Category Archives: Sights/Scopes

Flathead Valley Community College offers AAS in Firearms.

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Heading into our fifth year, this program started out as a two-semester certificate program created to provide a solid foundation in theory, design and function of firearms. In 2017 the program grew to include a second two-semester certificate. The second certificate will interest folks who are more interested in traditional gunsmithing and custom gun work. The Big new for 2018 is that the Board of Regents authorized a two year degree that combines all the classes into an Associate of Applied Sience (AAS).

Course topics will include firearms safety, manual mill and lathe operation, bench metal techniques, firearms repair, machine tools for gunsmiths and precision rifle building. Stock making, checkering, bluing and other finish techniques are taught along with custom modifications of all kinds of firearms.  Many of the classes have little or no prerequisites, so they are open to anyone who would like to learn and expand their experience with guns, contact the school for more information.

Students who successfully complete the program will be prepared for entry-level positions in the firearms industry and will have a better understanding and knowledge base for owning a gunsmith business. The program contains both lecture and significant hands-on training designed to instill an understanding of the design and function of today’s firearms.

“FVCC has the only Firearms Technologies Certificate Program of its kind in the country,” said FVCC Firearms Technologies Coordinator Fred Zeglin. “Students are challenged to develop skills that are not part of any other program. We are very proud to now offer a two year AAS degree that will jump start a student’s career in firearms.  By partnering with manufacturers in our area we have assembled a program that addresses the needs of the employers.”

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and able to legally own and possess firearms. A background check is required for all students who are accepted into the program.

The program was developed to build upon a foundational machining background, which is provided through the college’s Tier I Machining Certificate Program. Tier 1 Machining . Firearms Technologies Program applicants with industry or previous learning experience may opt to bypass the Tier 1 Machining Certificate Program by requesting testing and/or instructor consent.

Prospective students must apply both to the Firearms Technologies Program and for admission to FVCC. Firearms Technologies Program applications are available online at www.fvcc.edu/firearms or in the Admissions Office in Blake Hall on the FVCC Kalispell campus. For more information, contact Will Richards at 756-4862 or wrichards@fvcc.edu.

Download the application to attend classes

NPR story about the program

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Filed under accuracy, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Pistol, Rifles, Rimfire, Shooting, Shotgun, Sights/Scopes, Stocks, tools

Five Things that go wrong with guns on opening weekend.

If you have ever been hunting you know that there is a reason it’s called ‘hunting’ rather than ‘getting’. It’s inevitable that things go wrong. Thinking back, I remember vehicles getting stuck, flat tires, forgotten equipment, and much more.

There is one constant in the universe. No matter how well you plan, something unexpected will always happen. Especially when you’re going into the back country and can’t just run to the store to get something.

For hunters the problem is often that surprises with their gun are the game stoppers. There are a few common problems that you should check for before you leave on your back country trip. A few of them can be solved in the field. We will talk about both and how to best deal with them.

1. Stiff or sticky action. You would be amazed how often a gunsmith gets in a gun with the complaint that it will not cycle.

Solution: Nine times out of ten its just dirty and dry. The quick fix, use a product like Powder Blast™ from Break Free™ to blow out the dirt and dried lubricant. (This type of cleaning removes all oil and can damage finish on stocks.) That’s right oil can dry out, it becomes like a varnish coating parts and making them stick so they do not slide past one another properly. Don’t forget to oil when your done cleaning. You should have sighted in your gun before heading to the field, then you would have caught this problem at home.

2. Horse or 4 wheeler rolled on your gun.

Solution: This can be a game stopper for more than one reason. First, inspect carefully to see if the barrel is bent. If the scope is obviously damaged, it might still shoot OK, find a place, preferably away from your hunting area to test the scope. (You will have to shoot to see if it’s still sighted in.) This is one time that iron sights can be a life saver. You can prepare for this ahead of time by selecting scope mounts that allow you to easily remove the scope with either minimal or no tools. See thru scope mounts are a compromise to allow you to see iron sights at the same time as the scope, I avoid them at all costs.

3. Safety sticking, either on or off.

Solution: If you already in the field, the best fix is a little lube on the safety or trigger where the parts interact. Work the safety on and off many times to see if the problem solves itself. An empty chamber is the only safe answer if the problem persists. Safeties are only a mechanical device and should never be trusted to keep the gun from firing. (Safe gun handling rule: Never allow your muzzle to cross anything you do not want to destroy.) Obviously, if this happens during prep for the trip, take the gun to a gunsmith, or take the time to make sure the problem is fixed.

4. Accuracy has evaporated, can’t hit the broad side of a barn. You pull down on that 1000 pound 14 point buck at 75 yards and totally miss him. Later you take a poke at a doe at 50 yards and miss.CC copyright Bill Ebbesen

Solution: In the field, switch to iron sights, or a different gun. Many hunters keep a spare gun in the truck “just in case”. First chance you get, hit the range and check your scope for accuracy and to see if it’s still sighted in. Either you will prove the gun is OK or you will find out you had buck fever. Scopes can go bad without notice, if your scope fogs up, then assume it is time to replace it or send it in for service. It is possible that some other factor is causing accuracy issues, ie check the trigger guard screws to make sure they are tight, and check the muzzle for damage. Cracked stocks can cause sudden changes in accuracy or point of impact as well. Copper fowling of the barrel can cause accuracy problems too, take care of this before the season.

5. Misfires.

Solution: Many possible causes. First look to see if the firing pin is leaving a mark on the primer. Remove the firing pin assembly from the bolt, clean it and the firing pin tunnel to make sure there is not powder, brass, or other blockage. Some guys think if a little oil is good that more is better. Not true, just a drop or two of oil on the firing pin is normally all you need. Too much oil can become thick enough in cold weather to cause a misfire.

Clearly this is a fairly general list. What it points out more than anything else is that preparation is the best way to avoid problems. Another thing that jumps out is the need for some simple tools in your field kit. A set of screw drivers and a field cleaning kit can take care of a surprising number of simple problems.

Good Hunting!

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What’s going on at SHOT Show?

Feeds from the Shot Show, yes I am a POMA Member!

Click on the graphic if you would like to see what is going on at SHOT Show 2012. Since I am a powerful member of the media I am allowed to share this with you. (He laughs Maniacally!)

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Off to SHOT Show 2012

Fred will be at the SHOT Show this week interviewing people, Signing is Hawk Manual in booth #4250, and looking for new things that would make a GunsmithTalk.  Watch for updates all this week and more to follow.

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Filed under Books, Firearms, Gunsmithing, Rifles, Sights/Scopes, Stocks, tools

P.O. Ackley Inc. a devision of EMDEKO

EMDEKO logo for P.O. Ackley, circa 1975

Did you know?

In the early 1970’s P.O. Ackley became involved with a company in Salt Lake City known as EMDEKO International.

The company worked a deal with P.O.,  bought out his barrel business and hired Ackley to overseen the production of barrels for EMDEKO.  Under the P.O. Ackley Inc.  name EMDEKO produced over 5000 hunting rifles.  Calibers were mostly 25-06, 270, and 30-06 although others were made.

The details of these rifles are not very inspiring.  They were made on Interarms Mark X actions.  Barrels were Ackley five groove button rifled made in the EMDEKO facility.  None of these guns had iron sights.  Scopes and scope mounts were an optional item.  The wood was good straight grain plain walnut, reportedly from Bishop, in a Monte Carlo style.  Finished with a gloss finish, a plastic grip cap and a recoil pad, and no contrasting forend tip.Quality wise, these are decent hunting rifles much like a standard Interarms Mark X rifle.  The only thing extra they had to offer was the Ackley name and barrel.

Production rifles by P.O. Ackley for EMDEKO

Research is vital to the telling of interesting history.  Fred Zeglin has spent almost four years researching this book on P.O. Ackley.  A surprising amount of previously unreported information has come to light, such as the short report you found here.  Ackley’s generation is quickly slipping away, Fred says that many of the people he interviewed at the beginning of his research have since passed away.  The efforts to preserve this important information about America’s most prolific wildcatter came just in time.

The finished book will be the go-to source for information on P.O. Ackley, his work, his cartridges, and his career.  This is the story of a gunsmith who came along at just the right time in history.  He was inquisitive, driven, and creative.  Consequently, his legacy in many ways is the legacy of todays shooter.  You will want to read this book just to see how Ackley lives on in your gun cabinet.  He affected the prodr3744_po-ackley_cvr-750uction of modern cartridges and firearms for many years to come, who else could you say that about?

Book has recently been published,
“P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith”

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Weaver: New for 2012

Weaver offers new picatinny rail on top of a scope ring.Weaver’s new Scope Mounted Picatinny Rail Adaptor. A clever way to mount a mini red dot, flashlight or laser directly on your scope, this new rail adaptor turns your magnified optic into a mounting platform. Crafted from 6061-T6 aluminum with a Type-III hardcoat finish, the Scope Mounted Picatinny Rail Adaptor is both lightweight and durable and installs directly onto the maintube of your primary optic.

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Tools for 2012

Weaver Soft-Sided Tool KitJust a quick idea:  Take care of all your gun repair needs at home or at the range with the new Weaver® Soft-Sided Tool Kit.

Filled with the tools needed for a wide range of firearm repair jobs, this new tool kit is like a portable gunsmith shop–giving shooters the tools they need when away from their home bench. From scope mounting to firearm disassembly and more, the Weaver Soft-Sided Tool Kit is capable of tackling quick repairs.

It never fails you get to the range and find some unexpected problem, or a range buddy need your help.  Pocket knives are great, but when you need a screwdriver, a screwdriver is much better.

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Lapping Scope Rings for improved contact, Part II

A simple tool to level the scope crosshairs to the gun.Wheeler’s Professional scope mounting kit includes the Level, Level, Level set.  This first level attaches to the gun via a magnet.  Steel scope mounts normally have a flat that can be used to mount the level.

I double checked to see that a flat on the action was aligned level with the scope base, because the level would be in the way of the scope during mounting if positioned as shown here.

Placing the level on the action to leave room for the scope over the base.

 

 

With the level in place we know that the action is level, so we can move on to install the scope in our lapped rings.

On a gun with factory length of pull, that would be 13.5″ to 13.75″ measured from the center of the butt plate or pad to the center of the trigger, the rear ocular of the scope should be 12.5″ to 13″ from the heel of the stock.  This will set up the scope so that you or your client will not receive the nasty crimson caterpillar.

Wheeler Engineering Levels in place to insure level mounting of scope. In the picture at left you can see that both the rifle and scope are level, insuring the crosshairs match up level to the rifle.  This is one of the simplest methods of leveling I have ever used.   I have a level that I can clamp on the barrel for the same purpose, but this system is faster and will work with most situations.

The Wheeler kit includes Loctite for the screws and bases.Wheeler also includes Loctite so that screws and bases can be mounted solid, without fear that they will loosen up or move.

Nikon scope mounted level to the rifle.

 

 

The final stop in the process assemble the rings and tighten them up to hold the scope.  Again the levels are used to make sure nothing moves during this process, and if it does it’s simple to move it back with the levels as a reference.  Once the scope is collimated (bore sighted) your ready for the range.

Up to this point I did not mention one thing, the kit from Wheeler Engineering includes a DVD on how to use the kit.  I watched the DVD with the mindset that I did not know how to do this work, it was well thought out and I think anyone with a little desire could use the kit with great success.  There is nothing left to question.   Possibly most important is that there is nothing else I would add to the kit, they thought of everything you need to mount a scope and it is in this kit.  The professional kit pictured here includes all the tools for both 30mm and 1″ tube scopes, it could not be more complete.

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Lapping Scope Rings for improved contact

Wheeler Engineering Professional Scope Install Kit

Pictured here is the Wheeler Engineering, Professional Scope Mounting Kit. The kits are available in more than one configuration.  You can get kits for 1″ scope tubes, 30mm scope bodies, or like shown here the professional kit contains both 1″ and 30mm tools.

Adjustable torque wrench, inch pounds for scope mounting.

Most of the parts in the Wheeler kits can be purchase separately, like this torque wrench.

The torque wrench included in the kit is adjustable and easy to use.  You just treat it like a fat screw driver.  Torque the scope bases to the desired setting.  Leupold suggests: base screws 14 in/lbs, ring screws, 15-17 in/lbs, and 45 in/lbs on the windage screw.   Like most things in gunsmithing there are many opinions.  Personally I have been mounting scopes for over 25 years and I like 20 to 25 in/lbs on the ring screws and about 20 in/lbs on the base screws.  Now that is with a whole host of exceptions.  First the diameter of the screw, second the number of treads engaged.   It should be obvious that if you have less threads engaged that you have less strength, so then Leupold’s suggestions make more sense to me.  However if I have five or six threads engaged, I have much more strength to draw on.  It should be noted that if you over torque a screw you can shear if off.  In the case of scope rings if you torque too tight you can and probably will dent the tube of your scope.

Now that you have the scope bases installed look back at the first picture above, the center tools are installed in the scope rings so that you can see if the rings are properly aligned.  Not only windage but also elevation matter when installing your rings.  The rear base of the system shown here had to be shimmed to align the rings.  Its not necessary to fully tighten the scope rings with the center tools, just snug so that the tools will not slip.  Once the rings are closely aligned it is time to install the lapping rod.

ready to use the Wheeler Engineering scope ring lapping rod.

Place the rod in the rings and leave the ring loose enough so that you can slide the rod back and forth fairly easily, but the rings should not move around or rattle.  The kit includes lapping compound, smear a small amount of the compound on the rod and begin moving the rod fore and aft.  You just need enough compound so that the lapping rod is coated well, the compound is actually going to cut metal away from the rings.

Wheeler Engineering 220 grit lapping compound for scope rings.The compoud that Wheeler includes in the kit is 220 grit, so it is pretty aggressive.  Scope rings are usually made from soft material because they are just a clamp to hold the scope in place and are under very little stress.  Consequently it only took me a minute or two to get the desired results.  Scope rings must be able to clamp down on the scope tube to hold it in place.  If we were to lap too much we would ruin the rings ability to clamp the scope, so more is not better.  When you look at the pictures of the inside of the rings below keep in mind that we just wanted to increase the contact area and improve alignment so that the scope is not put in a bind by the rings and mounts.  The uneven amount of blueing removed in the  pictures here show how the slight misalignment of the rings is repaired by the lapping process.Lapping rings is best used to increase alignment and contact.

The bottom ring on the left of the action (front)  is lapped more on one edge, the rear ring is also lapped a bit more on the rear edge,  this is because the rings were slightly misaligned in elevation.  Now the scope will rest in the bottom of the rings without any tenancy to twist or tip.

I will finish the mounting of the scope soon, check back.

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Here is a great place to print targets.

Lots of different targets to choose from. Something for every discipline.

www.reloadbench.com/pdf.html

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