Craft Gunmaking, No compromises, No corners cut, EVER

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Extensive Remodeling of a Fox

This is a gun that I'm building for a very good (and very patient) friend from up north.  It's a Utica Sterlingworth with 30 inch barrels and will be a straight-hand gun with extensive alterations to make it look like it's doing a hundred just sitting still.  Maybe I'll call it the speeding ticket gun.
The frame has been extensively sculpted, the toplever is bench made, as is all of the peripheral metalwork.  The rib extension slot is no longer a simple rectangular slot but a wide rounded mortise, into which is fitted a Boss-style rib extension.  I've hidden all of the screws on the gun, the triggerguard (and the heel and toe plates, when they're made) are attached without screws at all.
I have no "before" photos of the gun but since it's a Utica Sterly, most will know what it looked like.
You'll probably also notice that the inside of the gun has received as much attention as the outside (as any custom gun would).  The gun was featured in the July/August 2016 issue of Shooting Sportsman Magazine.

This gun will also have an articulated front trigger. Here are some photos of the fabrication. I did cheat and used a ready-made screw to retain the spring.
The gun had gold plated triggers when it came to me, they will not be going back into the gun.
The cutter that was used to cut the mortise (with the standing post in the center) for the trigger's shoe portion is also bench made.

In its original configuration, the action knuckle relief must be there to allow the gun to open but I always thought that the notch spoiled the look of the gun, especially when viewed from the side.
I also want a completely smooth, uninterrupted surface on the bottom of the frame. So, to that end....

The problem -
The solution -

The metalwork on the frame is just about done. The joint cover is finished and the floorplate screw is hidden. I'll finish making the triggerguard and then it's time to stock it.

While making the pattern stock, I took the opportunity to experiment with an idea for this project that had been in the back of my mind (and in my sketchbook) for some time.  It looked pretty on paper but in three dimensions... I wasn't very happy with the results.
I came up with a more subtle variation of that idea and that will be the actual configuration.

During the finishing phase, the internal parts will be gold plated, not for "bling" but for corrosion protection and lubricity.   As I stated earlier, the internals are finished to a level that the manufacturer never reached.  Here is a look.

The actual stock and forend are made.  I had originally thought about installing the triggerguard without screws and I've decided against it.  To quote Guido Rizzini, "A well aligned slotted screw embedded in the steel of a gun raises its aesthetic like a diamond in a jewel."  Who am I to argue with possibly the greatest gunmaker in the world today?  The guard is screwed down and the screws will be lockscrewed.  The photos are below.

The internal parts are gold plated.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Heel and Toe Plates for a Grulla SLE

This Grulla SLE, a quality Holland-pattern gun, originally had a skip-checkered wooden butt that had suffered some rash over the years, so the client wished to have steel heel and toe plates installed.
The plates will be engraved and then hardened and coin finished so that they appear original.
The following photos detail the making and fitting of the parts.  The exposed wood in between the plates was recheckered at 24 lines per inch to match the grip panels.

The heel plate...

The toe plate...

The plates fitted and ready for engraving and the butt is checkered.  The plates will be engraved so that they appear to be original to the gun (which is done in the English rose and scroll style).  Since I lack the artistic ability to design an aesthetically pleasing layout for the engraving, the engraving will be done by master engraver Geoffroy Gournet.

I got the plates back from Geoffroy,  I then hardened and nickel plated them and here is the finished job.