Problem chronographing a blow back operated rifle (Winchester Model 1905)

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  • Last Post 07 November 2021
GregT posted this 20 October 2021

After four years of fiddling around with this rifle, I finally got the for-end repaired and strengthened and have proceeded to start reloading for it. Not much data around, but I did find recommendations for SR4759, Unique, 2400, and IMR4227. I'm using a 180 grain bullet out of an Accurate Arms mold. Drops WW bullet at .3525". Bore is .351". I'm using my own 50/50 lube but I also have my lube sizer filled with SPG.

I chronograph 10 rounds of each powder type I use to make sure I am not breaking the velocity limits for this blow-back operated rifle which seems to be around 1400 fps with a 180 grain cast bullet. I finally broke 1,017 fps this afternoon using IMR 4227 powder. Average fps for 6 rounds was 966 fps. With all four of the powders I have tried, Extreme Spread was quite high. For this load, it was 118. I weigh each powder charge which I drop from a Belding and Mull Visible powder measure. I am using a .38 Special cartridge case that I reduce the rim diameter on. I have not shot the rifle for accuracy yet. The bore is like new. Mechanically the rifle is like new. (the for-end was abused). It has two "Life Saver" shaped buffers (looks like compressed fiber of some kind, almost a plastic look too them) that keep the metal recoiling parts from impacting steel on steel. Those buffers are like new, and I have 6 replacements if I need them. The bolt and its long counter-weight is not locked, but kept shut and regulated to open by very strong recoil/return springs. I'm beginning to think that there is no such thing as an "extreme spread" number due to the irregular opening and closing of this blow back system. This situation has occurred with any loading I have tried so far. Never chronographed a blow-back operated rifle before as they are quite uncommon. Any suggestions? Thanks for your input.

Greg T

Hayward, Wi.

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RicinYakima posted this 20 October 2021

I would think the pressure is so light, that unburned powder is either going through the screens ahead of the bullet, or there is not enough pressure in the case to allow all the powder to ignite. The 1905 was only made for 15 years for a reason. I don't know if you could get enough MRI 4227 powder into the case to have complete combustion. 

I would slowly start working up to CotW max load of 13.0 grains of 2400 and see if that helps. 

I will be watching for you results!

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Wineman posted this 20 October 2021

I'm not sure that the Chronograph cares how the bullet gets there. Blowback is a simple system but as the charge gets higher it may get a bit grumpy. Lots of pressure trying to move a bunch of mass. As long as the velocity/pressure is not out of specification, shoot for a load the gives the best accuracy. Hatcher's Notebook relates a story about some factory ammo that shot remarkably but had a difference in charge weight of about a grain (about 0.2%). Someone broke the ammo down and said that the variance in manufacturing was bad. Stuff shot lights out, and that is really the only thing that matters. We all like things tied up in a neat package, but good numbers and poor accuracy is not what we want. There is probably a reason that the 32 WSL became the 30 M1 Carbine with a Tappet gas system. More Carbines were probably made by the smallest member (not IP) than all the Winchesters put together. The rifles are cool and are part of the history of semi-automatic rifles.

Dave

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 October 2021

i like Ric's scenario where a " cloud " of gas and unburned powder is causing a 6 foot long bullet one shot, and a 2 foot long bullet next shot.   maybe put a big newspaper screen with a small hole in it in front of the chrony sensors....... this would also show unburned powder marks.

this comes under the heading of " what could go wrong ? " ....  story of my life ...

****************

next, i would make a chamber cast to make sure your bullet is fat enough to promote good burning of the powder.   won't hurt a thing if the bullet has to swage down a bit to get into the main rifling, and will help to get that powder lit up faster ...

next i would consider loading some very light loads ( 800 fps ) with bullseye or 700x or Titegroup powder ... light enough to not noticeably open the bolt ... be careful about sticking a bullet in the barrel, of course ...   these should give you good SD's even though they might not stabilize well at that velocity.   if SD's look better, you might work up for accuracy .  with these hot powders, carefully .. maybe 0.2 grain at a time.  

these fast powder loads are just to see if it is powder combustion irregularity ... or something strange with your blow-back rifle.  switch back to slower powders as you need much more velocity ... Unique and Blue Dot are a middle burning rate between Titegroup and 2400 ...

and do keep us informed of your adventures .. nothing like getting one of these old rigs to shoot decently .. or sometimes to shoot at all ( g ) ...

ken

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JeffinNZ posted this 20 October 2021

Are you sure your chronograph is reading correctly?

Cheers from New Zealand

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GregT posted this 20 October 2021

Thank you all for the ideas. Back when they first put this rifle/ammo out on 1905, it must have been a real stretch to find the gunpowder that would work. Basically leaving the black powder era, sort of, smokeless powder for tiny cases was a new problem. Sadly, I am out of 2400 powder. I have feelers out for those of my local friends who travel looking for components. Until there is a concerted move on the part of industry to get moving, I am stuck without that powder. My chronograph was used extensively as I worked to get the .38/40 cartridge to work in my new Uberti Bisleys. There I was dealing more with thin, soft cartridge brass, until I started using my stash of Star Line and new WW cases. I was using Unique and old DuPont #6 to do the job of getting me 900 fps or so. I had the chronograph set up about 10 feet from the muzzle. Remember, with the .30 carbine ammo, the era of ball powder came to the front. Industry did not have the correct powder for that round, so they invented something new... Can't stuff just anything in the Model 1905, and Winchester apparently put up with it for awhile before they dropped it. How does #1680 and Reloder #7 sound? Burns a bit faster and I would have to start low and work up slowly. Having a velocity limit helps a bit. Could also try using Linotype metal as I have plenty of that. I will also change the battery in my chronograph. Supposed to rain today. I could use the full diameter of my slugs by pan lubing them. I have a .352"  Kake Cutter. I will get some targets ready to shoot at 30 yards to start. I know my powder measurement is absolutely precise! With the Belding and Mull Visible powder measure, setting the powder drop by tenths of a grain  is totally possible, then electronically weighed by RCBS. I will do what I can today. I like projects that don't give up the answer right away.

GregT

 

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Squid Boy posted this 20 October 2021

Information I have shows the original loading of a 180 grain bullet @ 1396 fps and a Pmax of 34,809 psi. I think you need to try faster powders instead of slower. A quick impulse might be better in a blowback action. Hodgdon Universal looks pretty good and so does Herco. Thanks, Squid Boy

"Squid Pro Quo"

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GregT posted this 20 October 2021

Squid Boy,

   Great suggestions for powder! I have both.

Thank You!

GregT

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 October 2021

...i use a 22 rimfire to check my chrono ...  with quality ammo ...cci minimags are consistent ...

ken

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Larry Gibson posted this 20 October 2021

Are you sure you have the M1905 Winchester in 35 SL and not a M1907 in 351 SL?  Slower burning powders will only exacerbate the problem as they are not burning efficiently in the psi range of the 35 SL cartridge.

If it is the M1905 in 35 SL then a powder such as Unique  or in that burning range is needed to give 900 - 1100 fps.  

If a M1907 in 351 SL then 2400, 4227, 5744 or perhaps 4198 would be more applicable.  Given the higher operating psi of the 351 cartridge the 180 gr bullet can be pushed to 1600 - 1800 fps.  At the higher psi of the 351 SL cartridge such slower powders burn efficiently.   

LMG

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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GregT posted this 20 October 2021

Hi Larry,

   Yup, marked on the tang "Winchester Model 1905".

GregT

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MP1886 posted this 20 October 2021

Yeah I was going to tell Larry the fact you mentioned making the cases using 38 Special cases tells us it's the 35 SL. 

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GregT posted this 21 October 2021

Gentlemen,

     Good Morning! Rain and wind and 39 degrees right now east of Hayward, Wisconsin. I'm gong to load a few test rounds using Herco powder and a small rifle primer. 1000 fps is the velocity goal. Got to get some meaningful pressure up before the slug starts moving. You know, this was a jacketed bullet round originally.... So, in trying to get this rifle functioning at 1000fps, I can also cut lubricant back and add some friction. Our lube is too good in modern times. Not to give the wrong impression, mechanically, the rifle apparently runs its mechanism using very little fuel. I also have an unopened quantity of DuPont SR-80 powder. I've dipped into this for other work now and then, never daring to mis-use it as Keith did. This stuff is pretty close to the era of the Model 1905. Definitely will get a trial.

GregT

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Larry Gibson posted this 21 October 2021

The one M1907 I played with many years back would shoot 35 SLs as both the 35 SL and the 351 SL are semi-rimmed and headspaced on the semi-rim.  The owner had some factory 35 SL and 351 SLs and both cases were crimped in the jacketed bullets canalure. Of course the factory 35 SLs wouldn't function the M1907 action.  However with a cast bullet loaded to 351 SL specs they did function fine in the m1907.  But a M1905 it is so I checked the old Complete Guide To Handloading.

Philip Sharpe lists 7 and 8 gr loads with a 180 gr "MC" (metal cased) bullet of SR-80.  It shows 1000 and 1125 fps.

LMG

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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GregT posted this 21 October 2021

Larry,

   You just quoted from my "bible"! Hold your thought as SR-80 is coming right up as soon as I get done having a little coffee in Hayward... Here's what I just did. I was looking through some of my old data, "Ideal Handbook" from January of 1951, reading .38 Special cast bullet load section. They list Keith's 173 grain #358429, Flat point looong Semi-Wad-cutter, 5.3 grains of Unique at 990 fps (estimated). I have a thousand of those slugs and I could size one down to use...but I would rather use my Accurate Mold and my own .352" Flat nose at 183 grains, sized to .3515". Hell, The Model 1905 Winchester cartridge is almost a .38 Special in this case. So, loaded two rounds of .35 WSL with 5 grains of Unique (1952 Vintage) (The dirty stuff!), a Remington 6 1/2 Small rifle primer (1956 vintage) and my bullet. Put the shell catcher on the '05 and went out on my back porch and fired two rounds over the back lawn into the woods. (Advantage of having 10,000 acres of county forest behind my house). Wow! The rifle actually recoiled as I would expect it to! The action was snappy! And the casing checks out fine, sealed the chamber well, and no pressure signs on the primer! I'm betting the fps for this load is a bit over 1000. Will check that later once the sun comes out. When I get back, the SR-80 is next, same process for Sharpe's recommendation of 7 grains of SR-80. Good thing this hobby has a history to it which is well-recorded, written down by experts who lived the life!

Later,

GregT

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GregT posted this 22 October 2021

Good Afternoon!

   Sort of....temperature is 39 degrees and no sun---but bright enough to use the chronograph. That is before the battery dies on the second round of testing. Battery was installed on August 17, 2012.... It was working as long as it was fairly warm outside. No work no more. BUT I got what I was testing for before it quit!

   First I did the testing using Unique. This one averaged out at 886 fps. This was using 5.3 grains of Unique. I was looking for at least 1000 fps...

   Next, SR-80 powder, using Phil Sharpe's data in the Complete Guide to Handloading, December,1948. I got thru 7 rounds before the battery flashed an error message and quit. Average for 7 shots, using 8 grains of SR-80, 1093 fps! Sharpe said 1125 fps! Not bad for gunpowder that can't be any younger than 1939 (The can has a very low lot number and probably really dates to the late 1920's).

   I'm going to re-test the Unique loading and this time I'm going to use 6.3 grains. That will put me over 1000 fps and is where I want to be. (Sharpe says 1100 fps).

   Weatherman says possible snow showers tonight and colder tomorrow. Couldn't be more pleased with the rifle! Might have to go to a fish fry tonight!

   I did do some housework yesterday with my new rug scrubber! Got about half of the family room carpet done. Maybe the other half tonight. We retired guys have to watch how hard we work, especially housework!

I want to thank you guys again for all the info and assistance so far.

Best Regards,

GregT

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GregT posted this 23 October 2021

Good evening!  I have to try a photo, just putting some info together, hope it works. The photo I am trying to move will be one of the side view of the action of the Model 1905 I am working with. Remember, this is a 1st attempt. Here goes.Side view of my Model 1905 action

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Larry Gibson posted this 23 October 2021

I've always found Sharpe's load data to be spot on but the velocities almost always were a bit 'generous".  That my have been because he may not have actually chronographed them as a chronograph was a very specialized piece of equipment back in his day.  They may have been guestimated as many velocities and pressures were back then also [and even today].   If actually velocity tested I doubt, with all the load data in his book, that 10 or even five shots were tested or that the velocity listed was an "average".  May have on tested, if tested, a couple rounds and then just listed the highest velocity(?).

Sharpe states in his book; "The following list of handloads has been assembled from sources believed to be 100% reliable"  So there is that regarding the listed velocities.....we have no way of knowing how the actual testing was done.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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GregT posted this 23 October 2021

Disaster struck my photo sharing ability when my old desktop computer died about an hour ago. I was using an old Olympus Camera and to reinstall the program on my current lap top, I need an install disc for Olympus Camedia Master 1.2  .I have not tried Olympus Optical Company yet, if they still exist. My cheap option is to find a relatively cheap camera to use just to take photos and then transfer those to a program on my lap top. I do not have a smart phone nor do I want one. If anyone has a suggestion please feel free to contact me off line at:    [email protected]   . Thanks for any help you may be able to give me.

GregT

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GregT posted this 27 October 2021

Just a quick follow-up to my chronographing of the reload using SR-80 propellant. I installed the new battery in the chronograph and the final string figures showed up:  High fps: 1100, Low fps: 1057, Average fps: 1078 ES: 43. The two velocity figures are interesting but the other 4 shots were not saved as the battery quit. I am going to re-shoot this today with ten shots. Looks like the SR-80 is still pretty much intact chemically after all the years it has been around.

GregT

Hayward

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Squid Boy posted this 27 October 2021

Greg, I might be out of line here but why bother developing a powder that is long off the market unless you have a ton of it? I have been round that bend as more and more good powders are cut from production and force you to look for replacements. I don't bother dialing up new loads in those obsolete numbers and just use it up. I suppose that answers my question but i have a lot of loads that were developed long ago. Thanks, Squid Boy

"Squid Pro Quo"

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GregT posted this 28 October 2021

Squid Boy,

   Great question, simple answer... I like to find out what it was like to fire an obsolete rifle using obsolete powder of the same era as the rifle. This type of project usually involves making casings for the obsolete rifle where no casings currently exist. My final effort is to use the data I have developed into articles for the Fouling Shot Magazine. I have two other articles ready to submit: One involving the Model 1865 Spencer Civil War carbine in caliber .56/50 center-fire casing.The other involving the 1870 Sharps Carbine, more precisely the Sharps Carbine used by the Texas Rangers in the 1870's, in caliber .50/70. Why haven't I submitted the completed articles? Life got in the way: First, my 30 year career in Special Education at the local high school from which I retired on June 13, 2018...and then had a heart attack 3 days later requiring triple bypass surgery. Second, my 42 year and still continuing career in Foster Care for teen boys. The high point of this career came when on September 1st, 2020, I adopted a 15 year old young man who was in my home as a product of a failed adoption from Ethiopia, that had existed for ten years before it broke up and those adoptive "parents" threw him out! I was not going to lose this young man as I had watched others phase out of my home. Sam also has some significant handicaps (which he has largely over-ridden), as a result of being run over by a riding lawn mower when he was 3.5 years of age. He has two prosthetic lower legs and his left arm is present but useless. But he can shoot an M-1A almost as good as I can, handles a Model 1911 like he was born with it, and graduated from Hunter Safety with a perfect written test score and a perfect field test score. He is intensely interest in ammo reloading and primes many of my casings... Normally, I keep my personal life to myself, and I can only say that after this article is finished, it, and the two others will be submitted to the CBA. For what it's worth, one last thing: The data from my crashed computer was 100% recovered by my computer tech and will be installed onto an extra lap top I have. I will thus be able to do more photos and I think you all will like what I will have to offer. Incidentally, a member of this group, who will remain unnamed, offered to ship me a digital camera so I could complete this work. As my own camera and the software has survived, I did not need to take advantage of this generous and wonderful offer. He is a gentleman of the "old school" and is a reflection of the membership here in this group. I had intended to submit some house-keeping that I have been working on less my old computer, but let me start that in a post that will follow this one. I hope I have not broken any rules with my digression from the purposes of this Association, but when the perfect question is asked, it needs an answer. Thank you Squid Boy!

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GregT posted this 28 October 2021

Now.... Usually, after I develop a load for the old rifle I am working with, using gunpowder of the era of the rifle, I shoot groups from the bench with it at 35 yards to start with. They are three shot groups and tell me generally how good a bullet I have. In this case, the bullet used is cast from wheel-weights, 1970 era wheel weights. They are dropped from an Accurate Mold Company mold, #35-180C, 180 grains unlubed. I use SPG lube. After I shot a very limited number of rounds over my chronograph, I realized that I might just have a rifle and load combination that would really hammer home... I broke my own rule and fired two, 3 shot groups at a target posted 35 yards down range using 9 grains of SR-80, R-P #6 and 1/2 small rifle primers from 1956, and my cast and lubed slug sized to .3515". I could not resist. First target "felt good" and when I checked it, it showed three shots, the farthest two shots apart in the group were 1.5" center to center. I had thoughts about that group as I walked back to the bench and told myself it I could not shoot that load better than that, why bother with the project? Shot another 3 shot group, the farthest two shots apart in that group measured  ONE HALF INCH center to center! The third shot in that group was almost through the same hole as the first shot in the group. I will photograph the target and I will shoot a better three shot group before I am done with the project!

Thanks for being patient with me tonight.

GregT

   I will complete the chronographing soon. For what its worth, I can do a lot of shooting with that SR-80... I have two more un-opened 8 ounce containers, one wrapped in its original cellophane. 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 28 October 2021

SR80, eh ? ...  when i wuz about 16, i shot a lot of that with cast in everything from 22 Baby Neidner to 44-40 ...  i can still smell that great odor today as you mention it.

i saved the last 1/4 cup of it, still have it in my stash ...  i think i will have it added into the turkey roaster when i am done with my current earthly body ...  put on a show fir the foks ...

enjoying your adventures ...

ken

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GregT posted this 28 October 2021

Hmmmm. Going to upstage someone's Thanksgiving dinner?

GregT

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Squid Boy posted this 28 October 2021

Greg,

I am glad you didn't take my question as some snarky comment. I thought about how it could be interpreted after I posted. I can understand your ideas now and it never occurred to me. These days with components in short supply I hate to waste a shot on something I know I cannot replace.

As to all the rest, i say bravo to you for doing what you do. 

Sincerely, Squid Boy 

"Squid Pro Quo"

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Eutectic posted this 28 October 2021

They made good powder back then.

Some of my references say SR-80 is very close to Herco. Herco is a little slower than Unique so it looks like a good fit. I have used many pounds of Herco in the 357 Magnum where it gave excellent accuracy.  

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GregT posted this 28 October 2021

Thank you for the note! I hurt my right upper arm muscle again trying to get my chainsaw started. I forgot all about that until I fired the Model 1905 yesterday. I now have a sore shoulder again! The counterweight inside the for-end, which recoils almost the same time as the normal recoil from firing the cartridge, ads a bit of a slam to the recoil cycle. I had to use this SR-80 powder sooner or later, and it will last a long time even at this rate.

GregT

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JeffinNZ posted this 29 October 2021

This is a FANTASTIC thread.  Please write up for the Fouling Shot.

Cheers from New Zealand

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GregT posted this 04 November 2021

I'm going to try to insert another photo showing the buffers for the Model 1905 and the relative size compared to a quarter. Here it goes! Anyone ever see anything like these? They are hard similar to a hard plastic but you can see particles within them. Looks like they were molded. These take the impact of the recoiling bolt. They either get touched (or not) if the load is within specs.Let's see how this posts.

GregT

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RicinYakima posted this 04 November 2021

Worked just fine!

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GregT posted this 04 November 2021

This photo shows the bullet I am using from Accurate and the SR-80 powder. The powder was probably a bulk powder, and if it was it was almost the last made by DuPont. Phillip Sharpe in his massive book gives a good run-down of this powder. I am going to do the chronographing of this load today for ten shots. The weather is not cooperating and is really too cold for accurate work. As I type this my atomic clock says it is 20.6 degrees outside and the deer were looking at frozen drinking water in their buckets this morning... Only reached a high of 33 degrees yesterday.

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GregT posted this 06 November 2021

Today I had a chance to complete some chronographing for one load in the Model 1905 Winchester rifle, caliber .35 Winchester Self Loading, serial number #2614. I chose the load that was most interesting as it used a very elderly can of DuPont Sporting Rifle #80.

Accurate Mold Company, mould #35-180C, 183 grain WW bullet sized to .3515", SPG lube, 8 grains of DuPont SR #80 propellant, Remington #6 1/2 small rifle primer (Lot # from 1956), .38 Special Cases with rim reduced to .414" in diameter, overall length of loaded cartridge is 1.641"

Velocity Readings, (10 feet from the muzzle), 10 shots:

1026, 1024,1067,1014,1077,1092,1121,.1138,1040,1142.( All feet per second)

Hi 1142, Low 1014, ES 128, Average1077.

I have another load using Unique propellant that I will chronograph tomorrow if the weather is nice...

This loading met my expectations for speed. I kept a close eye on the recoil bushings in the rifle and they remain untouched and un-battered!

     For what it's worth, someone on The Winchester Arms Company Forum thought these bushings are made of Delrin, a plastic-type of material. I found a company in New York that is a specialist in washers and spacers and do customer work with Delrin and many other materials. I'm going to measure an extra bushing I have and submit the measurements to them for a cost figure. Numrich is out of the originals. Of course, if the shooter will keep in mind the velocity of 1400 fps, and keep his rifle under that velocity, his recoil bushings would last a long time.

That's all for now.

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MP1886 posted this 06 November 2021

Those aren't Delrin, Delrin is sort of new age polymer material and it's white.  Read this:

 

https://vintagesemiautorifle.proboards.com/thread/384/recoil-buffer-replacement

 

Better get the correct material before you possibly damage your rifle.

 

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GregT posted this 07 November 2021

Hey, thank you! I will ask the folks who make the spacers. The more that I think about it, a tough nylon might be just the ticket. I'm thinking that nothing hits the buffers until the recoil spring's strength is exceeded. Some owners of 1911 semi-auto handguns use a buffer at the base of the recoil spring on the guide rod. Those are a tough but compressible blue plastic from Brownell's.The hole is almost large enough to put in place on the '05. I don't think the inventors found the right material because the right material did not exist in 1905!

Greg T.

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MP1886 posted this 07 November 2021

Greg you might research what modern semi and full automatics use for recoil buffers/washers.  Just off the top of my head a neopreme washer of the same thickness may serve the job. Those buffers for 1911's work very well on protecting the pistol. 

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