Thursday, July 9, 2015

Remington Model 241, The Speedmaster Diassembly - Assembly (the short version)

Finally got around to doing a fairly decent detailed strip of my Remington 241 Speedmaster after only owning it for just over 9 years. (If you want to know the detailed reason as why that took so long, read the long story in the post directly before this one.)

In brief, the reason it took almost a decade was that I did not know how to do it until today. I found a YouTube video about taking down and reassembling the Browning SA22, which is close enough to the Remington 241, to give me the knowledge and confidence  to try it. While there were notable differences relative to the takedown method and to bolt removal, the innards were similar enough to have everything go the same for the disassembly to the point he did it in the video. Reassembly was a breeze, just as he showed it, with the only pain being getting the recoil spring back into place. Really, that was fairly easy too once I gave it about 5 seconds of thought and maybe because unlike the guy who made the video, I had
wiped the oil off of my fingers. before dong it.

Here's the video:

All the best,
Glenn B

Remington Model 241, The Speedmaster Diassembly - Assembly (the long story)

You have heard here before, that yours truly is The Great Procrastinator. I imagine one of the reasons for that is my father was never around to show me how to do anything when I was a kid and I never gained the confidence to do things because of the extreme lack of both coaching and know how passed on from him to me. Now, that does not mean I won't do anything but it sure limits what kind of projects I readily and happily take on. Things I will do are thing for which I have received expert training, like work on my Glock since I am a certified Glock armorer. I am also a pretty decent firearms instructor and while I do not work at that any more, I am always willing to give free instructions because I have the confidence, built of years of training and experience, to know I am getting it done right. Forget things like plumbing or electrical work; painting I can do but I such at plastering and when it comes to other handiwork around the house I am a putz (and yes I do know the meaning of what I just said).

One of the quasi-mechanical things I will do is to maintain and even make small repairs on some of my firearms. I am not always that great about getting it done though. Sometimes I forget to clean them for months and rust is usually the result but I usually take decent care of them. When it comes to my guns, I am more on the willing side to attempt something I've never done before, like detail strip (disassemble virtually completely) and then reassemble one or a minor repair of an internal part like replacing a firing pin or some springs. Still though, while I am willing to try it, I try to avoid attempting it without detailed instructions and right there is not only that lack of confidence thing again but also something more important being revealed about me. At some point in time, somewhere along the journey from the first rifle I ever held an fired up through this very day, I have developed a bit of wisdom when it comes to taking guns apart and putting them back together. Almost without exception, it takes a father of sorts or a mentor, an instructor, a good detailed set of instructions with diagrams, a guru on a mountain top, or a good YouTube video of a knowledgeable person doing the same thing to get me to the point where I will attempt to take apart one of my guns and put it back together.

Believe me on that, it is wise a wise gun guy / gal who gets some good instructions on how to do it before trying t delve into the mechanical innards of a shotgun, rifle, pistol or revolver. I remember the first pistol I took apart. it was a RG25 Auto (and yes RG does stand for rotten gun as far as I am concerned). All I did was field stripped it and then when I tried to put it back together, I kinked the recoil spring. I brought it back to where I purchased it and they replaced the darned thing saying it was faulty (I guess they had more experience with RG being junk than with goofballs like me screwing them up) and they did it for free. Early on in my career, when I was one of the Mean Green, I took apart my issued revolver. it was a Colt Border Patrol 357 magnum. It was pretty easy to take apart and as I remember it sure seemed fairly easy to reassemble too. The thing was when I tried dry firing it, to do a function test, I heard a loud crunch that wound up being one of the springs being destroyed by one of the moving parts. It took me a long time to live down that one but at least I learned you that Colts were not user friendly for such maintenance as were S&W revolvers; you in essence had to be a certified Colt armorer to get anything done with them!

Years went by after that and for the most part all I ever did to any of my gun was to field strip them for basic maintenance. I got into doing a bit more, taking don some to their basic components once I became a firearms instructor in the Customs Service. While those were only collateral duties, I gained a lot more exposure to permanent range personnel and learned a good deal from them. I started doing more thorough maintenance on some of my guns and one that stands out as probably the first was my Remington 870 shotgun. It became a ritual for me to detail strip it at least once or twice a year for a good cleaning and inspection. I was also able to change parts that did not require a gunsmith to accomplish ( for instance Remington recommended only a gunsmith change the ejector in the 870, or at least they did back then). Anyway, as time moved on, the next thing I knew I was taking a Glock Armorer's course on 9/11 - yes that 9/11. Once we heard the news, my cousin who was in the class with me (he was a retired Nassau County Police officer and got a job as a permanent range officer for Customs) headed back to the city to see what we could do to help and I was left in limbo and not certified by Glock as an armorer. I don't recall how long after that it was but sooner or later (probably later knowing me) I attended a Glock Armorer's course on my own time and my own dime.

I guess that armorer's course and my firearms instructor experience and all gave me some needed confidence. After that, I just started tinkering with some of my other guns to maintain them and even make minor repairs. I have not and will not do gunsmith work on any of my guns. I am not about to polish a feed ramp, well I might on a 22 rifle that I use as a plinker but I certainly would not do something like that on a self defense pistol on which my life depends. I have seen too many all knowing gun gurus do it themselves only to wind up with guns that went click instead of bang. Wow, did I just say I might do it on a 22 plinker, my confidence certainly has grown over the years and that is mostly due to training - to instruction - of one sort or another. An example of such training, nothing formal mind you, was a video I watched on YouTube today.

I 've owned a Remington Model 241, The Speedmaster (not a Speedmaster as most, even I, usually call it) for 9 years, 2 months and 8 days today. over all those years, I have taken it down for cleaning often but only by way of a field strip (partial disassembly to do basic maintenance). I had searched high and low for an instruction sheet or a video on how to disassemble it for a detailed strip but never found any. Today, while I was giving it a cleaning, I decided to look one more time for those instructions and something dawned on me like the proverbial light bulb turning on inside my brain. The Remington 241 is pretty much a copy of a similar Browning. Why I had not thought of this before, while searching for those instructions is a mystery to me but I done thunk of it today. So, I searched for instructions on how to detail strip the Browning and there they were in the first video that came up when I typed in the right keywords. Granted, the model of the Browning shown in the video was much newer than my Remington 241 and there were definitely some differences between them but by watching that video I was given not only the knowledge I needed. I guess the video and my past experience gave me the confidence to tackle the job even though there was a notable difference on how to remove the bolt being that the Remington has a pin in the bolt operating handle that must be depressed and held in place while removing the bolt.

Somehow though, I was confident I could get it done right and that I could disassemble and reassemble the 241 after seeing that video. Here is where something else, built on experience (and confidence) comes into the picture. I was absolutely certain, or should I say 100% confident, after watching the video that the guy who made it was sure of what he was doing and had done it several times before successfully. Thus I was also sure I could get it done with the Remington even though some parts and operations were plainly different. Luckily for me, those external differences were readily apparent to me and easy to overcome and luckily, the major things he did internally were virtually the same for his Browning as they wound up being for my Remington. So finally, after having owned it for over 9 years, the little tube fed, semi-auto, shooter has been detail stripped, cleaned and oiled and reassembled - and based on my function check it seems to work too. In fact, it operates now better than it did before I took it apart. While I know there was 9 year plus of shooting grime in it, my guess would be there had to have been at least 40 years or more accumulated gunk and grime built up in there. It's gone now and the 241 bolt is running much smoother than before.

I should mention that while I have been calling it a detailed strip that I did on the 241, it technically was not one. It was probably more like a 75-80% strip. I did not fully disassemble the bolt although I removed the bolt, recoil spring, the firing pin and its spring. I did not remove the extractor as mine had two retaining pins near it instead of one (the guy who did the video did not remove his either but explained how to do it). I also did nor remove the sights or anything to do with the internal parts of the receiver that guide the rounds to the camber from the tubular magazine. Yes, of course, I removed the magazine and cleaned it, but the receiver contains what is obviously a cartridge guide that appears to be held in place with a screw and I saw absolutely no benefit to removing or even trying to remove it so I left it in place and cleaned it and around it as best I could. I may try that next time and may disassemble the bolt too but want more instruction on that. This time around, I was so happy about finally getting the rest of it done right that I figured I had best not tempt fate or Mr. Murphy.

I left a comment, probably too long of one as is this post, for the guy who made that video, to thank him. I love it when one of us is willing to help the rest of us by sharing his or her knowledge about firearms and am always thankful to they who do so. It is one of the things that keeps the shooting community strong.

All the best,
Glenn B