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Re: First firing 1884, AND reprductions

Posted by Dick Hosmer on Tuesday, 17 July 2012, at 11:01 a.m., in response to Re: First firing 1884, posted by Steve robinson on Tuesday, 17 July 2012, at 6:31 a.m.

This will be the short version.

There are two, really unrelated, "problems" with the .45-70 TD.

Problem number one involves ammunition, and has been around since at LEAST 1900 or so. The factories loaded .45-70 to two basic levels, one for old guns, and one for new, such as (when the practice started) the Winchester 1886. The boxes used to be fairly well marked, and you just didn't use the hotter loads in the "weaker" guns. Then, the large (all that existed at the time) makers dropped the hot, and loaded everything to TD pressures. Now, with all of the niche loaders, I'd guess you can buy almost anything. Cowboy Action Shooting - AND the general wussing of the American male (weaned on the M16) - has made very light loads popular. For those who reload, huge amounts of data are available, for plinking to elephant (the .45-70, in a Ruger #1, can be loaded to almost match the .458 Winchester). Care MUST be taken, but, an original TD in good condition should be quite safe (if a bit hard on the shoulder) with the loads for which it was designed.

Problem number two is related SOLELY to the repros (ALL - yes, EVERY one - of the H&Rs and some* Pedersolis). In their infinite wisdom, starting in 1970, the bean-counters at H&R elected to manufacture the cam latch in two pieces, so as to avoid some machining on the block, and eliminate the retaining plate with screw. In THIS design, with use, the cam may come loose on its' shaft and produce (unfortunately invisibly) a "false lock" condition, where the block - at discharge - is held shut only by the overlap of the hammer nose! H&R started the problem, but the issue spread to the EARLY Pedersolis (who swear they did not "copy" the H&R, or buy their machinery). H&R is, of course, out of business, and, AFAIK, Pedersoli HAS somehow changed their process, but I do NOT know at what number that occurred; one would have to contact the factory.

What can one do? Following are MY rules and recommendations:

(1) If using an original, know your ammo, and choose it properly.

(2) If you own an H&R, DO NOT SHOOT IT AGAIN, UNTIL THE LOOSE PARTS HAVE BEEN ALIGNED AND PINNED.

(3) If you own a Pedersoli made in the 1980s or early 1990s, you would be wise to refer to rule #2. At the very least, contact the factory for further information - I'm just GUESSING at the changeover point. All I really know is that they ARE aware of the issue, and DID make a physical change at some juncture. For all I know, they MIGHT even have some sort of (almost certainly unpublicized) "exchange" program.


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