How Common are Problems with the Contender? - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Default How Common are Problems with the Contender?

I just got two barrels for my recently acquired Contender. A .41 Magnum Barrel and a .44 magnum barrel.
The .41 looks to be in great condition, but it won't lock completely(I think),and misfires without leaving a mark on the primer. On the occasion it does fire(3x in 15 attempts) the barrel breaks open.
The .44 barrel works perfectly, as does my .357 max barrel.
What could be the problem? Headspace?

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Last edited by mag41vance; 01-15-2020 at 04:52 PM. Reason: correction
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 06:02 PM
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I would swap out the Locking Bolts with a Barrel that I know works....See if Your 41 barrel works then...
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 06:14 PM
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One problem that can cause contenders to misfire is improper installing the bolt that holds the pistol grip on if it is not installed properly the gun can go off too soon or not fire at all this is caused by not putting enough washers on the mounting bolt to keep it from going in too far and making contact with the hammer. Hard to explain over the net I would say loosen the grip bolt several turns put in a empty casing **** the hammer and see if the hammer drops good. The grip should not go up past the frame when you are installing it if it does that can also interfere with the hammer you may need to drop several washers down in the top side of the hole to shim the frame to its proper place and also make sure that the bolt is not too long as it may need to be shimmed also at any rate I would say do not try to fire it till you have every thing adjusted properly. Another problem could be that the new barrel locking lug is not going all the way in and you may need to stone the top of the lug but only use a sharpening stone and only a couple passes at a time making sure you are flat and true across the face of the lug. I think there is a sticky on how to do this. If you do a search on google how to stone a contender barrel there is a sight that you can click on one of the other contender fellows I think Gen doc may be able to post it for you.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEACONLLB View Post
One problem that can cause contenders to misfire is improper installing the bolt that holds the pistol grip on if it is not installed properly the gun can go off too soon or not fire at all this is caused by not putting enough washers on the mounting bolt to keep it from going in too far and making contact with the hammer. Hard to explain over the net I would say loosen the grip bolt several turns put in a empty casing **** the hammer and see if the hammer drops good. The grip should not go up past the frame when you are installing it if it does that can also interfere with the hammer you may need to drop several washers down in the top side of the hole to shim the frame to its proper place and also make sure that the bolt is not too long as it may need to be shimmed also at any rate I would say do not try to fire it till you have every thing adjusted properly. Another problem could be that the new barrel locking lug is not going all the way in and you may need to stone the top of the lug but only use a sharpening stone and only a couple passes at a time making sure you are flat and true across the face of the lug. I think there is a sticky on how to do this. If you do a search on google how to stone a contender barrel there is a sight that you can click on one of the other contender fellows I think Gen doc may be able to post it for you.

Deaconllb
I wonder then why some barrels function flawlessly on the same frame?? Very Strange

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by orerancher View Post
I would swap out the Locking Bolts with a Barrel that I know works....See if Your 41 barrel works then...
I'm fairly new to the Contender world. Where exactly is this locking Bolt?

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 06:43 PM
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It is that shiny thing that sticks out the bottom of the barrel has a very slight angle to it and most of the time it is split the older ones were solid That is one problem with contenders. I bought a contender years ago at the gun show and the only frame that it would fit and lock up on was the one that it came on if I put it on another frame it would not unlock and I would have to remove barrel pin and work with it to get it off the frame.
Deaconllb

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533rd material ,air defence Oxnard AFB 1953-1955
Pastor of the CBCG-Fellowship group Tulsa Oklahoma.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEACONLLB View Post
It is that shiny thing that sticks out the bottom of the barrel has a very slight angle to it and most of the time it is split the older ones were solid That is one problem with contenders. I bought a contender years ago at the gun show and the only frame that it would fit and lock up on was the one that it came on if I put it on another frame it would not unlock and I would have to remove barrel pin and work with it to get it off the frame.

Deaconllb


I agree with Deacon...most likely culprit is the locking lug. Make sure to install a 2 piece lug. A good source and pricing is from Ed’s TC’s. These 2 piece lugs are a lot more forgiving for the range of tolerances that barrels and frames present over decades of various manufacturers mating to diff receivers and use. A whole set including the lug, spring and roller pin might set you back $25-$30. You could get by with just the lug itself to test. Google “TC Contender Lug Replacement” and you will get an idea of what we are talking about. Only takes a couple mins to change this out. Good luck, keep us posted.

Thanks
Coleman



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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 09:46 PM
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Hi Vance,
I’d try adding a washer to the grip bolt so it doesn’t go in quite so far. If that doesn’t take care of it, then I would address the locking bolts.
I’ve read about these problems several times, but never had the problem myself. I’ve probably owned 10 different frames and 30 or so different barrels over the years.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for jumping on board to help me out.
I'll be doing some experimenting today.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the help.
After following the suggestions. I removed the grip and reinstalled it with another washer. (did not fix the issue)
I found a picture of the lugs and polishing instructions.
The first bit of polishing, the gun fired once and broke open. Miss-fired several times then fired again and broke open again.
Removed the barrel and polished a little more. Fired first time, stayed shut, fired two more times with no miss-fires and stayed closed each time. Hopefully it's good to go.
I did notice that the .223 Super 14 has a one piece solid lug shape differently than the other barrel lugs I have. Is this okay?

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