An update on Whitaker Special #023

I was recently contacted again by Mick Kelly who is the registry keeper for these fascinating rifles. Was I still looking for a stock because there was one in Fultons so a ‘phone call later the deal was done and the stock arrived today.

Sadly it has some chipping to the rear of the tang, however it is easily remedied. Oh, the trigger is flaky as well so I need to get my head around how it functions as it has a three areas of adjustment, other than that it looks rather nice and it puts my mind at rest to have No 023 back in the correct looking stock and here she is:

Next job is to find some sights the front and rear sights and a front sling attachment which has been removed.

For those of you who are interested, the wooden ammunition box is my bench for zeroing older rifles, I place a small canvas dog training dummy or similar on top and I have the perfect platform. So much nicer that one of those red plastic monstrosities or a machine rest people seem so keen to use.

EDIT – The trigger lets go at 750 grams and slides over the trigger sear unless a downwards pressure is applied so something to look at before it gets anywhere near a range.

Preparation for opening tomorrow 15th June 2020

Just a reminder that the plan continues for us to open tomorrow Monday 15th June 2020, albeit with some new rules in place. I say plan as this is entirely down to our Government and their final decision, however it is looking good right now.

We have a counter in place now, those of you that have visited in the past will know we are quite informal and we are one of the few places where you could walk in through the workshop doors and about the only hindrance was the workshop Labradors and a large container of jelly beans. This has had to change.

With the counter now segregating visitors from the workshop and bench areas I really did think we now had a reasonable barrier for the pups, however the yellow one cleared the counter in a single leap upon first introduction.

We have had words about this…

We have hand Gel and wipes available along with anti bacterial surface sprays, we will maintain a strictly one customer only at any one time and a 2m social distancing rule applies.  Hard surfaces are wiped down after every visit.

We have our own risk assessment for those of you that are interested.

We look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Screw cutting and Sound Moderators

Credit where credit is due. Wildcat moderators, lovely products, fully strippable, every single part available as a spare and always a super cheery service, even on a Monday and most importantly, made in Great Britain. Thank you Alison at Wildcat.

This one was destined for a beautiful Steyr Luxus and although I did the machining a while ago it is only now that I actually got around to taking the pictures (Complete with fluff) Plus blacking the thread. The crown is a 90 degree which I do for all barrels I thread for sound moderators unless otherwise instructed, the reason being the crown is easier to clean and an undercut or 11 degree crown is unnecessary as the moderators keeps the crown protected.

Feel free to argue 🙂

I just noticed the cutters in the picture. We are experimenting with different makes of cutter at the moment for both the manual and CNC lathes and these were one of the contenders, I am now on a box of German manufactured inserts which are  looking good so far.

We have an active policy of buying British first, then European, then further afield if necessary and I strongly believe it is false economy to buy unbranded inserts.

On the subject of machining, this thread was cut on the 1970’s Colchester Chipmaster we have here. The ‘Chippie’ is a manual lathe although we did upgrade it to DRO (Digital Read Out) a few years ago. This lathe is always a delight to use and cuts superb threads every single time.

The M54S-430 revisited.

The .22LR tube gun has gained a bipod and different ‘scope.

I have been practising shooting this off-hand for LSR and despite being used to heavy rifles I have struggled with this for a variety of reasons so it was time for a change. Accuracy at 50m was superb so why not put it to the test a bit further out? A stud for the bipod was added as I really cannot be doing with a machine rest and the scope was swapped out for a sidewinder. I raised the cheek piece by adding 10mm spacers, yes fully adjustable for height would be nice however it would have added far too much weight and lets face it, once a rifle is set-up correctly it is seldom adjusted.

Final job was test the new set-up and it was a disaster, the POI was way out from the previous outing and I was starting to doubt myself, was it a problem with the rifle or is transporting it in a soft case in the back of a Defender not going to work?

So the rifle was ripped apart and everything checked with the rifle in a vice and a laser pointer used for reference. Starting from the back the butt assembly was removed, followed by the bolt and still no change to the erroneous POI, so I took the opportunity to clean the bore and bolt thoroughly (No issues) Before cracking off the action screws and at this point everything changed, the error was gone and normality resumed. So the action screws are back in and torqued to 4,5 Nm/40 ft lbs and it is ready to be tested at 200m this coming week.

So why the issue? Well having shot it the time before I ran around all of the fixings with a Hex key and found the two M6(F) action screws were not as tight as I would have liked, so I nipped them up like I would on the rear axle of a truck and there lies the issue. So, a somewhat obvious lesson learned and noted. The chassis design is finished now and what better of developing/writing the manual for it than getting out and shooting it?

The Model 12 – Harassing fire.

Wednesday afternoon was dedicated to getting out with a couple of rifles and doing some testing. The Viking had a trigger job to check on the Marlin 7000T, I have made some changes to the M54S-430 (Counter productive it turned out!) Plus I was determined to get the BSA Model 12 on a proper 50m zero and shoot it at 100 yards come rain or shine, which as it turned out, was mostly rain…

The sights on the Model 12 are the original front and rear target and they are basic at best. The front Model 19 has a swing over post/ring that is changed via a small lever on the right hand side of the sight. First time out I noticed it was flipping back on recoil so out it came again, the tiny little wave washer just visible on the major shaft was bent slightly to add some tension and it was put back together. That is 5 very small parts and I resorted to forceps to hold things in place. It only took about a dozen attempts but at least it is holding position under recoil.

One thing I noticed was I have to break position to fumble for ammunition (Eley club) so I added a bullet holder to the right hand side of the receiver.

Another thing I needed to get my head around is the adjustment of the rear sight. Elevation is clockwise for up/further away and clockwise on the windage moves the rear sight right, so point of impact left.

Elevation is a pleasant clockwise for up. The graduations appear to be in a minutes however it lacks a detent and you need keen eyes to be able to read the vernier scale so I have added a piece of masking tape and some basic marks for my 25, 50 and 100 points.

Accuracy for this little rifle can only be described as harassing fire on the day, however I would like to hope I can get everything down to a couple of MOA as a minimum and this is the accuracy claimed by the factory back in the day.

Next challenge is ammunition testing, re-set the zero markers with whatever works best at 100 and get it out to 200.

There has been a lot of interest in this rifle, however I think it will stop with us, it is fun in a challenging way and I do wonder how many people shoot a Model 12 at 100 yards on rainy days in this age.