Craft Gunmaking, No compromises, No corners cut, EVER

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Truly Noble Cause

These guys hunt quarry that actually shoots back and they do it in defense of those that can not defend themselves.  This is conservation, not the twisted idea that "legally" killing endangered animals somehow helps them.  Even more twisted is the "logic" that an animal must have an economic value attached to it to be worthy of saving.  The fact (baffling though it is) that certain (in fact, useless to humans) parts of these animals' anatomy have an economic value is the very reason for the poaching.  I've heard all of the self-ennobling bullshit stories about how hunting "fees" help the community and how the meat from the slaughtered animals feeds the people who otherwise would have none, yadda, yadda.  The fact is that trophy hunters would still kill the animal whether the meat went to use or not, and those "fees" mostly go to line the pockets of corrupt officials.   I have no issue with the ethical hunting of non-endangered species but I find little ethical about trophy hunting species that are critically endangered and intelligent.  The idea of looking upon a great bull elephant and thinking "What a magnificent creature, I must kill it" is as incomprehensible to me as it is indefensible.

Behold the faces of true bravery, men who clearly are able to appreciate majesty without wanting to either kill it or possess it.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Thomas Horsley SLE

Here is a Horsley SLE that has been the recipient of some gunsmithing in the past.  Unfortunately, it was done by an individual with less than complete comprehension of the design's idiosyncrasies.  The stock had been refinished and for reasons unknown, the portion of the inletting that retains the striker bushings was removed from the right side.  This gun's striker bushings simply slip into the frame from the rear and depend upon the stock and the very inside edge of the lockplate to retain them.  The striker bores are also machined at an upward angle, meaning that the rear face of the bushings have an angled surface.  This presents no issues as long as they are prevented from rotating, which is precisely the reason for the contact with the stock and lockplates.  The stock also suffered from cracked upper horns, oil soaking at the head and someone had at one time placed a cardboard shim above the triggerbox.  This was done, presumably, so that the breechscrew would index correctly.
With nothing left to prevent the right-side striker bushing from rotating and floating back and forth, repeated blows from the hammer caused the striker to become quite deformed.  It comes as no surprise that the lockplate screw slots were also damaged.

The strikers, the bent right striker had to be cut in half to remove it from its bushing.

The stock damage

Once the finish is stripped from the head area and the soaked oil is removed, the stock repairs could begin.  As always, the repairs are performed by replacing bad/damaged wood with new, not "glass bedding" bodgery.

The repair after fitting

The lockplate screws were made in the usual fashion.

The finished job, note the beautifully chiseled fences.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Full-Figured Fowling Fox

It's a Utica-era Sterlingworth Wildfowl model.  These were made up from leftover HE-grade (Super Fox) parts and unfinished HE-grade guns.  They're also the only Sterlingworth to have a Deeley type forend latch.
This one has 32 inch barrels, 3 inch chambers, Kautsky trigger, ejectors and factory beavertail forend.  It was caked in dried, darkened oil and once cleaned shows almost unbelievably little use.  Sadly, the gun had suffered some damage, every iota of it caused by a fumble-fingered attempt at removing the auto-safety link.  I was puzzled that the damage to the grip area of the wood had no counterpart on the strap portion of the triggerguard.  Upon disassembly, it became clear that the damage to the wood occurred while it was off of the gun.  Apparently the stock was dropped, damaging the grip and breaking the grip cap (which our intrepid hero duly schmutzed back together).  The auto safety link was missing, although black staining in its bore spoke of it having been there originally.

Here is the gun as it arrived.  Notice the lack of damage (other than a screwdriver slip) to the triggerguard.

The grip cap was beyond any hope of salvage.  It was broken in half, badly glued back together and chipped at the front.  While pondering the time it would take to steam the dents, I made a master for a new grip cap and from that I made a silicone mold.  With the mold I could cast a new grip in black urethane and correctly fit it to the wood when the time came.

The dents actually did steam up almost completely but I'll wait until the end so as not to spoil the surprise.  So, with joy (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) in my heart, I went about making screws to replace the butchered originals.

As I stated earlier, this gun has seen damned little use.  How about almost 100 percent, original, Savage era, cyanide case hardening colors.  Yes, the rest of the gun looks as good, right down to the ornamental "lining" of the barrel breech faces.

The grip repair.  Yes, it's the same wood.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Granite State Hot Rod (Fox #003)

The metalwork on this project was detailed here:   It was also detailed in the July/August 2016 issue of Shooting Sportsman.
The owner is a proud New Hampshire native and wanted the "Old Man of the Mountain", a New Hampshire landmark, engraved on the bottom of the frame.  After some thought and discussion, we decided to incorporate as many state-specific features as possible into the gun.  These will be noted with the photos.

The Old Man of the Mountain

Purple Lilacs (state flower) on the screw heads and triggerguard bow

"Granite" texturing in place of checkering (inspired by Cannon Mountain)

The state seal and the outline of the state, the "ivory" dot is the capitol.

Heel and toe plates of Paper/White Birch  (the state tree)

Ladybug front bead of faux ivory (the state insect)

The glamour shots

Some photos from the owner