Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Up To My Elbows In Oil

Sylvia got me a nice set of gunsmith screwdriver bits for my birthday, so I was finally ready to tackle this project.
The rifle I'm working on was featured in this post, and it's one of my favorite stories on this blog while also explaining why I didn't want to mess up any screw heads with whatever screwdrivers I had lying around. Gun screws are kinda special, and to do good work you use the right tools for the job.

After removing the action from the stock it turned out that the barrel came unscrewed from the receiver rather easily, which made it way more convenient to deal with the trouble area without 26" and 6 pounds of steel hanging off the end.
Like I figured for a gun from the early 1960s, the trigger was a Timney Sportsman fully adjustable single stage. They still make the same model today.
On mine the sear was locked in place, probably from ancient oils gone gummy.
Some spray cleaner, a little manual activation of the affected part, repeat a few dozen times, then a touch of BreakFree CLP completed the fix.
Just like new 3-lb. crisp trigger ready to go. Sweet!

Next step will be removing the Weaver scope bases to clean underneath, then add LocTite before torquing them down to the recommended specs.
A little polishing on the bolt handle and extractor is in order to get some rust off and make them purty. May want to go the extra mile and get some custom etching done to honor my father's memory and service.

The bore is mirror-bright and the lands are sharp, so a little touch-up on the bluing is all that's needed before reinstalling the barrel.

The scope is a tragically obsolete 4x Weaver--although it was the go-to model back in the day a 300+ yard cartridge deserves at least 12x magnification and a much larger objective lens for more light, not to mention modern lens design and coatings. Target turrets, adjustable objective for parallax control, illuminated mil-dot reticle, bells, whistles.
I have a few specific scopes in mind, but affording one is the problem.

But the plan is to shoot the rifle in original configuration after I finish going over every inch. I want to see what my Dad created for himself with the parts and ideas available at the time. Right now I'm just trying to get it back to original condition, before my uncle and cousin used it during the intervening 46 years.

After that, I doubt I'll keep the original wood stock.
The inside surface is kinda gooey, not sure why.
Buttpad has hardened and cracked and looks like crap.
All of my other rifles have synthetic stocks including an M1 Carbine from World War II which is almost 70 years old but looks like a new modern gun after I got through with it. But I've been looking for a wood stock project for a long time and this is definitely it. Shaving and sanding and fitting and finishing the wood appeals to me, as these are skills that directly translate to making my own bass guitar someday.

Just like my Dad did, I want to spend the time and effort to make this gun as perfect for me now as it was for him back then.
Amateur gunsmithing is probably the only passion we share.
It's interesting that the same hobby grabbed us both so strongly, much like my brother shares his love for anything that flies. Once I was old enough to wonder about my father, when I would ask people what he was like the term "Gun Nut" was usually in the first sentence of their reply. I'm glad we have something in common.

Pretty sure my music career would have driven him insane, just as his love for French culture and crappy obscure cars like Ramblers and Simkas would have brought out my worst side.
Had he lived longer, I'm sure guns would have been the one subject that could always bridge whatever divide we were dealing with, and kept the lines of communication open.

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