October 27th and November 10th were the last two matches of the year for me. They were held at the Sig Saur range at Epping (White Mountain Regulators of NH) and Harvard Sportsman’s Club (Harvard Ghost Riders). While as usual I had a blast, I was plagued with hardware problems during both matches.
In the October match, on the first stage I had 3 light primer hits on my rifle and two on my pistol. This was a first for me never having to deal with light primer hits before. By the third stage I got things sorted out by tightening the mainspring screws on both my 1875 revolvers and by replacing my main spring on my 1866 rifle. The really weird part was that nothing had changed with my ammo. I was using freshly loaded 45’s with KIK powder and Winchester primers just like I always did.
The rifle was explainable. I had a very light mainspring that I used all summer and it appears to have weakened or straightened out a bit and just wasn’t providing enough force to set off the primers. Also I noticed that the bolt/firing pin was a bit rusty from the moosemilk so I took apart the whole rifle and disassembled the bolt and cleaned and lubricated it all. The pin was fine thought I still replaced it but it seemed that the firing pin extension was binding a bit. Cleaned it all up and put it back together again. That didn’t solve the light primer problem, I had to replace that lightened mainspring with my original spring. I installed it with a washer under it to lighten it up a bit and that seems to be working now.
The only thing I can think of with the pistols was that the springs had coincidentally worn at the same time and required more tension to reliably set off the cartridges. No more light primer hits for them either.
The last match was a different story, rifle was fine but I had run out of pistol ammo and I didn’t have any bullets to load up any more. I had enough rifle ammo to make it through the match (just barely) for both pistols and rifle so that’s what I used.
My rifle ammo is full load 45 Colt. About 38 grains of black powder behind a 200 grain JP 45-200. Actually what I had loaded up was some J/P 45-220’s. I normally shoot lighter loads in my 1875’s, 24 grains of powder which are still pretty stout loads but not like the full ones.
First stage I make it through one pistol and the second jams after 2 rounds and I have to put it down. I get to the loading table and notice the the cylinder pin is sticking out about an inch and a half which is what caused the cylinder to cock and jam. Next stage and the cylinder pin stays in but one pistol jams after 3 rounds….had to put it down. I believe that the full loads were just too much for these Uberti’s and that’s what was causing the jams. I then ha to thoroughly clean the pistols between each stage, that helped though I did have to manually rotate and lock a cylinder or two during the rest of the stages.
My shotgun was a different story, performing great during the matches. During the preceding weeks I had cut down the stock on my 1887 shotgun by an inch so that I was better able to rake the lever without stretching. I was also able to hold the shotgun up to my shoulder by the open lever so that I could load two with my weak hand. My shotgun performed flawlessly and I was definitely quicker that I had ever been with this gun….it felt great.
All in all I had a great season and I’m looking forward to spring when it starts all over again.