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#6093875 - 12/20/15 07:25 PM Microscope images
charlesb Offline
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Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
Last week a fellow brought in a Winchester model 70 from the push-feed era that needed repair. It was a .308 and his son had been firing steel-cased ammo through it. The 'brass' got stuck in the chamber and by the time they got it out, the extractor had broken.

The extractor on the push-feed model 70 is little-bitty, maybe 3/16" on a side. To see the damage to it, I had it in my stereo microscope. While I was looking at it, I had an idea and put my digital camera into "macro" mode and held the lens up close to one of the oculars on the stereo microscope. - The LED display on the camera showed a clear image, so I took the shot.

Click image to see it larger.


I've had that stereo microscope for years now, and it wasn't until a few days ago that it occurred to me that I could take pictures through the thing. I use it to examine cartridge cases, small gun parts, tools I am sharpening and of course the usual fun stuff like bugs and knife blades, etc.. - Stuff that you think is well-polished looks like a battle-zone, it's amazing.

Stereo microscopes are low powered, but give you a 3-D view and do not require slides, etc.. There's a piece of frosted glass or plastic that you put whatever it is that you want to look at on. There are two eyepieces, which gives you the 3-D view.

Now I can show customers what the damage on small parts looks like. - Does anybody else here use a stereo microscope in the shop? They are pretty handy, I got mine for five bucks at a pawn shop, some years ago. It's butt-ugly, but the optics and the mechanism are just fine.



Edited by charlesb (12/20/15 07:33 PM)
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#6093932 - 12/20/15 08:07 PM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
RiverRider Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 6220
Loc: Wise Co.
I've been using stereo microscopes for years for purposes of inspection and repair of electronics. The first time I used one was back in '97 looking at Nokia cellphone circuit boards, and I was blown away by it. It was like looking down on a city from an airplane. Nineteen years later it's not so spectacular anymore. Very useful, though.
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Originally Posted By: Cleric
God I am hating caliber threads more and more

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#6094229 - 12/20/15 11:51 PM Re: Microscope images [Re: RiverRider]
2Beez Offline
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Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 1846
Loc: Lake Texoma, TX
Originally Posted By: RiverRider
I've been using stereo microscopes for years for purposes of inspection and repair of electronics. The first time I used one was back in '97 looking at Nokia cellphone circuit boards, and I was blown away by it. It was like looking down on a city from an airplane. Nineteen years later it's not so spectacular anymore. Very useful, though.


I figure this will be a productive thread on another day. Probably not tomorrow or the next day...

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#6094241 - 12/21/15 12:19 AM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
kmon1 Offline
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Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 20293
Loc: Texas
Haven't looked at the things CharlesB mentioned but like RR have used for the electronics industry. They are very useful tools and taking pictures with one is good ides to show others.
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#6094338 - 12/21/15 07:20 AM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
charlesb Offline
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Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
The usefulness of a magnified view is generally only apparent to those who have had the opportunity to use one. People who have not used a stereo microscope can be forgiven then, for not understanding the benefits that follow.

Stereo microscopes are not very high power, my old beat-up Swift for example offers 20 and 40 power. - But it is truly amazing what that bit of magnification can show you, that you never might have suspected the existence of before.

I use it most often to examine once-fired cartridge cases. When you hold the case in your hand, it's just smooth brass and not particularly interesting... Under magnification, you discover that it is not so smooth and homogeneous after all. There are stress cracks, manufacturing flaws and places where the brass has flowed into imperfections in your chamber. All of these tell you things about your brass, your load and your rifle that cannot be discovered by looking at a piece of brass in your hand - no matter how hard you might squint at it.

The stereo microscope is another tool like the video bore-scope, it takes you to a higher level of awareness, and teaches you things about a firearm, in areas where the naked eye will leave you in ignorance.

So - I do not have to wait for a case separation to discover that I am pushing the shoulder too far back for a particular gun's chamber. Early on, before the brass has been significantly damaged, I will see the stress cracking near the base that is normally invisible, and adjust my die with a feeler gauge when loading for that rifle, so that the shoulder moves up a few thousandths. - Or in an extreme case, adjust the rifle's headspace.

I have been able to see things like this for years - but now I can make images of the damage and show it to a customer who formerly just had to take my word for it that his firearm has headspace issues. I am excited about being able to offer this service, as few other gunsmiths do - and it really is better to address problems like that BEFORE a case separation or other unsafe incident ruins somebody's hunt, looks or eyesight.

Then there firing pin tips, extractor claws, various small mechanisms and any tool which must be sharpened to consider.

Why more gun enthusiasts and gunsmiths do not use these devices is a mystery to me. - I just looked at 'used stereo microscopes' on E-Bay and found dozens on them that look a lot better than my old war-horse for under 100 bucks, some for less than 50.

My old Swift war-horse, with advanced Black and Decker penlight lighting system:


Random piece of .223 brass:


End Mill - Nice and sharp!:


Hex Key showing wear:


I thought my pocket-knife was sharp:


Dead House-fly, attacked by fungus:


The main thing is to learn stuff and have fun.




Edited by charlesb (12/21/15 07:28 AM)
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#6094624 - 12/21/15 09:36 AM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
TDK Offline
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Registered: 09/05/07
Posts: 2531
Loc: Newark, TX
Hopefully you didn't need magnification to see that extractor was broken! grin
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#6094825 - 12/21/15 11:41 AM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
Here it is without magnification:


I could tell that it was broken, but it was tiny enough that details were not immediately apparent.

The owner of the push-feed Win model 70 bull gun said his son was shooting cheap steel-cased .308 ammo and a case got stuck. The kid whacked at the bolt handle with who knows what until it finally opened up. He said that when the case finally came out, the extractor fell out too.

I was amazed that the bolt head was not harmed, where the extractor mounts. It really took a beating, but I did not see any damage there, and the new extractor installed without any issues.

Winchester briefly turned out push-feed actions when it got to be too expensive to manufacture the regular model 70 action with their old tooling. After modernizing the plant some years later, they went back to the original controlled-round feed design. By all accounts though, the push-feed model 70 was one of the best push-feed actions ever produced in the United States, certainly a big step up from the Savage, Remington, etc.. I bought one back then in .338 Winchester mag that operated flawlessly, it was my "go to" rifle for several years and it never let me down.

It is fashionable among Winchester aficionados to disparage the push-feed models. They are looked upon as an unfortunate and embarrassing incident in Winchesters history. I can see where they are coming from, but the fact remains that when Winchester did decide to build a push-feed action, it was nothing for them to be ashamed of. It was a robust and functional design.


Edited by charlesb (12/21/15 11:53 AM)
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#6095506 - 12/21/15 06:54 PM Re: Microscope images [Re: 2Beez]
RiverRider Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 6220
Loc: Wise Co.
Originally Posted By: 2Beez
Originally Posted By: RiverRider
I've been using stereo microscopes for years for purposes of inspection and repair of electronics. The first time I used one was back in '97 looking at Nokia cellphone circuit boards, and I was blown away by it. It was like looking down on a city from an airplane. Nineteen years later it's not so spectacular anymore. Very useful, though.


I figure this will be a productive thread on another day. Probably not tomorrow or the next day...



I'll be sure and check with you next time before I post a comment to make sure it meets your productivity standards. Please overlook my transgression.
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Originally Posted By: Cleric
God I am hating caliber threads more and more

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#6095524 - 12/21/15 07:02 PM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
Cast Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 14901
Loc: North Texas - God's Country
troll
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#6095755 - 12/21/15 09:11 PM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
Bullfrog Offline
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Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 10596
Loc: N-Bedford
Pretty cool Charlesb!
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#6095769 - 12/21/15 09:18 PM Re: Microscope images [Re: charlesb]
postoak Offline
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Registered: 08/19/09
Posts: 2550
Loc: The Woodlands, Tx
The Remington 700 extractor makes that one look strong, even broken. If you have a Remington 700 extractor lying around post a photo of it.
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#6096013 - 12/22/15 05:49 AM Re: Microscope images [Re: postoak]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
I do not have a Remington 700 extractor on hand... My nails need trimming though, so soon I should have something just as good to show.

I could have put the broken Winchester model 70 extractor back in, and it probably would have still functioned. - But I got to wondering why the steel-cased shell stuck so bad. On my M1A they left a polymer residue in the chamber that built up and caused problems... When I examined the chamber and bore of the model 70 with the bore-scope though, I found some moderate pitting, and even a bit of rust. There was no polymer residue.

It wasn't as bad as a Mosin-Nagant might be, but it was still bad enough that I could foresee other stuck cases in my crystal ball unless the owner decides to re-barrel that rifle. - So I did not even consider trying to re-install the damaged extractor.

Parts for this obsolete version of the model 70 are elusive sometimes, but I lucked out and found a new extractor for it, at the first place I looked. The shipping cost more than the part, as is so often the case.

I normally charge for a borescope inspection, but in this case I decided to throw it in for free. I'll show the owner the images of his rifle's barrel and chamber, and recommend moderate loads using brass cases in the future. The gun looks to have had thousands of rounds through it, but still has some life left in it if treated gently. If he wants me to polish the chamber I'll give it a go, but only after advising that polishing will have no effect upon the pitting.

If it were mine, I'd be investing in a new barrel. Everything else is still in excellent condition - and it has a brand-new extractor!


Edited by charlesb (12/22/15 06:19 AM)
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