pins and wedges

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pins and wedges

Postby hawkthrower » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:53 am

There is a "standard" way to set barrel pins and wedges - they are to be inserted from the left to the right - and the inletting must be done very carefully to allow the pin or wedge to have a reasonable holding pressure generally the right slot for a wedge is slightly lower then the left and narrower, pins are similar and have a "friction fit" or what machinist's call press fit on fit on the right, the hole being a few thousandths undersized.
I have looked most carefully, measuring and trying the standard configuration - however I have found on several rifles that the holes or slots are not inlet "quite right". this causes the pin to not have much friction against the stock and is "loose" - or one or both wedges will fall out - I have considered several possible solutions but have not arrived at a truly reasonable one yet......... Any ideas out there? :?:
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Re: pins and wedges

Postby McClura » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:24 am

When I was building mostly Hawken rifles with the wedges I cut a slot in the wedge and when inserted in the stock without the barrel in the stock I would mark and drill and small hole down through the barrel channel, through the slot in the wedge next to where the barrel tennons drop down into the stock. I would tap a small length of 1/16" brass rod down through the slot in the wedge. When you pull the wedge out to remove the barrel it would not fall out of the stock. On fitting my wedges I would just slightly lay a small 1/2" rod on the barrel lug and tap it to close the gap and this would secure the barrel- it would have tension on the wedge. This is when using the escutcheons in the stock.
On pins for my longrifles without escutchenons I would inlet my barrel with lugs on the barrel and every so slightly secure the barrel in the stock with c-clamps about every 12 inches. I would drill a hole through the stock and barrel lug and then use a drill stock pin almost the size of the hole drilled. Make sure you round the ends of the pin to prevent pushing wood off of the opposite side you drive the pin in. If it gets too loose, I tap the lugs on the barrel with a ball peen hammer slightly to close up the hole for more tension.
I'm sure there are many other ways.
With all of this said, I very rarely take the barrel out of my stocks for any reason except if I have hunted in the rain to clean up and oil. I always clean my rifles with the barrels on. I have some longrifles that it has been at least 10 years of so since the barrel was removed. When I have them off, I clean and wipe down real good with "Break Free" oil and inside the barrel channel also.

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Re: pins and wedges

Postby hawkthrower » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:00 pm

I've tried the hammer on the barrel loop and I have seen a bent wedge pin..... Ive also re-drilled and inserted slightly larger diameter pins before.... I even thought about a tapered pin - Just wondering if its a fix or a band-aid
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One must study to know, know to understand, understand to judge."
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Re: pins and wedges

Postby Winter Hawk » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:11 pm

I just ran into this with the T-C Pennsylvania Hunter. I found that someone had put a thin washer under the front screw of the tang. The result was that the barrel had to be forced down into the channel. When I took the washer out, the barrel fit down into the channel okay but the wedge was very loose. I tapped the underlug with a ball peen hammer enough to tighten the fit. Actually too much and I had to wedge it out a tad with a screwdriver. It now has good tension but can still be pulled fairly easily (after tapping it with my knife handle to get it started).

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Re: pins and wedges

Postby Captchee » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:36 am

some folks would disagree but IMO pins and wedges should always go in from the left and out from the left . but the only real practice is to make sure they always go in and out from the same side .
Trying to get a press fit in wood , the way a machinist would do in metal , purposefully, is near impossible.
McClura has it pretty much down to what i do . I try and drill the pin holes at the same level , but smaller then the size of the pin . With keys I make the slot slightly smaller then the key . Also with keys there will often times be only one way that the will fit proper . IE one side will need to be up . that’s where pinning the keys to the stock really is a good deal . Not only does it insure that the keys stay with their prospective slots , but they don’t end up being flipped over and put in upside down

By making the slots or holes alittle smaller it makes make it so that both need a light tap to push them out with a drift or wedge tool . That is why you often see original keys with a small grove filed in the wedge end .

As far as tightening up a lose key or pin . If you chose to tighten the hole up in the under lug , keep in mind that all you have done is wedged the key or pin in the lug .. Doing so can be ok if there isn’t a lot of play in the hole or key slot . But if there is you may see some loss of accuracy ..
Not only do the keys and pins serve to hold the stock to the barrel , but they also serve to hold the barrel down in the stock. The tang screw alone , will not hold the barrel down under recoil . If one has any doubt concerning that , sometime take you barrel out and set the tang in a vice . Put one finger one the muzzle and lightly apply pressure . You will find its not hard to move the muzzle and that once the pressur is released , the barrel will move back . as long as you dont apply so much pressure as to actualy bend the tang past its resiliance point .

When it comes to fixing a lose key or pin , what I do is place a slight bend in the key or pin . That bend needs to go down . When the pin or key is then inserted back in the stock with the bend down , it not only tightens things up but also serves to pull the barrel down into the stock
With Pins , if the hole is just way to big and a slight bend wont cure the problem , then I remove the barrel . I then take a tooth pick or if needed a larger hardwood dowel and make a short pin that’s at east a ¼ inch shorter then the width of the sock . Thus when the wood pin is places in the stock you cant see it from the out side . Coat the pin with white glue and insert it into the stock and let it dry . Once dry , come back and cut the section that goes across the under lug inlet out . Then re drill the pin hole so that its slightly smaller then the actual pin. just be sure to drill one side first . then replace the barrel and run the bit in just alittle so that it goes through the under lug and just starts into the off hand side . then come back and do the same from the other side .
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Re: pins and wedges

Postby Winter Hawk » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:08 am

I pinned the keys (wedges) on a Lyman GPR I had and really liked that. A friend was making an order from Track of the Wolf and ordered the slotted keys for me at the same time. I would like to do that again but they charge so much for shipping it's not worth it. I may try to cut slots in my existing wedges, but how to do that with just hand tools will be a challenge.

I have seen keys where one side of the flange (thumb piece, whatever you call the end where you push on) is wider than the other side; I think that may be so you can always put the correct side up.

Captchee, once again I thank you for your insight. I am glad that you are willing to pass some of your knowledge on to the rest of us! :77:

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Re: pins and wedges

Postby hanshi » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:18 am

Interestingly, every percussion rifle with a wedge that I've ever bought (including one "semi custom") had the wedge put in from the right (gun shouldered). The escutcheon on the right also had a larger slot than the one on the left. This has always been a confusing subject for me; I guess I'm still confused about it.

And I've run into situations where the wedge is thicker on one side than the other requiring the wedge to go in with one particular side always up. I've put slight bends in wedges and can attest that it does wonders for tightening things up. :campfire:
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