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Thread: More fantastic work from Mr. Larry Flees!

  1. #1
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    More fantastic work from Mr. Larry Flees!

    So back in April I picked up a Pietta Smith carbine off of gunbroker. Seller said he only had about 50 shots through it, and I believe it.

    I got it in, and did some load workups:

    https://www.n-ssa.net/vbforum/showth...ght=smith+work

    best group was 33 grains of 3F Goex, no filler:


    In the initial load workup, I put in the powder, a cardboard disk, and cream of wheat filler. The 33 grain load required no filler, which was nice, since it turned out to be the best.

    However, during cleaning, I noticed that there appeared to be a drill bit broken off inside the receiver from when they were manufacturing the fire channel through the cleanout screw. This did not seem to affect the function of the firearm (though I did have a couple of misfires), but more troublesome was that there were only barely 3 threads for the cleanout screw, and on top of this, the hole for the nipple intersected the hole for the cleanout screw so closely that there were only threads for the cleanout screw about 3/4 of the way around. 1/4 of the threads were simply empty space. I was concerned about blowing out a cleanout screw during use.

    Interestingly, the gun has 2019 stamped on the barrel, but 2015 stamped on the receiver. I do not think the seller had worked on the gun. I believe this is a factory screw-up.

    Here are some pictures of the damage:





    Full-sized pictures here:
    https://imgur.com/a/nDKCtdf
    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  2. #2
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    More pictures of the damage (darn 4-picture limit!)




    2015 receiver:


    2019 barrel
    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  3. #3
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    So I sent the Smith off to Mr. Larry Flees. Larry has done Smith work for a teammate of mine, and he did fantastic work on my Pedersoli Sharps.

    The Smith proved to be quite a challenge. The location of the clean-out screw and the direction of the fire channel deviated from the "factory standard", probably as a result of the factory re-work to get around the broken-off drill bit. Thus Larry's usual means of reworking these Smiths would not work, and he had to come up with a new approach and purchase new tooling to pull it off. Also his usual fixture would not work so he had to come up with new ways to work with the location of the hole in my gun.

    In addition he fixed the touch-hole into the chamber. So basically, he filled and re-machined the entire fire channel from the clean-out through to the chamber.

    In addition to this he fixed the trigger, installing a set screw in the tumbler to eliminate excess creep in the pull. Previously it had a very creepy trigger and you could feel it move and stop prior to the last final break. Now it breaks as clean as glass.

    While he was working on the gun he discovered that the screw that holds the buttstock to the reciver had also been boogered at the factory, and it had actually pulled through the butt-plate. He re-machined the c'bore in the butt plate, made the head of the screw later, and re-shaped it to fix it. I didn't even know this was broken.

    He also lengthened my chamber and dressed the face of the bore so that my tubes would fit properly in the chamber. This makes the tubes last longer. As a result of this he had to cut a new lead.

    All of this was done for only $175 (plus about $90 in shipping it back and forth). I think Larry way under-charged here and I wouldn't expect future reworks to run so cheap if he encounters another one of these headache Smiths!

    Larry's communication was top-notch with constant updates on the trials and tribulations with working on this gun. I was in no rush because Covid has cancelled any skirmish we might have used it in.

    I sent it off at the end of April, and got it back July 24th. Larry would have sent it earlier but I asked him to wait a week since I was not here last week to sign for it. There were other guns ahead of mine when he got mine, and while waiting for tooling to come in he worked on another. Larry communicated all of this to me via email. Fantastic turn-around time as far as I'm concerned for as much work as had to be done.

    Here are some pictures of the rework:


    Steve Sheldon
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    As you can see, the cavernous cavity under the nipple is gone (along with the broken drill bit!). And the cleanout screw now has full screw thread engagement.

    The only downside here was that due to the extensive rework of the bolster area some of the color case hardening was lost there. But, this was unavoidable. Larry blended in the work with some bluing as best he could but the only real solution would be to have the receiver re-colored, something I am not interested in doing. My N-SSA guns are working guns and this was just the price of getting the receiver fixed properly.
    Last edited by Maillemaker; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:57 PM.
    Steve Sheldon
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    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  5. #5
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    So I made up another set of loads and went to the range this afternoon.

    I made up loads of 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, and 33 grains of 3F Goex. The bullet is the Eras Gone Smith bullet, sized to .515, and lubed with 50/50 beeswax/Crisco.

    I used .501" diameter fiber wads, cut to length to fill the gap between the powder and the base of the bullet. I find this easier than trickling in cream of wheat. The fiber wads are...fibrous...so they are very easy to slice to the desired length using an Exacto blade.

    All loads but 33 grains had a filler wad. 33 grains does not require one. I deliberately let the bullet stand just a bit proud so that when chambered the bore face pushes against the bullet and seats it the final bit. This way every bullet should be engaged on the rifling from the start.

    The results were similar, but slightly different, from my first attempt:




    This time, 30 grains seemed to give the best group, but there was 1 flier.

    I will now make up additional loads of 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34 grains 3F, 10 shots each, to see if I can get it dialed in.

    I'm expecting 30-33 grains to be optimal.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
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    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  6. #6
    Lou Lou Lou is offline
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    Glad it worked out. Larry does great work. Good luck with it
    Lou Lou Lou Ruggiero
    Tammany Regt-42nd NYVI

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    Well done young fellow

    I am a fan of Larry's work on Smith Carbines.


    TBDH,

    Harry
    03626v

  8. #8
    tucten is offline
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    Larry just worked magic on my Smith. That stainless touch hole is fantastic.

  9. #9
    noonanda is online now
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    Larry's work is top notch

    Just had him work over my smith, it had a deep fire channel and he fixed it right up. Will definitely use him again in the future
    Daryl Noonan
    NSSA # 14002
    !2th Regiment US Regular Infantry

    "You see in this world there are two types of people my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig!!"

  10. #10
    MR. GADGET's Avatar
    MR. GADGET is offline Moderator
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    Looks like he does good work.

    I had a Smith Carbine. Got a new one and cost me a good chunk of money. After shooting it a little and talking to some of the Smith owners I found my New Smith carbine needed some work.
    I think the recommendation was to line the barrel, have the clean out strew fixed have the flash hole fix done and have the pin fixed. All on a new gun. At that point it went for sale.

    If you need to take a new gun, build it into a newer gun to make it shoot if was not something I would put my money and time into it.

    Just don't understand the point of buying a new gun in my case just to about double your money in it to rebuild it and make it shoot. At that point it is still a cheap repop.
    MR. GADGET
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