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Thread: Loading gate failure



  1. #1
    Tinhorn
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    Loading gate failure

    I've got an 1894SS n 44 mag. I've had it a couple of years but, I've only shot it a few times, because as delivered it wasn't shootable IMO. After the loading gate fell in during loading it went on the rack till now. So I've got it apart for an action job and I see that the retaining screw for the loading gate has broken off. I think it is probably the combination of an undersized screw for the use, and it may have been over torqued during installation. Since the tensile strength of stainless hardware is a good bit less than alloy steel, Marlin should have upsized this part for the SS model instead of just replacing it with the same size. I'll probably just drill and tap mine for a bigger screw and be done with it, rather than replacing it and never trusting it again.

    So that's the background behind this post. My questions for you folks are these: Has anyone else seen a failure of the factory SS loading gate screw, or made modifications to it? Is it a known problem or just an occasional thing? Secondly, what have others done to tune the gate for easier loading? Mine was pretty stiff and bit my finger. I radiused the inside of the reciever and polished it. I took a little of the preload out of the leafspring to soften that up a bit. It should be much better. So what have others done to sweeten up the gate?

  2. #2
    Contributing Member
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    A good many loading gate screws have been broken (stainless & blue ) . . usually from over tightening . . . snug tight w/ a drop of blue threadlock and it may last forever.
    Gary

    “Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf.” Aldo Leopold

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  3. #3
    Tinhorn
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    Quote Originally Posted by 48vintage View Post
    A good many loading gate screws have been broken (stainless & blue ) . . usually from over tightening . . . snug tight w/ a drop of blue threadlock and it may last forever.
    Thank you Gary. I just realized that Marlin calls the loaging gate a "loading spring". I redid my search and found many threads to read. I'd still like to hear any recent updates. Now I'll be upsizing that screw for sure!

  4. #4
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    My 1895 gate spring had too much preload to it and was hard to load shells. With the bolt open I put my small finger inside the receiver and applied pressure against the spring just forward of the screw while at the same time pushed the gate opened with the other hand. This took out the stiffness and made loading much easier. I may have also done this with my 1894 as well, I can't remember now, but it also loads easy..
    4Charlie likes this.
    1895 45-70 GS, 1894 45 Colt
    Super Blackhawk 44 Mag. Henry 22LR Frontier
    Rossi M-92 454 Casull


    "When I hold you in my arms
    and I feel my finger on your trigger
    I know nobody can do me no harm"..

    JM, RIP..

  5. #5
    Gun Wizard
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    Teryx, +1 to what Gary said. Blue lock tite is better than overtorque on screws, take care. Just keep on keeping on, John.
    Just keep on keeping on.
    It's not what you do, it's how you do what you do, that counts.
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skills.

  6. #6
    Tinhorn
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockmeister View Post
    Teryx, +1 to what Gary said. Blue lock tite is better than overtorque on screws, take care. Just keep on keeping on, John.
    I understand. On mine the screw broke without me touching it. Putting some pieces together though, here is what I think happened. My spring had a ton of preload it, making it very stiff. I've worked most of the curve out of it, so it should be a lot softer now. The way this spring fits in the rifle, the screw has to pull all that preload up to secure it. Most likely whoever assembled the rifle had to apply a good bit of torque to draw that spring up, and ended up twisting it in the process. A few pushes later and it's broken. It all brings me back to the same conclusion that the screw is too small for intended purpose. Luckily it's an easy fix. Finding the new screw without buying a box of a 100 will be the toughest part, lOL.

  7. #7
    Site Contributor Contributing Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teryx View Post
    I understand. On mine the screw broke without me touching it. Putting some pieces together though, here is what I think happened. My spring had a ton of preload it, making it very stiff. I've worked most of the curve out of it, so it should be a lot softer now. The way this spring fits in the rifle, the screw has to pull all that preload up to secure it. Most likely whoever assembled the rifle had to apply a good bit of torque to draw that spring up, and ended up twisting it in the process. A few pushes later and it's broken. It all brings me back to the same conclusion that the screw is too small for intended purpose. Luckily it's an easy fix. Finding the new screw without buying a box of a 100 will be the toughest part, lOL.
    I am not sure I would go this route for a few reasons, the main one being that broken gate spring screws doesn't seem to be a central issue on Marlins in the field. Otherwise we would be hearing much more about it on this mega forum. The ones I have been hearing have been broke from the factory, probably caused just like you say, from an over torqued screw trying to hold an overly preloaded spring. One concern would be if you would weaken the spring by drilling it out, and second, could you find a larger screw that the head of which would match the rest of them. I think I would just replace the screw, use blue lock tite, not over tighten, and enjoy for the next 30 years like everyone else.. JMHO
    1895 45-70 GS, 1894 45 Colt
    Super Blackhawk 44 Mag. Henry 22LR Frontier
    Rossi M-92 454 Casull


    "When I hold you in my arms
    and I feel my finger on your trigger
    I know nobody can do me no harm"..

    JM, RIP..

  8. #8
    Tinhorn
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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglesnest View Post
    I am not sure I would go this route for a few reasons, the main one being that broken gate spring screws doesn't seem to be a central issue on Marlins in the field. Otherwise we would be hearing much more about it on this mega forum. The ones I have been hearing have been broke from the factory, probably caused just like you say, from an over torqued screw trying to hold an overly preloaded spring. One concern would be if you would weaken the spring by drilling it out, and second, could you find a larger screw that the head of which would match the rest of them. I think I would just replace the screw, use blue lock tite, not over tighten, and enjoy for the next 30 years like everyone else.. JMHO
    Actually, a 6-32 or 6-40 would be a perfect upgrade. There is plenty of meat in the base of the spring for that. The problem is, it's a spring which means 400 series heat treated stainless. The screw stub left in the spring was red loctited. Not likely I would ever get it out anyway so I decided to try drilling and tapping. As expected, It took a carbide drill to cut it. No problem there, I have carbide drills. The problem is that I don't have a carbide tap in 6-32 and looking through my catalogs they run about $100!!!

    Looks like I'll be doing factory replacement for now and seeing how it holds up. The other option is to drill through it and put a nut on the inside. I don't know if there is any clearance issue. For now I think I'll just not buy myself anymore trouble and hope the new parts go the distance. I agree about the blue loctite. I don't know why they used red, but it was a bad idea. I'll relieve the new spring before I install it, and use a torque setting driver with blue loctite. Hopefully that is the end of it!

    Thanks for the ideas fellas!

  9. #9
    Cowpoke
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    Does it work without the loading gate?

  10. #10
    Sidewinder
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    You can use a roll tap also called a thread floer tap. Or get a local machine shop to tap the one hole. One old time stainless steel trick machinists used to do was use a drill a couple thousanths larger than called for. I would tap it for free if you came into the shop where I work. Phoenix area if you are nearby.
    Larry
    300yddog likes this.


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