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Thread: rifle does not fire every time

  1. #1
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    Default rifle does not fire every time

    I bought a used Ruger MKII .35 Whelen. It really shoots nice. That is when it does not go "CLICK". I have 2 separate boxes of ammo. Both are factory load Remingtons, bought different places, and they have different weight bullets. It does not matter which box, the results are pretty much the same.
    I know enough to be able to take the firing pin out of the bolt and cleaned it all thoroughly. I used a magnifying glass to look at the firing pin itself, and can not see any problems from one end to the other. As it was cold out, I did not relube any part of the bolt assembly to preclude sticking.
    I went back to the range and the same thing happened. I put the gun back in the warm truck in front of a dash vent and thoroughly warmed it. Right back to the bench and the same thing again.
    Some folks point at the firing pin, some the head space. Has anybody had the same issue with a Ruger MKII? Could it be anything else?
    Thanks guys. (and gals)

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    Was there a dimple on the primers of the ones that went click?

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    Default dimpled primers

    good point. Yes, the primers were all dimpled. A few rounds, after going "click", went "bang" the second time I tried them. But that was not the norm.

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    I had this exact same problem with a VZ24 .257 Roberts. The thing that finally fixed it was replacing the existing trigger with a new one. In my case I used a Timney and it now goes bang every time. I wouldn't want to speculate about what's causing it for you, but it's something to keep in mind when considering your options.
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    I had this problem with my stainless M77MKII in 350 Rem Mag. Particularly with Remington Primers which are a little hard these days. But it fires CCI and Federal prmers just fine....

    I looked into it and it turns out that a VERY popular item is a replacement firing pin spring. I found more than a few web sites with threads about weak firing pin springs and replacing them.

    But first:

    a.
    Disassemble the bolt and clean all the grease out of the firing pin channel. Mine was full.

    b.
    Have the headspace checked to make sure you do not have excessive headspace.

    c.
    If the above are OK then try to find a 24 pound firing pin spring. The stock Ruger spring is supposedly a 21 pound but mine was weaker than that. Brownells sells stock firing pin springs for $4.00

    Wolff has the 24 or 28 pound springs for $8

    http://www.gunsprings.com/RifleShotgun/Ruger_Rs.html#77



    Interesting video from RUGER
    http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/N-Ruge...sassembly.html

    http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/N-Ruge...sassembly.html
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    Default thanks FP & AK257

    GREAT VIDEO. I won't tell you how I got the bolt out, but wasn't the way he did it. That in itself was worth the time to watch the video.
    Bolt was dissasembled and cleaned with Brake Clean, Stoddard Solvent, and compressed air. A Q-tip in the bolt itself came out clean enough to use on my ear.
    Are there any drawbacks to going to a heavier spring? More wear on the pin? Stiffer to fire?
    I am not a gunsmith, but none of this scares me. I guess I could always take a pile of parts to him later and have it put together if I can't figure out how to get it back together.
    I looked at the spring pretty close to determine if it was broken or intact. It is intact. I did not look at the assembly closely. Any tricks to installing a new spring?
    If there are no issues with a heavier spring, seems to me to be a safe thing to do to replace the existing one. I have no idea how hard this gun was used, so starting fresh there make sense to me.

    The trigger is pretty standard Ruger. AK257 indicated that a trigger change fixed his problem. Mechanically I don't understand how. Doesn't the assembly, when cocked, hold the pin back, and the trigger allows the release? Could the trigger be hanging up on something so the firing mechanism is dragging?

    Looking at headspace issues, a guy has to have the right gauge. What would or should I expect to pay a pro to check that out? How time consumng is that process?

    again, thanks for the help

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    As for checking the headspace it just takes a couple of little gauges. I have a couple around here but not a 35 Whelen. Just call around until you find a gunsmith who has a set. It takes about 5 minutes at the most and cost me $5 the last time I had it done by Arron up at Gator Guns in Kenai. It is basically a Go and NO-GO type deal.

    I do not think that there is any problem with going to the 24 pound spring.

    I have another one on order as we speak.

    As for getting the old spring off and new spring on.... Well, in this case the Ruger design stinks. You need to compress the spring while at the same time driving out a pin. They make a 30 to 60 dollar jig just for this purpose. I have done it with help from another guy, a buch of pliers, vice grips and cussing.

    If you call around, one of your local gunsmiths probably has the jig device. If so it takes 5 minutes to swap the springs and nobody looses an eye.
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    Default firing pin

    find a gunsmith who knows what a firing pin protrusion gauge is

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    Default swapping firing pins

    Logman's post got me to thinking again about the pin. I did look at it with a magnifying glass and saw nothing to indicate it was damaged.
    I do have the same rifle in a 30-06. Is there any reason that I could not take the firing pin out of it and try it in the .35 whelen? If the .35W fired consistently with the 06 pin, then at least I would have narrowed down the problems to only 2 things. If the .35W doesn't fire with the 06 pin, then I would have to look at the extractors and head space?
    Are all the Ruger mkII bolts in those calibers the same? Or reasonably the same as can be expected from manufacturing processes?

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    Default Firing pin

    A firing pin protrusion gauge measures the distance the tip of the firing extends out from your bolt face , standard procedure when you're building custom rifles with Mausers , Spingfields , P17's , etc . but those are old guns . I had a 95 Winchester in 35 Winchester that was sloppy with a field gauge and didn't fire all the time , headspace problem . My machines are long gone here in the boondocks so I send the metal work to Dale Storey in Casper , Wyoming and to Joe Reid in Tucson , he's the best and helped write a few of the books floating around Trinidad . Joe's famous for cutting actions in half and making them longer or shorter and just doing it all at a decent price .

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    I had the same problem with an early M-77 in 308 cal. I replaced the striker (firing pin) spring with a new factory standard one, it it solved the proble, even with foreign surplus ammo.

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    Default still looking for answers

    I am not adverse to using a gunsmith for head space concerns or firing pin protrusion. But I would like to do as much trouble shooting on my own as possible. Let me ask my question again.
    I have a MKII in .30-06. Is the firing pin interchangeable with the one in the .35 Whelen?
    If so, then it is simple for me to complete the switch and try the .35W to see if it fires consistently. I would think if it did, that would narrow the search down to the firing spring or protrusion.
    Can anybody confirm my theory or tell me why it would not work?
    Thanks folks

  13. #13
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    Default something to think about

    I have the same gun, also in 35 Whelen. Mine is a re-barrel...originally '06. I had the same problem you are having when I first got my rifle. I couldn't find brass locally, and I wanted the correct head stamp, so I bought several boxes of Remington factory loads that I just intended to shoot up for the brass. I started having the same problem. However, I proceeded to reload the cases which were now fire formed to my chamber and found that it has not been a problem since. I haven't had any problems in several years now. You didn't mention if you had tried any handloads, but you may find the same thing I did. And, yes....I realize that I didn't actually solve the problem of why I had the occasional misfire with the factory loads, but all of the measurements I took of my fired (and reloaded) brass were OK, so I took the easy way out and stopped looking for a problem.

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    If you look at the slight shoulder on the 35 Whelen brass you'll see a common problem. Necking up the '06 brass to 35 caliber doesn't leave much of a shelf to headspace the cartridge. When the chamber is slightly long in the head to shoulder dimension and the new unfired brass is slightly short in the same dimension, we get misfires. The cartridge moves forward slightly as the striker falls and this absorbs the striker energy make a light hit on the primer.

    If this is the case, and it has been common in my experience with many Whelens and other similar '06 wildcats, it is difficult to fix the factory ammo. If you have a kinetic bullet puller you can hammer the bullet out enough to press fit into the rifling and this will hold the round against the striker blow. This of course may not be the best as it could raise pressures slightly. The best remedy is to use only hand loaded ammo custom fitted to the chamber (fireformed) then only hand loads in that brass. Some rifles will digest factory ammo in the 35 Whelen easily without a hitch, others have a slightly oversized chamber and need attention.

    Of course this problem could be from mechanical problems with the rifle but that is rare in a bolt action rifle and common with the 35 Whelen caliber.
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    In line with what Murphy said...even though I am a big fan of the 35 Whelen, this exact issue is why I would give the edge to the 338-06 when it comes to cartridges based on the '06. All of the differences between the 35 Whelen and 338-06 that you see in the loading manuals are insignificant at best in real world conditions, IMO. The headspacing issue, however, doesn't seem to be a problem with the 338-06 due to the bigger "shelf" (to use Murphy's term) that is left when necking up to 338 as opposed to 35. Shouldn't be an issue with handloads, but obviously can be when using factory loads.

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    I used to have that same rifle and had the same problem. Sent it back to ruger twice and never could get the darn thing to work right. Reliability of 60-70 percent at best. I did find that it worked best with neck sized reloads, they were quite reliable. I'm guessing head space problem. It would make a good whelen improved. Or a good candidate for a 35/375 Ruger!!

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    Default Headspace etc.

    With a good extractor on a controlled feed gun I've been able to fire all sorts of stuff with no misfires. For example .308s in an '06, 7.65 Mauser in a 7.7 Jap, and 9mm Luger in a 89mm Largo This was with hard military primers. Of course it is very dangerous and not recommended esp. the 7.65 Mausers in a Jap &.7 but the point is you can fire cartridges with grossly excessive hadspace and not have misfires if you have a good extractor and a good firing pin setup.

    I'd look for an issue other than headspace. Make certain the firing pin isn't dragging inside the bolt for one - put some layout dye on the assembly and see what rubs inside the bolt. it probably won't hurt to polish everything up anyway.
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  18. #18

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    You can check the headspace with out gauges by using 3m masking tape. Place one layer of masking tape over base of a cartridge cut with sharp knife or razor blade so you have a round disk on base this will act like a no go guage. if you have a kinetic puller pull bullet and powder from case if you can't pull the bullet put safety on point rifle in safe direction insert cartidge into magazine gently try to chamber the case. Bolt should not rotate to closed postion if it does you have to excessive headspace. I see no reason why your 30/06 firing pin and spring should not fit your 35 whelen bolt if there are the same model of ruger.

  19. #19
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    Yes you could unscrew the bolt head and firing pin assembly from your 30-06 and screw it into your 35 Whelen bolt.

    If it then fires 100% of the time it means that something was wrong with one of the parts of either,,, the Whelen Bolt head, firing pin, or firing pin spring.
    If it still has a problem, then it is either, head space, crappy remington factory ammo, or the hole in your bolt head not being quite large enough.

    Meanwhile my new firing pin spring from Wolf arrived today. I ordered it back when you started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    With a good extractor on a controlled feed gun I've been able to fire all sorts of stuff with no misfires. For example .308s in an '06, 7.65 Mauser in a 7.7 Jap, and 9mm Luger in a 89mm Largo This was with hard military primers. Of course it is very dangerous and not recommended esp. the 7.65 Mausers in a Jap &.7 but the point is you can fire cartridges with grossly excessive hadspace and not have misfires if you have a good extractor and a good firing pin setup.
    I must be missing something here. Why would you intentionally do that?

    I'm willing to bet that the OP's problem is simply headspace, and that it can be solved with handloads using brass that has been fire formed to his chamber. As I said in my previous post, I haven't had any issues with mine in several years now.

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