Craft Gunmaking, No compromises, No corners cut, EVER

Monday, August 15, 2016

Rebuilding a Ludwig Barovnik BLE

This gun had been sleeved in the past and the frame and forend iron had been rehardened at some time as well.  Whoever did the sleeving did a very nice job of mating the tubes to the stubs as the seams are barely visible.  When I received it, it was off the face and the forend was loose when installed, causing ejector malfunction and the action to rattle when open, and the toplever was left of center when closed.  The trigger pulls were each in excess of 10 pounds and the safety did not detent positively.  With the needed repairs done, it's now in Bristol fashion and ready for many more seasons of bird hunting.  Here's what was done.

After disassembling and cleaning, the old, worn hinge pin was removed.  There seems to be a persistent myth in the gun world that since the pin is case hardened, it is the barrel hook that always wears.  This is not always the case.

The hinge pin hole would be reamed in the lathe using the opposite side as a center.  The hinge pin cover-screw holes are concentric to the pin hole (or should be) but the taper of the frame precludes using the existing hole as a center.  So, a centering button was machined to fit the frame and bottom squarely against the cocking lever tunnel's inner wall.  This insured that the reamer would run perfectly square and concentric to the original hole.

The lathe setup.

The finished hole.

Next is to machine a new hinge pin from 1020.

After cutting the new pin to length and radiusing the edges, it's case hardened. 

Before installation, the pin is put in the freezer for about a half-hour and the action knuckle area is warmed with a heat gun.  Then the pin is pressed into the action knuckle.  At that point it's time to verify full contact with the hook and adjust as needed.  Then the barrels are blacked down.  After the forend iron is refit, the under bolt is refit and finally, the top bolt is fit.  The top bolt in this gun was also worn, so a new one was fabricated from O1 and heat-treated after fitting to actually engage the rib extension.

With the jointing, bolting and forend fit taken care of, I then corrected the ejector timing (Southgate type ejectors are used) and the trigger pulls.  I also annealed the safety detent spring and heat-treated it since it looked fine and was apparently over tempered, leaving it soft.  The screw slots throughout the gun were in good condition except for the extractor segment retaining screw.  Its slot was quite damaged.  I fabricated a new one from O1 and heat-treated it after slotting and engraving the head.
Typically, action screws are made from the same material as the frame and case hardened but the ejector retainer takes quite a beating and needs to be of a tougher material.

There was a modern swivel stud in the butt (but not on the barrels) so, rather than plug the hole with a walnut plug, I made a "filler" screw and engraved and finished it to match the triggerplate screws.

The finished job.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Henry Atkin Sidelever

Here is a Sidelever, sidelock, ejector gun from Henry Atkin, vintage 1894.  Its bite on the rear barrel lump was welded and improperly refit, resulting in the bolt binding in the bite and subsequent very sticky operation of the opening lever.  It also had a damaged triggerplate screw and needed a complete cleaning.  The refitting of the bolt and bite does not lend itself well to photography so I'll just show the triggerplate screw.

The damaged screw with the new screw made, indexed, slotted and fitted flush to the triggerpate.

The new screw after engraving and hardening.

This shot shows the Atkin's sleek lines to good advantage.

L.C. Smith Resto, The Right Way To Do It...

But don't get your hopes up, I'm still not working on L.C. Smith guns.  To those who would think that my feelings toward a particular "brand" of gun would somehow negatively affect the quality of my work, sorry to disappoint you.  This was a past project (it was in fact the very last Smith to ever befoul my bench) that I had documented completely and I had debated about posting it (because it's a Smith) but decided that it had value in describing proper repair procedures and workmanship.  It was (is) a Specialty grade, 12 gauge with ejectors and Hunter One Trigger.  The gun was off the face, had loose ribs (big surprise), a broken ejector guide pin (the broken segment still stuck in the barrel), the obligatory damaged stock (at the head), damaged screw slots (all of them), the lump had been peened to "tighten the action", the hand screw hole in the top strap had been stripped and "repaired" by brazing, buffed and reblued barrels and triggerguard, malfunctioning trigger and there was little finish left anywhere with quite a bit of pitting.  Overall, a fine specimen of typical American gunsmithing on the quintessential American double.  Below is the itemized list of repairs.  Every facet of the job was performed in-house, by me, including engraving and finishing of the wood and metal.

- disassembled
- cleaned, inspected
- rejointed action:
     removed hingepin locks
     removed hingepin
     reamed hingepin hole and barrel hook
     fabricated, fit, installed new hingepin and locks
     drilled cocking lever tunnels
     blacked barrels down on face
- engraved hingepin ends
- removed improperly repaired tang
- rebuilt tang:
     welded new material in place
     machined outside contours
     machined safety slot
     drilled and tapped hand pin hole
- engraved tang
- fabricated and fit:
     safety slide retaining pin
     safety detent pin
- fabricated, fit, indexed, engraved:
     breech screw
     triggerplate screw
     hand screw
     left and right forward lockplate screws
     rear lockplate screw
     toplever spindle screw
     triggerguard screw
- filed, polished, prepped:
     forend iron
- recut engraving on above parts
- fabricated, fit, heat-treated:
     left and right firing pins
- removed broken and stuck extractor guide pin from barrels
- machined extractor segment for replacement guide pin
- stripped and relaid ribs
- recut engraving on barrel breeches
- polished, prepped barrels for rust bluing
- rust blued barrels
- detail polished barrels
- color case hardened:
     forend iron
     associated screws
- nitre blued:
     guard screw
     bbl. selector
     forend latch
     forend latch escutcheon and screw
     safety slide
- chemically removed finish and oil from buttstock and forend
- repaired structural damage at head of stock
- repaired cracked and stripped screwholes in forend wood
- installed reproduction No-Shoc recoil pad
- refinished buttstock and forend
- recut checkering on buttstock and forend
- repaired damaged left sear tail
- corrected sear engagement (left and right)
- corrected sear tail heights
- reassembled, lubed
- function checked
- test fired

Now, on to the photos.

Here are some photos of the finished job.  All finishes are done in-house, both wood and metal (yes, that includes the case hardening).  The barrels are rust blued.  The trigger, triggerguard, barrel selector, safety slide, forend latch and escutcheon are nitre blued.  The balance is color case-hardened.
There you have it, counting the repair costs and purchase price, undoubtedly the world's most expensive 12 gauge Specialty grade Smith.