Tag Archives: P.O. Ackley

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

1 Comment

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

8 Comments

Filed under Books, Gunsmithing, reloading, wildcat

P.O. Ackley and the Trinidad Gunsmithing School

In post World War II, veterans were looking for a way to receive training so that they could start new careers.  Untold numbers of vets wrote to P.O. Ackley requesting training.

Tom Elliot_1947

Ackley returned home from a vacation to find a huge pile of mail on a desk in his office, all from men seeking a chance to learn gunsmithing.  P.O. had tried to train a few men in his business but found that it was counterproductive.  He took the mountain of mail to the Junior College in Trinidad and suggested they start a school to deal with the hundreds of G.I.s who had returned home and had veterans benefits to spend for training.

The school agreed to set up a program and in short order the first round or classes began.  P.O. Ackley taught at the school for the first three years of it’s operation.  He also helped choose instructors who could pass along quality training to the vets.

Ackley left Trinidad in 1951 when his business was sold to an out of state concern.  But the school lives on and is still training gunsmiths today.

A new book on P.O. Ackley will be available in 2017, it will cover his entire career.  From 1936 to 1989 Ackley manufactured scope mounts and barrels, he wrote articles and books, and he was “The Gunsmith’s Gunsmith”.  No other gunsmith of the 20th century was as influential in the firearms trade.  Six years of research have produced an amazing amount of new and interesting information.  You may think you know about Ackley, but trust me, when you read this book you will learn so much more…  

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

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Gunsmithing, Uncategorized, wildcat

More Calibers in Savage Drop-in Barrels Than Any Other Source

contour-savage

4D Reamer Rental LTD. has expanded what they offer for shooters and gunsmiths once again.  Not only do they offer Savage pre-fit barrels in most any caliber, or twist.  They also stock a small supply of barrels on the shelf.  See:  https://4drentals.com/savage-drop-in-barrels/

Here is what’s really new:

Recently, they started a new offering of chamber work.  4D will rechamber your barrel for Savage barrels as well as many single shots, like NEF rifles, TC Contender or Encore barrels, Rossi single shot rifles can all be reworked to new larger chambers.  If you have some other barrel be sure to check in before you ship it.   4D will be glad to answer your questions about this service option.  They will not accept a complete firearm, this is barrel work only.  For $99 they will rechamber your barrel.

If you have always wanted to try out an Ackley chambering, or wanted a caliber the factory does not offer then this service is right up your alley.  With over 1100 reamers on the shelf it’s likely that 4D will have a chambering that will interest you.  The gunsmith doing this work for 4D has over 30 years of experience in chambering and barrel work, so you know the work will be done right, no guessing.  For the complete list of calibers go to the 4D web site.

Barrels can be blued or coated, 4D currently offers CeroCoat.

Barrels in both Blue and Stainless material are available if your placing an order. Custom orders take more time than barrels on the shelf.

Fred at 4D tells us that this service came about because they often get calls from folks who want to rechamber a gun but do not have any experience with chambering barrels.  So it seemed natural to help out such potential clients who were either short on time, or worried about the process.  “We offer more chamberings than any other Savage barrel vendor out there, and we can extend that to the single shot barrel market too.”

The barrel blanks offered by 4D are made by three makers, McGowen, Green Mountain, and XCaliber.  Delivery times vary by maker, and prices vary a little as well so check in with them for a quote.  hours are 9-4 Mountain time, Monday to Friday.

3 Comments

Filed under accuracy, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Rifles, 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”

41 Comments

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

Ackley Bolt Thrust Tests.

I have long wondered about P.O. Ackley’s claims about bolt thrust.  I have started some tests to see if more modern tools can tell us more about bolt thrust than Ackley was able to learn from his test.  On page 139 of volume 1 of Ackley’s “Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders” he discusses pressure, and I quote, “The usual method of measuring pressure is by means of crusher cylinders, so as to measure the pressure at right angles to the axis of the bore about midway along the body of the chamber.  This method gives a fair idea of the actual chamber pressure exerted upon the walls of the chamber in all directions, but bears little relationship to the amount of this pressure actually transmitted to the bolt or breech block in the form of thrust.”

Ackley believe that minimum body taper reduced bolt thrust.  So, I set out to see if it does or not.  First I set up a 30 caliber barrel in a test fire jig.  I started with a 30-30 WCF chamber, firing factory ammo.  Utilizing the Pressure Trace system I installed a transducer on the barrel to collect pressure data.

We also mounted a transducer over the recessed breech in our barrel to see if we might measure longitudinal stretch.  This did produce measurement, but only time will tell if they have any value.  At this point in the test I suspect that the data we are getting is too flawed to decisively answer any questions.

Its important to lay out some facts at this point.

  1. SAAMI maximum pressure in the 30-30 Winchester is 42,000 PSI
  2. Federal Factory ammo was used for the first phase of the test
  3. Our firing mechanism is adjustable for headspace and the firing pin is adjustable for length so that we can fire with excessive headspace.

We learned something right away; while firing the factory ammo in the 30-30 Winchester chamber and collecting pressure/velocity data, I decided to test various degrees of excessive headspace and see the results.  Interestingly, I set the breech with .010″ (10/1000 of an inch) headspace.  The fired cases did not move back at all, the primers did back out the exact .010″ distance.  Ackley did not test this in his series, so right away we learned that the 30-30, which is considered to be a low pressure cartridge will adhere to a dry chamber under pressure, and the brass can contain the factory level pressure without stretching.

All brass was carefully messured, no head expansion or stretching in length occured.  Next we rechambered the barrel to 30-30 Ackely Improved.  The same factory ammo was used to fire-form cases.  The same test was perform with headspace, even during fire-forming the cases did not move back or stretch in length.

We are now at the stage of the test where we are working up loads to see how much velocity we get at the same pressures as our factory ammo.  This is always a hotly debated subject, so it will be interesting to have concrete information to share.

BTW, I am giving you the short version here, the full test and all ballistics will be included in my book on P.O. Ackley.

Updated March 2017, book has been published, “P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith”  The completed  30-30 bolt thrust tests are of course included, along with much more.  You will also find more information about P.O. Ackley at this site: http://www.ackleyimproved.com

1 Comment

Filed under Ackley, ammo, brass, Firearms, reloading, wildcat