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Old 09-03-2020, 08:56 AM
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Recently had the opportunity to fire a .32-20 1905 Hand Ejector. It was in excellent mechanical condition; tight & right in every respect with very little signs of use/wear (from a collection). The owner had never fired it & decided the time was right. I was ecstatic to have received the invite.

Anyway, during the course of our outing the owner broke out his chronograph & we fired factory Remington 100 gr. LRN which averaged 830 f.p.s.

All was going well until I was about half way through my second cylinder full, when single action cocking became rough to say the least. Seeing nothing obviously wrong, I continued firing until the cylinder locked up and the gun seemed to be totally out of time.

Long story short, overall the revolver shot to point of aim and performed otherwise as expected. Once unloaded, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the timing. I did notice a streak of brass across the recoil shied face as well as two distinct lines/scrapes across the faces of several cases. Needless to say, those 12 rounds were the first I’ve ever fired in that caliber.

Got home and searched online for an answer. The only thing remotely related to this issue is “setback” of cartridge cases against the face of the recoil shield causing the cylinder to stop rotating.

Anyone familiar with this? Is this common in that caliber? According to load data I’ve researched & the chrono results, this doesn’t appear to be a hot load.

I’d like to get one, but don’t want to deal with potential problems. I’m a shooter.

P.S. The chambers were clean & dry.

Last edited by Iframe32s; 09-06-2020 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:00 AM
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Without even so much as photos of the breech face and cylinder face there is no way to even try to make a guess what the issue may be.

That said, set back in revolvers is only an issue in high pressure cartridges which have a relatively sharp shoulder. An example is the .22 Jet. So, no, setback is not an issue with .32-20 revolvers.

I have owned .32-20 revolvers since approx. 1960, and during this 60 years have fired literally many thousand rounds from them and have never had any function issues with any of my guns, let alone any such as you describe. I own 1902 and 1905 S&Ws, several Colts, a Cimarron Uberti, and even a Spanish clone. Currently I believe my total count currently is 12 +/- .32-20 revolvers, so you might say I have a bit of experience with the guns and cartridge!

This is not to say the specific gun you fired doesn't have an issue, but it has nothing to do with being a .32-20.

I would not hesitate to buy the gun you refer to sight un-seen based on my experience.

There is one issue that may have caused the problem you describe, and this is primer set-back. If the cartridges only chronographed at 830 FPS this is likely the problem. This would be because the cartridges are loaded to a very low pressure resulting in the low velocity. This is an ammunition issue, not caliber related. This is purely an educated guess based on many years experience.
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Old 09-03-2020, 01:16 PM
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I never shoot any of my 32-20s anywhere near 800 fps and never had the slightest problem with operation. All my 32-20s are around 100 years old or more, so load light for paper. I would first check the primer to make certain the primers are set flush. Could you have a case or a few with thick rims? Unlikely in my mind, but worth getting out a micrometer if you are shooting mixed brass? Is there any forward/aft movement in the cylinder?

Lastly, the recoil shield should be smooth, so could not scrape the cases. Could the problem be the hand is not retracting properly and dragging across the base of the brass as you try to cycle the action? Check your shot cases for primer issues and load the gun with empties and watch between the recoil shield and the cylinder for how the hand moves?
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:13 PM
Protocall_Design Protocall_Design is offline
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I would look for a burr around the firing pin hole. Oftentimes a burr will develop from the firing pin going through the hole. It can be stoned or filed flat. It may occur one or two more times over time, but if stoned down each time, eventually it will stop happening. I have seen this a lot on older guns with a hammer nose, not at all on newer ones with the firing pin in the frame. Just one of the possible things to check.
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Old 09-03-2020, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post

There is one issue that may have caused the problem you describe, and this is primer set-back. If the cartridges only chronographed at 830 FPS this is likely the problem. This would be because the cartridges are loaded to a very low pressure resulting in the low velocity. This is an ammunition issue, not caliber related. This is purely an educated guess based on many years experience.
This would be my guess as well. When you fire any centerfire cartridge in a revolver, the primer backs out to the limit allowed by the recoil shield; then, the cartridge case itself follows in recoil, pressing the primer back in to place and flattening it. With low-pressure rounds, there is sometimes not enough recoil force to re-seat the spent primer completely.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by glowe View Post
I never shoot any of my 32-20s anywhere near 800 fps...so load light for paper.
Do you run them faster or slower?

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Originally Posted by glowe View Post
I would first check the primer to make certain the primers are set flush. Could you have a case or a few with thick rims? Is there any forward/aft movement in the cylinder?
I did take my 12 cases. The thickest rim mic'd @ .0666. Loading manuals list .065. Will have to wait to have access to the revolver again, but don't imagine it's the rim thickness (?). When initially checked...gun locked up like a vault w/virtually no movement anywhere or in any direction! Very close cylinder gap.

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Check your shot cases for primer issues and load the gun with empties and watch between the recoil shield and the cylinder for how the hand moves?
Primers are normal & flush when standing upright on counter. No issue when cycling the entire cylinder with live rounds when on the firing line. Some resistance w/empties. Will check hand movement when practical.

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Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
...one issue that may have caused the problem you describe, and this is primer set-back. If the cartridges only chronographed at 830 FPS this is likely the problem. This would be because the cartridges are loaded to a very low pressure resulting in the low velocity. This is an ammunition issue, not caliber related.
Researching all the data I can find (which is all over the place for velocity) leads me to believe 830 fps is in the "ball park" for factory loads from a 6" revolver (?)

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Originally Posted by Protocall_Design View Post
I would look for a burr around the firing pin hole. Oftentimes a burr will develop from the firing pin going through the hole. It can be stoned or filed flat. It may occur one or two more times over time, but if stoned down each time, eventually it will stop happening. I have seen this a lot on older guns with a hammer nose, not at all on newer ones with the firing pin in the frame. Just one of the possible things to check.
Great point! I will look for that.

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Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
This would be my guess as well. When you fire any centerfire cartridge in a revolver, the primer backs out to the limit allowed by the recoil shield; then, the cartridge case itself follows in recoil, pressing the primer back in to place and flattening it. With low-pressure rounds, there is sometimes not enough recoil force to re-seat the spent primer completely.
All great points/info. Very much appreciate all of your time & expertise. Will post update when I revisit this issue.

It's really a nice condition H.E. & should be enjoyed now & again.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:15 PM
Johnnu2 Johnnu2 is offline
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Is there any chance that there is dirt/schmutz under the thingie that lifts the cartridges out (we used to call it the star-wheel or ratchet) and it used to hang-up my Mod.14 when it got filthy... Another thing that hung-up my Mod. 14 was when the ejector rod loosed-up and bound against the detent (?) that held it in place....
Nope, never even saw a 1905.... just thinking out loud.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:34 PM
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Is there any chance that there is dirt/schmutz under the thingie that lifts the cartridges out (we used to call it the star-wheel or ratchet) and it used to hang-up my Mod.14 when it got filthy... Another thing that hung-up my Mod. 14 was when the ejector rod loosed-up and bound against the detent (?) that held it in place....
Nope, never even saw a 1905.... just thinking out loud.
J.
Negative. Gun was as clean as a whistle...even under the extractor. I gave it a pretty good going-over with the "basics" before it was even loaded, as it hadn't ever been fired by the owner.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:12 PM
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It's a stretch but did the ejector rod unscrew a few turns? That will cause a binding with chambered rounds. That pre-war gun has traditional right hand threads. If you don't have an ejector rod wrench, you can use a scrap of leather in a vise to make sure the rod is fully threaded into the extractor. Just make sure to put a couple empty rounds in the cylinder to keep from stressing the extractor star and pins.
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Old 09-05-2020, 09:00 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
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Originally Posted by cgt4570 View Post
It's a stretch but did the ejector rod unscrew a few turns? That will cause a binding with chambered rounds. That pre-war gun has traditional right hand threads. If you don't have an ejector rod wrench, you can use a scrap of leather in a vise to make sure the rod is fully threaded into the extractor. Just make sure to put a couple empty rounds in the cylinder to keep from stressing the extractor star and pins.
That is my thought as well.
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:50 PM
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Made a point to re-visit this issue today, & took my 12 empty cases with me.

Upon close & careful examination it was not the extractor rod. No issue with the primers. Hand engaging & rotating the cylinder just as it’s suppose to. Cocked the hammer very slowly…then…it locked up again!

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Originally Posted by glowe View Post
...Could you have a case or a few with thick rims? Unlikely in my mind, but worth getting out a micrometer...

Lastly, the recoil shield should be smooth, so could not scrape the cases....
Yes sir, those rims! I now stand corrected with my dismissal of that probability.

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...The thickest rim mic'd @ .0666. Loading manuals list .065....
There is a very close tolerance between the cases & the breech face. Those Remington cases are nearly .002" over SAAMI published dimensions & are definitely not conducive to smooth, unimpeded operation.

And...in conjunction with that extremely close tolerance is:

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Originally Posted by Protocall_Design View Post
I would look for a burr around the firing pin hole. Oftentimes a burr will develop from the firing pin going through the hole. It can be stoned or filed flat. It may occur one or two more times over time, but if stoned down each time, eventually it will stop happening. I have seen this a lot on older guns with a hammer nose, not at all on newer ones with the firing pin in the frame. Just one of the possible things to check.
BINGO sir. We have a winner...you nailed it!

There's a very fine circular burr around the circumference of the firing pin hole which is only obvious when viewing from the side with help from an LED flashlight. It likely came from the factory like that back in the 20's, as the discrepancy can't be readily noticed through casual viewing due the the immaculate blue finish. I will only surmise this gun is in such beautiful condition after all these years due to the "issue" which discouraged/prevented previous owners from using it much; hence it likely met its untimely retirement & became a "safe queen" long ago.

This revolver has an action & trigger pull as smooth as silk. I've fired many arms in my time, and this is something to appreciate. Talk about nostalgia! The sleekness, the balance... Leveling that front sight blade on the 6 o'clock bullseye virtually transcends one back to the days of G-men & gangsters. There's nothing I can think of that feels as good in the hand. A true classic in a classic caliber.

The marks I previously described on the empty cases were caused by the burrs. The tolerances are so close the differences in rim thickness is what determined which cartridges would come into battery & fire, & which ones got bound up. Closer inspection showed indentations of the burrs on the outermost aspects of the primers caused by recoil.

Can't thank you all for your though-provoking input!
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:53 PM
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How will you remove the burr ? What will you use ?
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:10 AM
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How will you remove the burr ? What will you use ?
That's the $64,000.00 question.

I won't remove anything; it's not mine (yet)...but I'm working on it. He's more of a collector than shooter & seems quite content with just putting it back in the safe. If I can manage a deal & take it home, I would likely try to locate cases that don't exceed rim spec. & roll my own. Removing the burrs & scratching up the original finish would be my last resort (if it ain't that broke, don't fix it).

If the handloading didn't address the issue, I have a good selection of tools, some gunsmithing tools & basic do-it-yourself skills...am thinking being very careful with a pointed Dremel stone, then cold-bluing the affected area.

Any ideas for a less-risky approach are welcomed.

He let me fire his .25-20 rifle the same day. Another caliber I had never fired...the .32-20 with a "choke hold" around its neck.
A sweet little garden-critter caliber with a pretty good "pop"!
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:16 PM
Protocall_Design Protocall_Design is offline
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For deburring the hole - Any 1/8" round or pointed High Speed Steel (HSS) or carbide burr on the end of a 1/4" wooden or other dowel rod inserted from the muzzle will do. Turn by hand (fingertips) until you get a small edge break around the hole. Cold blue the cut edge and it will be better than new. The reworked part won't be noticeable.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:25 PM
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...Any 1/8" round or pointed High Speed Steel (HSS) or carbide burr...
Would that be one of my Dremel tips? Or a drill bit?

What would be the best way to secure it into the dowel in order to prevent the shaft from slipping inside the dowel when I finger turn?

It's a great idea! To "slip" in the slightest, or get the wrong angle w/the Dremel tool would likely be a disaster. And I'm a true perfectionist w/OCD & virtually every other acronym you can think of.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:49 PM
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In this set, the 3rd or 4th bits from the left side would be the ones to use. You could drill a 1/8" hole in the end of the dowel and super glue the shank of the burr in the hole. This is cheap and simple stuff we are talking about.

20pcs 1/8" Tungsten Carbide Rotary Point Burr Die Grinder Shank Set Tool 3*3mm | eBay
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:02 PM
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In this set, the 3rd or 4th bits from the left side would be the ones to use. You could drill a 1/8" hole in the end of the dowel and super glue the shank of the burr in the hole. This is cheap and simple stuff we are talking about.

20pcs 1/8" Tungsten Carbide Rotary Point Burr Die Grinder Shank Set Tool 3*3mm | eBay
Outstanding! I will procure a set of those "just in case."

Even if he won't part with his "gem," I'll find one. I fell in love with .32-40 WCF caliber a long ago. I've now been bitten by .32 WCF. It's much more interesting in a revolver than .38/.357...to me anyway.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise. It's very much appreciated!

Last edited by Iframe32s; 09-07-2020 at 06:13 PM.
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