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  #1  
Old 05-16-2005, 08:08 AM
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336 headspace and correction


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Glad I just found this place....

I bought a used 336W (or equivilant) about a month ago for $150 with a cracked stock. Replaced the stock, cleaned it up, shot it. Other than the sights being way off, and the barrel obviously being full of copper, it shot great. But on all the brass, both factory and handloads, the primer was pushed out just a little past flush. Using the "new case and spent primer" method, I checked the head space, which mic'd out at about 0.067 inches, getting a little on the long side (SAMMI specs are 0.063 to 0.070 inches). I don't have headspace gauges, and don't want to buy them just to check headspace, but I'm guessing this is pretty accurate.

Since I only paid 1 1/2 for the rifle, I don't want to spend a fortune on gunsmithing work. But I'm guessing what really need to happen is have the barrel removed, have one turn milled off, reinstalled, and finish-ream the chamber to within spec.

Anyone know from experience what Marlin charges for this? I called, and they said to send it in, they'll look it over, contact me with price, and then I can pay to have it done, or tell them to send it back. I'm checking with the local smiths right now, but realize the chances of one with a 30-30 reamer are slim, since it's not a common caliber have custom built.

Thanks to anyone who can help.

458plinker
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2005, 09:30 AM
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I am not very smart about Marlins but i would have the headspace checked by a gunsmith. Surely someone in your area has a headspace gage. They are not expensive from Forster. If you dont have one look for a washer of the correct thickness - or make one.

I have seen several lever action rifles that when fired with current .30-30 factory loads (150-=grain loads in particular) exhibited a protruding primer. I have attributed this to low pressure. The same rifles fired with handloads of maximum published load data looked "normal". That is to say the full power handloads did not have a protruding primer when the case was extracted. I could be all wrong but I would check the headspace before sending the rifle off for repair.
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2005, 03:10 PM
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If you think that it is within SAAMI specs, I don't think that you are going to gain much. With a rimmed, bottleneck case, then the only issue is setting up your full-length sizing die so that it does not push the shoulder back excessively during resizing.

If all you are going to shoot is factory ammo, then this is just not a concern at all.

Now.... if you are really set on shortening the headspace, I would guess that it would be much cheaper / easier to have a gunsmith fit a new set of locking lugs.
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2005, 04:17 PM
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Would get a more accurate reading of headspace before ddoing anything. IT's a rimmed case, so it's a matter of the thickness of the rim...not a hard measure to take.

IF I were to fix it, think I'd build up the existing locking lugs, refit them, and let it go at that.

Is possible, considering teh coditoon you describe, that the chamber has a bit of pitting/roughness. MOST 30-30's lever guns are a little on the generous side for headspace...but the case slides back on firing and reseats the primer.
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2005, 09:01 PM
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wm iorg-I was shooting all 150 grain loads, some factory Winchester fodder for controls, and Sierra handloads for testing with Varget powder. I suspected low pressure might be the culprit (read Richard Lee's comments testing .223 with increasingly reduced charges in Modern Reloading), as these were not maximum loads by any means. Think shooting 170 grain bullets makes a big difference? I'm not locked into 150 grain, just picked up a box to test. I'm sure someone has the headspace gauges, and I could buy them, too (Midway USA sees a lot of my money anyway...), but it'll still be 1/3 the total price of the rifle for the set of three. I'm just in the beginning stages of this project, so I'm exploring all options still. And I do really appreciate the input.

MikeG--using the mentioned method, the headspace is within spec, about right in the middle. My plan is to shoot mostly handloads, because I'm cheap, and I take great satisfaction, as most of us do, in shooting my own handloads. I hadn't thought about the locking lugs, though. Thanks for the idea.

Ribbonstone--I did notice that the fired brass seemed to have some, not really tool marks, but it came out much less shiny than it went in. I considered the chamber being rough, and hence not letting the case slip backwards, so thank you for "confirming" that as a possibility. Would the fired-case-with-JB-polishing method be a place to start? Or Flitz on a snug-fitting mop? This rifle was made in 1972, so in 33 years of service, I'm guessing I've given it the best cleaning it's ever had. Took three courses of Forrest Bore Cleaning Foam to clean out all the copper in the bore, and that was with a good scrubbing with Butch's before taking it out the first time.

Thank you all for your contributions. As much as anything else, you've given me some confirmation that I've been thinking in the right direction on this. I bought this rifle to be a "truck gun", ie a rifle to take hunting when it's raining or snowing. I have several pretty rifles, and this is my beater. Plus, I love old cartridges (45-70 is my true favorite), and you can't go wrong with a .30-30.

Any other ideas, thoughts, etc gladly accepted. Thanks again.

458plinker
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  #6  
Old 05-17-2005, 03:01 PM
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Think the clean/polished chambewr will keep the primers from protuding...but it doesn't really fix anything oif headspace if too large, just disguises it. Doubt your headspace is too large, proably at the outer limites of acceptable, but it may well have left the factory that way.

Can't think of a single good reason to size any case any more than it takes to get it to chamber easily...any more than that just seems like a waste of effort and over working the brass. Reguardless of the action type, will size however much it takes to have the case enter easily...neck size or partial full length
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  #7  
Old 05-17-2005, 04:37 PM
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[QUOTE=458plinker]wm iorg-I was shooting all 150 grain loads, some factory Winchester fodder for controls, and Sierra handloads for testing with Varget powder.

as these were not maximum loads by any means. Think shooting 170 grain bullets makes a big difference? [Quote]

I have seen this problem more with Remington ammunition than any other. I have found Winchester ammunition to be loaded to what appears to be a visual indication of higher pressure than Remington .30-30 ammunition.

I would take a sticky computer label and stick it to an empty, full length sized cartridge case head. Chamber the case and ensure the lever locks up. Eject the case and measure the rim and paper thickness. Add a second thickness and see if the action will close on it again. If the action will close measure the rim thickness with the two pieces of paper. Lets see how thick a rim the action will close on.
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  #8  
Old 05-17-2005, 08:39 PM
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Actually, the method I used to measure headspace was to take a new, full-length sized case, and just start a SPENT primer into the primer pocket. No powder, no bullet. Then, hand-feed the case/primer combo into the chamber, and close the bolt to battery. Open the action, and gently eject the case. The bolt will have pushed the primer in as far as it can when pushing the case rim against the barrel/chamber. Then, measure the rim, and add the measurement of the primer protrusion. On my rifle, that totaled 0.067 inches, which is 0.004 inches more than minimum, and 0.003 inches less then maximum, or right about in the middle.

Short of buying a neck-sizing die, which from Lee is only available in a two-die set (and I have the full set of standard dies already), wouldn't it work to back the full-length sizing die out just a bit? I know it wouldn't be true neck-sizing, but it wouldn't fully size the case, either. Just curious...

Thanks again.

458plinker
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  #9  
Old 05-18-2005, 05:12 AM
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458plinker - I never knew about that method to check headspace. I have a 336 which also may have a headspace issue. Check the thread titled "SIX reloadsmax in my 336" or something like that in the leverguns and their cartridges forum.

I have read through the Lymans 48th manual and basically it says that if you have a rifle with a headspace issue you can fireform cases for THAT RIFLE only and from then on use those cases and neck resize only.

One of my newer 336's, a 1948 model seemingly eats cases. I get six reloads before the case begins to crack at the web. I am going to try the case forming idea next. I have been full case resizing which may contribute to this problem.

Your headspace checking method is a good one and I will check my 336 using this method.

Good Luck.
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  #10  
Old 05-18-2005, 09:04 AM
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I have wondered about some of the old winchesters that I have seen and the brass they spit out. I also look at some of the brass picked up over time and wondered if the rifles had head space issues.A rough chamber sometimes hang on to the case and a good polish takes care of that . You could also prove this out by a good coat of car wax to the case and chamber .
Well this just might hide a situation as the case always forms to the chamber when fired.
Then again most people look at a spent case and never think to meaure it if all looks fine.
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  #11  
Old 05-18-2005, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 458plinker

Short of buying a neck-sizing die, which from Lee is only available in a two-die set (and I have the full set of standard dies already), wouldn't it work to back the full-length sizing die out just a bit? I know it wouldn't be true neck-sizing, but it wouldn't fully size the case, either. Just curious...

Thanks again.

458plinker
Yes, that's exactly what I would do. In fact that's what I do with all of my rifles. I've not had the best accuracy results when only neck-sizing; seems that the necks don't always size down concentric with the rest of the case.

If you don't have any other tools, you might gently mark a (lubed) case on the shoulder with a dry-erase marker, and stop when the die is just barely touching it, and see if that chambers. In any case it's just going to be an experimental process, to see how much (or little) you can size and get away with.
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  #12  
Old 05-18-2005, 08:51 PM
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Oldwolf--I got that method from "The Frugal Outdoorsman" page, www.castbullet.com. I'm sure it's not as exact and precise as some others, but for a $150 rifle, it works well. I had read your post the other day, and although I'm not a 30-30 expert (yet), if I had to guess I'd say the "once fired" brass from ebay was probably well used. I got a HUGE quantity of 30-06 ammo from a friend, about half of it was reloads his father had made. I'm pulling those apart, just because of it's unknown nature. I MIGHT reload some of the better brass, but most of it will be recycled. I figure, brass is cheap, so play it safe. At any rate, since 30-30 runs at lower pressures than a lot, I'd guess the brass is the culprit more than the rifle. But good luck to you in finding out. Let us know what comes of it, too.

Harry--just polished the chamber with Flitz on a 45 caliber mop on a short piece of cleaning rod, chucked into a drill running on low-medium speed. A minute or two is all it took. I'll see after some shooting this weekend if it helps. The cases fired last time look kind of sandblasted, and with a microscope look like they have concentric rings. I'm not a machinist, but I'd say the chamber qualifies as "rough", hence the polish job. I figure it can't have hurt anything to polish it, either way.

MikeG--I'll try your method on the next set of handloads. I'm full-length sizing this time for uniformity, since all the cases were FLS'd last time, too. I want to see if polishing the chamber made any difference, and theorize the fire-formed cases wouldn't be as telling.

Thanks again to all. I'll let you know what the next tests tell me.

458plinker
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  #13  
Old 05-22-2005, 09:21 AM
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Update on the "Truck Gun"

After a very complete cleaning, sight adjustments, and polishing the chamber with Flitz, I was able to go out shooting yesterday, and took the 336 project rifle with me. The "tool marks" on the case body are gone, the primers are flat with the base of the casehead, and, at least at 25 yards, the sights are much more on target with 150 grain Sierra flat nose bullets and 2.4cc Hodgdon Varget powder. Shooting fast, all six shots were covered by a standard sized post-it note (again, at 25 yards). Next time, I'll take the chorony and some 100 yard targets, and get a real sense of what this rifle will do.

Looks like the chamber roughness was a bigger issue than headspace after all.

The only thing that "worries" me a little bit is the cases seem to somewhat "bulge" about the pressure ring. I recall 303 British has a similar occurance in most cases, and was just wondering if others see the same. It might mean cases don't last as long, but if that's the worst I have to worry about, so be it.

Thanks again.

458plinker
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