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Another interesting feature of the Darne action according to Ted (he will correct if I don't recall correctly) is that it doesn't harm the action to dry fire it without snap caps as long as the action is closed against the barrels. To dry fire it with the barrel off can cause the insert surrounding the pins on the breech face to move forward bending the screws that hold it in place. Gil

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Originally Posted By: GLS
Another interesting feature of the Darne action according to Ted (he will correct if I don't recall correctly) is that it doesn't harm the action to dry fire it without snap caps as long as the action is closed against the barrels. To dry fire it with the barrel off can cause the insert surrounding the pins on the breech face to move forward bending the screws that hold it in place. Gil


Grasshopper,
You are a quick study. On a gun that has the face plate retained with 2 machine screws from the bottom of the breechblock, which, includes all obturator disc guns, and most others, those beefy coil springs that drive the percutators will indeed bend the screws.
However, while I have not seen a clear shot of the face of the OPs 24 gauge breech, and, as it is a pretty old gun, I would be willing to bet it has the plate that drives in from the side, mortised at perhaps a 45 degree angle, sans screws from the bottom, and, immune to damage from dry firing, barrels on or off.
This is a piece of minutia that I'm pretty sure you will only find here on Dave's board, because I don't participate on any other boards pertaining to guns, and anyone else who knows this fact, speaks French, and doesn't participate here, either. And, mostápeople don't care.
The safest plan is to just dry fire 'em with the tubes in place.

Best,
Ted

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Ted;
My halifax has the dovetailed retainer plate with a single screw at the top to hold it in place. I had simply failed to catch that Gil had said to only raise the lever slightly to set the extractor to force out a stuck hull, but noted he said the manual stated to lift it to a vertical position. My triggers simply will not pull with the lever vertical, it has to come down to a near 60 degree angle before they will release.
I did get it back out 7 tried it (Unloaded) with the lever slightly lifted. In fact I cn raise it to at least 20 degrees, maybe 30 before the breech block starts to move. The triggers can be pulled throughout this range. As I am not using paper hulls have never had a problem with sticking hulls so had simply never looked into this, is good to know though, just in Case. When the weather, & me, gets a bit better I will load a couple of primed emptied in it & check it out, but I don't think it will fire until the breech is locked, I believe it was designed with this as a safety factor. seems first movement of the lever starts retracting the strikers so they cannot hit the primers. well thought out design INMO.


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Miller,
I have played this game, with my own R10, in a safe area, with live ammunition. It is possible to get a Darne R model to fire with the opening lever out of battery. I've done it. My own Halifax copy acts much like yours, and like my R10, there is a point just prior to the action being completely closed that you can get the sears to trip, and fire the gun, assuming live ammunition is chambered. The R10 I own has been fired many, many thousands of times, during my ownership and that of others before me, and is not as tight as the old Halifax, which shows no signs of use at all. If I had a stuck, live cartridge, in any double gun, I'd figure out a way to get it out that didn't involve activating the ejector mechanism, with the triggers, but, maybe, that is just me. It is true, in the pre-war directions for Darne R model guns, this method is mentioned, but, I've never seen it mentioned in post war directions for the guns. I'm guessing someone, somewhere, discovered the hard way, with disasterous results, what I learned when I experimented with my R10, and the company quit promoting that feature, if that is what we want to call it. As I have pointed out, a Charlin will not fire until the lever is completely closed.
As I have posted prior, I do consider it to be a fools errand. I never recommend it.

Best,
Ted

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An addendum, if I may:

The Halifax gun that I own at the moment, and the R10 that has been restocked to fit me, have slightly different designs, and the position of the lever is different, at the point either gun will trip the sears just before final closing. While this sounds scary, lockup in either design is actually complete just prior to final closing. What IS scary, is knowing there IS a difference, to me, anyway. Perhaps this difference is to be expected, as there is most of 50 years between the dates they were produced, and there are "improvements", cost cutting measures, mostly, made to the design of the R10. The first sliding breech guns began leaving the shop in perhaps 1877, and, they are likely still in reduced production now.
That, is a long time. It would be hard to know all the changes to the guns that occured over those years.
I would suggest a great deal of common sense and safety be used when handling any firearm.
Again, I suggest that in the event a live round is stuck in the chamber of ANY design of gun, a different method than tripping the ejectors be used to remove it.
I find this discussion, at this point, to be about as useful as one that would involve how to go about holding the top lever over just far enough to take a conventional double out of battery, and attempting to get the ejectors to trip without doing the same to the sears.

Best,
Ted

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Ted;
Thanks for all the insight. I do still plan on checking this gun out, only with primers installed, no loaded shells, just for curiosities sake to see at what point it will fire. I fully agree with your consensus of using another method should I actually have a stuck shell.
Actually I tried this method with an empty hull fired in another gun which had apparently a slightly larger chamber, so it fit quite tight in the Halifax. I did not find this a useful method as the barrel extractor only very slightly moved the hull then the hooks on the breech jumped the rim leaving the hull intact in the chamber. I still had to get a rod & poke it out from the muzzle. I tried this one hull in each chamber several times & only once did I actually succeed in extracting the hull.
Although admittedly hard on the gun I personally believe a break open design will extract a tighter fitting shell or hull than will this gun, in spite of Darne's claims to the contrary.


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Miller,
I believe your method may be flawed. The ejector hook is set just before the shot, and will grab the spent cartridge perfectly, as the shot has molded the base to the hook and chamber of the gun.
Using a spent cartridge from a different gun does not allow that to happen.
I've never heard of a Darne that had extraction issues, at least not extraction issues that were the result of a round being fired in it's own chamber.
It is better to cycle the action briskly, although I often don't, as I prefer to catch the spent rounds on the action flats, rather than letting them hit the ground, and then doing so.
A bit lazy that way, I guess.

Best,
Ted

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Ted;
Are you saying it actually takes the recoil of firing a shell to set the extractors? The only means I had at present to get a tight fit was to use this previously fired shell.
As I am seeing it as I open the lever the top bolt dropping down presses the barrel's extractor out forcing it's break from the chamber, but only moves it about 1/8". There is then grooves in the action flat which the extractor hooks on the breech block ride in which have a bump at their forward end to hold the hook up against the rim. Problem is the hooks run off the bump before they have pulled the hull any further than the extractor pushes, at which point they are only held up by spring tension. This spring tension is not sufficient to keep them engaged with the rim so they jump it leaving the hull in the chamber still stuck.
As the breech would be holding the shell in the chamber while firing allowing no more movement than the amount of head space of the shell rim vs rim depth. I truly cannot see how firing the shell would alleviate the sticking problem at all. This would all appear to me to be strictly a mechanical feature after the shell had been fired, which should be duplicated by the process I used.
Once that very short forced movement has ended then all other extraction is simply a matter of a straight pull of the opening lever with no mechanical advantage given it. I am simply unable to detect any advantage of this action design in handling swollen shells. Understand I like the design, just not for this reason. With either factory or properly resized shells there is absolutely no problem with extraction & ejection. I do like the method of puling the fired hull/s from the chamber where they are so easy to pick off by hand to save or just to not liter. Much better than catching ejected hulls from break open ejectors. As my hunting practices do not put me in many of those "Hot Spots" where rapid reloading is a necessity for a break open gun I normally prefer plain extractors & just pick the fired hulls out by hand.
I will say when it comes to the Darnes I do always value your knowledge of them highly.


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Miller,
No. It is not recoil that sets the extractor hook, it is tripping the sear. The extractor plate, in the barrels, is spring loaded, and raises unfired cartridges as the breech slides back, the top or verticle bolt doesn't have anything to do with that. That spring loaded plate is also what supports the breech face when the gun is dry fired, although, as previously discussed, it is far less important for that in the case of your gun, due to the plate being dovetailed into the breech instead of being retained with screws, as they are on the newer guns.
I like Darnes. Not to the exclusion of anything else, however. I have never really had any design of gun that had ammunition hang up in the chamber, and, I suspect that since plastic hulls became common, say since 1960, or so, spent rounds stuck in a chamber is likely much less common a problem than it once was. My Father, who spent a lot of time in New Orleans in the USMC, told me the Browning A5 was considered superior as a duck gun because it had twin extractor hooks, compared to the Remington model 11, and Ithaca 37s single hook. I've owned all three and never had an extraction problem. I wasn't hunting, there, in the early 1950s, and can't comment.
Maybe wet paper hulls were the culprit.

Be Well, Sir.


Best,
Ted

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Ted;
I grew up on paper hulls, they didn't have to actually get "Wet" to swell. They could just absorb moisture from the air over time to swell without actually having been in water

.
There is an L shaped part pinned to the frame on my Halifax. The vertical leg extends up behind the barrel extractor with the horizontal leg extending back into the frame beneath the rising bolt which lock into the rib extension. I had assumed that when the lever is lifted the dropping bolt hit the top of this lever forcing the extractor rearward. Maybe it doesn't make contact, but I see no other reason for its existence. I
I will have to "Smoke" them up & see if it does indeed make contact to force the extractor out.

With the barrels off I can push that fired hull into either chamber & the spring does not push it back out at all, yet with the breech closed on it, it never failed to push it out that approx 1/8 inch so I believe it is being forced by other than just the spring. Only once with several tries though was the shell pulled out more than that 1/8 inch, so if the spring was doing the work it should have come on out to the limit of the extractor's travel, then on with the breech block from there, but it didn't.


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