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New Book for Gunsmithing Students & Professionals

Volume #4 in the Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series was released in spring of 2020, “Gunsmith Tools, Cutters & Gauges – A Primer”

This book is different than the other books in the series.  It does not really teach gunsmithing, instead it provides information that would otherwise be scattered far and wide.  Seldom in gunsmithing books does anyone explain tools, its simply assumed that the reader already has a pretty high level of experience or training.

This new book is a primer in the truest sense of the term.  In concise yet complete and illustrated form the author explains what the tools were designed to do and how to utilize them correctly. If you think this book is for beginners, that is only a small part of its value.  Most of the tool makers in the American gunsmithing market participated in the assembly of the primer.  Many gunsmiths learn from the school of hard knocks, that is unnecessary when a clear and concise instruction manual is available.

Kindle E book version of the Primer is available on Amazon.com .  You old timers probably just yawned, but the tech savvy smiths in the audience perked up.  We are told this is the only book in the series that is planned to be offered in eBook format.  Why?  The Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series is written for college level learning, the material is presented to aid gunsmithing students of all persuasions and experience to become competent and fluent in the language, tools and practice of gunsmithing.  So, the Primer will act as an ambassador for the series, the publisher is working with the companies the contributed to the book so that they can offer the eBook or print edition to their clients.

Reference charts and tables included in the book might make it worth buying all by themselves.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Pete Brownell

Acknowledgments

What every gunsmith should know!

Chamber Reamers

Custom Reamers

Using Reamers

Do I need to use a lubricant when reaming?

Reamer Holder

Reamer Stops

Can you force a reamer to cut off center?

Do You Need a Print for the Reamer?

Chip Welding

Misconceptions about Chamber Reamers

Mars II Micrometer Reamer Stop.

What is a “Barrel” Reamer?

Cylinder Throating Reamers

Throating Reamers

Neck Reamers

Neck and Throat Reamers

Resize Reamer

Carbide vs. High Speed Steel (HSS)

Chamber Reamers

Long Forcing Cone Reamers

Shotgun Bore & Choke Basic Dimensions

Removable Choke Tools

Measuring For Screw-In Chokes

Choke Lube

Defining Headspace

Choosing the Correct Gauge

How are “Improved” Chambers Headspaced?Gunsmithing Tools, Cutters & Gauges-A Primer

Headspace Inchangeability Chart

Crowning & Muzzle Tools

Thread Alignment Tool (TAT)

Appendix I       Reamer, Removable Pilot Bushings

Appendix II      Bushing Reference Chart

Afterword by Mark Dye

about Fred Zeglin

Available on Amazon or at 4D

 

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Checkering, a book of checkering for the beginner

In 2009 S.L. Mays published his book teaching checkering for the first time.  The book did well and had a good following from the gunsmithing schools and supply houses around the country.  Fast forward to 2019, it went out of print.  I needed the books for the face to face checkering classes I was teaching at the local college.  So I called Sherman, what a nice gentleman.

We talked for quite a while, he told me he had no desire to reprint the book, so I asked if he would consider selling the copyright.  To my delight he agreed and we have completed that transaction.

Book Cover

Sherman L. Mays put a lot of experience and time into this easy to read handbook.

Instead of doing a second edition of the book, we decided to simply do a second printing.  A few minor errors were fixed, and new more complete Table of Contents was inserted in place of the old one.   Finally, we put a description of the book on the back cover to make it a little easier to sell when found on a shelf in some store or at the gun show.

Mays wrote this handbook with the idea of helping anybody go from never having checkered to intermediate level in very short order.  Most stock makers will tell you that it only takes a few minutes to learn to checker.  What they sometimes forget to say is that the practice required to become skilled at checkering takes just a  little longer.  Mays text makes you comfortable, its as if Sherman is standing in the shop giving you pointers as you work.

There are 298 photos in this book, so there is no shortage of information being shared.  The pictures truly enhance the writing so that it’s much easier to understand the intent.  Most of the books on this subject either treat it as a sidebar, or show some nice old patterns from the 1950’s.  This text takes care to teach the process.  If you want to learn this skill, Mays will have you cutting checkering not long after you pick up the book.

It should go without saying, I am very proud to help preserve this information for the next generation of gun makers.  Buy the Book on Amazon.

A few Sample pages below.

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Chambering Rifles for Accuracy

Have you ever wanted to be a gunsmith?

Or, do you just want to know what a gunsmith does to make your rifles more accurate?

This book is idea for both the guy making a living in gunsmithing and the hobbyist who wants to know how.  It’s no B.S. approach is to tell you all the considerations that go into accuracy in a rifle.  It’s not just the barrel, or how its installed.  Things like trigger jobs and the quality of the ammunition certainly play into the equation.

When I went to gunsmithing school we were taught a rudimentary understanding of how to install a barrel.  A simple list of the facts would be:

  • Face the barrel breach square to the muzzle
  • Put the barrel in a four jaw chuck
  • Install a spider on the outboard side of the lathe head
  • use the chuck and spider to dial in the barrel on the bore.
  • Thread the barrel
  • Chamber the barrel
  • turn it around and dial it in again
  • Crown
  • Polish and blue

Very little was taught about headspace, tollerances, throats, crowns or various ways to hold the reamer for better results.  My first year working in a  gun shop in Coeur d’Alene, ID I learned more about this subject than I did in two years of school.  Luckily I worked for a guy who had years of experience and had learned a lot of useful tricks.  Once my mind was opened up the concept of constantly looking for a better way, the flood gates opened up.  I have tried just about every tool and method I could think of or that I was made aware of.  Some things work better than others and often it’s a matter of personal taste as to which method works best in your shop.  With that said, facts are facts.   Some methods and tools really improve the quality of the work performed, sometimes they are no better but the speed the process aiding the working gunsmith in making a decent living.

My Buddy Gordy Gritters and I were discussing this subject and quickly came to the conclusion that we had a book in the making.  Our combined experience is over 75 years working in the gun industry.  This book is #3 in the “Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series”.

I took on the task of describing methods, tools, and all the variables that go into accuracy, no matter who is doing the work.  Gordy took on the task of writing about the methods used for benchrest quality barrel work.  You see there is a substantial difference in the cost of a hunting rifle over a bench rest gun.  The reason for this is simple, time and effort spent on detail after detail when you build bench rest guns.  In short, it cost money to squeeze every bit of accuracy from a gun.

It ended up that we split the book into two parts.  Part I is about hunting rifles and how to get sub-MOA results and not have to sell the farm to pay for it.  Part II is no holds barred, spend all the time and money that it takes to punch holes in the paper that are so close together that it’s tough to tell more than one shot was fired…

Whether you are a gunsmithing customer who wants to understand what is involved, a hobby gunsmith needing to learn or a professional who wants to hone skills that will make you money; This book is for you.

ISBN-13: 978-0983159858

 

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Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series; Comes to the Market in Time for SHOT Show 2018

cover

The first book in the new series of Gunsmithing Student manuals is Chambering for Ackley Cartridges.  Fred Zeglin the author says, “I have been teaching gunsmithing for some time and with my experience in wildcat cartridges and dealing with clients it became painfully obvious to me that that material available to reloader, gunsmiths and the like are spread far and wide and do not tell the complete story of the mechanics of headspace in firearms.”

Zeglin went on the talk about the fact that Ackley Improved cartidges seem to receive the most mishandling both in the gunsmith trade and by reloaders who do not understand the simple headpsace method that P.O. Ackley set up very early in his career.

Ackley was no fool, he set up a method that is easy to use and will produce both safe and accurate fire-forming of ammunition.  There have probably been hundreds of articles written that tout the value of the Ackley Improved principle that allows the firing of factory ammunition for the parent case in the chamber of an Ackley Improved rifle.  Unfortunately, many folks refuse to read Ackley’s simple instructions so they end up trying to set headspace without proper understanding of the process.  Both professional and hobby gunsmiths are guilty of this.

Prove it you say…  OK, call any die maker and ask them for dies for an Ackley Improved cartridge.  They will ask you for a chamber or reamer print before they ship the dies.  Quality Cartridge is a maker of custom head stamped brass.  The owner Pete tells me he will not ship brass for Ackley designs unless he has fired cases from the clients gun, this is simply because of poor headspacing by gunsmiths, or the reloader who does not understand how his dies are adjustable.

In this booklet that kicks off the new series of gunsmithing instruction books, Zeglin clearly and without mincing words tells the reader how to correctly headspace any Ackley Cartridge.  It’s not a book about how to ream a chamber but rather about the finesse that should be applied during the process to insure accuracy and longevity of the firearm.

There is a book on how to ream a chamber that will be out in 2018.  That title is the third book in this series and Zeglin invited well known Bench Rest Gunsmith Gordy Gritters to co-author that book with him.    That will be the book you need you want to understand what it takes to make a rifle shoot, you know we all want those tiny little groups!  Watch for a follow up about that book here in the future.

coverThe second title in the series is coming out now as well, it is called, “Understanding Headspace for Firearms”  Where the first title is narrowly focused on Ackley designs this title will help the reloader and/or gunsmithing student to understand headspace no matter what firearm you are looking at.

Zeglin is pretty easy going about his work and tells us he fully expects to hear criticism over anything that was not covered thoroughly enough or heaven forbid, missed all together.  He says he expects to start the second edition for these manuals as questions start to roll in.

These titles are available from www.4drentals.com

There is a review of the first two books on GunsAndGunsmiths.com

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Filed under accuracy, Books, Gunsmithing, How To, reloading, tools, wildcat

Gunsmith Writes About P.O. Ackley

r3744_po-ackley_cvr-750

A new book from Gun Digest Media, P.O. Ackley: America’s Gunsmith by author and gunsmith Fred Zeglin; takes the most comprehensive look ever into the life and work of Parker Ackley, the eminent gunsmith, barrel maker, teacher and cartridge developer. The book is set for release the week of March 6, 2017

Ten years of extensive research highlights not just the history of cartridge and rifle development, but a never-before-seen look at a humble man who influenced nearly everything we know about shooting and ballistics today. Ackley’s ideas on reloading, rifle accuracy, safety, cartridge choice, and wildcats are just as relevant for modern “gun cranks” as they were in Ackley’s heyday.

This hardcover, 256-page study of P.O. Ackley’s work is the first in Gun Digest Media’s Heritage Series celebrating the iconic guns, designers and manufacturers who shaped today’s firearms landscape. The book is illustrated with never-before-seen photos from personal archives of Ackley’s friends, family, and associates. From the dusty, oil rag-covered machine shops of Ackley’s early years, to stunning modern-day firearms chambered in Ackley’s timeless wildcats.  A full-color center section brings the story to life.

From the Foreword of the Book

“It is a difficult task to write a book that is equal parts technical manual and biography, yet Fred Zeglin has done just that. Within the covers of this book you’ll find the history of P.O. Ackley, and a glimpse into the man’s life, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the cartridges that he left behind. And, as a wonderful bonus to those of us who still tinker with copper, lead and brass, there is a wealth of handloading recipes for the Ackley cartridges, using modern powders and projectiles, to allow today’s shooter to connect with the wildcatter of yesteryear.” Phillip Massaro

About the Author

Fred Zeglin has been building custom hunting rifles for over thirty years. Zeglin has taught classes for the NRA Short Term Gunsmithing program at three separate colleges and is the Coordinator/Instructor for the Firearms Technology Program at Flathead Valley Community College. He has published two books; Hawk Cartridges Manual and Wildcat Cartridges, Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design he has also contributed to numerous publications.  Fred has worked with American Gunsmithing Institute to produce two instructional DVDs, Taming Wildcats and Reloading A to Z.

Comments on the book from others:

“The book is great, I am very happy with it. I’ve told every one who would be interested in it to get it. Thanks so much for honoring Grandpa with such a great book.” Ron Pearson, P.O. Ackley’s Grandson.

“P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith” is so extensive and so well done, I am at a loss to adequately describe it!”  Dennis “Mike” Bellm, the last guy to buy out P.O. Ackley’s shop.

P.O. Ackley: America’s Gunsmith by Fred Zeglin, Gun Digest Media, ISBN-13: 978-1-4402-4759-0

Buy this book here.

Also available as an Ebook, click here

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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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Filed under Books, Firearms, Gunsmithing, hunting, Rifles, Sights/Scopes, Stocks, wildcat