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Limp d*ick in lard pail

22 Sep 2019
@ 05:20 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

This guy wants me to trade a rifle for some work. It's a Cogswell & Harrison, chambered in 30-'06. They are supposed to be good rifles, well made in England by the longest surviving gun manufacturer there. But, he says, I can't hit the broadside of a barn door with it. So, let's have a look at it.

First off, I don't think it's been cleaned this century. After an overnight soak with WipeOut, and two subsequent cleanings, you can finally see steel down the bore. Patches are coming out clean, safe to assume it's good to go.

One locking lug is about 50% contact, the other, less than 20%.

He says that at one time, it had a "flip-off" scope mount, not sure what that is, and he says the scope flips off to the left so you can load it easier. He tells me he really didn't like that, so he has a "gunsmith" change it to a Weaver style, one piece rail, and he mounts a Vortex Diamondback. If you shoulder the rifle to the natural shooting position, the scope sits about 1" above the centre of your eye. In order to get a good sight picture with no ghost ring in the scope, there is no cheek weld whatsoever. Your chin barely touches the stock.

Using the cleaning rod method for determining COAL, it measures out (with a 208gr ELD-M) at 3.866" . With a 225 gr ELD-M, it's 3.933". Now we all know that book COALs don't mean a lot, just a guideline, but holy smokes, over half an inch difference? Oh, and the mag measures out at 3.327".

My assumption is that if this fellow was using factory ammo (guaranteed), and trying to maintain a clear sight picture with no cheek weld at all, not only was his head wobbling around, but when that bullet left the case, it looked like a limp dick in a lard pail.

It does however, have some nice furniture on it.

The next step is to see if I can find a load that it likes, see how it behaves, then decide whether I want another single-shot 30-'06.


Some further thoughts to all the above. Knowing that this rifle was built in the mid-'50s, is English made, has express sights, and a huge amount of free-bore, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was specific built for Africa. I don't have one of those huge 220gr bullets to measure, but it looks like it's a given that they would fit nice in the chamber, feed through the mag just fine, and flatten anything that got in it's way. How it ever made it to Northern BC would be an interesting story, I'm sure.

Replies

24 Sep 2019
@ 12:39 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Limp d*ick in lard pail
Hi Paul, yes, possibly not the greatest trade unless you feel like having a play, wobbling heads and wobbling bullets are no fun. I will relay some thoughts below but you may already have thought about these things.

Being of that age (the gun, not you), you will need to tread carefully around the lugs. It could for example be a case hardened Mauser bolt or spot hardened P14 bolt. You can sometimes go for a really light cut which may actually help the lugs a little (if they are now so hard as to be brittle) but its anyone's guess as to how much is too much as you head into the softer steel. But seeing as you have some contact on both, you should be close to where you want to be.

If you get a chance, it will pay to strip the bolt, there may be rust or gunk around the main spring etc.

Certainly sounds like a very worn throat. Most of the guns built on Mausers had about the same mag length (or 20 thou shorter). There was always a bit of jump but not so much that it was absurd. It might help to know that the English .30-06 guns I have worked on were not terribly long throated, very much standard. If my experience represents a true average, then you may find that the throat is very long due to wear or corrosion.

As you will have picked, you will need to go with projectiles which have a very long bearing surface to help take up any slop due to corrosion. Long, heavy and slow may be the deal with this rifle.

The Churchill's and BSA's are somewhat similar regarding cheek weld so you will now know what to expect if you come across these. The stocks were made primarily for open sights at a time when scopes were still perhaps considered unreliable. It gets worse when you are down on the ground prone, worse still after you pull the trigger and lose your sight picture. The .30-06 really is the upper limit for this type of set up regarding precision work at long ranges (again due to follow up / through issues). You will probably want to have a play with a cheek wallet and a wee bit of foam. If the rifle is a standard Mauser or P14, a Boyds stock will be a simple fix if you want a long term .30-06.
26 Sep 2019
@ 12:45 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Limp d*ick in lard pail
Thanks, Nathan. I really don't want another project, and I'm thinking that this one has just too much wrong with it. The wood is beautiful, and it has a Jaeger trigger that may be usable, but that's about it. Problem is, he doesn't want it, has no use for it, and neither do I. But it's a shame to see it sit in a safe, unloved.
26 Sep 2019
@ 09:54 am (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Limp d*ick in lard pail
Paul, if I still lived in Washington I would use you as an excuse to take a northbound road trip this weekend and come see this old rifle. I believe I could learn to love it, problems and all. Of course, I've been wrong before...
 

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