Redkettle

I have mentioned Redkettle clothing in the past however it was on our sister site Dansk Gevaer (Danish Rifles) We added the Redkettle range of clothing to the items we sell at the start of the year as a result of speaking to the folks at Redkettle. We liked them as people, their standards and beliefs, their aspirations and most importantly we really liked their range of clothing.

Red Kettle was the brain child of Dane Christian Saugmann who designed jackets and trousersWoodland in two ranges, Woodland and Lowland. The thought behind this clothing it is quite deep yet the concept is really very simple, the clothing has to function to the highest standards and without compromise and to this end Christian has taken a very precise approach to the form, fit and function.

Now I could babble on with exuding comment on the wonders of this clothing whilst trying to include the very latest marketing buzz words however I doubt I would do a particularly good job and I seriously doubt Christian would thank me for it so look on this as an honest first outing review.

Trousers, Woodland M/13

I have been looking for a pair of trousers for a while, something for a combination of shooting and walking that would be robust and cope with our British summers and winters, be comfortable and most importantly fit me, so with this in mind I did nothing, carried on wearing my old Deerhunters or a pair of jeans and just forgot about the whole thing.

Luckily I have a Viking wife who had not forgotten and she in turn spoke to Christian who stuffed a bag full of gear in his car when he came up to see us earlier this week. Seeing Christian is always good and being a Dane he and Christel can chat away whilst I do my thing. It was quite a while after Christian had left that I finally had a chance to try the trousers on. Christian had very thoughtfully left both the Woodland and Lowland trousers in a variety of sizes and I opted for the Woodland in a 34Long.

The Woodland trousers are made from Ultrasuede ST micro fibre fabric which at first glance looks like a brown faux suede however they offer a lot more functionality, they are breathable, wind proof and soft to the touch yet apparently hard wearing at the same time. I have spent many years wearing 34W/34L 501’s so it was a bit of a shock when I had to move to a 36 waist in the Lowland trousers however the Woodland trousers were a better fit with the 34 waist and the leg length was perfect even when crouching or kneeling. One thing I did notice was the Woodland trousers were, um, a bit tight across the woodland however I decided a snugger fit was better and I suspected they would give a bit with the first outing.

So today’s first hardcore test of the Woodland trousers was….. A walk around the fields and woods with the Viking and the dogs.

This afternoon was warm, very warm and I had a feeling I was going to cook so I was pleasantly surprised to find I maintained a pleasant temperature, my feet were warm however that was down to the Karrimor boots. The trouser length was good and they sat nicely over the boots, the Woodland has a strap system to tighten the bottom of the trouser legs up, the strap can be removed if so desired. They are also fitted with heavy duty ankle to knee zips on the outside which ensure a reasonably snug fit however you can open the zips which  enables you to wear the trousers over longer boots or your favourite wellies. Moving up the legs there is a cargo pocket on either side, these are placed fairly low down which worked well for me and are closed with zips, inside there are elasticated loops to hold equipment in place. Above are two conventional pockets with mesh liners and the front fly is another heavy zip with a couple of poppers at the top.

The Woodlands are fitted with a load of belt loops and being a belt wearer they worked well. At the rear there is a double thickness seat but nothing else, not a seat pocket in sight which felt a bit odd the first time I went to put something in them however I soon forgot the lack of rear pockets.

Moving through the trees the first thing I noticed was the sound, or more accurately, the complete absence of sound, these trousers are absolutely silent, not even the faintest rustle, you can rub your knees together or crouch down and they are totally silent, the trousers knees are made of a series of panelled sections so they bend nicely at the knees without any pressure, a small detail which was noticeable after my Deerhunters.

We walked for about an hour and in that time I pushed through nettles and brambles, tight sections and open grass and was always comfortable and at no point too warm, yet they feel warm and comfortable to the touch. I am looking forward to testing them in the colder months and I am sure they will become a firm favourite. Do bear in mind these are not waterproof, however they are silent and should dry very quickly, a small price to pay for absolute silence and form fit.

One niggle for the first part of the walk was something sharp sticking in my left knee, it felt like a sharp piece of cotton or worse and I had vowed to turn them inside out on my return to find the culprit however the offending item eventually stopped digging in and after that they felt like a pair of old favourites.These are so well thought out and so comfortable that I am still wearing them now.

One thing that did appeal to me was the lack of branding other than a discreet Redkettle patch on the right hand cargo pocket, I always wonder why some companies put logos and flashes all over the place, these are refreshingly understated.

Now the sensible stuff, washing and care – I have no idea! I will wear them, if they get really grim they will be washed by the Viking who knows about such things. As far as general wear and care, well the Woodland trousers have little in the way of bits to catch, the cargo pockets seal with a zip so no flaps to snag and even the leg zip sliders have the bits of material you hold secured with a popper. One thing I did notice was the straps around the bottom of the legs flapped around however closer inspection revealed a couple of loops that I should have fed the strap through to stop it waving around in the wind.

All in all I am very impressed. They are well worth a look

You can read more about Redkettle here: http://www.redkettle.co/Our-origins.aspx

Dansk Gevaer Fabrikken

Danish Weapon Factories, a new Shooting SHED catagory for Danish built firearms, mostly dedicated to the Danish Krag-Jørgensen and the Otterup and Rask Mølle built Schultz & Larsen however any Danish rifle of interest may be added.

Included will be rifles we own, rifles we like and the occasional précis of a model based on readings and research from Danish written publications, if nothing else it puts data into the domain of the English language.

The Schultz & Larsen RPLT42 rifle

I was speaking to an RFD yesterday who has just had a Schultz & Larsen RPLT42 rifle come in and was keen to know more about it, given that we have a fascinating book on the history of the Schultz & Larsen written in Danish I volunteered Christel to do some research and this is it, hopefully it will be of interest to someone.

The Model 42 is a 4 lug rear locker based on the S&L Model 38 also known as the ‘System Schultz & Larsen’ interestingly Niels Larsen shot 600m free rifle in the 1924 Paris Olympics. One of the other competitors from a Baltic country had a locally produced rifle with him which was a rear locker, Niels was so impressed he took the idea home with him and S&L started producing actions of this type.

RPLT stands for Rigspolitiet (State Police) – Christel has no idea what the LT is for, the number 42 is for the year, they were manufactured for an order from the State Police for the Coastguard Police (A division of the State Police) mainly to protect the North Sealand coast (Copenhagen area) from people leaving Denmark for Sweden. They were also used to guard the railway network and were referred to as the ‘Svelletaelleren’ which means sleepers/tracks counter and probably refers to the monotony of walking the tracks with one of these rifles to keep the guard company. The Coastguard Police were also equipped with Mauser M98 Karabiner and they were fitted with Schultz and Larsen barrels, it is unclear which of these rifles were used first.

Originally it was suggested only 800 of these rifles were built however later records point to as many as 1220 being built, interestingly the numbers for this model of rifle start at 100 so last serial would be 1320. Danish saboteurs broke into the Schultz & Larsen factory at Otterup and stole the final deliveries of rifles and after the war some RPLT42s were rebuilt to hunting specification rifles by the Otterup Factory, the suggestion is either S&L brought them back from the State Police or the saboteurs who took them, there are no records either way. Of course it would be wrong to suggest S&L would in any way be involved in the ‘loss’ of the rifles at the time…

The rebuild as hunting rifles included being fitted with a new stock with a half cheek piece instead of the more traditional full length version used on the military rifles, they maintained the 4 shot magazine and continued to be chambered in 8x58RD which was the military calibre for the duration of the war.

Some model 42’s had the RPLT stamp scrubbed when they were converted to hunting use. The State Police insisted that the RPLT be removed however Mr Larsen decided such a request was not particularly important so only a few rifles had the RPLT removed. When the Otterup factory closed in 1994 three RPLT42s along with some prototypes, spares and foreign firearms were sold to a ‘German weapons dealer’
In Autumn 1941 a new Police Corp known as the Coastguard Police was formed by German request to ‘keep Spy’s out of the country and Jews in’. They were closed down in 1947 and at that point 200 RPLT42s were sold back to Schultz & Larsen. From 1947 onwards no RPLT42s are recorded as being held by the Police.

One thing to consider with the RPLT42s is the receivers were made from an incredibly hard steel which has led to some cracking in the area of the receiver lugs, this apparently is not a problem if you shoot with modest loads however it is something to be mindful of if you decided to use millsurp 8x58RD which has a reputation for being spiteful.

Now some history, when the Værnemagt (Wehrmacht) took over the running of Denmark they issued an order that all civilian owned firearms be handed into the Police, anything chambered in 9mm or 8x58RD was purchased for a nominal sum and used by the Danish Police, all others were taken and stored in the local prisons. Apparently the Police soon forgot where the keys were kept and the Danish resistance used to take them away in the dark of night, unfortunately they were spotted on more than one occasion and this led to reports that prisoners were being killed and their coffins taken away at night. Ultimately the Germans got wind of this and moved the remaining firearms to a church in North Germany for a period before being relocated to a salt mine. The Americans when they heard of this blew the entrance of the salt mine up and they have never been recovered to this day.

So if you fancy a few pre-war Danish rifles…..

Sources:
Schultz & Larsen Otterup Gevaerfabrik – Dansk Ammunionsfabrik A/S De Danske Rifler I Verdensklasse
Politkarabin Model 1942 Peter Rasmussen
Politkarabin R.P.L.T42 Peter Rasmussen
http://www.schultz-larsenrifleclub.dk

EDIT – Could RPLT stand for RigsPoLiteT So RPLT is simply ‘State Police’ I see Peter Rasmussen refers to it as the R.P.L.T42 at the start of his article and then RPLT42 from that point onwards. Time for more research.

Another EDIT – Regarding the alleged receiver issue with the M42, apparently it was due to a shortage of alloy steel so the receivers were made of carbon steel which became very brittle during the hardening/heat treatment process and cracks have been seen in the left rear of the magazine well.

 Niels Larsen and the Olympics – Niels took a Bronze in what was to be his last Olympic appearance at Paris 1924 in the 600 metre free rifle competition. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the only ‘Baltic States’ that competed the ‘24 Olympics and I can find no reference to any of these countries actually competing in the 600m shooting events.

However Finland was referred to as part of the Baltic Stated in the 1920’s and Heikki Huttunen and Johannes Theslöf of Finland did compete in the 600m free rifle Theslöf 39th 79 points and Huttunen finished 44th with 77 points so maybe one of these two shooters competed with the rifle that inspired Niels Larsen to build the M38 rear locker.

As a final post script Robert Chombart mailed me and comments:

Mr Larsen might have been inspired by an other design, but the lugs arrangement can only be his, and it is what makes me so admirative. It is of a perfect geometry and functionality. I can tell you how difficult it is to achieve a perfect functional lugs arrangement on a full diameter bolt with only 50° rotation.

Such a design would be simple today with CAD, but in 1938, it was quite a challenge to combine camming, cocking, lugs bearing surface and total lugs bearing angle in such a small allowance. The lugs bearing angle of the design was the biggest of all systems, just bettered now by the 3 lugs design in triangular form.

The raw metal problem you mention is typical of the time . >From 1942 this was the general problem. Case hardening technology was still rudimentary (rush perioff helping)and hardening protocols difficult to master. Common problem was a too deep coat of brittlened metal.

 

Robert is probably best known for his design work on many rifle actions including most recently the Woody Engineering produced INCH, the CG range of rifle triggers and target sights. Robert has made a hugely significant contribution to the development of modern rifle action design.

A fitting end to my Journal entry, thank you Robert.

Schultz and Larsen – M97-DL Sporter

I am a bit if a fan of all things Danish, being married to a Dane and having spent a fair amount of time in the country helps a bit.

A few years ago whilst shooting at Ulfborg in Middle Jutland (Danish mainland) we were lucky enough to see the Danish Jagtfeltskydning (Hunting Field Shooting) competition finals. I was hooked on the spot.

Jagtfeltskydning or hunter field sport shooting is basically a series of stands with targets at anything from 70m to 300m. The targets are animal shaped, so Deer, Boar, Hare, Pheasant etc. The distances are unknown but ask the person next to you and they will tell you!

Some are moving and some are fixed but this is down to the CoF on the day.

Classes are Hunters, Ladies, Veterans and Experts. Crossed sticks and aids are provided for all classes apart from Experts where you need to supply your own if indeed they are allowed. To make things interesting you move around in groups and one stand may have a log to act as a rest however it is suspended on ropes so it moves, you are limited in time and you have five other people also shooting at the same time and using the same log as a support. Some targets are exposed on report so first shot is a moving deer at 90m and second shot is something very different at anything from 70m to 230m and the exposure time is very limited so no time to fumble with elevation or tables, you just have the time to shoot..

Targets do not have obvious scoring zones on so you need to know animal anatomy.

Finals in the DK national are the top ten shooters from the above classes. Course of fire is at a deer shaped target without visible scoring zone.

300m prone 5 shots no support
200m Kneeling 5 shots no support
100m standing 5 shots

Final is 5 shots from a prone position in 30 seconds, however you are standing with the rifle on the deck when the buzzer goes so you have to get down, shoot and reload 5 times in the 30 seconds, making sure you are shooting at the right place on your target.

Jagtfeltskydning appeals to all shooters, not just the hunters as anyone with a suitable rifle can shoot, typically in DK they will only allow 6,5mm X something as they are the hunting calibres used but I see no reason why a .308 could not be used either, what they are trying to do is keep everything on level field.

That was a very basic description………

Anyway once hooked I needed a rifle and somehow I doubt hauling an Accuracy International around such a CoF was going to work. Plus in an ideal world it would be a Danish rifle for a Danish competition. Cue the Schultz and Larsen – M97-DL Sporter, chambered in 6,5-284 with a Kahles K312  ‘scope sitting in Apel rings.

These rifles are to this day handmade in Denmark and are fitted with cut rifled switch barrels. You can swap a barrel out in under 3 minutes. We were lucky enough to visit the factory in DK last year, the owner is quite a young chap and so enthusiastic about his rifles, he has great plans for the future and the impressive part is his plans are realistic and time scaled, none of this ‘..and tomorrow we will build 100k units and be the worlds number one hunting rifle’ It was a pleasure to meet him, also we got to see the cut rifling machines. They are ex German stock purchased at the end of WWI at scrap value, I think the going rate was one Kroner/Kg. Once cut at a rate of ‘It can be calculated but not measured; (His words) they are hot tin lapped with a slight muzzle end taper which means a very different approach to cleaning.

Our one is fitted with a synthetic Turner M1907 sling on some stainless quick release cups I made specifically for the job.

The S&L has an adjustable cheek piece, which is basically two pillars that are locked up with grub screws, it works but means you need a key with you and I am sure to forget it at some point, add to this the cheek piece has to come off to remove the bolt so I decided it was time to update it slightly with a jacking screw.

After deciding where the jacking screw would go I marked the top and bottom parts to ensure they were aligned then bored a 12mm hole in the stock to take a tapped insert, the insert was knurled and then epoxied in and a short length of M8 stainless added.

Next job, make the elevation wheel, this is tapped M8 and knurled. I only have the one knurling tool and I am not hugely impressed with it so I may well remake this part later.

Insert, shaft and wheel in place. The masking tape is to keep epoxy off the woodwork.

Next job bore another 12mm hole in the cheek piece itself and epoxy in an insert that the stainless screw will drive into and put the whole lot together. Annoyingly when S&L built the stock they did not keep the two mating surfaces of the cheek piece to stock parallel, so the insert in the top extends by a few mm so the wheel pushes up square instead of at an angle.You can see the grub screws in this image, next job is to replace them with a couple of knurled thumb screws. (Pictures to follow) My knurling on this was not as coarse as i would have liked so I will redo it at some point

The set height in this form is perfect for the Viking when it is at the bottom position, if I want to use it I just add a couple of turns and it is good for me.

BTW – this is the rifle that was hitting an F Class 5″ V bull at 1200 yards for me last month, not bad for a Sporter with a 12x ‘scope, it was consistent as well and has given me comfortably sub MOA groups with 139 Scenars and N560 at 600m (Ulfborg September 2011)

http://shootingshed.co.uk/wp/?cat=10

This is also the rifle I intend to shoot in the F Open class comps at the Bisley Phoenix later this year. For a long time I have believed in lightweight rifles and I see no reason why I should not shoot with a 5kg rifle off a Harris bipod. I have my fingers crossed for cool weather because the barrel is rather skinny….

Dare to be different!