Questions on the '95

Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:50 pm
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:48 pm
T.Whelen claimed the '95 to have a springy action - where did that come from?
Claims were made that the '95 suffered failures using 30-06 ammunition.

I have heard these stories for years until the '95 faded into the realm of collectors. I have my own answers, but I'm interested in what others have to say and what stories they have been told. Up front - both statements are false.

My last question that I doubt anyone can answer is why do all gun writers use the word 'venerable'? Every time I see that word I want to pull out my hair. Fortunately, I have little hair left.
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Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: New York
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:26 am
I have unfortunately no direct experience with the Winchester model 95 but I look forward to hearing what others have to say about it. As for the "venerable"; I am with you on that as far as not understanding why writers use that word commonly.

Copper BB
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:35 am
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:35 am
Re: Springy actions. I believe this to be true in the original 1895s, but have also heard it has been at least partially corrected with the modern steel alloy used in the Miroku reproductions. I have direct experience with 2 original M1895 Carbines chambered for 30-06, and both had excessive headspace. ( I also have a new 1895 in .405). I don't have access to them right now to check serial numbers, but I remember both were manufactured in the 1920s. From my fuzzy memory, I believe one was 1921 and the other 1926.

Headspace was checked with Go-No Go guages, and it was excessive in both rifles. The carbine I owned could only be fired with 30-06 ammo reloaded to less than current factory pressure levels or I'd begin to blow out primers (they'd start backing out of the pockets). At 30-40 Krag ballistics and pressure levels everything remained fine, but when loaded to modern ballistic levels, some cases would expand to the point they couldn't be extracted and had to be knocked out with a cleaning rod. This occurred years ago before I'd heard early 30-06 M1895s might have excessive headspace. I read about it after I'd experienced a problem.

I conclude the "springy action" problems associated with originals comes from 3 things. First, I believe the gun steels used today are superior to those available to Winchester in the 1920s. I believe the steels used in the originals allowed some degree of "give" when overstressed, which resulted in permantly altered headspace with repeated firing of high pressure ammo. Secondly, the tendency for altering headspace is amplified when using an action type with rear locking lugs and a relatively long bolt. Lastly, a potential overpressure condition occurred when factories began to improve the ballistics of the 30-06 after WW1. Factory ammo was loaded hotter after WW1, than when the cartridge was first introduced, and modern factory loads, especially the light magnum loads, are hotter still. Remember original ballistics called for only 2700 fps with a 150 grain bullet. Those figures have been bumped up to 2900 fps and beyond.

Initially, this wasn't a big problem. Bolt action rifles that were gaining popularity handled the increased pressures without a hitch as it was well within their design limits and many were built with superior steel anyway. Maybe, most importantly, almost all bolt guns have locking lugs at the front of the bolt face which prevents any "spring" in the action. Even the old M1895s did ok at first, but over time, with rear locking lugs, headspace began to grow. This probably wouldn't have been a problem if 30-06 ammo pressures had remained the same.

The question I have is, "Over time, how will modern manufactured .270 and 30-06 M1895s hold headspace?" Has anyone with one of these rifles fired many current factory level rounds yet?

Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:50 pm
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:37 am
I would like to know how the new '95's are holding up as well. I would like to delve into the history a bit and look at this from a different angle. It's provocative thinking about what all happened during those years. The original 30-06 used a shortened case neck and throat to handle the spire point bullets. A 150 grain bullet at 2700 fps. Then in 1926 the military went to the .30M1 Ball using a 174 grain boat tail at 2640 fps. The military ordered that the older ammo be used up for training. Now it gets interesting. In 1936 the military issued an order to replace the .30 M1 Ball ammo and replace it with the .30 M2 Ball. A 152 grain flat base at 2805 fps. The reason is that the ordinance board discovered that the .30 M1 Ball ammo was "beyond the safety limits of many ranges". This is the same time that hearings were being held on the '03 Springfield glass receivers. I admit that failures happened before the new ammo was produced ... 68 to be exact, but the board summed up the problem:
"Our ammunition is getting worse and accidents may be somewhat more frequent. On the other hand, some of these early rifles have been in use for many years and undoubtedly some of them have worn out several barrels. I do not think the occasion merits the withdrawal of the rifles of low numbers in the hands of troops until the rifle is otherwise unserviceable. On the other hand, I do not think we are justified in issuing such rifle from our establishments. I recommend that we instruct our Ordnance establishments to no longer issue rifles with these questionable receivers, that such rifles be set aside and considered as a war reserve and the question of the ultimate replacement of the receivers be deferred. When rifles are turned in from the troops for repair the receivers having these low numbers should be scrapped."
I still occasionally see some of this .30 M1 ammo floating around. It was not destroyed but held back supposedly for machine gun use only. I wonder how much of this ammo made it's way into the civilian market. I have a '95 takedown in 30-06 and the headspace is fine and the rifle has seen use in the past. With the pressures they were intended for - there should not be any problems with the action springing.

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