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Thread: Do It Yourself Smithie...

  1. #1
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    Default Do It Yourself Smithie...

    I was wondering how many folks do any of their own minor smithing work. Trigger work, action honing, recoil pad mounting or action bedding or even mounting your own scope.

    Do folks disassembly their guns? Do you remove from the stock at least once a year for a thorough cleaning? Do the insides of the gun scare you?

    How about handguns? Ever had the side plate off an S&W? Who does action smoothing and spring replacement?

    I find generally folks shy away from even simple tasks that could be done at home and save money. Some even have their newly purchased scopes "professionally" mounted at SW or some such place. I think we could enjoy the gun more if we would spend more time bonding. What say ye?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  2. #2
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    I do most of my own "minor" work.I adjust my own triggers (as long as they are Remmy's), stock bedding,etc.I do mount my own recoil pads and scopes (I dont trust anyone else). I do not or should I say have not honed any actions.

    I do disassemble them,actually everytime I clean them.Spray off the trigger assy with some brake cleaner,and clean out the inside of the stock.I also paint my own stocks,thats usually when I do the bedding and free-floating of the barrel channel.

    I dont think I do it because I am "cheap",I like tinkering with stuff so I like doing it myself.That is why I like re-loading so much.I get alot of satisfaction from harvesting animals with the ammo that I make.

    Tim

  3. #3

    Thumbs up I agree...

    I think you enjoy your guns more if they are "tweaked" to your own personallity. Of course I probably tear my guns down and clean them more than I get to shoot them. I even took on "Correcting" the trigger on my Ruger M77 with the lawyer trigger.....now has a nice crisp 3# drop with zero creep. Amazing what a file and sandpaper can accomplish.

  4. #4
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    As a gunsmith I wish more people would attempt more of this type of work, as the Murphy describes, it sure does bring in a lot more repair work.

  5. #5
    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    I do the list too, except I have not as yet bedded or honed an action (done all the rest).

    I wouldn't hesitate to finish the list and add a lot to it including building a stock set up, (something I have yearned to do for a good bit. I had great figured walnut slabs with some beautiful red hues in it (from the desert soil) that my father in law had felled and dried for several years before cutting and splitting much of it for fire wood. I commandeered all that was left (about a half cord) and hung onto it before moving here and having to burn it before we left! Ouch! Few things in life have hurt half as bad!)

    Anyone have stock building experience?

    How many have cut their own chambers and/or crowns?

    Those are on my list of things to do premortem.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

  6. #6
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've done pretty much everything but thread and chamber a barrel, don't have a big enough lathe Other than barrel work, I took a VZ-24 action, welded on a brownells bolt handle, replaced the safety, slicked up the military trigger, d/t for scope base, ground off the stripper hump, opened up the magazine, and bedded and "finished" a pre-finished stock. Funny how 80% finished stocks have 80% of the work left in them.

    While sporterizing a mauser action doesn't make economic sense these days, if you do the work yourself, the education is priceless.

    Now that I have a slightly more capable lathe, I have a worthy project. A 357 blackhawk with the dreaded barrel constriction, excessive endshake and cylinder/barrel slap. When I find time, I'll set the barrel back a thread, cut a taylor throat, put a bushing in the cylinder to tighten up the endshake, and set the barrel for minimal cylinder gap. It should shoot like a house a fire after the tuneup.

  7. #7

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    I'm up for the full list, including credible action jobs on both Smiths and Rugers.

    Your question doesn't stop at smithing, though. In the fishing world, very few people tie their own flies anymore, much less build their own rods. As your favorite sporting goods store how many new reloaders they see.....

    I think it's some kind of sad commentary on a growing trend, regardless of the area of interest.

  8. #8
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    I try to do as much as I can but since I still dont have all the equipment or tools I am limited.

    But I did receive a turkish walnut blank today for a 25-06 I'm putting together. Now this should be interesting <grins>

  9. #9
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    I do a lot of things that don't require lathes and milling type machines. I've shortened stocks and put on recoil pads, done some inlay work, refinished wood and re-blued metal on some, bedded a few, freefloated a few, applied pressure on a couple barrels, measure sear engagement and cut it back to what I want on both rifle and pistol, polished said sears after grinding, installed wolff spring kits, installed jewell triggers, honed revolver cylinders, polished pins, installed custom sights. I have a borescope and like to keep tabs on what is going on inside chamber, throat, and barrel.

    This is one of the more visual projects, a lyman Great Plains Hunter Flintlock. Not really aesthetic for the period but functional for me. I cut off the U shaped metal butt plate because the corners bit into my shoulder. Installed the recoil pad and had to inlay a piece of aussie lacewood into the top of the stock because the metal butt plate wrapped up over the top. Installed the peep sight to help with my old eyes. Refinished the whole stock and boy was I surprised at how pretty the wood was under the original paint like finish.


  10. #10

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    I don't know if I'm just curious about the way the things work, or just too cheap to pay to have something "fixed" before I break it, but I enjoy doing all the little stuff. I'd hate to see how much trouble I could get into if I had a lathe. I guess that as long as you don't end up with more parts than you started with on a disassemble and reassemble you're pretty much OK. There are certain things I won't attempt, like hone a trigger sear, because if you mess them up you could end up with a dangerous problem, but bedding, scopes, adjusting triggers, kits for muzzle loaders, taking the bolt apart to clean it or just see how it works I have no problems with. I'd try to install a short chambered barrel but, I figure that if something on that expense scale goes wrong I'd rather it be someone else's problem to fix. I did recrown a barrel a couple of weeks ago. So far I haven't had to have a smith bail me or my wallet out, so I guess I do most of this stuff OK. I'm definitely not good enough to make any money at it.

    I learn best by making mistakes and figuring out how to correct them. Something you don't want to do with other people's property. That being said, the only thing more expensive than an education (making mistakes and correcting them) is not having one.

    I once free floated a barrel that shot OK but not great. It made an OK shooter into a lousy shooter. I rigged up a blocking system with bags of shot to hold the rifle upright and bridged the rifle across my workbench to a book shelf. I hung a window weight ( some of you will be old enough to remember those) from the front sling swivel. I mixed up some Acraglass and filled in the front inch of the barrel channel. I think my favorite part of the job was eating the Popsicles so I'd have proper mixing sticks. The next time I shot the rifle (not weapon I've been paying attention Murphy) it was plenty accurate for my needs. A couple of days ago I was doing a Google search and stumbled across an old post by Gale McMillan describing the essentially the same procedure, and the reason why some barrels need fore end pressure. Now I know why my method worked. At the time, I only cared that it worked.

  11. #11
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    Default I'm game

    I am game to try about anything. Sometimes I do because I have to. Sometimes I let others do what I should.
    When it comes to my first passion, bows, I had to choose between shooting and fussing. I shot. I let Del Demeritt fuss, and let Marlene build my arrows. Sure do miss that woman. But with that combination I was successful when I competed. Now I don't shoot so much so have no excuse not to do the other.
    When it comes to firearms I usually let my friendly Smith Gary do it.
    With that said, I am a fairly quick study. I learn fast and work hard. If somebody wants to "play" mentor, I think I am a worthy student. I just picked up a S&W semi auto. Never had one apart before. Finally figured it out and got it cleaned and put back together without spare parts on the bench. I thought that was quite special.
    I am also interested in learning a bit about reloading. With this new 10mm I better or I can't afford to shoot it.
    Let me know when class starts.

  12. #12
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    There's sure alot of talent on this forum...I'm minor league by comparison. The picture of the wood stock is real pretty...all of my rifles wear synthetic. The notion of reaming my own chambers, truing actions, and turning barrels is way out of my league...machinery and skill set...consequently I know my gunsmith real well. I do triggers jobs (not just adjusting but also rebuilding), smooth up and bed actions, and free float barrels...you know all the easy stuff. After field use I completely breakdown my firearms for good cleaning, and put them back together. I also have broken alot of stuff, and swore alot at my work bench. I load all of my centerfire rifle ammunition, as well as large pistol, and like someone said previously I make my own fly rods and tie my own flies. It is rewarding for me to do all of this stuff, and I have met made many good people who share similar interests...like you folks.

  13. #13
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    I try to do it all. I did not like the looks of some of the welded on bolt handles on Mausers so learned how to weld and now do my own. Bought at jig to drill and tap. I like to rebuild mausers. I have lengthened mag boxes, intalled triggers and even made a couple stocks from blanks. On my model 70, I love honing the triggers, they are so nice to work on. I have even installed a couple of barrel with the help of my local gunsmith/friend. I also do a German rust blue after being taught how by another gunsmith mentor who is now long dead, Iver Hendriksen. I was a really fine man and good friend. It is simply a great hobby (tinkering with guns) that I have been doing since I was in high school--over 40 years ago.

    I also tie my own flies and did build one fly rod but fishing does not have its hold on me like shooting and hunting does. The better half has enough trouble with my solo hunting and would go off the charts if i fished as fanatically as I hunt and shoot.

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