Need help to restore my 1903

Discussion in 'Browning Auto A-5' started by Biz, Mar 31, 2022.

  1. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    Hello Browning companions,
    Waiting for parts for a 1905 model being restored (top of the pic), I decided to tackle my 1903 (bottom of the pic). I thought I had all the parts but, bad surprise. When I pulled the buttstock, the action spring tube was missing. I am going to make a new one. I source a half inch steel tube with a 0,035" wall like the original. I want to do a faithful restoration but the problem I have encountered is how to extract the broken part that is brazed inside the receiver tang in other to re thread like it was originally. Any suggestions, it seems to me I saw a Art’s gun shop video on that subject but I can’t find it. Thank for your help.
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  2. win7stw

    win7stw .30-06

    I’d try to find somebody that could mill it out. Or use an ez-out and heat
  3. Ranger6

    Ranger6 .30-06

    If it were me I would drill it out, and put threads in it.
  4. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Hello Biz,
    I thought the early ones were threaded.
    Can’t tell from your picture that well but look close at colour of the sweated bit of tube closely that is still stuck in receiver.
    Is it gold yellow , silver or a dull oxidised silver. That will be a clue as to what has been used whether phos bronze , silver nickel solder or plain lead solder and what temperature range would be involved to loosen the bond.

    Problem and risk is it will require hot point heat heating from an oxy set weld pipe tip to loosen the sweated bond so you can back the broken bit out with an extractor tool.
    Delicate and awkward operation to do on your own will need extra hands and help
    May mean submersing the receiver completely under water in a tank held firmly with only 25mm of tang above the water line so not to transfer the heat down and wreck temper or finish.
    If phos bronze or silver nickel was used be talking just off dull red to break bond
    As you can imagine not easy job at all and has risk and luck involved.

    I have had best success using straight fluted more so than helix type “ezy out” thread extractor that you use for broken studs and bolts on engines for this type of job.

    Failing this idea you could set up receiver in a mill and machine out the remains.
    Again time consuming to jig and set up the fiddling process and horrible outcome if tool grabs

    Final thing I can think of is a dremmel and grinding bit and whittling away for hours to the thread tops then peeling out the thread v bit by bit. I have had to do this to get stuck chokes out of barrels. Painful
    Hope this gives you a few ideas.
    How is that 1900 carbine resto going and my favourite A5 live pidgeon special ?
    Rudolph31 and win7stw like this.
  5. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 .30-06

    Biz, I don’t see the remains of the old tube at all. Although I don’t see any threads either. Assuming it’s there and I just can’t see it, are you sure it’s brazed in place? And threaded?

    Prior to 1958, the Action Tubes were threaded into place. That changed to silver solder. But lots of things changed between 1903 and 1909 when it seems FN finally settled on a design. So who knows how they did it in that first year. But it seems to me that threading and soldering is a belt and suspenders approach.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2022
  6. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    Thanks guys for all those suggestions. How about a reamer? There is no doubt that a piece of a tube was broken inside the tang. I mesure the inside diameter of the "tang hole" and the outside diameter of a broken action spring tube from another gun and the difference speak by itself. I also made a close up pic of the tang hole where you see a jonction line. However, you cast a doubt about the tube being originally threaded, may be it was just snug in and brazed??
    Regarding the Carabine FN Browning 1900. I finished shaping the stock. Now I have to do the checkering, and frankly, I feel I don’t have at the present time the ability to execute that art. I also have to rust blued the metal part of the gun. Hopefully, I will find some time this summer to do it. The "Spécial pour tir aux pigeons" A5 , well, my last experience with importing a nice type 3 from Europe being catastrophic, the gun has disappeared and no one is responsible, I have to rethink my import strategy.

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    Rudolph31 likes this.
  7. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Biz , like your idea of reamer. In that latest close up you can see a counterbore separation line. A straight flute machine reamer with slight lead in set up in a vertical mill would work and you probably be able to carefully drill the majority first . I would find out what metric thread diameter and pitch they used originally on tube and do no bigger than the thread OD just in case there is actually threads inside. You be able to tap and recover. You could get and dig the coils out with sharp scribe when they get wafer thin.
    Shame about your special A5. That was truely a special and beautiful piece worthy of any collection.
    Look forward to the carbine and seeing how it comes up.
    I was so impressed with the laser re lettering results that I want to try myself.
    Good luck getting tube stub out and interested how you eventually do it.
    Rudolph31 likes this.
  8. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 .30-06

    Biz, in your original post you say you sourced a half inch tube with a .035” wall like the original. But in your measurements there’s a difference of .033”, so wouldn’t the wall have to be half of that to get the correct ID?
  9. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    I was waiting for you Rudolph, you have a very good eye for detecting inconsistency. But is not where I was expecting you. I am sure that looking again at the pics you will notice something else. I didn’t go into details in my introductory post. The first tube I measured was 0,484" then I measured a few more with one at 0,479 and one at 0,492. The dimensions didn’t make sense to me even in metric dimensions. I assumed the tube were custom made for the FN or my measurements are not done properly. I ordered a tube that is 0,500" with 0,035" wall and one At 0,500" with 0,095" wall which give me the room to have it machine to the proper dimension if needed. To add more to the challenge, the tube are not all the same length. What do you think is the proper dimension.
  10. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 .30-06

    I don’t have a clue without taking one apart, Biz. But when I measure things, I never get the same number twice.
  11. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Biz,
    See if you can get your hands on a 0 to 1 “ micrometer for this job .You will get a much more consistent and accurate measurement and light feel than your vernier calipers particularly on the outside round sections of tube when it comes to doing the final fits for soldering or machining for threading. Will also help you identify a accurate thread size OD for your new tubes in case this has to happen. It would be a standard metric or imperial thread form out of the “machinery handbook “ most likely. Use a screw gauge to confirm tpi or mm pitch off the charts.
    You be able to convert any measurement to metric easy enough on line.
    Again be very interested how this all turns out in the end.
  12. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    Little update on my restoration project. I "machine" the hole where the action tube once fits with a conical reamer in order to see or save the threads that may have been present. But they were not threads to be seen. I also turned a new tube to the exact dimensions of the the old one. I have now to reproduce the curved slots at the end of the tube. I am not sure yet, how I am going to do it. Suggestions are welcome. I am also wondering if I should thread the tube and the tang opening. What do you folks think? I have ordered a set of tap and die M12 x 0,5mm just in case I need it.

    Attached Files:

    Rudolph31 likes this.
  13. win7stw

    win7stw .30-06

    Silver solder. End mill to cut the slots
  14. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Hi Biz
    Good to see you made progress. I really expected to see some evidence of a thread having been there once.
    With the pin retaining contour in tube you might have to transfer the contour shape off original with a paper template and sharp scriber mark to get outline and with automatic centre punch pop witness and drill centres. Remove bulk of material with accurate series of holes on drill press rotating horizontal in vice. Final step be needle file work to the lines. That’s how I would go about it for one off instance.
    Hope this gives you few ideas.
  15. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    If you have an end mill what win 7 says work perfect as well
    Ranger6 likes this.
  16. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    Which years was the one you saw the thread. I had an interesting exchange with Fowlgunner from SGW and he mentioned he saw a 1930 with a threaded action spring tube.
    I don’t have a end mill. A series of holes seems promising. I am thinking of inserting a round piece of wood inside the tube where I will drill and then use a Dremel?? The piece of wood would prevent the tube from collapsing. I really appreciate the ideas guys.
    Just for the general knowledge; here is a pic of a 1908 R.A.S. that the tang hole was threaded and it is pretty clear.

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  17. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    The wood inside is good idea. So is the dremel. Bit quicker than needle files. My 38 standard in 12 ga is a threaded tube.

    Soldering is definitely way to go and doesn’t weaken the tube. When you screw cut thread tube on a lathe or use die where the first lead cut finishes on the tube is the weakest point of deformation causing a stress point. There is lot of g forces get transferred into that tube and then vertical and sideways with the stock pulling on it at angle when gun recoils. No wonder they snap over time.
    Rudolph31 likes this.

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