We are still very busy with gun work. Now you could argue that we are gunsmiths so what is the problem? Well no problem at all however it is important to point out that here at the Shed work is a mix of shiny stuff and gun work and we need to make sure we are on top of both.
Sometimes it is something mundane, sometimes exotic, always interesting and this week has been no exception with shotgun servicing and repairs ready for the season, rifle zeroing and numerous reasons to run both the small and large lathes and mill to make spares and this is a typical example of what comes in. Another Ardesa muzzle loading rifle with a rotted out nipple holder. Sadly spares are simply not available for these things other than the occasional obscure item so such things have to be made by hand. We have seen a few of these come in now so I decided to make four holders.
First job was a suitable piece of steel, I would have probably opted for 316 stainless however shiny does not fit the bill for a period looking rifle so a good quality steel was selected. As I need something to hold whilst machining I cut two long lengths and profiles the basic nipple holder at both ends.
Now comes the interesting part, I always think anyone can grasp the basic operation of a lathe fairly quickly however getting things in the right sequence often needs some thought.
- For this part the sequence is measure and record the dimensions for the original.
- Now cut the chosen material to length and profile the basic nose and thread diameter.
- Screw cut the M10x1,25 thread.
- Reverse and face off and tap M5x6 deep.
- Into the mill and take a couple of cuts to enable the part to be fitted and removed without resorting to a pipe grips or pliers or whatever you have to hand.
- Now fit to the rifle and note the correct location and angle for the nipple.
- Remove the part and drill and tap for the nipple which is M6.
- Back into the mill to undercut the nose to direct the primer flash to the charge.
- Check fit, clean and black the part and it is ready to fit and the rifle to be used again.
The finished item ready to go. I have no idea how much Ardesa would have charged for this part if indeed it was ever listed so even if the part was made on a full CNC machine and spat out by the hundred it would still be time consuming with the milling operations and final fitting and making a small handful like this is far from cost effective however it gets the rifle back up and working.
Yes I will hold a couple of spares however they are not a straight fit due to the location of the nipple hole itself so will need some time and patience to finish the job.
One none standard part now is I have replaced the M5 steel screw in the end with a stainless grub screw, at least now the screw can be removed without fear of it being rusted in so cleaning should be slightly easier.
On a separate note we headed out to the Salt Marshes with the dogs yesterday afternoon. The pups are at a stage where they can walk a reasonable distance so I took the black pup and my Lab and headed one way whilst the Viking took the Lurcher and other pup with the plan being to meet at a given point. First task for my team was to cross a creek, not an issue for an adult Labrador or myself with wellies on however the pup was going to get wet however the good news is he is OK about splashing about so he dived in with me and walked up the creek for a few meters in what was ankle deep water for me as we were at a low tide point.
Then up onto the marsh and I decided to let the pup off the lead and let him follow the adult and that was it, an enjoyable walk and two dogs returning when called. Then my Lab returned with a washed up plastic bottle which I am never happy about as I cannot be sure what has been in them.
This particular one had something inside and appeared to have been sealed around the neck so I took it and popped it in the back pocket of my coat and we continued the walk.
I have often wondered when the pups would have an opportunity to swim and I am a great believer in letting them get used to water in their own time, however be there to make sure they were safe and today was the day, the bottom fell out of the flooded area and the pup was swimming, he soon turned round and headed for shallower water however he had done it and without any fuss. Another milestone. We met up with the Viking and despite her reservations the yellow pup also eventually got out of his depth and had to swim back to us which he did without a care in the world. I always enjoy watching the young dogs as they learn and they are about as different in nature and approach to life as they are in colour so life is always full of surprises for them as much as myself.
Back home I opened the bottle and found a slightly soggy hand written note and map which appears to have come from Germany. I will take a closer look when it has fully dried out.
I realised after we were home that I had not taken any pictures, mostly because of the wind and sand that was blowing up, so here is a picture of the pups from earlier this week. They are growing 🙂
Today I am rather hoping some spares for a shotgun will arrive so I can get them fitted and the gun tested and ready for collection, I also have some Pheasants and Partridges to check and feed, so a busy day as ever. Hopefully that message will have dried so I can take a closer look as well.