Tag Archives: irons sights

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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Skinner Express Sights, SHOT Show 2014

Peep sights have long been the best choice for accuracy with iron sights.  When peep sights are made for rugged use that only enhances their desirability.  Skinner Express Sights fall into that category.

Machined from solid bar stock the most recent additions to the Skinner line-up are tough as nails.  Models availble include: Marlin 1895 and 336, Remington 740 or 760 and variants, Ruger 10-22, Rossi, Winchester, Browning, TC, and many more.

Tough Sights for Hunters

Adjustable for windage and elevation.  These sights are low profile and easy to install.  Winged sight are available in some models, in case your really hard on your sights, or you carry your rifle in a scabbard.

http://www.skinnersights.com/index.html

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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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Awesome article on Brownells History

A few years back I ran onto a group for outdoor communicators called Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA).  They were having a meeting at the SHOT Show, so I decided to check them out.  Turned out to be a great group of people and I joined on the spot.

Laurie, who wrote the linked article is the Executive Director of POMA and a fantastic lady.  Anyway the linked story is right up our alley here on GunsmithTalk, so check it out.

http://www.outdoorhub.com/stories/bad-luck-builds-brownells-a-company-history/

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Classic Rifle Stock Drawings & How to Use Them

A while back I mentioned a book by Alvin Linden and then a set of Classic Rifle Stock Drawings that are currently available.  The interest in these posts has been high, so this is meant to expand on the previous posts.   What I have posted below is the instructions from the CD on American Classic Rifle Stocks.  I think they will give you some insight into the drawings on the CD and on top of that there are some useful bits of information you can use even if you don’t have the drawings.  Enjoy.sample stock drawing

How to use the Drawings:

These Drawings were assembled to define the parameters of the “American Classic” hunting stock.  Many of the stocks made by novices and even some professionals lack the aesthetics that should be afforded a nice piece of wood.  Worse yet, they are left too large, or cut down too small, either of these conditions will make a stock that has poor handling characteristics and may even add to the felt recoil.  A properly designed stock

Improves handling, reduces felt recoil, and is pleasing to the eye.  It is not our intention here to teach you stock making.

How These Drawings Evolved:

Normally drawings are very specific about dimensions, and tolerances are very tight, not so with these drawings.  You will see that there is a range of dimensions for most measurement.  The reason for this is simple, no two shooters are alike, so you need to be able to adjust the dimensions for the shooter.  Also magnum guns are generally built heavier than standard caliber guns to help control recoil.  The dimensions included here were derived by measuring about 100 stocks from various custom makers, some names you would recognize and some you might not.  So the ideas represented come from a broad cross section of custom stock makers, not just the opinion of one maker.

How do I decide which dimensions to use?

The Caliber of the rifle, and the size of the barreled action will be a major factor in this decision.  A light caliber like 243 Winchester with a sporter weight barrel would likely use the smaller dimensions, because the recoil will be low and handling is probably more important than controlling recoil.  On the other hand, if you working with a 375 H&H you will likely want a heavier stock to help manage recoil.  Grip length and curve may be tighter on a standard caliber where recoil will not bang your knuckles against the trigger guard.  Magnum stocks normally get a longer grip with a more open curve.   Since classic stocks are not generally used on varminters, or benchrest guns excessively heavy barrel tapers do not enter into the question.  However, you will find that much of the data here will apply to other stock designs.   For instance comb height, length of grip, and length of comb are all pretty universal.

I want to use my stock strictly with iron sights, does that make a difference?

Yes, it makes a huge difference.  Looking at the dimensions, you will see that several of the measurements are specified for either scoped or iron sighted rifle.   Use the dimensions for the sight system you will be using as your primary sights on the rifle.

Tricks the Pros use:

Clients want a stock that “fits like a glove”.  To accomplish this, a surprisingly small change is needed.  You will see dimensions for Cast and Cant included in the drawings.  In general, cast off is for right hand shooters and conversely cast on is most often used for left-handed shooters, the same is true of Cant. Grips can ‘Cant’ as well, use the same rule for right and left-handers.  Cant the grip up to about .125” in the desired direction.  This is accomplished by finding the centerline of the stock and then marking the center of the grip canted in the direction desired.

Recoil can be controlled by some simple changes to the stock design.  First, make the butt as large as the design will allow.  Second, use a high quality recoil pad, like the Pachmayer Decelerator®, Kick-Eez®, or Limb Saver®.  The third major method for controlling recoil is making the pitch of the stock neutral.  Pitch is measured as the angle of the butt to the bore line, neutral is 90 degrees to the bore line.  Once the top of the stock along the barrel channel is finished it can be used as the bore line, set the stock upside down on flat table, using a square you can mark the pitch on the butt where you intend to cut it off for the recoil pad installation.  Finally, installation of a mercury recoil reducer in the stock is a great way to control recoil, although it does add weight to the stock.

Each area of the stock should flow smoothly into the next.  Shadow lines if used should be crisp and clean, but not sharp to the touch.  The best way to check these items is to close your eyes and feel with your fingers.  It is amazing how small an imperfection you can pick out with just a touch.

Fred Zeglin is the copyright holder for these prints and is working on an updated file format so they can return to the market. 06/01/2018

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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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The Game Getter Returns

Marble Arms brings back the Game Getter

Marble Arms is bringing the Game Getter back to life.

I have always thought this was a fun gun, especially for the young shooter.  It gives you a 22 LR barrel and a shotgun barrel so you can take all manner of small game, thus the name…

This latest iteration of the Game Getter will be a very well made version with an eye on quality and finish.  It’s for big kids this time, so if you remember these from your youth, now you can have a very nice one for your very own. They will be shipping in 2011.


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Adjustable Express Stight

Express sights with windage built in.

Two leaf express sight with windage adjustment.

New England Custom Guns (NECG) is a great source for express sights.  Personally I love this rear sight, it features a clamp so you can adjust windage more easily with this sight.

The standing sight height over barrel is .670″, the first leaf is .650″, the second leaf is .670″ . The sight base is available in four barrel diameters, you must select the closest candidate when ordering.

Many Americans tend to order express sights with three (3) folding leaves.  This may be traditional looking, but for most shooters it is a waste of time and money.  I generally recommend to clients that they use either a single fixed express blade or a sight with a single folding leaf.  The reason being, you don’t often have time to choose the sight, and if you do few shooters are comfortable today with a wide open V sight at more than 200 yards.

I normally file in the rear fixed blade for 25 yards since this will allow for snap shooting for any distance from the muzzle to 50 yards with no thoght about trajectory.  Then the first folding leaf I file for 150 or 200 yards depending on the owners wishes and the caliber of the rifle.  When deciding on distances look at the trajectory for your chosen load to decide sight height.

Some shooters do not realize that such sights are normally filed to the particular ammunition you plan to shoot.  If you switch loads on a gun with express sights be sure to test the loads at the range for point of impact.  New loads will not only change elevation, often windage will be affected as well.

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Get the Ball Rolling!

Before somone feels the need to write and ask I thoght I should simply tell the story.  The picture at the top of the Blog is a before and after for some of my work.  This rifle is based on a model 71/84 Mauser action, it has a tubular magazine under the barrel.  Original caliber was 11mm Mauser, it is now a 45-70.  Minamal feeding work was required to make it work.

The stock pattern is my own design, the dimensions were modernized so that the irons sights are easy to use and it points very naturally.  Styling was based on original sporters made with this action by Mauser.  The Manlicher pattern however is my own design, the magazine is hidden inside the stock and retained by the front sling swivel.  A pistol grip was added as the classic designs were all straight grip.

If your interested in more information on the 71/84, Ludwig Olson wrote a book “Mauser Bolt Rifles” that has some pictures, specifications and best of all the various sporters are shown along with the military version of the rifle.  This book is available from www.brownells.com.

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Filed under accuracy, ammo, brass, bullets', Camp Perry, Firearms, hunting, Uncategorized, wildcat