" commenced whittling away at the male threads of the barrel until it was as sloppy as a 80 year old vc hooker's tunnel of love.
There is absolutely no way in this world that the threads on that takedown barrel should or even can be as tight as ones on a one piece rifle. You would never be able to screw it in until the shoulders touched and thereby assuring that the head space is correct. And though it should thread in easily to begin with it should feel progressively tighter with no appreciable "wag" when it comes close to the shoulders touching and the pin locking when it all comes together at the same time.
And that squires is how this rifle gets its accuracy. If it all doesn't come together at the same time and the barrel wiggles like a duck ass you'll never hit squat with it.
There is most definitely one thing I can tell you for sure. Without have it in my hand with a box of ammo to fire , neither I nor anyone else here can pronounce judgement on that piece.
If you have what I think you have it should be in the 5 didgit range .
the trouble with takedown rifles is that people take them down.
they almost seem to have to do it at any excuse, even to demonstrate that it can be done.
when taken down, the male thread should instantly wear a thread protector.
when reassembled both threads should be absolutely clean, and lightly lubricated.
and the manufacture of such firearms should be absolutely spot on.
even then, wear will occur.
once this happens, headspace and accuracy issues exist.
once looseness exists, firing the rifle rapidly makes it worse at an exponential rate.
@rookhawk, you are 100% incorrect. I emailed Rigby and this was the reply:
Lon, your call but I'd walk.
9:28 AM (1 hour ago)
Dear Mr XXXXX,
The old takedown system has no over travel built into it. The system would stop both on the action and the two plates, with the majority of the locking force on the action to retain the head spacing.
Please let us know if there is anything more we can do for you.
JOHN RIGBY & Co. (Gunmakers) LTD
13-19 PENSBURY PLACE
LONDON SW8 4TP
TEL. +44 (0)207 720 0757
MOB. +44 (0)753 822 3401
RFD 02/7384 Met Police
Before we quote "gunroom assistants" as gospel, lets go to the facts.
What does a go and no-go headspace gauge say? That's the end of the story as far as safety is concerned. If it has excessive headspace, then I believe it. If it doesn't, then there are many ways to remediate over travel and barrel attachment slop.
Now you're going to argue with Rigby. Give it up bro. You're not a gunsmith or a manufacturer and you don't know WTF you're talking about. You posted they were made with slop. They weren't. Do a Bill Clinton and throw away the shovel.
I put my money where my mouth is. I've owned many take down rifles, own them now, and I've bought and sold them, restored them, and the last one that had slop was purchased, conserved, and sold for enough profit to provide a 14 day fly camp safari. I've possessed H&H 240 Apex and 275H&Hs, 318 WRs, 425WRs, a 275 Rigby, and I own a m95 Mannlicher take down at present. That's not including modern take downs with a variety of take down systems.
Perhaps you're right and I'm wrong, it's immaterial because we're not able to debate facts of the rifle's current state, much less what must be done to repair it. IF someone can verify that the rifle has proper headspace and the rifle is fairly priced, I will purchase the gun should Lon wish to pass on it. If it has proper headspace at present I would advise Lon to buy it, there are several ways to address take down issues but the one way that is absolutely cost prohibitive and nightmare is to set back the barrel, re-ream for headspace, trim the forend and the loop, move back the forend, and address the lock up system again. <-That is what Lon is likely worried about and I agree, it would cost many thousands more to fix that than the gun would be worth.
My last WR take down had overtravel of about 5 degrees. It had metford rifling. It should have shot for hell. It was a half MOA gun. It was brought back to Africa for a six month safari with its new owner and worked just fine. Headspace was fine. Function was correct. I suspect, but don't know for sure without headspace gauges, that this rigby takedown will be the same story.
People that can speak authoritatively on this topic if you want a solid opinion and a repair plan:
I'm sure the owner wants to talk with you. Good luck if you purchase it.
......."......upon coming back from Venezuela I wasn't feeling very well and called the doctor to ask his advise on what I was pretty sure it was the flu. He told me to come in......they took my vitals and then proceeded to give me a physical. The doc asked me why my foot was wrapped and I said that I stepped on a sea urchin and that I dug the spines out myself. He then asked what the goofball sized lump of my butt was from and I said I sat on a scorpion. He looked on my calf and said what's that, which I replied, spider bite. He kept looking about and I askedwhat he was looking for and his reply was snake and monkey bites and poisonous darts and such.
He put me in the hospital where I stayed for days and had all sorts of goo and potions pumped into me.
The doc told me that if I self medicated that I would have probably died from poisons and bacteria".........
Sure! It's different than gunsmithing, but sticking explosives in a containment and then detonating it 8" from your face without knowing what you are doing can be pretty hazardous as well.
Hell! I can count to 20...21 if I unzip and drop my trousers.......but that don't make me an accountant. Owning a car most certainly doesn't make anyone a race car driver. And should a woman in the throws of passion scream out to me, "give me 12" and make it hurt" won't she be surprised when she gets stabbed with the swantzstukker 3 times and gets a sharp rap to the skull with a right hook? I guess I'll never be a porn star after all no matter how much I think I know about it.
If a rifle has a loose wiggly barrel no one should shoot it. It is unsafe and inaccurate....,no it's, and's or but's.
I am starting to think that the one mentioned here is the same one that was butchered and came into my shop decades ago.
Jeez, Did I open a can of worms!
Please understand the following let me add some other facts some of you may have missed. The rifle is in Zimbabwe, not the U.S. nor is it mine. If it was in the U.S.A. it would be with Ken Owens, end of story!
Most western countries all have an arms embargo on Zimbabwe! I could ship the rifle to Rigby no problem, now to get it shipped back from the U.K. is a very different story, yes there are ways ship to X country then X country ships to Zimbabwe, not worth it at least not for this rifle. The rifle was built on what I believe was a Mauser 98 action. The wood is o.k., not great. I have not been able to examine the bore with a bore scope (I have a Lyman) nor do I have the proper head space gauges.
I am posting this right below "von s" post and I appreciate his post, so I would like to make two comments from his post. One, the rifle has never been touched, hell maybe it has never even been cleaned. Two, the old owner is now deceased, but not from the rifle blowing up in his face. It is just waiting to do it to someone else and it will not be me!
There are many quality English goods floating around Zimbabwe, but we do not have the luxury of them being collectors rifles. They get used for what they were made for pardon my way of putting it "killing animals" either as pests or for hunting! The person who owned this rifle did not hunt, it was a farm rifle and was used as such. I need this rifle like I need more of the old Zim. currency, but what does need have to do with a rifle!
I have received many opinions on what could or should be done with the rifle and I appreciate each one. One thing that I will say the rifle may say "Rigby" on it but it was very poorly designed. In my humble opinion and takedown rifle or shotgun should have a way of taking care of wear. No need to go into all of the different ways most of us know the different gun designs. I just happen to like the looks of a well taken care of take down in a case! Example I had a friend, now deceased. He had a Browning .22 takedown with the original browning case , besides the normal inlets for the rifle disassembled, it had its section for a Maxim silencer. Oh, the rifle had some much slop he brazed the barrel to the action, obviously it no longer fit in the case!
When a fella cuts the barrel threads correctly and assures that the inner and outer shoulders of the receiver are parallel and extremely smooth along with the correct length of thread.....when screwed together by hand the chamber end of the barrel and the barrel shoulder will contact at the same time and there will be no wiggle or waggle and the pin will also lock up not allowing and backing up of the threads.
If everything is done correctly using a wrench on it would only ever draw the parts together , at best, is .002. If done by a master gunsmith it would be less.
Do you think that it could be possible that there is some sort of congealed grit and grime that could be not allowing the barrel from contacting the inner receiver shoulder thereby not also allowing the the barrel shoulder from contacting the mouth of the receiver as well and creating the wiggle?
If this isn't the case then it really does sound like guys with floppy shoes and big red rubber noses had their way with it.
No provisions for using a wrench. It is really a very poor lock up system.
No, no grit or build up, maybe at one time which increased the wear.
Picture a poorly made take down lock up system riding around in a gun rack day after day, on a Rhodesia/Zimbabwe farm road. Never cleaned just there when needed. My old model 12 never spent a day in a gun rack. In the 70's it probably took a very distant second to the FN-FAL that was meticulously looked after which stayed by the drivers knee.
After the great info you gave me concerning Mauser magazine dimension, I will take some video with my phone and post it. I will try to display the slop and the amount of over travel. Keep in mind the over stops when the barrel makes contact with the receiver. It never comes close to the two end plates coming in contact with each other.
I e-mailed an inquiry to XXXXX in the U.K... Their answer was to put kitchen aluminum foil under the fore end plate. This came from a very reputable person and I appreciate their answer. Myself, I thought space the barrel away from the receiver, hhhmm I see a problem developing.
Again I welcome all of the suggestions given, then is even a possibility that one of them is correct! As I have said we have no room here for wall hangers. I have someone that wants to give me a absolutely Westley Richards Farqueson , in .303 it was demilled by having a very small hole drilled just in front on the action, I turned it down
I’m not holding the rifle, but i’m guessing the threads have loosened from use over time. I’m sure there are other take down rifle joints that are independent of headspace, but this one looks to set headspace every time it is assembled.
So now you have loose headspace. You need to determine a percentage of thread mating. If it is good, recut the shoulder and end about a turn(got to measure) until they tighten with fairly high hand torque, then adjust the plates to fit and lock up. Finally, run a reamer in to clean up the chamber and just make a GO gauge fit.
Resist any ideas to TIG weld the threads. I can see TIG’ing the shoulder and recutting. That still would require extremely precise welding and some investigation into how the heat may affect the steel yield strength or shape.
How possible is it to get the rifle to South Africa? Andrew Tonkin in Pretoria is a Rigby dealer, and the go to guy for these sort of things. He’s had more vintage guns and rifles pass through his place than most of us have seen together. He should give you a good idea whether it is worth the effort to go ahead with it, or rather stay clear
Separate names with a comma.