Bent Wedge


February 28, 2010, 11:35 PM
Today I was taking advantage of the decent weather and trying to shoot my entry for the Feb. virtual match. All went well with a very good group.
Now, after my shooting fun was over, I went to clean the piece and couldn't
get the dang wedge out. Upon inspection I saw that the wedge was bent
not only bent but also compressed sideways so that the barrel was actually loose! WTH! She's a '51 Navy brass frame. I only shoot 20-25gr. pyro "p"
with 454 rb's. Is this common or is this a fluke? Oh it's an ASM made in '92 I believe.

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March 1, 2010, 12:02 AM
most definately odd.You're measuring by volume,with a black powder measure, right? VTI Gunparts has the last stores of the now defunct ASM company's parts.

March 1, 2010, 12:08 AM
Saaaay,you DO have your wedge installed properly so that it protrudes all the way through the frame of the pistol,and comes out on the other side?

March 1, 2010, 12:09 AM
you didn't say what balls you are using. Home cast? Maybe to hard of lead.

Or balls moving ahead in cylinder after firing the first ones. Building to much preasure in chamber.

March 1, 2010, 12:22 AM
You're sure that's pyrodex?personally,I'd be useing Goex.

March 1, 2010, 07:19 AM
A bent wedge is unusual at those charge levels. Maybe 25gr of 777 could cause it.. IMHO this kind of problem is caused by a short arbor not bottoming completely in the barrel lug. Upon firing it allows the barrel to move in and out beating the wedge. I would think you would see some peening of the sides of the wedge before it actually bent. I guess it is possible you got a wedge that had a poor heat treatment.

March 1, 2010, 10:41 AM
You're sure that's pyrodex?personally,I'd be useing Goex.

25 grains of Pyrodex is not too much pressure even for a brass frame Navy. Now, I wore one out a long time ago, but wasn't bending the steel wedge, just stretched the brass frame over time to the point that it would not headspace properly, IOW, the caps were too far away from the hammer. But, I just loaded it full bore and fired roundball or conical. I caused the wear. 50 dollar gun, though, no biggy. :D

March 1, 2010, 10:41 PM
You bet I have the wedge fully seated, and I would absolutely LOVE to use GOEX.
Can't seem to find the stuff here in West Michigan. Anyone that carries the stuff only has ff in stock and I prefer fff. And if you want them to special order it for you..........
well hold on to your wallet! Anyway I do use balls cast here at the homestead but I cant be 100% sure of the purity. The lead I use is some sort of sheet/shielding material that I bought from the local scrap metal dealer and he told me it was pure. As a side note I did not notice any odd recoil that would indicate poorly seated balls but even @ 25 gr. (by volume) my plunger rod drops with every shot. it always has though. The wedge showed NO sign of failure prior to this session. I wipe down and break down and inspect before EVERY shooting session.

March 1, 2010, 11:04 PM

March 2, 2010, 02:47 AM
One other thing no one has mentioned.
The barrel wedge isn't a hardened part. It is also possable to bend it by using way to much force on the ram rod lever.

Like if using to big of balls that are to hard. Also a ball that is to big puts more strain on the barrel wedge. Even though the cylinder cuts it to the size of the cyl chamber the lead still has to swage down even smaller to go through the barrel.
Since the ball was bigger it will be longer in the barrel. Harder to swage because of that. Also the lead in the barrel will be heavier then the smaller ball would have been and raise the preasure some.
And if the lead was to hard the combination could cause your problem.

March 2, 2010, 10:14 PM
Good point RodDoc on the wedge hardness. As far as the ball size goes I use .454 which is what the Mfr. specs for this piece. Only shaves a fine ring of lead when loading.
HOWEVER I do use a lot of force when seating the balls. I am quite handy with wood and metal fabrication so I think I shall get out the file and grinder and make a wedge myself.
or maybe leave the grinder in the drawer and fire up the forge and pound one out!

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