Tag Archives: Gunsmith

Stockmaking… You Can Build Stocks for Guns

Here is a book that will help anybody with the desire and some ability to work with your hands to build gun stocks.  Sherman L. Mays wrote this book to help people with no experience at all to learn the process of making stocks, repairing, finishing and even checkering them.  Naturally, you can’t write a book like this and have it limited to beginners only.  Every gunsmith I have ever met or worked with had a trick or secret to share that made me more profitable and a better craftsman.  Sherman is no exception to that rule, no matter your experience there are good ideas in this book.

Sherman has over forty years invested in making and checkering stocks for his clients.  Along the way he has learned a few tricks and he is not afraid to share his knowledge. The focus of this book is on two piece stocks.  Sherm’s bread and butter is shotgun stocks.  That does not mean a rifle guy can’t learn from this tome.  The subjects of detail work like sling swivels, grip caps and recoil pads are all covered in great detail.

I have never seen this many pictures in a manual, I would argue that more books of how-to information should be this well illustrated.  There are a lot of readers who need pictures to fill in the blanks in their understanding.

364 pages

Perfect Bound, paperback

Format is 8.5″x11″

662 – Mixed color and black  & white pics.

ISBN# 9780578165813

Retail $49.95

Were you can get it:  Amazon or https://4drentals.com/product/stock-work-for-the-beginner

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Filed under Books, Gunsmithing, How To, Stocks, tools, Uncategorized

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.

UPDATE:  The ebook is also available direct from 4Drentals.com @:  https://4drentals.com/product/ebook-primer
4D Reamer Rentals LTD gave us a coupon code for our readers, use this get you free copy of the ebook from the address above.  This coupon code is good for a limited time:  GTWP7

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

There are a few details about the series and this book at this link: Click Here

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Filed under accuracy, Books, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Pistol, Rifles, Shotgun, tools

Headspace Gauge Interchangeability App is Here!

Our friends over a 4D Reamer Rentals LTD have come up with a free app, yes its yours to use with no strings attached, none at all.

This app does what apps do best, provide a simple way to get the information you need and have it handy on your device/phone at all times.  Right now it’s available only for Android.

The GaugeGuide App has now be banned by both Google Play and Amazon App Store.  Down load it just to piss off the anti-gunners…  LOL

Two search methods are provided for the user. Results that are displayed are for cartridges that include the information you entered, so it matters what you type in.  It’s true, many gauges are able to correctly headspace more than one cartridge.  Knowing which ones is valuable information for the gunsmith. From the search results select the result that is closest to your desired caliber, each result will show the gauges that are fully interchangeable with that result.  If you do not see what you are looking for check the other options that appear in the result.  If no result appears, it is likely that your caliber of choice does not interchange with any other caliber, I.E. it has caliber specific gauges.

Many gauges will have “details” (information) available that should be helpful in selecting the correct gauges for your desired use.

With either search method when your receive “Compatible Results” similar to the screen shot below:

GaugeGuide App Screen Shot

The list of Gauges that Interchange is as complete as we have every seen.

Note that the list of “Gauges that Interchange” is a comma separated, continuous list. All calibers listed are interchangeable with the cartridge you searched.

The RENT or BUY buttons are used to place an order for the tools, if you need them.  You will be sent to the 4Drentals.com web site where you can order the tools you need.  The app can be found on Aptoid, Click Here to see the page.

Search as much as you like, its free and informative!  Don’t take someones best guess what gauges you need, use a real data base that will tell you the truth and keep you safe.

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Filed under Ackley, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, tools, wildcat

Rifled Slugs for Slugging Rifles

Guest Blogger, Robart Schaefer

If you need to determine the bore diameter of a firearm, whether it be to get the exact SluggerHV_box_slugright size for cast bullets, or perhaps to identify the caliber, one of the best ways to do that is to slug the bore. This involves pushing a piece of lead, a slug, through the barrel and then measuring it. Usually, this requires a fair bit of pounding, especially if you do not have a slug that is close to the bore diameter. I have developed a method, however, that requires only a few light taps from a non-marring hammer and a standard cleaning rod.

Most shooters are familiar with “rifled slugs” for shotguns like these from Remington: Most people believe, or assume, that the grooves on the outside of the slug are there to cause the projectile to spin, thus giving it stability. This is partly true, although it is a clever bit of marketing to give a helical shape to the grooves; they do little for stability. The stability comes from the center of gravity being in the front of the projectile, like a badminton birdie. The primary purpose of the grooves is to allow the slug to stay in contact with the inside of the bore, creating a tight seal and not destroying the barrel when it exits through the choke, the restriction at the muzzle of most shotguns. The grooves give the ridges a place to swag into without causing undue pressure.

So, “What does this have to do with the price of beer in Milwaukee?” you might ask. Well, I bought an old Swiss Vetterli rifle at a gun show, and I want to shoot it but, 10.4x38Rmm Swiss Vertterli rimfire is just about as rare

as hens’ teeth. With these archaic, and foreign, cartridges it can be difficult to find reliable information on them. In fact, this cartridge was dropped from Swiss military use before 1900 (that’s before the internet so there is literally no information on it). The lack of information is made worse by the fact that a lot of cartridges of this era were paper patched so many publications will list the bore size as the lead projectile size which is 1410991432-Black-Powder-and-Round-Balls-packagingabsolutely incorrect because there would have been paper taking up the extra space in the bore.

When I went to slug the bore of this rifle, I had no pure soft lead (recommended for this operation) that was close to the diameter; my only two choices were 36 and 45 caliber round balls. I was standing in my shop thinking how to make a 45 caliber ball smaller in diameter when I realized I didn’t even know how small to make it, and all I really wanted to do was make it easier to push through the bore. Well, this is how shotguns do it so it should work for my needs, too.

First, use a pair of pliers to form consistent grooves around the equator of the ball. (if you have trouble finding the equator, look in the tropics, where you can find bright red tourists, drinking out of coconuts).  I used a pair of dial calipers to check the diameter was close enough to the bore diameter so that the ball would start into the muzzle of the gun.

Many types of lube will work for slugging, my favorite is Lucas Red n Tacky #2 grease.  They use it in race cars, so you know its the right choice for an old black powder rifle. Place the ball in the muzzle being careful to keep it straight (this makes it easier to push through the bore).

Use a non-marring hammer to start the ball into the bore.  You should only need a couple of light taps to get it started.  This could be a done with a muzzle loading ball starter if you have one of an appropriate size.  Then just push the ball through the bore.  I used a 3/16″ brass rod, but a one piece cleaning rod would suffice.  The force required is akin to seating a patched round ball in a muzzle loading rifle.

The slug came out with the ridges of the rifling clearly impressed into the grooves of the ball.  The groove diameter of my rifle is .419″ and is has a bore diameter of .397″.

 

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Filed under Gunsmithing, How To, tools

Pilot Diameter is Crucial

Things in the Gunsmithing world are changing.

We spent 8 years with President Obama being the top gun salesman of all time.  He managed to keep the fear level high enough that retail sales firearms grew exponetionally during his Presidency.  Then we had Hillary Clinton running for President during the Lame Duck period of Obama’s time in office.

The result was that tens, probably hundreds of thousands of new shooters, dare I say millions? These new shooters purchased guns out of fear that at some point in the future they would no longer be able to.  After some time many of them discovered how much fun guns are and all the sporting opportunities they provide.  Not to mention, the portion of the market that only cares about personal protection or concealed carry.  All these new shooters then need gunsmiths to help keep their guns running and to update them for specialized use or personal tastes.  That means more people hanging out a shingle as a gunsmith.

Personally, I am thankful for the huge growth in the gunsmithing market.  Competition is healthy for business, it pushes people to offer good service and meet the needs of the market place.

As all this has been happening lots of new people are learning to gunsmith.  Some get formal training from one of the traditional schools or from a distance learning company.  It’s exciting to see the market place grow so dramatically.  It does bring some new challenges that we did not see very often in the past.

New Gunsmiths fresh from school and Hobby Gunsmiths with little or no training have to learn some things the hard way, by trial and error, if there is nobody handy to teach them.  Here are some good resources: Books and DVDs

In this article we are going to talk about one of these items.  In the past I wrote about pilots, discussing solid vs. removable pilots. What we are looking at here is related to that information directly.

Solid pilot reamers are traditionally made with a pilot that’s diameter is at the miniumum expected diameter for barrels made in the U.S.   The idea is simple, by going to minimum spec. the pilots will fit most any barrel you may find.  It’s not unusual for a solid pilot to be a few thoushandths of an inch smaller than the bore (the diameter inside the lands of the barrel is the bore diameter). In short making them as universal as possible.  Some guys will claim they cannot be accurate, that simply proves they have a lack of experience, on the contrary they can be very accurate, producing chambers that win matches.  But that is a seperate subject.

removable pilot reamer

Removable pilot bushing retained by a screw.

So why do removable pilot reamers exist?

Because some folks like to remove every alibi they can from the process of chambering a barrel.  Removable pilots allow you to utilize a pilot bushing that closely fits the bore of your barrel.  This eliminates unnecessary run-out between the pilot and the bore of the barrel which might allow the chamber to be out of alignment with the bore.

No matter what size or type of pilot you are using, it must slip inside the bore.  A slip fit on a pilot is normally .0005″ to .001″ smaller than the bore.  If the pilot is too large it will not slip in the bore.  There are several bad outcomes possible from a pilot that fits too tightly in the bore.

  1. Damage to the lands ahead of the throat of the chamber by the friction of a solid pilot rubbing on the lands.
  2. Solid pilot and/or reamer broken, due to the stress of being too tight in the bore.
  3. Removable pilot too tight in the bore can cause the pilot to be forced back onto the reamer.  Since there is no cutting angle where the bushing meets the flutes of the reamer this will impede the advancement of the reamer in the bore.
  4. Removable pilot too tight in the bore often causes the bushing to stick in the bore.  If a gunsmith is paying attention and notices the tight bushing this will never happen.
  5. Air gauged match grade barrels are normally defined as those that have less than .0002″ variation in bore diameter from end to end.  So if you try to stay too close to bore diameter with the pilot bushing you may start out with a slip fit but hit a bind a little way into the bore, especially if the barrel is not match grade.
  6. Removable pilot bushings that fit too tight can introduce enough stress to occasionally cause a reamer to break or chip.

HINT:  If you think a chamber reamer is dull because it is harder than normal to advance into the barrel blank.  Check the pilot fit.  A tight pilot fit will make the reamer hard to turn and advance, giving the impression it is not sharp.  How do I know this?  Because nearly every time someone complains about a dull reamer I have tested them in a barrel blank in my shop and find that they cut just fine.  In these cases I often see damage to the pilot.  Below is a small gallery of photos showing what happens to pilots when abused.

20181030_144747-1

20181030_141921-1

20181018_151337-1

If you push hard enough maybe you can cut the pilot too.

20181021_132708

Bushing was forced back onto the reamer. You can see that there was no cutting edge where it met the reamer so it was mashed. Worst of all it expaned making the pilot even bigger in diameter.

20181030_144427-1

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Filed under accuracy, Gunsmithing, How To, tools

The Big News for Fred Zeglin, April 2018

How many authors can brag that they held #1 in two categories on Amazon.com?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I am one of them so here I am, bragging.

Last month (April 2018) Gordy Gritters and I (Fred Zeglin) released our new book, “Chambering Rifles for Accuracy”.  This book is the 3rd in the Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series. Obviously the reception of the book and it’s counterparts in the series has been very good.  It’s gratifying to see our work appreciated by so many customers.

On behalf of Gordy and myself.

Thank you for pushing us to #1 on Amazon during the first week of April.

#1 on Amazon

#1 in Two Categories on Amazon!

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Filed under accuracy, Books, Gunsmithing, How To, Rifles, Shooting

Flathead Valley Community College offers AAS in Firearms.

Learn Skills

Projects that Challenge

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

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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Filed under accuracy, Gunsmithing, How To, Rifles, tools

Engraving Class for Beginners is part of the FVCC Short Term Gunsmithing Program for 2018

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, June 18-22, 2018

 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     

This class will be available for online registration in January, 2018

For more information or to register,

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

This class is part of the Short Term Gunsmithing Program @FVCC, for a full listing of classes for 2018 click here.

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Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, tools

Short Term Gunsmithing Program Returns to FVCC!

First class to be offered in the updated program of Short Term Gunsmithing classes will be Taming Wildcats, taught by Fred Zeglin at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) in Kalispell, MT.

This class will be offered during the Christmas Break, January 2018.  This is a one week class, non-credit.  Students learn the particulars of designing a wildcat cartridge.  Factors like the gun it will be used in, pressure, headspace, how to form brass are all taught.  Students also make reamer and reloading dies for the cartridges so they can experiment with the information they learn.Wildcat Cartridges by Fred Zeglin

If you are interested you need to know how to run a manual lathe and mill.  Fred has taught this class many times and students always come away surprised at how much they learn in just one week.  This class was the reason Fred wrote his book on Wildcat Cartridges.

This is just the first in a new Short Term Gunsmithing program to be offered in the summer of 2018 by FVCC.  Watch the Continuing Education pages for more classes soon.  This a  fun way for both hobby and professional  gunsmiths to build their skills and enjoy firearms even more.

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Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, reloading, Rifles, Shooting, tools, wildcat