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Dug myself into a bit of a hole... (Mauser K98)

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by xsquidgator, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Well-Known Member

    One of my reloads squibbed and got the bullet stuck in the bore. Since I didn't have a brass rod I thought I'd use a couple of hardwood dowels I'd used to slug the bore. Stupid I know now but it's too late.

    Now I have 1/4" two dowels stuck in the bore above the bullet (I dropped them both from the muzzle end, each maybe 10" long, one on top of the other, to push the bullet back to the breech end, and then started to tap down on them with a mallet. The movement I felt wasn't the bullet moving out, it must have been compressing the wooden dowel onto the spitz bullet tip and smashing it into the bore) and it seems pretty clear I've jammed it up good. Oh, and the dowel rod on top snapped off at the muzzle when I tried to use pliars to twist it loose.

    At least once I realized I dug myself a hole, I quit digging so to speak. :banghead: I could suck up my pride, take it to a local smith, and ask him to unscrew this mess I made. But, surely there is a way I can remove the jammed up and broken wooden dowels from the bore without damaging anything? I already tried to pound the mess down and out of the bore with an aluminum rod, but it looks like the narrow rod is just getting stuck between the dowl and the side of the bore - I quit trying to do that.

    Can anyone here offer me some hope and advice? My smith has a 3+ week backlog too plus whatever $40 or so he'd charge me, assuming this is a simple thing to fix.
  2. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Well-Known Member

    You can't get the dowels out at all?
  3. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to dig up the recipe for a clearing charge for ya, but you must get rid of the dowels in order to use it.
  4. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Well-Known Member

    No, especially since I broke the top dowel off at the muzzel while I was trying to twist and pull it out. The dowel on top puzzled me because it should have just been a flat-ended dowel sitting on top of another. My tapping with the mallet/hammer must have splintered the ends and rammed them together as well as pushing the mess hard up against the bore wall. At first I tried pulling the dowel straight out, wouldn't budge, then I (stupidly I know) tried to twist and pull on it, but I broke it off just inside the muzzle.

    so far the only thing I could think of is some sort of dremel tool to try and eat out the wood a little bit at a time, and try to not touch the bore somehow. Surely there HAS to be a way to fix this, but I haven't been too successful in thinking of a way yet.
  5. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Well-Known Member

    perhaps you could drill a tiny hole in the end of the top dowel and sink a drywall screw in it, then jerk out the rod?
  6. byf43

    byf43 Well-Known Member


    First. . . take a step back and look at this.

    Remove the bolt.

    Since the bore is 7.92 mm, it is a little larger than 19/64" (7.541 mm) in diameter and less than 5/16" (7.938 mm).

    Go to the hardware store and buy a piece of cold rolled steel (dowel rod) approximately 9/32" (7.144mm). IF you can find a 19/64" rod, that would be perfect! (Good luck finding it!)
    Note, a piece of dowel rod 1/4" in diameter is just too small (6.350mm) and will cause the bullet to 'mushroom' from the back.
    You'll really be in a deep hole, then!

    Place the rifle in a padded vise or better yet, remove the rifle from the stock and place the barreled action in a padded vise.

    Using the cold rolled steel dowel rod and a mallet, drive the bullet and the other 'garbage' down the bore toward the muzzle, from the breech end!

    Do NOT use aluminum!!!! The aluminum will mushroom in the bore and do more harm.
    Brass will mushroom, also.

    If you had not used the wooden dowels from the muzzle end, you could have easily removed the stuck bullet using a steel cleaning rod, or using the steel dowel rod and a mallet, back toward the breech.


    Let us know how you make out.
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    All I can add is to flood the bore with penetrating oil like Kroil and let it soak before whacking on it with a steel rod just under bore diameter as byf suggests.

    You can knock out a stuck lead pistol bullet with a wood dowel but a jacketed rifle bullet is a different matter. A guy here stuck a .375 H&H trying to make an elephant gun into a rabbitshooter and like to never got it out. I suspect he marred his bore in the process of beating on it with this and that.
  8. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Well-Known Member

    Jim Watson, byf43,
    Thanks for the advice - I will put some oil in there as well as getting some dowel rods as you say.

    byf- would it really be better to push from the breech towards to muzzle, and not the other way 'round? By squib round, I meant that the primer launched the bullet but none of the powder burned (a different issue, I suppose I contaminated the powder with case lube maybe). Thus the bullet is close to the chamber end, I'm pretty sure.

    Trueblue- I take it a "clearing charge" is a powder charge just to push the obstruction out the muzzle? Not sure I'm comfortable with that, since I may have deformed the bullet already with my whacking. I had another squib earlier this weekend but someone at the range loaned me his brass rod and I got the bullet out without too much trouble, that time. If I can clear the wood and debris from the bore, I like the idea better of using a metal rod to push the bullet from one direction or the other.
  9. byf43

    byf43 Well-Known Member

    IF you could get the wooden dowel rods out . . sure, it'd be easier to push back into the chamber or breech end.

    However, not knowing how far down the barrel the bullet went. . . I was giving you the best way out.

    Now, upon reading your original post again, it seems that the first dowel rod you sent down the barrel got split on the bullet point, when you smacked the second dowel dropped on top of the first.

    Please don't misunderstand. . . I'm NOT a gunsmith, and I don't play one on TV.

    IF you can remove the dowel rods by screwing a drywall screw (aka production screw) and pulling the 'top' or last rod out, great.
    You MIGHT be able to drive the bullet back through the chamber, but, be prepared for the dowel inside the barrel to split and mushroom against the lands and grooves.

    I'd actually be more comfortable getting both dowel rods out.

    You MIGHT be able to get the first dowel out by holding the rifle 'muzzle down' and tapping the barrel with a BRASS mallet, enough to jar or shake the dowel loose. (But, you're going to have to get the top dowel out, first!)

    I can honestly say that I have never experienced your situation.

  10. Mark_from_Iowa

    Mark_from_Iowa Well-Known Member

    I would not recommend drilling into the dowel from the muzzle end, unless you have a drill press and a jig to hold the barrel on the drill bit's true center. Compacted and splintered dowels have a way of grabbing drill bits and making them go sideways.

    Don't ask why I know this.:eek::banghead:
  11. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Well-Known Member

    Compounded problem...

    Xsquigator--You got yourself a problem--the squib--then you compounded it (pun intended) with the dowel rods. Then you went and busted off the dowel! My sympathies--you were just trying to solve a problem as best as you could figure.

    I'm going to go against all the other posters and say, "Hey, man, you've fooled around with this thing ENOUGH!!

    Unless you are a competent machinist, and have access to a well-equipped machine shop, anything more you do which might effectively remove the bullet, will also have a strong liklihood of damaging your bore.

    So my suggestion is to take it to yr gunsmith, wait the wait, pay the fee, and chalk it up to a payment of tuition to the School of Hard Knox. One bright spot in doing it that way is that if the bore gets damaged in the process, the 'smith will be liable, not you.

    Good judgement comes from experience. Experience is what you get by exercising poor judgement.
  12. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    I did something like this not long ago while slugging a bore- broke off tight fitting dowel in the bore. Filling the barrel with Kroil and using a steel cleaning rod is what got the whole mes out. Your situations sounds much worse though with a jacketed bullet near the breach end. Take it to a gunsmith.
  13. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Well-Known Member

    Yikes! This is quite the problem and I'm really curious as to how the Professional Gunsmith would attack it?

    Special drill bit that will remove the wood without hurting the bore? Can't see that happening as any metal cutting and screwing type thing turning in the bore is going to be hard on it.

    Push the projo and rods out from the breech? The split rod over the bullet ogive is going to act like a wedge and make that really difficult and, I'd guess, dangerous to the bore as well.

    Hmmmmm...what to do??? Forgive me for my foolishness, but I'd think about using the torch. (God, I love the torch!) It can solve many problems and this might be one.

    Please don't get me wrong. Cooking the barrel can destroy it, but heating it until the wood becomes hot enought to smoke isn't going to be any worse than shooting it until your handguards are smoking and boiling out the oil/cosmoline.

    If you can get it to that smoking temperature and hold it for a while, the wood should be decomposed a bit and allow you to poke the bullet from the chamber.....or, let's be hopeful here...maybe allow the wood to drop from the muzzle! Just enough heat to smoke and hold it there for a while. Smoke is wood converted to..well..smoke!

    The only other thing I can think of....and it is weird...is to eat the wood dowels with either chemicals or animals. I am not a chemist, but surely there exists an acid, base or chemical that will decompose wood while not attacking the bore. At least I would think so. If it exists, then careful removal of the dowels with it would allow the eventual poking of the projo out the back with the steel rod.

    And, if you have a local source of microbes, they might be talked into eating your wood for you without the danger of damage to your bore. My local microbe store doesn't exist so this might be a stupid thought...but many of my thoughts are stupid. I am used to it.

    But, every once in a while, a stupid thought is just what is needed in a bad situation. Good luck with your dilemma. We'll be rooting for you!
  14. The Annoyed Man

    The Annoyed Man Well-Known Member

    I may be an idiot here, but what about getting that screw into the muzzle end of the dowel, like trueblue1776 suggested, and then using one of those dent pulling slide hammers to yank on the dowel? If you can get an inch or so of the dowel to show, then you could put a hose clamp around it to maintain pressure against the screw so that it doesn't strip out of the hole. That might get at least the one piece out.
  15. SigfanUSAF

    SigfanUSAF Well-Known Member

    For what a gunsmith would charge.....

    Pick up a decent used K98 stripped barrel, they are always selling on various forums, for $20 to $30 or so, and take it to the 'smith to swap out. I bet the labor for the two different operations would be very close;)
  16. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Well-Known Member

    First, thanks much to everyone here for all the advice and well wishes for extricating myself from this bone-headed situation. Well, happy news I think, I cleared the obstruction and I don't see any obvious signs of damage to the bore either (and I took a good look with a borelight especially paying attention to the muzzle and the crown).

    byf43, you da man! I thought about all of the suggestions I've gotten, and believe me taking it to the smith was tempting despite what it would have cost in money and time. I stopped by Lowes' on the way home and got a couple 1/4" aluminum and steel dowel rods, and used those to drive the bullet out from breech to muzzle, pushing the wooden debris in front of it. Next time of course I'll know to use one of the metal dowel rods first instead of the wood ones!

    Feels much better to have taken care of that and to have cleaned up after that and the 50 grains of unburned powder that were everywhere and in everything. Now I can go back to pulling the bullets from this batch of squibs I made and re-doing it correctly this time.
  17. byf43

    byf43 Well-Known Member

    xsquidgator wrote:

    I'm glad that it all worked out for you!!!!!


    Take care of that K98k!!!


  18. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    I bet it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders:D
  19. phaed

    phaed Well-Known Member

    stick the rifle in a deep freezer. yes, i'm serious.

    *edit* didn't read before posting...congrats on getting it out
  20. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...dug myself a hole..." And jumped in. Fortunately, it's not the end of the world. Get a piece of 1/4" mild steel bar stock, put the rifle in a padded vise and bash the whole lot out from the chamber end using a plastic mallet. No machine shops or screws or freezing or anything else required. Mild steel will do nothing to the barrel.

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