If not quickly and properly cleaned after firing the bolt will corrode and freeze up. Our kits correct this fatal flaw by sealing up the breech. But not everyone has our kit yet, and seeing these rifles are all 10 to 20 years old, it's all to common for some one to have shot and then put it away without a proper cleaning. Be thankful if the bolt was at least removed! Getting a frozen bolt out of a rifle is a nightmare!
I was contacted by a Remington 700 owner who admitted he shot his rifle a few years ago, removed the bolt but never cleaned. He had soaked the bolt in penetrating oil for a couple of days, but he couldn't get it to budge. I recommended he buy our 209 conversion with installation, send me the bolt, and if it wasn't too much additional work I wouldn't bother him. He was on a tight budget and couldn't afford our 209 conversion. So, I told him to purchase our legacy mainspring replacement service and ship me the bolt. We'd go up from there as my time and replacement parts required. We have new bolt bodies, mainsprings, and more!
Once I got the bolt in my hands, it looked like any other Remington 700 bolt with the Canadian 209 mod, but indeed I couldn't compress the mainspring nor get it to move when I put it in a rifle. I proceeded to soak it a couple of days in penetrating oil as well. After the penetrating oil bath it still wouldn't budge, so I put it in the jig I made for these bolts and pushed on the firing pin with my 12 ton press. That worked!
The next day I managed to get the bolt plug to break free of the body. Removed the mainspring that had fused itself to it, and cleaned up all the pitting. After a lot of cleaning, scrubbing, and gingerly re-freshening of threads: the cocking piece, bolt body, and bolt plug ended up being serviceable. As I had to sacrifice the original firing pin to get it apart, I pulled an old used Canadian firing pin out of my junk bin. All I needed was a new mainspring to put it all back together. The client made my additional trouble 'right' with a few more dollars and it all went back in the mail.
While the customer is always right, and he is very happy... I have to admit it didn't sit right with me to do so much work just to leave the bolt with a leaky setup that will likely fail even if properly cared for... and if neglected it will totally lock up again. I really felt this rifle needed our sealed breech 209 conversion. But the customer is always right.
Hope this has helped you. If we can help you in anyway (perhaps with a Ruger 77/50 or Remington 700 ML) please use the Contact page to reach out. We usually reply within 24 hrs. Be sure to mention what type of muzzle loader you have!