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F-i-L's rifle trouble

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  • F-i-L's rifle trouble

    My F-I-L called earlier, he'd been out to practice with his .308 for our trip and had a malfunction. The rifle is a Ruger American he bought new 3 or four years ago that has maybe two boxes of ammo through it. He'd shot it a week or so ago and wasn't happy with the accuracy so he quit, figuring he might do better later. Today he shot 6 rounds and the bolt stuck. He and a friend let it cool down then did get the empty case ejected. He didn't tell me how they succeeded, but when he tried to load the next round it was a no go. Bolt works on an empty chamber but he can't get a live round in at all. He said with the bolt out looking down through the action it appears there are multiple peck marks in the chamber.

    At first I was worried He'd been using the ammo I picked up for him a few weeks back, then he told me he was using some cheap Russian ammo his son had bought for him. I asked if they had steel cases and he said they did. My guess is they gouged the chamber for some reason. He's calling a gunsmith he knows that lives near his son, hopefully he can get it fixed in short order.

    My guess is the barrel is ruined as is, even if the high spots could be taken down there must be low spots as well. Maybe it could be rechambered but I doubt he'd go that route, probably just have the gun rebarreled.

    I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on either the cause or the solution. I wasn't there so I'm just going on what he told me, have no idea if I have the whole story.

  • #2
    How soon is your trip? Hope he has time to get it repaired. Regaining confidence in the Rifle will be difficult even if fixed. So often over the decades I hear of hunters planning the trip of a lifetime and using cheap ammo to save money. Then things like this happens and it is saddening. Good luck. Can he borrow a rifle?
    Last edited by Happy Myles; 09-01-2019, 07:55 PM.

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    • #3
      I have had experience where shooting cheap steel cased ammo carboned up a chamber so that shooting brass behind it caused sticky and stuck cases. Nothing severe though and cleaning the chamber with a brush brought it right back. Never heard of the damage you describe. It sounds serious. The barrel bore probably isn't damaged so I wonder if the chamber couldn't be reamed out to say a 300wsm, assuming the magazine could work.(probably won't) Sucky situation, keep us informed as this looks to be useful information.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
        How soon is your trip? Hope he has time to get it repaired. Regaining confidence in the Rifle will be difficult even if fixed. So often over the decades I hear of hunters planning the trip of a lifetime and using cheap ammo to save money. Then things like this happens and it is saddening. Good luck. Can he borrow a rifle?
        Trip's not until the last part of October so it's not a crisis. He's had a Winchester 100 in .308 for years that he's always liked but it had started doubling on him so he pulled the old Leupold and bought the Ruger. The Winchester has since been fixed but I think he liked the light weight of the Ruger and it shot better so he kept using it. I have no idea why he was using the cheap stuff, apparently he was trying to sight in as well even though I bought 3 boxes of Federal Premium Trophy Copper in 165's for the trip. He would have had to rezero anyway. He also has a .243 He can practice with but no other centerfires.

        I had already planned on picking up a new rifle as a back up for the boy and I but this seals it. I don't think he'd buy another and now he has two .308's that will have been repaired. We need to have at least one backup between us. I bought my Marlin 1895G years ago due to DEP's influence but as much as I'd like to try it for elk I don't trust my ability with it past 100 yards, let alone his or the boy's. So new rifle it is.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dewman View Post
          I have had experience where shooting cheap steel cased ammo carboned up a chamber so that shooting brass behind it caused sticky and stuck cases. Nothing severe though and cleaning the chamber with a brush brought it right back. Never heard of the damage you describe. It sounds serious. The barrel bore probably isn't damaged so I wonder if the chamber couldn't be reamed out to say a 300wsm, assuming the magazine could work.(probably won't) Sucky situation, keep us informed as this looks to be useful information.
          Reaming the chamber to the 300wsm was my first thought as well, and depending on where the gouges are possibly having the barrel rebored to .338 Federal. Might be able if the damage is up in the neck area I'd think. The way he described it it sounds like the damage occurred over multiple shots not just one. I'll definitely let you know how it works out.

          Depending on the quote he might be better off selling the stock and action and just putting that money towards something new.
          Last edited by fitch270; 09-01-2019, 09:35 PM.

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          • #6
            Buy him a Bergara b-14. If you were my son in law that's what I would want you to do.😇

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dewman View Post
              Buy him a Bergara b-14. If you were my son in law that's what I would want you to do.😇
              Ha! I've already considered giving him my like new Diamondback 10x42 binos. His old Leupold' s came up missing from the center console (unopened when I got to it the next day) in the wreck last year. (Actually we were headed to the hospital right at this time a year ago tonight)

              Of course that would mean I'd need new binos, upgraded at that. 😎

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              • #8
                Wonder if the neck of case still in chamber.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CD2 View Post
                  Wonder if the neck of case still in chamber.
                  Great question, I'll call him in the morning and ask if he checked the cases, hopefully he still has them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Couple things. OK, maybe three.

                    1. Would be very surprised if there were gouges put in the chamber by the cheap ammo. More likely lacquer from the cases got heated up and gummed the chamber.

                    2. If the chamber was toast, you would be best to set the barrel back a couple of threads and leave it at a 308.

                    3. The 300 shorty is a big fat case, and makers like Savage even use a different size shank on their barrels, as I recall. Plus the boltface issue. Not to mention the magazine problem.

                    Would bet good money that a good cleaning will cure all ills. Might have to use a bit of elbow grease, and maybe something more aggressive than Hoppe's No. 9 (careful of the plastic bits) but I think you'll be happy after you do. Try it with decent ammo after you clean though.
                    Last edited by Amflyer; 09-01-2019, 10:41 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I'd try scrubbing the daylights out of the chamber and bore before panicking!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Good call on the lacquer possibility, I hadn’t considered that either. I’m out of GunScrubber but Tractor Supply is open so I’ll pick up a can of Brake Clean today. I have Shooters Choice solvent and J-B under the bench.

                        I’ll pull the stock and cover the scope before getting after it. Will let you know how it turns out.

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                        • #13
                          Slap his wrist for shooting steel cased ammo in anything other than a POS surplus rifle. Sounds exactly like the type of stunt my late FIL would pull. Screw up a $500 rifle to save $20 on ammo. Happy Trails

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                          • #14
                            Like the guys that bought 1000 dollar rifles twenty yrs ago and put 40 dollar Tascos on them LOL

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CD2 View Post
                              Wonder if the neck of case still in chamber.
                              It wasn’t just the neck, it’s the whole case minus the rim. He had all the empties but one, when they finally got the bolt open he thought the case went flying but he couldn’t find it. Must have been the rim he saw. He brought the rifle over earlier, with a good light it was obvious. The case split right at the back of the chamber. We messed with it a little but don’t have the right tools or knowledge to get it out so off to the gunsmith tomorrow. Hopefully all’s well once the case is extracted.

                              Comment

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