Bonsor’s Superior Finishing Wax

If you are a regular reader of my Journal you have probably noticed that I tend not to push other people’s products. I have always worked on the premise that if I do not make it or work on it I cannot control the product’s quality. However there are occasional exceptions.

We have been working on a variety of projects with Nick Of NB Guns for a few years now and we tend to bounce ideas off each other from time to time.

We had been using his stock finishing wax out of an old jam-jar for ages. It worked well and we always got good feedback from customers who saw the results or tried the product. Just recently Nick has formalised the product and sent us a load of tins in the final format and I am delighted to be able to add it to the shop. It is also on display by the workshop counter, not something we do lightly!

Nick tells me Bonsor’s Superior Finishing Wax is a blend of natural waxes, oils, wood extracts and gums. Suffice to say it might smell nice and be good on guns but it is best not to eat the stuff.

I use it to finish and protect wood and metalwork on shotguns, rifles and furniture including the counter till. The clue in how to use it is the tin size, you need to use it very sparingly, rub it on with your finger tip, wait half an hour and buff off with a soft brush or duster. It will benefit from another buffing a few hours later. You can build coats up as required.

Comes in a 30ml screw top tin with a dodgy vanity publishing label.

Nick says: ‘It should last for f*****g ages’

I say: ‘whatever you were going to use, halve it and again, it really does go a long way!’

An early Greener .22 conversion of a Martini Henry rifle

In the pursuance of the knowledge of all things related to the Martini action type rimfire rifles, I had to get my hands on a Martini Henry conversion at some point and eventually this thing surfaced.
It appears to be a MkII Martini Henry (Remember the film ‘Zulu’?) and would have been originally chambered in .577/450. At some point the rifle was taken out of service and converted to rimfire by W.W. Greener.
This rifle does not have the SMRC stamp on the receiver (Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs) The SMRC is better known as the NSRA these days and existed from around 1901-1902 to the late 40s and it is possible that this conversion was made prior to the formation of the Society.
Being a MkII the original rifle dates from 1876 to 1889 which means the original rifle is 130+ years old, with the conversion probably being 120+ years ago. I cannot confirm this as the receiver has been mostly scrubbed at some point however it does have a Roman II on the right-hand side of the receiver. The butt section does have some faint markings including the Roman II over the numeric 2 plus a separate 3 stamped elsewhere. So most likely a MkII unless it is a MkI converted to MkII which I guess is possible as the lever, trigger guard and block are not numbered to the receiver. Of course, with a 130-year-old rifle, things are sure to get swapped out along the way.
The rear aperture sight is a BSA No 8, so no positive click stops to enjoy. The rifle had been fitted with a No 8 in the past, which was later removed however it has witness marks in the form of two screw holes and compression marks in the wood to identify the type of sight it had worn.
I had a spare No 8 here so I fitted it and I think the rifle looks good for it, plus it will enable me to get a better idea of the rifle’s accuracy.
The original rear sight is graduated for 25, 50 and 100 yards on the left-hand side of the sight base for the .22 ammunition.
Interestingly, a rear barrel band is fitted which is not always the case with these rifle conversions and the band is correctly sized to the barrel. It was suggested to me that this rifle was a trainer early in its life and given the lack of SMRC stamps and a decent fitting barrel band this is an interesting idea although I am not convinced.
Legend has it that this rifle was held in the Tower of London at some point in the past, which was recounted to me by the previous owner, it is a nice thought.
Cosmetically the rifle is battered, however it has developed a lovely patina through the years and the No8 rear sight blends in quite well to give an idea of how it would have looked in better times. The trigger breaks very crisply at around four and a bit pounds.  I could improve this however it is as it was, so it would be wrong to change things. More and more I believe in keeping such rifles as they were, after all we are custodians as opposed to owners of such things.
The bore is, erm… 120 years old, so less than perfect however I have shot worse and with some zeroing I would hope for better than 3” groups off my elbows at 50 yards, with some effort. Better than this will be a bonus and I am really looking forward to getting out with it.
The conversion of the block from centre fire to rimfire can be seen quite clearly in this image. The existing firing pin hole would have been drilled and tapped to accept a plug which was probably soldered in place, the block would then have been drilled to suit the new striker.
The moving parts can be seen outside of the rifle in this image. You can get an idea of the relationship between the lever and block. I will not detail the strip and re-assembly as it is well documented elsewhere.
Those of you that own a Vickers, or BSA Martini action rifle will instantly recognise this and the later developments of what stems back to the Peabody concept, refined by Fredrick Von Martini.
So, there you are, yet another ancient rimfire rifle.
…and why am I telling you this? Because you need to know.

The Vickers Empire/Jubilee rifle

Regular readers have probably guessed that I have a bit of a thing going for pre-war English rim-fire rifles by now.

I currently shoot a Vickers Mk3 for Light Sport Rifle (50m off hand/ unsupported) and very nice it is as well and I have often wondered if I would ever own another Vickers.

Today the answer becomes yes. This is a Vickers Empire model with the Type S Jubilee trigger assembly and pistol grip type stock.This does appear to be an accepted build out of the factory.

The stock has been chopped and then extended and is currently at around 15.5″ LOP which is way too much for my style of shooting. I am tempted to chop the earlier extension and fit a rubber pad which will bring it back to 14″ Which is more realistic. I will have to shoot it first because as much as it pains me to look at what has been done, it is part of the rifles history.

The 30.5″ bore is good, it is fitted with the click stop ‘Perfection’ rear sight, the 6oz trigger plus a PH Model 2 front sight with interchangeable inserts, so it should shoot very well and I am looking forward to getting out to the range.

Age wise I cannot tell from the Proof stamps and thee are not date stamps so about all I have to work with is the Vickers-Armstrong name which places it as post 1927 and certainly pre-war.

More to follow.

Stay safe.

GH Gledhill’s Patent Cash Till

We sell our products, plus consumable items at the workshop counter here in Binbrook, as well as on-line. Guns, ammunition and cartridges are also being collected daily (Excluding lock downs!)

Direct sales are usually by card or cheque, so cash sales, when they happen, tend to be quite an informal affair with an invariably struggle to find change.

So we have invested in a dedicated EPOS system.

More accurately, we have  purchased a GH Gledhill’s Patent Cash Till, a wonderful device that is probably 100 years old (Correct me if I am wrong please) Is made from Mahogany, with cast iron and brass bits, rings a bell when you open the drawer and advances a till roll at the same time to enable you to make a note of the transaction.

Except it didn’t when it arrived. Instead, it was splattered with paint, the locks were either damaged or missing, the handle for the drawer gone, the till roll mechanism would not advance and the glass covering the till roll was missing. Now this is not to say I was unhappy with our acquisition, in fact far from it. At under GBP40.00 delivered it was a bit of a bargain, plus it gave me a chance to add my own touch, to make it ours .

When the drawer is opened a bell rings which it did, however the till roll mechanism did not advance. Also, the drawer had an interlock/ratchet system which means it had to be returned to the fully closed position before it would open again, this was also in a non functioning state.

The key for the top lock was also missing and the top plate damaged, my view is it had been forced at some point. The bottom lock had long since been removed.

My Grandfather was a joiner/cabinet maker and I still have some of his old locks and keys plus a load of brass wood screws so a key was found and the lock modified to accept a spare key. I should have taken some pictures…

The paper advance was intriguing, it looks to have been reversed at some point so the paper would no longer advance, additionally, the dog that trips the system was bent down and when I removed it I noticed some paper packers which had been used to stop the cam slipping over. I like little challenges like this as you cannot just google them, you have to think things through. The paper roll now advances.

The trip/ratchet to prevent the drawer being opened again once you started to close it was worn, however some careful filing allowed the trip to drop down further and operate. This is the drawer ready to be oiled with some coins for scale. The .22 Shorts are there because I could 🙂

Finally, a piece of glass to cover the paper was needed, a piece of 3,0mm Lexan did the job.

With the mechanical side of things working as it should, I ordered a cast iron cup handle for the drawer ( We are currently using the bottom key to open and close the drawer) Hopefully it will be here next week, can be blacked and fitted.

That only left the wood. It is either a Mahogany or very similar coloured wood and was showing it’s age. I started with a wipe down with Methylated Spirits, from here I could raise some of the dents with an Iron, then rub everything down with wire wool and more Methylated Spirits before applying wax, initially with wire wool followed by hand with wait periods and buffing in-between. The wax I use is to a secret recipe from Nick at NB Guns and is so secret he usually gives me the ingredients in a bag to make it, excluding the boiled linseed oil and I put everything together on the stove.

I can see it will take a few more coats of wax yet, however it is looking good so far. One thing I did notice is there is a worn section on the top of the cash till between the front edge and the till roll, it took me until it was on the counter to realise that is the part you would rest your hand on when entering the transaction to the paper roll. The Till is also at a perfect elbow leaning height which probably explains the worn area.

Total time spent is probably a couple of hours and well worth the effort I reckon. I know, it is not really gun related however I thought  it might be of interest and yes, I did screw it to the counter.

Finally, check out one of our new ‘Binbrook Gunsmiths’ business cards that were hand delivered late yesterday afternoon. Great work from the chaps at https://gsbonline.co.uk/ in Grimsby

 

 

Thumb Wheels

The project continues apace with more turned parts. Again, these will need to be heat treated however at least I get to work with a fairly standard 5/16″ BSF (British Standard Fine) I cannot say I never work with imperial threads as all of the last weeks screwcutting was imperial and the time consuming part is always the clocking in as opposed to the screw cutting itself. Oddly, I do tend to work in metric for some imperial threads and as an example the 20×1/2″UNF thread so often seen on the end of barrels and used to attach a sound moderator starts off as a 12,70mm diameter to me and finishes at around 11,00mm for a class 3A thread (External) I say around as the ultimate diameter is down to the part I am attaching to the end so you could argue it is not really a class A thread.

I am sure some of you have shouted ‘Gotcha!’  confident now that you know what I am making. Good idea in principle however I think you will find this is the wrong thread.

All will be revealed over the next couple of weeks.