So perhaps the beginning of the end to my saga.
I used a dowel and the barrel of my troublesome rifle came right off. So I felt pretty good about that small victory this morning
Yes, the barrel was ever so slightly perhaps not indexed correctly. The tiny adjustment made did improve some of the snappiness in the bolt but not very much.
I tried all sorts of things related to the indexing of the barrel and continual swapping of parts to see if something was faulty. What I did notice were a couple of things.
1) If I applied a significant amount of force toward the muzzle when closing and holding the bolt handle... very little snap to the bolt.
2) The firing pin in the troublesome bolt had a number of burs on it. I suspect from wear and tear. I used a very fine Arkansas stone to smooth out the burs. That also improved the function of the bolt. At least the firing pin moving in its channel.
As I was slowly pulling out what little remaining hair I had during the day one thing bubbled in the back of my head. Excessive headspace? Also when I was working through the problem I took apart one of my bolts that had far less of the snap issue than the troublesome one that has been my bane for a few days now. Low and behold there was a shim on the bolt. Hmmmmm
When I got the rifles from the CMP years ago the bolts were thick with grease. Some folks may, or may not remember there was an issue with some of the Remington 513T's that were sold. They being close to failing when gauged related to headspace. I don't know if the M44's were checked for headspace and if they were I suspect all of the grease and powder fouling may have contributed to incorrect readings.
At this point I am going to try and tidy up my mess I have created in my basement puttering around for the last couple of days, order a .22LR field gauge, and order some shims.
The extractor data I collected was interesting. I suspect it relates to the number of rounds sent down range and wear and tear on the rifles. The difference size wise between the best and worst of my bolts is .014. I don't know what that means or even if it is significant or not. At one point I considered swapping out a smaller for larger extractor but dismissed that idea as it was a real PITA to remove and then clean them on the troublesome bolt during my initial plunge into figuring out what might be wrong.
Taking a break as I was writing this I thought why not for kicks move the shim I have from one bolt to my problematic rifle. Eureka! All snappiness removed. A tight smooth bolt action. More so once I have it lubricated correctly. I have no clue if the headspace is correct or not but once I get a collection of shims and a field gauge I should be able to set things right.
I am left wondering a few things as I contemplate the future of my tiny pieces of history. Do I use them until they become wall hangers or should I make the investment now to keep them functional for the next couple of generations? Moving forward in that direction I suspect involves new extractors and setting the barrel back a bit and re-chamber. With a good bore it would be essentially a new barrel. Good for many thousands of rounds and surely will outlast my lifetime.
Just as Brian Voelker is the genius and can do magic with the Remington 540/541 rifles I wonder who is the go to person for the Mossberg 44US? Is there one?
Last edited by mncorrado; 04-21-2017 at 09:38 PM.