The reproduction CBR spanner wrenches are heat treated and oil quenched for hardness/temper. This is what causes them to take on the blue/black appearance. They are not blued. These little spanners are not produced for misuse or abuse beyond their capabilities. Even the "real deal" Remington spanner wrenches were not meant for such, thus quite short lived unfortunately. Remington had problems early on with breakage, bending, etc. from misuse. Please remember, these are small thin steel tools and unlike a beefy Husky or Craftsmen type crescent wrench meant for serious business. This is why there are no Remington wrenches available, they all broke!
I know precisely how much these small spanner wrenches can take prior to bending, breaking etc. as I have put them through a rigorous testing process and had others do the same prior to releasing them. We pounded on them with mallets, hammers and used abusive force on the little nub for the barrel nut. Yes, they "will" break, bend and become damaged with undue force applied.
Let's use a few scenarios as a guidline and/or comparison: Using a ballpeen hammer for a job meant for a sledge hammer! The use of a sledge hammer to punch out a drift pin from a Remington Model 8 trigger guard, or use of a standard screwdriver blade to remove a slotted screw from your trigger guard! You can imagine what the outcome will be, disaster!
The spanner wrench is not a cureall and is not intended as such. Personally, I refer to it as more a novelty item for display, even though it does work as intended under the right conditions. The spanner wrench works fine as long as the nut/bushing have had care and cleaning over the years and are not rusted, frozen or seized from dirt and hardened oils. We soon forget, the majority of these Remington Model 8's and 81's have never been cleaned or apart! When you combine the years of use with their being subject to dirt, moisture, rain, old oils, grease, mud, etc.; this causes the threads to seize up and freeze in place. I have found that thoroughly soaking the parts for a realistic time period, will help. Sometimes this requires several days up to as long as a full week just to get the crud barrier to soften up enough to break the threads free.
In one instance, I soaked the end of the barrel assembly of a 1920's Model 8 for over seven days. This rifle was so used and abused, obviously had never been apart let alone likely never had the bore cleaned in it's life time! I proceeded to experiment with the spanner wrench using careful steady pressure. Nothing budged, not even a fraction! I then proceeded to use the Pro Tool set. The 12" long solid steel handles gave great leverage and the nut broke free, even though it took a great deal of force. After removing the nut, I then removed the barrel tube from the shroud assembly. I now set the bushing tool in place and used the same careful technique and broke it free. I used a heavy leather glove and spun the bushing out carefully catching all the internal parts in my hand. After inspecting the threads on both the nut and bushing, I was amazed that the week long soaking did vertually nothing in penetration or lubricating the old crud, it was vertually bone dry. It was a great test for the Pro Tools ability and I use them all the time. Honestly, they have yet to let me down in any take down situation. I'm not trying to sell anyone a tool, just furnishing factual information that the right tool definately handles the job. It should be duley noted that the Pro Tools work in reverse of the spanner wrench. The barrel nut must be removed first, the barrel pulled out, then the bushing removed!
Ok, now back to the spanner wrench! The proper way to use the spanner is as follows: The spanner portion has a radiused "Y" type yoke if you will. If the bushing nut is not seized, it was intended to be loosened first! The yoke fits fairly snuggly around the barrel nut and the two prongs into the bushing slots. With "careful" and "steady" pressure try and free the bushing first! Do not remove the barrel bushing at this time, this comes later. Once free, set the tool on the barrel nut and proceed in same careful manner with steady pressure. Do not attempt the take down by removing the barrel nut first, this is incorrect! The barrel nut helps provide the leverage with the spanner wrench in loosening the bushing! By doing so, you will have far less problems of slippage if any and gain the much needed control over the take down proceedure. This is how they were intended to be used.
With the barrel nut fully removed, the barrel tube may be pulled out from the rear at the receiver end. Proceed with extreme caution as you slowy turn the barrel bushing out as contents are under spring tension. Make sure you use a gloved hand or heavy shop towel to cover over the bushing as it breaks free and the parts want to fly out. Be sure you have captured all the components and not allow them to fly across the room! There are 5 components: the barrel bushing, barrel nut washer, main spring, recoil spring case & buffer spring. In all, 6 components counting the barrel nut!
At this point one can clean and inspect all the components for wear, damage, corrosion etc. Once satisfied everything is up to par, lightly oil all the components and carefully use the sequence in reverse to put back together. The toughest part is compressing the spring and getting the bushing threaded correctly. You do not want to cross thread the bushing at this point, that will ruin your day! Take your time, be patient and you will see that it is not at all too difficult to service these old 8's and 81's .
I've had many ask what type of clamp device or system to use, or what is available to use. Actually, there is no set clamp device or system specifically made for the Model 8's and 81's that I'm aware of. Many use homemade devices to aid in the takedown. Please note, that no matter what you decide to use, should be made up to keep your valuable rifle well protected from any/all damages! I have found the best method is to leave the rifle together and place the butt stock between my feet and the barrel assembly between my legs. This gives full control over what I'm doing. Once you have the bushing loosened and free, proceed with the above instructions. At some point you will have to take down the barrel assembly from the receiver and back together for the next step, then apart again for one last time. Otherwise, you have to figure out a way to clamp up the rear of the barrel shroud assembly in a vise or similar and still run the same proceedures. You're more likely to have the assembly pop out of the clamping device and/or damage it. The thing to bear in mind is always take your time, follow proper proceedures and do it right the first time.
I hope this information is helpful to one and all. I only wish to pass on to others what I have learned over the years. I appreciate any/all information others may have to pass on to myself and the rest of the Remington community from their experiences and expertise!
Kindest regards to all!
kenhwind wrote:There was one of these Model 8-81 spanners for sale on the net. I believe it was marked CBR, and looked like a decent product to me.
I used to make my own shotgun forend spanners. I'd cut them out with a plasma cutting panto-graph machine, and clean them up on a vertical beltsander, and bend the ends, but these usually don't need to be heat treated.
We got lucky on the last Model 81 cause it came apart kind of easily.
Me I'd like to have a correct spanner, just to have one, but I'm sure I could make one as I was a metal fabricator for many years making custom parts for yachts out of alum ss and steel.