Craft Gunmaking, No compromises, No corners cut, EVER

Monday, September 18, 2023

Un-!@#$%^^-ing a Greener F45

 Here's an interesting gun and one that proves "best quality" is defined by craftsmanship, not features.  it's a Greener F45 in 12 gauge that was apparently ordered as a waterfowl gun, as evidenced by its massive size, factory 3 inch chambers, full and full chokes and factory stock reinforcement straps.  Sadly, one or more failed-plumbers-turned-"gunsmiths" had visited their incompetence upon the gun over the years.  Things like the damaged screws and the engraved ends of the hammer and sear pivots being beaten smooth are fairly typical but someone with much more ambition than ability, and no semblance of a clue,  had made an attempt at "adjusting" the trigger pulls.  The result was that, with the gun cocked and the barrels open, the chambers were so far below the top of the frame that they could not be loaded without first pushing the barrels further open.  This is because both sear noses had been shortened during the attempted trigger pull improvement.  This necessitated making new left and right sears.  "Why not just weld 'em up and refit?", you ask?  Because you can't, for reasons that I will not go into here, because I've covered them elsewhere on this blog.

Generally, boxlock sears are fairly simple parts, but not so in this case, because this gun is also equipped with interceptors and the curvature of the sear tails, both horizontal and vertical, is "built-in", not done after the fact by heating and bending.  The pivot areas also have raised contact pads (to minimize friction) on both their inboard and outboard sides and, the factory inletting for the sear tails is extremely close, allowing just enough clearance for function and no more.  All of this, combined with the shape of the parts and the fact that they are finished better than the outside of some guns, meant quite a bit of work lay ahead.

The new sears are made from O1. 

Every screw slot in this photo was damaged.  Luckily, our hero used a screwdriver that was too thick, which meant that the damage was limited to the topmost edges of the slots, and could be cleaned up by shortening the heads slightly, thus exposing the undamaged portion of the slots.  Sometimes it's the little things for which I'm most thankful.

Here are the new sears in place.  Note the interceptor sears, which are operated by the forward end of the trigger blades.  If you look carefully, you can see the engraved ends of the new hammer and sear pivot pins.

Here is a shot of the inletting with the new sears installed, after fitting, heat treating and polishing.  Like I said earlier, it's pretty tight.  Proper craftsmanship demands that a new part be made to fit and function without altering anything else.  That means making the sears fit the inletting, NOT taking a Dremel to the inletting to clear a sloppily made part.  Got it Jim Bob?

With the lockwork sorted out, it's on to the barrels to replace the worn cocking dog (which was causing late cocking and thus hard opening after firing) and its mangled retaining screw.

The new dog is made from O1, heat treated and polished before installation, while the retaining screw is made from 1018 and case hardened.  The new dog is fitted with .0005" (half a thousandth) clearance to the hammer "toes" when in the fired position. This is so that the hammers will begin rotation immediately when the barrels do, thus retracting the hammer noses from the primers and allowing smooth opening after firing.

Finally, I made and engraved replacements for the screws that attach the reinforcement straps to the frame, as well as the triggerguard screw, because the originals were so mangled that there was no way they were going to be used.

Friday, August 4, 2023

GP-100 "Python" hammer

 Here's a Stainless GP-100 MC in 10mm auto, that came in for a Python hammer.  Since the actual making of the hammer is detailed elsewhere on this blog, I won't get into all of that here.  Aside from the inletting of the grip to gain clearance for the hammer spur, it's just like the other GP conversions.

Let's compare the fit of the double-action sear between the factory part and mine.  In the factory hammer, the pocket for the DA sear is created during the casting process.

Since the new hammer is hand made, from an O1 billet, this problem (among others) is corrected.


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Are You Serious?

 A client purchased a high grade, pre-war Sauer boxlock from a very famous dealer in the North East (I won't say who but their name has an ampersand in it) and had it sent here for a pre-purchase inspection.  

This is what I found:

When confronted, they simply claimed not to have seen it.  Naturally, the photos in their ad were, shall we say, strategically taken.

As always, caveat emptor.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Musings on "Patina"

 Why is "patina" so valued by collectors (of just about anything)?  Patina, by definition, is oxidation.  What it is NOT, is "original finish".  It is what happens after the original finish has expired, either through wear, neglect or exposure to the elements (usually a combination of those).  No Winchester, Parker, Colt, or what have you, ever left the factory totally brown (or grey).  It is damage, period.  So why is it so valued?  Most of the arguments in favor of "preserving" patina that I hear are based in emotion, rather than logic.  Collectors will wax poetic (or try) about how the patina is a part of the gun's "history", how every scratch, dent or patch of rust is part of some "story" (which the new owner's imagination will create) and how remedying these maladies might somehow "erase those memories".  The problem with that entirely fanciful notion is this: the gun is a tool, it has no memory, no stories to tell.  It is inanimate.  The ability to become emotionally attached to the effects of someone else's experiences (in this instance, a worn, brown gun) is truly baffling to me.  Now, if the gun in question was owned from new (or nearly so), and all of that patina was acquired by the owner, the emotional imperative for keeping it as-is would be much more valid.  That is rarely the case though.  More common is the acquisition of some completely brown gun, followed by the entirely imagined scenarios that led to its current condition, then showing it off proudly, usually with comments such as, "If only this gun could talk" or, "Imagine the stories this gun could tell".  Well, it can't talk because it's a tool, a machine.  If it could, it might well tell horrific tales of abuse, neglect and the machinations of half-assed gunsmiths.  The mention of restoring (correctly) the gun to it's actual, factory-new condition is met with the disbelief that such a thought could even enter one's mind.  The patina is sacred, it's "original".  But it's  not, because as stated above, none of these guns left their manufacturer bruised and brown.  I imagine that if most of these people were car shopping, and the seller showed them a car with dull, oxidized paint, pitted chrome, rust and a few minor dents, they probably wouldn't look at it as "patina".  Speaking of cars, it's interesting that car collectors wouldn't have a second thought regarding the correct restoration of a particular automobile but gun collectors (or watch collectors, or whatever else) are extremely hesitant in that regard, to say the least.  The fact that there are so few that can actually do a factory-correct restoration on a gun (any gun) would be a valid reason for that hesitancy, if not for the fact that there are almost as few people that can actually discern a factory-correct restoration.  Perhaps it's due to the fact that the word restoration has, like gender, become "fluid" in its definition, and those actually interested in having it done fear what the result might be.  Maybe the gun's value, or its intended use, do not warrant a restoration.  That's fine, but perhaps it would be better to simply accept the gun as it is, rather than attempt to imbue its "patina" with mystical (and imaginary) attributes.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

GP-100 Custom Hammer

 This customer wanted a Python-esque hammer for both his blue and stainless Ruger GP-100 revolvers.  Given that the GP's proportions are similar to a Python's (chamber spacing and cylinder CL to bore CL), this allowed a much more faithful rendition of the Python's distinctively styled hammer.  The original hammer is an investment casting, while its replacement is machined from an O1 billet and fully heat treated before finishing.

Since I don't use CNC anything, each of these cuts requires a different setup.  The final machining operation is to narrow the portion of the hammer that isn't the spur.  Everything after this is hand work.

The hammer after final shaping and checkering but prior to heat treating and finishing.

The finished job:

The glamour shots (of both guns):