Fitting a No32 Mk1 to a No3 Mk1 (P14) Rifle

Towards the end of last year I was staring at an absolutely original No32 Mk1 telescopic sight that was sitting on my desk. I was constantly moving it anywhere but back in the cupboard which meant I had to find a suitable project for it. The problem was what, so I mentioned it on the Full-Bore forum and GeeRam mentioned a No32 Mk1 had been fitted to a Pattern 14 rifle. A rifle I own and one which I really enjoy shooting.

So, I hunted down the post, contacted the person who had built it and was told that the source of the drawing was secret and that the bracket build he had commissioned had been a nightmare to do and probably best avoided.

Game on.

Use the people you know I thought, so I spoke to Paul Whitelam of Northern Shooting Show fame and he waved a magic wand (OK, he spoke to the Leeds Armoury people) and a drawing was supplied, I think it was a fiver and I still owe him for it!

With the drawing to hand first job was to draw it in CAD, it is always easier to work with a 3D model and it soon became apparent that what I had modelled and what had been built previously were really quite different. So I started again and paid extra attention to the job in case anything has been over looked and yup, what I was looking at was spot on to drawing, even down to a couple of small errors on radius paths, but way different to the example that had been built recently. My goal was to build something that was totally 100% accurate.
I could certainly build a fair amount of the project, however it was also apparent that I would need a 5 axis machine, something I do not possess, so I was going to need a grown up on board, certainly if I was going to build a handful of the things.

As luck has it, Robert Chombart of CG fame and I worked with another company when we were building rifle actions a few years ago and they have some fairly hefty CNC kit, so we sat down and talked, in fact we talked a lot and a plan agreed. Time to do some more research, I reckon I put well over 50 hours (I stopped counting last December) into 3D modelling, researching material specification and modern equivalents and this was before the emails, conversations, drawing mark ups and annotations. The master folder alone is over 240 MB and the pile of drawings in the folder is a couple of inches thick. Eventually the project was ready to be kicked off and set tool to material.
The original drawing calls for malleable cast iron and that is certainly an idea for the future however right now my plan was to build a dimensionally perfect replication of the drawing with modern and robust materials which we have done.

Final job now is to tumble the parts and black them. Yes them, we have built half a dozen.

Interestingly, the drawing called for 4BA coned head screws or D.D.(E)2441/5 Screw, Holder and that drawing just happens to be for the 4(T) bracket (Another fiver I owe Paul!) Which makes me wonder why they chose to design a bracket for the Rifle, No3 Mk1 (P14) when the H&H modified No4 Mk(T) was already in place. My personal view is the P14 is an inherently accurate rifle and the one I have would easily out shoot the 4(T) I used to own. The downside was always spares for the P14, plus the ‘limited’ magazine capacity and a whole host of other things. What I do like about this bracket is it is robust, it used 5/16” thumb screws instead of the 1/4” used on the 4(T) and it also dovetails into the rear left wing that protects the rear sight so it has a very solid recoil system, unlike the 4(T)

Anyway, here it is, call it a bit of a world premier. A bracket to hold a No32 Mk1 rifle telescope to a No3 Mk1 rifle, this was originally designed and built in 1940, this is not a fantasy build, this is just a late build.

More to follow, in fact I could probably write a book on it!

 

The Vickers Empire/Jubilee rifle

Regular readers have probably guessed that I have a bit of a thing going for pre-war English rim-fire rifles by now.

I currently shoot a Vickers Mk3 for Light Sport Rifle (50m off hand/ unsupported) and very nice it is as well and I have often wondered if I would ever own another Vickers.

Today the answer becomes yes. This is a Vickers Empire model with the Type S Jubilee trigger assembly and pistol grip type stock.This does appear to be an accepted build out of the factory.

The stock has been chopped and then extended and is currently at around 15.5″ LOP which is way too much for my style of shooting. I am tempted to chop the earlier extension and fit a rubber pad which will bring it back to 14″ Which is more realistic. I will have to shoot it first because as much as it pains me to look at what has been done, it is part of the rifles history.

The 30.5″ bore is good, it is fitted with the click stop ‘Perfection’ rear sight, the 6oz trigger plus a PH Model 2 front sight with interchangeable inserts, so it should shoot very well and I am looking forward to getting out to the range.

Age wise I cannot tell from the Proof stamps and thee are not date stamps so about all I have to work with is the Vickers-Armstrong name which places it as post 1927 and certainly pre-war.

More to follow.

Stay safe.

The Sabatti STR – Why it is worth getting your rifle serviced.

We had an STR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor come in for crowning and a service in anticipation of next years shooting and it is worth mentioning this job as it did expose a few issues, albeit minor ones.
The crowning is a nice enough job, into a spider and 4 jaw, clock it up, crown, polish and award yourself a cup of coffee. I have talked about such jobs on the Shooting Shed Journal and the Shed FB page so no point in going over it again. Of course you do need to strip the barrelled action from the chassis to perform such a task, a picture is at the bottom if you wondered what these rifles look like when pulled apart.
What I did notice during the disassembly was loose and missing screws, the ‘scope bracket was missing one screw and the ‘scope itself had moved back in the rings. At this point I am going to say this is not a dig at the owner, in fact far from it. Kudos to him for bringing it in instead of leaving alone or doing the bloke thing and taking a wild guess at how things come apart.
Carrying on, one action screw was loose and this would have had an impact on accuracy, it had also been over oiled.
With the barrelled action out I wiped everything over and treated the barrel to a mornings worth of C2R cleaner and was pleasantly surprised at how little copper came out of the barrel. I have noticed this before on the 6.5CM.
Finally, it was a matter of putting it back together and torquing the screws to the correct settings.
Final job was a few pictures of the bore as a reference for the customer.
So what came out of this exercise? Well it is a good example of how the little things are going to make a difference, that loose action screw was going to upset things and would not have been easily detected unless the rifle had been stripped. Also, take care with oil when cleaning, use a small amount of a good quality gun oil, not WD40. Oil acts as a lubricant and preservative/rust inhibitor and needs to be applied carefully as an excess leads to a build up of dirt and grime which will impact the operation of your rifle or shotgun. I wrote an article a while ago on my take on cleaning guns and can post a copy up if anyone is interested. Invest in a decent solvent for the barrel and a stiff brush for the bolt face. I also use Sinclair type lug and chamber brushes, I have made my own however I ended up with these ones as I am always lending my own out, never to be seen again!
Finally, if you are going to shoot with a sound moderator, remove it when not in use, in fact it should only be on when you are shooting and I would urge everyone using such a device to remove it for the drive home, this is the time when it is going to cool, condensation will form and moisture ends up in the barrel and we all know what that means!
Also, a light oiling of the bore is never going to go amiss.
Take care all

Fitting and head spacing a barrel on a BSA International MkIII

The humble .22 BSA International target rifle, we have all shot or owned one and if not, hopefully you will one day.

This one is a MkIII with the floating barrel and it came in for a re-crown and re-time//head space the barrel. At some point the barrel had been twisted very slightly which was enough to cant the fore sight over, yet still operate correctly. The head space was also out. Now interestingly, there seems to be some mystique about these things and I remember reading on a forum quite recently that they were factory pressed together and could not be adjusted. OK, well here is one in bits on the counter so you can see how they come apart and the process is remarkably easy:

Drop the action parts out of the receiver and place them some where safe.

Remove the two knurled cap-head screws from the left hand side of the receiver, they are going to be tight so you have been warned!

Now pull the barrel out of the receiver, it might be quite a snug fit!

What I do is pop the barrelled actioned in the barrel vice (I use a 25000kg hydraulic press) I then flood the barrel tenon with Plus-Gas and make myself a coffee. I then attach my universal action wrench with masking tape or aluminium shims to protect the receiver.

Nip the wrench up very lightly, if you do it up tightly the receiver will tighten on the barrel tenon.

 

Now get hold of the action wrench and rotate/pull back and the receiver should detach from the barrel with a bit of effort.

I make my own wrenches and here are a couple of examples. They need to be robust as they do take a fair amount of abuse on occasions. The top one is the one I use most of the time for British Service rifles and the block with cut-out alongside is for SMLE rifles. Below is a wrench I mostly use for revolvers however it also does a good job on parallel sided receivers.

With luck, you should end up with something that looks a like the adjacent image.

Clean everything carefully and inspect, in this case it went into the lathe and was crowned.

OK, back in the vice, clock the front sight base to zero (Or use a precision level)

Now push the receiver onto the tenon and fit the two screws loosely, I usually nip them until the receiver will no longer rotate and back off a 1/4 turn. You should have a few degrees of rotation.

Fit the action internals ensuring everything has been thoroughly cleaned as we really do not need a piece of grit to mess up things right now.

Fit the GO head space gauge, push the receiver forward and ensure it is level, now nip the screws up and check everything. Did you fit the GO Gauge before fitting the receiver? Start again

Open the action keeping a hand over the load port or be prepared to spend an hour or so looking for your gauge.

Check with the NOGO and if all is good you can put the rifle back together.

One small detail, the fore end support is held in place by the front screw so you do have one last chance to mess things up, which, hopefully you will not.

So there you go, a BSA International MkIV stripped and head spaced.

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

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.

/d