The Labrador is out again tomorrow, he is getting more shooting in than I am right now, he is booked to go out three times this week, it was twice last week and I think twice again next week. No wonder some of the local folks refer to him as ‘Rent Boy’ although it is slightly inaccurate as I certainly would not consider charging for him to do what he loves most, retrieving and picking up birds.

Monday he apparently surpassed himself by bringing back not one but two Cock pheasants in one go, I always thought he had a big mouth after he managed to fit a ballcock from a cistern in it one day!

On the subject of doubles I have been working on a pair of 12 bore Berettas recently, and Sunday we took them out for a road test against some simulated Grouse (Clays) So with my trusty loader and a quick lesson on how to conduct myself with two guns the clays were launched and I started shooting, as quick as I fired the second barrel another gun was placed upright and directly in front of me and I found it remarkably intuitive to raise the gun, thumb the safety off, shoot again, repeat and repeat. I had absolutely no idea how tiring it was going to be and combined with my stint at loading the doubles I was positively tired by the end of the days shooting however I was equally happy as this was the first time since my eye operation that I had been out shooting.

I had mentally allocated myself a four week period to allow my eye to get over the surgery performed on it and it certainly felt good on the day, I could see the clays and even managed to hit some of them. All in all a brilliant day right up until the moment I woke very early Monday morning feeling like someone had thrown sand in my eye, I crept out of bed, threw some saline solution in my eye, some Paracetamol down my neck and felt thoroughly wretched until I managed to doze off a few hours later, just in time to get up and get ready for the Labrador to be collected and head off into town to have my eyes checked at the Opticians, the appointment had been made three weeks earlier and I was not totally sure of what to expect as I peered at a bloodshot eye in the mirror. Luckily he gave me a clean bill of health, assured me the Cornea was intact and I was fine to carry on shooting. He always strikes me as a decent sort and the Viking who was downstairs said they could hear us laughing, with that we left and headed home via the local bakery so despite a somewhat battered eye life was OK.

Today I feel a lot better and the eye looks to be mostly recovered however I will treat it as a warning and try to remember not to shoot so many cartridges off in one go next time. Lathe parts are starting to arrive, today was the collet chuck and fine adjust back plate plus a load of 5C collets to cover a range of material diameters. I had not realised quite how heavy the thing was going to be, certainly not something to drop on my foot, although I would rather it hit my foot first as opposed to a concrete floor if only to break its fall. The ER16 collet chuck along with 1,0mm to 10,0mm collets also arrived, these are for one of the tool holders and are for a specific project I have in mind for the new machine, they will also be handy for CNC tapping and drilling operations. I went for Vertex and have great hopes for them, not absolute top of the range however certainly reasonable enough to prove a theory.

Tomorrow should see a load of tool holders arriving and no doubt other stuff that I have already forgotten about.

Time for another Gun dog picture, I had a T3 in for a chop and thread and laid it on the raised section whilst I went off to grab the Bore scope from the armoury, on my return the Lurcher had taken up station alongside hence the picture. I must admit to being very impressed with the bore of this rifle which is chambered in .243 Winchester. Given its slightly tatty appearance I had half expected to find a fire cracked throat and bore however it was bordering on pristine, someone has certainly left a decent time between shots so almost certainly a stalking rifle. I will screw cut it 1/2″ x 20tpi which should give the owner a good range of sound moderators to choose from, now all I have to do is persuade him to take the Lurcher or maybe not as it would probably not go down particularly well with the Viking.

On a final note we fitted a new DAB radio thing plus speakers in the workshop today and it appears I can send music to it from my mobile ‘phone so to prove this I stuck some tunes on the ‘phone, connected it to the new thing via Bluetooth and hey presto, I can play whatever I want and stop and start it without ever going near it, the wonders of the modern world and all at my age as well πŸ™‚


Today I am mostly spending money…

We have another machine due in soon and this means a load more tooling…

Today I ordered a new D1-6 fine adjust collet chuck, a complete set of metric 5C collets with 0,5mm increments, the rack to suit, plus a precision ER16 collet chuck and collets. Last week it was tool holders and next on the list is a third party CAD-CAM package so the new machine can be hung on the network which saves wandering around with a USB key or similar. of course this does mean getting to grips with an all new 2D CAD system however I already regularly use three 2D and 3D systems so one more should not be a problem and is more than made up by the ability to import DXF files and convert to enable upload direct to the machine.

Next week will be interesting as we need to start clearing racking and work benches along with some machinery to make room for the new machine to come in. Luckily we will be able to maintain Lathe and Mill capacity during the move around however I will not have a work bench for maybe three days and the polishing and grinding stations will be ripped out to allow access as will both the horizontal and vertical band saws so I will make sure I have the materials cut for next weeks work as best I can as I really do not fancy quality time with a hacksaw!

The beating and picking up season is well on now, which means I am out on a Saturday thrashing hedgerows with a stick and dragging mud around whilst the Labrador is out again next week on three days. Unfortunately we never seem to be together as he works with his litter brother and breeder on different shoots to me. Not that I mind really as I know he is being well cared for, is getting lots of exercise and most importantly mental stimulation and the opportunity to show off his superb nose for birds. Downside is he absolutely hammered by the time he gets home early evening and we tend not to see him until breakfast next day plus it is a great refresher course for him so he is ready when we both get out together to shoot on a couple of days next January. I am looking forward to it and I know he will love it as well.

Here he is already looking lean and attentive albeit scratches under his left eye. I can always tell what he has been doing by checking the inside of his ears, if they are scratched he has been in the thick of it πŸ™‚

A final small rant, why do on-line shops set their shopping cookies to expire after stupidly short time periods, I will sometimes add items to the basket then leave it open until I can complete it during the evening and twice this week I have lost complete lists of items I was about to order. Grrrr….

Back to work.



Beretta Ejector springs

I have been asked in the past why I change both ejector springs on a shotgun if only one is sticking, so this is a quick post to show the difference between new and old Beretta 686/687 ejector springs and plungers.

The new springs and plungers are at the bottom of the image and there are four because this job was two matching 687 12 bore shotguns and you can clearly see the difference in length between old and new however look closer at the old springs and you will see right areas on the coils, this is where the springs have deformed and started to compress ultimately leading to sticking ejectors. In my experience if one spring has gone the other is not far behind and the last thing you want is to be fumbling with a stuck case with a dozen birds above your head. Also you ill see a significant difference in the speed and trajectory of ejected cases when using an old and new spring so I just swap the pair and save the owner from potential problems at a later date.

Why swap the plungers at the same time, well they are usually worn so best to bin them and do the job properly.

On a separate note I found some of these the other day. Sloes, the fruit of the Blackthorn which is my best friend at this timer of year as I use the fruit to make Sloe Gin and now have enough Sloes to go with three bottles of Gin. Hopefully they will be ready to drink around this time next year.

There is a downside to the Hawthorn and the scientific name gives it away ‘Prunus Spinosa’ – It is prickly stuff and a nightmare to deal with if it is in your way when you are brush beating and I can think of a couple of places with some particularly prickly specimens awaiting the tired Beater at the end of the day.

Another Seal Dog

This sorry looking thing that is doing its best to pass itself off as a Daily Telegraph RSPCA advert for maltreated animals is the Lurcher. We headed off to a very windy coast late afternoon and at about 600m out across the Salt Marsh he turned tail and quartered off across the remains of the Samphire and Sea Lavender where in the distance he threw himself down with obvious delight and proceeded to roll around for a good while in something not particularly nice.

A youg dead Seal that had obviously come in on a tide a while ago, in fact a long while ago and wow does he smell right now having done his best to cover himself in its less than palatable remains. The joys of having a Lurcher with a keen nose.

He has since been swimming in a couple of creeks been washed in clean water, wiped down and yet the whole house has the faintest hint of something from the sea to it. I remember the Labrador doing it a couple of years ago so I know the smell will not last ling, however until then..

It has been a busy week, in fact a busy month and we had to squeeze in things like an eye operation for me, I am not very comfortable with a new -10.0D implant in my right eye and can wonderfully well, of course the real test will be with a rifle however that is still a while off as it is only a week since the operation. People assured me I would b a walk in the park however I felt rather fragile first evening with a gritty eye and opaque vision however things returned to normality over the next 2-3 days and now I really can see well. We drove home in the dark this evening and the halos and flashes in my vision I had been warned about did not manifest themselves which is a good sign so I really hope my eye will stay like this for some while.

We had a rush job come in, a couple of shotguns that needed the fore-ends tightening and a good service amongst other things and they went out same day which pleased the chap waiting to returnΒ  them to their rightful owner (I really cannot share any more on this subject) It was a pleasant change to work on shotguns again and it was not until afterwards that I realised I had not photographed them, something I used to do for every single firearm I worked on, I guess I am beyond such things these days.

On an exciting note we have decided to add another machine to the workshop, this time it will be a lathe with a larger spindle bore and will be a semi- CNC with a rather handy 1250,0mm/49.0″ between centres. Of course this means an investment in more new tooling… so is life and it does give me a larger capacity manual machine with the ability to run details such as threading, crown profiles and barrel profiling by CNC so the best of both worlds. Also apparently I will be able to design and programme off-line and then upload the jobs via my PC although this does sound like a perfect job for my Laptop which was replaced with a workstation with a larger screen and more memory not so long ago.

Of course this does mean we have to find space for another machine of significant proportions (To us at least!) So I spent the first half of today looking at multiple layouts for the workshop and right now I getting close to where I need to be with room to move around and right now nearly everything in place other than some racking and the 300,0mm rotary sanding station. The good side of such layouts is they are all done on 2D CAD and I can easily switch to 3D modelling if needed so no more rubbing our pencil lines or screwed up pieces of paper in the bin, in fact it is yet to be printed which must be a friendly way of doing things.

Exciting times indeed πŸ™‚

One final thing, I am about to start on a new run of our OAL gauges and this time they will be all stainless so no more 6082T6 barrels or handles. As far as I know these re the only production all stainless and guaranteed for life OAL gauges available πŸ™‚

Time for bed.

Feeds and Speeds

This is a first for me, I managed to shatter a 7mm Gun Drill this morning, a 300,0mm carbide tipped through coolant job that has not had a great deal of use. I was advancing it as usual when at around 80,0mm in there was a slight rattle and the carbide end tip sheared off so that was an expensive start to the day. Luckily a replacement was a quick ‘phone call away and the replacement will be here by mid next week. It was the same feed and speed as usual, the only difference was the coolant and this is not the first issue I have had with the new system.

The coolant itself works well with good cooling and lubricating properties however it seems to leave a slightly sticky residue and I can feel it when I slide the tail stock to a new position. Very odd and I have tried it at different mix ratios to no avail. I can see my self going back to a neat oil system at this rate.

Tomorrow is a day off for us however normality will resume this coming Monday πŸ™‚