...because when they tell you something about being careful not to lose that tiny little spring - well, they usually mean it. My guess is that they mean it not only because those itty-bitty springs are easy to lose but maybe because they have actually lost them before and they are trying to teach us though their experience. With that said let me also warn you - be careful not to lose that tiny little spring. Yes, you guessed it, that is exactly what I did.
Recently, I had been having problems disassembling my Henry Survival Rifle as per the instruction manual. I was unable to remove the bolt for cleaning - and it really needed cleaning. It was jet black. I figure I had fired at least 750 rounds through the gun without removing the bolt for cleaning. Since I could not get it out, as per the manual's instructions, I decided to disassemble the rifle for a detail strip and cleaning. Two days ago, I did just that. Before attempting it I found a set of illustrated online instructions, not the manufacturer's instructions mind you, and I went to work. As I worked, I remember wishing that the instructions had more illustrations and that they gave better step by step text. For some reason the instuctions seemed lacking; I supose not so much because they were not good enough but because my self confidence in my ability to do the job was not all that great. They did mention one thing though to which I should have paid more attention, they mentioned that easy to lose spring:
"Once the hammer and trigger assembly clear the receiver, remove the magazine catch with caution. The tiny spring is very easy to lose"
Well, I didn't lose it when disassembling the rifle. I lost it during reassembly. Let's just say I tried to reinsert the spring at the same time as the magazine catch/release lever and there it went leaping tall buildings in a single bound. I spent a lot of that day and the next and the morning of the next searching the carpeting of my living room for a tiny little spring before finally quitting and heading to the range without the Henry Survival Rifle. I just took the parts I did have and dumped em all into a Zip-Lock freezer bag figuring I would order a spring from Henry Repeating Arms once I was back in NY. Not a big loss, only $2.00 as shown on their website but an embarrassment and unnecessary pain in the neck nonetheless.
Yesterday, after getting back to my place from the range and shooting my shotgun, I made myself something to eat and headed to the couch to plop down my behind and watch some TV. Just as I got to the couch, the heel of my left foot came down on something in the carpet that felt like a tiny sharp pebble. Hope springs eternal and I carefully raised my foot and felt the heel of my sock - nothing there. Then I set about scanning the carpet, on hands and knees, where I had just stepped. After several minutes of search, there it was - that pesky - disappearing - tiny spring. I cannot and will not say that, it was right where I lost it since I lost it. I am sure I crawled around that spot on my hands and knees searching for the spring and that I went over that area at least twice if not three times without luck (and it was in the opposite direction of where I thought it would be). Maybe I kicked it up from from another area in the room or maybe it had been there all along right out in the open - it would be small enough to miss, especially atop or in the shag of the carpet, but now it is found - and hopefully it will stay that way.
As per another set of somewhat more detailed instructions that I later came up with - at least as far as reassembly goes - they mention yet another easy to lose spring but since that one is much bigger, I am none too concerned with losing it too. You can bet though, I'll be careful with it. You also can bet that I will be much more careful when I do get around to reassembling the rifle and inserting that tiny little spring, the one I lost once already!
All the best,