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OK, I am new here, but have ownned a M38 for about a year. I have cleaned the chamber with all the sugested solvents and methods, but the bolt still sticks after a few rounds. I see powder residue around the outside of the neck of the fired casings. Can someone tell me if this is an indication of too much headspace, as I assume? If so, what is the proceedure of adjusting the headspace, one I have a headspace gage?
Thanks.
 

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What ammo are you using? I have a lot of '60s Czech Silvertip, and it's loaded fairly hot. It sticks to varying degrees in all my Mosins. Lately I've been pulling the bullets, reducing the charge of powder to 43 grains, and re-seating the bullets. No sticking, less recoil, and slightly improved accuracy--although the ammo is pretty accurate in it's original loading.
 

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Mr. Flashy Pants
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It doesn't really sound like a headspace problem to me. Also, if it doesn't stick for the first few rounds after cleaning then I'd say that's also an indication it isn't. If it were bad headspace rather than a dirty chamber then it should happen on a more consistent basis.

However, if you do have bad headspace the way to correct it is to change bolt heads until you find one that headspaces correctly. They aren't marked or numbered in any way and I've never really figured out a way to accurately measure them myself. It's really just trial and error but I've never needed more than two tries to find one that passed a No-Go gauge and if you use a Field gauge, which I think is perfectly acceptable on a surplus rifle, then I doubt it would need more than one try. The only time I haven't been able to correct one in short order it turned out to be a problem with the receiver and couldn't be corrected.
 

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Steinmeister;
Mosin bolts can often be difficult when cocking & extracting.
Laquered, steel cased ammo often leads to difficult extraction.
Some brass cased ammo does the same.
Sometimes the extractor gets distorted & hangs up on the bolt body, requiring extra effort to cock/extract.
Too many Russian refurbed rifles do not have thier original bolt parts that were installed when new & the mating surfaces are not yet worn in.
While keeping the same bolt head & bolt body, I have used other cocking pieces & connector/guide bars that I have polished for a better fit.
The short bolt handle does not help.
The extracting/cocking motion can be divided for an easier time.
After a round has been fired, pull back on the cocking knob until the bolt is cocked, then pull up the bolt & extract.
The Mosin bolt was one of the first to cock on opening. Unfortunately, this is when extraction takes place, requiring more effort than with an early Mauser bolt that cocks upon closing.
I hope this information will give you a clue as what to check, & what to do.
Each rifle is different; each rifle will respond differently to tweaking.
Got to love these though!
The results are usually worth the effort required.
 

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Steinmeister - I usally clean the chamber really good and then leave a slight film of oil, and I mean SLIGHT film of oil, in the chamber and locking lug recesses, before firing and then wipe the chamber area frequently during firing and also re-oil -LIGHTLY re-oil the chamber. This has had a dramatic effect on improving the bolt not sticking on several M44s and a M38 I have. I always make sure the barrel is clean and that there is no oil in the barrel by pushing a couple of clean patches through before firing, but the light film of oil in the chamber area has helped a lot.
 

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Mr. Flashy Pants
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I wouldn't oil the chamber. While not likely, you can create a dangerous situation where the case is not "grabbing" the walls of the chamber during ignition of the powder and putting more force on the locking lugs than they are designed for. I've always heard that you NEVER oil ammunition, which is essentially what you're doing, unless the specific firearm you're shooting (certain full autos) is designed for oiled ammo.
 

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I wouldn't oil the chamber. While not likely, you can create a dangerous situation where the case is not "grabbing" the walls of the chamber during ignition of the powder and putting more force on the locking lugs than they are designed for. I've always heard that you NEVER oil ammunition, which is essentially what you're doing, unless the specific firearm you're shooting (certain full autos) is designed for oiled ammo.
Sorry, but this is not correct. There is nothing wrong in oiling the case. Weapons don't rely on the case "sticking" in the chamber to augment the locking. Oiling only prevents local stretching of the case due to uneven adhesion of its walls to the chamber.

The confusion comes from the use of bullet lubricants - not oil. More correctly, from the excessive use of bullet grease over the case neck, which makes its expansion difficult and may lead to higher chamber pressures. However, this is not the same as oiling and the process is completely different from the lack of "grabbing" or whatever a dry case is supposed to do.

I would suggest a good textbook on weapons design (not a popular book). All the forces, processes and dimensions are explained comprehensively in such books. For the Russian speakers I would gladly post links to Russian (Soviet) textbooks for their military academies where these processes are discussed.
 

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And here it sez "(3) Do not lubricate ammunition. This can cause dust and other abrasives to collect on it and damage the operating parts of the weapon." Again, nothing to do with pressure or gripping.

As I already wrote, a good description of the processes during the charge explosion can be found in good textbooks - not field manuals (and where is the explanation of why oiling should result in high pressure?)
 

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Mr. Flashy Pants
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And here it sez "(3) Do not lubricate ammunition. This can cause dust and other abrasives to collect on it and damage the operating parts of the weapon." Again, nothing to do with pressure or gripping.
The sentence I referred to says, "Ammunition should never be lubricated." It does not state a reason, but that is really beside the point.
 

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"Moreover, oiled cartridges produce excessive chamber pressure". Thats how I read it in black and white. Reading that crap reminds me of Desert Storm :(
 

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Not to jump in the middle of this but I'm pretty sure that ALL firearms owners manuels tell you not to oil or use ammuntion that has been oiled. If the ammo is oiled then the reciever gets oiled to.
 

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Not to jump in the middle of this but I'm pretty sure that ALL firearms owners manuels tell you not to oil or use ammuntion that has been oiled. If the ammo is oiled then the reciever gets oiled to.
You are pretty sure, huh? And how much do you want to bet since you are so sure?

Obviously neither you nor Ted have read the Russian Mosin Manual. Paragraph 75, Ammunition Inspection and Maintenance reads: "After inspecting the rounds and the clips the soldier must wipe them with a rag, damped in gun lubricant..." In other words, the manual prescribes lubrication, against the profound knowledge offered by the Bersa Thunder online manual.

I will post a scan of this paragraph tomorrow when I have access to one.
 

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Here is a scan of the information that Nick is refering to. It is from page 44 of The Official Soviet Mosin-Nagant Rifle Manual. It appears that you are both correct about what you have read in books but who is to say which method is correct.
 

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Mr. Flashy Pants
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The Mosin Manual

"wipe them dry, lightly oil them"

View attachment 5971

The SKS Manual

"It is forbidden to wipe cartridges with an oily rag"

View attachment 5972

The AKM Manual

"The wiping of cartridges with an oily rag and the loading of cartridges into magazines that have been liberally lubricated internally are prohibited."

View attachment 5973

The SVD Manual

"it must be wiped with a clean, dry rag."

View attachment 5974

It seems to me that the Soviets learned something about oily cartridges over time.

I'm still waiting for Nick to address the US Army information from 2005.
 
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