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It seems like in the last few months we are having many, many new 1919 owners and also seeing more accidents with out-of-chamber ignitions causing injury and/or heavily damaging guns.

Often, with much over-confidence, I hear a new guy say how many 100's of other guns they have and have built and it comes across that a 1919 is just another gun. I know of few other home builds or semi conversions where you have to worry about critical adjustments and parts "everytime" you go to the range. Also, if you build an FNFal it usually will stay in 308 caliber the rest of it's life or if you build a Garand chances are it will be 30-06 for generations to come. With the 1919 so convertible to 3 different calibers it's easy to mismatch critical conversion parts.

The exact causes of explosions cannot always be determined, but for the new guys here's some potentially injury saving and/or life-saving tips. I'll go ahead and apologize now because it may come across as harsh, but you will probably have innocent folks all around you if you blow up a 1919 so it won't be just you that is endangered...sorry. These guns produce approx 60,000 pounds per square inch of pressure...a 308 round has an approximate surface area of 3.92 square inches so multiply those two numbers and you get a total pressure of 235,200 pounds or roughly 117.6 tons of total pressure. These guns are extremely fun, but they are not toys so listen up...please:

1. If you don't understand the feed and function of the 1919, don't know how to properly load belts or links and can't proficiently disassemble and reassemble it before you go to the range the first time then don't go until you can. See the disassembly tutorial on the home page.
2. If you don't know how to recognize a 308 booster VS a 30-06/8mm booster then don't shoot your gun until you can. Don't trust that your brand new factory made gun has the correct booster. Don't trust that your parts set has the correct booster. See the converting tutorial on the home page.
3. If you're not sure what "headspace" is then do not in any way attempt to fire your 1919. The gun does not come already properly headspaced...even if it was test fired...it may not be correct headspacing for your ammo. Do not use a headspace gage, follow Method 2 of the headspacing tutorial on the home page with one exception; with surplus ammo of every caliber varying so much in quality, whether you're shooting 308, 8mm or 30-06, start at zero headspace or with only one click out from bolt lockup...if the gun runs fine leave it alone. If it gets sluggish or the bolt won't quite close when the gun gets hot then go out one click at a time until it runs good, but never more than 3 or 4 clicks out from bolt lockup. If you change ammo mfgr or lot/date number then re-headspace. Don't mix ammo of different lot/date numbers or mfgr on the same belt. Headspacing is only to compensate for heat building up in the gun so it's best to start with a tight headspace...you can always work out from there. See the * section below taken from another thread for more detailed explanation.
4. While shooting, if the gun "misfires" and you have to manually cycle the bolt, check the cartridge that ejects to make sure it isn't separated. If it is separted then use a broken shell extractor or tap to remove the piece remaining in the chamber.
5. While shooting, if the gun "misfires" and you have to manually cycle the bolt, check the cartridge that ejects to make sure it still has a slug in the casing. If you manually eject a casing with no slug then that means the round didn't produce enough gas pressure to automatically cycle the gun and chances are there's a slug wedged in the chamber or barrel. Take one minute and lock the bolt open and run a cleaning rod down the barrel.
6. While shooting and you find that the bolt won't lock up, don't assume it's headspacing. If a round will not seat there's a good chance that the previous round separated and a piece is still in the chamber. If you keep manually cycling the bolt and putting new rounds into the chamber you may eventually smash the brass remnant flat enough to chamber a live round and lock up the bolt...which will have catastriphic results if you pull the trigger. If the bolt will not close and you're sure the headspace is correct then DO NOT KEEP INCREASING HEADSPACE UNTIL IT WILL CLOSE, check the chamber with a broken shell extractor.
7. When you buy a parts set ensure the barrel and booster are for the caliber you asked for.

If you don't understand any of the terms I just used then study the tutorials on the home page and/or ask questions on this website...you won't find any better source for info and help.

When I first started tinkering with these guns I already had over 60 guns in my collection and I found out real quick that this was an animal of a different breed. I had no clue what a booster was, buffer disks, headspacing, breach block cam, accelerator, lockframe, etc. I also found very quickly that there were plenty of patient guys and gals on this website to help me thru every step of building, owning and operating a 1919...take advantage of this and don't assume anything.

Do you know why the FAA does not regulate home-built ultra-lights too heavily...you don't even need a pilots license? It's because they don't have a high and catastrophic crash/injury rate. Let's keep it that way with semi 1919s and stay below the radar screen by minimizing avoidable incidences.

Be safe.

*XXX, please read that thread I posted for you above and toss the headspace gage and follow method two in the headspacing tutorial with the modifications I mention in the warning thread. You might want to print it out, along with this post, and have your smitty study it before you two decide on how you're going to set up your gun. Even if he is extremely familliar with a GI 1919, the headspacing method using a gage is not reliable due to our semi mods and mix-match of parts and especially using 8mm ammo.

Just so you and he understand my reasoning I'd like to take a moment and explain it. These guns come with two different bolts; 308 (7.62 stamped on top of the bolt) or original 30-06. The primary difference is that the T slot in the front of the bolt that the round slides down is deeper on a 308 bolt because the case rim is slightly thicker than a 30-06 round. A 308 round is a bit too snug in most 30-06 bolts and due to the thicker rim the rounds tend to hang up in the T slot. The ideal would be to have two bolts and use an '06 bolt to feed '06 and 8mm rounds and a 308 bolt to feed 308. Most all of us use a 308 bolt because it will feed all three rounds.

However, here's the down side and it only takes a little care and understanding to shoot crap 8mm with a 308 bolt. Because the 308 T slot is deeper the 8mm rounds have "slop" in the slot which screws up trying to use a gage to headspace it. Because the 8mm round has a gap in the T slot there is automatically some unintentional headspace built into the arrangement. Just to clarify here, headspace on a 1919 is not like any other weapon and it is defined as the distance from the rear of the barrel to the face of the bolt...not the face of the T slot ears, but the face of the bolt where the firing pin hole is located. The reason for adjustable headspace on a 1919 is to allow for heat expansion as the gun gets hot. After the bolt has picked up the round and moved forwards into the chamber if the case head is seated back against the bolt face there will be slop in front of the case rim which means the round is probably not quite seated against the shoulder in the chamber...especially on a cold gun. There is quite a few thousandths of slop where an 8mm case will move in the T slot and that equates to a click or two on the headspace. Unfortunately, the front of the T slot ears hit the rear of the barrel and not the true bolt face that the cartridge head rests on. Because of this you can't truly measure and start at a point where the round is properly and firmly seated in the chamber and firmly in place back against the bolt face like on a bolt action gun....due to the slop the round may be seated or it may not be by a few thousandths.

Typically you would go 2 to 4 clicks out on the headspace adjustment after the bolt is locked up using 308 ammo in a 308 bolt. Because of the gap in the T slot with 8mm I only go one click out and see how the gun runs. One click is usually very tight, but with the slop it has proven in my guns to be dead on. If after the gun gets hot it starts to slow down or the bolt won't quite close then go out one or more clicks until it runs right.

At this point, with the 8mm Yugo I'm going to start running it at 0 clicks to start with just to see if it will run okay...there might be enough slop in the T slot for it to run good at 0. The tighter the headspace you can run the better.

Others may disagree with my opinion on using gages, but I've set them with a gage and then without and have found the gage to produce too loose of a headspace. I love to go "by the book", but in this case "the book" isn't applcable with the way we're using a 308 bolt as a universal caliber bolt. If I were shooting 30-06 with a 30-06 bolt or 308 with a 308 bolt I would use the gage because that is the combination the gage was designd for and not for shooting 30-06 and 8mm that slop around in a 308 bolt.

I guess I'm on a crusade to try and prevent any more blown top covers using 8mm and the above headspacing practice is the means to my madness. Please forgive my pontificating.
 

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AMEN - case in point - the first kit I ever bought was from SARCO. I ordered a .308 kit. Afer it was all finished and tested for headspace, cycling and feeding, I took it out to shoot it. First shot went BANG, but it was a funny sounding bang. Next one also went BANG, but still funny sounding, so I decided to stop and check things. Looked at the brass on the deck. There I saw the neatest straight walled .308 cases I had ever seen! Turned out SARCO sent me a 30-06 bbl with the kit, and I never checked that part. (How could I possible have a wrong barrel with a .308 kit I ordered???) It was a strong gun and the chamber had no problem with the ruptured cases, but a lesson was learned quickly, and the next 5 gun kis I bought and built were checked thoroughly for miss-matched and wrong parts.

Do what Lobo said - if you don't know, don't risk it. Read the tutorials and

KNOW YOUR WEAPON.
 

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Headspace, headspace, headspace. Repeat it with me.

Every time my dad sees my 1919 (he carried and fired them in the NG), he asks if I have checked the headspace. They drilled that into them in the NG.

About every issue I have had with my 1919 has come down to headspacing.

Headspaceing. Learn it, know it, live by it.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Added comment #7 brass...good point.
 

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If you are unlucky enough to have an ORF POS 1919 you can EASILY have an out of battery explosion due to thier crappy trigger/sear combo.

Thier trigger DOES NOT incorporate the sliding top part, is it just a poorly welded up FA trigger. THier sear is a piece of steel rivited to a milled down FA sear.

What happens is that when you are quickly pulling the trigger the 'lugs' on the tip of the trigger bar will hit the tangs on the sear, the sear will bend and the trigger lugs will slide up, release the sear and fire the round.. all before the bolt is locked up and ready to go. The LEAST you get is 2 rounds fired quickly, but I have gotten some split heads due to out of battery firing.

Just another reason to NOT buy ORF POS 1919's.
 

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Good advice lobo!

Let me add to the head spacing for ammo:
Everyone should have a cartridge case gauge for the ammo they shoot. This is the fast and sure way to know your ammo is in spec for dimensions. This is especially important if you are buying third world countries surplus ammo, they aren?t all made to USA specs!

Rich V
 

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Good thread Lobo. I read and reread all I could about the 1919 then I asked numerous question on the internet. Between my friends(most are ex military with alot of law enforcement people with class 3 licenses) and I, we own hundreds of different guns but you are right in that this is a different animal. I remarked to my friends that we have alot of "useless" info(gun stuff) in our heads but hell it is fun. I know alot about belt feds now and we are always double checking before, during and after firing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I understand that subjective opinions about mfgrs can have a safety relevance and implication, but let's please not get that started on this thread...those comments belong on the "Open Talk" forum.

Any tips for new owners/builders on how to set their guns up properly and safely are more than welcome.
 

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I agree that head spacing is the most important final step of all the builders hard work and money spent. For myself I prefer to pull the bullet of the ammo I plan to use and set the headspace off the case.
Chamber case,screw down barrel until contact is made then back off the appropriate number of clicks. I think this is much easier and fool proof. You can have the best 1919 on earth and screw it up with a simple adjustment or mis-adjustment.
 

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brassmagnet said:
SIGH IT just never stops - we go from an informative thread on Know your Weapon to Let's see how we can incorporate a full fledged bashing of a manufacturer. I wish 100 of the other ORF owners would jump in here....back this up or put an end to it. I've been watching it for over a year now....very tiring....

Any POS home build or any POS from anywhere qualifies here folks....not just ORF. Oh, btw, I have never owned, (or even seen an ORF as far as I know), and I don't represent them in any way. Nor do I live to bash them at any opportunity given me....

Rebuttles aren't necessary here....point has been made......out :)
You could headspace the ORF guns ALL DAY LONG it will not cure the defective design. But since I didn't lose an eye or a finger then it must not be true.

I sold the gun, and didn't see the need to keep split cases as proof..... buy an ORF gun and use it..... you'll evenutally see what I mean.

KNOW YOUR WEAPON... if its an ORF gun then KNOW THAT IT IS FLAWED.
 

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Ptmetals

Pfarber I'm not slaming you, but I have a ORF and a US ordnance. I have at least 20k of 308 Indian (yes Indian) that has given me no problems other than a few duds. I culled out all the thick rim rounds. I run a crank fire and have completely worn the rifling out of a new barrel. There are some things about the gun that are cheezy including the trigger setup but not all gun's operate the same. Maybe I'm lucky, but between the two I do like the way the ORF runs thru the ammo. The bottom line with any gun is a through understanding of how it works and proper maintance. I completely break mine down every time whether I shoot 10 rounds or a thousand. 9 out 10 most people problems are headspace or some type of chambering issues from dirty guns. I have had people say your gun sure does run smooth compared to mine, just to say ya and it's a ORF. So not all of them are total junk. As for my trigger the little tits that are crudely welded and ground to engauge the sear are almost wore off and it still runs fine. The US gun is better cosmetic and machined but I have had broken lock frame and a sear in the past but I shoot 8mm thru this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I understand that subjective opinions about mfgrs can have a safety relevance and implication, but let's please not get that started on this thread...those comments belong on the "Open Talk" forum.

Guys, I was polite the first time. The mfgr debate does not belong in this forum...please modify your posts to be relevant to offering gun setup input for new owners or move it to Open Talk or drop it. Thanks.
 

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I have an ORF that runs ALL day long. Nearing 2800rnds through it so far,
the only issue I've had is a broken accelerator...

For sure, the key to 1919 zenith is Knowledgeable maintenance and learning how the 1919 works before you go to town.
That should keep any rifle intact.

I think a lot of guys new to the 1919 feel that you can take em out of the box or off the bench, load em up and blast away.

Study how they work, learn how they work, and take all the necessary steps on set up, and you should have no problems...... regardless if home built or commercial.
 

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Fail to Return to Battery after each shot

Loboslanding,

First thanks for this post, and for a lot of other posts that I have learned a lot from. Not that it matters, but I got my TNW a year ago, and just fired it this past weekend. The two months getting ready to go and then the five months in Iraq didn't help. I wish I could say I learned everything about the gun in that time, but I didn't. Once upon a time, over 30 years ago, I owned a "twice scale" training mockup, and taking it apart numerous times would have been perfect for getting familiar with the M1919A4, but too many years ago.

My question: the gun fires great, feeds great, but the bolt/cocking handle will not close into battery by about an inch, to maybe two. I suspected a lube problem, but copious amounts of 30W didn't seem to help, although the links I was using will most likely never rust! I have checked the tutorials, and tried a search of the FAQs and haven't found anything on this yet.

Any input, including that don't know the gun well enough, cause I don't, would be greatly appreciated.

Taber
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Taber, that's an odd one. Usually they don't close the last 3/4" or less and that's usually because of tight headspacing after the gun gets hot. If yours works fine cold, but not hot then check headspacing again when it's hot and go out one click at a time until it closes.

The only other thing I've run into with a bolt not closing with that kind of gap is the charging (cocking) handle rubbing on the slot in the right side plate. Take it to where it won't close and then nudge the handle up or down and see if it closes. If it does then you need to file some metal out of the slot.

Very rarely do we see a weak driving rod spring, but being decades old, it could happen.

Also, on some new guns the internals can be sometimes really tight. Disassemble the gun and note the effort required to remove the bolt...it should slide out fairly easily with not much friction.
 

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I would think if it was friction in the slot it would also be tight when cycling by hand and would not close easily by hand either. Try moving the bolt forward while holding the handle (on an empty gun of course) and see if it feels tight. I have seen a few that were tight like that and needed a slight relief filing or sanding in the slot.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I agree brass, what I've seen is that they will cycle good manually when cold, but when heated up and expanded they start rubbing in the slot.

Hope that or just thick parkerizing on new parts is all it is.

Let us know what you find...it may be a new one for the books.
 

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Orf 1919

I just purchased a Ohio Rapid Fire 1919. I understand the functinon of belt fed weapons, headspacing, etc. Mine concern was the comment about the poor quality of the weapon they produce. I have a very reliable gunsmith / machinist locally that can check over the weapons. I would like more details on what problems to look for with my weapon.

Thanks,

now slightly concerned
 
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