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.

GH Gledhill’s Patent Cash Till

We sell our products, plus consumable items at the workshop counter here in Binbrook, as well as on-line. Guns, ammunition and cartridges are also being collected daily (Excluding lock downs!)

Direct sales are usually by card or cheque, so cash sales, when they happen, tend to be quite an informal affair with an invariably struggle to find change.

So we have invested in a dedicated EPOS system.

More accurately, we have  purchased a GH Gledhill’s Patent Cash Till, a wonderful device that is probably 100 years old (Correct me if I am wrong please) Is made from Mahogany, with cast iron and brass bits, rings a bell when you open the drawer and advances a till roll at the same time to enable you to make a note of the transaction.

Except it didn’t when it arrived. Instead, it was splattered with paint, the locks were either damaged or missing, the handle for the drawer gone, the till roll mechanism would not advance and the glass covering the till roll was missing. Now this is not to say I was unhappy with our acquisition, in fact far from it. At under GBP40.00 delivered it was a bit of a bargain, plus it gave me a chance to add my own touch, to make it ours .

When the drawer is opened a bell rings which it did, however the till roll mechanism did not advance. Also, the drawer had an interlock/ratchet system which means it had to be returned to the fully closed position before it would open again, this was also in a non functioning state.

The key for the top lock was also missing and the top plate damaged, my view is it had been forced at some point. The bottom lock had long since been removed.

My Grandfather was a joiner/cabinet maker and I still have some of his old locks and keys plus a load of brass wood screws so a key was found and the lock modified to accept a spare key. I should have taken some pictures…

The paper advance was intriguing, it looks to have been reversed at some point so the paper would no longer advance, additionally, the dog that trips the system was bent down and when I removed it I noticed some paper packers which had been used to stop the cam slipping over. I like little challenges like this as you cannot just google them, you have to think things through. The paper roll now advances.

The trip/ratchet to prevent the drawer being opened again once you started to close it was worn, however some careful filing allowed the trip to drop down further and operate. This is the drawer ready to be oiled with some coins for scale. The .22 Shorts are there because I could 🙂

Finally, a piece of glass to cover the paper was needed, a piece of 3,0mm Lexan did the job.

With the mechanical side of things working as it should, I ordered a cast iron cup handle for the drawer ( We are currently using the bottom key to open and close the drawer) Hopefully it will be here next week, can be blacked and fitted.

That only left the wood. It is either a Mahogany or very similar coloured wood and was showing it’s age. I started with a wipe down with Methylated Spirits, from here I could raise some of the dents with an Iron, then rub everything down with wire wool and more Methylated Spirits before applying wax, initially with wire wool followed by hand with wait periods and buffing in-between. The wax I use is to a secret recipe from Nick at NB Guns and is so secret he usually gives me the ingredients in a bag to make it, excluding the boiled linseed oil and I put everything together on the stove.

I can see it will take a few more coats of wax yet, however it is looking good so far. One thing I did notice is there is a worn section on the top of the cash till between the front edge and the till roll, it took me until it was on the counter to realise that is the part you would rest your hand on when entering the transaction to the paper roll. The Till is also at a perfect elbow leaning height which probably explains the worn area.

Total time spent is probably a couple of hours and well worth the effort I reckon. I know, it is not really gun related however I thought  it might be of interest and yes, I did screw it to the counter.

Finally, check out one of our new ‘Binbrook Gunsmiths’ business cards that were hand delivered late yesterday afternoon. Great work from the chaps at in Grimsby



Thumb Wheels

The project continues apace with more turned parts. Again, these will need to be heat treated however at least I get to work with a fairly standard 5/16″ BSF (British Standard Fine) I cannot say I never work with imperial threads as all of the last weeks screwcutting was imperial and the time consuming part is always the clocking in as opposed to the screw cutting itself. Oddly, I do tend to work in metric for some imperial threads and as an example the 20×1/2″UNF thread so often seen on the end of barrels and used to attach a sound moderator starts off as a 12,70mm diameter to me and finishes at around 11,00mm for a class 3A thread (External) I say around as the ultimate diameter is down to the part I am attaching to the end so you could argue it is not really a class A thread.

I am sure some of you have shouted ‘Gotcha!’  confident now that you know what I am making. Good idea in principle however I think you will find this is the wrong thread.

All will be revealed over the next couple of weeks.

Screw it (The Imperial way!)

Firstly, Happy New Year, at this stage I could say my resolution is to write more however I have already failed on that count. Anyway, lets hope for a better year than the last. Here in the UK we are locked down for the third time which means no face to face customers unless they are essential users. Internet sales are OK though and we have already shipped to the USA and Sweden on multiple occasions plus theUK of course.

Screws- I am quite looking forward to this as it is an imperial job and I seldom if ever work in imperial. I need to make a batch of ‘Coned Head’ Screws and the drawing calls for them to be hardened so I will make a small handful and bung them through the HT oven, if all is OK I can make a few more, around 60 is where I need to be with some to spare/drop in the swarf bin/mess up along the way. The pitch is 38.48 TPI which would be a nightmare usually, however I can program this pitch on the big lathe and a 4,0mm collet seems to be my go-to for so many projects on both the lathes (Strikers and Optilock screws spring to mind) The thread angle is 47.5 degrees so not one I hold however carbide inserts are but a telephone call away. The slot will be done with a slitting blade held on an arbor with a collet on the manual lathe and I have a little 1MT Jacobs chuck that is held in a standard tool holder for holding the screws. The threads do not need to be timed so I can just wind the slide in with plenty of lubrication.

A sliding head lathe would be nice right now!

The project? You can probably guess what it is already and this is your first spoiler, however I will not admit to it until everything is finished and works as planned…

Some more Heat Treatment Oven time.

The little Heat Treatment Oven has been in use for a while and I have been thinking about the process cycle time for a while so yesterday we wound a new element with a calculated 2.5kWatts which should speed things up a bit.
First job was crunch some numbers and I use a spreadsheet for this, in fact I use spreadsheets for everything, even our RFD register! The advantage of the sheet is I can see what changes to the element length (Resistance) make to things like the current draw and power. I can also experiment with different gauges of the Kanthal A-1 wire I use which was handy as when I went to order the gauge used before, nobody stocked it in the length I needed.
A couple of entries on the sheet and I could instantly see if the alternative works and how much was needed. In the end I opted for 19AWG and ordered the wire.
The thing about the wire is it is just that, wire and not a heating coil so first job is clean it with acetone and wind it onto a mandrel on the small lathe. This is a bit of a two person job as having someone to hold and feed the wire to me saves potential kinks in the wire. Luckily the Viking was to hand as she usually is.
With the coil wound it was a simple matter of trimming it to final length and putting it in place, connecting in the terminal box and starting to test.
My target temperature for this test was 925-950 degrees centigrade (1700/1750F) This sort of temperature allows me to heat treat spring steels which I work with, a lot. Hence the target and I wanted to get to it in under half an hour so testing is important if only to prove my maths are about right.

Starting at 25C the oven hit 100C in 42 seconds, 500C/932F in just under 4 minutes and I stopped the test at 925C/1697F at a bit under half an hour which was perfect.

.The oven should be good for another 100-150C so I can have a play at knife making one day.

Right now I am watching the cool down temperature time.

The outside of the oven was cold to the touch at the 30 minute point however it is quite warm to the touch now at 90 minutes, however it is not hot which is excellent.
On the subject of spreadsheets, I created a plot of time vs temperature which I can use as a reference. The highlighted areas are the spring hardening and tempering temperatures I tend to work with, however these are material dependant.
Finally, I know, I really should get around to putting some decent labels on the control cabinet. Maybe next year
As a final note, if you fancy having a bash at making your on HT oven, I am happy to share whatever information may be of use to you.
Take care all.