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Levergun VooDoo & Wizardry advice wanted!

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Greenbug, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    Ok, let me start off by stating that I am a bolt bender who is generally obsessed with accuracy. I want my guns to shoot better than I do, and if I miss my intended target, I want to know it is MY fault and not the gun or ammo. I also want my guns to be the best I can make them without a rediculous gunsmithing bill. I have tinkered with hundreds of bolt action rifles over the years, some I keep, some move down the road to new owners to make way for my new projects. I think I may honestly have a slight case of gun A.D.D.

    Anyhow, I have owned a very few lever guns over the years and have gotten bored with them easily because I was intimidated to take them apart and look under the hood to see how they work. Well I took the levergun bait again last weekend and bought a used Marlin 1894 in 357 Magnum. By the serial number code it was made in 1981. It is in excellent shape for being 32 years old! I thought it was an added bonus that it does not have that stupid crossbolt safety on it either!

    Sunday I was bored so I watched a couple of YT videos on how to take them apart and "tune" them up. After watching the videos, my confidence was high so I disassembled my new to me rifle on the kitchen table. I started working on the rough machine marks with some emery cloth, then polished them up with my dremel and some jewelers rouge. I thought everything turned out very well, clean, smooth, bright, and shiny. After re-assembly I was less than amazed at the improvements I had made. It did feel much smoother, but not as good as I would like it to be.

    Sorry for the long story, but here is the question finally....

    Any advice for smothing up a Marlin 1894?
     
  2. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Sit in your chair with no ammo in the room. Add your favorite cowboy movie in the DVD player. Add a beverage of your choice (again, no ammo in the room). Work the action over, and over, and over, and over. It will smooth out eventually. Given the mechanics of lever actions, it may never be as smooth as some bolt guns...

    If that doesn't work, you can give it to me, I don't mind those icky lever actions... ;)
     
    nwwoodsman and (deleted member) like this.
  3. BANE

    BANE Battle Ground WA. Well-Known Member

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    Im rebuilding a marlin 336c so similar to your 1894.
    I bought a spring and bushing kit from Brownells to start.
    im also polishing the internal parts and thats it. I did one a few yrs back and it was awesome.
    Im also rebluing and puting a new barrel on this rifle. My wife bought it from some a$$ wipe on this site and he hosed her over. It looked like he used it as a pry bar then tried to bend it back so he could sell it. Still wish i could get my hands around that guys neck.... sorry rant over.
    So to make her not feel so bad im doing a full restoration...
    just take your time and sand/polish the action make everything smooth. But take the time to install a few times so you dont take to much material away. Have Fun!!
     
  4. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    I have removed/smoothed out the rough machine marks and polished the following parts.

    Bolt, top, left side groove where the ejector rides, and the bottom particularly the bump that engages the hammer.
    Hammer, face that strikes the firing pin and is engaged by the bump on the bottom of the bolt.
    Lever, top end that engages the bolt.
    Firing pin block, front and sides, this part slides up to "bend" the firing pin in place to allow the hammer to strike.
    Ejector, part that rides in the bolt groove.

    Any other parts that need attention or that will help smooth out the feel of the action if I polish them?

    Anybody tried the Wild West Trigger happy kit?
     
  5. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Try the Marlin Owners forum as well. They have some sticky threads in their gunsmithing section that are helpful. And like I said, if you get annoyed with it, I volunteer to give it a good home... :)
     
  6. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    They say the spring kits help as much as anything.

    Kinda funny how they look intimidating then you notice they will only go back together one way.
     
  7. sneakboxer

    sneakboxer NW OR Active Member

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    I have the same rifle dating back to 79 i think. I buffed all the surfaces, cycled the heck out of it and used the Wild West Trigger kit. The WWT was by FAR the best money spent on the rifle. I could hang the rifle on the trigger without it firing before the kit after installing the kit the trigger breaks at 3-5lbs (did not use a scale). If you have the cash go for it.
    Don't let the micro-grove haters keep you from shooting cast lead. Mine shoots .358 slugs just fine.
    Enjoy your 357, i love mine!
     
  8. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I have a Winchester Trapper in .357 that is as smooth as glass - due to about 5 years of heavy shooting with all the innards slathered with Gunslick. I do NOT recommend this to anyone but it did result in a very smooth action after I completely took it apart, cleaned everything and reassembled it. Smoothest Winchester I have ever owned or operated. I also have a 1968 30-30 to smooth up but I will take the conventional route with it.
     
  9. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    I just cut a half a coil off of each end of the hammer spring and a full coil off the lever lock spring and that made a significant difference in the ease of cycling the action. I think this should do satisfy my needs for now...
     
  10. Bigdix

    Bigdix Sandy Or New Member

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    Do this, but first put a bunch of toothpaste in the action. Works as a fine polish. Clean well when finished and enjoy.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  11. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    What # sand paper do you use?
     
  12. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    If it gets lonely I have lever actions thaat would love to have another one to keep them company.
     
  13. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    DO NOT DO THIS! Toothpaste is an abrasive. Not only will it smooth the areas you want it to smooth, but everywhere else as well. I've seen people do this with guns and have them ruin frames. I saw a gentleman do this to a S&W revolver and it "over-polished" the hammer pin, trigger pin, and several other vital areas. When S&W received it for warranty, they informed the man that he had killed his frame, it was unrepairable.
    Sorry to be so disagreeable, but this is a very dangerous way of trying to do "action work". If you don't know how to do it properly, don't ruin a gun by trying to jury-rig a fix...
     
  14. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    I didn't plan on doing this anyway, something just told me that this was not a good idea! I am taking very small steps and checking as I go to see how the areas I am polishing are affecting the cycling and perceived smoothness of the action. So far all is going very well and I have a much improved feel from when I started. My next step is to polish the lifter and that should just about do it other than re-blueing the parts I have polished.
     
  15. Key-Hay

    Key-Hay North Carolina Active Member

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    There's something called the dreaded Marlin jam that comes from working a marlin action over and over. If you do this smoothing first it should help.

    Marlin94Fix
     
  16. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    Good information in this link, thank you Key-Hay! I don't think I am skilled enough to try these things, other than just replacing the lifter. Good thing mine does not jam!
     
  17. BANE

    BANE Battle Ground WA. Well-Known Member

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    I started with 320 grit up to 1500 grit I used wd40 for the lube when sanding.
    I finished with a buffer and some lite polishing compound now its very smooth..
     
  18. Bigdix

    Bigdix Sandy Or New Member

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    Never would have thought of you sing it on a revolver. I was only speaking from my experience with tooth past. Once with my new guide gun, and once with a ruger 10/22 that I was trying to get to feed subsonics reliably. Both instances it seemed to work great. I apologize if I spoke out without doing enough homework, I don't want to step on any toes here, being new and all.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD