Friday, July 6, 2018

Joseph Harkom & Son 20 Bore Hammergun

  This Harkom 20 bore hammergun was tarted-up and "repaired" for resale by a party that won't be named but I will detail the complete lack of anything resembling correct workmanship used in the repair.

To start, not all steels are satisfactorily weldable, this includes the oil-hardening varieties.  This fact did not stand in the way of the "gunsmith" attempting to repair the left tumbler precisely by that method.  The welded tumbler was discovered when the left lock was disassembled to remove the broken remains of the hammer screw, the head of which had fallen off.  After examining the broken screw, two things became apparent.  One was a noticeable amount of some sort of epoxy around the tumbler shank, the other was evidence of attempts at prior removal of the broken screw shank.  These two items might lead one to believe that the screw head was simply epoxied in place.  Not surprising when the workmanship of the other repairs became apparent.

The gun as it came in,

The horrible, bird-shit welded, warped, butter-soft and buffing wheeled "repair" of the tumbler, keep in mind that these are top-quality Stanton locks.
Let's take good, detailed look at the "craftsmanship" and note the utter lack of similarity to the original workmanship.

The new tumbler blanked from O1 on the lathe, from here on, it's pretty much hand work.

Almost finished,

Ready for heat-treating and final polishing, the full and half-cock bents are filed to final shape and will be stoned for smoothness after heat-treating, the recess for the swivel is cut and the flats that drive the hammer are filed up.

A little comparison,

The lock assembled,

The new hammer screw was made in the usual fashion.  Here it's in my engraving vise...

...And finished

The finished job.

 This is a perfect example of how anything less than best-quality workmanship in repairs can have a detrimental effect on your investment in a fine double.  Yes, doing it the right way takes longer than the half-assed way, but the right way lasts longer and maintains the value of the gun precisely because the repair is indistinguishable from original.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rising Bite Rifle, The Saga Continues

I finally found/made some time to make the screws for the forend escutcheons and scope bases, and mount the scope.  The scope is a 2007 vintage Leupold VXIII, 1.5-5 power, matte finish.
When time (and memory) allow, I'll send it off to Leupold for a post reticle.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Attention Auction Bidders

My proximity to the newly merged Morphy's / James D. Julia auction house allows me to offer pre-bid inspections of any firearms in upcoming auctions.  The Pre-Bid Inspection/Evaluation is the same as the pre-purchase inspection/evaluation service that I've offered for years.  With a Pre-Bid Inspection/Eval, you can bid with the confidence of knowing the exact condition of the arm at the time of inspection, its critical dimensions, condition (both mechanical and cosmetic) and any rework or repairs that may be needed or have been done in the past.  While Julia's has always had a very good reputation as far as describing their lots, sometimes mistakes are made and let's face facts, the seller will usually "highlight the good points" of an item.  As a neutral third party, I will describe the item fairly and truthfully, both good and bad so that you, the bidder will have no surprises in store.  The cost for this service is modest at one hundred fifty dollars, think of it as cheap insurance.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Beretta SO-5 Conversion

Here is a Beretta SO-5 Sporting Clays gun.  The original stock was of typical Italian target gun contour, tightly curved pistol grip, deep toe line and generally "heavy" looking.  The owner much preferred the look of the factory straight hand stock and forend without the unsightly schnabel end.
The factory metal finish was a bit tired and rough as well so that was also addressed during its stay.

 The buttstock and forend in their original configuration

The first cut

The client also wanted a spurred Silver's recoil pad (in red).

The original pistol hand triggerguard strap was cut off and new material welded in place.   The engraving on the new guard strap was designed to "mesh" more harmoniously with that of the rest of the gun.  The original engraving looked a bit like an afterthought and the "SO5" looked a lot more like "SOS".

The new strap and screws look much better thanks to Geoffroy Gournet's engraving.

Here is the butt shaped, finish sanded and ready to start the point pattern checkering.  Also note that the schnabel has been removed from the forend.

The finished job, much more aesthetically pleasing

Friday, June 1, 2018

Rising Bite, Bar-in-Wood, Sidelock, Sidelever, 28 GA

Or, it will be in the near future.  Another one of my own design, from scratch.  Aside from the bar-wood action, the rising bite and the sidelever, it's going to be pretty conventional.  A hammerless, breechloading homage to the percussion-era, when British guns reached their aesthetic zenith.
The barrels are 28 inches, it will sport a straight hand stock with Westley Richards-style grip safety, splinter forend (wedge retained, of course) and the target weight is five and a half pounds.

The rough tubes, raw on the left, rough filed on the right

The breeches are of dovetail lump construction.

Clamped for brazing, I know, black iron wire is "traditional"but for the task of brazing (and the temperatures involved) it simply doesn't compare to stainless worm-drive clamps.

The frame

The barrels and frame are jointed.  The blocks soft-soldered to the barrels are temporary.  They are machined to be parallel and square to the lumps and barrel flats.  Their purpose is to facilitate clamping in the mill and bench vise.