Life is not all about new rifles and we have our fair share of older things coming in for some love and attention, being quite honest I enjoy working on such things and if we can give them a new lease of life all the better.
We had a fairly old ‘JM Urriola Sarasqueta Eibar’ Boxlock Side by Side come in the other day with a lever that was flopping around meaning the top spring had given up. I doubt this old side by side is worth a great deal however it has sentimental value to the owner so the least we could do was get it back up and running as quickly as possible.
First job was strip it down carefully and confirm the spring was indeed broken, you can see the offending item on the tissue along with the pin that usually holds the sears in place and it is in the process of being stripped for cleaning and checking over.
Such an issue is fairly common and other than some rust the gun appears OK and locks up well with everything doing as it should do so time to continue with the job.
If you have ever wondered what a side by side looks like when partly stripped this is your chance, the broken top spring is centre left in this image. This particular shotgun is a side by side. I forgot to take a further picture once it was completely in bits however you should get the idea by now.
The lever was marred and the screws rounded and graunched so my guess is it has been apart a few times during its life.
Normally at this point the job would entail some time with a hammer, gas and a piece of spring steel followed by a lot of filing and polishing however as luck had it a centre peg top spring that was reasonably close to the original was available so with some dressing and a very slight trim to length it was ready to go in. Here it is part finished ready for trial fitting.
..and here it is in place so it fits!
Next job was hook it out and give it a polish and final assembly could go ahead. The surface you often see behind my pictures is an industrial floor mat that sits on a raised section at the back of the workshop, it is a wonderful thing to work on, it is the right height, easily vacuumed clean and a nice soft surface to place rifles and shotguns on. There is of course a downside, the colour lends itself very nicely to hiding small shiny or black parts hence the need for pieces of tissue and I place small parts in plastic trays with a piece of tissue in the bottom so they are not lost and can be put on a shelf if I am awaiting parts. It works for me 🙂
Back to work.
I am sitting here trying to answer an email with two attentive dogs, a Labrador and a Lurcher. The Labrador has found a rope toy and diligently returns it to me if I throw it across the workshop, the Lurcher does his best to intercept and steal the toy and managed to gain possession for a fleeting second before being body slammed by the Labrador. Lurcher’s might be fast across the fields however when it comes to a sock in the workshop he has no chance.
They appear to have given up on the game now and grappling with each other in the corner, it is times like this when I sit batch and watch, a cup of coffee to go with the job would be good but no matter.
Last week was pointing systems and guides amongst other things, this week seems to be on track for rifle/shotgun work. I have an archaic Odessa side by side with a broken top spring to repair, the Viking and I tend to strip such things, she inspects, cleans and oils the parts and I effect the repairs which on this occasion means forming a new top spring from spring steel which is always interesting as you never quite know if it is going to be OK until the job is completed and a pair of pliers to compress the spring. If it compresses and opens a few times I am happy. If it snaps or is weak start again.
The bipods are going well however one has required spares to be shipped out. The cant of our bipods is controlled by two toggle locks and it is important that these are reasonably snug when you place the rifle on the bipod or the whole assembly can fall to one side resulting in a potentially bent elevation screw. Something to be aware of and the instructions recommend adding a dab of red Loctite before inserting the long screws that hold the legs to the head, once this is done set the tension such that there is some resistance when moving the legs out and final tension can be added with the toggle locks. This is how I set up the original versions however the way they are packed prevents this from being done prior to final assembly once received by the customer.
On an interesting front a Section 1 (FAC) 24″ Mossberg 8+1 Pump Action 12 bore came in last week, it is destined for a makeover complete with some Magpul after market parts and a paint job, oddly enough I am looking forward to it as I tend not to work on Pump Actions so often. So even if it is a mostly put together job albeit I will probably end up machining the rear ghost sight for it myself. No doubt I will post pictures along the way.
Best get on 🙂
I have been a fan of older Sporting rifles for a while so I was quite excited to hear a Lee Speed Pattern No2 was winging its way down to us from across the border and it arrived this morning at 09:30 sharp. Not bad considering the distance it had to travel and the booking was only placed with the courier yesterday afternoon. Looks like Parcelforce came good on this occasion and at this rate I might even forgive them for a previous oversight…
Anyway, to the rifle. It is a .303 BSA built Lee Speed No2 Pattern rifle with safety flag on the bolt (The No1 Pattern has a safety on the wrist) The No2 came with reasonable wood, ebony caps. It also has a slightly heavier barrel than the later No1 Mk3 we have here (Top in the picture) and has a 10 shot magazine which appears to be original based on the matching engraving to the base and trigger guard and a period sales brochure from BSA. This particular model is marked W. Kavanagh & Sons, 12 Dame St Dublin The company dates back to 1782 and appears to have disappeared by 1922 according to internet sources (http://www.doublegunshop.com) William Kavanagh took over from James Kavanagh and by 1881 they were recorded as being W. Kavanagh & Sons so the rifle is post 1881. Actually it is more likely to be after 1881 as the bolt head is marked Patent 19,145/90 with the /90 denoting the year of patent 1890, so the rifle is post 1890 and my guess is around 1895 however I need to do some research on the serial number to confirm my thoughts.
Incidentally, it is worth explaining at this stage that the “Lee-Speed” is basically a “commercial” Lee-Metford and as such has the Lee Metford rifling as opposed to the Lee Enfield rifling, this explained in the adjacent image. Metford rifling was designed by William Ellis Metford and the idea goes back to 1865 with the 7 groove system being used on the Lee-Metford. This form of rifling was dropped with the move from Black Powder to Cordite so when you read of Polygonal rifling think of WE Metford 150 years ago. The Lee side of things was James Paris Lee who designed the rear locking rifle action and indeed the concept of the box magazine, and the Speed part comes from Joseph J. Speed, a Superintendent of the Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) Interestingly the patent was held by Speed despite being for the RSAF.
The rifle has an adjustable blade foresight that can be drifted for windage and has a reasonable sized bead on it, moving back there is an express type sight plus optimistic ladder and the wood is nice however certainly not as finally figured as the Gibbs Mannlicher that arrived recently.
The bolt complete with dust cover is a cock on close and requires a significant effort to close the bolt so I will be taking a look at the bolt and firing pin spring, the trigger breaks at a reasonably crisp single stage 7lbs/3,2kgs which sent me off searching for the BSA No1 Mk3 and sure enough it was a more traditional Enfield two stage trigger albeit of a similar weight.
The length of pull is 14.25 inches and it seems to fit me well however I have long acknowledged that if I like a rifle I make sure I fit it as much as it fits me.
So a brief introduction to a 120 year old rifle. Next job is to slug the bore which actually looks reasonable and get some ammunition loaded. I will be using cast bullets and have an assortment varying from 180 to 220 grains in .314″ with a few sizes either side so I should have something that shoots. accuracy wise I have an open mind however a palm sized group at 100 yards would see me with a broad grin 🙂
I will review this rifle in detail in the future.
An important day for us all and a moment to pause and reflect on what could have been.
Lest We forget.