Question:

Mike, I read your article about barrels flying open and ejecting shells. It
all sounds great to me, but is a little over my head.
I have an older model .375 JDJ that I bought last year second-hand. When
I first bought it..it ejected a few shells using 260 gr. bullets. 220's
were just fine, and since that is all I normally shoot...I didnt think much
more about it. Now the 220 gr. bullets are doing it too, Even with lighter
than normal loads. I have contacted SSK about it and I DO NOT feel very
confident with the communication that I have had with them. Their reply is
usually very short and dosent answer my questions. I was wondering if this
is something that YOU could trouble-shoot for me, and since you are just
south of me here in Oregon, it might be easier anyway.
a little history on the problem.....
1. The spring for the trigger guard/release seemed worn so I ordered a new
one and replaced it. Did not help.
2. I tried the receiver with my .45 Colt barrel with a maximum load. No
problems.
3. I tried the .375 Barrel on my other receiver...it flew open with the
first load. These are slightly lighter loads than I used to shoot without
any problems with 220 Hornady's
4. The problem seemed to get worse after trying some 300 gr. cast bullets,
I thought maybe it could be excessive pressure due to some leading, I
cleaned the bore thoroughly and it still persists.

It SEEMS, from process of elimination...that it is the barrel and not the
receiver, but it could be a combination of both. I am certainly NOT skilled
with these things. Like I said...I tried the .45 with hot loads....but I am
sure the .375 operates at higher pressures.

I would appreciate any advice that you would care to offer. I have for now
put the barrel away and will not attempt any further experimenting.
Whew...Thanks, Robert

 

Answer:

Robert & fellow Oregonian,

In regard to your question about your barrel flying open,
my reply may seem short also, but the barrel flying open is due to one or
more of the following conditions:

1) the locking bolts not engaging far enough into the frame.....They must
engage past the "U" notch in the locking bolts. Tolerances in the hammer
block and interlock in some frames may permit barrels that are not fully
locked up fire. With inadequate lock up, they are more prone to unlocking.

2) the locking table in the frame being rounded, the condition having been
aggravated by firing barrels not fully locked up.

3) not setting the shoulders back to the right location resulting in cases
too long from shoulder to case head. Cases that are too long interfere with
lockup and are the biggest single cause of such problems as you describe.

There can be other causes such as the trigger guard return spring screw
being turned in too far and preventing lock up, but one must eliminate the 3
main common causes listed above.

Then to test to see if the trigger guard return spring screw is the problem,
remove it. You can fire and function the gun without it usually. If it
suddenly functions ok without flying open, then with the grip/butt off the
frame, turn the socket head screw behind the hammer spring on the top side
of the grip tennon in about one turn at a time until you get the locking
bolts to engage the frame somewhat past their "U" notch with the screw
intalled. Use a felt tip pen to blacken the locking bolts so you can see
how far they are engaging.

With a little help and insight, you can fix the vast majority of Contender
and Encore problems yourself. It is much better for your equilibrium than
running in circles with one foot nailed to the floor.

If you need more help, just let me know.

All the best, Mike