There are multiple pages to this build, please follow the links below to the other pages.
October 13, 2009
I was contacted by a client as I was nearing the end of the 2 Bore Boxlock build, he was interested in whether I could build a cartridge version for him. Since I am not an FFL licensed gun manufaturer( I don't have to be to build muzzleloaders), I explained to him the limited types of cartridge weapons I could work on or build according to the BATFE. Specifically the law says in the exemptions listed in 27 CFR:
" Antique firearm. (a) Any firearm (including any firearm with a
matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition
system) manufactured in or before 1898; and (b) any replica of any
firearm described in paragraph (a) of this definition if such replica
(1) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional
centerfire fixed ammunition, or (2) uses rimfire or conventional
centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the
United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary
channels of commercial trade."
With this criteria in mind we discussed what types of actions could be used and whether or not a 2 bore met the requirements. I explained that I would like to base this around a Jones Underlever style action because I could easily document the pre-1898 requirement as well as the added benefit that this action is extremely strong and reliable and would be a good candidate mechanically for a 2 Bore. This will be a Black Powder only rifle. I also have experience with building this type of action so that makes the job a little easier not having to work out all the bugs as the build progresses. After a bit of research to verify if I could find a commercial source for loaded 2 Bore ammunition, which I couldn't,we started working out the details of the actual build.
Action: The action will be a copy of an original pre -1898 Jones Underlever single shot. This will be a left handed rifle since my client for this build is left handed. It will have a dolphin plate back action lock, external hammer. With the Underlever wrapping over the Trigger Guard. This is the action I am modeling this rifle off of:
The back action lock will be a modified commercial L&R Lock. There are no current manufacturers of dolphin shaped locks that follow the contour of the pistol grip, so I will be taking the guts from a left handed L&R back action and building a new face for it. I can of course build a lock from scratch but starting with a commercial lock saves a lot of machine time.
The Barrel: I actually have several 2 Bore projects coming up, both this cartridge gun and muzzleloading 2 bores, so I have multiple barrels coming from different custom barrel makers. The one for this rifle will be 1.326" groove with 1:48 twist, tapered round. The twist rate is set up to shoot primarily lead round ball but being a faster twist leaves the door open to shooting conicals if my client later decides to try it. This was done at his request.
The Trigger will be a single no set trigger.
The trigger guard will be a pistol grip style.
The Rear sight will be a multi-leaf express sight set in a quarter rib. The front sight will be a ramped english style blade appropriate to the era of this rifle.
The Stock will be Maple stained to a medium dark, and finished in the classic oil finish we use on most of our rifles.
The style of the stock will be of the Rigby Pistol grip style with ebony forearm tip with checkering of 20 LPI semi-Flattop.
It will have a barrel mounted sling swivel and buttstock sling swivel.
The metal finish will be Color Case hardened for the Action, Lockplate, off side lock plate, Triggerguard, underlever, Hammer, Gripcap, and Eschuteons. The sights, barrel, quarterib and sling swivels will be rust blued. The screws will either be rust blued or nitre blued depending on their location.
Engraving will be highlight engraving, it will be of a style appropriate to the era of this rifle, the details of the engraving will be worked out later. I already have some ideas in mind though.
The Brass Cases for this build are being made by Jay Schroeder at S&H precision, and should be here any day now. They are the 2 Bore 3.5" 700gr cases he lists on his website: Schroeder & Hetzendorfer LLC
Jay has been great to deal with and I would highly recommend him to anyone interested.
I will be getting the ball mould for this rifle from Jeff Tanner in the U.K., I have received several ball moulds from him and am always impressed with the quality and service.
I will be fabricating some hand reloading tools for this rifle as well.
The requested finished weight of this rifle is 22 Pounds and as always like all of my custom builds this rifle will be fitted for the client.
That pretty much sums up the details of the build, I hope you will check back often as I continue to update this project.
October 14, 2009
The first step in all of my projects is to have a plan. I'm kinda slow about catching on to technology and haven't gotten into the whole use of CAD, so I still hand draw and draft all of my projects in 1:1 Scale drawings. If my client isn't close enough to meet with me so I can take all the measurements and so a fitting, I use a set of worksheets that I send with instructions for taking measurements. With the information from my client I can then start drawing out the full size plans of the rifle.
Here are the 1:1 drawings of the overall rifle:
Below are the break down of the parts of the action, these are also drawn 1:1. You might notice that some of the finer details are missing and there are no dimensions on these drawings. I do that for a couple resaons, the first being that not all the screws and pins are visible when the action is complete so there is no point in cluttering up the drawing with unnecessary parts. The reason there are no dimensions is because I can pull my measurement directly off the drawings, and later if I need to scale this action up or down it's simply a matter of copy machine work, again no cluttered without the dimensions. There are a few parts not drawn, such as the extractor, but the rest of the drawings illustrate the missing parts fairly well.
That's the overall plan for the project.
October 15, 2009
Quite a bit of this build will be from bar stock, and machined from scratch. Other parts though can be purchased to save my client some money and myself some machine and fabrication time.
Because a lot of this build will be Color Case hardened for the finish, I chose 8620 as the material to build the action and other parts from. 8620 produces very nice result in color case hardening and also exceeds all the requirements for the strength required in this action once it is properly hardened and treated.
Pictures below is some of the materials and parts ordered for this project:
3" x 2" 8620 bar stock, O-1 1/2" round stock for the pins, a commercial left handed L&R back action lock, 2 screw grip cap, NECG multi-leaf express sight, Cast trigger guard, and eschuteons. Pachmayr decelorator 752B.
Some of the parts for this project aren't here yet, such as the barrel and the maple stock. Other materials for this project I keep in stock in my shop.
The L&R lock will be used primarily for it parts, I will build the Dolphin lock plate and modify the internals as needed.
The Triggger guard is a hawken style casting, after I clean it up and cut off the excess and reshape it, it will have the classic pistol grip look.
The Decelorator Pad is the largest recoil pad I know of that also has a similar look to the original leather covered pads of the late 1800's.
There are a lot of ways to attach the forearm to a rifle but if you want the classic look of the late 1800's then escuteons and a key are the best way to go.
I can make express sights from bar stock, and I do once in a while but NECG makes a very nice set and for the cost and quality is probably the best thing on the market.
Now that I have given a brief rundown of the materials lets get started. First thing I did was to cut that very heavy chunk of 3"x2" 8620 down into more manageable piece on my bandsaw.
I cut the action with a few extra inches in the length, and the monoblock with an extra inch. I do this for a couple reasons, the first is it is always easier to take the extra off than it is to add metal back on if I end up short. The second reason is the extra gives me a place to clamp onto when I am machining these parts.
With the pieces cut down to a more manageable size I then rubbed a little cold blue on the metal to darken it up and scribe in my layout lines. These layout lines are just a guide so I can cut out the bulk of the excess metal on my vertical bandsaw. I'll do all the fine metal work in the Mill and Lathe with precision tools.
October 15, 2009
Spent some time at the vertical bandsaw this afternoon and roughed out the water table and face. Nothing really exciting just a long slow cut through more than a couple inches of steel.
Sure glad I didn't have to cut that with a hacksaw....... My plan is to work this action in sections, starting with the most critical sections first and then working on the outside shaping last. With that fairly large chunk of excess steel out of the way it was on to the mill.
It took a few times back and forth with the dial indicator in the mill, but I finally got it squared and trued in all directions, and now I am ready to start machining the water table and the face down to their final dimensions. That big block of steel sure makes my mill look a lot smaller than it really is. The upside to that though is that I don't really have to worry about things flexing during the cuts until I get a lot more metal removed.
October 23, 2009
For those of you who have been following along with the build, I apologize for the delay in updating this. I had a family emergency to deal with, but things are slowly settling down again and I am back to working in my shop at least a little anyways.
I machined the water table and breech face, square and true to within a few thousands of finished dimensions. Then I changed to a ball end mill and cut the radius in the corner last. I always leave everything a few thousands proud of final, so that I can remove the tooling marks.
I then came in and cut the openings for the bite lumps. The front one was fairly easy since I could just rough right in from the front of the action. The rear one I pre-drilled to depth and then milled away the slot. The final operation before I removed it from the mill was to drill an undersized hole, were the underlever retaining screw will eventually get threaded into. This hole also gives me the index point to flip the action over and machine from the bottom side.
I then draw filled all of the tooling marks out of the water table and the breech face, and then smoothed out the transition in the radius.
As you can see this is proof positive that the same hand tools that have been producing quality products for hundreds of years still work just fine today
Hopefully now that things are more normal around here again, I will be able to get back to my usual routine and shop time and be able to update this more frequently as the build progresses.
October 25, 2009
I flipped it over, put it back on the Mill table and indexed off of the lever screw hole. I then step drilled it until I had it opened up enough to use my Boring head to bring it out to full diameter.
It isn't very exciting, but it is progress and it is starting to look like a Jones style lock. Monday will be another day of filing. I will be starting to square up the radius, so the bite lumps will have a nice square shoulder to lap over.
October 27, 2009
I didn't get anything done yesterday, but I have a reasonably good excuse. I went up to visit Custom Engraver Steve Lindsay in Kearney Nebraska Sunday and purchased one of his Classic Airgravers. SO with a new tool to try-out I spent most of yesterday making a few slight modifications to my engraving bench, and then working with my new Airgraver.
This morning though I got busy and filed out the radius' left from machining the slots for the Bite Lumps. I worked the narrow side first bringing it out square, and then worked the wider side last to bring it down to match the center distance from the screw hole.
It took a while to get everything filed in and then trued up, mostly because there was no convenient way to file through the opening and keep everything square, so it just had to be done in short strokes. I also had to file a bit of the inside walls to cleanup the radius left from the milling.
With the Water table basically done, I can take all my measurements for the bite lumps and monoblock directly off the action. This will save me time later when it comes time to smoke the fit together.
October 31, 2009
I spent most of this week focused on the machining the Monoblock, it's not ready to fit up to the water table yet, but it's getting closer.
I started by milling off the excess sides of the bite lumps.
Then I step drilled a hole through the length of it, so I would have a center line to the bore to start machining from. Then I turned some of the extra length down to a shank that was concentric to the bore, by turning between center. This shank gives me a place to index off of and also a place for my steady rest to ride on in the lathe.
I then bored it out in the lathe, and while it was still indexed I went ahead and cut the threads. I went to a 1-9/16" - 20TPI thread and threaded the full length of the Monoblock. I chose this diameter of thread for a couple reasons. The first is that the minimum and maximums of the thread will give me the same amount of steel in the barrel and the same amount of steel in the Monoblock wall after it is profiled. The second reason just happened to be convenient that the Rim diameter of the case and the minor diameter of the thread are very close, so when it is chambered the rim recess should hide the thread at the chamber face. So that saved me having to turn to diameters in the Monoblock.
And then I cut started cutting the bite lugs in. The width of the lumps is a little wide and the bites are a little narrow, I cut them over and undersized respectively so that when I start fitting things together I have a little extra metal to work with. It's always easier to take it off than it is to put it back on.
Eventually when I have the barrel and I'm ready to fit it up , I will machine that extra shank off, but for now it makes a handy index and a good place to clamp on to.
That's as far as I got this week. I probably would have gotten a little more done, but I spent a couple hours, a few evenings this week working with my youngest Son on his engraving skills.
November 7, 2009
Yet another week has gone by that I didn't get as much accomplished on this as I would have liked. I was out of town several days this week for follow-ups related to the family emergency that happened a few weeks ago. And today I will spend a large portion of the day casting balls for another customer and finishing up some last minute work on a different project. It's amazing to me how long it takes to get your life back to a normal flow after things get derailed. Hopefully next week I can dedicate my entire week to this project and make some real headway with it.
I did make a little progress though on this action, I started by machining the extractor recess into the monoblock. I actually figured out a fairly simple way to make this cut a few years ago when I was converting a Shotgun to a Rifle. I was having problems indexing the monoblock in the mill and getting everything clamped in place properly, and then I had one of those strokes of genius, or maybe just a stroke(haha). In any case I figured out that for this one cut it was easier to use the tool post on my lathe as the vise. It takes about two minutes to square everything up in the tool post and a few minutes later the recess is cut.
I didn't really have to do it this way because this monoblock is still square and would have been fairly easy to set up in the mill, but given how fast this arrangement is, I pretty much use this way every time now. When the barrel finally arrives and I get it threaded to the monoblock, I will use this same method to remove the extractor recess from the barrel shank as well.
The other work I got done was to step drill the hinge pin hole. I did this on my mill, starting with a center drill to mark the location and then step drilling to just under finished diameter. I then used a precision reamer to finish up to final diameter. And it came out just right, because the precision ground tool steel I am using for the hinge pin is a press fit, just what I wanted. I also machine the corresponding half into the monblock for the hinge.
This last picture is just a temporary fit up pin in place and the monoblock resting on the outside of the water table to give you an idea of how much hand fitting will have to be done to bring this down to a proper fit.
It not much progress, but at least I got something done on it this week. Hopefully next week will be more productive.
November 12, 2009
I started making the extractor and fitting it to the monoblock. There are several ways to machine an extractor and I've tried several of them. I've cut them on my Mill using a boring head, I've cut them using the rotary table, and a few other variations of tooling set ups in the Mill. These days though I have been using my Lathe, I put my face plate on, use a sacrificial piece of steel to back the part and then just clamp everything down on center. Set up time is faster this way and I have the added advantage of being able to use the power feed to make the cuts, instead of manually cutting everything on my Mill.
The extra clamp on the right side in the picture is just for a counter weight to help keep things balanced a little better while it's turning it doesn't actually hold anything.
Making the cuts this way I can take the extractor out to within a few thousands of finished diameter so that I only have to do a little fine clean up with the chamber reamer when I chamber the barrel.
The next step was to drill the extractor face for the 2 guide/push rods that would slide into the monoblock. Then it was time to drill the corresponding hole in the monoblock and that is were things went bad for a little while. about 3/4" into the first hole my brand new 1/8" drill bit snapped off leaving about a 1/4" of it buried down in the hole. I spent nearly a full afternoon getting it back out of there. I was less than happy about it, but I would rather spend one afternoon fishing out a broken bit than have to start over and machine another monoblock from scratch.
The next day with another new bit everything went smoothly and I was able to drill both hole to depth in the monoblock. I then put it back in my Mill and used a 1/4" ball endmill to open up the slots for the arms to push against the extractor guide rods.
A quick test fit and trial with an empty cartridge, everything functions smoothly, and has plenty of movement, I may shorten the rods a little as things start getting fitted, but for now longer is better.
I'm going to change directions for a few days and work on the lock plate and off side plate while I wait for a new Rotary Table for my Mill to arrive, the one I own just isn't big enough to handle this action so I bought a bigger one.
November 14, 2009
I spent the last day or so reworking the Lock Plate and building the off side Plate. As I stated earlier in the build I bought a L&R left handed back action lock to save time with building the internal parts. The Plate though is a straight body plate and I want to recreate the look of the dolphin lock shape that is found on many of the original rifles of the era.
I start by cutting to plates large enough to get the finished shape out of. I then solder them together, this makes it easy to cut and shape them at the same time and know that when I take them apart I will have a matched set. This is the same method I use when I am building locks for double rifles. Once they are soldered together I then make a copy of the lock shape form the drawings and then use it as a template glued directly to the metal.
I then punch around the template so I don't loose my edge if the paper gets rubbed off during cutting and shaping. Then it's on to the vertical bandsaw to rough out around the punch marks.
Then I use a variety of hand grinds, belt sanders, files and disc sanders to bring the edges down to the punch marks and clean the mill scale off the faces. Once they are shaped down to the final dimension I heat them up again and release the solder. At this point the off side plate is basically ready to inlet other than needing to bevel the edges. Then I make any changes to the internal lock geometry that I need to, to keep all the parts inside the edges of the new plate shape. I then drill all of the holes, ream the tumbler hole to finished size and then I take it to the mill and remove the extra width between the bolsters(the thick portion in front of and behind the internals, this is were the screws that hold the lock in will eventually get threaded into). Then I thread the holes I drilled earlier, file and fit the few minor changes to the internals and I now have a left-handed Dolphin shaped back action lock, and matching Off-side Plate.
This last picture has the original lock plate in it for comparison of the changes. I think the Dolphin locks are so much more graceful, it really surprises me that none of the commercial lock makers offer this style of lock. The hammer will get reshaped after the lock is fitted to the action.