From what I've been able to gather there is a good bit of variation on how people learn about our awesome 209 conversion. While we have a lot of repeat customers, and folks learning about us through word of mouth, most arrive here after an internet search. Frequently newcomers are having problems with their rifle and looking for replacement parts or guidance on how to troubleshoot their woes.
If you are tired of blow-back (aka blow-by), blowing up 209 primers, priming/de-priming tools, having misfires, hang-fires, bloopers, or trouble setting off Blackhorn209: Our kit is the fix, but it's not a $20 solution.
I understand the desire to find a $20 fix, but for the 700 ML/MLS, especially with the many years they all have on them now, there isn't a $20 fix. A lot of folks who end up here realize quickly that our kit is the right solution, but for others they are stuck on the $20 fix.
A good analogy is if this were cars... sometimes it feels like some folks are skeptical I am ethical when I tell them an entire drive train overhaul is required; they are looking for wheel weights to stop a wheel vibration.
The truth is: the reason it's throwing wheel weights is that it has a bad drive train! We can fix it, and you'll love your rifle afterward. Trust me; take the time to understand the problem isn't the wheel weights!
You get what you pay for!
There are so many little flaws in the original system: blowback getting into the bolt, shooter's eyes, and burning the scope are chief among them. Then they get amplified with age, corrosion, use, and abuse; as soon as one is fixed another will creep up. Then the rifle doesn't go bang when desired. So it doesn't make sense to spend a dime to keep the original system running.
The only exception is when someone hunts out west where some hunts prohibit 209 primers or sealing of the breech. But even for those folks we offer entire 209 converted sealed breech bolts and breech plugs so they can switch to sealed breech on hunts where it's legal, and keep their original system for hunts that it is not. One rifle can meet both requirements with a bolt and breech plug swap.
But therein lies the rub... a small minority -have to- keep the original system running for those special hunts. So for those select few I'll share how I'd try to keep the original system functioning (though my goal is to get those non 209, non sealed breech states to come to their senses and convert every Remington 700 ML to our sealed breech system).
What I would do if forced to keep the original system running:
My goal here is to help you understand where the original goes wrong, and unless you hunt out west this should also show you why you need to dump the original and use our 209 conversion. But here we go:
- If legal I'd use 209's; if the rules prohibit 209's then i would use musket caps. I'd dump any #11 percussion cap system. 209's and musket caps are hotter and more reliable than #11's. The nipple can be removed from the breech plug with wrenches. One must be careful not to damage any threads. New breech plugs are available if the nipple won't come out. I'd put a small dab of anti-seize (or choke tube lube) on the threads of the new nipple so I could replace it later when it mushrooms. And it will mushroom.
- Unless someone has owned the rifle since it was new, they don't know what sort of swapping and fiddling has been done to it. Not all strikers are equivalent, nor do they all work with the same primers/caps and nipples. Remington had two different firing pins for the rifle. Their first version only did percussion caps, then they released the 3 way system where one pin could discharge all three (209's, #11's, & Musket Caps). Plus the Canadian mod is out there as well, but it only does 209's.
I've seen rifles with the original flat firing pins installed with 209 nipples. The folks who had this set up contacted me complaining that the rifle wouldn't fire! Of course it won't fire with the wrong firing pin! Remember, the Remington 3 way ignition system had a raised central area for discharging the 209's, and also worked with both types of caps. But it needs to be coupled with the proper Remington style 209 holder. The Canadian won't work unless its coupled with it's unique primer holder. Whatever leaky original system used, it'll need priming de-priming tools as well. Who wants to try and find all that for a reload in the field?
The original system is known for blowing up primers and needing special picks and tools to prime and de-prime the rifle.
- I'd completely disassemble and clean the bolt and firing pin assembly. That means tearing the assembly totally down, scrub and clean all fouling and corrosion from every nook and cranny, and replace the mainspring. Our installation tutorial will prove useful here. If that is too much for you to do, I can replace the mainspring on your bolt for you.
- I always ensure the rifle is unloaded and empty, and in a safe area I shoot some caps/209's to ensure the rifle will set them off. Remember even caps/primers will shoot things out the barrel with enough energy to hurt, maim, or blind. So if you decide to to this, ensure the rifle is unloaded per the procedures in the manual, keep the rifle pointed in a safe direction, and at a proper back stop.
-Crud and misshaped nipples prevent caps/primers from properly seating. Then when the striker hits them instead of detonating, it pushes them forward towards a proper seat. Then once seated, a subsequent strike can set it off. Sometimes the nipples/primer holders get so mashed there is no saving them. I'd clean out any crud, and correct misshaped nipples (I'd say its usually best just to replace with a new nipple).
- If the first strike doesn't set off the cap/209, I'd try a second, third, fourth, or fifth before trying another cap/primer. If a subsequent strike on the same cap detonates it, I'd suspect a misshapen nipple/primer holder. If none of them set it off, it could be the nipple or it could be the bolt/mainspring (but with a good tear down, correction to any corrosion, goo, fouling, proper lubrication and new mainspring, I'd suspect the problem lies in the the nipple). The repeated strikes the nipple receives eventually mushroom and mis-shape it. Even the 209 holders/nipples suffer this fate. Though the Canadian system will probably outlast the Remington vented 209 primer holder. But that is just degrees of bad... I wrote about how bad the Canadian conversion was in one of my first posts to this blog.
- Each time the original system is fired, blow-back pulses the mainspring back and away from the nipple. At higher loads it can even drive back the firing pin into your thumb if you were to place it near the tang! (It hurts... trust me) These cycles and extreme compression coupled with the heat and corrosion then deteriorate mainspring life. Blow back coats the firing pin assembly in a corrosive sticky mess. I would tear down and clean after each time the rifle is shot, and I'd do a complete tear down and get everything out of every nook and cranny after each season.
Blow back will find its way into the inner recesses of the bolt plug and cocking piece... trust me on this. I've torn hundreds of 700 ML bolts down. I'd replace the mainspring on the original system every few years. Again, I can do that for you if you like.
Why our system is better
So with the variations of the original system a shooter will have all those issues to deal with and think through. Once they fix one, soon another will creep up and cause issues. Those are a lot of inherent pit falls. All the while dealing with the blow back shooting into the bolt, a shooter's face, and all over the scope. Seems much smarter to me to rid oneself of that entire mess, use our sealed breech 209 system, and not be forced to strip a bolt down every time you shoot.
Why don’t we sell any replacement parts for the original system nor the Canadian? I don't like to sell things I don't believe in nor use my self. Though the main spring is the same and we will replace it for you regardless of what system you use. I don’t want to be on the hook to keep something running that is flawed at its core, so I don't sell or support it beyond changing mainsprings. But I'll gladly replace the old leaky system with our sealed breech 209 system for you.
Any state forcing folks to use that sort of system is beyond logic to me.
Our 209 system seals the blow back in, which vastly reduces bolt strip downs and cleaning. With our system one only needs fingers to prime/de-prime, and the only parts that wear are the 209 primer (which is discarded after every use), the vent liner which is cheap and easy to replace (and the rifle will still go bang when its time to replace it), and arguably eventually someone will have to replace the mainspring. Mainsprings always have a finite life. It is true on any center-fire rifle; springs will eventually wear out.
However the mainspring lasts much longer in our conversion because it is spared all the extra cycles, heat, and corrosive blow-back of the original. Also even if someone was to fail to seal the blow back in with our system (i.e. it seeped around a primer somehow), the bolt nose and the 209 primer itself essentially block any blow back from making it inside the bolt. With our system a shooter only has to tear the bolt down and clean it as often as they would a center fire rifle... which is not that often, perhaps as often as replacement of the main spring is required on a center-fire 700.
You don’t have to take my word for it, you can read our customer feedback section and see for yourself in the video below.
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