J. Armstrong build.

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pooch156

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Been busy with my John Armstrong rifle. This build has tested my patience for sure. Had to have L&R send a new fly & sear due to the lock stopping at half cock. The lock is working correctly now. Got the buttplate inletted installed yesterday. The inletting for that looks really good! Don't think that I could do any better. See pic..
 

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pooch156

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Well, I spoke too soon in saying the lock is working correctly! After testing it a number of times it is stopping at half cock again. Attached are some pics of the sear barely engaging the fly. Only the very corner on the sear hits the fly. Now, that is where the sear is catching and hanging up. Also notice the gouge in the lockplate caused by the fly cutting into it. You will see a fairly large gap between the tumbler and the lockplate. The gap is almost big enough for the fly to slide completely under the tumbler. It is apparent that the fly is getting wedged between the tumbler and lockplate causing the gouge in the lockplate. Zoom in on the photos for a closer look.
 

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dave_person

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Hi,
Ah L&R. You have a bit of a problem to solve but one I commonly encounter on their locks. The primary problem is they do almost no real fitting of their cast parts. There is a raised collar on the lock plate side of the tumbler. You may have to turn it down to bring the tumbler closer to the plate. However, the very first thing to do with any L&R lock is to make sure the inside of the plate is flat. With a flat file close to the width of the plate, file the surface. The first strokes will reveal the depressions.


The smooth and polish it before trying to fit the parts. Here is a typical L&R tumbler:

It does not look much better than some India-made guns and requires a lot of clean up and truing. I spin the tumbler in the chuck mounted on my wood lathe and true the sides with a file that has safed edges. A safed edge is rested on the tumbler post and the bridle spindle and the file flattens and trues the sides of the tumbler. You have to anneal the tumbler first to do that. The link below may help you. It discusses working over an L&R Queen Anne lock but many of the problems are likely to be similar to yours
Reworking an L&R Queen Anne lock FINISHED
Unfortunately, you rarely can do just one thing on a lock without affecting something else so be prepared to really work your lock over.

dave
 

pooch156

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Hi,
Ah L&R. You have a bit of a problem to solve but one I commonly encounter on their locks. The primary problem is they do almost no real fitting of their cast parts. There is a raised collar on the lock plate side of the tumbler. You may have to turn it down to bring the tumbler closer to the plate. However, the very first thing to do with any L&R lock is to make sure the inside of the plate is flat. With a flat file close to the width of the plate, file the surface. The first strokes will reveal the depressions.


The smooth and polish it before trying to fit the parts. Here is a typical L&R tumbler:

It does not look much better than some India-made guns and requires a lot of clean up and truing. I spin the tumbler in the chuck mounted on my wood lathe and true the sides with a file that has safed edges. A safed edge is rested on the tumbler post and the bridle spindle and the file flattens and trues the sides of the tumbler. You have to anneal the tumbler first to do that. The link below may help you. It discusses working over an L&R Queen Anne lock but many of the problems are likely to be similar to yours
Reworking an L&R Queen Anne lock FINISHED
Unfortunately, you rarely can do just one thing on a lock without affecting something else so be prepared to really work your lock over.

dave
Thank you Dave for your response to and validation of my same thoughts. I was real close to the melting the lock down with a acetylene torch . . . true story. I think that I'll just take a deep breath and ponder my next move.
 

pooch156

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Send to L&R. Their repair service is much better than their initial QA.
Yes, I can send it back. I can package it up, go to the Post Office & pay the shipping. I shouldn't have to do that. When I pay $170.00 + shipping for a lock it should work properly right out of the box! This is not my first go around with L&R. Had the same issues with a L&R Manton. I was able to fix it though. I've had several locks from Chambers that worked perfectly . . . No issues whatsoever! L&R is obviously aware that their quality control is substandard. Yet they do nothing about it. This is bad business. They just keep throwing as cast parts together and hoping that there are no complaints. Sort of like throwing s**t at the wall and seeing what sticks. From here on in it is Jim Chambers locks. They cost more but it's a small price to pay for a good night"s sleep.
 

dave_person

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Hi Pooch,
You could not have said it better. What the heck is wrong with L&R? Why can Chambers do so much better for only a few dollars more? I don't use their locks anymore unless I have to because of the gun I am building. Even then I try to modify a Chambers to work or build from scratch with other cast and fabricated parts. Anyway, good luck Pooch and if I can help let me know. Your Armstrong project is challenge enough without having to reconstruct a lock.

dave
 

pooch156

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So, I spent some time working on the lock yesterday with some success. With the help of my Dremel and grinding stone I managed to lower the sear to a point where the blade is a hairs breath above the plate. As far as the shoulder on the tumbler I managed to bring the tumbler down closer to the plate by slightly chamfering the tumbler post hole with a very sharp countersink on very slow speed in my cordless drill. Pics attached. Yes, it would be better to anneal, clean up the tumbler and harden it again. I could do that. Maybe I will yet. A metal lathe would be nice to have too. Now for the sear spring. You know, that little spring that could support the rear axle on a 3/4 ton truck? I'm hoping Dave Person can chime in here with ways to lesson that spring tension.
 

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dave_person

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Hi Pooch,
You should be able to reduce the sear spring pretty easily. But before doing that, polish the upper surface of the sear where the spring rests on it and also polish the bottom of the spring that rides on the sear. That may help reduce the trigger pull a lot alone. Then to reduce the spring tension, simply grind a bevel on the outside of the lower leaf of the spring. Go slowly because it may not take much grinding the weaken the spring a lot. A Dremel with a small grinding wheel is ideal for this. Just take a bit off and test.

dave
 

pooch156

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Hi Pooch,
You should be able to reduce the sear spring pretty easily. But before doing that, polish the upper surface of the sear where the spring rests on it and also polish the bottom of the spring that rides on the sear. That may help reduce the trigger pull a lot alone. Then to reduce the spring tension, simply grind a bevel on the outside of the lower leaf of the spring. Go slowly because it may not take much grinding the weaken the spring a lot. A Dremel with a small grinding wheel is ideal for this. Just take a bit off and test.

dave
Dave, you're a lifesaver. Thank you!
 

pooch156

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I've always believed that something good comes from something bad. After my experience with this lock I now have a thorough understanding of it's engineering, geometry and the dynamics thereof. I know now how it's supposed to work and how to fix it if it doesn't. A good lesson learned. L&R offers a variety of different styles . . . and I like that. But buying another one of their locks could only be done with being conscious of the fact that it may not work properly and in need of repair . . . right out of the box! But I have to accept responsibility in that I chose to buy from them after once being burned with one of their Manton locks. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. And again, a good lesson learned. Who knows, maybe the folks at L&R will be reading my posts (and the complaints of others) and due that will happen upon a cataclysmic epiphany that will spur them to produce locks of better quality. OK. My L&R rant comes to an end. Moving forward . . . . . .
 

Scota@4570

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I'd rather L/R sell a kit with the cast parts and a blank plate. They could supply a paper drilling template to get the builder close.

As with pre-carve stocks, more time is spent repairing and back tracking than is saved by their assembly efforts.

Now that the lock works, maybe reshape the plate to look like and Armstrong plate. OR, make a whole new plate. IT is not as hard as you think.
 

Craig "Wildcat" Wilcox

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That first lock pictured above (Armlock...) is certainly a good looking one. Sturdy-looking without being overbuilt.
My first introduction to Rich Pierce was several years ago when I wanted to build a particular rifle, and his first question to me was "How thick is the web?". good to see you haven't changed, Rich, and still think of you daily when I pick up one or more of the tools that you sent along when I lost everything a couple years back.
Working on a few pistols, including a .50 cal Deringer, my intro to back-action locks. Also have a Ron Scott Jaeger in process, but trying to overcome my current mobility issues. Agent Orange biting me hard 55 years after the fact! And I am ever-mindful of the web thickness! just thick enough to get the forward lock nail in! And sometimes having to file a small groove in the bottom of the barrel - that's why they are so thick, right?
 

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Curious . I havn't bought a lock for twenty years .But I bought lots before then including L&R When it was Liston & Rice or Bill Cox . Never had any faults & I bought lots for sale & my own use ..I once asked what L&R meant they replied" Loose & Rusty ".So its supprising to see such whoe's .

They used to sell kits but got such cack handed customers they the stopped selling' kits' I was once rumaging in Orien Barrel's bit box at Friendship and found a L&R flint all in bits so I asked Harrison
"How much?" he says" I cant sell them to you as it was given him with instruction NOT to sell it complete". So I asked Bill Cox & he said OK since its me & Harrison gave it me . I later fixed it up & used it for years & its still going I gather . So this condemnation seems odd . I cant live long enough to use up all the locks I accumulated so I cant see me buying more but you allways seem to need the sort of locks you don't have, by ' Sods law' and most archaic locks I just make them .
Rudyard
 

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