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Chamber burrs.

Q I have an older Colt revolver in .38 Spl. The gun is in fairly good shape. The finish is a bit worn but it is mechanically very light with almost no movement in the cylinder when it is locked in place. My problem is ejection. After I fire the gun t have a problem ejecting the cases. Any ideas as to what is going on With this old gun? How can I fix it?

A I would first encourage you to carefully examine each of the individual chambers. Look closely inside each for rust pits, burrs or scratches. Even a single pit, burr or scratch of significant size can cause an ejection problem. Upon firing the brass case, which is somewhat elastic, will expand to seal the chamber. The brass, under considerable pressure, flows out and is only stopped by the chamber walls. If there is a pit or deep scratch, the case will flow out and into this depression.

Once the gas pressure drops the case will contract a bit. It doesn't normally go all the way back to the size it was prior to being fired but it will be close. However, if the case expanded into a pit or scratch, it may not contract enough to come completely out of that depression. That spells trouble when you try to eject it from the cylinder.


The small bit of brass still protruding into the pit may lock the case in place. In many instances you have to actually shear this protruding brass off the case before it can be ejected. Needless to say, this makes ejection a real bear.

Right now I have a Russian Nagant revolver on my bench with that problem. Six of the seven chambers are just fine, but one of 'em has a few pits and some burrs. When fired, the cases eject easily from the six good chambers but you have to use a cleaning rod to remove the case from the seventh chamber.

Sometimes it is simply impossible to fix or repair a pitted chamber. I don't know of any practical way to fill pits inside a chamber. If the chamber was cut to absolute minimum dimensions or less, you can sometimes get very lucky and use a chamber reamer to open it up a bit to normal dimensions. As you open the chamber you may cut out the pits or at least lessen their depth. Another possibility is to hone or polish the inside of the chamber. This may, just may, make it a bit easier to eject the fired cases as the pits will not have as much of a tendency to cut or shear off brass.

Another option is to experiment with different brands and types of brass. Sometimes nickel-plated cases will function better in situations where you have a rough chamber. You might want to try this. If all else fails and you have only one or two chambers that are pitted, simply load the good chambers and leave the bad ones empty. It's not ideal, but it will allow you to continue to use the gun.

Finally, as a last resort you may simply have to replace the cylinder. If you need a cylinder, check with the folks at Numrich Gun Parts Corporation, Box 299, Dept. SGN, West Hurley, N.Y. 12491, telephone 866-686-7424. By the way, a replacement cylinder will generally have to be fitted and for this you may need the services of a knowledgeable, experienced gunsmith.
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Title Annotation:Ask the Gunsmith
Author:Coffield, Reid
Publication:Shotgun News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 10, 2009
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