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Old 05-30-2005, 06:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 13
Universal carbine goes "click" not "boom"

Hi guys. I've got a Universal carbine - late model w/ 2 recoil springs. Don't laugh too hard. It was my first centerfire rifle. I bought it the day I turned 18 (24 years ago) and didn't know any better. I know the consensus is that it's a pile of junk, but it's got a special place in my heart and I'll never sell it because I figure one of my boys might like it to remember their old man.

I took it to the range today for the first time in about 12 years and had an annoying surprise - light primer strikes and failure to fire. Out of four rounds, it fired one (and that one only fired after it had been chambered and hit by the firing pin twice).

I disassembled the rifle and the firing pin isn't binding, so I assume I need to replace the mainspring. Anyone ever do this? How do I remove the trigger housing/magazine well assembly from the barrel? It looks like I need to tap it with a hammer but I'm afraid of breaking the cheap aluminum housing.
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:13 PM   #2
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On the universal, I have no idea how to remove it. Hopefully Wayne will chime in as I believe he has one of these still.
I am not sure how compatible the triggerhousing is with a USGI housing.
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:22 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 244
What brand ammunition were you using ? The problems you describe could describe headspace issues or possibly cartridge case dimension issues. Given that the rifle was likely put away functioning , I am ready to rule out headspace issues and think bad ammo. Switching brands of ammo may be the quick and easy first test.
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:18 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 13
I was using 15 year old PMC ammo from back when it used to come in a camo box. I examined the primers and it looks like the primers were dented pretty good. Unfortunately, I don't know how to post pics or I'd post a pic of a dented primer. I guess I should try getting some new ammo and trying it out.
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Old 06-01-2005, 06:10 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 13
Pictures of light primer strike

I've tried to attach a picture of one of the cartridges that didn't fire. Does the primer strike look light to you guys?

photo deleted by Jimb16, see smaller picture below.
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Old 06-01-2005, 06:37 PM   #6
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What's the matter, don't you have any BIG pictures of the thing?
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Old 06-01-2005, 06:58 PM   #7
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replace it with this one.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg primer.jpg (19.4 KB, 666 views)
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Old 06-03-2005, 08:07 PM   #8
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Negative compatability with USGI, but there should be a pin through the front of the housing that holds it on, similar to GI (through the lug at the rear of the two recoil spring guides). Is this one with a spring assisted firing pin?
Old 06-04-2005, 08:50 AM   #9
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 28
"Does the primer strike look light to you guys?"

I compared your picture with some fired cases from my GI carbine. Some of mine are headstamped identically to yours with the red sealer around the primer and some are headstamped 'WCC 43'. The firing pin crater on my spent cases do seem to be deeper than the 'fired' case in your photo. Some of mine are also 'off center'. I'll try to post pix if you want them.

Have you thoroughly cleaned the firing mechanism in a solvent? It might just need a little TLC.

Jim H
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Old 06-04-2005, 09:24 AM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 59

the primer strike looks good to me, sounds like the ammo is bad. Go and get some fresh ammo and try it again. I own a late universal and it is a pain in the butt to take apart. the main springs are a real pain to remove and replace!!
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Old 06-04-2005, 07:30 PM   #11
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 13
Thanks for the replies. I'm taking it to the range tomorrow with a fresh box of Winchester ammo to see if it works with different ammo.
I shot some CLP down the firing pin hole a few times and worked it in. There doesn't seem to be anything blocking the firing pin other than the spring that holds the firing pin back.
Wolff sells replacement springs for this model, so I'll order a new hammer spring if the new ammo doesn't work.
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Old 06-05-2005, 12:13 PM   #12
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 296
i'd think it was the ammo.
i had some old pmc also.

had quite a few fail to fire, even a few hang fires, that made my flintlock seem quick.
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:10 AM   #13
Join Date: Nov 2002
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I'd opine that the gun was just gunked up. Blast out the trigger housing and bolt with brake cleaner, then apply a good spray oil to make sure it gets everywhere. Blow out the excess oil if you have air, or use a spray can of 'Dust-Off'. The carbine should fire.
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Old 06-06-2005, 01:09 PM   #14
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 13
I took a new box of Remington ammo to the range this weekend and it worked fine. Apparently, the PMC ammo must have very hard primers. I may eventually replace the hammer spring but don't see the need to do that just yet. Thanks for everyone's input.
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