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 Post subject: Why a wood action spring plug on an A-5?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:05 pm 
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Tonight I replaced the action return springs on a 1929 and a 1952 Auto Five and wondered why JMB designed that wood plug to hold the spring.

Both wood plugs were dark from oil and perhaps powder residue, but were in good shape, the holes not wallowed out, and I reused them.

There are plastic replacements for five dollars for the wood plug.

http://www.midwestgunworks.com/mm5/merc ... to-5-parts

At first I thought that JMB made the part out of wood because it was cheaper than milling out a steel part. But thinking further, JMB didn't do anything cheap and added slave screws and all kinds of expensive parts to his Auto Five design, without much evidence of economy apparent.

I think the main reason JMB made the actiom spring plug from wood was to prevent the part from rusting inside the bore of the action spring tube. If it were steel, then it could rust solid and prevent replacement.

This isn't the most burning question about the Auto Five, but I'm curious as to what some of you other Auto Five fans think on why that little wood action spring plug was not made from something else besides wood.



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Last edited by SuperXOne on Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why a wood recoil spring follower on an A-5?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:06 am 
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There is no plug on the Recoil Spring. Now the Action Spring does, and for the first 60 years or so they were made of wood. In the pre-plastic age wood must have seemed the perfect choice; light, cheap, and long lasting. I've got several over one hundred years old. With all of the steel parts inside of an Auto-5 I doubt corrosion resistance was a consideration.


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 Post subject: Re: Why a wood recoil spring follower on an A-5?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:28 pm 
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The wood plug is at the end of a steel tube that holds a spring that returns the bolt after the gun is fired. The correct term is the action spring plug. Thanks for correcting me.

It might have been made of wood because wood is cheap. The plug doesn't move, and gets little stress. The load bearing part of the action spring plug is a little steel pin that fits through a hole, and it's that pin that gets the stress of the action sprong trying to push it out the back. That's assuming the rear of the wood plug isn't against the end of the hole in the stock.

But JMB didn't do anything on the cheap that I can discover.

The wood action plug would have required a lathe to make, and a drill press for the hole for the pin. Making it from steel or brass would have not cost a lot more in 1900, wothlabor as cheap as it was.

The steel action spring tube had to be precisely bored and aligned with the action. If the action spring plug is steel, then it could rust in place. Brass could set up the corrosion caused by dissimilar metals. Rust on the inside of the end of the tube could prevent replacement of the action spring.

What surprised me the most was how after over fifty years of service, those wood plugs didn't have wallowed out holes for their retaining pins. Perhaps the end of the action plug butts into the bottom of the hole in the stock and keeps the pin from wallowing out.

In any event, using wood for a critical part of the Auto Five is out of character with the remainder of the quality of the gun, and JMB had to have a good reason to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Why a wood action spring plug on an A-5?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:20 am 
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I am ordering parts for the disassembled 1953, the wood plug feels soft but serviceable--would it be better to have the plastic plug or just leave it?


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 Post subject: Re: Why a wood action spring plug on an A-5?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:14 am 
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Art (of Art’s Gunshop) recommends replacing the wooden plugs with plastic. Out of a collection of 13 Auto-5’s I have replaced just one. I keep a plastic plug on hand but it’s surprising how long they last. However, if yours has gone soft, it’s time for a new one.


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 Post subject: Re: Why a wood action spring plug on an A-5?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:07 am 
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Rudolph31 wrote:
Art (of Art’s Gunshop) recommends replacing the wooden plugs with plastic. Out of a collection of 13 Auto-5’s I have replaced just one. I keep a plastic plug on hand but it’s surprising how long they last. However, if yours has gone soft, it’s time for a new one.


Thanks! I went ahead and ordered one.


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 Post subject: Re: Why a wood action spring plug on an A-5?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:13 am 
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The only available plastic in the early days of the 20th century was polystyrene or poly cellulose (colloidin) neither of which would be as serviceable as a good piece of hickory.



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