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Old August 12th, 2017, 10:55 PM #1
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Mosin M44 Barrel Bands won't close

I picked up a Mosin M44 in a sporterized stock a while back, it also came with the original stock and barrel bands. So, this week's project was to put it back in the original configuration.

Easy enough I thought.

I put the barreled receiver back in the original stock and really the only thing left was to put the barrel bands back on. Here's where the fun started...

The barrel bands it came with were 'open', meaning not closed and I was able to open them enough to slide them around the barrel and stock and put them in the correct location. However, they won't close. I tried clamping them shut but the middle tab on the band won't stay in-between the two prongs of the other end of the band. I don't see a hole for a pin or any other mechanism to hold them closed.

What am I missing. What Russian magic holds these bands closed? I looked on anther M44 and can't figure out how they are tightly closed.

I thought about ordering another set, but then they won't slide past the bayonet lug if they are closed, and the bayo is staked very deep in place and can't easily get it off anyway.

What am I missing here. Any thoughts?
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Old August 12th, 2017, 11:19 PM #2
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They are made from spring type steel.

They are made to give a bit and snap/spring closed again.

If you happened to stretch them, and they stayed sprung, you'll never get them to close again.
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Old August 12th, 2017, 11:25 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iH8DemLibz View Post
They are made from spring type steel.

They are made to give a bit and snap/spring closed again.

If you happened to stretch them, and they stayed sprung, you'll never get them to close again.
Yeah, when I got them they were open about 1/2" maybe. Any thoughts on how to get a new set on?
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Old August 13th, 2017, 07:26 AM #4
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Yeah, when I got them they were open about 1/2" maybe. Any thoughts on how to get a new set on?
Look at a company called Liberty Tree Collectors.

They have oodles of surplus rifle parts.

Good luck.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 09:38 AM #5
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Excellent site, can't believe I haven't seen them before, thanks for the tip.

So, they have the bands, and even earlier button bands (cool). But does anyone have insight into how to get those bands on to the M44 without opening them up and ruining the band??
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Old August 13th, 2017, 09:43 AM #6
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Originally Posted by HappyCamper View Post
Excellent site, can't believe I haven't seen them before, thanks for the tip.

So, they have the bands, and even earlier button bands (cool). But does anyone have insight into how to get those bands on to the M44 without opening them up and ruining the band??
My thought on this is that were never supposed to be removed. So a soldier wouldn't lose them when the rifle was disassembled. The bands would just dangle there at the end of the barrel.

I've never been in a WWII Russian Armory during production hours, but I believe the bands were installed prior to the front sight being installed.

Drift the front globe sight out of its dovetail, put the new bands you're buying on, and reinstall the front sight.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 09:52 AM #7
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Make a mandrel out of some scrap wood like a shovel handle or something and gently heat the old ones and push them back past the original shape of the forearm and hold them there till they cool. Dont let the metal turn red or they will be annealed. Your going to have to push them a little bit back past their original shape some though. It may or may not work, use a candle flame.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 08:13 PM #8
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My thought on this is that were never supposed to be removed. So a soldier wouldn't lose them when the rifle was disassembled. The bands would just dangle there at the end of the barrel.

I've never been in a WWII Russian Armory during production hours, but I believe the bands were installed prior to the front sight being installed.

Drift the front globe sight out of its dovetail, put the new bands you're buying on, and reinstall the front sight.
It's not the front sight that's the problem, it's the bayo lug.. Agreed with the Russian assembly line, they were never meant to come of.... or be sporterized for that matter Lol
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Old August 13th, 2017, 08:16 PM #9
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Make a mandrel out of some scrap wood like a shovel handle or something and gently heat the old ones and push them back past the original shape of the forearm and hold them there till they cool. Dont let the metal turn red or they will be annealed. Your going to have to push them a little bit back past their original shape some though. It may or may not work, use a candle flame.
I'll give that a shot. Hopefully I can "re-spring" them that way. I am assuming I concentrate the heat on the opposite side of where they close? Won't hurt to try, much appreciated for the tip.

I am thinking worst case if that doesn't work, I just put a tiny spot weld on the bottom after clamping them to the closed position, smooth the weld and match the finish.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 08:25 PM #10
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I would try to just heat them evenly and slowly. That might do it alone it will be interesting to find out.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 09:39 PM #11
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Heating spring steel, especially carbon steel (and not newer alloys that probably didn't exist back then) takes the "spring" out of it. It can be hardened and tempered back to being a spring, but that would be really tricky to do with it on the barrel. Forcing it without changing the heat treatment runs the risk of breakage, but that's most likely how it came off.

Pics?
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Old August 13th, 2017, 10:51 PM #12
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So, after looking at it, Art3, you're right, even if I heat it, I won't be able to "over-bend" the band past where it closes by much at all since it's on the gun. If i take it off the gun I would have to re-ope it and negate the spingyness of the band to close again.

Yes, I'm assuming the person who sporterized it pried them apart to get it off the gun, since there is NO way to get it past the bayo lug without opening it up that I can see. I stretched it again to get it back on just enough to clear the barrel with the stock off.

Two pics, one of the rear band the other of the front band as they sit on the gun. Not in the pics is the bayo lug forward of both, but it looks like any other M44 bayo lug. Both bands are loose now and can wiggle and pretty much slide around. If i clamp them in the closed position, they are snug and fit appropriately but don't stay shut.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 07:57 AM #13
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Your only tempering it by heating to the point oil will smoke off off it. Turn it red orange to change shape or make one. Taking it off the rifle is going to be easiest.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 09:29 AM #14
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Quote:
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Your only tempering it by heating to the point oil will smoke off off it. Turn it red orange to change shape or make one. Taking it off the rifle is going to be easiest.
Taking it off (and back on) the rifle is the conundrum. The only way to get it off - and back on - is to pry it apart enough so it slips over the barrel, which will screw up the spring in it to close again. The bayo lug is too big to slide it over and off at the muzzle end. If I could somehow get it past the muzzle I could either try to re-spring the current bands, or just get a new set fairly cheaply for ten bucks or so.

Arrrgh.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 10:05 PM #15
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I was hoping a Mosin expert would come in an explain how they work. I'm not very familiar with the platform, but I have some ideas. Now, you know how we always hear, "I am not a lawyer..." Well, I'm not a gunsmith. I don't want to give advice to someone that results in their rifle getting screwed up. I'm looking at this as more of a metalworking challenge. Instead of saying what you should do, I'll say what I would do if it were mine, based on a few assumptions:
1) I'm assuming that, if the bands are on the barrel and in the properly sized closed position, it is still possible to install the stock, right? If not...I'm stumped, I'm out, this is why I like rifles from English speaking countries
2) I'm also assuming that the "finger joint" was never meant to be welded, soldered, brazed, staked, or fastened in any way. I just don't see any evidence of anything like that. It must have been "floating" and held together by it's own spring tension. This makes sense to me as it would easily accomodate variations in stock width
3) It was forced open (wider than its resting state) without breaking, my intent is to force it passed closed so that its resting state is in the mostly closed position. I'm going to do it cold, as I believe heat will wreck the temper as well as the finish. There is a chance I may break one of the bands as they have already been stressed more than intended. I am ok with that, and will only blame the previous owner for this situation.

First I'm going to remove the stock and anything that can easily be removed from the barreled action. I may even take the time to wrap up the barreled action with paper, a gun sock, or something to prevent scratches (I'm clumsy and have a cluttered workshop). I'm going to install all the bands in the correct order and orientation. I'll clamp one of them in my vise (it's got wood, or something on the jaws to make them soft and protect the finish) with the opening up. I'm going to have to get creative with supporting the barreled action that is going through the band so it doesn't fall or get in the way. I've got the band deep in the vise (i.e. no part of it is sticking up above the jaws) and maybe even have a block of wood or something supporting the band from below (you'll see why in a moment). I'll gently close the vise until the finger joint is closed. Now, we all know this has accomplished nothing so far. If I open it, it's just going to spring back. I can't just keep squeezing because the joint is butted together. Sooo...I'm going to try to change the butted finger joint into a lap joint. I'll put a little more tension on the vise, then take a blunt punch (brass, if I'm really worried about the finish), and tap on the single finger. My intent is to drive it down below the level of the other half of the joint. Maybe I'll even put a drop of oil in the joint to help it all slide. Hopefully, when the tip of the finger is momentarily pushed down, that little bit of tension that I left in the vise will push it forward, under the other half of the band. This is why I supported the band from the bottom...so I'm not just sliding the whole thing deeper into the vise. If this is successful, I should be able to use the vise to close the joint well beyond its "closed" position as one finger now overlaps (instead of butts up to) the other.

I'm going to very carefully increase and release pressure. Through trial and err--uhh...through trial and re-trial, I'm going to get to the "sweet spot" where, when all tension is released, the band relaxes to where the finger joint is completely closed and the single finger that was pushed down snaps back up into position. If I get all of them to that point, without deformation or breakage, I'll reassemble the rifle and hopefully I'm done. The fingers may get a little wonky, but once the gap is closed, a little bit of tweaking on them (or the evenness of the gap itself) shouldn't be hard or change anything.


Based on the knowledge and information at hand...that's what I would try Maybe you'll have some ideas.
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Old August 15th, 2017, 10:48 AM #16
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Your entire post.
1. Correct, with the bands in the closed position and in place around the barreled action, the stock can be removed and installed.
2. Correct, everything I have found on the bands is there is nothing except spring force keeping them closed.
3. Agreed

I think that is a great idea, thanks! That solves the problem of how to get it past the closed position. And I like doing it in small increments to get it to that sweet spot again, hopefully. I'll see what I can do to rig it all up on the workbench with the necessary supports. Got it pictured in my head, shall see how that translates to the bench.

I came to my senses and am not going to weld or do anything like that... yet lol.

I still at the having fun with the project stage and not pulling my hair out yet so all is good. It's really a nice M44 too. 1943 manufacture, matching numbers in a laminated stock.
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Old August 15th, 2017, 06:30 PM #17
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Take your stock off heat them up and throw cold water on them while you have them captured in the closed position. If that doesn't work silver solder them and blacken the joint. The bands were installed before the bayonet lug was soldered and pinned to the barrel.
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Old August 15th, 2017, 10:03 PM #18
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Take your stock off heat them up and throw cold water on them while you have them captured in the closed position. If that doesn't work silver solder them and blacken the joint. The bands were installed before the bayonet lug was soldered and pinned to the barrel.
I actually tried silver solder as a quick fix as one of my first attempts... It wouldn't hold it shut and kept breaking apart. Yikes lol

Going to take the stock off tonight if I don't get too tired.

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