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  #1  
Old 05-01-2015, 08:30 PM
andyschrader andyschrader is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tampa Bay, FL
Posts: 43
Default Just How Dangerous is Overpressure?

Hi Guys,

So please forgive me, as I am a novice. Eight months ago I had zero knowledge about how to even start cleaning a gun. I just wasn't raised with the knowledge.

So...I purchased a 1903 from who I believe to be a reputable dealer. He described the bore as "very dark and rough." It was a former rifle used by the VFW for ceremonies. The TE was listed as a 7, ME listed as 1 or 2, can't remember. I specifically told him I wanted it to shoot, that I wanted something I could keep within 2" or so at 100 yards. He said no problem. So, I sort of knew what I was getting into, it was sold to me as a bore that would need work, but still it was being sold as a functional rifle.

When it arrived I couldn't even see the rifling, there was so much gunk in there. Cleaned cleaned cleaned, with probably five different products, over a combined period of maybe 8 hours, and took this rifle from seeing black-as-pitch soupy gunk coming out the bore to a relatively benign-looking light gray. I still can't get a clean patch through, don't think I ever will. But I can see the rifling pretty easily, even though the bore is pitted and a little rusted.

Took it to a gunsmith almost as an afterthought, because I figured if I could see the rifling I was good to go. And to my dismay the gunsmith tells me not to shoot it, that he's afraid the bore is too corroded. "The bullet may get stuck and the gasses travel around the bullet," he said. "The whole thing could explode." The gunsmith is definitely not an expert on historic rifles with barrels from 1942, I have a feeling he sees mostly AR's and Glocks. But he is a reputable guy.

Long story short: I researched the warning signs of overpressure. I plan to watch for the warning signs on the expended cartridges as I fire them one at a time, slowly. But mostly, it seems that there are so few documented cases of overpressure failures that I have located that it seems to be pretty unlikely to actually occur.

I'm not trying to be flippant. I'm a grown man who does care about safety. But I simply don't have enough resources I can talk to in person to get a reality check. I feel like the gunsmith is being overconservative, because from my research it seems like there are lots of folks who have bought CMP "ceremonial" rifles, cleaned out the barrels, and been just fine. They may not be super-accurate but they don't sound dangerous. So I just don't see why mine should be any different. The chances of catastrophic overpressure failure seem to be about like the chances of being struck by lightning.

Any insight would be much appreciated. I do respect gunsmiths, I don't have a death wish, but I would also hate to lose the USGI barrel and the history I purchased when I bought this thing. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2015, 08:40 PM
Roadkingtrax Roadkingtrax is offline
 
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Is this reputable dealer known to us all, or is it a local seller? Your initial description of the bore is that of a rifle that is well beyond any useful accuracy.
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2015, 08:44 PM
andyschrader andyschrader is offline
 
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Location: Tampa Bay, FL
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Thank you for your response. Honestly I felt like he was a reputable guy. I had bought another rifle previously from him which I was very happy with. His company has a website and everything, I feel like he could be well known, but I am not "old hand" enough to know if everybody knows him. So no, not just some random local seller.


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Originally Posted by Roadkingtrax View Post
Is this reputable dealer known to us all, or is it a local seller? Your initial description of the bore is that of a rifle that is well beyond any useful accuracy.
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2015, 08:48 PM
Roadkingtrax Roadkingtrax is offline
 
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A gunsmith might well determine if the barrel or rifle are susceptible to damage from more shooting. Shooting blanks, as it were, place little demand on the rifles true purpose.

At this point, doubtful you can return the rifle. If it was not honestly described I would avoid further business. There are a few gunsmiths that could install a new barrel for you, and fit your original sight base and rear sight.

Maybe try Dupage Trading if you're looking for an original 1903 barrel.

http://www.dupagetrading.com/us-mili...odel-1903.html

Last edited by Roadkingtrax; 05-01-2015 at 08:50 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2015, 09:14 PM
Jpm Jpm is offline
 
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Yours sounds just like my eddystone that I told you about in the other thread. When I bought it, I could see no rifling either except from one angle if I looked really hard and cleaning it was much like your experience in both time and results. I didn't bother trying to get a clean patch out of it before I shot it.

I was very cautious with my first shot though, I did not keep my face behind the bolt when I fired for instance. I also have an old kevlar vest that I like to wrap around the receiver of a questionable gun when I proof it. You could wear a heavy glove on the shooting hand too in case of a head separation. I'd load one round of a mild commercial load since you mentioned you don't reload. Garand approved ammo could be a good choice.

If/when you decide to shoot it, take out the bolt before you shoot it and look thru the bore to get a baseline what it looks like then again after you shoot several rounds (I think I did 5 the first time out, then took it home for more cleaning) and you'll probably be surprised to see its cleaner afterwards. I sure was. I'd also check the case and the bore after the first shot to make sure there's no overpressure signs on the case and nothing left behind in the bore (e.g. jacket fragments).
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2015, 09:23 PM
andyschrader andyschrader is offline
 
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Location: Tampa Bay, FL
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I appreciate it Jpm, thanks very much. Yes, I did remember your post on that thread and it made me feel better that I wasn't the only one unable (or maybe unwilling) to bring it to full bright metal.

Maybe I'm just guilty of only hearing what I want to hear, and ignoring the opinions that are inconvenient to me, but your advice sounds really good and makes me excited to try it out.

I plan to do like you say, it makes a lot of sense to me based on the current situation.

If I can ask, why would you only shoot five rounds? That doesn't sound like very much. I was thinking assuming the thing doesn't blow up in my face, to shoot like 25+ rounds the first time out. Is there a particular reason that it's important to shoot less than 10 rounds? I'm assuming it's just based on past experience of what works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpm View Post
Yours sounds just like my eddystone that I told you about in the other thread. When I bought it, I could see no rifling either except from one angle if I looked really hard and cleaning it was much like your experience in both time and results. I didn't bother trying to get a clean patch out of it before I shot it.

I was very cautious with my first shot though, I did not keep my face behind the bolt when I fired for instance. I also have an old kevlar vest that I like to wrap around the receiver of a questionable gun when I proof it. You could wear a heavy glove on the shooting hand too in case of a head separation. I'd load one round of a mild commercial load since you mentioned you don't reload. Garand approved ammo could be a good choice.

If/when you decide to shoot it, take out the bolt before you shoot it and look thru the bore to get a baseline what it looks like then again after you shoot several rounds (I think I did 5 the first time out, then took it home for more cleaning) and you'll probably be surprised to see its cleaner afterwards. I sure was. I'd also check the case and the bore after the first shot to make sure there's no overpressure signs on the case and nothing left behind in the bore (e.g. jacket fragments).
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2015, 09:38 PM
Topkick Topkick is offline
 
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I've had a couple of rifles with "sewer pipe" bores and I've had good luck with this method - I plug the breech end with a cork and fill up the barrel with Hoppes 9 and let it sit for 48 hours. You'll need to top it off every 12 hours due to evaporation. After you pour out the cleaner, it'll probably come out black, run a bore brush and patches through it with the final patch soaked in the cleaner. Take it to the range, shoot 5-10 rounds to heat up the barrel and run a brush and cleaner soaked patches through the warm barrel at the range. You'll be surprised how much cleaner your barrel is
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2015, 09:46 PM
andyschrader andyschrader is offline
 
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Thank you Topkick, I appreciate it. Lord, I feel like I've cleaned the crap out of this thing so many times. I've tried Carb Cleaner, Wipe Out, CLP, Hoppe's #9 Bore Cleaner, Dawn + Hot Water, and all with a stainless steel bristle brush. But I have NOT tried to plug the barrel and let the #9 sit inside, so I guess it's worth a shot. Thanks again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topkick View Post
I've had a couple of rifles with "sewer pipe" bores and I've had good luck with this method - I plug the breech end with a cork and fill up the barrel with Hoppes 9 and let it sit for 48 hours. You'll need to top it off every 12 hours due to evaporation. After you pour out the cleaner, it'll probably come out black, run a bore brush and patches through it with the final patch soaked in the cleaner. Take it to the range, shoot 5-10 rounds to heat up the barrel and run a brush and cleaner soaked patches through the warm barrel at the range. You'll be surprised how much cleaner your barrel is
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2015, 11:33 PM
John Beard John Beard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sweet Home Alabama
Posts: 2,804
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The issue is not how accurate your barrel is. The issue is how safe your barrel is.

Bullet jackets are made from gilding metal, which is a copper alloy. Gilding metal is used because it slides against steel similar to a bearing without leaving a coating or deposit on the steel. Gilding metal, however, does not slide against other gilding metal. It galls.

If you have a corroded bore, it will scrape gilding metal from a passing bullet and coat the bore with gilding metal. Successive shots will then gall more gilding metal from each passing bullet, systematically restricting the bore and causing pressures to rise. Eventually, one shot will be EXTREMELY EXCITING; one you will never forget! I've read the reports.

Be careful!

J.B.
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2015, 08:14 AM
andyschrader andyschrader is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tampa Bay, FL
Posts: 43
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Hi John,

Thanks very much for your insight. I (sort of) understand what you're saying, and I have no doubt that it is possible to happen.

What I'm trying to understand is, are you saying that the explosive outcome you refer to is inevitable? That I'll basically have to continue the stainless-steel brushing heavy duty cleaning just to keep this thing operational?

Or is it more like, if I ignore the warning signs of overpressure and don't bother cleaning out my rifle again, this could possibly happen?

I don't reload, I mostly just use the Greek HXP ammo, which (correct me if I'm wrong) I thought was a relatively mild M2 load, which does not generate overly high pressure.

So if I don't shoot high-power ammunition, make a visual "check-in" on the bore condition occasionally, and watch for warning signs, is it fair to say that the general consensus would be "Proceed with Caution" instead of "Hang it On the Wall?"

Thanks again for your help. Sorry I like to ramble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Beard View Post
The issue is not how accurate your barrel is. The issue is how safe your barrel is.

Bullet jackets are made from gilding metal, which is a copper alloy. Gilding metal is used because it slides against steel similar to a bearing without leaving a coating or deposit on the steel. Gilding metal, however, does not slide against other gilding metal. It galls.

If you have a corroded bore, it will scrape gilding metal from a passing bullet and coat the bore with gilding metal. Successive shots will then gall more gilding metal from each passing bullet, systematically restricting the bore and causing pressures to rise. Eventually, one shot will be EXTREMELY EXCITING; one you will never forget! I've read the reports.

Be careful!

J.B.
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