Tell me about polishing/honing chambers

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TheThurmanator

Bearcat
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Mar 23, 2007
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I'm interested in slicking up a couple of my guns for cowboy action shooting, and have read that a common modification for side by side shotguns is to polish out the chambers so that shells eject more easily. How do I go about doing this easily? I know they sell Flex-Hone kits on midway but I don't really want to spend $45 on tools I'm only going to use once, wouldn't some fine grit sand paper wrapped around a .12 gauge cleaning brush work just as well? If not, feel free to correct me before I go ruining my gun. Also, does anyone do this modification to pistols? I figure it'd be fun to be able to drop shells out of my single actions.

For the record, I've got a decent amount of experience with small gun smithing jobs, mostly polishing and refinishing exteriors and manufacturing small custom parts like lanyard rings. So I feel like this'd be a fine step up in my education.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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I think I would invest in the tools. Wrapping even 1000 grit sandpaper might not get you the uniform roundness you should have. The polishing using the flex-honeing kit is designed to give even pressure all the way around the chamber.
Another good mod is to extend the forcing cone of the shotguns as well. It, as well as polishing does seem to help a smooth shoot!
If the expense of the tools is the issue,, why not buy the tool, use it,, and then sell it at a bit of a reduction in price to another forum member? A slightly used tool, reduced in price,, is basically a way to "rent" the proper tool you need. (I wouldn't mind getting a flex-honeing kit myself,, but I haven't gone that far yet.)
 

SAJohn

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Although I've never done it, I understand that the poor man's method is to use a split dowel with a flapper of crocus cloth to do the polishing while maintaining roundness.
 

TheThurmanator

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^^^
Yeah, I kinda figured something like that'd work pretty well.

contender":3v0fu9ep said:
Another good mod is to extend the forcing cone of the shotguns as well. It, as well as polishing does seem to help a smooth shoot!
If the expense of the tools is the issue,, why not buy the tool, use it,, and then sell it at a bit of a reduction in price to another forum member?

That's a fun idea, what tools are needed for that? And I'll consider the tool resale idea, that would be a pretty good way to save some cash.
 

Rodfac

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I've used J-B bore paste on a cotton swab in a SLOW turning hand drill to smooth mine up and to remove a .38 Spl ring from a .357 Magnum cylinder. Go slow and stop when it looks right. Running the swab out the cylinder face can lead to a flared cylinder at the exit end, tho it would take a lot of polishing to accomplish. JMHO. Rodfac
 

DGW1949

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Some random thoughts....

You might find that some brands of shotgun shells fall out easier than others. I personaly had the most trouble with the aluminum-based Winchester shells....but a lot of guys like don't.

Polishing the chambers of your SXS might help the empty shells fall out easier, might not...depends on your particular gun and whether you gots a problem to start with.
On a simular note, breaking the sharp edge of the chamber always helps while loading on the clock. Some guys even put a slight bevel there.

When you get down to it, that "flex hone" thingy being sold in the gun-tool catalogs aint nothing but a simple ball hone. Auto repair guys have used them for years. Most auto parts dealers sell one that is sized for a 3/4" wheel cylinder...which works perfect for a 12GA SG.....and don't cost near the $44.95 that Midway wants. I paid under $15 for mine a couple of years ago.
The dowel/emery-cloth method works well too.
Whichever route you go though, remember to use plenty of oil, keep the tool moving, and that you're just polishing, not enlarging. And do not remove the tool from the chamber while the drill is still spinning or else you'll sling oil and bits of stuff all over the place.....or in your eyes.

Hope this helps.

DGW
 
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I use ENCO sometimes. They have a .750/19mm hone for $25.00 mod.# 619-0213 I've used the bead/flex hone on 30carb and it was a help.
I use the fine grit with oil and keep it moving. Slow speed.
They have a lot of stuff we can use. Kinda like Harbor Freight. Good stuff and cheap stuff.
Eric
 

Okie69

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Nov 16, 2008
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I have been interested in honing some of my Ruger single sixes. After some reading I am not sure it is advisable, unless a particular cylinder hole is too tight. It would be nice to have the empties fall out. Does anyone hone on a regular basis?
 

DGW1949

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Okie69":q2h6n44p said:
I have been interested in honing some of my Ruger single sixes. After some reading I am not sure it is advisable, unless a particular cylinder hole is too tight. It would be nice to have the empties fall out. Does anyone hone on a regular basis?

If you're asking if anyone routinely hones the chambers on all their guns....
I can't say about others, but I can tell you for sure that I don't. But I'm part of the "if it aint broke don't fix it" crowd.

A tight chamber in 6-gun though?...Yes, Maybe, Dunno... Depends on the details. A roughly machined chamber is one thing but an out of round or tapered chamber is another. A flex hone can make it smoother, or it can make it bigger. But bear in mind that the type of hone we are talking about follows the shape of the part, so it can't make it round nor fix a taper. Ya need a finishing reamer for that.

DGW
 

flatgate

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I would not "routinely" hone/polish chambers. It's a ONE TIME procedure.

A gentle removal of the Factory's tool marks is all that is needed.

The slotted rod fitted with a flap of emery paper has zero appeal to this homeboy gunsmith.

flatgate
 

Okie69

Bearcat
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Nov 16, 2008
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I phrased my post poorly when I said, does anyone regularly hone. I did not mean to hone the same cylinder often. I was thinking of going thru my guns and slicking up the cylinders one time. I may try one or send one off for the work. Thanks for the info.
 

DGW1949

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Okie69":1nc2x1z9 said:
I phrased my post poorly when I said, does anyone regularly hone. I did not mean to hone the same cylinder often. I was thinking of going thru my guns and slicking up the cylinders one time. I may try one or send one off for the work. Thanks for the info.

I understood your post to mean....hone them all, not hone them all often.
With that understanding of the question....my answer is still the same, as-in no I don't....nor would I, unless there was a clear cut problem that I knew a proper honing would fix without creating another problem. Key word there being "proper".

Things to be aware of....

Be carefull that you don't allow the hone to enlarge and/or re-shape the chamber throat(s).

Be carefull not to bevel or round-off the sharp-edge inside the chamber used with cartridges such as the 9MM/45ACP which headspaces off their case mouth.

A lot of 45LC chambers are a bit large to start with and ya surely don't want to make them any larger. And that aint just 45LC revolvers. All of the popular cowboy rifles which use pistol ammo are known for having large chambers also.

I'm not aware of any industry-standard for the finish-surface of a chamber but I do know that the cartridge case needs a certain amount of grabing-ability in order to help prevent excessive backward thrust upon firing. That aint too important with CAS guns because they typicly use low powered ammo. On the other hand, it might be very important for a gun that uses any type of +P ammo and/or has a bit too much end-shake, and/or guns with headspacing which is a bit on the loose side of spec......any/all of which is not uncommon these days, even with NIB guns.

Aint saying that honing a cylinder is in itself a bad thing. Just saying that there needs to be a clear cut reason to do it....and that one needs to know what he is about before procceding.

Hope I said all that right.

DGW
 

cas6969

Buckeye
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I probably have $400+ worth of worn flexi-hones (at dealer cost) on my bench. :roll:


My question is always.... how do I know they're not falling out because they're already too big?


For a shotgun, for starters I would try a bore mop in a drill and some metal polish.
 

DGW1949

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cas":207m33pr said:
I probably have $400+ worth of worn flexi-hones (at dealer cost) on my bench. :roll:


My question is always.... how do I know they're not falling out because they're already too big? ......

Yeah, I heard that.
Seen some home-honed chambers that was so big that the brass would split. And split cases don't "fall out" neither.
I've picked up a quite a bit of split/blown-out brass at them CAS matches too, mostly from rifles though....occassionaly from a SG. Revolvers are usualy unloaded at the table, so the "brass picker" don't see much of those.

I guess I never understood the "fall out" thing being all that important for a SA revolver anyhow. After all, there IS an ejector ass'y provided on the gun, and a SA revolver is what it is. ......just sayin'.

DGW
 

cas6969

Buckeye
Joined
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Messages
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Well it is nice. I have a Freedom Arms 97 in .45 Colt and in all honesty I don't think I've ever used the ejector on it. 8)
 

flatgate

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cas":389me7ms said:
Well it is nice. I have a Freedom Arms 97 in .45 Colt and in all honesty I don't think I've ever used the ejector on it. 8)

Yes, those F-A chambers are flex honed.......just take a look at the way they shine!

:D

flatgate
 

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