Tag Archives: custom rifle

Engraving Class for Beginners…

So you like guns and you have always wanted to try engraving.  Here is a chance to learn from one of the best.DianeScalese100

Basic hand Engraving,  Instructed by:  Diane Scalese

One week long non-credit class  Monday-Friday, May 18-22

 This course is designed for the beginner engraver or for anyone who would like to review the basics of engraving in steel.  Starting with proper tool preparation, learn the basic steps to single point engraving.  Topics include:

*Proper tool preparation                  *Graver shaping and sharpening

*Shading                                                    *Background treatments

*Metal inlays                                            *Business practices

*Transferring patterns                         *Basic lettering

*Basic scroll design and discussion of the most popular styles

Engrave on steel practice plates.  You will need to supply your own equipment.  The course is designed for using air-assisted equipment and power hones.

Instructor, Diane Scalese is a full-time engraver and has been engraving trophy belt buckles, saddle silver, bits, spurs, jewelry and firearms for nearly 30 years.  She was named Engraver of the Year in 2003 by the Academy of Western Artists.  She resides in Big Sandy, Montana.

sweetw_frgr_spur Monday-Friday                     May 18-22                 8 a.m.-5 p.m.               $495      

For more information or to register,

call the Continuing Education Center @ FVCC (406) 756-3832

This class is part of the NRA Short Term Gunsmithing Program.  For a full listing of classes for 2015 click here.

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New Approach to Firearms Education

Flathead Valley Community College will launch a new two-semester evening Firearms Technologies Certificate starting this fall.  The 27-credit program will feature curriculum developed to support the growing firearms industry in the Flathead Valley in Montana as well as across the country.

One of only a few colleges in the nation to offer firearms related programs. FVCC has taken a unique approach, developing the program as an enhancement to its existing industrial machine technology program introduced last year under the Department of Labor “Amplifying Montana’s Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Industry” grant (#TC-23760-12-60-A-30).  This approach will make FVCC the only school that focuses on manufacture of firearms and related parts.

The new program will provide students the opportunity to incorporate advanced machining skills with an understanding of firearms operational systems. Courses are tailored to emphasize the manufacturing of firearm components.

Fred Zeglin, curriculum coordinator for the program, developed the courses under the guidance and input from local firearms manufacturers.  “Manufacturers say they are seeking trained machinists who understand firearms.  Classes have been designed to build understanding of a wide variety of firearms and the way that they function.” said Zeglin.

Emphasis will be placed upon the completion of several gunsmithing projects involving blueprints and schematics using a combination of both hand and machine tools. This program will provide a clear understanding of firearms design and function, enabling graduates to assist with design implementation or tolerance issues in manufacturing environments.

The program will be held in the evenings with labs during the daytime on Friday and Saturday. Course topics will include firearms introduction and safety; manual mill and lathe systems; bench metal techniques; firearms theory and firearms repair; machine tools for gunsmiths; and precision rifle building.  This selection of courses are designed to increase the marketable skills of the students in the manufacturing realm.

The program will be marketed nationwide bringing focus to the local industry.  Prospective students must apply both to the program and for admission to FVCC. Program applications are due August 1 at 4 p.m. Applications are available online at http://www.fvcc.edu/firearms or in the Admissions Office in Blake Hall on the FVCC Kalispell campus. For more information, contact Jori Bullemer at 756-3905 or jbullemer@fvcc.edu or Will Richards at 756-4862 or wrichards@fvcc.edu.

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How To: Inlet Your Barrel Correctly

A barrel should be inlet up to the center line of the bore, or in other words, half it’s diameter should be below the wood line.  All too many new gunsmiths and hobby gunsmiths just inlet until they can get the screws into the action and call it good.

There is a simple way to make sure your barrel channel is deep enough so that the bore line will be aligned to the top of the stock.  Take a square and place the outside 90 degree corner of the squared into the barrel channel.  If the square touches on all three sides then the barrel channel is a half circle.  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

If the point at the bottom of the barrel channel touches and keeps the sides from contacting the top of the stock then your too shallow.  Conversely, if the point of the square does not touch but both sides are in contact with the top of the stock then your past 50 percent depth.

Fred Zeglin is working on a series of booklets, “Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series”.  This little how-to tip is just one peek into the upcoming books.  What gunsmithing tips would interest you?

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Miller Precision Arms 300MPA, SHOT Show 2014

We reported on this gun when Miller Precision first introduced it on July 4th,2012.  More recently they displayed the MPA300 at the SHOT Show, 2014.  At Media Day they had several rifles there ready for writers to test.

Miller Precision MPA300

Not too surprising, the writers all wanted to shoot the 300 Winchester in favor of the other models in 308 Winchester and 5.56 Nato.

The MPA300 has the distinction of being the only 300 Winchester Semi-auto on the market that is truly on the AR platform.  While the upper, lower, magazine and bolt carrier are specific to the MPA, the rest of the parts are all AR-10 interchangeable.   So you can dress your gun with any of the various features that are already on the market for the AR-10.

Media day turned out to be a real endurance test for the MPA300.  When Brandon Miller saw that everyone wanted to shoot the 300 Winchester almost exclusively, he decided to see how long the gun would run without a cleaning.  It went about 2700 rounds before the first malfunction.  A quick inspection and cleaning had the gun back at the line and by the time the smoke cleared the gun had fired over 4000 rounds without a second failure. 

Actions are machined from billet aluminum.  These guys are selling quality, not big-box store discount products.  Finishes for the Miller Precision guns are about as varied as you can ask for.  Among other things they offer hydrographic coatings, so the choices are almost limitless.  These guns are impressive.

Brandon Miller w MPA300

Brandon Miller with his MPA300, Media Day 2014

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26 Nosler UPDATE, post SHOT Show 2014

Cartridge for 26 Nosler next to similar cartridges

26 Nosler is a new cartridge design, it actually fills a niche in the factory cartridge world.  Between the WSM cartridges and the RUM cartridges, the first being short action, the latter being full length magnum.  So the 26 Nosler is in between.

This may not sound like a big deal but it was a very good idea for a 6.5mm Magnum.  When the 7mm or 300 Remington Ultra Mag is necked to 6.5mm it’s not very satisfactory.  The case capacity is far overbore for the 6.5mm bore, so accuracy suffers and finding a good load is difficult.

By reducing case capacity as Nosler has done with this new design they have brought the balance between bore and capacity back into a range where load development is easier and barrel life will be better than with the full length RUM wildcat such as the 6.5MM UltraCat originated by Z-Hat Custom back in 1999.

26 Nosler drawingDesigned with a maximum cartridge O.A.L. of 3.340”, the 26 Nosler cartridge functions in a standard length magnum action with a 3.400″ magazine box.  It is very similar in length to a 300 Winchester magnum case.  This equates to a shorter bolt through and lighter weight gun than with the full length magnums like the 300 H&H or 7mm RUM.

The 26 Nosler is capable of pushing a 130gr bullet at a Muzzle Velocity of 3400 fps according to Nosler.  With that kind of velocity bullets must be made for the extra stress that velocity will bring to the jacket.  No disrespect to Nosler but this is a job for a NorthFork Bullet if I ever saw one.

The 26 Nosler is a non-belted, 6.5mm centerfire rifle cartridge.  With a useable case capacity of 93 grains of water, the 26 Nosler is speedy, it outperforms the 264 Win Mag by over 200 fps with a 130 gr bullet.  Loaded with the 129gr AccuBond-LR, the 26 Nosler retains as much velocity at 400 yards as the 260 Remington produces at the muzzle.

26 Nosler compared

Zeroed at 350 yards, the 26 Nosler has a maximum point blank range (PBR) of 415 yards.  It appears from the chart at the right that Nosler is figuring 5 inches +or- form zero to get to that 415 yard point blank range.

Nosler’s choice of a 6.5mm cartridge is a good one, sectional density and high ballistic coefficients make 6.5mm a good bet. Retained energy and accuracy at long range is always good with a 6.5mm.  This will be a good cartridge for wide open western hunting for deer class animals.  Thumbs Up!

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25-45 SRC (Sharps Rifle Co.) SHOT Show 2014

Found this little goodie at Media Day for Shot Show.  You might imagine seeing the Sharps name that has always been associated with single shots and then seeing nothing but AR-15 rifles in the booth.  I took a double take…  which is probably what they were hoping for all the writers that visited the event.25-45 SRC ammo

Having been in the gun business for so many years I have seen the rebirth of many company names.  Some have been successful and others have quickly died away.  No telling what will happen with this new company.  Sharps Rifle Company (SRC) is one of several brands, (five at present) under the one roof.

Turns out the item of interest was the 25-45 SRC cartridge.  This is the most recent iteration of a wildcat most commonly known as a 25/223 Remington.  Another well known variation came out in 1987 as the 25 TCU (Thompson Center Ugalde).  The TCU version was designed for metalic silhouette competition.  Of course that cartridge was intended for use in a 14″ barrel from a Contender pistol.  While they are not interchangeable the two cartridges are very similar.  Ahh, what’s old is new again.  I sense a theme here.

  • 65 Grain Rapid Expansion Varmint is advertised at 3300 feet per second from a 20″ barrel.
  • 87 Grain soft point or FMJ loads are advertised at 3000 feet per second also from a 20″ barrel.

Of course, headstamped brass and commercially loaded ammo is always a selling point and SRC is offering just that.  For more information on the brands and products associated with SRC click here.

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Forbes Production Rifle, SHOT Show 2014

For years Melvin Forbes has been offering custom light weight rifles through his company, “New Ultra Light Arms”.  For 2014 Forbes is bringing to market a production rifle under a different company www.forbesriflellc.com.

These rifles will be light weight hunting guns, just like the custom guns Forbes has offered in the past.  The production rifles will be offered in the short action M20B, and the long action M24B.  Short actions will be chambered in 308 Winchester, 243 Winchester, and 7mm-08.  The long action rifles will be chambered in 270 Winchester, 280 Remington, 6.5×55 Sweed, 30-06, and 35 Whelen.

Production rifles will sport Timney Triggers, with sear block safety, and 3 round magazines, CNC machined actions, spiral fluted bolts, and hand laid carbon fiber/Kevlar stocks with 13.375″ Length of pull.  Stocks will be available in multiple colors.

Forbes is not abandoning New Ultra Light Arms.  They will continue to build the fine custom rifles they have become famous for.

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Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, New for SHOT Show 2014

4D Savage barrel nut wrench

Savage offers smooth barrel nuts on many of their bolt guns.  Until now, no commercial wrench for removing or installing these barrel nuts when headspacing a pre-fit barrel existed.  4D Reamer Rentals LTD has designed this new wrench for use with the smooth type barrel nuts found on many Savage rifles.  The wrench will not work with splined type nuts.

These smooth barrel nuts are commonly available in the market place and provide a nicer finished look without the splines cut into them.  These smooth nuts will work on all Savage 110 action variations, including Axis™ and Stevens™. 

Made from aircraft grade aluminum this wrench can be used for both Large (fat magnum) and Small (standard) thread barrel nuts.  

The finish on the production wrenches will be either painted or anodized, depending upon the buyers preference.  Graphic dipped models, as pictured here, would be for special presentation pr personalized gifts.

Dealer pricing available.
Savage Barrel Nut Wrench by 4D MSRP $49.95

Rental from 4-dproducts.com will be $15  they are carrying the smooth barrel nuts too.

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New from 4D Reamer Rentals, SHOT Show 2014

Grip Cap Inserts

Left to Right, Antique Ivory, Ivory and Black Linen

4D seems to always be looking for new products to serve the gunsmith.  They are known for renting tools to the trade, but did you know they offer many products for sale too?

For some time they have been offering Dakota grip caps and bolt handles to their customers.

Their newest introduction are inserts for Dakota skeleton grip caps.  At present they are only available for the radiused version of grip cap.  The first run is made up of several types or Mycarta.  The idea is to offer a product that saves the gunsmith valuable time and still offers a quality and value added service for the client.  Mycarta is a fully resinated material that is water proof, it is often used on custom knives for handles because of it’s durability.

grip cap inserts

Easy way to provide a classy look.

These inserts cut the time required for inletting one of these skelotonized caps to a stock.  Many clients like the idea of adding a different touch that make the rifle unique to them.  The two lighter colors show here mimic ivory without extreme expense.  Layers of paper in the mycarta give the effect of the grain you normally see in ivory.  Mycarta can be skrimshawed to further customize the cap.  Easy way to provide a classy look.

4D plans to offer other materials depending upon customer requests.  Walnut is an obvious choice.  Often these inserts are checkered and these material lend themselves well to checkering.

finished insert

Below is a finished black linen mycarta insert, just to show what the finished product can look like.  There really is no limit to what can be done with these inserts.  Cool custom touches really make a rifle special, and this is definitely a custom touch.

4D is debuting these inserts just in time for SHOT Show, but we get to tell you about it here first.

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Life is Too Short for Ugly Bolt Handles

Ugly Bolt HandleUgly Bolt handles are common on “sporterized” rifles from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  Fewer gunsmiths forge bolt handles these days than they used to.  Forging is the process of heating and bending a military bolt handle to create something more like a commercial gun for sporting use might have. 

The main reason for forging a bolt handle is to make it work with a scope.  Military bolt handles are often straight or have a 90º downward bend.  This works fine for a military rifle with iron sights, not so great with a scope.

Once the bolt handle is forged into the new shape it must be filed and cleaned up to have an aesthetically pleasing look.  However, many hobby smiths or guys who are new to the business are not clear on how to do this work and make it look nice.

Some military bolt handles are a little short for forging.  A good gunsmith will notice this and will either weld in an extension to make the handle longer, or replace the handle with a better design.

There are several choices for bolt handles in the market place, some are easier to work with than others but they can all produce a nice functional handle with an attractive appearance.  Some require more shaping and forming than others.

Dakota bolt handles are the easiest I have found to work with and consistently get an attractive finished product with a reasonable amount of work.  They are available in 5 different styles.

  • 2 raised panelDakota Bolt Handles
  • 3 raised panel
  • Universal/Mauser
  • Winchester
  • Remington

Raised panel bolt handles are used by engravers or gunsmiths who want checker the knob of the bolt handle. The raised area makes it easier to checker the knob.

The Universal/Mauser handle is designed to weld onto the square root of a military bolt after the original handle has been cut off.  These are very popular and produce a nice looking finished product when the welds are cleaned up and all the lines are blended. 

Winchester style knobs emulate the pre-64 Winchester style bolt handle.  They have a large flat base that can be adapted to many types of bolts.

Remington style knobs have a base the can be silver soldered onto a Remington bolt to replace the factory knobs that many shooters would prefer to replace.  The styling of the knob on these handles is more round with a straight shaft, as apposed to the factory design which is oval and has a dog leg in the shaft.  These knobs are not checkered.

Mauser Bolt Handles Finished

All styles arrive “as cast”.  They are made from good quality steel that blues nicely when finished.  They can also be polished to a nice bright finish if that is your preference.

Jig for bolt welding

How to hold the bolt handle for welding. Notice the heat sink in the back of the bolt used to protect the threads during welding.

 

Since forged handles are often a little short the welded replacement also solves this problem.  Anyone practiced at both methods c

ould probably do either in the same amount of time, but the for my money the welded replacement just seems like less work for the result you get.

Dakota bolt knobs are available from http://www.4-dproducts.com.

 

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