38 special hangfire

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BJung, Apr 27, 2022.

  1. BJung

    BJung Member

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    I thought I had a hangfire. My testloads were .38 special wadcutters seated to the second gas groove so the OAL would be the same as a .357 with a .38 wadcutter. So, at the range, I shot my testloads but two were hangfires. I didn't even look at them and later discovered at home that the firing pin did not hit the primer. Can the OAL of a .38 too long that the firing pin would not hit it? I was able to close my cylinder.
     
  2. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    I can't see how your OAL would have anything to do with your problem.

    The cartridge headspaces on the rim so, as you said, you were able to close the cylinder everything should be properly headspace.

    You don't mention the make or model of your revolver, could be a firing pin issue, broken or piece of debris wedged in somewhere it shouldn't be.
     
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  3. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    No, OAL likely wasn’t the cause.

    Rimmed cartridges, like 38 and 357, headspace on the rim. The rim also sets the proper relationship to the primer.

    If the primer wasn’t struck, how did they become hangfires? Hangfire means…click….wait for it….boom. Do you mean misfire in that the bullet was still in the case?
     
  4. Hockey7711

    Hockey7711 Member

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    I have a similar problem with a s&w model 65 357 magnum.
    I get light primer strikes and I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with it. There is a spring adjustment screw in the grip, but that doesn't seem to help. Any ideas?
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Replace the strain screw, someone may have filed it down, and a new spring kit in case they screwed around with them too.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    To the OP, primers had no mark at all? Gun isse.

    If the primers had a light indent, where they seated fully?
     
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  7. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    Yeah, it's a mainspring tension screw.
    It's supposed to be tight but, trying to get a lighter trigger pull, some folks loosen the screw thinking it's an adjustable screw (it's purpose is to facilitate disassembly) or even remove it then remove material from the end shortening it before replacing it.
    Making sure that screw is tight would be the first place I'd start.

    Dang, beat by a minute or 2.
     
  8. Hockey7711

    Hockey7711 Member

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    I'll check that thanks.
     
  9. Hockey7711

    Hockey7711 Member

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    It's an old gun, from the 70's I think. Can that main tension spring become less firm with time?
    Any idea where I could get a new one?
     
  10. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    An old gun, he says. From the ‘70’s, he says. :scrutiny::(

    Seems the number one question is, were these hangfires or failure to fire?
     
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  11. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    This is a Failure To Fire, not a hangfire. A hangfire is a “click”, followed by seconds, then a “bang”. Shooting a flintlock is a very mild hangfire, longer ones have you changing your shorts.
    .38’s headspace on the rim. If the cylinder closes, you’re GTG. If you had a proud primer, you’d see a slight indentation from the firing pin but most likely an FTF. How do the indentations look on primers where they fired ok? That tells a lot. No indentation most likely is a gun issue.
     
  12. ballman6711

    ballman6711 Member

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    You could try Numrich, I found a spring there for my Colt King Cobra. I've used them for other parts as well. Here's a link:

    https://www.gunpartscorp.com/

    As others have said, try tightening the screw first, it may have just worked loose.

    chris
     
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  13. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Looks like the threads been hijacked. We still don’t know what kind of revolver the OP was shooting, what kind of primer, how it was seated, if there were faint or no primer strikes on the two that didn’t fire - or if they did truly hangfire. OP needs to respond, please.
     
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  14. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    Yes, it is possible but not probable that the mainspring has lost tension/weakened over the years.

    Messing around with the strain screw has been a long standing tradition with Smith & Wesson revolvers thinking that was a good way to reduce trigger pull, probably since their inception.

    That's always a good first place to look.

    If it's tight and your still experiencing light strikes, replace the screw, it's probably been shortened (Numerich, Brownells, Midway USA etc all carry parts like that)

    If that doesn't work, a mainspring replacement may be your next step unless you're comfortable popping (NOT PRYING)
    the sideplate off (plenty of YouTube videos on how to do this properly) looking for excessive fouling (not too likely) or excessive dried up lube (a little more likely IMO)

    While a firearm from the '70's isn't exactly old, there's no telling what previous owners may have done to I over the years.

    Good luck.
    Use common sense and stay safe.
     
  15. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    On the S & W: I ordered a spring and strain screw from Midway and they fixed the problem. Actually just the spring fixed the problem. I do not know if it got weak or a PO changed it.

    The Ruger sounds like a gun issue. But I do not know what issue.
     
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  16. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    BJung
    ,
    I see that you're in California.

    I seem to recall an issue with light primer strikes stemming from S&W's attempt to comply with some of California's rather odd gunlaws; specifically a passing grade in a drop test.

    IIRC, Smith changed some of the springs and the length of the firing pin to meet those requirements.

    I don't know what to tell you about finding out if your revolver is being affected by that but, it would seem to me that finding out what parts were altered and replacing them might help you.

    Edit: replacing with factory standard (not more CA compliant parts ;))
     
  17. aaaaa

    aaaaa Member

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    Interesting. I had a similar problem with a couple rounds that did not fire on the first try. I took them out and saw a light strike to the primer. Upon putting them back in the revolver (S&W 686Plus) they both fired and showed deeper, normal looking dents in the primers. The firing pin to back of cylinder has a larger gap in the 686Plus than in my 642, but I can't determine the exact gap as I misplaced my feeler gauge.
     
  18. BJung

    BJung Member

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    Thanks for all of your responses. I am shooting an old CHP S&W Model 66 and purchased it in the early 1980s. I don't shoot my guns excessively. If I were to guess, I fired 500-900 round through it, most being light to medium loads. I never had it worked on. Of these three rounds where the firing pin did not strike the primer, I shot maybe 48 testloads that day and the rest were fine. I wouldn't guess that a spring would wear out just because of it is 42 or so years old.
     
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  19. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    The cylinder may not have rotated . Or on firing, the cylinder rotated backwards.

    Next time to the range, watch the cylinder to see if it turns & locks when pulling the hammer back.

    Also, after firing a shot, check to see if the cylinder is locked in place. Should not be able to move the cylinder with a finger tip.

    Clean & lube the action.
     
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  20. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Out of time? A Smith & Wesson? IMPOSSIBLE!!! Why, I've been told by some of the smartest and most experienced gun owners (on the internet) that only happens to Colt's revolvers!!o_O:cuss::scrutiny:
     
  21. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    I think I got a spring kit from Brownells 5 years ago. They weren't expensive. A buddy wanted less tension on the DA trigger, so he loosened the spring tension screw and the result was an occasional misfire. After putting in one spring lighter, he was happy. Several came in the kit.
     
  22. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    I have had the cylinder on my 629-2 rotate backwards on firing with heavy(er) loads.

    It only started happening after many years and a couple thousand rounds though.

    Never had that problem with my 629-3 with the"endurance package".
     
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  23. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    Why go to the range? Go into your bathroom, sit on the throne. Empty the cylinder and point at you jewels and pull the trigger watching for rotation. If you don't follow my instructions, you will only mess up a little area and the misses won't get mad and you will be only be yelling in soprano. lol
     
  24. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    The hammer nose needs to move freely. Some have a spring, some dont.

    The Hammer Block is only an issue if the gun was taken apart recently & not replaced correctly.

    Not common problems.
     
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  25. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    OAL WAS THE PROBLEM!!!

    The initial spark from the primer flashed over the forward placed powder charge causing delayed ignition. The lack of firing pin hit was the result of the firing pin/hammer rebounding before the ignition allowing internal pressure to flatten the pin mark.

    I’ve seen it before with deteriorated powder. In old .38 cartridges.
     
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