Month: May 2006

Powder Flasks

Posted by on May 28, 2006

A buddy just showed me a powder flask he made. All brass. Very nicely made, much nicer and more rugged than the imported ones I’ve seen. As far as I know, brass flasks are R350 or so. I’m sure my buddy could sell them for considerably less, but I haven’t suggested it to him. I have no idea whether there’s a market for such things or how big it would be. But the item was so nice I thought I’d mention it, if anyone is interested.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]

AP Ammo

Posted by on May 26, 2006

Thanks to those who posted info about AP ammo. As you will all have noticed it is not one of my areas of expertise. Whilst I’ve learned a lot, I’m a bit confused. Having been convinced that it is all velocity related, Alex H and others have shown that it is not quite that simple. However, my interest was not so much in real AP of the sort used by the military, but rather how to improve the penetration of ordinary bullets by simple methods. Alex H’ explanation of the Arcane bullet perhaps points the way to that. I don’t regard it as particularly important in the greater scheme of things, but worth discussing to see whether anything useful comes out of it. It is one of those things I’ll test when I can find some time. If I have any guns left with which to test it, that is.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]

AP Bullets

Posted by on May 16, 2006

Like I said, I get to thinking about things when I’m waiting in places like doctors’ rooms and when I’m out on the road running. I don’t kid myself that these musings lead anywhere useful, but it keeps me amused. Anyhow, I got to thinking about penetration, which led to armour piercing and how they could easily be made.The obvious answer is monolithics. But there’s another possibility with cast bullets. If a simple chucking tool were made to hold a cast bullet, for setting to dead centre in a lathe using a four jaw chuck and DTI, a hole could be drilled in the bullet nose. A machined steel insert, hardened tool steel if necessary, could be epoxied into the bullet nose. With a 60 or 90 degree point it should penetrate just about anything but concrete, even at handgun velocities.For use in pistols, the steel nose would need to project not too far from the bullet nose to avoid the risk of it scraping the feed ramp or chamber but that wouldn’t be difficult to arrange as it wouldn’t project more than three or four mm at most. In fact, it would work just as well if it were sunk flush with the bullet nose, as the steel plug will continue penetrating when the bullet is running out of steam.What use would it be? Some gremlins have already been found wearing vests. It should penetrate those nicely. Should work well on cars too, for example shooting hijackers through the door from inside, provided one can arrange not to hit any of the mechanical bits in the door. What about long range penetration with a heavy ( say 500 grain ) cast bullet at modest velocity. I’ll leave it to your imagination what possible use that might have.Yeah, maybe this is a bit esoteric, and I haven’t tested it, but it seemed like an interesting avenue, maybe I should try it against some steel plates when I can find the time.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]

Making Parts

Posted by on May 14, 2006

I’ve made quite a few parts for guns, some of them quite tricky. A friend recently showed me an extractor that had been hand made for a Luger (PO8). It was indistinguishable from the original and works perfectly. The guy who made it is known to me but not well known. I did not know he had this ability. He said it took five hours of filing. After careful thought, I conclude that I could make one, but I would count the time in days rather than hours. But it proves that most parts can be made if one is prepared to make the effort and learn the techniques. It also shows what can be done with files.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]

Home made shotguns

Posted by on May 14, 2006

I’ve also been thinking about home made shotguns. This was prompted by the simple pipe shotguns with which many will be familiar. It occurred to me that anyone with basic workshop facilities could make a crude but effective side by side double from the same sort of pipe with a simple receiver made from welded plate, with two exposed hammers. Firing pins would be S&W revolver type to avoid the complexity of receiver mounted rebounding type.Barrels would be steam pipe. No need to solder them together full length. A simple spacer block at the muzzle and another at the breach end could be soldered in. No need to regulate the barrels. As the intended range is a few metres it won’t matter if the point of aim is different. Besides, it would need to be established by testing and allowed for in use. At 5m it would hardly matter.The receiver would be a thick plate crosswise. In front of that would be a short plate welded on to make a T shape. This plate would mate to a plate welded under the breach end of the barrels. Drilled and reamed through and attached with a bolt and bushing, these two plates would form the opening and closing pivot of the barrels. A simple latch of the Webley revolver type would complete that feature. This sounds hopelessly crude but in fact it would not be difficult to make it slick and tight.Behind the main receiver plate would be another T piece, which would carry the hammers and trigger, and to which a stock could be attached, whether fixed or folding with pistol grip. This thing could vary from very crude to quite nicely made and sophisticated, complete with respectable finish and bluing.Short barrels ( max 16 inch ) for inside use, small maglight for aiming or even red dot sight. Should be very effective for home defense. Reloading would be quite quick although ejectors would be too difficult and complicated. And of course any number of them could be made and stashed in various places.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]

Suppressed Pistols

Posted by on May 14, 2006

Been thinking again. About home made suppressed pistols this time. The OSS used suppressed Hi Standard 22 pistols for clandestine work in WW2. The suppressor was integral with the barrel thus keeping the overal length of the assembly within reasonable limits. It was possible because the Hi Standard has a fixed barrel and the short “half slide” that is common to many 22 target pistols.These days the Ruger Mark 1 is a better basis, and many integral suppressed conversions have been made. But the Ruger design has another important feature, simplicity of construction. It’s tubular receiver and round reciprocating bolt are much easier to make than any other design. Admittedly the lack of an external hammer and a means of uncocking the gun are a disadvantage, but if what you need is an easily built suppressed weapon this is the way to go.Ammo is also an issue. While 22RF ammo is cheap, I reckon it is not desirable to be dependent on a single calibre. I can forsee a scenario in which it might be necessary to load ammo for whatever gun might be available. That could include whatever can most easily be made. The 22RF is also not a dependable defence calibre.I have seen a photo of a Ruger Mark 1 converted to 32S&W Long. Obviously it would have been converted internally to centrefire. Externally the obvious difference was the weight added to the rear of the bolt. It was not a big weight, probably about 40mm long. Same could be achieved by a bigger diameter receiver and bolt thus avoiding the extra length without increasing diameter significantly.While the 32S&W Long is generally considered a bit weak for defence, simplicity of construction requires a simple blowback design, thus calibre no bigger than 9mm Short. Don’t know why I like the 32S&W Long, but 7.65 or 9mm Short would also be OK. The 32S&W Long loaded to maximum with a 100 grain SWC is effective with good shot placement.It is well known that rimmed cases don’t feed as reliably as rimless. A rimmed case like the 32S&W Long can easily be converted to rimless which would make feed more reliable and magazine construction simpler. Of course the brass is not so common these days. It is also worth noting that according to Marshall & Sanow there is little difference in effectiveness between the 7.65 and the 9mm Short, and that in Silvertip loadings both are only slightly behind the 38 Special.Note also that Mossad caried out many of it’s assassinations with the 22RF. Of course they were mostly done at close range in broad daylight with a whole magazine full of ammo. Taking out intruders in the dead of night will be a bit more tricky.A pistol of this sort fitted with a small maglight and laser sight would be a good home defence piece. Why a suppressor? So as not to disturb the neighbours. Why would that matter ? I’ll leave that for y’all to figure out, considering the likely future scenario.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns]

Bullet Casting

Posted by on May 14, 2006

I encourage people to cast their own bullets, despite the cost of equipment. It is often impossible to get the bullet type weight and style one wants commercially and quality is an even bigger problem. Such quality is available only from a handful of small commercial casters of from those who cast for themselves but will sell a few to friends.But my experience has been that few will pay a viable price for quality. Consequently my customer base is so small as to be not viable as a serious commercial operation, even a very small one. It is therefore beer money at best. The problem for the customer is that it is not viable to invest in equipment.Right now I have a perfect example. I have just cast some 45 Long Colt and 44 Magnum. The cycle time of those big moulds is slow so it was convenient to run both moulds together. Even at the coolest alloy temperature they get so hot in the middle that it is impossible to get perfect fillout, and I have to use them as single cavity to get decent quality. Output is therefore four per minute. Allowing for the usual minor stops for tightening screws and the like, the net output is about 220 per hour. That’s not 220 each it’s 110 each.I have also found that lubricating these big bullets is slow for reasons I won’t go into here, not much better than 200 per hour. Allowing for pot and mould warm up time and other things, that’s ten hours to make one thousand bullets. Net earnings less than R200. That’s with RCBS moulds used with one cavity only. It would be viable with custom multi cavity moulds but I make too few of those bullets to justify the cost. Consequently those will be the last 45 Long Colt and 44 Mag bullets I will be making except for the occasional handful off 44s for a friend.This is why there are so few small commercial casters and why certain bullets are practically unobtainable of the quality some shooters want. It is why I encourage people to cast their own. I have never understood why guys spend megabucks on firearms and loading tools but then screw themselves by being unwilling to make their own bullets for reasons that escape me.As I have explained, the sheer slowness of casting big bullets from a single cavity mould makes it commercially unviable, but from the shooter’s point of view, the quantities fired are not that large, and a day’s casting and lubricating will provide enough bullets to last for a long time.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]

Scope mounting

Posted by on May 7, 2006

I get all kinds of ideas, mostly useless, but it keeps life interesting. As scope mounting (and base and ring making) is one of my interests I was ruminating about it while waiting for something or other, I forget what.At any rate, most rings fit on bases that are themselves fitted to the rifle. Mostly that’s because the manufacturers can make their rings all the same, with bases to fit particular rifles. That’s a lot cheaper than making the rings to fit the rifles directly without bases.The exceptions are those that fit directly to machined dovetails like the Sako, Tikka, Brno and Ruger. Well, the Ruger is not a dovetail but the principle is the same. Strangely, although the Brno has a machined dovetail for direct mounting, nobody, including the Brno factory, makes a direct mounting ring. Brno’s own rings fit a base that clamps to the dovetail like the Lynx base.Anyhow, I got to thinking about it. A ring with a groove of suitable width machined in it’s underside, could be a close fit across the machined dovetail in the receiver, that is, it would straddle it. The close fit would keep the ring roughly aligned. The base would be drilled and counterbored, and the receiver drilled and tapped say M5. The ring would be screwed directly to the receiver. What could be simpler or neater ?A refinement would be to mill off the edges of the dovetail. That is, the rib would remain, just the 60 degree dovetail would be milled off. It would be a little neater.It would be a little trickier for round topped receivers but not impossible. In fact a pair of shallow cuts could be milled in most. But not the military 98s which are case hardened.Wouldn’t it remove the adjustment that is possible with most rings? Sure it would. There would be no lateral adjustment, but we don’t have any with Weaver bases anyway. Just have to machine the rib and rings within close limits.Making rings is of course very time consuming, but purchased rings can easily be modified. A couple of years ago I modified a pair of Brno rings for fitting with M5 screws securing the rings to the bases. It was not direct mounting to the receiver but the ring conversion was the same.I have a very nice Sako in 308 Win. I no longer hunt. It is used for range shooting mostly with cast loads. To keep it for range shooting I might have to alter it to a target rifle. If so, I might mill the tapered dovetail into a straight rib, drill and tap as described, and make a pair of direct mounting rings. And a laminated target stock and a barrel weight for the slim sporter barrel. Maybe a three lever light pull trigger too. Why? For the hell of it, what else? The way things are going, I’m either going to lose it quite soon, or when I die no-one will be able to buy it. Either way it will be destroyed, so I can’t destroy it’s value by so altering it.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]