A server upgrade and a lost shop

Our server was updated today (Thursday 13/06/23019) I would have mentioned it if I had known it was going to happen…

Anyway the good news is the Shooting Shed server is now on the latest versions of everything including WordPress which this Journal runs on, so we are in theory a lot more secure.

There is a down side and that is our eCommerce shop has been lost somewhere along the line. Clever technical people are working on it as I write this and hopefully it will be back up and running shortly. Meanwhile if you would like to place an order just email me david@ this domain or the Viking on shed@ this domain and your order or enquiry will be acknowledged.

A new Vice

No, this does not mean I have found a new immoral way of spending my spare time. Mostly because A) I never seem to have any spare time and B) I cannot think of anything that takes my fancy 🙂

Instead, this is a new vice for the Bridgeport. We have the one manual mill dating back to the 1970s sitting in a corner of the workshop. It is scruffy but solid and remarkably accurate,  especially as it has a three axis DRO (Digital read Out) fitted which gives me the ability to machine very precisely.

One issue has been the machine vice, I was given it as an interim option when I purchased the Mill and I have always meant to swap it out, just never got around to it so I ordered a replacement the other day. This particular vice appears to be a reasonable copy of the well known KURT offerings and so far seems to be OK, I have checked the usual things such as does the front jaw rise when clamping, is the bed parallel to the mill table and are the jaws maintaining square when clamping something in the middle and so far it is looking very good. Next job is to make a set of high jaws for the stock work the machine is used for. I will machine them from aluminium and they will be the same width (160,0mm) and around 100,0mm high.

One issue was I could not find a set of clamps to hold the vice down so I found a lump of 30,0mm x 60,0mm EN3B (Bright Mild Steel) and worked within those dimensions for the clamps. I machined the four clamps in one length then band sawed them to a nominal 50,0mm lengths, cleaned them up and drilled a 13,0mm hole for the hold down bolts and the job was done. Well not quite as I also had to machine a key for the location key way on the underside of the vice to engage and hold it near parallel to the existing beds slots, which makes clocking in so much easier. I also had to clean the machine as it and the floor was now covered in a lot of chips.

The plastic screen has a magnetic base and is useful when I am fly cutting as it prevents chips being hurled in all directions.

Final job was to modify the two bits of ply I usually have to cover the bed and make cleaning easier when a job is completed.

All in all I am pleased with the vice and it is certainly not going anywhere plus I have a significantly larger throat opening on the new vice at 200,0mm  and I can even move the jaws to the outside which gives me close to 400,0mm albeit somewhat precariously.



GRS Rear Bag Riders

We are periodically asked to make rear bag riders for various rifles and it is at this point we have to take a view on is it going to be a ‘One off’ or is it worth productionising and making a run of parts.  The latest example of this is a rear bag rider for the GRS rifle stocks.

Now I am a huge fan of these stocks, they are well made, look good and most importantly fit the actions they are designed for really well. About the only thing I ever do is an occasional pillar bedding job and, personally, would not worry about a full bedding job because in my view the potential improvement of accuracy is not worth the outlay. Just my view…

One of the things that aids long distance accuracy is the tracking of the rifle on the rear bag and if the rifle stock you have chosen is not designed to track on a bag you have a problem. It is fair to say rear bag tracking is not the be all and end all of rifle accuracy, however it does have a significant impact on the ability of some shooters. Hence we build rear bag riders for rifles that are not ideally suited to such techniques otherwise and examples include the Accuracy International chassis systems and Tikka T3x Tac A1 and now the GRS.

OK, the first question is what does it fit, well certainly the following:

GRS Berserk
GRS Hunter
GRS Hybrid
GRS X-Eater
GRS Sporter


I suspect the rider will fit other GRS chassis, however I cannot be sure about the rest of the range until I get my hands on examples to test with.

The GRS Rear Bag Riders come as a black anodised plate with a self colour aluminium tube and are supplied with three longer A4 stainless screws to enable fitting.

To attach the rear bag rider remove the existing adjustable butt section from the rifle chassis. Remove the small self tapping screws holding the butt pad in place, then remove the three screws holding the three pillars in place, these screws will have been glued in place so you may need to carefully grip the pillars in a vice or similar. With the pillars removed place the rider plate in front of the original plate and hold it in place with the longer screws passed through from the back of the original plate. Nip the three screws up tight, I do not use any Loctite however you can do so if you wish, now fit the butt pad using the original screws and re-attach the rear butt section to the chassis. Finally, attach the 18,5mm tube to the hanger using the supplied M8 A4 stainless screw and you are good to go. Fitting probably takes around 10 minutes if you are cautious and the process can be reversed at any point if needed.

Every Workshop needs one…

I am slowly becoming quite a fan of Bell Target and spent a few hours trying to put the bell target into the 21st century with an Arduino micro controller and accelerometer with reasonable results. The principle being when the pellet goes through the middle a series of bright LED lamps light and a sounder makes a noise, 2.5 seconds later it resets and you can carry on.

Well that is all well and good however I missed the clang of the bell and someone walking forward to reset the target so I ordered a ‘proper’ Bell Target end of last week and here it is in place in the workshop with the eighteen foot mark taped to the floor alongside my desk, so I can literally stand up, grab a suitable .177 rifle and shoot to my hearts content.

For paint I ordered some Titanium Dioxide powder which make a great never drying paint when mixed with baby oil (Liquid paraffin) Right now I am using an old tube of white oil paint mixed with anti fouling black powder lube and a dash of gun oil which also seems to work nicely as well. Next thing is to get some practice days booked at our team’s pub and get ready for the forth coming season.

Happy days 🙂


My back ground is for the most engineering, however I did have a bit of a break and ended up as Technical manager for an IT security company for a while. Now I know this sounds a bit random however I have always been capable of turning my hand to IT stuff and it was a nice break from noisy manufacturing plants and press lines. At the start of the IT thing I was contracted into a customer site by IBM and I always remember a 1TB ‘Jukebox’ storage system going in. This thing was approaching the size of a ‘phone box, was a vivid purple colour, had a theoretical storage capacity of 1TB, oh and it never actually worked whilst I was there, due to some issues with the SCSi interface. Luckily it was not a project I was working on so I only had to watch from a distance as people ran around panicking.

Fast forward many years. We run four primary machines here and they need to be backed up a lot as to loose the accounts and VAT data, or the CAD drawings or RFD register would be a nightmare. We use a variety of systems to backup our data and it was about time we invested in a new file server and here it is:

OK, so it is not exactly flashing lights and humming fans however it is very effective and notably it has a 4TB storage capacity. What you are looking at is the whole thing. In fact it no longer has the cables attached other than power as it sits in a corner and is connected to remotely. The thing you are looking at is the hard drive, a piggy back board and a tiny little single board computer running a variant of Debian Linux. Total cost was around £30.00 for the computer which is a Raspberry Pi3 B+, the expansion board was about the same and the hard drive itself was left over from a project of ours and probably cost around £75.00 so there it is, a standalone secondary file and backup server for less than £150.00. The back up process is automated in that every time a machine is shut down a script runs that throws new or changed files across before the workstation is turned off. In simple terms just choose shut down and the rest is done automatically.

I must admit to having enjoyed this project as it has  been a while since I played with a Linux system and I was impressed how quickly the commands came back to me. Next job is to harden it off which I am in the middle of right now.