Like all Cowboy Action Shooters, I shoot a lot of cast bullets. Some I cast myself, but most come from commercial casters. I probably shoot more bullets from the Oregon Trail Bullet Company than any other company, but a recent look around my reloading room revealed boxes of bullets from several different sources that I’ve accumulated over the years. Some I’ve bought, some I’ve won, and some were given to me for testing purposes. And although I have my favorites, I try to eventually get around to loading up any and all otherwise unencumbered projectiles for plinking, testing and practice, since any bullet fired downrange—to my thinking anyway—is a good bullet. Firing all these different bullets—what with their innumerable diameters, types of lube employed, and variances in hardness—usually results in some degree of leading in most of my single-actions, predominantly in the area of their forcing cones and first few millimeters of rifling. These deposits defy normal cleaning attempts, and that fouling has a definite, detrimental effect on accuracy.
Lewis Lead Remover
To “get the lead out,” sometime back I discovered the “Lewis Lead Remover,” a pistol and revolver cleaning kit sold exclusively by Brownells to deal with this problem. Where harsh chemical solvents won’t touch these heavy deposits, the mechanical action of the Lewis Lead Remover strips away that stubborn fouling usually quite quickly and efficiently.
The kit consists of a T-handle, a cone tip for forcing cones, a rubber tip for bores, specifically woven brass patches, a copper tightening tool and extensive instructions for use, and kits are sold bore-size specific, available for .32, 9mm/.38, .40/.41/10mm, .44 and .45 caliber.
To use the forcing cone setup, simply form one of the caliber-specific woven brass patches around the forcing cone tip, insert the shaft of the T-handle into the muzzle of the gun, through the bore, until it extends out beyond the forcing cone, then screw the forcing cone tip and brass patch onto the rod and pull it back until it makes snug contact with the forcing cone. While continuing to pull back on the T-handle, turn it in a clockwise direction for four or five turns, allowing the brass patch to scrape away the lead without causing any harm to the forcing cone or bore. The process for lead removal from bores and cylinders is similar and thoroughly explained in the supplied directions. I’ve found that badly leaded firearms might take a couple of sessions, but eventually that lead will come out.
As it adequately states in the supplied instructions: “The Lewis Lead Remover is a simple, yet complete system by which you can remove the lead fouling from your gun without harming it. It allows you to remove lead deposits from the barrel, the forcing cone, and the cylinder of revolvers, as well as barrels of semi-automatic and single-shot pistols.”
Complete kits are available from Brown-ells for $30.99 with Caliber Adapter Kits (minus the T-handle) running from $18.99 to $25.99 (800-741-0015; brownells.com).
Palo Verde Gunworks Marlin Spring Kit
Richard L. Stephenson, a.k.a. Palo Verde SASS No. 56522, has developed a unique, drop-in, aftermarket spring kit specifically for Marlin lever actions which, when installed, provides for a lighter, smoother action, and a slightly lighter trigger pull. His kit works in virtually all Marlin models, including the 1894, 1895, 39A, 336 and 444.
An Arizona gunsmith specializing in action work for Cowboy shooters, Rich developed his Marlin Spring Kit because he wasn’t satisfied with what was available. He found that currently available springs for the Marlin were either too small in diameter and tended to buckle on the strut or were too large in diameter and tended to move around and drag on the strut, causing uneven loading and unloading of the spring energy. He also found that most springs had open ends that didn’t allow springs to sit flat and square and were not capable of being finely adjusted without cutting coils or spinning.
To correct these deficiencies, Rich designed his kit around a single zinc-coated hammer spring that comes with three different color-coded nylon bushings and some nylon washers that can be installed in different configurations to arrive at the desired tension and also includes a lighter lever plunger spring that when installed makes opening and closing the lever much easier.
Because I didn’t have a Marlin on hand to test Rich’s kit, I employed the services of Gunsmith Larry Mears of Mears’ Gunsmithing located here in Redding, California. A new, off-the-shelf, Marlin 336Y (Youth Model) in .30-30 was our test piece, and a good test piece it was. Right out of the box the 336Y had a trigger-pull weight of 6¼ pounds and its action was a trifle stiff and sluggish. The lever on this particular rifle was extremely tough to open due to an excessively stiff plunger spring, and I’m sure would have given most youths trouble in operation. Using the bushing and washer combination recommended in Palo Verde’s in-structions, Larry quickly changed the hammer spring setup requiring only buttstock removal for access. With the spring setup installed, the Marlin’s trigger pull now measured a very acceptable 3½ pounds, and the Marlin cycled much easier once the plunger tension was overcome. Next, Mears replaced the plunger spring, requiring only a proper fitting punch and light hammer, and with the Palo Verde spring installed, the Marlin cycled and opened much easier. Mears liked the simplicity of the Palo Verde Spring Kit and felt it was a good kit for the money and would/should be a simple install for any shade tree gunsmith.
Priced at $22 order direct UniqueTek at uniquetek.com or call 855-507-0866.
SAA Pocket Driver
Years ago Colt used to include a three-bladed pocket screwdriver with every SAA and 1911 they sold. These were about the size of a silver dollar, were blued steel, had three different size blades (to fit grip screws, rear sight adjustment screws and frame screws) and bore the Colt name on one side and the Rampant Colt on the other. They came with a hole so you could carry one on your key chain or were small and unobtrusive enough to carry in your pocket with your loose change. With the advent of Cowboy Action Shooting, one today would make a great fob for your pocket watch and would be handy to tighten up that occasional loose screw. Until recently, if you wanted one of these Pocket Drivers, you’d have to search about online or at your local gun show and then your chances were still pretty slim at finding one. Well, for the time being anyway, genuine, vintage Colt Pocket Drivers are available from Peacemaker Specialists located in Paso Robles, California. Proprietor Eddie Janis related that these are original, old stock found in a warehouse, and he bought them all and has them available, while stock lasts, for $12 postpaid or $10 with an existing order. Get yours while supplies last (805-238-9100; peacemakerspecialists.com).