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Jamming S&W (Howa) 1500

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by ZigZagZeke, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. ZigZagZeke

    ZigZagZeke Eugene Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I have a S&W (Howa) 1500 in .30-06 that I picked up a few years ago used. I've been having a problem with it failing to feed at times since day one, but the problem seemed to come and go. I thought I had this fixed last year after I polished out all the machining marks in the feed ramp. Once I completed that operation I couldn't make it jam. But then last Sunday after I fired one shot and took down my buck I went to jack another round into the chamber and it jammed again.

    A really close inspection of the loading ramp revealed a small vertical high spot near the center of the ramp, which might have made it difficult for the bullet nose to migrate toward the centerline of the bore as the cartridge is pushed forward by the bolt. I took a little more metal off to true it up and thought I had it fixed when I cycled it on the bench with a couple of cartridges. However, when I simulated conditions from Sunday by loading 5 cartridges into the magazine, and loading and ejecting the first round, the second round was very difficult to chamber. After the second round all other cartridges seemed to feed smoothly. So what was it about the second round, and only the second round out of this fully loaded 5 round magazine that caused it to hang up?

    Then I looked closely at the magazine follower spring and noticed an extra bend in the last segment before the floor plate attachment point. Depressing the follower produced a fairly uniform pressure until I got to the last 1/2" of movement, where the pressure suddenly increased dramatically due to that extra bend. I straightened out that bend enough to reduce the pressure to a more uniform amount and suddenly the second round fed easily. Apparently, the extra bend in the spring was putting enough upward pressure on the second cartridge in a full magazine that it was very difficult for the bolt to push the cartridge forward and roll it out of the retaining/guide rail machined into the receiver. One tip-off was numerous lengthwise scratches appearing on the cartridge cases I was using for testing produced by the cases being forced hard up against the guide rail's sharp edges. So now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the problem is truly resolved. Has anyone else ever run into something similar?
     
  2. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    I had a Rem 700 that was giving me similar feeding problems and discovered that the magazine spring was installed backwards. I turned it around and haven't had a problem with it since.
     
  3. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    I am confused by your term: S&W (Howa) 1500
    Howa is themselves, and I didn't think they ever made guns for Smith....

    Anyway, that problem is quite common with crappy stamped sheet metal follower springs. Specifically in Savages, they can be infuriating sometimes.
     
  4. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    Howa has made firearms for Weatheby and for Smith and Wesson - I had a S&W model 1500 deluxe ( nice wood stock and iron sights ) in 300 WM that I used to put a down on my wifes wedding ring about 30 years ago. It is a nice rifle in my opinion.

    James Ruby
     
  5. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    I know they build the Vangard, didn't know the Smith connection. The only Rifle I knew they were into was the T/C's. Learnt me something new today.
     
  6. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Off topic...

    I have been having a random magazine problem with my 700. I will have to check this, thank you.
     
  7. ZigZagZeke

    ZigZagZeke Eugene Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I walked into a gun store one day about 15 years ago and there, 20 feet away, on the used gun rack was this "Weatherby". I walked over for a closer look and it turned out that it wasn't a Weatherby at all. It had "Smith & Wesson Model 1500" stamped on the side of the barrel. It had a high gloss finish, hand checkering, and the deep bluing you only see on expensive guns, and it looked identical to a Weatherby. I was really puzzled. The guy behind the counter said it looked like a Weatherby because Howa makes both guns. I've been very pleased with it. I've shot 6 deer in the last 8 years with it and never missed a shot. It consistently shoots 1" groups.