Sunday, August 5, 2012

F.I.E. Texas Ranger Mod Tex 22 LR Single Action Revolver

FIE Mod Tex 22 LR or FIE Texas Ranger
My friend, a pastor, asked me to 'tinker' with this gun of his dad's.  He bought his dad a 22 revolver, real cheap. His dad loves it.  BUT, the action stuck or wouldn't work somehow, so his dad took it apart.  He couldn't get it back together.  My friend asked several other friends to take a look at it for him.  All of these men were gun nuts, one had learned about guns in the military. The gun was passed around for 4-5 months. No one could get it to work properly.

Well, my friend is a pretty good friend of my parents' actually.  My dad tells him that maybe my husband or I can help.  Why not?  No one else could. I'm a mechanical engineer that likes to tinker and figure things out.  Both my husband and I like guns (I may like them a little more than he does at this point).  My dad tells me he volunteered me.  A few months go by (or was it a long few weeks? IDK).  I don't hear any more and put it on the back burner.

Yesterday I got a phone call from this mutual friend.  I agree to give it a shot.  You can find almost anything on the internet these days, right, so I should be able to find a video of some sort! WRONG. I was excited to see this puzzle with all of its pieces, but I couldn't look anything up until I had it in my hand.

That evening, after a lengthy visit with my folks and grandparents, we got home to find the mystery firearm in a box on our porch.   There were tiny parts in a plastic container, marked Ham Salad.  There was the barrel with the frame in one piece and the stock in the other.  We put the kids to bed and I got online to try to look up some information on this mystery that lay in my lap in pieces.  My husband tells me that I'm going to lose those tiny parts on that couch!  I tell him I'm just researching, not going to try put it together tonight.  He goes to bed.

So, I begin searching the internet.  The engraving on the side says:  Mod Tfx 22 cal LR FIE Miami, FL.  Well, now that I know, it actually says Mod Tex 22 cal LR FIE Miami, FL.  AFter many different attempts, I realize that there aren't any videos of the gun, aren't any real schematics that I can find.  I also find out that the gun is no longer made, the manufacturer stamp is actually only the importer and it may have been made in Germany or Italy originally.  The importer, from Miami, stopped importing the guns in 1968 due to the Federal Firearms Act.  Great.

Well, I figure that 22 revolvers can't be too far apart, so I find a schematic for the same brand but different model, the E15.  I print it out in two sizes and start looking up part names.  On the Numrich website, there are pictures of most parts available for the handguns, so I'm trying to compare the parts in the plastic container to the pictures on the website.  I label some of the part names on my schematic.  Print out a disassembly/reassembly description from a manual written by United States Fire Arms Manufacturing Co., Inc.  I figure if I can match the part descriptions to the written instructions, and the schematic I can maybe figure it out.


After church today, I'm chomping at the bit to try to put this gun together.  I spent a few hours sitting with it, cleaning parts and trying to see how they fit and work together.  I'm getting so close, I can taste it (or was that gun solvent?).  I can fit the pieces together, but need to figure out the right order and what is wrong with the action to make it stick?  I look up some videos online. Hmm.  Mainspring. Where's that?  In the grip. OK. Let's take the wood grips off.  Hmm.  OK. Now what?
Mod Tex 22 Mainspring

So, I clean up the mainspring and the area hidden by the grips and start fiddling some more.  Wait, if I put the gate on, the cylinder, the base pin, install the gate detent and gate screw.  I installed the hand and spring onto the hammer, put the hammer into the assembly in almost the right position.  I put the grip section on to hold the gate detent and gate screw in place.  Things are looking like a firearm around here.  But, the hammer isn't sitting right yet.  So, I have to hold the stock tight to compress the gate screw, push down on the hammer to seat it properly, while flexing the mainspring in the grip.  I don't have a third hand to screw the hammer into place!  Um, honey, I need your help.  He makes smart remark.  I tell him, no, I just need a third hand because I don't have any left to use the screwdriver.  He complies.  It doesn't cycle.  He remembers jamming up a rifle in his younger years. He backs out the hammer screw ever so slightly.  Voila!  Perfect working order. No joke.  I dry fire it several times. Over and over. I place a wooden skewer in through the barrel to see if the cylinder lines up with the barrel properly.  Don't want it to be out of timing.  Ugh.
Mod Tex 22 Base Pin & Hammer Screw

When we are convinced that it is ready to fire, we go outside.  Eyes and ears on everybody (just me and DH).  Fire in the hole!  (Yes, our whole family watches American Guns!)  I duck for cover and fire into the mud.  It works.  All 6 times.  Sweet!  Really?!?  I reload.  Now I'm confident enough to pull it up and try to fire looking down the sight.  It is only about 1.5 inches left on 4 rounds and pretty close to dead on with the other 2.  NICE.  I win!

I'm known not to let puzzles and mysteries win over me.  I want to be a gunsmith.  Maybe.  I am looking for a new career choice when we decide that the kids don't need me to stay home from work anymore.  I'm seriously considering it.  This would be my first gunsmith job and I won.  In less than 24 hours.  I probably only spent about 5 hours total on this gun and loved every second.  Especially when it fired!!

Hopefully this will help someone else who is looking for info. on this little gun.  Here's some helpful links:


E15 Schematic:
http://www.gunpartscorp.com/catalog/Products.aspx?catid=9088

Mod Tex 22 parts pictures:
http://www.gunpartscorp.com/catalog/Products.aspx?catid=9091

Ruger Single Action Revolver Disassembly video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfOXBa8K8Ow

Ruger Single Action Revolver Reassembly video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zEKDqwkgEs&feature=player_embedded

A helpful forum talks about the ejector:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5172111

And the grand finale!  The Owner's Manual!  I finally found it.  Thanks, Steve.  Whoever and wherever you are.  This link may start the download immediately.
http://stevespages.com/pdf/fie_tr22.pdf

Enjoy!  Feel free to comment with any help, advice or questions!
Michelle

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