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Thread: Smith enigma

  1. #1
    PoorJack is offline
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    Smith enigma

    Riddle me this one-

    3 different Smiths
    1- Pietta/515 bore
    2- Pietta/516 bore
    3- Navy Arms/518 Hoyt reline/ Flees flash hole mod

    Ammo tried-
    Combinations of 3fg Goex and Old E up to 32gr.
    Bullets- .516 up to .520 pure lead and "carbine" lead 340gr to 460gr generally sized +.001-2 over bore
    Cases- New manufacture black plastic/old black plastic/orange urethane/brass
    Lens Lube

    All three guns have exhibited a jumping open on firing from time to time. Today with as low as 24gr 3f Swiss, 25gr 2f Goex, pure lead bullets, Lens Lube. All three guns have good top straps. All three have it happen anywhere from 2 to 5 rounds in on a string.

    So my question- what causes a Smith to jump open with one load and not another. One thing I have observed, with one of the Piettas, the black case showed signs of pressure, but the opening isn't all the time, nor is the pressure ring on the black case when it happens. This almost appears to be random and I think it's pressure related and somewhere with the ammo.

    I have a couple theorys-
    1- Lube? Only constant between all guns, but the 24gr Swiss load was a leftover from another shooter (lube unknown). I have heard of lube issues in Smiths leading to horrid accuracy and very inconsistent velocity (read pressure)
    2- Leading? Got a couple flakes out of one gun while cleaning (and only one)
    3- Pressure curve of Old E v Swiss v Goex? Not really sure, but it's happened with all three types
    4- Pure lead v Carbine lead? Also not sure about this one as it's happened with bullets of both alloys
    5- Operator error on gun? It's happened to all three of my Smiths with different shooters

    So you Smith gurus out there, any ideas on what to look at? I'm switching lubes for the next test session to take that out of the equation.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"
    Rudyard Kipling

  2. #2
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    Have shot a Pietta Smith for over 15 years with 33g Goex 3fg with 340g pure lead bullet with MCM lube in older black plastic tubes and have never had the top strap come open. Two other shooters on our team were shooting Smiths and I have never heard of them or anyone else having this problem. It sounds like you have a serious problem with the way the top strap engages the lug on the receiver. Have the top straps been ground down so that they have almost no spring tension?
    John Hamilton
    3rd Georgia
    DS-180 #8802V

  3. #3
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Hello:

    Have seen a few single barrel, top lever trap SHOTGUNS do this.
    One had an excessively worn locking wedge in the lower frame and three involved operator error when recoil motion caused rear of top lever to hit thumb.

    Still, hard to imagine the Smith brass opening bar contacting trigger finger.

    AND THREE are presenting this issue!

    Suggest another shooter test the carbine.

    Respectfully,
    Kevin Tinny
    Last edited by Kevin Tinny; 10-22-2017 at 04:42 PM.

  4. Huh??? Shot a yeck for deckades.... no prob with opening up. Can speak on some lube/leading issues. Gotta clean between every event durring a match. Remember a yeck has deep rifling. The hotter the weather the worst the rifling fills in at a match. Thats all a lube issue. I shoot 3-1 crisco to beewax. Greassy..... 2-1 or 1-1... withis combo...forget it. Shot my best scores and it grouped great on the bench. 26-27 gr 3f goex. Blk Tubes. Oh yea, with the deep rifling i shot a .520 rapine. Idk guy....good luck if it helps.

    Sent from my SM-T217S using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    I shoot a Maynard now, but when I was 10 and an up-and-coming skirmisher I shot a Smith quite regularly.

    As far as a I can recollect, neither of them EVER leaped open while shooting.

    If this situation is accurate, it is a VERY serious safety issue and the piece should NOT be fired until it can be inspected and repaired by a skilled/knowledgeable smith (duh).

    Good luck in getting this remedied! Smith's ARE sweet breechloaders, but they should NEVER be doing this.
    Very Respectfully & Semper Fi,
    Colonel Rob Freeman, USMC
    (USMC '97 - Present)
    WBR #5171V

    "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."
    Vince Lombardi

  6. #6
    PoorJack is offline
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    If this is a mechanical issue, it shouldn't affect ALL 3 guns at ONE time. ALL three have good top straps and the locking lugs are in good condition and no alerations have been done on any strap or lug.

    I've posted all info on this on all three but the problem didn't start until I switched to Lens Lube. Len's shoots great in the muskets so I thought I'd use it in the Smiths as well. I was hoping to find out if anyone else had ever experienced this using Lens in a Smith. I'm going to try going back to Crisco/Beeswax/OliveOil to see if it goes away.
    Last edited by PoorJack; 10-23-2017 at 08:19 AM.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"
    Rudyard Kipling

  7. #7
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Right on, Eggman:

    While with The Bank of New England out of Boston, I was responsible for arranging the liquidation of H&R. H&R had financial issues accompanied by its product liability insurance having a gap. The company could not prove what was and what wasn't built during the no-coverage gap. The claims records included many instances of "their" trapdoors having the block fly open problem. The firearms made BY H&R had to be sold overseas, primarily in the Phillipines. Val and a few others got the collectibles.

    Regards,
    Kevin Tinny

  8. #8
    Des is offline
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    Smith with Lens Lube

    I have shot both a Yeck and a Pietta Smith and used only Lens Lube and had no problems of carbine coming unlocked. I am by no means an expert but would look at another lot of powder of recent manufacture just to rule out the powder as the cause.
    Last edited by Des; 10-23-2017 at 05:55 PM.
    Des Donnelly
    1st Regiment Virginia Volunteers
    12385

  9. #9
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    Sounds obvious but is the top spring screw tight?

  10. #10
    PoorJack is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmichigan View Post
    Sounds obvious but is the top spring screw tight?
    Yes on all three.

    From the PM inflow, I will be checking chamber length on all three and looking at cartridge lengths. Even with that, I'm not sure that's the issue because ammo that came with the third Smith was ammo that the previous owner was skirmishing with and had no issue. I shot some of it to confirm sights and didn't have any issue then. Fast forward to Sunday and another session-

    Ammo 1- 5 brass case, 25gr 2fg goex, 340gr Smith/Maynard bullet sized .001 over bore, LENs Lube- smooth insertion and extraction, so so group at 25 supported
    Ammo 2- 5 black plastic case, 24gr 2fg goex, 400 gr Lyman bullet sized to bore, LENs Lube- smooth insertion and extraction, bullet is unstable in this gun, several keyholes, smooth insertion and extraction.
    Ammo 3- 5 brass case, 24gr 2fg goex, 400gr modified 50/70 bullet sized .001 over bore, LENs Lube- smooth insertion and extraction, 2 bullets about 1in apart, gun started to jump on third shot, jumped worse on next shot, and about the same on the last shot. Group about 2in, 3in lower than first two.

    At THIS point, 15 rounds fired with 2fg goex, gun is starting to jump at 12 shots.

    Ammo 4- 5 black plastic case, 24gr 3f Swiss, 340gr Smith bullet, unknown lube, smooth insertion and extraction but cases showed and ring bulge at the joint area of receiver. So So group that shot 5in low at 25yds. Gun jumped open with every shot. (This was the remaining part of a lot that came with the gun and has had no prior issues.)

    We're at 20 shot total now, with the last eight jumping. The last 5 were skirmish ammo from another skirmisher that had no issues at all in that very gun during a skirmish and I have shot that ammo from that gun when the gun was clean with no issues either. So I'm still thinking something with the lube is the issue but will still examine the case lengths to see what might be going on there. Again, this all started after the lube switch.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"
    Rudyard Kipling

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