Yes, we do stock Shotgun Cartridges

People often ask if we stock shotgun cartridges, probably because we tend to not advertise the fact, so here is a quick mention.

Yes, actually we do stock competitively priced cartridges for all purposes including Eley, Lyalvale, Fiocchi, Hull, Federal and RC in a range of sizes including .22 Shot, 9mm garden Gun, .410, 28 Bore, 20 Bore, 16 Bore and 12 Bore. In a range of shot sizes and cartridge lengths with fibre and plastic wads. We also hold a range of box ends and oldies.

Please note, we only stock fibre wadded game cartridges and will not support the use of plastic wads over land.

So there you go, a good range of cartridges available within the Lincolnshire Wolds and remember, we are shooters so you can always ask if you are not sure of what to opt for. After all, we love helping you spending your money!

Butt extensions

We seem to see a lot of older BSA Martini action type rifles these days. As well as guns coming in through the trade we see a fair few customer guns come through the door, we even have some Vickers Martini action target rifles in for work next week.

When I say we, I do indeed mean myself and the Viking because that is about it for the Shooting Shed. We do have a half man who helps out occasionally but for the most it is just the two of plus three Labs and the Lurcher.

Today was kicked off with a butt extension on a BSA Model 15 Centurion. It had been shortened at some point, then extended with a block of wood and was still short in the shoulder. One customer stipulation was that the original butt plate had to be used. So a piece of hard rubber was cut to size and fitted (Sounds easy doesn’t it!)

First job after the original spacer had finally been removed was true the face of the butt stock up as it was a bit rough around the edges, then plug the multitude of fixing holes. Then attach the oversize spacer with new screws and mark the shape of the butt. As the butt plate was the same dimensions as the butt I would have to grind the spacer square which was disappointing. I would have preferred to maintain the original taper and added a red English pad, however at least this way I kept the rifle as original as possible.

I always mark out with a white wax pencil, so I can band saw the excess rubber off then grind to the wax line. Reattach and mark again and finally grind until the wax pencil mark is gone.

Hard rubber can be polished easily, I use 1500 then 3200 grit paper and finish with wax however you can really get this stuff to shine, assuming you have not choked on the dust and fumes.

The original butt plate looks to have caught fire at some point and was not quite the same shape so some care had to be taken. It was also slightly bent (Not cured!) So that had to be addressed.

The black things in a blue holder in the first picture are transfer punches, handy for spotting through holes to mark screws, I always mark one, drill and screw, then mark the second with the first screw in place.

Second image is the spacer ground close to form, the white wax crayon is marking the next pass. I used to use a scriber and chalk however the scriber can bevel the edge of the butt so I prefer this method.

The final image is the spacer and butt plate fitted and everything given a wipe over. I will leave it for 24 hours and give it a final polish and it should be good to go.

I have a BSA International Mk1 to crown and a Mk4 that needs the barrel re-timing plus crowning and a few questions on these remarkable rifles to answer by email so I guess people know we like working on them.

Right, I have two shotguns that came in for repair that I need to get out and test before the day is over so I had best get on.

Take care all.


A brace of ‘Coggies’

Not something I usually see at the same time. A pair of Cogswell & Harrison ‘Avant Tout’ (Translates to Above All) 12 Bore single trigger shotguns. These are a few numbers apart, one is 28″ and one 30″ and the latter has a very subtle and nicely fitted wooden extension to the butt but at first glance they could be stable mates.

Cogswell & Harrison single triggers have a bit of a reputation however I am not sure where from as they are normally OK to work on. My experience is, if there is an issue it will be down to previous work, such as the lower gun has had a screw glued in at some point. Such tricks are pointless and just bring the trade into poor repute and sadly they do show up and more often than I would hope for these days.

As ever, my poor picture does not do these guns justice. They are a pretty pair of guns and the wood is a good match, if it were not for numbers they would comfortably pass for a matched pair.

One thing I notice of such guns is they are usually reasonably straight in the stock and fit me well. I would happily be seen with either of these at a shoot and more importantly, I could hit things with them.

The ‘Avant Tout’ expose…

The venerable (Or not) Cogswell & Harrison single non select mechanical trigger is always interesting to work on. The original patent for a C&H single trigger goes back to 1895 however there were changes along the way to overcome double discharge issues and rightly so.

So, some tips for those of you that own and shoot one of these things or aspire to do so in the future. Be firm, the trigger break is going to be around 2.4kgs to 3.2kg or 5 to 7 lbs. which is not bad for a 100+ year old shotgun. You need to pull the trigger firmly and if it does not discharge the right-hand barrel, stop and break the gun and start again, do not pull the trigger again. Yes, you have probably missed the bird however you have also probably just saved the gun and yourself from a double discharge. Obviously, I am assuming you are not shooting with dodgy cartridges that may or may not ignite.

These guns were built with 2.5″ chambers for ounce and an eighth loads, so 32 grams. Please don’t do it! These are light sporting guns and even with an ounce/28 grams they can be quite spiteful to shoot. If your mate has a load of old paper cartridges great, tell him to hang onto them unless they are 2.5″ and even then, be wary. I shoot 2.5″/67mm Eley Impax 28 grain 6’s fibre which seem to work when pointed at most things. I will not shoot anything longer.

I had an old English gun come in during the last season, I had made a running albeit effective repair to it only a few days before so was surprised to see it come back in so quickly. Apparently, it had shot OK but would not break fully, yeah well that is what comes of shooting over length cartridges. The primers had been pushed back on both and the brass had swelled so much it had jammed the ejectors. Easily sorted and after a careful inspection and a few stern words I sent the owner and gun on their way.

Why the issue? Well in simple terms the length of a cartridge chamber allows for the fit of a fired cartridge. You pull the trigger; the cartridge goes bang and the shot column and wadding hurtle up the barrel. A 12-bore cartridge case usually has a star or roll crimp to keep the contents in place, if it is the former the crimp must open up to allow the contents to get out. This means the case gets longer hence the 2.5” cartridge actually being closer to a couple of inches or so in length (Star crimp) when unfired and it is not until it is shot that it gets closer to the 2.5”

You can chamber an over length cartridge in a shotgun chamber with ease, however when fired the case opens and extends into the transition from chamber to barrel which is a taper or conical in shape. This means the cartridge is effectively choked at the end of the chamber and pressures rise incredibly quickly as the wad and shot all try to get through a smaller than usual hole. This is dangerous at best and can lead to missing fingers and destroyed guns so take care to use the correct length cartridge.

Back to the Coggie, I do tend to put these back together slightly differently to other side by sides. I always fit the barrel first, then drop the hammers, fit the trigger and plate, check operation and finally fit the bottom cover. Here is a tip, the trigger guard is often held in with two screws and they will have been filed to match the profile of the guard and as such will not be interchangeable, so I screw them into the job label in the correct order. It saves me faffing around trying to guess which is which. When you go to look at an old English gun it will have been apart at some point however that is no excuse for not putting it back together correctly. Are the screws correctly timed? They will have been slotted fore to aft when first built so they still should be, if they are out of line there must be a reason. Now run your fingers over the screws, can you feel any burrs or high sections? Again, if you can it has been apart and not put back together nicely. These markers are an indication of the quality of the work that has been carried out.

It is not to say the work has been badly or well done, I can re-time screws and remove burrs with ease so you just know other people can as well.

The trigger is now sorted on this particular gun and it has had a box or so of cartridges put through it. I need to replace a couple of screws, I will probably remove the non standard lacking and then it is ready to go.

Oh the coloured labels on the gun? Well they buff one gives customer and work details, a green means it will be for sale and a red label would mean on hold or in storage.

And why am I telling you this? Because you need to know.

Some pictures for you:


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.