Question:

I got a 219 Donaldson Wasp barrel (carbine) for a spare Contender frame so that my BF falling block pistol would have a mate (it's a 219DW also). I loaded up 5 cartridges with a starting load and....... they wouldn't chamber! After a little investigation I found that they were too big in the neck area with a bullet in place. The Contender chamber is a little tighter than the BF's chamber. I pulled the bullets, did some measuring, and turned .003" off the brass.
Then, the loads fit fine but wouldn't fire! They got indented very slightly by the firing pin. I took the gun apart several times to try and find the problem, no luck. So, I put the barrel on another frame and the loads shot beautifully.
I put a match 22rf carbine barrel on the questionable frame and it worked fine.
Any ideas about what's going on? I'd love to have some suggestions.
T.D. Clevenger

Answer:

T.D.,
Back to basics. Get a crowbar and pull the nail outa your foot so you don't run in circles.

1) What is the actual barrel to frame gap? You have to know, or you're piddlin' in the wind guessing.

2) How far do cases stick out of the end of the barrel? It should be slightly less than what the barrel to frame gap measures. I.e., if the barrel is loose on a .003" feeler gauge but is tight on a .004" feeler gauge, you best not have the case heads sticking out more than .003." .002" would be better.

3) How far are the locking bolts engaging the frame? It must be to a point about .030" or so FORWARD OF THE "U" NOTCH IN THE LOCKING BOLTS.

If the interlock is not fully clear of the hammer block, it retards the falling of the block, you get light hits, but no bang.

The distance from the hinge pin holes in the frame to the breech face varies from frame to frame, as does the height of the locking table relative to the barrel's seat in the frame. That is why a one combination of barrel and frame will work when another does not, empty or loaded.

Sorry I don't have it ready to sell yet, but I am toying with a base for a dial indicator that will help you fellows immensely in measuring case head protrusion from the end of the barrel.

Cutting chambers, I have to get it right, or guess what? Barrels I chamber won't go bang either, and folks expect them to when they get them for some reason. There is no reason why you guys can't do the same thing I have to do daily getting it right. I test fire everything I chamber and have to get it right. You can too.

Contrary to some notions, it is quite logical, no metaphysics involved, and easily done. It is just a matter of 1) taking a few measurements and 2) using your thinker. I'm just trying to show you how it is done.

When the above is done and it still does not fire, replacing the hammer spring is good to do.... it needs to be replaced periodically anyway.

If it still does not go bang, sometimes stretching the hammer block spring helps, as does cleaning out and sometimes slicking up the "ways" the block moves up and down in.

With mag primers and military .223 Rem. ammo with hard primers, I have had to reshape the point on the firing pin making it less blunt so it will penetrate deeper into the primer cup.

These latter points are some of the little contingencies, but nine times out of ten it is the 3 basics that are the problem.

Mike

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TC barrels exist; therefore, I am.