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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  1860 Henry (Moderators: Flint, Major 2)  |  Topic: Converting original 1866 to center fire 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Converting original 1866 to center fire  (Read 8629 times)
nativeshootist
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« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2018, 05:50:24 pm »

Just checking if you're still working on this
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DJ
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« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2018, 06:17:00 pm »

Sorry for the long absence--one thing after another, then waiting on a tool (Woodruff key cutter).  My little Maximat mill and lathe had been boxed away for a dozen years while I lived other parts of my life.  Got the lathe out again about two year ago, but the mill was still in the box.  Needed to reassemble it, try to get it true (apparently not quite there), repack the gears with grease, etc.   Oddly, I just got back to it yesterday (took a day off with the kids out of school), and today have what I believe is a working prototype.  I'll try to get some photos posted to show how it is ending up.

--DJ
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DJ
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« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2018, 09:09:40 pm »

I knew I needed a round key cutter (Woodruff) to cut the quarter-moon notch in the striker, so off to Ebay.  It was easy to find a cutter to fit the diameter of the notch,  but I could not find one the right width--all were either too thin or too thick, and I didn't want to spend the $$ for a custom width.  I also didn't want to cut it twice with a thin cutter, because I was afraid it would throw in an unneeded variable.  So (and I suspect this is blasphemy to the real machinists among you) I bought a cutter that was a little too wide and used a carbide bit in the lathe to reduce its width.  I had given up on finding my vise (things can be hard to find after a dozen years) so I installed the piston/striker in a quick-change tool holder as if it had been a round boring bar.  I then turned my milling head sideways, which involved pulling the chuck off of my lathe head to make room.  Here are some photos of the cutter setup (cut already made) and the relationships of the parts.  Silly me didn't realize the quarter-moon cut is in two different diameters--interestingly the deeper cut is machine-made, but the two edges appear to have been filed on.



* IMG_0605.JPG (228.31 KB, 2777x3379 - viewed 103 times.)

* IMG_0616.JPG (280.55 KB, 4687x2575 - viewed 88 times.)
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DJ
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« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2018, 09:27:15 pm »

Here are a couple shots comparing an original with the conversion.  You can see the file marks on the original cutout--not sure why'd you be filing there.  Even though I didn't match the diameters correctly, it looks like it should work.


* extractor notch.jpg (294.38 KB, 3290x3059 - viewed 92 times.)

* Extractor notch side.jpg (356.9 KB, 4170x3858 - viewed 89 times.)
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Coal Creek Griff
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« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2018, 11:40:50 pm »

I have to tell you that I'm really impressed with your work. This is a very cool project.

CC Griff
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DJ
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« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2018, 10:55:17 am »

I also cut the bevel on the back end of the striker--I just tried to mimic the original--I don't think tolerances are very tight on this end.

After that comes reassembly and then some more primer tests.  Based on the design, I cannot see why the Model 1866 does not have a reputation for accidental discharges and slam fires, but perhaps I'll find out.  Weirdly, a couple years ago I saw dies on Ebay for .44 Evans Short and .45 Henry Flat.  I don't have an Evans that shoots the short cartridge, but happened to know they would work with .44 Merwin Hulbert.  I also figured that "someday" I might reload a Model 1866, so got the Henry dies as well--I mean, how often do you see those for sale?  So during primer testing I also plan to start working up a cartridge.


* Hammer end bevel.jpg (300.15 KB, 2604x1558 - viewed 80 times.)
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dusty texian
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Dusty Texian


« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2018, 01:12:01 pm »

Looking good ! Have been keeping up with your project  , anxious to see how it fires ! ,,,DT
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DJ
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« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2018, 01:40:53 pm »

Well, something always comes up.  I got the action reassembled and it all seems to work.  I had a couple of .44 cases that are .440 in diameter and short enough to fit in the chamber, so I tried them out, and the primers went off as they should, so there's progress.



* Striker.jpg (339.43 KB, 4500x3030 - viewed 72 times.)

* Bolt head.jpg (289.87 KB, 2235x2304 - viewed 77 times.)
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DJ
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« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2018, 02:00:03 pm »

Now I'm working on forming some brass.  The "book" diameter of a .44 Henry seems to be .446, which will take some work.  Oddly, the used .44 Henry dies (by CH-4D) I have seem to form a slightly bottlenecked case, with a base of .448 and a neck of .440.  Not sure what that is about, but it will be interesting to see.  In any event, I figure I can form and shorten .44 Russian cases, but I have broken enough dies to know that you run a risk if you try to full-length form a case from .457 (.44 Russian case head diameter) to .446 with regular sizing dies.  You need to take special steps when forming the head, and anyone who has heard that telltale "ping" of a die cracking knows what I mean.  Fortunately, last summer I made up a series of head swaging dies out of bolts to take .44 Special case heads (.457 diameter) down to form .44 Merwin, Hulbert cases (which are a straight case of .440 diameter), so if I poke around through what I've got already, I may have what I need.

Of course with every "fortunately" there is usually an accompanying "unfortunately," and today is no exception--it seems this rifle was dry-fired enough that the rimfire firing pins made dents in the end of the chamber--they're actually pretty small, but they have raised corresponding burrs on each side of chamber, at 3:00 and 9:00 o'clock that scratch the full size brass more than I'd like.  They must be fairly small--only few thousandths tall--because they don't scratch a .440 diameter case, but they are big enough to scratch a full-diameter case and interfere with seating a cartridge of .448 diameter.  I suspect they would also put some drag on the case after it is fired, which could be a problem with extraction--1866 extractors are not particularly robust.  With the geometry of the barrel and receiver, these will be a little tough to get at, but I am not interested in pulling the barrel out of the frame, so we are in a delay mode for a little bit while I hunt down my bent Swiss riffler files to see if I have something suitable to use.

Below are photos of the chamber burrs and the partially formed .44 Russian cases.  The burrs show as two little shiny areas at 9:00 and 3:00 o'clock.  The case shows several scratches, because I ran it into the chamber a few times to find the location of the burrs.  You can see that each scratch starts about a third of the way down the case, which is about the bottom of the very very slight bottleneck formed by the dies.

--DJ






* chamber burrs.jpg (304.44 KB, 3323x3038 - viewed 84 times.)

* case scratches.jpg (259.88 KB, 3300x2016 - viewed 81 times.)
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Cholla Hill Tirador
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« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2018, 06:46:42 pm »

  I'm enjoying following this.

  Regarding the problems with the chamber and pulling the barrel; I have an old '73 Winchester (1886 production) whose barrel was hopelessly pitted and needed to be lined, which of course required pulling the barrel. Even though I'm not a gunsmith, the process was dirt clod simple.
  I found that a 1" x 2" board such as one finds at a lumberyard fit the carrier mortise perfectly (I used oak). So using a center punch I indexed the barrel in a hidden area under the forearm, used a hydraulic press and two oak blocks to clamp to hold the barrel, put the 1 x 2 board through the carrier mortise, and simply screwed the frame off the barrel. It required very little effort to break the receiver free of the barrel.

   

 For a round barrel, one would need to groove a couple of oak blocks and apply a little rosins.

After John Taylor lined the barrel and returned it to me, I simply reversed the procedure screwing the receiver back onto the barrel until the indexing marks were aligned. Easy-peasy.

 I bet that once the barrel were removed, the raised areas at the rear of the chamber could be carefully worked down.

 CHT
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Mike
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« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2018, 01:24:27 am »

Looks like rust may be causing the case marks. Do you have a bore scope. I wold use some steel wool and polishing compound and work slowly from the chamber mouth in.
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Buffalochip
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« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2018, 03:04:38 pm »

You'll have to make one of these in the right diam.:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUZwIf0J2k
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DJ
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« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2018, 11:16:59 am »

That is a fascinating tool--I'm going to have to figure out how it works.  I don't know if I will need it for this project, but I have a couple of Spencers that could use some help.  On account of its firing pin design, dry-firing a Spencer can raise a lump in the chamber about 1/8 of an inch wide, and deep enough to keep a case from even entering the chamber.  I would love to try ironing out the lump with such a tool.

As for my '66 conversion project, it appears that the firing pins only raised a couple of pretty small burrs.  I believe I have them cleaned off, and have the brass equation solved (although I still need to make a few cases).  I have moulds for bullets that will fit, but none of the ones I tried make a cartridge long enough to function through the action.  "Somewhere" I have one more mould I intend to try, but I need to locate it first and cast up some bullets.  I've now tried primers several times, and they consistently go off, so I think we're getting close.

--DJ
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PJ Hardtack
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« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2018, 02:03:45 pm »

I envy your machining and engineering skills! Fascinating to watch your work in progress.
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Coal Creek Griff
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« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2018, 04:42:06 pm »

I envy your machining and engineering skills! Fascinating to watch your work in progress.

I wholeheartedly concur!

CC Griff
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dusty texian
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« Reply #40 on: February 18, 2018, 06:17:07 pm »

Yep what they said . Very good job .Nothing wrong with getting one of these old irons shooting again , and no harm done to the original parts . ,,,DT
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DJ
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« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2018, 08:39:04 pm »

Awww . . . y'all are makin' me blush.

Project delayed on account of my 3-day weekend was taken up with college tours for a couple of high school seniors.

I'm optimistic about some brass-forming and perhaps casting this weekend in preparation for a range trip.

--DJ
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2018, 10:32:14 pm »

Range Trip??    OH YUM!!!!  Hardly wait
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DJ
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« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2018, 12:57:59 am »

OK, I decided to make a second bolt head in case my first one isn't quite right.  The first one I made has a broader firing pin with the idea that it might operate to support the primer a little bit to keep it from backing out.  The alternative bolt head has a much smaller firing pin and less fore-and-aft travel in an effort to provide a little more case head support.  I also hardened the piston, because it was peening a little where the hammer hits it.  After all was assembled I chambered a few primed cases--they fired just fine, but I also noticed that just chambering the case causes a dent in the primer (photos below).  So I need to dissassemble the bolt head and reduce the length of the firing pin very slightly.  So much of this work is adjust--assemble--try--dissassemble--adjust some more, because all I have are approximate dimensions.  If you go too far, start over again.  I'm trying to get the center pin the same length as the rimfire pins--so close but so far away.  I mangaged to get some brass made up and have found some bullets that will do in a pinch, but just could not get it all done and to the range this weekend.  Still, I feel I'm getting closer.


* Center vs. Rim.jpg (110.79 KB, 1102x873 - viewed 69 times.)

* Dimpled brass.jpg (171.5 KB, 2640x2352 - viewed 67 times.)

* full length striker.jpg (174.97 KB, 2214x2376 - viewed 75 times.)
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nativeshootist
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« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2018, 12:49:07 am »

Man DJ that is a nice rifle and im always anxious for the next up date. out of curiosity, would copying how a uberti bolt prevent the primers from being dented/going off?
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DJ
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« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2018, 08:44:39 am »

Hey Nativeshooter--

Thanks for the input and interest.  I have a Uberti 1866 bolt that I partially fitted, but it is a different design--much more like an 1873 bolt with a sold bolt face and very different firing pin design.  If the conversion I'm working on ends up not being very durable, or if the problems cannot be safely solved, then I will probably try the 1873-style bolt.  But I'm hopeful that I can work things out with a little more trial and error.

For the time being my project is on hold as I'm taking time off to visit the Maryland Arms Collectors Show this weekend.  I would guess that the majority of items for sale at this show are civil war era, but there is a broad range of offerings from Revolutionary War flintlocks up through K98s of WWII.  If you ever have a chance to go, it is pretty amazing and usually has a strong showing of original Winchesters as well as a variety of original cowboy era handguns (Colts, Remingtons, Merwin Hulberts, S&Ws, plus lots of obscure stuff).  It could easily break the bank if a person took to buying things, but it only costs $10 to look all day.
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nativeshootist
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2018, 12:04:46 am »

that does sound awesome, too bad im a plains baby. Seems like all the cool gun shows happen on the east coast.  Sad
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treebeard
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2018, 02:08:06 pm »

that does sound awesome, too bad im a plains baby. Seems like all the cool gun shows happen on the east coast.  Sad

I agree- exceptions are the Tulsa show  which is good for Winchesterís and SAA and the Missouri Valley Collectors show in August in the Kansas City Area. I would love to make the Baltimore Show one day but that is a long way from Kansas!
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nativeshootist
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« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2018, 08:15:46 pm »

I just thought about this, but doesn't someone here have an original winchester that was converted at the factory?
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DJ
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« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2018, 12:38:30 am »

At Last!!

I cobbled together about 25 rounds of test ammo before the weekend but was tied up all day Saturday as a chauffeur and most of Sunday with catch-up chores (after "missing" last weekend while at the Baltimore Show).  About 4:00 p.m. I reached a good quitting point and lamented that I wouldn't have time to go to the range to test things out.  Spouse replied, "It doesn't get dark until after 7:00--just go."  So number 2 son and I loaded up some guns and ammo, grabbed some cardboard for targets, and off to the range.

I was pleased to see that everything went off with no problems.  I had loaded up some light loads with fiber wads to fill up the air space--they fired just fine, so I went to the "full power" loads.  I was surprised at how mild even the "case full of 3f" loads were.  I still need to figure out the right bullet, cartridge length, etc., but it was pretty exciting that it worked so well.

I still need to sort out the right load, but in the meantime, IT SHOOTS!


* IMG_0788.JPG (145.92 KB, 2230x415 - viewed 87 times.)

* IMG_0799.JPG (310.7 KB, 4446x1074 - viewed 91 times.)
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