I've never worshiped at the altar of the supposedly "superior" rotary bolt, it's a clever solution to packaging a bolt in a compact space but it offers no mechanical advantage over a linear bolt. In fact, if not precisely fitted (they never are) or worn (very common), they do a very good job of opening themselves upon firing as the bite's ramp cams the bolt around to the open position. The marketing hogwash printed in the catalogs about the guns "never shooting loose" or being "self-compensating for wear" sounds good but it isn't always so in reality. When correctly fitted, the rotary bolt is as good as any other but certainly no better. Now, back to the project at hand. This gun will marry attributes of the two best-looking British boxlocks, the Greener and the Westley Richards. It will combine the sleek, rounded bar of the Greener with the aesthetically and functionally distinctive, side-pivoting toplever of the Westley Richards (a design also used on early Lefever doubles). The toplever operates a linear acting bolt of my own design. Think of it as an American homage to the two English boxlocks that truly qualify as best guns.
The parts that won't be going back into the gun
Packing the frame for annealing
The horrible, belt-sander-shaped fences are chiseled per standard operating procedure.
The frame, modified for the new toplever
Making the toplever: The pivot and bolt bosses and the underside are machined, the rest of the lever is shaped by hand.
Naturally the frame cheeks needed attention. Not only were they originally shaped on a belt-sander, I'm pretty sure that the guy that did it was either blind or drunk.
Next is to clean up the beads around the fences and cut the pocket for the doll's head rib extension.
The modified Fox with a standard early-Utica Fox
Here are a couple of videos of the new bolting mechanism.
The next agenda item is to do something about the forend iron relief cut in the frame. This area looks bad enough even when done with the superior craftsmanship of the early Philadelphia days, it is positively atrocious on a Utica gun.
Machined floor and bevels
Smoking in the cover piece
The cover fitted and the hinge mechanism is made. The spring to power it comes next.
The leaf spring that closes the cover
Next is to hide the triggerplate screw. This is done by closely fitting the cover into a machined and dovetailed (at the front) pocket in the triggerplate. The triggerguard stud retains the rear of the cover.
The cover plate is made from 1020, the same as the frame and triggerplate.