Sunday Fixtures.

Sunday fixtures sounds like a football thing and please believe me when I say that is probably going to be the only football reference I make on here ever.

It would be so nice to say every Sunday is a day of rest and relaxation however it does not always happen.

This morning I am lucky enough to be enjoying a leisurely second cup of coffee at home with the doors open and Labrador tripping hazards asleep at my feet. I am working on the design of a fixture I have been meaning to build for ages.

Fixtures are important, they hold things in place accurately and theoretically with a good level of repeatability. This one needs to hold a rotational position to as close to nothing as I can get it. I model my fixtures in CAD as 3D models so I can rotate and view them from all angles to confirm not just that they work, but that they work for me. This design has a few tweaks to be made but is there in principle.

People often think working with firearms is all about smoke lamps and hand files, with an occasional walk over to the lathe and it can be like this to a degree, however for me it is as much about maths, CAD and spreadsheets as it is about being hunched over my bench with a needle file and Optivisor.

It was Townsend Whelen who said “Only accurate rifles are interesting” For me, it is only accuracy that is interesting.

…and what is the fixture for? Well I am sure the more eagle eyed of you may even have already guessed its intended use.

Thread work.

Screw cutting, shortening or crowning are bread and butter sort of jobs for us and it is not just trade work that we undertake, we are equally happy to work with individual customers from all disciplines.

This is a beautiful .308Win Sako 75 destined for Deer work, it has been threaded 1/2″ UNF as agreed with the customer and is now fitted with an Accurate Shooter sound moderator from Barton Gunworks. We have known Will at BGW for many years and like his products so we use them whenever we get the chance when it comes to production applications. We still make our own for special applications and I am working on a really interesting project at the moment which I will share details of when it gets a bit closer to being finished.

We can screw-cut virtually any material in any thread from, as examples 6-48tpi through to M42x1.0mm on either manual or CNC so we have just about all options covered.

I have recently been making odd number tpi screws that were required for a specific application,so machine, thread, time the screws and machine the slots which makes for a time consuming yet very rewarding job. I will take some pictures next time I am making and fitting some.

Hmm…the copper slip does not do the thread picture justice, it is actually a lovely thread, gauged correctly and ready for Proof.  Eagle eyed readers may just about spot the flat crown, I do this for all rifles that will be wearing a sound moderator full time unless asked otherwise.

A universal revolver wrench

We do a fair amount of revolver work here and I have always used a flat ended rifle action wrench if the barrel needs to come off, however it is heavy and cumbersome and not ideally suited to the lighter frames of the revolver so time to design and build one for myself.

Designing a revolver frame wrench is not exactly rocket science and in its simplest form it is just a length of metal with another bit that can be bolted to it and the frame is sandwiched between the two parts, usually with a bolt through the trigger loop and above the top strap and maybe one in the middle.

Of course the spacing for the bolts does tend to vary from model to model which is something to incorporate into a universal design. Also I wanted the ability to add shaped spacers for unusual things and it needed a comfortable grip.

A few minutes on the computer and a concept had been created. I tend to use Sketchup quite a lot for simple 2D designs such as this as I can export them as a DXF file for the CNC machine albeit in a vastly simplified form as the CNC I use only understands profiles and only across one edge. Incidentally, Sketchup is still free to download and use in the basic version and this does include full 3D modelling and it is incredibly easy to use.

With the material cut to length it was popped into the machine. You will notice I am not using a steady and there is a fair lump of material extending from the chuck that is not being machined. The reason for this stick out is very simple, the machine is currently set-up with a collet chuck which will only accept a maximum of 26,0mm diameter material. I could have swapped to the 3 jaw however my back is not great right now so I opted to machine a 25,0mm tenon on one end using the smaller lathe and then into this one for profiling.

I ran two programs, one for roughing out to +0,025mm of the final profile and one for finishing. I normally generate a program that does both roughing and finishing so time to try something new.

One issue with profiling without a steady over such a length is chatter and I ran the finish cuts at 1750 rev/minute as it seemed to give the best result.

Next job was back into the small lathe (Colchester Chipmaster) and the tenon was machined off, then into the Bridgeport and the flat section for the clamp surface machined followed by drilling and tapping the holes ready to accept the upper section. The wrench uses high tensile M8 button head screws  to hold the two parts together and this should give me more than enough clamping pressure without fear of ripping screws out. In fact I usually just nip the screws up so they do not deform or damage the part being held.

The final operation was drill the clearance holes for the upper, give it a quick clean up and assemble and yes, it works and feels right which is what I wanted. Time to put it to use!

Lightweight Rear Bag Riders

Despite my bitter dislike of anything carbon fibre related due to the fibres that seem to get everywhere I actually enjoyed making this, a rear bag rider for an Accuracy International that had to be light. This is a mix of carbon fibre and 6082T6 and rolled in at 95 grams so it ticks the box and I think it looks rather smart as well, or will do when I have wiped my grubby prints off it. Something to remember with our light weight rear bag riders is by nature they are not as robust as the normal 150 gram versions as a third of the weight has been shed however as long as they are not seriously abused they seem to go on for ever and I know for a fact that all of the ones I have built to date are still out there on rifles and in constant use.

There is a 75 gram version however I only do these to special order and they are not as pretty

I guess I had better get back to work as it feels like we are knee deep in rifle and shotgun work right now. Roll on getting the dogs out time when it is a bit cooler. I will make an effort to update you all on our recent projects over the weekend.

As an aside the workshop doors are open and I just looked up and spotted a male House Sparrow perched on the door handle of our Defender, how odd…

Schmidt Rubin K31 Bore Guides

It is nigh on a month since I posted to my Journal which should tell you something as I am usually very quiet when we are running flat out as we tend to just focus on what we need to get done.

The good news is we have passed a couple of mile stones project wise and can (In theory) get back to normality and on the subject of normality here is a cleaning rod guide or bore guide depending on your side of the Atlantic for the Schmidt Rubin K31, I have built for other SR’s however never the K31 for some unknown reason so here it is and it may even be in our e Commerce shop by now, if not just email the Viking and tell her you want one and she will confirm our anticipated delivery date. Right now bespoke bore guides are going out within a couple of weeks and stock bore guides such as the more common Sako, Tikka and Remington items same day and we usually have a few Accuracy International variants built and ready to go for everything from the AW to the AXMC.

If in doubt just drop us an email or call the workshop.

Finally, why am I calling the Bore Guides as well as Cleaning Rod Guides? Well I have always referred to them as the latter however some confusion has cropped in to the two names and if indeed they are separate products and the answer is nope, a Bore Guide is a Cleaning Rod Guide the only difference is where you live 🙂