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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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My new Marlin 1894 .44 levergun is pretty stiff -- almost reminds me of cocking a BB gun. I remember a vague reference to using lapping compound to smooth the action up rather than the expense of a gunsmith. Any one have suggestions or experience?

Dan


(Edited by DOK at 2:35 pm on Aug. 4, 2001)
 

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DOK, When I had my 1895 built up in the 400Yukon, I know the gunsmith used lapping compound on the inside of the action and he also put a weaker spring on the hammer and it was like night and day after he was done, it really helped the Marlin.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #3
John,

Appreciate the response.  What I'm hoping is that rather than "hand polishing" various internal parts, I would be able to apply the lapping compound to the
pertinent components and put it back to gether and
work the action for a few hundred times or so for a noticeable improvement.  Obviously would not fire the
weapon until the action had been thoroughly cleaned after the exercise.

It just sticks in my mind that I've seen reference to that process by some of the cowboy shooting articles -- but then things seem to get stuck, not stick, in my mind anymore.

Dan
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'd try the Remington Bore Cleaner first, before lapping compound.  It's finer and you definitely don't want to take too much metal out.

It also occurs to me that if the gun is that stiff, lapping compound could totally lock it up (depending on the tolerances).
 

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DOK,

When you say "new" how new are we talking about? Marlins seem to get slicker all by themselves in relatively sort order. I wouldn't do anything to it in the first 500 rounds besides get a lighter hammer/mainspring.

http://www.gunsprings.com/

If it isn't slicker than <!--emo&???--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt='???'><!--endemo-->? thru a goose after that you can take it apart and polish the parts that show wear, taking off sharp edges & rough finish. Just polish it though, don't go grinding off a bunch of metal.

I prefer the targeted approach rather than dumping lapping compound into the whole action.

good luck
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #6
Leadslinger,

If I told you I bought the Marlin two years ago and had 25 rounds fired, they wouldn't let me post on this site anymore -- so let's just say pretty new.

I'll follow the recommendation of getting the first 500 rounds thru it and it should be pretty simple to polish the spots showing wear. And as Mike G says, use something other than lapping compound -- like James Gates' combination of Flitz and rouge. I had considered using 800/1200 lapping compound, but suspect polishing with even lighter grit material may be what's less risky and will get the job done.

Thanks again,

Dan
 

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Dan..You can't get any finer than Flitz and Rouge...They polish gold with it and it will only burnish moving parts.
I have found a couple of problem areas in Marlins..First the hump under the rear of the holds the holds the hammer down as you cycle the action is about two times higer than needed and in most cases rough as a cob. The hammer mainspring is overly strong. There seem to be more little burrs in the action from milling than years ago, but most smooth up. Use the suggestion of shooting the rifle a few hundred times
and then look inside..you will be able to see what's dragging. All in all, I rather deal with machine burrs in Marlin than the cast actions on ome of other lever guns.
Best Regards, James
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #8
To all, sincerely appreciate the information and have a last question. I see many references on this site to polishing this and that -- do you do it by hand with a cloth or a drill with a buffing device? I realize instances may vary, but just wondered what the typical method for polishing is.

Thanks again,

Dan
 

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Dan...I never us power wheels of any kind when I am smoothing out the burrs, etc on any action. Over the years I have collected a drawer full of various stones from coarse all the way down to razor stones. At times I use fine emory paper back by flat files. The basic idea is not to reshape things, but to deburr and smooth up the working surfaces. I have in the past reshaped the loines on Ruger single action where the factory polishing on buffing wheels rounded the corners. This I did with fine swiss files followed by fine emory paper. Most of my custom rifles I did over the years were also done without buffing wheels. In the late 60's, I had the pleasure of talking with some of the old pistol fitters at S&W. They had a storehouse of knowledge to share.
Best Regards, James
 

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DOK, I like Arkansas stones and small files.

A lot of the "action work" that top 'smiths do consists of simply removing rough edges on moving parts. Take the mainspring strut out of any gun with a hammer and feel the edges. If its sharp or catches your skin you can dress the burrs down with a stone or small file. Little things like this add up and soon you've got real improvement.

I tend to go through my guns looking for moving parts that just aren't finished as well as they could be. You don't want to alter tolerances or touch any critical angles (i.e. hammer sear interface ) but simply smooth the areas that the factory left rough.

Perhaps the best reason to hold off 'till you shoot it a bunch is the blueing will wear off on the parts that are rubbing on each other. These shiny surfaces in the action are the best spots to dress with a stone. These worn areas are the source of your friction and when you slick these up you'll get the most effective improvement. You are essentially speeding up the break in process.

Keep it simple and shoot the gun a whole bunch. Shooting is more fun and eventually is just as effective. I'd guess I have 5000 rounds through my 1894S and I've done very little file and stone work on it. It is greased lightning in my hands yet is as tight as the day I bought it.

PS - Use screwdrivers that really fit the screws anytime you work on a gun. Nothing wrecks the looks of a gun more than boogered up screwheads.

Good luck, your gonna like that lil' carbine.
 

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James,

You snuck your post in before me, making mine somewhat superfluous. <!--emo&:)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':)'><!--endemo-->

I've read that S&W used to hand lap every revolver barrel back in the days of craftsmanship. Looking at old guns makes most new production seem like it was fitted by drunken 10 year olds.

take care
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Discussion Starter #12
Leadslinger and James,

Pretty convincing when you guys get together like that! I'll follow your instructions -- quite frankly, it's a good thing I asked because using stones didn't occur to me.

Thanks again,

Dan
 

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Leadslinger...No, No, you post is right on the button! The old smiths at S&W said the secret was what abrasive that was used...To coarse ane one gets Wear! The idea was to just burnish and smooth the action, not remove metal. I have one S&W 686-3 that was hand lapped by one of the old masters that had retired from S&W. Another interesting thing I was told is that stainless firearms are much harder to smooth up than blue steel. It had something to do with the makeup of the steel. It is true that the older firearms where works of art, however the new offerings are much stronger!There is a newer method of polishing that is being installed. The parts are secured to a frame, immersed in water that is full of cone shaped rubber things about the size of your thumb with abrasive in them, sound waves shot through the water. The method does not round off the corners at all. There can be a hundred or so rifle actions or about three hundred pistol actions done at the time. I saw it demostrated some time back. It may well be the answer for the future.
Best Regards, James
 
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