Made A Side Plate For CVA A Muzzleloader

gun build 1 side plateOne of the other things I was missing from my CVA kit was a side plate. So I made one!

To start off with I went through my Track Of The Wolf catalog until I found a side plate I liked. Handily, their parts have life sized pictures.  Then I traced over the side plate and used carbon paper to transfer its outline to a piece of paper.

After I had a good outline that seemed to fit well on the stock I cut it out of a piece of steel then started grinding to a closer fit. In the picture here the plate is still a bit too big. After I drilled the holes in the plate I further trimmed it some to make it fit nicely.

I choose to use steel over the traditional brass for one main reason. I didn’t have any sheets of brass laying around, but I did have steel laying around. Some guns were actually build using steel hardware so its actually not fully incorrect historically. Most importantly, it was good practice for me in building a plate that is the proper size.

Screw Driver for Gun Screws

Chapman_screw_driverMany times I have worked on one of my guns and had a tight screw… Often times that goes bad and I end up messing up a the screw and have an ugly head to look at there after. Other times I get my impact driver out which sometimes works, but once I broke a bit doing that.

Well, my problem is that my screwdrivers have slanted edges, but the screw’s head is a straight slot. After doing some looking around online I found the Chapman 9600 Gunsmith Screwdriver kit. It has bits in it that have straight edges instead of the slanted edges found on most screw drivers.

chapman_screw_driver_inside

Another nice feature in this Chapman set is their midget wrench which supposedly allows you to apply up to 200 lbs of torque. According to the instructions those 200 lbs is enough force to break some of the bits in the set. They also included a nice chart of showing each bit and at what torque each bit breaks.

All in all I was very impressed with the kit and how much thought the Chapman company seemed to put into their product. I tried it on one of my screws on my Siler lock and it seemed to work well.

Will A Small Siler Lock Replace A CVA Lock?

20150303_182733Recently, I picked up an old project. Building an old kit gun from CVA! The kit was only partially complete–one of the missing pieces was the lock.

While researching more custom gun kits I have come across the Siler lock. I really wanted to put that lock on this gun, but its fit was doubtful given that the stock was pre-inlet for a CVA lock.

Well, despite the questions of fit I decided to give it try. Turns out the lock is a bit longer, but its not as wide. This leaves a little gap both above and below the lock. Not good…however, the lesson learned is the Siler lock that comes with a rectangle lock plate would have worked  with some cutting of the plate. On the other hand if I am able to patch in some wood in the gap area and make it look decent I think it might be nice having a standard Small Siler lock in place.

The Truth About Silencers

So I’ll admit it. I didn’t really know anything about silencers except for what I’ve seen in movies where they use them to shoot people quietly.

According to this article on silencers on arstechnica turns out how silencers are portrayed in movies is incorrect. They say it actually just makes the sound quieter to the point that you don’t need earplugs when you shoot. An exception would mainly be the .22 silencer in the article which does seem to fit the common perception.

The bottom line…silencers really are not just for bad guys doing killings. In the article they pose several reasons why normal people would want a silencers.

  1. You can target shoot without earplugs and avoid disturbing the neighbors quite as much
  2. You can shoot while hunting without going deaf
  3. Animals are not quite as disturbed while shooting at them
  4. Protection of hearing for hunting dogs

Another miss-conception I held was silencers are illegal. According to the article the only states they are illegal in are: “California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.” So….actually they are legal in a lot of states.

The bad news is to purchase a silencer does not just require a transaction with an FFL, but also “pay[ment] $200 for a BAFTE tax stamp and fill out some paperwork.” In addition to that the article points out that silencers often cost as about as much as or more then a gun does.  So, I don’t think I’ll be getting one anytime soon.

An interesting article though and it goes into how silencers work.

Preparing A New Bullet Mold

IMG_20141109_131458The other day I broke in a new bullet mold. The first step was to clean out the cavities to remove any oil. I used rubbing alcohol and just rubbed around inside of each cavity.

 
IMG_20141109_135701Next I put soot in the cavities by burning a candle directly under neath each of them. This step is much easier without the handles installed. The reason for doing this is to help keep the bullets from sticking in the mold.

 

IMG_20141109_140146Finally, I lubricated the pins and hinge for the sprue cutter. I used anti-seize which is rated at 1600 degrees. The directions from Lee also says you could melt some beeswax into the pins.

 

IMG_20141109_140634Now is the time to install the handles. I’ve installed them first before and that makes sooting the mold much harder.

Turkeys!

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This year for the first time I’ve been playing with a trail camera. Its been very interesting to get to see what all wildlife is out there. So far I’m starting to recognize different bucks and notice the size difference in the does.

Tonight I was out later on moving my trail camera and I saw/heard a turkey fly up to a tree. When I walked out of the woods I spooked three of them out of the trees! I still need to shoot my first turkey maybe I’ll get a chance this year when the season opens up. I’ve been seeing turkeys show up on my trail camera from time to time so they seem to be staying in this area.

Uberti Remington 1875 Replica — Replacing Ejector Pin

Remington 1875 Replica

The other day on my Remington 1875 replica the ejector pin snapped off the ejector handle. I was only able to find that part for this gun two places online: vtigunparts.com and taylorsfirearms.com It turns out that taylorsfirearms was about $4 cheaper and the shipping was the same so I bought it from them.

Sadly, neither stores sold a nickle plated version of the ejector rod/nut so now my gun has a black one. I also replaced my main cylinder pin because of a mod I did a while back to make it easier to come out, which ended up making it too easy to come out in the long run.

Above the gun is leaning on my case of Winchester gunsmithing punches. They came in handy because of the nylon punches which took good care of the finish.

Really the black does not look too bad.

A couple handy tips I learned while replacing these parts.

The underrib under the barrel gave me the hard time coming off. The secret is that there is a pin that enters the frame of the gun in parallel to the barrel. So to remove the underrib you have to first unscreen the screw at the point of the underrib then you have to gently tap downwards on it away from the frame until you can wedge a screw driver in there to pry it out the rest of the way.

The second thing I learned is that my Craftsman impact driver could work very nicly to break screws lose. Originally, when I first took the screw out of the underrib I remember having a very hard time with it. I’ve seen a gunsmithing tool that is a screw driver you tap with a hammer I’m thinking that the impact driver if used very carefully could work just as well.

Other than the finish the fit of the parts from TayorsFirearms was pretty good. I did notice the cylinder pin was a tiny bit shorter and the fingernail catch at the end was smaller. Right now though it seems to work fine. I do worry though that I will have troubles getting it out, without a screwdriver to pry on it, after putting some rounds of blackpowder through the gun again. If it gets to be super hard to get out I might take it out and put in the old pin some day. We will see how it goes.

The time it took for me two do the job was about 45 minutes to disassemble and maybe 30 minutes to put back together. I’ve had the gun apart a few times though so I pretty much knew what I was doing and I also had all of the screws already broke free. On the otherhand, I was enjoying myself and was not in a rush.

Well, hopefully I get in some shooting this weekend.

Starting Out With Reloading: Why People Say You Should Start With A Single Stage Press

I’ve heard many times that people new to reloading ammunition should start with a single stage press. Then later after they understand the basics they should move up to the kind of press the want whether it be progressive or a turret press.

A couple weeks back I upgraded from my Lee single stage press to the Lee LoadMaster progressive press. Back when I bought my Lee single stage press I paid like $30 for it and I was in business after buying dies and all the other things that go along with reloading. It taught me a lot of things about reloading that came in handy with my new press.

First it taught be how to adjust the dies. It can take some trial and error to adjust each die properly. On the LoadMaster you have all the dies sitting there in front of you and you have to worry about going from station to station. Of course you can pull the indexing pin and spin the case to the station you want, but I knew what each die is supposed to do and what the case/bullet should look like after each step. When I first started loading I had to read the instructions continually to figure out which die did which. After a couple of times I got it, but there was a learning period.

Secondly, my single stage press taught me about working up a load. When I am trying a load I’ll make up a round and then go outside and shoot it right then. I’ve made some rounds that weren’t crimped right and hardly shot. I’ve loaded round balls and trail boss powder in my .45 Colt without much load data other then guesstimation. I’m not an expert, but I can load a round and shoot it and then know reasonable well if there is something I need to adjust. A multi-stage press is made for churning out ammo. I have not messed with my loads very much, because I already know what my .45 likes. I still got to go through that process with my 9mm, but its not a big deal because I have that experience.

Thirdly, I know what a properly primed round feels like. Primers need seated at a certain depth. To high and it might catch on the frame and interfere, take a second strike to ignite if you have a light hammer spring, or worse go off while loading. To low and you crush the primer. I know how a primer feels when you seat it in the press. I know how hard you should have to push down. If its not smooth as you prime the round you might have caught the edge and wrinkled the primer. I had to set the primer depth and adjust it quite a bit before my LoadMaster started working knowing how to prime properly really helped.

Fifthly, you can start reloading on a single stage press almost immediately. When you try something new its great to have instant success. On the other hand setting up my LoadMaster probably took me eight hours before I had adjusted it enough to be churning out decent rounds. Of course the LoadMaster may be harder then most presses to setup, but I would suspect most presses have at least some adjustments to do.

Finally, if you already have a single stage press you can use it for priming or de-priming. If you want to clean the primer pocket or trim the case after you re-size it might simpler to just use the single stage press. Its a handy tool to have. I’ll be keeping my single stage press around, because I already needed it once, when my press failed to prime some rounds and I did not want to reset the whole process just to prime a couple rounds.

So those are my initial observations about reloading on a progressive press. Maybe I’ll do a write up soon about the Lee LoadMaster itself and some of the issues I faced during setup and how I resolved them.

End Of Flintlock Season

Well, I went all flintlock season without getting a deer. I did see some anyways. Last Saturday I had a doe run within 10 yards of me. I tried to fire, but the pan flashed without setting the gun off. I re-primed and fired into the hill side and then it went off fine. I suspect the foggy air may have had something to do with it. I’ve heard people say that changing the pan powder in wet weather is a good practice–I probably should have been more careful to follow that advice.