Product images

Since rebuilding our e-commerce site we have realised our product images were really not very good, so we are making an effort to give a better representation of the basic list of 90 products on the site. Obviously we will not include a picture of every single variant of every single item however, hopefully the new pictures will do the products a bit more justice.

The thing is, we are machinists and gunsmiths, not picture takers so there is a bit of a learning curve here and I thought I would share a picture of our product image set-up.

Yes, that is a couple of cheap Amazon lights and shades, the Vikings Fujifilm X10 and my workshop hoody as a background so far from professional however it has allowed me to start experimenting with image styles and layouts. The raised section at the rear of the workshop is handy in that is is a lovely solid working area and I can stand at the lower level and work on things, lay them out or just use it as a photographic area. We have two large arched windows at the back which let in a lot of light and are ideal in the morning before the sun has swung around and started casting shadows through the back.

First test was with a T3 .223 Cleaning rod guide as an example. however it seemed incredibly cluttered and although the image did make it to the web site it was very quickly shelved in favour of a green baize background below with the inclusion of our logo.

On the subject of cleaning rod guides, a customer reminded me that we build and stock guides for the Cadex CheyTac .408 and they are not on the site so I guess they need to be photographed and added over the weekend. I do like it when a customer reminds me of what we make and sell!

Balancing and other bits of wood.

I have just added a balance weight to a Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon. The weight had been previously arrived upon for the owner during an instructed shooting day however the weights were quite rudimentary and tended to rattle around a bit, so he asked me to tidy the job up, normally on a Beretta I would attach a weight to the inside of the butt with a wood screw however I wanted to keep the pre-determined weight as far back as possible so I had to opt for bonding it in place. On a plus side the weight is easily removed if required at a later date, yet will stand up to the recoil of the shotgun.

An alternative method is to bore an additional hole, insert a denser material and seal the hole over as shown in the second image which just happened to be here for a service. I personally prefer this method.

This set me thinking, where was the balance point od the Beretta? So I dug out my balance block, popped it in the vice and checked, on this occasion the instructor has opted for a rearwards bias as the balance point it around 5,0mm towards the rear of the pivot pin. This means the gun will be a bit more lively than would be my preference. As an example, my Westley Richards balances at 3-3/4″ to the front of the front trigger so again just behind the pin however it still feels very neutral in my hands with its 14-3/4″ LOP. Given that is has a slightly deeper than normal red rubber butt pad I should imagine it was either balanced on the pivot pin or just in front.

OK, so how to I check the balance, well Very easily. I have a wooden fulcrum block that I pop into a vice, this particular block is made from a piece of Ebony and the dark and light colours are as the wood transitions from heart wood to the lighter sap wood, it is very hard regardless and has served me well although it is starting to look slightly second hand. I picked up an onion sack (String bag) of Ebony off-cuts many years ago, they had been rough sawn and were a mixture of heart and sap and a couple of the pieces even had holes in that looked suspiciously like something an extremely oversized wood worm would have bored. I will be honest and say I just stick a lump in the mill, square it off with a solid carbide cutter and then machine it to the desired shape. Yes I could do it by hand however it will do nothing for my fine toothed saws or plane irons so off to the Bridgeport it is, the finish is near perfect as well.

This set me thinking, what other lumps of wood do I use, so here is a picture, top to bottom are a couple of wooden blocks that are used to support items such as bolts and receivers when I am dissembling them. These are invariably mostly used for for shotgun servicing, jobs such as drifting out pins being a perfect example as the part needs a good solid support and space for the pin to go into. These are sacrificial things as they eventually wear out over a 2-3 years, the one on the left is a new model that I have just started using. As ever, these are machined on the Bridgeport as life is too short…

As an aside, I spotted someone selling these  things recently, £25.00 each and looking very much like my one on the right which was originally used to confirm the fit for some sling swivels on a Lee Enfield rifle, I found it interesting that the ones advertised had the near identical oval cut-out.

Below the larger blocks are some wedges, again ebony, that I used for raising dings in top ribs. The ebony is hard enough to not deform excessively and I can use a couple carefully driven in from opposite sides to great effect.

Finally at the bottom a  hand tool for pushing a spring into place on a shotgun, the make of which I have long forgotten however it still gets used from time to time.


Why am I telling you this? Because you need to know.

FELWG Minutes updated

I have added a further three sets of FELWG minutes to the repository. Again many thanks to David Ellison for sourcing these minutes, especially as I had hit a bit of a brick wall with Lincolnshire Police who really seemed like they did not want to see these released to myself.

It is worth noting that anything that appears to vaguely sensitive such as NABIS notes is redacted before issue so look on these minutes as fully sanitised.

Flags and P14 Stuff

We have just about finished our eCommerce site (Internet shop) There is still a database update to get through however that is scheduled for early Tuesday 17/06 and after that we should be about there other than some niggling SSL issues on a few pages within the site and they are certainly not anything to do with the shopping and transactions side of things.

Anyway, I created a bit of a dilemma for myself. Within the cleaning rod guide side of the shop is the Pre-45 section which is for Pre 1945 rifle action military rifles such as the No4Mk1 Enfield and the Schmidt Rubin K31 amongst others.

I wanted to add a logo as a primary image, however there is not a logo for the Lee Enfield as such rifles were built by multiple manufacturers and adding a BSA logo would not do the LSA builds justice so I was in a bit of a quandary so I chose a Union flag, ah but what about Australian, Canadian and Indian manufacture? It gets even worse when you consider the Pattern 1914 or Model 1917 rifles. Designed within the UK, based on a German design and ultimately produced by three factories in the USofA. A choice of logo or flag for these fine rifles was always going to be controversial so I chose the Union flag for the P14 as it was chambered in .303 and accordingly, the 30-06 chambered M1917 gets the American flag.  I hope that works for our discerning customers.

On the subject of American rifles or not I came across this the other day. A P14, or more correctly Rifle, .303 Pattern 1914  This particular model was manufactured by Winchester 1917 according to the barrel date stamp. At first glance it is quite unremarkable, in fact it has been messed around as the icon rear sight wings have been cut back to this outlandish form.

Looking closer the rear sight is missing, OK that is not a problem as I can soon find one and I even have a spare fine vernier as used on the P14 Mk 1* (W) with the F suffix which was manufactured from 1916. Of course I still have those wings to consider…


Moving onto the other side it has the front Long Range Dial Sight (Volley) fitted which is fairly unusual as they were invariably binned when the rifles went through the Weedon Royal Ordnance Depot in the late 30s. The rear Volley sight is missing, however yet again this is not a problem as I should have one in my British spares boxes. It even has a reasonable sling on it. Oh and it even has an original cleaning kit behind the trapdoor in the butt plate.

Also, have you also noticed the Parker Hale swivel  just in front of the floor plate? What we have here is an ex SRb or Service Rifle (b) rifle although I suspect an eager RCO might of commented on the rear wings. Actually I know it was an SRb rifle as it had been in the hands of the same owner for the past 35 years and that is what he used it for complete with a Parker Hale rear sight.

So, what to do with it? Well shoot it of course!

I already have a Remington P14 with a fine vernier rear sight with a superb Brindles trigger box fitted and I have a spare Brindles trigger so again it is something I can add along the way and it should give me a reasonably accurate rifle and lets face it, the P14 has always been *the* accurate .303 rifle, especially when compared to contemporary 303 battle rifles.

But if I already have an accurate P14 why get another one? Well when I first saw it I was immediately tempted to use it for a P1913 conversion, especially as I have an original .276 Enfield barrel, albeit not as pretty as it could be. However having thought about it  I am inclined to think repairing the wings and adding a period ‘scope could be the way forward. I have often thought about this option with my Remington however I just did not have the heart to drill and tap it for the ‘scope rings. This Winchester is different though, it has been messed around with already so I will not feel so bad about such a conversion.

First job is find a scrap P14 receiver to salvage some wings from, failing that it is out with a suitable sized piece of plate and a hacksaw.

Shooting Shed eCommerce site is back up and running (Mostly)

After a hectic and long couple of days the eCommerce site is back up and running and most importantly, accepting orders. Some of the images and descriptions are fairly generic at this stage however you should get the idea when you look for things.

Also we have added a new Gunsmith section with Rifles, Shotguns and Pistols included, along with bespoke spares and machining. We have also added some additional guides and some drop down menus to simplify ordering.

The front end of the site looks very similar to the original however there is an all new database at the back end and an updated system, the server is also running some new stuff to keep things secure. Unfortunately, we could not safely import the original customer details so you will need to register as a user again. Also all of our glowing reviews have been lost which is very disappointing, after 8 years with the old site we had amassed some really kind comments and product reviews.

We still have a load more drop down menus to add and some SSL work however the main items are in place and the site and ordering is secure and backed up so enjoy and if you do spot any glaring errors please shout 🙂