Thursday, March 30, 2017

From the Raw - Update

I've made a few changes to the original design brief.  The caliber was changed from the originally envisioned 7x57R to 7.62x51R (.30-30).  This was done for reasons of ammunition availability and performance.  Since the the selection of rimmed 7x57 is sparse here in the States (and considerably down loaded, at that) and Hornady's 160 grain FTX "LEVERevolution" offers ballistic performance that is simply amazing, it was the most logical choice.  The ability to use any other easily available .30-30 ammunition in a pinch is another advantage that couldn't be overlooked.  I'd originally thought of using a single trigger but went with double triggers for strictly aesthetic reasons.  A practical rationalization would be that a double rifle with double triggers is really two separate rifles in one, while a double with a single trigger is really a single, two-shot rifle that could possibly malfunction.  The self-opening lockwork was fully made but I abandoned it (maybe I'll mount and frame them) for two reasons which I'll detail below.

  The first is that having the outer (false) lockplates be removable simply to look at the lockwork seemed like less of a good idea the longer I pondered it.

The second is that I wasn't happy with the effort needed to close the self-opening design when the added weight of the barrels was taken with it. It wasn't difficult but it wasn't pleasing either and the spring opening combined with the weight of the barrels made for a rifle that felt like it was going to jump out of the hands when it was opened. The weight of the rifle barrels can be put to much better use in a conventional cock-on-opening design. So that is what I did, but in a way inspired by Westley Richards' hand-detachable boxlock. The locks are removable with no tools after the outer plates are removed. The lock frames are machined with integral sear and tumbler pivots,like the WR, but those pivots are also supported by the inboard lockplate, which also serves to locate the lock frame while the forward (scroll) portion of the lock frame engages the main frame, taking the stress off of the tumbler pin during cocking.

With the major design work finalized (and actually made), all that is left is to make the false lockplate retaining mechanism, the safety mechanism and forend latch mechanism and make and install the sights.  I will use use NECG's excellent trap grip cap since it would be foolish to make something that is readily available and of excellent quality.  The pattern stock and forend are made and it has been proof fired so, when time allows, I can begin the actual stocking.

Here are some photos.

The finished left lock assembly and the right-side, inner lockplate with the right lock frame (in its early state of manufacture).

The metalwork, assembled without the wood.

Here it is assembled into the pattern stock.

Here is the English walnut blank that the stock will be made from.

Here is a link to the beginning of the project:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I have heard from a surprising number of individuals expressing their regret about the demise of my gunsmithing blog, it seems there were a good number more that enjoyed and appreciated it than I'd have ever thought.  Upon further reflection, perhaps my decision to remove it was made in haste and anger, two elements that when combined rarely lead to the best of decisions.  The stated purpose of the blog was to educate owners of quality guns, of any type, to be able to distinguish competent workmanship from the not-so-good workmanship that, unfortunately, is so prevalent in gunsmithing (and many other trades) today.  There are far too many "gunsmiths" in the US that hang out a shingle and offer services that they simply lack the ability or experience to perform.  There are even some that refer to themselves as "master gunmakers", which is complete nonsense.  There is no legitimate guild or apprenticeship system to bestow the title of "master" in the US, as far as gunsmithing is concerned.  Anyone who refers to himself as a master gunmaker has bestowed that title upon himself should be viewed with even higher suspicion than other self-styled "experts".  I do not claim to be an "expert" or a "master", my only claim is to being competent.   Since (apparently) the blog was performing its intended purpose, I have decided to bring it back.  If some other person in the trade is inspired by something seen on the blog, I realise now that I should be glad to have been of help, but I still take no responsibility for the results.