alan tani @ alantani.com fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial Mitchell 300 questions...
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Author Topic: Mitchell 300 questions...  (Read 430 times)
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basenjib123
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« on: January 21, 2020, 08:49:47 PM »

I'm new to working on Mitchell's so bear with me... My question is when a Mitchell 300 is adjusted properly (shims) .. should you still be able to feel the gears through the handle? Also, should there be any side to side play in the handle? How about the rotor should there be play there?... Thanks.
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mo65
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 06:05:15 AM »

   I don't claim to be a Mitchell expert or anything...but I have been inside a few of them. The 300 is probably one of the toughest reels to service and be totally satisfied with the results. Many times a 300 will end up feeling rough after a servicing, mostly because the tiny shims behind the gears can be lost in the old grease very easily. Once the order of "what went where" has been lost, getting back to normal can be a taxing event. And don't forget...even with everything adjusted to it's possible best...the 300 will never be as smooth or quiet as a 308 or 306. It's just the nature of the design. I guess I'm taking the long way around saying "don't be discouraged by a 300, it's a hard one to perfect". Cool
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Gfish
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2020, 07:21:10 AM »

It can be an interesting project trying to get the gears smooth and relatively less noisy, but a 300 with alota use on it may never get back new condition.
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 08:20:38 AM »

300's are fine reels -- tens of millions produced -- well proven -- attractive design -- unique engineering design inside the case --

but...the gears are an alloy pot metal prone to wear -- that is one reason why shimming is necessary.

Once they start to wear -- even shimming will seldom cure the grinding noise.

On a good note -- they will likely grind for the next 40 years -- and catch thousands more fish.

The smaller and larger Mitchells do not have these gear issues -- they have much better materials for their gears -- similar to Penn, Shakes, DQ, Cardinal, and others.

With a lot of switching and adjusting of parts, shimming, and becoming adept at taking these apart multiple times -- one can usually lessen the grinding and vibration -- or just know why it does that and fish it.

I probably have close to 500 Mitchells, of various models -- just in the storage bins.  They are very good reels.

Best,

Fred


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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 08:59:06 AM »

Hey, Fred... quick question: On the high-speed 400 model, are the gears also made out of that cheap pot metal?  Huh?

~A~
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2020, 09:54:03 AM »

Yes, Lannie -- they are...

Here is one that happened to be on the bench just now.

As you can see...

In fairness to Mitchell and Mitchell collectors -- the pot metal alloy is of a slightly higher quality than reels with cheap pot metal gears.

However, when compared to a Cardinal, Penn, DAM Quick, old Shakes, or old Daiwa -- of which the gears will last nearly forever with no grinding -- because they are constructed from bronze and steel -- and mesh together so that the bronze main is slightly softer than the steel worm or pinion -- there is little or no comparison, except they both are fishing reels.

Proper service, shims, and lubrication help a lot -- but will not ever overcome the natural tendency of the less expensive and lesser quality metals to not wear out when used for real fishing -- not just shelf fishing.

For those who appreciate and know -- the same is true with tools, firearms, and other quality items that are used by professionals vs. amateurs -- on a regular basis.

A S&W revolver will last multiple lifetimes of steady use -- a cheap Spanish copy will soon fail.

All hammers look alike -- some will last a craftsman a lifetime -- some will fail the first time out on the job.

Mitchell 300's have made tackle repair shops a lot of $$$ over the years --

I may have worked on thousands of these -- over the years.

And...a lot of folks may not agree with this post -- but all it takes is opening up a few of these reels -- they are not bad reels by any means -- just the ones we grew up with -- and there are better alternatives.

Best,

Fred


* 2CAD8C5D-2DB4-419C-A06C-F28FDABA005C.jpeg (503.26 KB, 1280x960 - viewed 22 times.)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 10:23:12 AM by foakes » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2020, 10:39:06 AM »


And...a lot of folks may not agree with this post -- but all it takes is opening up a few of these reels -- they are not bad reels by any means -- just the ones we grew up with -- and there are better alternatives.

Best,

Fred

Well put, Fred! That has always been my thinking, too.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 12:17:37 PM »

X2 Fred and Tommy.  The best reason to fish with a 300 is the nostalgia because everybody of a certain generation grew up with them.  The growling gears is part of it.  They growled then and growl now.  Embrace and enjoy it.
-steve
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foakes
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2020, 01:15:08 PM »

Here is a tiny Mitchell 408 high speed that fits in the palm of your hand.

Notice the quality gears compared to the 400/300 models and types.

This reel is about half the size of a 300 size Mitchell -- and of a much, much higher quality.

The differences --

Less gears to go bad, bearing instead of a bushing, bronze gearing instead of pot metal, and it also has a "planamatic" spool oscillation system for even line lay.

Generally, not always -- a dark blue color in a Mitchell denotes a high speed version.

Typical is 1:3 in black -- high-speed in these is 1:5.

The larger Mitchells are also of higher quality than the 300/400 sizes.

Make no mistake -- Mitchell knew how to make quality reels -- and they did.  However, being smart marketeers, they also needed to have an average reel that was already in production for decades -- that could hold Market share worldwide -- against all competition -- and particularly in North America.

In the end -- it did not make any difference to the survivability of the company.

Lots of history in these old Mitchells.

Best, Fred


* 6176561B-619A-4D91-9FEF-68281B611D9E.jpeg (519.74 KB, 1280x960 - viewed 19 times.)

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« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 03:17:30 PM by foakes » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2020, 02:11:56 PM »

Here is a tiny Mitchell 408 high speed that fits in the palm of your hand.

Now that's a beautiful little classic!   Cool

~A~
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Ron Jones
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2020, 08:04:10 PM »

Continuing the questions, what about the 900 series and the "premium" 300s? Same gears or did they upgrade?
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foakes
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2020, 08:14:09 AM »

I believe that generally, Ron, all of the "300" size Mitchell, Garcia, and then Browning take-overs after 1979 -- had the aluminum alloy pot metal type gears.

The "900/901" series was basically a 300 Hybrid -- which incorporated a skirted spool, improved rotor to match, and a few other cosmetic features for marketing.

Inside -- all is pretty much a typical 300 design.

None of this is a problem -- it only becomes an issue when a large fish is fought -- and gears, A/R ratchet, and drive trains are forced up to their maximum ability -- or past that range.  Then, whatever damage may occur, is permanent -- until parts are replaced.

Typical fishermen will find the 300's & 900's a fine reel.

If going after larger, heavier game -- or the possibility of hooking a hog -- issues will arise.

Any reel is OK -- when the facts are known -- and the proper reel is selected for both target and conditions.

Best,

Fred


* C5310EFC-4B52-4342-9ABF-92481A1BF5DD.png (3547.58 KB, 2048x1536 - viewed 21 times.)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 08:18:17 AM by foakes » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 12:15:45 PM »

I count 6 sets of gear teeth in Fred's 1st picture of the 300(some gears have 2 sets of teeth, maybe 7?). I wonder if that could be the source of some of the noise.
If you had a NIB vintage 300 and several other NIB box quality reels of the same vintage(say Quick 220, Cardinal 4, Shakespear 2062, etc.) would the M.G. 300 make the most noise?
« Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 12:23:03 PM by Gfish » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2020, 01:03:38 PM »

If you had a NIB vintage 300 and several other NIB box quality reels of the same vintage(say Quick 220, Cardinal 4, Shakespear 2062, etc.) would the M.G. 300 make the most noise?

Not new out of the box, Greg -- only after they are used for awhile.

I might have a different perspective on these -- because I see so many reels in for service or restoration after they have been used aggressively.  Even a cheap reel from Asia will sound and feel good when new.

Put some line on it -- pull a few years worth of fish -- then a difference is easy to detect.

Lube does wonders for both quality reels and ones that are of lesser quality.

Why do we think that the 300 Mitchell is one of the only reels ever produced that has a grease port on the hind end of the case? 

Best,

Fred
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“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” — Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame football coach

It's not about the cards we're dealt -- it is how we play the hand...
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