991 PSU Gunsmith Course for Basic Master Journeyman

October 27, 2017 | Author: Art Trout Sr. | Category: Minute And Second Of Arc, Telescopic Sight, Trigger (Firearms), Firearms, Projectile Weapons
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991 PSU Gunsmith Course for Basic, Master, Journeyman After you return the brief exam at the end of this document, you will be sent the advanced program if you ordered Master or Journeyman. Phoenix State University Gunsmith Program (This course does not constitute legal advice, but is only a guide. Consult an attorney if you have any legal questions).

Phoenix State University Basic Gunsmith E-Guide Copyright © ETI/PSU 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 All Rights Reserved, Tenth Edition www.e-PSU.com [email protected] www.Becomeagunsmith.com You will receive your Gunsmith Certificate from PSU upon completion of the brief exam at the end of this course. If you ordered an advanced cert (Master or Journeyman) you will receive the next questions after you return the exam below. Your validation of completion for customers, licensing boards, insurers, and trade references for manufacturers, distributors and tool/ ammo/ equipment sellers is ALWAYS FREE from PSU once you complete the questions. IF you 1

require your certificate quickly to protect your ammo, business, license, profession or equipment; or to launch your new career/ business/ income hobby, we will send it to you immediately, and your validation/ transcript will then become active when you email us your exam(s). Brief, EASY, exams! If you enrolled only for the Gunsmith certificate, and are a first time PSU student, you need to send back Exam 1. If you jumped right to your advanced Master or Journeyman Gunsmith Certification, you need to return exam 1, and then you will be sent the advanced material. The material in this course is sufficient to get a passing grade on all three exams, but improvisation is always valued! Even if you are only getting the Gunsmith certification alone, you have to have a basic understanding of advanced firearm operation and topics. This material is included here. If you want to upgrade to Master or Journeyman Gunsmith, it is an additional $49 each, which you can Paypal to [email protected] or email us for an invoice at [email protected] with the subject on either option of “Course Upgrade.”

How to take this course 1. Study this course thoroughly 2. Email us your answers to the brief exam at the end of the course. All questions are OPEN BOOK, and you are free to use both this course and the web, Wikipedia, etc. as well as your library, life experience and professional friends for your answers. Knowing 2

how to find an answer is more important than getting a question “right” at this level, as there are many correct answers to every question. After you email your answers, you will receive the next course if you ordered Master or Journeyman. 3. If you are stuck on any question, here is a simple rule: always THINK SAFETY first when answering. A poor technical answer with better safety answers is FAR BETTER than a great technical answer that glosses over safety. Accidents have been called “inevitable” in reloading and gunsmithing, and can involve the loss of sight, fingers, hands or life, for you OR your customer. SAFETY is the primary purpose of this course, and your certification in a program high in safety helps greatly with obtaining insurance. 4. You will receive your Certificate by 2-3 day Priority Mail at your Paypal/ purchase address of record. If you need or receive your certification before submitting your exam(s), you will still need to send in your exam before your cert validation becomes active, please don’t forget to do so. Before you do, please also be sure you have sent us your name as you’d like it to appear on your certificate, if it differs from Paypal. Some people use their spouse’s email to order and we have the wrong name on file, and others order via a company name or email. Some people forgot they even had a Paypal email and think they are not getting responses from us when our answers are going into their spam folders or bouncing back! It 3

can also take time for us to communicate between you, Smith, ETI, PSU and your advisor, so PLEASE BE PATIENT AND DO NOT ASSUME we are not listening if it takes a bit to get back to you. If your ship link is about to expire, you will sometimes get your cert before you sent in your exam. This is normal, and all you have to do is return your answers to activate the cert completion validation. After Completion The benefits of your PSU Certificate only begin at graduation. Unlike any other program, your PSU certificate validation is ALWAYS free, lifetime, and unlimited. Schools charge between $100 and $400 EACH for validation or transcripts! We ENCOURAGE you to use your new credential with vendors, trade references, employers, Federal, State and City licensing bureaus, prospects, customers, insurers, ammo and component sellers, and many more. Read more in the Marketing section about how you should set up your corporate name and structure to maximize the value of your certificate, including both using client names and resources, and “professional” sounding designations in your corporate name, by laws or DBA’s. We also will give you trade references at all the major wholesalers for tools, supplies, components, equipment, etc.


Related Courses The Basic, Master and Journeyman Gunsmithing programs are all you need to start a multi-million dollar home-based new business, with or without the sister PSU Reloading or FFL credentials, as many of our successful grads have already found! We have thousands of grads in many categories making half a million a year or more as Reloading/ Gunsmithing/ FFL experts. We are not telling you to stop at this course, but to be honest, it will be perfectly adequate for the majority of your needs, unless you want to specialize even further and add additional skills, opportunities, and protections. We RECOMMEND specializing for many reasons you will see below. Some of these further courses include: Gunsmith Reloader (www.certifiedreloader.com) Certified Reloader (You are automatically upgraded FREE to Gunsmith Reloader if you purchase Certified Reloader after taking this module) FFL (www.HOMEFFL.com) Master Gunsmith (www.Becomeagunsmith.com) Journeyman Gunsmith Bladesmith (www.Becomeabladesmith.com)


Email your counselor at [email protected] for info on further or related courses and specially priced upgrades. It always only costs the difference to upgrade, never the whole course amount within the same series (eg: Master or Journeyman Gunsmith) if you haven’t already ordered the advanced course. If you did, the lower course(s) are always included. Specialization in your Niche An old saying goes: “Sell ice cream, and you’ll own a tiny share of a huge market, specialize in Pistachio, and you’ll own the niche.” This is true in many of our courses and fields! True! Don’t be everything to everyone. Pick a niche (Clubs, Law Enforcement, Military, Government, etc.) and BE THE best in that niche, it WILL make you rich! Add value and you won’t eat price! By specializing, you get buying power, dominate your niche, and can be huge right at home. If someone sells your item or caliber, customize it, add to it, repackage it… YES make it unique and you will win every time. The Boston Consulting Group had the old “smiley face” model, where ROI was graphed vs. market share. This is what it looks like in simplified form:


High Margins

High Market Share What this says is that at the two ends of the graph: low share/niche and high share monopoly, there are very high profits. In the “middle” are a bunch of “price takers” who battle for share and sales by lowering price. Since you probably won’t begin as a GE, this means that dominating your own niche will make you a BIG player in a smaller pond (your niche). Another way to say this is that the niche dominators and share dominators are “price makers” (monopolies) whereas everyone in the middle is a price taker: they don’t have much flexibility in raising prices as their choices are inelastic relative to the big boys and the niche owners! What is my Niche? Your niche is the area of SPECIALIZATION that you love and can dominate. It will make you big with 7

suppliers and vendors as well as customers! There are NICHES in reloading that relate to many aspects, from customers to calibers to quality and type. Reloading and Gunsmithing Niches are similar and include include: Safari, big and dangerous game hunters, special defense or prey shotshell, Law Enforcement, competitors, Snipers, Military, cowboy shooters, wildcat calibers, very high quality bench accuracy rounds, SWAT customers, inexpensive practice rounds, cleaning, refurbishing, porting, stock bedding, adding limbsavers, collapsible stocks and other accessories, and MANY more.You can also specialize in shotguns, pistols, rifles and other unique categories. If you can’t compete with Wal Mart prices on generic 12 gauge birdshot, or compete with European exporters on hand built AK Pistols, offer specially loaded, partitioned, fragmentation or mixed/coated defense loads and custom accessorized firearms that no one can get except from you! Then: NAME your price! We have one grad making serious income specializing in rock salt/ rubber loads for non lethal home and law enforcement defense shotguns. Your IMAGINATION is the limit

More On Gunsmithing Specialization


There are three levels of gunsmithing: Basic or Apprentice, Advanced or Master and Manufacturing or Journeyman. Three examples of these would be, in order: 1. Installing and sighting a scope; 2. Repairing a feed problem or doing a complete trigger job and 3. Building a rifle or pistol from scratch. Tools used range from simple screwdrivers to lathes, cad/cam engravers and milling machines. However, creating a custom gun that auctions off for $50,000 can be done in a number of ways, depending on your choice of SPECIALTY. Here are just a few examples of successful specialties: -- 1,000 Yard Competition/Sniper Accuracy guns -- Gorgeous furniture refinishing, including engraving -- Metal engraving and marking -- Big game loads and rifles -- Tactical weapons and conversions -- Custom stock, trigger, action, bore and barrel work -- Large scale niche conversions, such as SKS from wood to tactical accessories -- Antique repairs or refurbishing -- Grading and appraising -- Functional and safety evaluation -- Ballistics and Reloading -- Specialty/pistol hunting -- Military and Law Enforcement -- Bird/trap/skeet shotguns


-- Refinishing, Parkerizing, tricking out -- Custom grips -- Leather work -- Forensics -- Semi auto or auto actions -- Basic to advanced repairs and MANY, Many more! Depending on your specialization plan, your shop will grow with a wide variety of specialized tools and equipment as you advance from basics to fully custom building. The ETI/PSU philosophy is YOU MUST SPECIALIZE. This differentiates you, creates your own unique niche, and makes you a big profitable fish in your own pond, with buying power, rare items, and freedom from the price taker generalist herd. When you plot ROI and margin against market share, you get a “smiley face.” The niche players are winners at the beginning of the smile, the huge heavily capitalized market owners are winners at the other end, and the losers group in the middle and battle over scraps. SMILE and SPECIALIZE! Your PSU Certificate Your PSU Gunsmithing Certificate, whether Gunsmith, Master Gunsmith, or Journeyman Gunsmith, is recognized in all 50 States and numerous countries worldwide for meeting city licensing requirements in most cities and counties, ATF primary focus questions, and much more. PSU Gunsmiths are working worldwide in areas as diverse as custom competition load design to fully custom weapons systems. Many of our graduates are now Armorers for police, military and ranges throughout the US, and many other nations. At the end of this course, you will see other network, referral, wholesale purchase, and trade reference benefits you will get by being part of the ETI family. If you do not yet have your FFL, please visit our sister site at WWW.GUNSMITHFFL.COM for important information on Federal licensure.


Most importantly, EVERY course we offer is about YOUR success, and every course is sprinkled with advice on how to market and profit from both your new and previous skills. How to complete this course First, finish reading this guide from beginning to end. Next, take a shot at the exam at the end. Then, go back through the text and be sure your answers are correct before emailing them back to PSU. This is an “open book” format, and all our gunsmiths have started with much valuable life experience, which is why we offer one of the least expensive, best recognized courses available. If you have any questions, email us, and you’ll receive a prompt, courteous response from one of our Master Gunsmiths or Instructors. While there are specifics on techniques as in any course, we’ve tried to spend more time on the WHY of different basic projects, the ways you can make a career with certain skills and projects, and the general strategy of your profession. There are hundreds of good books and online resources here and on the web to answer specific detailed questions, but very few give the guidance on what is worth doing and why, from a business and success standpoint. Doing basic work such as installing a scope or swivel studs or engraving a simple scroll or logo seems easy, but these skills are the foundation of all the other more advanced projects. This guide is filled with the latest shortcuts and tools that will make the advanced work much easier, such as lasers, CAD/CAM engravers, die/tap kits, and yes, even swivel stud gunsmith kits! Tool Resources Although we’ve included a list of tools and equipment here, there are a number of top online sites that all gunsmiths use for tools, supplies, parts, videos, diagrams, etc. These include the hundreds of gunsmiths and apprentices at www.Smithtactical.com, the ETI/PSU gunsmithing academy company. FOR EXAMPLE, you could spend years checking out the top engraving companies for laser, diamond drag, routing, cermark and other manual and automated knife and gun applications. After 20 years of real work, the top gunsmiths agree there is no better automated system than Newing Hall (www.Newing-Hall.com). That alone could save you years of 11

hard work and disappointment for the engraving part of your business, if that is one of your specialties. ETI also offers competitive LEASES on nearly every piece of gunsmithing equipment, even when the manufacturers themselves do not. Here are the top companies in the most important other areas: www.Brownells.com (Biggest and best next to Numrich for what they do) www.Midwayusa.com (Includes B-Square www.b-square.com , Lyman and other brands) www.e-gunparts.com (Numrich site) www.waldenspecs.com www.clymertool.com (especially wildcat cartridge development) www.forsterproducts.com www.chapmanmfg.com www.terrco.com (Terrco gunstock carving machine) www.southbendlathe.com (South Bend Lathe) www.grizzlyimports.com (Grizzly Imports machines) www.gunpartscorp.com (Numrich competitor) www.Sarcoinc.com (Parts) www.walkerarms.com (Service center for manufacturers) Videos, articles and other resources www.wikipedia.org is one of the best resources on gunsmithing topics, with updates that make most printed materials obsolete. Brownells, Midway and Numrich also have hundreds of books and videos on their sites. Here is an example article, created originally by ETI/PSU gunsmiths at Smith tactical:


Minute (Moment) of Angle (ETI/PSU originally created the article for Wikipedia on this topic)

Most firearm sighting scopes incorporate windage and elevation adjustments referenced to MOA (minute of angle). Each click of the scope turret is usually 1/4 MOA change and on some scopes 1/8 MOA. Normally, shooters refer to these adjustments as a change of a fraction of an inch at 100 yards rather than the true value of MOA for which they are supposedly calibrated to. The value of inch is a nice easy number to work with and most of us can easily visualize its length and its multiples without the aid of a calculator. Actually the comparison is close enough to not be of practical concern, especially at distances up to a few hundred yards, and the real difference is a mere 0.47 inch at 1000 yards. For serious target shooting and as shooting distances increase the attention to MOA value relative to sight adjustment becomes more essential. Calculating Minute of Angle The angle of an arc is expressed in number of degrees. There are 360 degrees of arc to a full circle. Each degree consists of 60 minutes of arc. The distance covered by the measure of arc is relative to the circumference (total distance around the circle) it is contained within. Knowing the radius (distance to center of circle) circumference is easily calculated by using the constant pi . The ratio (represented by pi ) of circumference is constant to diameter (radius x 2) regardless of circle size. The precise value of pi is so far unknown to man but is normally resolved to 3.1416 or 3.141 for our purposes. Suppose a circle with a 6 inch radius. Circumference can be calculated as: circumference = (radius x 2) x pi circumference = (6 x 2) x 3.1416 circumference = 12 x 3.1416 circumference = 37.6992 inches The distance covered by 1 degree of angle (37.6992 / 360 or,


circumference divided by 360 degrees) is 0.1047 inch at 6 inches from center of circle. And, 1 minute of angle represents (0.1047 / 60 or, 1 degree divided by 60 minutes) 0.001745 inch at 6 inches from center of circle. Knowing what MOA represents allows us to calculate its value to any distance. Six inches (the radius of the above example) is 1/600th of 100 yards: (100 yards x 36 inches) / 6 inches = 600 Therefore, the value of MOA at 100 yards is 1.047 inches (0.001745 x 600 = 1.047) At 50 yards 1/2 the 100 yard value; 70% @ 70 yards; twice @ 200 yards; 6 times @ 600 yards; and so on. So, the difference between thinking in inches as opposed to MOA is 0.47 inch @ 1000 yards.


Four (4) clicks of the scope adjustment equals 1.047 inch change @ 100 yards for scopes of 1/4MOA per click.

Where group size is expressed in inches the word 'inch' should be spelled. Writing the symbol commonly used to represent the measure of inch (") is not accurate here, and in fact misleading since that symbol also represents 'second of angle' (1/60 of a minute of angle). Therefore, a group of 1 inch would properly be written as '1 inch' not 1". It could also be written as 1' since that symbol (') is used to represent minute of angle but that might be misleading to those thinking in feet.

Why Use MOA As shown above, the value of a measure of angle can easily be calculated to any distance from its source of origin - center of circle or muzzle of barrel. 15

Such measures as MOA (minute of angle) are also part of our only universal language - mathematics. While knowing a rifle has a precision of a certain value of the inch at a particular distance also makes it simple to calculate its precision at other distances, one would have to know both the distance and the measure in inch (example: 1 inch @ 100 yards) before calculating it to other distances. In contrast, knowing only the measure of angle is needed to do the same. An example of the contrast is expressing 0.73 inch @ 100 yards verses 0.7 MOA (0.73 / 1.0472 = 0.697). The two equate practically the same (1 MOA = 1.047 inch @ 100 yards) but the expression using MOA is more concise since no distances are included in the expression. Two informative sites for further discussion of MOA relative to firearm use: What Is MOA and Is It Really an Inch At 100 Yards? and Mil-dots and Minutes-of-angle, From a Technical Perspective

Calculating Scope Click For long ranges where shooting distances may vary considerably it is wise to know the actual value of each scope adjustment. This is especially true if scope settings are changed in the field as shooting distances change. Not all scopes are precisely calibrated to MOA (minute of angle) or to the inch. Below is a procedure learned from Varmint Al's Shooting Page for better determining the value of each click of the scope turret. Shooting from a solid bench rest, determine the center of group using the Average Group Radius method. Without reaching the adjustment limit of the scope, make and record as many scope elevation clicks as will still keep the group on the target while shooting at the same aiming point as before. Again determine center of group using the Average Group Radius method. Return the scope elevation to its previous setting. Determine the distance between the center of the two groups. Divide that distance by the number of elevation clicks used to achieve group two. That is the calculated value of change for that distance for each click. For high power rifles it is recommended the target be no less than 100 yards distance as some projectiles may not completely stabilize at shorter distances, thereby giving a false indication of true performance.


BLUEPRINTS Numrich, Brownells, and the various manufacturers (eg: Bushmaster) also sell great videos on all aspects of gunsmithing and individual gun projects and blueprints. PROJECT BLUEPRINTS also are available at Brownells and many other suppliers for specific guns and projects, and the famous NUMRICH CATALOG has nearly every antique and modern gun in exploded parts diagrams. Your Shop Checklist: -- As large as you can afford, with room to grow -- Well ventilated, heated, cooled -- At least one bench, two or three if you’re also doing reloading -- 4’ Fluorescent lights, as many as you can cram in, can’t have too much light -- Lots of pegboards, drawers, shelves, cabinets, racks -- Plenty of room to expand for machines -- Security system, safes, etc. -- All safety equipment and systems including fire, eye and ear protection, gloves, etc. Your Tools -- Check out the checklists at Brownells, Midway and Numrich -- Gunsmith screwdrivers, ratchets, bore lights, flashlights, lighted magnifiers, safety glasses -- File sets, two bench vices, rifle and pistol gun stand/clamps, gun vices -- Magnetic vice fabric jaws, leather covers or fabric/rubber grip covers -- Hammer set, stone set, punch sets, socket sets, chisel sets, pick sets, crown cutters -- Swivel stud sets/drill kits, bedding kits, buttplate kits, drill sets -- Drill press, table saw, router, dremel, disc/belt sander, grinder, cordless drill, air compressor (advanced: lathe, milling, grinding, cnc) -- Torque wrenches (incl. in, not just ft #s), micrometer, screw pitch gauge, dial caliper, rulers, tape measures, levels -- Jeweler’s, watchmaker’s and dentists’s tool sets -- Bullet trap -- Snap caps, sandpaper, cleaning supplies, solvent tank, oil and solvents 17

-- Gloves and shop clothes -- Both metric and US tap and die sets, tap wrenches and screw kits, plus screw extractor kits/tools -- Unlike olden times, TODAY, nearly every project has it’s own special tools that make the job a lot easier. If you’re installing bedding, check out Brownell’s “bedding install kit.” Likewise for everything from scope kits and tools to swivel stud installation kits! Cutting down a barrel? Get the “Barrel cut down kit” which includes everything from saw blades to crown cutters in one kit. IMPORTANT NOTE: Even basic gunsmith screwdrivers are MUCH different, not to mention a lot longer, than any other screwdrivers. They also are non tapered and won’t destroy expensive guns. MORAL: BUY gunsmith specific tools, DON’T try to get away with home repair or automotive tools! Most people who are evolving gunsmiths have always been handy with tools. However, gunsmithing deals with many smaller and finer parts (much like watchmakers or jewelers) such as tiny springs, and very fine surfaces that, unlike gold and silver, can’t be easily “polished out” because of their tough metallurgy once they are scratched. Gunsmith tools are specifically made to give better grips, less slip, and FIT the fixtures, components and work objects for which they were designed. They make you “look good” because their design complements your skill, experience and knowledge. Recently, many new KIT developments are allowing novice gunsmiths to advance to much tougher and more complex projects faster and easier. Two step Parkerizing sprays, trigger kits, specific bolt, ring and key tools, etc. have replaced a lot of Master jury-rigged tools and knowledge, to make the job that much easier and less risky to you and the product. Firearm Taxonomy -- Modern or Antique (more than 50 years old) -- Handgun or Long-gun (ATF) -- Airgun, pistol, revolver, derringer, shotgun, rifle, combination, specialty item -- Single shot, multi shot, semi auto, full auto -- Stainless, blued, synthetic,etc. -- Handfed, cylinderfed, tube fed, stripper clip/chamber fed, magazine fed, belt fed -- Caliber, gauge, bore -- Rim vs. Centerfire 18

-- Single or double action or combination -- Chamber/eject mechanism -- Effective range -- Barrel size, type, range, material, etc. -- US, Foreign or both -- Nondestructive or NFA DAO DAO Stands for “Double Action Only.” It was pioneered by Glock in Semis, who fooled ATF into thinking that a special trigger group that “decocked on each cycle” was similar to a DAO revolver (one which can only be shot by pulling the trigger, not cocking it). Since then, the Sig DAK, HK LEM and Para LDA are updated versions of this design. Because of the “heavier” trigger, many LE organizations require a DAO for duty carry. Glock advertised this originally like a revolver, reliable, able to be carried in condition one, without being “cocked and locked” like a 1911, for supposedly safer, faster access. The safety record shows that’s BS, with a huge number of duty AD’s with holster catches, dog claws, etc. scraping the “trigger safety.” Many officers now carry their Glock unchambered for this reason, which makes them slower than snapping off the safety of a cocked/locked 1911. “Full DA” or DA/SA usually means you can shoot either SA or DA, although DA can also mean that. SAO means it COCKS on each cycle and has to be decocked if you don’t want to fire. Most weapons with a usable hammer can be shot in either mode, although single shot derringers and rifles often have no DA option, and have to be cocked to be fired (SAO). Old cowboy revolvers that have to be cocked also are considered SAO or just SA. Ballistics Classified as interior, exterior or terminal. Ballistics is the math and science of energies, forces, trajectories, pressures, flows, stresses, twists, shapes, displacement, drag and other aspects of symmetric projectiles in motion. Without getting a PhD in engineering, a gunsmith is expected to understand enough about ballistics to safely and accurately counsel customers on handloading, lands and grooves, bullet drop, sighting and the trade offs of different load/firearm combinations vs. the goals of the shooter. These can include range, trajectory, MOA, barrel length and composition, bullet


weight, loads, velocity and terminal energy delivered. Numerous PC based ballistics programs are now available to the gunsmith. Reloading Although reloading can be a hobby, serious hunters and competition shooters also are interested in handloading or reloading, for fun, expense control, and load control. Hunters need to balance burn speed vs. bullet shape, composition and weight, especially for dangerous game. “Wildcat” loads are special calibers, neck ups or downs, etc. that create specific characteristics for certain applications, such as the 458 Lott for Water Buffalo. Example Basic Gunsmithing Projects Fix a safety Install a scope Install bedding Install new sites Install new trigger Appraise condition or value Inspect a bore Disassemble and clean Fix a jam Add accessories Cut down a stock Install a buttplate/ recoil pad Adjust a trigger Diagnose a feed problem Install swivel studs Replace furniture Add a bipod Bore sight a scope Increase shotgun capacity Fix a hammer bind Refinish a surface Polish bore and chamber Replace or repair a spring Clean, clear an obstruction Remove a stripped screw 20

Laminate/ Parkerize a stock Cut down a barrel Repair a magazine Reshape a stock comb/ cheek rest Combine features of several guns into one Add shell holders and speed feeders Adjust sights Live sight Assess firing condition and safety Determine provenance and/or age etc. Build a custom gun Upgrade fire control components Notch a rail File/ de-burr a part Understand how components work together … and hundreds more! Advanced Evolution Once you have done a number of “basic” projects, builds and repairs, you will begin to notice that advanced projects are just variations on the theme. You use many of the same tools and techniques, with just more steps. Gunsmithing can be a lifelong journey of growth. After a few months of practice, you can build a gun from the ground up with purchased components. A master might make some of those components including custom springs and engraving. A journeyman might then take it a step further and cast or mill components with custom metal formulas and hand engrave, instead of machine engrave, the finished product. It’s all a matter of degree, and there is no reason you can’t begin to immediately profit from the uniqueness of your initial customization, even if it’s just unusual stocks and scopes! Bore Sighting a Scope Once again, the difference between a pro and an amateur installing and sighting a scope, is experience, tools and the fine points of application knowledge. Is the caliber too large for the scope quality or ring quality, making it possible for the scope to shatter with the first shot? Don’t laugh, venerable Remington introduced their 710 series which included “factory 21

scopes” and when they graduated from 270s to 30-06 and higher: you guessed it, the scopes started shattering, not to mention the injuries from eye contact due to recoil with scopes too far back! The general rule of getting the scope as far back as possible and as low as possible to the bore is generally true, but is an example of CONSTRAINED OPTIMIZATION. This means, do your best, but take into account the TRADE OFFS created by the constraints. For example, do you need a hammer extension so the hammer can be reached due to scope position on your lever or single shot rifle or hunting pistol? Will rounds bounce off your scope when they are ejected? Does the scope fit the cheek position of your customer taking into account the eye relief of the scope? Some scope manufacturers consider 9” “generous” eye relief—try that squinting at a scope with a high caliber hunting pistol! BONK in the forehead if it’s a 444 Marlin or 45-70 BFR! These constraints are why MEDIUM rings are most often chosen over low, even though low is preferable for accuracy. The combination of rail, rings and scope is not always simple. With the variety of Picatinny, notch, 1913, custom, manufacturer and other drill/tap scenarios, choosing the right combination can be difficult. Some major scope manufacturers don’t make rings to match some military rail systems. When in doubt READ the instructions or study the blueprints! This is against all male instinct if you’re a guy, but LEADERS ARE READERS and pros always read. If you always start by removing the “placeholder” screws in the manufacturer’s tap, and try to do so on the sadly now defunct Bushmaster Bullpup, you’ll find that the entire chambering mechanism with all it’s tiny little springs, rails, hooks and components just BOINGED into your lap as a pile of components, and you’ll now be re-manufacturing a Bullpup in addition to installing a scope! INSTANT transition from basic to master gunsmithing! How do you hold all those little springs in place since you can’t get your fingers in there? Well, the manufacturer did it at an earlier stage of production, yikes, with highly specialize manufacturing equipment. We had to save one of our students from this problem, not having all the specialized manufacturing tables, by converting a drill press to an arbor press and holding components in place with the chuck while raising the table to stretch the spring. OUCH. BTW, if you are torqueing custom milled rings, they are INCH pounds, not FOOT pounds, which requires a special torque wrench! If you try your spark plug wrench, you’ll snap a $300 ring in half long before hitting the FOOT 22

pound. NO YOU CAN’T just divide the gauge by 12, the leverage on your auto TW is way too powerful, BUY THE RIGHT TOOL! If you are asked to install and sight a 50 BMG scope, the scope AND rings have to handle the recoil and you’ll be on the phone to Brownell’s asking about those $300 milled rings with inch pound torque requirements (click this link: http://www.gunengine.com/technology/50bmgreport.html to see an example of a 50 our Smith Tactical division sighted). A more advanced application would be doing this on a barrel that is NOT drilled and tapped, and you’ll be using that tap and die set FIRST on your own gun, or a used non-firing junk barrel for practice. This is a lot more than just tap and go, you have to know the thickness and metallurgy of the barrel, “what lies beneath” so you’re not disturbing a chamber rail, pin or spring, and the length of screw needed to securely hold the scope so you don’t accidentally extend into the barrel and catch a round or chambering component with a screw that extends into the barrel. This is fun and easy on a practice barrel that is nude, but removing a barrel from many guns, like AR’s, is a project in itself. You NEED to purchase lots of cheap junk guns (curios and relics are fun) that you can play with, and sellers think you are crazy when you want a gun they are about to throw away, but our students regularly get guns for $5 and $10 bucks, some hopelessly junked, that end up being $5,000 treasures when they are done restoring them! The general steps are: --Secure the firearm on your gun vise safely --Point barrel at a target on a nearby wall --Set the scope for the sighting focus specified by the manufacturer --Adjust the reticle for your customer’s proposed distance application --Install the scope as low and as far back as possible give the constraints and objectives --Do NOT use locktite or any other binding or glue agent (drop of oil is fine) --Torque set to specs all three sets of screws: rail tap, rings and tube 23

--Use a crosshair gauge (reticle leveler) to true the scope on its twist axis --Attach a magnetic Leupold bore sight or a laser bore sighter or both in turn --Adjust windage and elevation clicks (act like you are moving the TARGET, not the crosshairs, in the direction specified on the scope click adjust wheels) so the crosshairs center on the bore sight grid or laser grid This will get you “in the black,” but live sighting is needed to accomplish your customer’s goals, holdovers, application, and specific MOA and click rules of thumb for the scope specs. Training your customer on how to compensate based on the scope’s ZERO points (two with each trajectory curve) is an important step if you are dealing with Elk, big game, precision distance varmint hunters, LE/Military snipers, etc. Installing Studs A good example of accessorizing is to install sling swivel studs. EASY: Just buy studs and screw them into the pre-drilled holes that came from the manufacturer on the fore and stock. Use pliers with leather inserts or a pin through the hole to tighten, direct metal will scratch the finish off of the stud. It is better to use a plain hole stud than a pre-assembled swivel loop stud, because if your customer decides he wants a bipod, the swivel loop will be in the way. The bipod had two little “arms” that clamp onto the swivel, then screw tight to the fore with the big wheel. Many bipods have a second stud beneath the first so you can still attach your sling if you wish. Make sure you push the clamps AWAY from the bipod before squeezing them to unlock them and allow them to expand wide enough to clamp into the stud. If you accidentally get a stud with a swivel loop, the loop often just clamps to each stud hole, with metal in between (no complete hole through the stud). This stud will still work for a bipod if you remove the loop, since the bipod arms also don’t go through the complete stud, but just “grab” each little hole. To remove the loop: with a pair of bolt cutters, crimp the loop at the TOP, OPPOSITE where the arms go into the stud, with the cutters at inside bottom and top of the loop (not the sides). Next, stick a pair of needlenose pliers 24

through the loop and pull them open firmly. The crimp will become a “hinge” for the loop, and the two sides will come right out of the stud holes. Why not just cut right through the loop? Usually if the bolt cutters are strong enough, they are too big to get a good grip, and the crimp works just as well! MEDIUM: Use your drill and tap kit to thread unprepared fore and stock for new studs. Make sure the tap is the size of your studs, and never larger than the top lip of the stud. TOUGHER: Repairing an oversized or stripped stud hole is a little more challenging. There are several thread-fitting mold compounds available for use with glass bedding, “bondo” like hole repair, and even specialized tap repair compounds. All work similarly: you oversize the stripped hole (but still no larger than the stud size itself!). Next, you insert the goop, and screw the stud or screw into the hardening goop. The stuff hardens, takes the shape of the screw pitch, and forms a permanent new tap. Don’t put any load on the new stud until you follow the manufacturer’s CURE time on the form fitting bondo or accu glass: usually 24 hours at least. To remove an embedded stripped stud, rusty or stripped screw, etc. there are many screw removal bits for your handheld drill, be sure to get one specifically designed for gunsmith work (they have straight, non tapered cutting sides so they don’t slip and scratch the metal, wood or plastic). Read the instructions! Some of the newer ones require you to first go clockwise and bind, then twist out the opposite way. Replacing Furniture and Accessorizing One of the easiest things you can do as a gunsmith to add value to a firearm is to create a “custom” look with grips, stocks, fores, and accessories like shellholders, speedfeeders, slings, lights, lasers, custom bedding, Parkerizing, laminating, engraving, and many others. These projects can pay off in much greater margin than the herd out there selling all the same items against the big box stores with cutthroat profits. We have one grad who is making 20% more on cowboy action shooting pistols by simply replacing a one pin trigger component and a one screw set of custom grips! Example steps in converting a wood furniture rifle or shotgun to a “tactical” platform might include:


-- Secure firearm in your gun vise and be SURE it is not loaded -- Pre-arrange your tools, screwdrivers, wrenches, parts, flashlight, oil, sockets, etc. for the project --Wear goggles or safety glasses --Unscrew and set aside the old fore, being sure it doesn’t secure other internal components --Remove the butt plate/recoil pad from the old stock --Using a very long gunsmith screwdriver, or a ratchet extension (depending on whether the stock is secured by a screw or a bolt), remove the stock from the receiver. --Before trying to screw the new stock or pistol grip into the receiver, practice the screw/bolt angle without the stock to be sure the new screw/bolt matches the receiver. A light drop of oil will help. When you use the actual stock, “start” the bolt with your fingers first (using the space between the stock and the receiver, for example). If you set a screwdriver or ratchet right away before starting the bolt, you won’t have the “feel” of the placement angle, and the leverage of the tool can easily strip or damage the receiver threads. Cutting Down a Barrel There are many occasions when you will need to shorten or repair a barrel due to wear, tactical considerations, or accuracy (yes, some loads are more accurate with a shorter barrel). With new anti-gun bans happening every day, some manufacturers purposely make barrels at 28” that should be 16” due to the tactical nature of the load (7.62, .308 or .223 for example). Customers that want a brush gun and buy a long barrel will soon find it a hassle to carry due both to weight and snagging trees and underbrush. You can also buy long barrel guns in very powerful calibers and cut them down to create a very unique and fast selling tactical or dangerous game backup gun. Pick calibers that aren’t normally found in short barrels, like .358 Win, cut it down, and sell it as a quick access Bear gun.


With a fully featured machine shop, you’d just remove the barrel, put it on the lathe, chuck er down, and git er done. However, at a more basic level, many smiths simply use a hacksaw and then apply a whole variety of specialty cutters to finish off the rough/uneven cut of the hacksaw. Takes a little longer, but results are comparable to your lathe, and beginning (and even some advanced) gunsmiths don’t have enough work to justify the expense of a good lathe. On the other hand, there are a number of excellent manual, non-CNC lathes that work well without putting a huge hole in your wallet, but much of the finishing work still has to be done if you want a professional crown. Here are a couple examples: --Geared head mini for about $800, compared to $13,000 geared to $50,000 plus for cnc: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=45861 --You can also find many manual mini’s on ebay and various craft sites. --This thread is unfortunately gone now, but is one of the best discussions ever of the pros and cons of a variety of gunsmith lathes: Gentleman, As some of you may know, I sold off my last SB 13" lathe, with the sole intent of upgrading to a 10EE, thus finally acquiring my "Dream" lathe of many years... Anyhow, I have actually held off, in hopes of finding the "Right" lathe for me, but I have recently been thinking about getting into some Gunsmithing, and taking on all the challenges of this fine form of metalworking. Enough personal drama! Back to the lathe. My questions are in regards to WHAT makes a good gunsmithing lathe? Simply put, WHICH lathes would make good gunsmithing lathes????


I'm interested to hear about any and all lathes, in any price range, but I'm actually most interested in lathes that fit a budget of somewhere between $1000 and maybe $3000. Granted, I realize it's all about the "Three C's" (Condition, Condition, Condition)! I just want to know what makes a good gunsmithing lathe, and what you guys prefer to use for smithing...??? Finally, would it be safe to assume that most ANY lathe would be GREAT for handgun work, as the barrels/parts are always SHORT, to say the least? In other words, when it comes to finding a good gunsmithing lathe, it's really only critical, when working with long barrels/long guns/rifles????? Thanks so much guys... Posts: 962 | From: Atlanta, GA | IP: Logged rsal Brass Member # 5424 Rate Member

posted 12-20-2006 08:36 PM12-20-2006 07:36 PM

depends on where your intrest lies and the methods you want to use. A 9 inch SB and the right set up is all you really need. Depends on alot of which school of thought you follow, between centers or through the headstock. One requires long bed, other needs a big spindle hole. both have advantages and disavantages. IMHO, unless you want to turn barrels from a basic blank, a 10L or simular is good (as long as it is accurate and you understand it) I do not know much about the 10EE but I am sure with the right methods it will be a good "gunsmithing" lathe. The only reason I use the 10L is it was available and I undrestand it ( I learned to run a lathe on 9" so I was familure with it) and it is paid for. If I


had a choice, give (key word here) me an HLV and equal tooling and I would be happy. I think the key is the man not necessaryly the machine. just my $0.02 Roger Posts: 37 | From: Danville IN | IP: Logged Butch Lambert 303 Stainless Member # 833 Member Rated:

posted 12-20-2006 09:14 PM12-20-2006 08:14 PM

I would love to have a 10EE, but it is not practical for barreling work. The headstock is too long to do work in the headstock and with 20" between centers won't let you do it in the steady rest. Go to Benchrest.com and do a search. Several threads on this. Butch Posts: 311 | From: Poetry Texas USA | IP: Logged


Diamond Member # 1011 Member Rated:

posted 12-21-2006 09:27 AM12-21-2006 08:27 AM

"The [ 10EE ] headstock is too long to do work in the headstock ..." The through hole is 1-3/8", but the 5C drawtube is an astonishing 25" long. Yes, a VERY long headstock.

"... and with 20" between centers won't let you do it in the steady rest."


30" models were made, but are very rare.

In other respects, the 10EE is more at home machining plutonium pits for thermonuclear bombs, than it is threading barrels for smokeless power rifles. Posts: 5961 | From: Monterey Bay, California | IP: Logged ahall 303 Stainless Member # 3245 Member Rated:

posted 12-21-2006 01:07 PM12-21-2006 12:07 PM

Gunsmithing involves relitively small parts with close fits and lots of threads. So - tool room size lathes are what your after. SBs and similar older lathe designs that still have banjos befor the thread feeds offer the ability to slip an extra gear or two into the gear train and cut almost any thread, if you can do the math. EE's have an excelent range of threads and feeds as well, but the distance between centers and lenght of the head stock is an issue. Also, the range of threads is a little restricted on the WWII vintage machines with round thread selection boxes. These machine are less expensive, and not as refined as the later ones. Having run all the lathes discussed in this thread, I think you may have parted with one of the better gunsmithing lathes when you got rid of your 13" SB Currently I have a EE, and a SB10L. I also have my brothers 10L and 13" SB. The EE is unquestinablely my favorite machine. Its easy


to adjust speed and has plenty of power. I will keep my 10L for chambering because the head stock is shorter, and I keep trying to talk my brother out of the 13" that he loveingly restored. Franky the 13"SB is rigid enought for my needs. It has enough length between centers and a relitively short head stock and footprint for a lathe its size. Its only draw back is that the EE has spoiled me for power and speed. In my opinion the 9" SB is a fine machine, but was intended to be a hobby/ student/ tool room machine. Its just a little to light for my tastes. The 10L is a significant improvement over the 9" and with a long bed it would be a fine gunsmiths machine. Especialy if it were equiped with a 5C collet set, steady rest, tapper attachement and other accessories. The EE's shortcomings are its short bed and long head stock. This makes a lot of barel work difficult. Its also HEAVY compaired to the other lathes discussed. Amost 3000 lb and electricaly complex. If you want to do a litte hunting, the large Rivet (I forget the model #) that was built as a competitor to the EE is probably worth looking for. Its even heavier and has more distance between centers. Its reputation is good and its not as electricaly complex. If you intend to work on english guns, it will probalby have a better selection of threads. I have not played with this machine personaly, but it was one of three that came up when asking what is the best tool room machine made. Another option is a Hardinge HVL. Its not as heavy as the EE or Rivet, but they are well known for precision and bed


length and head stock lenght are probably better suted for gunsmithing. It wont put chips in the pan as fast as an EE, but thats not the point of gunsmithing. Posts: 279 | From: perry, OK, USA | IP: Logged Toomany Tools Aluminum Member # 6249 Rate Member

posted 12-21-2006 10:30 PM12-21-2006 09:30 PM

I looked at many different model lathes and spoke to a number of long-time full-time gunsmiths before I purchased. Based on what some of them use and their advice I purchased a JET 1340GH and installed DRO. This lathe will thread any barrel I need to, either through the headstock or use the steady rest. It's long enough to contour barrels as well. It is all the lathe a gunsmith will need and is very cost-effective. Posts: 85 | From: Corrales, NM | IP: Logged

Paul Cataldo 303 Stainless Member # 4228 Rate Member

posted 12-22-2006 12:08 AM12-21-2006 11:08 PM

Well guys, Thanks so much for the response. Well, I WOULD have kept the SB 13", but in all honesty, I was just hoping to finally get set up with another lathe, a "step up" from South Bend machines. I also really wanted a lathe with a higher top end speed, than the SB's 900-ish rpms. As I said, it seems like forever now, that I've been lusting after an EE, and it WAS my plan to acquire one, as my next lathe. However, I really have started leaning towards other options, and one such option (as you guys have recommended), just so happens to also be an HLV. Granted, it's no EE, but I have always been drawn to this lathe, and it's precision. It just looks like a sweet machine, that would be perfect for gunsmithing. 32

Of course, one day I WILL eventually acquire an EE, and I surely wouldn't turn one down if I found one in good condition that I could afford. Thanks for all the replies, and if anyone cares to share any other gunsmithing/lathe info, I'm very interested to hear from you! I sure WISH I had a gunsmith buddy to hang out with in my area! It still seems I'm the only guy in the state of GA, who's into this kind of thing... Posts: 962 | From: Atlanta, GA | IP: Logged blackboat 303 Stainless Member # 266 Member Rated:

posted 12-22-2006 12:17 AM12-21-2006 11:17 PM

Uh, you sold it I'm afraid. I believe I could chamber a barrel with a steady in a 10EE, problem is I'd have to have a longer lathe to prep it with, and now we're down the road to pointless. I keep a 10L SB around for this sort of stuff. Discussion at the benchrest site seems to center around newer asian stuff, and from some of the guns that get built it must be working. Seems to be a little different opinion than you usually get here. Rob Posts: 619 | From: Conyers, GA | IP: Logged

huntinguy posted 12-22-2006 12:47 AM12-21-2006 11:47 PM Plastic Member # 15940 The EE is a good machine but to say it is electrically complicated is an understatement. They can be very Rate accurate. It would not be my first or tenth choice. (BTW. I 33


run one most every day) SB 9 is a great little machine. Not for someone in a hurry though. I had a chance at one but it was the short bed and not of much value for gun work (bore is too small). It is also not really heavy. The Hardinge is accurate as all get out. Threading is an issue. It requires an accessory to be able to thread. I have used them, they work but…. On my want list, it is below a EE. I have run the Jet. It is reasonably accurate. It has a nice heavy feel like the EE. I think it would be in my top three for gun work. One model (I don’t recall the number) has a gap (yes, there are issue with removing and reinstalling the gap), but if you are like me you were raised on lathes there is a great deal you can do with it. All that said. I am a fan of belt driven machines. It is not hard to change out the pulleys and get any speed range you wish (providing the spindle bearing will handle the speed). For what ever my opinion is worth. Posts: 16 | From: Washington | IP: Logged

SamD Plastic Member # 3459 Rate Member

posted 12-22-2006 03:30 AM12-22-2006 02:30 AM

I am currently using a Rockwell 11" that I think is just about perfect. Plenty heavy, solid smooth and accurate. Speed range is good, 36" bed 16" through the head with a 1 7/16 bore. You want a good 36" usable bed bigest headstock hole you can get, a slow slow and a fast fast.


After that just get to know your machine. SamD Posts: 9 | From: NM | IP: Logged ahall 303 Stainless Member # 3245 Member Rated:

posted 12-22-2006 01:15 PM12-22-2006 12:15 PM

I agree that the HVL is a nice machine, and if you can find one set up for inch and metric threads, so much the better. I believe have also seen an import copy of that machine in recent years. I know nothing of the quality, but they are out there. Personaly, I think very highly of the EE and think there is nothing wrong with having a couple of lathes if you have the room. An EE for general work and a 13" SB for barrel work would be a good combo. Yes the SB is slow, but the plain journal bearings and lack of gears in the headstock keep the vibration to a minimum. Inexpensive bearings and gears can cause problems with fine surface finishes. Take a hard look at that if you buy an import lathe. Headstock length is also the issue with most 14" or larger engine lathes. The gear train creates a long spindle hole. Large spindle bore/ short spindle is a restricting requirement. The other option not listed is a Logan. There are quite a few out there, but not as popular as the


SB, and very similar in design. Posts: 279 | From: perry, OK, USA | IP: Logged WILLEO6709

Titanium Member # 256 Member Rated:

posted 12-22-2006 05:40 PM12-22-2006 04:40 PM

I like the Clausing colchester 8000 series in a medium lathe. This series has a d1-8 and a 3" thru hole so you have no issues with any size barrel until you get into serious artillery. front clamping collet chucks work well for small work and it still goes 1600 rpm. Posts: 1757 | From: WAPELLO, IA USA | IP: Logged

Kurt posted 12-22-2006 05:47 PM12-22-2006 04:47 PM Westfall Titanium Member There was a post over on BRC about lathes that mit interest # 225 you. http://www.benchrest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38232 Rate Member Posts: 1106 | From: Montrose Iowa | IP: Logged jim rozen Diamond Member # 2561 Member Rated:

posted 12-22-2006 08:16 PM12-22-2006 07:16 PM

Actually, the HLV and HLVH are lathes fully equipped with leadscrews, QC gearboxes, and the ability to thread, right out of the box. (the thought that a special threading attachment would be required probably involves a mix-up with the DV-59, a non-leadscrew machine) Indeed the HLVH is a dream to thread with.


It uses a single-point dog clutch so there is no threading dial to contend with. The halfnuts are left closed at all times, and the lever that engages the leadscrew in forward or reverse is used to set the carriage in motion. It can be started or stopped at any point, and re-enaged at any time in perfect sync with the thread being cut. Indeed the threading lever can be set to disengage with a stop operated by the carriage, so that threads can be cut in a highly automated fashion. The saying is that most threads can be cut on that machine, at 1000 rpm. Jim Posts: 6828 | From: peekskill, NY | IP: Logged jeffeosso 303 Stainless Member # 2371 Member Rated:

posted 12-23-2006 12:41 AM12-22-2006 11:41 PM

10EE is a poor choice for gunsmthing... the first time you have a barrel with a front sight on it, or a classic german full rib and sighted barrel, you will curse the day you bought it. gunsmithing is precise, but it's not .0001. read a "true" case drawing, and be FLOORED at the +/- ... look for a lathe that you can still get parts on. lablonde for example, with 1.5 or larger through spindle hole. a taper is good, but not required, and you can make one later. if you go for an import, go ahed and buy ALL the threading gears train, for spares. you might get them


remade from your spares, and keep your spares, but i'll tell you from experience that getting it RIGHT is a PIA. my next lathe will be a 15" lablond, if i can find one for the right price jeffe Posts: 758 | From: Porter, Tx | IP: Logged 1yesca Hot Rolled Member # 2929 Rate Member seanb Brass Member # 10792 Rate Member

posted 12-23-2006 02:48 AM12-23-2006 01:48 AM

logan mod. 1957............................. Posts: 130 | IP: Logged posted 12-23-2006 11:19 AM12-23-2006 10:19 AM

I have a Grizzly 12x37 which for the money is an excellent lathe. I would get the gear drive if I had to do it over again. One adavantage of a new import is cheaper and available repair parts I have had zero issues with parts breaking, and the lathe is well made where it counts(spindle and ways) Posts: 49 | From: st. louis, MO | IP: Logged

Ken R Catskin Aluminum Member # 1680

posted 12-23-2006 08:02 PM12-23-2006 07:02 PM

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is metric threading right on the gear box - thats a big plus in my neck of the


woods... Rate Member BobB Hot Rolled Member # 2241 Rate Member

Posts: 73 | From: Redmond, Oregon | IP: Logged posted 12-23-2006 10:32 PM12-23-2006 09:32 PM

I've a got a 13.5 x 40 Grizzly that I've built several guns with. I know that many here destest the Asian lathes as being good enough for anything, but fact of the matter is they do what they are supposed to do. I have had no issues with mine. Its got a hole thought the spindle that will accomodate anything short of a .50 BMG. The headstock is short enough that a chuck can be made that attaches to the spindle on the backside of the headstock that will support a fairly short barrel and keep it from flexing or wobbling and risking a bent barrel. It has metric/standard threading capability and it cuts threads easily. It has good speed range and its very easy to change. Ive built a 15 inch taper attachment and a collet closer that serves me very well. The 3 and 4 chuck are large enough to do whatever I want,yet small enough to easliy change by hand. It has a foot brake that stops the spindle instantly, although I rarely use it, its there if I need it. I've gotten some exellent finishes with various barrels...so there are no issues there. The main thing is the Asian lathes are AVAVILABLE. They


arent hard to find and there are a multitude of parts and enhancments for them. Yes, I know that they are considered light duty by American standards...but how many NEW American built machines are there now ? AS for light duty, cna anyone tell me what porcess in gunsmithing is considered heavy duty? I've chambered barrels,chucked up the action and taken the barrels off,built recievers,blueprinted actions and pretty much done everything that you can do on a rifle including building them from scratch..with no issues whatsoever. Using a bigger lathe can make some things on a gun harder to do.Although I love heavy iron and I work with them everyday, the Asian imports can and do the job as well as any. Posts: 194 | From: God's Country | IP: Logged jabezkin 303 Stainless Member # 14873 Member Rated:

posted 12-24-2006 01:09 AM12-24-2006 12:09 AM

Jim Rozen; Is there a 800 rpm limit on threading? Its been a long time, so it might have been a shop policy, but what a dream to thread on!! Posts: 607 | From: littlestown,pa | IP: Logged

Andbl33 Plastic Member # 5301

posted 12-31-2006 10:00 PM12-31-2006 09:00 PM

Have any of you guys got your new Grizzly catalog. They have two new models of lathes made for 40

Rate Member

gun smithing. They look to be real nice. I have a 10EE and it is about useless for this type of work. Check them out and let me know what you think! Posts: 15 | From: iowa | IP: Logged


posted 12-31-2006 10:44 PM12-31-2006 09:44 PM Interestingly, I found the Grizz lathes you were talking about...but the weblinks for both aren't operable yet!

Diamond Member # 2207 Member Rated: Andbl33 Plastic Member # 5301 Rate Member

I was curious if they have different form and function than their other lathe offerings or if they are "hopped up" with additional tooling? Posts: 7644 | From: Atlanta, GA, USA | IP: Logged

posted 01-01-2007 04:17 AM01-01-2007 03:17 AM

The new Grizzly have higher quality bearings. The tail stock is suppose to be more accurate and can be torqued down to Zero The head stock is notched out on the back end of the spindle bore and comes from the factory with a build in spider. They have two models the professional 16x40 with 2" spindle bore for $6750.00 and a beginner model 12x36 with 1 5/8 spindle bore for $2695.00. I really like the looks of the 16x40 looks real heavy duty and is big enough for most other jobs you may run across. Posts: 15 | From: iowa | IP: Logged


Bob N Aluminum Member # 6319 Rate Member

posted 01-10-2007 04:07 PM01-10-2007 03:07 PM

I'm surprised that there was no mention of the 5900 and 6900 series Clausing lathes. Posts: 61 | From: alabama | IP: Logged

rude_mechanical13c posted 01-10-2007 08:24 PM01-10-2007 Plastic 07:24 PM Member # 16884 Paul Rate Member the 10EE is a fabulous machine,I had one once,it was one of the best lathes I ever had.However,I'd choose something with a bigger spout through the headstock and slightly longer between centres. Although it seems that like me you appreciate the EE for what a fine machine it is rather than what use you can make of it. What about the next size up Monarch or a Hendey? I'm biased, I have an English Holbrook,its a fine machine but it only has a 1.25" spout, common failing with these lathes. I think you ought to be looking for a 6 or 6.5 " centre height, at least 30" between centres and a minimum 1.5" spindle bore. make sure you have a fixed steady rest with it as well. Posts: 1 | From: peterborough,uk | IP: Logged smokepolesc posted 01-12-2007 07:09 PM01-12-2007 06:09 PM Brass Member # 9536 You are on the right track, getting a lot of good input from knowedgable folks. Just remember, this is free 42

Rate Member advice and worth just what you paid for it! Here are my min specs for Gunsmithing Lathes: 10" min swing, 1214" is better; 1.375 minimum hole thru hole in GEAR head spindle for 5-C collets; D1-4, L-0, or L-00 spindle nose, avoid threaded or A type; Minimum 24" between centers, 36-40" (1 meter) is better. Over 60" is too long, BUT may be a good value if bed can be cut down, but that's another story! This being said, a fairly recent 13" X 40" (metric) gear head tool room lathe, weighing about 2000 lbs is the most versatile and cost effective option. Most important are condition, condition, condition, and then tooling. After spending a year repairing and restoring my first lathe, had to spend much more on tooling! Basic tooling: 3 jaw chuck w/T&G top jaws, 4 jaw chuck, aloris wedge type(not piston) tool post with holders, full set of 5-C collets with lever or Sjogren type closer. Reducing sleeve for head stock center, live center, TS chucks, ... Taper attachment is nice but not really necesary. Personally, I don't think New Asian import lathes are not as good a value as a good, clean US or European lathe by known maker where parts and service are still available: Monarch, SB, Leblond, L&S, Hardinge, Clausing, Colchester... The challenge is finding and recognizing a good, clean, lathe at a fair price vs a "beater". However, They are available and sometimes very reasonably. I am a graduate industrial engineer with 30 years experience manufacturing all types of anti-friction bearings from 1" to over 6 foot diameter. I have done a lot of "hobby" gun work, and run my own machine shop. My current lathe (number 3) is a 1941 12 x 36 gear head Sebastian with 2 1/4 threaded spindle with all tooling listed, plus a 1J 9 X 42 Bridgeport. The Monarch EE is an exquisite machine. It gives the same kind of satisfation to some as shooting a hand built H&H, Griffin & Howe..., but I wouldn't hunt some of the places I do with a gun that's worth more than my car. I


have seen phenomenal gun and model work done on machines that can barely be called a lathe. The bottom line is, buy what you can afford and use what you have. Posts: 30 | From: South Carolina | IP: Logged t00lmanii Plastic Member # 14518 Rate Member

posted 01-12-2007 11:26 PM01-12-2007 10:26 PM

Bob N wsa right. I learned how to thread and chamber a barrel on a 5913 Clausing, by an old retired toolmaker. Variable speed to 2000rpm, large enough thru hole for a barrel blank, short enough headstock to use a spider if that is desired. They won't take a heavy cut without chattering, but as has been said, heavy cuts aren't what you're after in a 'smithing lathe anyway. I just bought a 15X50 Colchester, primarily for gunsmithing. (rifle work mostly) I was lucky enough to find one that falls in your price range, had to look a long time though. Fella had it listed as a 15x40 and it didnt attract much attention. I never heard of a 15x40 model 8000 so a little investigation paid off. Good luck with your new aspirations. Posts: 13 | From: Southern Indiana | IP: Logged

Butch Lambert 303 Stainless Member # 833 Member Rated: t00lmanii

posted 01-13-2007 12:29 AM01-12-2007 11:29 PM

I use a 6913 Clausing. I have to use a cathead on both ends to do it through the head stock. It works great. Butch Posts: 311 | From: Poetry Texas USA | IP: Logged posted 01-13-2007 07:08 PM01-13-2007 06:08 PM


Plastic Member # 14518 Rate Member BATF666 Brass Member # 15934 Rate Member

I must have been asleep at the keyboard...my lathe is a model 2000. Posts: 13 | From: Southern Indiana | IP: Logged posted 01-13-2007 07:30 PM01-13-2007 06:30 PM

Delta/Rockwell 10" is the one I just acquired couple of months ago..I need to make a spider for it and I need to get a Quick Change Post..Just got a Steady Rest and also looking for a 4 jaw chuck. It is a through the head with Variable speed. Runs great..Now would a AXA tool post be the one or if I go Phase II do I go 100 or 200 Posts: 29 | From: NY-Long Island | IP: Logged

GGaskill posted 01-14-2007 03:37 AM01-14-2007 02:37 AM

Moderator Member # 73 Member Rated: Johle Plastic Member #

Probably the smallest one. I got the second largest for my 12" Logan and it was too big. Posts: 837 | From: Chino [Flats], Ca SSR, USA | IP: Logged

posted 01-17-2007 01:08 AM01-17-2007 12:08 AM


13498 Rate Member

I've been using a Clausing 5914 for over ten years now and consider it ideal for gunsmithing. Varible speed drive is great for contouring barrels, can chamber through the headstock or with steady. Mine is 12 X 36, if I were doing shotgun work I would prefer a longer bed for screw in choke work. Posts: 7 | From: Texas | IP: Logged

Butch Lambert 303 Stainless Member # 833 Member Rated: Clemson Brass Member # 8942 Rate Member

posted 01-17-2007 11:42 PM01-17-2007 10:42 PM

Good to see you on the forum Freddy. A great gunsmith and can help you guys alot. Butch Posts: 311 | From: Poetry Texas USA | IP: Logged posted 01-18-2007 01:02 PM01-18-2007 12:02 PM

There is a 12x36 Clausing advertised in my local paper for $1000. I have no idea of condition or tooling. Clemson Posts: 45 | From: Upstate SC | IP: Logged posted 01-18-2007 11:36 PM01-18-2007 10:36 PM

Johle Plastic Member # 13498


Rate Member

Most of the time I just lurk in the shadows, trying to learn something.


Sure hated missing the swap meet at Shilen's. Elk hunting interfered. Priorities you know. Drop by sometime. Freddy Johle Posts: 7 | From: Texas | IP: Logged willbird Titanium Member # 6717 Rate Member

posted 01-20-2007 03:13 PM01-20-2007 02:13 PM

The grizzly 16" x "40 Gunsmith does seem pretty nice for the price....the smaller one isnt bad either at least looking at pictures :-). Bill Posts: 1600 | IP: Logged

Before we get into the steps for cutting down a barrel, here is a useful summary from a recent sniper magazine article about the process of manufacturing a barrel in the first place: Barrel Construction Of all the components involved in constructing a rifle, it is the barrel that intrigues the shooter. The barrel is the determining factor for a hit or miss, and a rifle that is shot out or inaccurate will usually be in the gunsmith's shop for a "re-barrel" job. Little is understood about the actual barrelmaking process prior to the gunsmith's lathe. "How do you make the grooves?" is one of the most common questions answered by a barrelmaker. Contrary to popular belief, there is no real mystery to barrelmaking. But, in the same token, barrelmaking requires skilled technicians who fully understand the processes and machines, and has a lot of patience. 47

In this article I will explain the basic processes involved in turning a chunk of raw steel into a rifled barrel, concentrating on the cut-rifling process, as that is my field of expertise. STEEL The quality of steel used is the first and foremost factor a good barrelmaker considers. Most high-production manufacturers use a Chrome Molybdenum (Cro-Moly) steel, and most target or similartype makers use stainless steel. Cro-Moly steel is usually designated as 4140, 4145, or 4150 type steel. Cro-Moly is relatively cheap and readily available, is easily machined, can be hardened by heat treatment, and is easily blacked. Most factory hunting rifles, as well as military rifles, are equipped with Cro-Moly barrels. Stainless steel barrels are not true autensitic stainless; the better term would be "rust-resistant" steel. Stainless barrels are a 416 type, which is a martensitic class, and can be hardened by heat treatment. 416 stainless has a high Chrome content, and sulfur is added to obtain good machining qualities. It is a more expensive steel, and does not black well due to the chrome content, but the Teflon process has filled that void. I am often asked how hard barrel steel should be. Will harder steel last longer than softer steel? Well, yes and no. There are two determining factors when selecting steel for barrels: tensile strength and impact strength. Tensile strength is defined as the measured force required to break a one-inch cross-sectional area of steel by pulling at both ends. Basically it measures how much force it takes to pull a rod of steel apart. Barrel steels should be rated a factor of two over chamber pressures (for a good safety margin), which is usually a tensile strength over 100,000 lb/in^2. Impact strength is the steel's ability to take a sharp blow without breaking. The tensile strength increases as the steel is hardened, but the steel also becomes more brittle (easier to fracture upon impact - or maybe from the explosion you create in the chamber 48

when you pull the trigger!). There must be some elasticity in the steel, and it has been determined that a 26-32 Rc (Rockwell C scale) hardness is the appropriate, safe trade-off. Production processes at the steel mill often leave residual stress in the steel. This stress must be relieved prior to machining, for if it is not, the barrel or bore will bend while you are removing material. This relieving process is achieved, either at the mill or in house, by cooking the steel in a high temperature oven and then allowing it to cool at a specific rate. Normally, barrel steel is double stress-relieved to ensure straight, stress-free barrels. Cryogenics is an additional stress relief technique used by some barrelmakers. A cryoed barrel is frozen at -300 degrees Fahrenheit or more, and then brought to room temperature at a specific rate. Users of cryogenics claim that cryo-treating the steel after the heat treatment process creates a more homogenous microstructure in the material, ensuring a more stress-free barrel. BARRELMAKING There are three steps in creating a cut rifled barrel: Drilling, Reaming, then Rifling (in that sequence). DRILLING A straight barrel begins with a straight hole. Drilling a straight hole in a rifle barrel is accomplished with special drilling machines, generally known as Gundrills. The drill (drill bit) used is a special application type specifically used for drilling deep holes, known as deep hole drills. Not your everyday twist drill. The deep hole drill is basically a long, hollow tube with a Vgroove formed on the outside. A hollow tungsten carbide tip is brazed to the end of the tube and then ground to specs, including a V-groove to match the tube. The face of the carbide tip is asymmetrical so that it will only cut on one side, and is also ground so that the forces acting on the tip keep the drill centered in the workpiece. The deep hole drill used is .008-.012" under the finished bore diameter, which leaves room for the reaming process.


After a bar of steel has been cut to length and both ends faced square, the "blank" is inserted into the Gundrill. The Gundrill rotates the barrel at 2000-4000 RPM while a stationary deep hole drill is fed into the material through a tight-fitting bushing. A steady rest rides along the drill to keep the tube rigid while drilling. Coolant is pumped through the hollow drill at 1000 psi via the tailstock to clear chips and cool the drill face. The oil and chips are forced back through the Vgroove and into the chip tray, where the oil is strained and returned to the reservoir. The drill is fed into the material at a rate of about 1"/minute, so a 28" blank will take approximately 30 minutes to drill. REAMING A good bore reamer maker is a barrelmaker's best friend. The reamer is ground to finished bore diameter, and will bring the drilled hole to size as well as leave a good surface finish. The reaming process is what determines the finish of the tops of the lands. The reamer is mounted on a long hollow tube to allow coolant to be pumped to the tool. The reamer is pulled through the barrel on a special reaming machine at around 200 RPM and a feed rate of 1"/minute. After the reamer is pulled through, it is inspected for flaws in surface finish and air-gauged for dimensional uniformity. It is now ready to be rifled. CUT RIFLING Cut rifling has been around for 500+ years. It was invented in Nuremberg circa 1492 and is still the optimum method of creating precise spiral grooves. As the barrel steel has improved, so has the cut rifling technique. Rifling is produced using a cutter, sometimes called a "hook cutter," which scrapes metal out of the bore. The cutter rides in a hardened hollow steel cylinder, or "rifling head," which is ground just under the reamed bore diameter, and contains a lift mechanism and feed screw. The rifling head is mounted on long, straight hollow steel 50

tubing so that coolant can be pumped to the cutter. The tubing is fitted with an adapter so that it can be attached to the machine. The cutter is ground to fit in a slot milled in the rifling head, and is made specific to a caliber and twist rate. Cuttermaking requires great skill and a lot of patience. A well made rifling cutter produces some of the most uniform groove circles found today, and a well maintained cutter will leave a superior finish that requires minimal lapping. RIFLING MACHINES The rifling is cut on rifling machines, which pull the cutter through the bore. Then the rod is pushed back through the bore until the barrel is indexed for the next groove to be cut. After a cycle has been completed (the first pass has been made on all grooves) the machine activates the lift mechanism, which increases the cutting depth. Additional cycles are completed until the grooves are cut to size. The average cut is a ten thousandth of an inch per groove per cycle, and it can take over an hour to fully cut a barrel. The machines used for cut rifling are specialized for barrels only. There are two basic types of riflers: Sine bar and Hydraulic "B" riflers. Sine bar riflers, usually Pratt & Whitney or Diamond Machine riflers, are single-spindle belt-driven machines that utilize a sine bar to change the rate of twist. The rifling slide is attached to the sine bar and the spindle rotates at the determined twist rate as the slide moves back and forth on the machine. Most of these machines are of WWI vintage, and are still very accurate. A series of "new" riflers was introduced by Pratt & Whitney during WWII. Dubbed "B" riflers, they are hydraulic powered machines that have two spindles, making them capable of rifling two barrels at the same time. A leader bar, or lead screw, replaced the sine bar to determine the rate of twist. The rifling slide is attached to the machine, with a nut that follows the lead screw. The nut is held against the lead screw with the aid of a large clock spring to limit backlash and provide a uniform spiral.


The last production rifler was the Pratt & Whitney "B" rifler, as higher production rifling techniques emerged after WWII. The "B" rifler is the zenith of cut rifling machine technology to date. LAPPING The final stage for the barrel in raw form is lapping. Lapping the barrel ensures a dimensionally uniform bore, end to end, and provides a uniform, clean interior surface finish. Good barrels are hand-lapped, and lead is the lap of choice among barrelmakers. A lap is made by pushing a lapping rod, a cleaning rod without jag, up the bore 3-4 inches from the end. The barrel is then swung vertical and molten lead is poured into the bore. The lead freezes to the end of the rod and makes a cast of the rifling. This is the lap. Next, the lap is pushed out the bore, de-burred, and smeared with a lapping compound, which is grit suspended in a greasy, lubricating medium. The lap is pushed and pulled through the barrel until the barrelmaker feels an even resistance, which can take a few hundred strokes. The result is a uniform, polished finish that follows the direction of the cut groove spiral, eliminating much of the break-in process. In this article, I can only account for the manufacturing attributes of the cut-rifled barrel. Although new developments in boregrooving have erupted in the last 50 years, the age-old art of cut rifling has remained the staid force in accurate barrels. I hope I have given you at least a glimpse of what is endured in the process. Next Steps Given all that, your first consideration has to be: Stainless vs. blued? Unless you want to get into an entirely different new project, we’d stick with Stainless! Re-bluing is like shortening the legs of a table, you start with a little, and end up re-finishing the entire gun. It’s one reason Magna Port doesn’t port that many blued guns. Little known secret: Ruger and some other manufacturers will actually re-blue your gun for free, but not as a service after you’ve hacked up their barrel!


For the “quick and easy hacksaw version”, here are the time-tested steps: -- Gun on vise, no need to remove barrel with this method -- Mark your cut with a Sharpie (don’t go below 18 for shotguns or 16 for rifles or you’ll be creating an NFA weapon, which is a felony. Leave an extra inch or two for overcuts.). -- Remove the bolt and block the barrel between your cut and the action with a wad of cotton to prevent sending chips into your action as you saw -- Hack away. Yes, the cut will be crooked and rough. This step takes guts. -- Using a perpendicular muzzle facing cutter/crown cutter (available at Brownell’s, Midway, Numrich, etc.), fit the cutter a little larger than the muzzle, with a pilot chuck in the bore (we prefer brass to steel as it is softer and has less chance of scratching your bore), and, using either the manual Thandle cutter, or their attachment for your drill chuck, drown the work in cutting oil, set your drill on the lowest possible setting, and “lathe” away! -- Be sure to use a STOP COLLAR to avoid uneven cutting and to cut to perfect face, and go SLOW or you’ll end up with a much shorter (and perhaps illegal) barrel without intending to. You’ll know when to stop when you hit the stops and all the little grind or chatter marks are gone (actually evened out). -- Once faced (remember the 90 was just to even out your hacksaw cut), you need to switch to the crown cutter. We prefer the 11 degree crown size (sometimes called 79 as the difference from 90) due to accuracy in the higher calibers. -- Finish the work with a scoring/radius cut done with your muzzle radius cutter. All three cutters now come in the “barrel cutting kits” offered at all the good supply houses. IMPORTANT NOTE: this cut only requires a small finishing score, and if you use your drill chuck, just give it a quick spin and you’re DONE. Make sure the radius cutter fits your barrel size range as marked on the box. -- If the barrel is stainless, dura coating the whole thing is a great finish, or you can just leave the raw steel 53

-- KEY: Go SLOW. Stop every few turns to remove chips, re-oil, and keep the tip clean. This has two advantages: one, you can see what you’re doing. Two, the chips and heat aren’t accidentally ruining your barrel as you go. Headspace Gauges and Barrel Work Barrel work can range from simple condition appraisal to diagnostics, to repairs ranging from simple cleaning and adjustment, to deep cleaning, to complex milling and cutting. Get a good bore inspection light, and check the barrel for wear, powder residue, cracks, obstructions, lead fouling, and general condition. Are the lands and grooves distinct and the bore smooth and still polished? Are the surfaces like new or so fouled you can’t see them? Is the steel rusted, pitted, dull, burred or otherwise damaged? Once you render an opinion on condition, there is no greater step forward to accuracy than a good cleaning! Bore Polishing, re-crowning, reaming, adjusting headspace are all progressively more extreme accurizing tactics, right up to installing a completely new barrel, but most often a very good cleaning can take the place of days of expensive lathe work. Gunsmiths can use a series of more aggressive cleaning techniques than the general public’s rod and solvent, employing non-embedding bore cleaning compounds, electronic “reverse plating,” deep cleaning agents, overnight soaking, etc. Headspace is a constant topic on gunsmith forums. A “go/nogo” gauge system is an important tool for checking headspace. These gauges are just like cartridges. You close the bolt, and if it closes on the go, but not the nogo, you’re “good to go.” Sophisticated gunsmiths and armorers can even tell tolerances by how far the bolt closes before stopping on the no-go. Halfway up is a great general rule. Refurbishing We mentioned practicing on old, worn out, “trash” guns to get experience. You’ve learned how great it can be to differentiate yourself with even light accessories to make a unique product. There are two other major topics we have to cover for a great beginning business: repair and refurbishing old guns. 54

In classic gunsmithing schools, many months are spent simply taking guns apart, then re-assembling them. This exercise goes on and on, and seems like a huge waste of time. But there is a point: by just taking an older gun apart, checking for rusted or worn parts, then re-assembling it, you have the basic skills to create an outstanding refurbishing business! The same is true of repairs: often taking apart, cleaning, MINOR repair, and re-assembly, and you have a fully functioning gun again and a very happy customer. The secret to this specialty is: guns last a surprisingly long time, and can often be brought back to firing condition with very little work! If you purchase a gun with a lot of rust, a scratched or pitted stock, and very dirty barrel and action, you might pay $10 to $50, for say an old Mauser. Get your exploded diagram from Numrich, disassemble the old thing, and check all the parts for rust and wear. Often, a good overnight soaking will make the vast majority of parts gleam again. Replace the really badly worn, rusted, damaged or bent ones with either new components or pre-built entire assemblies (trigger group/fire control group etc.). Next, strip all furniture, refinish with beautiful modern finishes, camo, or parkerize sprays, varnish or laminate, and re-assemble. You’ve turned a junk gun into a “classic beauty.” We have one gunsmith who only sells AK pistols. He’s gotten conversions down to an art, and is making over $30,000 a month. His shop is extremely specialized and almost an assembly line, but he puts his unique mark on each with custom features and engraving and never gets bored. There is a months long waiting list for his guns. With the worldwide market for imports of Chinese guns, SKS’s, Romanians, Russians, etc. it is getting easier and easier to “Start” with a great or even classic platform at very little cost if you’re buying in quantities of at least 10 at a time. Engraving Engraving can go from hand scratching detailed artwork at a world-class artist’s level, to software-controlled machine engraving. Much of the gun engraving today from the “big boys” involves disassembling 100 pistols, sending the slides to China or Pakistan, then re-assembling the “custom engraved” end products. This is the reason many engraving houses are 55

secretive about giving tours of their “engraving” facilities: the DON’T HAVE any. Most gunsmith/engravers are engravers first, gunsmiths second. We say this because the capital investment or leases have to keep the machines busy, and gunsmiths soon find there is a limit to knives and guns, but no limit to ad specialties, trophies, awards, plaques, etc. The term “engraving” is used as a catch-all for hundreds of different techniques, from diamond drag, true routing, acid etching, Cermark laser “baking,” and many others. Although we will lease engraving machines to you as a graduate, you need to carefully think about your business plan if engraving is going to be a primary focus. It can take years to be proficient enough to create a $100,000 signed masterpiece with elephants, quail and other details. On the other hand, if you are planning to also include engraved jewelry, pens, screenprinted T-shirts and other ad specialty items, go for it! In addition to cutting metal, customizing guns and knives can involve electroplating, chemically soaking camo patterns into guns, laser cutting stocks, routing stocks, and even screen printing logos and symbols. Sometimes it’s cheaper and easier to buy 50 custom grips already ivory carved, and put them on a 1911 batch, than trying to do it in-house. This is particularly true with China taking over most of the world’s production of almost everything. We have one gunsmith grad who cut deals with a few Italian and German shotgun and Olympic/ big game hunting rifle manufacturers. His deal was that he’d take orders for custom engraved, one-of-a-kind items. These were FACTORY engraved, meaning special serial numbers, and he is a multimillionaire, with orders from giant Safari outfitting companies (many in Abu Dhabi), going out more than two years at a time. Yes, there are guys that will pay $100,000 for a custom over/under that he paid $25,000 for. Just look at Les Baer! On the knife side (www.bladecombat.com), Jay Fisher, the world’s best custom knife-maker, has made several custom knives for ETI to thank them for their blade combat training videos, and advice to his LE and Military clients. See www.Becomeabladesmith.com for more information on knife engraving. Another way to engrave, especially on knives and disassembled gun parts, is to coat the surface with wax, carve the area to be 56

engraved, and soak the piece in an acid bath that “carves” only the areas with no wax. This is called acid etching. ...

Some gunsmiths have had thoughts about using a Hi-Power (or clone) as a tactical sidearm. It is an excellent choice, particularly for those with small hands. My wife prefers it over all other tested weapons, including revolvers and the 1911. It's a "natural pointing" pistol, simple to operate, and very robust and dependable. However, the factory trigger is very stiff and gritty, but easy to repair. You may want to review the following webpage: http://www.fnhipower.com/index.html

To do a trigger job, first review the following: www.fnhipower.com/a_hi_power_schematic.html


Tools required for this job are: 1) a 1/16" punch (available from Sears or other hardware stores. Shorten the punch to 1/2" - otherwise, it will be prone to bend when you're removing pins.) 2) a pack of 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper 3) a small triangular file -- jeweler's file, or similar 4) a chunk of 2x4, with a 1/4" hole drilled about 3/4" deep. This board/hole will be used to receive all pins removed. 5) acetone -- maybe a bottle of nail-polish remover 6) Q-tips for the acetone 7) regular cleaning supplies


8) hammer 9) piece of coathanger, about 10" 10) Tequila and cigars, and a Border Collie. When in doubt, ask the Border Collie -- they KNOW things. General: Use the sandpaper to polish all surfaces, and then clean and lube thoroughly prior to re-assembly. Step 1: Clear the weapon, then remove the slide and handgrips. Step 2: Examine closely the trigger assembly. Pull the trigger, and observe how the trigger lever moves in its well. Also observe how the trigger lever is mounted in the trigger block, UNDER the trigger spring. Step 3: Place the receiver on the board with the trigger pin over the hole. Using the punch, push out the trigger pin and remove the trigger assembly. During this process, the trigger lever will fall off. Step 4: Time to remove the magazine safety. Place the trigger assembly on the board, with the mag safety pin over the hole. Punch out this pin, and the mag safety/spring will pop out. Save them for future interests. Step 5: Since the mag safety spring was a part of the "trigger return" force, you must now bend the rear of the trigger spring DOWN


about 1/4". To make the bend, clamp the spring (using needle nose pliers) just ahead of the existing bend, and then move it down using another pair of pliers. Step 6: Using acetone/Q-tips, remove any lubricants from the trigger assembly, from the trigger lever, and from the interior of the frame in the area of the trigger assembly. Step 7: Cut a piece of the 1500 grit sandpaper, wrap it around the end of the small file, and carefully polish the trigger lever, all points where the trigger lever mounts to the trigger assembly, and the interior of the trigger lever well (on the frame). Step 8: Clean and lube the trigger assembly, and re-install into the frame. (Gotta hold your mouth just right to make this happen.) Step 9: Remove the barrel from the slide, and temporarily put it into position on the frame. Pull the trigger a few times, and observe the movement of the trigger lever against the side of the barrel. If you feel any friction, polish the pertinent surfaces on the side of the barrel. Step 10: Time to look at the hammer/sear interface. It isn't really necessary to do further disassembly here, but simply cock the hammer, and then bend the piece of coat hanger so it holds the hammer at its rear-most position -- hook the free end into the magazine well. At this point, the hammer and corresponding sear hooks will be exposed so that you can polish them with the 1500 grit paper.


Step 11: Clean, re-lube, and re-assemble. Trigger should be smooth, and breaking at about 4 pounds. CAUTION People advocating polishing and even replacing springs have to be careful, as over polishing can create a full auto weapon, and too light a spring can cause misfires, especially in the 1911. Here is a good summary of the risks: The Elements of a Trigger Job on an M1911 Pistol There are four areas of concern with a trigger job: the sear and hammer hook interface, the sear spring, the mainspring, and the trigger bow. There are risks associated with the first three. The sear and hammer hook interface can be polished and lubed. Some people will attempt to take a lot of metal off the hooks and sear face. This can make the gun dangerous by allowing the sear to slip off of the hammer hooks or not catch during the cycle. This can cause the gun to fire unexpectedly or fire multiple rounds on a single trigger pull. A polish is good but removing metal and changing the angle of the hook-sear interface is dangerous. Modifications to the sear face and hammer hooks should only be attempted by a trained and certified gunsmith who has the proper tools and know-how to do the job. The sear spring puts resistance on the transfer bar of the trigger and on the foot of the sear (and also the base of the disconnector). Proper tension is critically important. The sear spring can be bent to give less resistance to the trigger, but this also reduces the tension against the base of the sear. If the tension is reduced too much, the sear may not re-engage the hammer hooks during cycling. This can result again in multiple shots and even full auto fire. Adjustments to the sear spring should be attempted only by a trained professional. I have done it, but when I do, I use a stock Colt sear spring as a template and I do not vary significantly from the factory curves in the spring. The Mainspring (the spring hidden in the mainspring housing at the lower rear of the grip) controls the force of the hammer. In doing so, it also 61

contributes to the pressure applied to the sear face-hammer hook interface. You can replace the mainspring with a lighter mainspring and get a significant lightening in the trigger pull. It will also make it feel less gritty. Factory spec for Colt mainsprings is 23 lbs. I put a 21 lb. mainspring in my Combat Commander and it did a lot toward lightening and smoothing the trigger pull. You can actually go down to a 19 lb. spring and still have a reliable gun. Factory spec for Kimber pistols is 21 lbs. If you go down to a 19 lb. spring, do extensive reliability testing before deploying the gun for serious work. This risk here is obvious. If the mainspring is too light, it could fail to detonate the primer and result in a misfire. The last area of concern is the trigger bow. This piece is the bow that begins behind the trigger and extends back around the magazine well to engage the grip safety. The bow should be checked to see if it is moving freely and not snagging on either the frame or the magazine. I like to stone the edges of the trigger bow to make sure there are no small burrs that may be snagging on things. There are no real risks associated with the trigger, but there are also the least benefits to be obtained. Changing or polishing the trigger bow does very little toward lightening the trigger pull, but it may remove some slop in the trigger. Regardless of whether you do the work yourself or have a gunsmith do the work, always go to the range and test the pistol carefully after a trigger job. Even if the work is done by a trusted gunsmith, test the work yourself. Be mentally and physically prepared for the gun to go off unexpectedly or fire multiple rounds. Have a firm grip on the gun when you load it. There are some safety tests that you can do prior to range testing. With an UNLOADED GUN, lock the slide back pull the trigger and hold it back, and then release the slide release. The hammer should remain cocked. With the slide in battery, cock the hammer and slap the side of the gun briskly. The hammer should not fall. Cock the hammer and push the slide back about a quarter of an inch and pull the trigger. The hammer should not fall. The “poor mans” trigger job involves simply removing one side of the trigger return spring: The following pictures illustrate the author's procedure for smoothing & lightening the trigger pull on a sixgun. A Ruger Vaquero


is shown for illustration, but the procedure is similar for many quality revolvers.

The above pictures show the procedure for "marrying" the trigger as described by the author. This simple procedure smoothes the sear & trigger a great deal without even having to disassemble the gun!


With either grip panel removed, the trigger return spring will be visible. On Ruger SA revolvers, the trigger return spring will bear against a pin at the top of the mainspring at either side as shown.

Simply lift one side of the trigger return spring from the pin, and you have dramatically reduced the trigger pull without affecting the weight of hammer fall or detracting from the function of the revolver. Author has used this procedure too many times to count, and it results in a smoother, lighter, reliable trigger at no cost!

We’re not recommending this procedure, just including it in case you’re asked about it! Business thoughts for your focus


What is your objective in moving into gunsmithing? Is it to augment your FFL, expand your FFL, make it easier to get your home based FFL, or to move beyond a hobby into a great new career? If you haven’t considered your home ffl yet, WWW.HOMEFFL.COM , our sister site, is a great place to start, from beginning to Master gunsmiths. This course is a basic beginning, intended to whet your appetite about the many areas in which you can specialize as a gunsmith or armorer. Some can take 20 years to perfect, others can be started when you put down this course. Neither path is more profitable than the other, the important thing is to SPECIALIZE in the area you enjoy, and become the best there is at that niche. Being a generalist is a great retirement hobby, but will not enhance your margins on GunsAmerica, Gunbroker, or locally. Moral: FOCUS. Get the basics down, then move immediately into the area that interests you the most, whether reloading, accessorizing, accurizing, custom building, or basic repairs.

Brief, EASY, exam! The material in this guide is sufficient to get a passing grade on yout exam, but improvisation is always valued!

EXAM 1: GUNSMITH CERTIFICATE Please answer the following questions, then email them to us at [email protected] Please return the answers, and if you purchased a higher cert, such as Journeyman or Master, the next exam/ website course will be sent to your email address. 1. Why do people say that every gun should be considered loaded? 2. Why is it better to specialize? 3. What does DAO stand for, and what does it mean? 4. What is the difference between a semi auto and a revolver? 65

5. Why can overpolishing be dangerous on a trigger job? 6. What machine can be used instead of a hacksaw to cut off a barrel? 7. Name a leading supplier of gunsmith tools and accessories. 8. What is one of the simplest ways to accurize a gun? 9. What is a crown cutter for? 10. How old does a gun have to be to be a curio? 11. What are two types of bore site tools? 12. Why can too light a spring replacement on a trigger job be dangerous? 13. Name 4 accessories a gunsmith can add to make a gun unique. 14. Name three types of engraving techniques or methods. 15. What is a tool called that’s used to be sure a reticle crosshair is level? 16. True/False: you can use an automotive torque wrench for gun work and just convert the dial from foot pounds to inch pounds by dividing by 12. 17. True/False: a blued barrel is easier to cut down successfully than a stainless barrel. 18. True/False: Headspace is measured with “go/no go” gauges that fit the chamber like a cartridge. 19. True/False: You can make a lot more profit by offering a full service shop than by specializing. 20. True/False: Normal home repair tools, such as screwdrivers, work just as well for gunsmithing as expensive specialized gunsmith tools. You can type the answers into an email (don’t repeat the questions, just just number the answers, put them into a word document and attach it to an email, mail them in, fax them, or even write them out, scan and email or fax— fax—whatever is most convenient for you! GOOD WORK and THANKS! 66

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