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Steyr M95 and old ammo

cohenmj770cohenmj770 Member Posts: 21 ✭✭
edited August 2019 in Ask the Experts
Just curious if anyone out there has had experience with old (ca. 1935) ammo for the original 8 x 50R configuration, and is there anything that can be done about duds. I took my gun to the range on Sunday and it worked great with modern reloads (Gad Custom Reloaded Cartridges) but the original ammo were all duds and I gave up after about 10 rounds. This morning i pulled the bullet out of one of the duds, emptied the powder, and struck the primer with a punch and a tap hammer. It went off fairly well.

Is this an indication of a worn firing pin, or are the original ammo just a waste of money?

Thanks,

Mike

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    charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 6,579 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Interesting. The ammo is old enough to have issues due to age. Storage conditions have a lot to do with shelf life. Did you try and fire the duds more than once?

    Look at the dent in primers. Is it deep and centered. Compare the new and old cases.

    Firing pin could be worn, not protruding enough - bolt has crud in it. Striker spring weak, broken. Take the bolt apart - clean, inspect, lube.

    Firing pin protrusion 0.045 is like a universal number.
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    mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 10,998 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have a supply of 8mm Lebel rifle ammo that was manufactured in the 1886 to 1912 time frame...

    Some military production and some commercial with the Kynoch headstamp.

    Some is the original spec load while most was loaded to meet the 1886/93 French Level Ball D improvement / modification

    Some of this self contained small bore smokeless powder center primed single unit metallic cartridge ordnance is over 130 years old - and I shoot it occasionally to maintain an authentic connection to the overall period correct experience (all safety steps followed and PPE deployed)

    I don't imagine there is much in the way of extant "modern standard pattern" loaded functional ammunition from this period still in existence or in use - and probably very little that pre dates my secret stash.

    Yes some of the ammo does not function (is a "Dud") and some of it slow fires (pull trigger - 1 Mississippi - 2 Mississippi - 3. Mississippi - bang...) but I am adequately trained and equipped to deal with these anomalous events.

    I do retain these cartridges and at home in the shop I separate the components to expedite a forensic examination and satisfy my curiosity (and save the brass and bullets)

    Mike
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    babunbabun Member Posts: 11,054 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I shot up a lot of old 8mmx56 ammo...just a few duds.
    Try to dissemble the bolt/firing pin, There is a long thin spring for it against the threaded on retainer. Clean or replace the spring.
    IIRC, the threaded retainer may have a strike mark on it to mark and lock it in place.
    Look here...

    https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-manufacturer/steyr/m95-straight-pull
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    cohenmj770cohenmj770 Member Posts: 21 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hi all - thanks so much for the suggestions. I had completely disassembled the gun, cleaned and reassembled, but i didn't try to inspect the inside of the bolt head to see if there's any crud in there. Good idea to try to clean out anything that may be present. Second, I will look at the firing pin spring. Perhaps it's getting a little weak.

    As for the ~10 or so duds that I had, I did try a double strike on each one with no positive effect. The dent in the primer looks centered and like a decent hit, but maybe it could be deeper. I checked gunparts, but their firing pins are out of stock. I'll try those quick checks first, as well as checking the length of the firing pin protrusion before i start a serious search for another firing pin.

    Thanks again,

    Mike
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    truthfultruthful Member Posts: 1,999 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The gun fires modern ammo... suggests the gun is ok. A dud primer fired using a punch: Have you tried firing one of the duds a second time? I've seen oldish primers require a second hit from the firing pin. I don't know if it is the primer compound having lost sensitivity, or maybe primer cups made of stronger material.
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    cohenmj770cohenmj770 Member Posts: 21 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yes, I tried a second trigger pull on the duds to no avail, although I didn't eject the cartridge and try it again after it was rechambered. I'll have to check all those items that others above mentioned.
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    Missouri Mule K30Missouri Mule K30 Member Posts: 2,092 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Can I make a suggestion? If you plan on keeping a firearm in service you may want to reload your own cartridges in the future. I myself like to shoot older firearms. The problem is economics and availability. To buy an old cartridge for lets say 2 or 3 bucks or more then try and be a misfire or worse discharge on opening bolt and being injured just to nostalgia hunt or shoot is not worth the chance.

    Better to breakdown for useable components and reload with new primer and powder. Molds for lead bullets are to be had. Sizing dies, lube, loading dies, brass, Books and the knowledge is Here and there, you just need to be diligent and safe with what you want to accomplish.

    I thought that something I would never try was to reload. Now that I have the tools and equipment and have a friend that was willing to school me in the beginning and still helps I will always reload. I still buy old ammo if cheap and may try but usually just breakdown, cleanup and reload it. And asking about it on the site is a great way to get the vast knowledge that is right here with others more experienced with the older firearms.

    God Luck to you in which ever direction you choose.
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    cohenmj770cohenmj770 Member Posts: 21 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    That's a good suggestion. I used to reload for a whole bunch of calibers, including a 30 Rem that i had. I sold all of my reloading equipment in an act of stupidity a number of years ago. I might have to reinvest.
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    cohenmj770cohenmj770 Member Posts: 21 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    One final post to close the loop. I checked the depth of the dimple in the primer after experiencing a dud (by eye) and it looked a little shallow to me. I took out the firing pin and touched up the surface that contacts the inside (backside) of the bolt face with my bench grinder. I didn't take off much metal, but it definitely makes the firing pin stick out a little further after the trigger is pulled. I tried this on two rounds of the old 1938 ammo and both fired just fine. Problem solved.
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    chiefrchiefr Member Posts: 13,853 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    PP still makes ammo and brass, Hornady still sells .330 bullets. Lee makes dies.
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