Craft Gunmaking, No compromises, No corners cut, EVER

Monday, February 12, 2024

A Checkered Butt Extension for a Guerini

 A checkered but for a gun with a drawbolt-retained buttstock presents a bit of a challenge because of the need to access to that very bolt.  

The way the big manufacturers do it is, typically, to simply use a buttplate of conventional design but made of the same type of wood as the stock.  They are however, never made from the same piece, nor is the grain orientation in the same direction, which would compromise the strength of the buttplate.  Needless to say, this, combined with the presence of the buttplate screws doesn't make for a very convincing representation of a checkered butt.  It just looks like a wooden buttplate.

The other common method is to use an oval (usually more of a rectangle with rounded corners) plug of wood, also retained by two screws, inlet into the sole of the butt.  In some instances, this doesn't look too bad but the screws still spoil the look.

The drawbolt in a Guerini over/under is of the Allen (or socket) head type and is held captive by an aluminum plug pressed into the bolt bore, which not only prevents the bolt from being lost, it also acts as a guide for the Allen key, thanks to the "funnel" machined into the rear end.  The captive bolt means that the only access necessary is a 6mm hole (to comfortably accept the 5mm key).  Figuring that a single, small hole in the butt would probably look a whole lot better than two screw heads and an obvious seam, that is the direction that I took.

Since this was to be a considerable extension, the weight of the added piece had to be considered.  The gun's balance was preserved by boring multiple holes completely through the extension, which were then plugged with shallow plugs.  The plugs were turned from the same piece of walnut with the same grain orientation as the extension.

The plugs are epoxied in place, making sure that the grain followed that of the surrounding wood.  The access hole also got an aluminum "bezel" to prevent the checkering from getting beat up around the hole during future maintenance.

After the epoxy cured, the but was shaped in preparation for finishing and checkering. 

All finished.  The plugs are all but invisible.

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