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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening!
As my initial goal with the posts I have made so far regarding this rifle, my intention is to get more published in a forum such as this one so that real, recent work and thought with this rifle seeps out onto the net. At this point, the info and findings are many years old. I think conclusions in regard to this rifle look unrealistically at this rifle as one that some had hoped might become a giant in the Cowboy Action Shooting area and just did not make it. I feel that one needs to look at it as an interesting replica of an action type (pump) that originated during the last 30 years of the 19th century, and not as a "hold-the-trigger-back and slam-operate that action and put rounds downrange NOW" type of rifle. The Model 97 Winchester shotgun, probably one of the best working tools of shotgun fame, while having no disconnect and thus having a similar rapid fire capability as the Taurus T-bolt, those who own a '97 know it is a beast to fire this way and only a strong man can hold it on target through muscle or fear or both! I have rebuilt a number of these and know that all of the 114 parts give or take) in the action ALL take energy to operate, and while you might try to get all these parts in split second motion, the end result is usually not equal to the effort you applied.
When I had the T-bolt taken apart the other day, I noticed a couple of things about the magazine tube. I looked carefully at the end of the tube where it enters the action and noticed that several interesting cuts and filings had been made upon it. Intricate, as they say. Too bad that each cut or filing edge contained burrs that were sharp to the touch and actually hindered putting the tube in the action or taking it out. I carefully fine-filed those burrs off so the edges were now smooth. I made sure not to change the depth or angle of these cuts. There has been some discussion about the inside diameter of the tube as being too large for the base of the cartridge, allowing the cartridge base to slip over the shellstop and shoot under the cartridge lifter, jamming the mechanism. I intend to continue to use the Starline .45 Schofield casing for reloading, as the rim diameter is a full .001" larger than the .45 Colt rim, and to the eye, obviously thicker. The casing itself is shorter than the .45 Colt case length allowing me to use almost all (note the word "almost") of the .45 caliber lead slugs intended for the Colt .45, and crimp each slug in the Schofield case using the bullet's crimp groove without violating the "too long sin". This "too long sin" has to be avoided in the replica .45 Colt 1866 Henry, and any of the other Winchesters using the block type shell lifter. Also has to be watched in the Remington Model 14 rifles. (Try to get a jam out of one of these Pedersen creations if you want an afternoon of fun)! The speed of operation has to be relatively steady if you want these stubby, fat, cartridges to get out of the tube and into the chamber. There has been some complaint about the rifle when you try to fire it with the loading port facing the ground or with the rifle pointing 90 degrees into the air, causing a jam or mis-feed. I would suspect if one can resist the urge to "gangsta fire the rifle" while tipping it on its side, you might just reduce jams caused by trying to shoot it this way. Also one should resist shooting at low fly geese directly over head, more so because using a rifle on geese is illegal entirely.
Last for now is the gas blow-by situation that not only leaves a powder fouling mess in the action but also spits this same crap at high speed into your face! When your rifle spits back at you due to the cartridge not sealing the chamber due to low pressure not expanding the walls of the brass casing, into momentary sealing with the chamber walls, you have a bad situation. If the casing does not grip the chamber wall for that spit second and release as the pressure drops and the bullet leaves the barrel, you have a rather bad problem called "bolt thrust". With a .45 Colt firing and creating a chamber pressure of, say, 14,000 pounds per square inch, if all goes well and the casing grips the chamber walls for that split second, you also have about 3,400 pounds per square inch of backward thrust on the bolt face of the cartridge base. If you have a greasy or crapped-up chamber, you have no casing seal on the chamber walls and the bolt thrust sends the unsealed casing back into the face of the bolt with a huge load, stressing out what would normally be an adequate locking system. This is one reason that you need to take down the Taurus Thunderbolt rifle action: LOOK AT THE LOCKING SYSTEM AND YOU TELL ME IF YOU WANT TO PERHAPS DOUBLE THE LOAD UPON IT WHEN THE RIFLE FIRES? It isn't just how dirty your shiny cases get, folks. You will shorten the shooting life of your rifle. Keep the chamber clean and use reasonable and safe loads to make sure the cases expand to seal the chamber. Or, anneal the top third of the casing so that the softer brass that results from annealing seals the chamber at lower pressure. When reloading a casing, resize it only enough to go into the chamber and hold the bullet. My T-bolt when slugged, shows it has a .454" groove diameter. Some may be .452". Best check it.
All this is food for thought. Rifle and handgun actions have always interested me. They have addicted me... All the different ways to put a bullet down and out of a barrel. I have worked with a Remington Model 14 (1914) and they are a complicated beast and will put new blue words in your vocabulary upon jam removal. The T-bolt is simple. And removing the jams are tedious but simple. Carry a screwdriver so you can pull the magazine tube. Best is to prevent a jam in the first place. Know your rifle.
Your thoughts are certainly welcome. We need to tell the folks who have one of these rifles how to get past the problems and shoot the thing and have fun!
Greg T.
(Only minus 8 below zero at this point at 10:47 in NW Wisconsin.)
 

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Interesting post. I see where you replied to my post about this rifle some time ago. I am still totally fascinated by it but do not yet own one but I will. I'm saving your remarks so I don't lose them! Thanks.
 

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You seem to be liking your Thunderbolt. I'm glad for that. I very much appreciate mine for what it is and have very little of it to complain about. Actually, I love shooting it.
 

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I always thought a .357 Thunderbolt would make for a decent brush rifle. They ran a bit more than my Rossi 92 at the time, so I never got one, and I kinda prefer the looks of a Winchester 92. :D

I can't agree that the 97 Winchester is the most useful shotgun, either. I've yet to find one steel shot compatible (I hunt a lot of waterfowl, my only real use for a shotgun) and I don't care for the hammer. I'd rather have a tang safety in its place. :D But, I guess if all you do is shoot CAS or if you're a dough boy in the trenches, the 97 is your gun.

The thunderbolt always reminded me of the nifty little .22 caliber gallery guns I used to shoot at county fairs. Boy, those were the days. Can you imagine gallery guns at a county fair today? A buddy of mine had one of those pump hammer gun .22s when I was a kid and I really liked it. We did a lot of squirrel hunting together. So, when I first saw the thunderbolt (IMI produced IIRC), I really had a good impression. I never got one, always thought it'd be fun and practical, especially in .357 magnum, a very versatile chambering.
 
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Oh, yeah, if being able to hold the trigger down and pump out the rounds is of some sort of value to you, there's always the old Ithaca 37s. :D
 

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IMI produced the Timberwolf in a pump .357 magnum.I had one for years and sold it a couple of years ago to a guy that almost peed himself to get it.Probably should have kept it but after I got it I was never enamored with it.Still wanting a .357 lever gun.
 

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AH, YES, TIMBERwolf. Now I remember. As I recall, those things were pricey. This was back in the 80s. I ended up getting the 92 for about 200 bucks. They cost a might more now days. :D
 

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What. A. Post. There is a lot of knowledge here! Makes me wish I had a Thunderbolt! :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good Morning!
I've got to go back to work at the high school today and what a horrible thought that is after a 9 day break. I mentioned I thought the Model 97 Winchester shotgun was the most useful tool, meaning "riot gun or trench gun". The Ithaca 37 would fall into the same category as a "pump-o-matic". I cannot control the Model 97 that way as the pumping usefulness of my shoulders is pretty much gone. I quit weight lifting with the "boys" when I was 65, and the 450 pound squats I was doing everyday at the end did my right shoulder in. My left shoulder was taken care of when I tripped and fell as my dog took off with the leash in my hand trying to catch up. Life can be cruel! I have a Winchester Model 1905 in caliber .35 Winchester self-loading that I am also working with, but that is another forum. Still way too cold here for anything I would do outside.
GregT
 

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Good Morning!
I've got to go back to work at the high school today and what a horrible thought that is after a 9 day break. I mentioned I thought the Model 97 Winchester shotgun was the most useful tool, meaning "riot gun or trench gun". The Ithaca 37 would fall into the same category as a "pump-o-matic". I cannot control the Model 97 that way as the pumping usefulness of my shoulders is pretty much gone. I quit weight lifting with the "boys" when I was 65, and the 450 pound squats I was doing everyday at the end did my right shoulder in. My left shoulder was taken care of when I tripped and fell as my dog took off with the leash in my hand trying to catch up. Life can be cruel! I have a Winchester Model 1905 in caliber .35 Winchester self-loading that I am also working with, but that is another forum. Still way too cold here for anything I would do outside.
GregT
I heard THAT. :D

Is that .351 WSL? Man, there were some cool rounds back in the day. :D But, then, the .357 pretty much is in the same category. It's not an autoloader, of course, but in a pump it can crank 'em out pretty good. :D
 

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I have a Thunderbolt in .45 Colt and have been using it for four years or so for CAS. I have not had some of the issues that others have complained about and I really like it because I can shoot it faster than my '73 Winchester. It is accurate and once one finds the pump rhythm for one's particular rifle, it actually runs well.
The only issue I have had is if I work the action with too much force, the lifter will lift the cartridge high enough to hit the top edge of the chamber. When that happens during a match, I simply back the forearm off a bit, push the cartridge down and close the action and keep on truckin'. I did have the carrier flip a cartridge completely out of the action once or twice but each time I managed to catch the round and insert it onto the carrier and close the action to shoot. Those occasions were rare and as I stated when you get into the rhythm of your particular rifle, it operates pretty consistently.
My only complaint is the lack of a video anywhere that shows how to completely disassemble the rifle. I called Taurus and was advised that complete disassembly was not recommended for the average Joe.
 
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