Showing posts with label Gun mothering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gun mothering. Show all posts

Dec 13, 2015

Just another old Mossberg

I've sometimes mentioned my weakness for old Mossberg .22s, the price-point builds from mid-century. We  cheapskates who like them tend to be a little apologetic for the apparent penuriousness this implies.

But, then, there's my buddy Genius Jeff.

Once delivered to his shop as woodless and near-worthless junk.

A little case-hardening...

A little polish and blue work. 

All topped off with a period-correct tang peeper.

The wood speaks for itself on this Mossy Model L, a falling block, .22 rimfire single-shot with a lever that would have made John Wayne nod in approval.

Oct 27, 2014

The Commander Reporting for Duty, Sir.

It's one of the reasons for a quiet blog lately.*

So, is it done?

Of course not. A 1911 is never done until the builder/owner has exhausted(a)  his entire reserves of patience and (b) the last Federal Reserve Cartoon he owns.

The trigger is a dream, and, even though her uniform is slightly mussed, she is otherwise fit to dissuade your rampaging thug from the notion that well-ripened Americans are easy pickings.

I like that old boy despite his questionable habit  of keeping too much cash in the house and letting the neighborhood know about it.

Here at Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant, the miscreants would find  no more than the jug where I toss change and dollar bills. The rest of the on-hand wealth consists mostly of some new wool socks against the coming polar vortex and said Commandant's new Coltish Commanderoid.

She is about 80 per cent complete, behind schedule due to a devil of a time swapping around hammers, sears, and disconnectors.  The Windom loophole Saturday turned up a large handful of 1911 internals, including the ignition parts that finally gave me the letoff  I wanted. She's still unfired but feeds hard ball fine and will go bang.  (If you can't get out in the country right away you can chamber a primed empty and squeeze her off, even though that is probably illegal here in Smugleye-on-Lake. But what the Hell.  Molon labe.)

There's a new beaver tail grip safety on the bench, but it defied my "drop-in" hopes, and I've had all of the "minor fitting" I care for at the moment. It will be added in due course, probably as I get her ready for for the final finish.

(Geekout: AMT aluminum frame; Caspian slide, straight GI sights. The hammer is a Model 80 piece, lacking a half-cock hook. There's a ledge in its place to hold half-cock, but a trigger pull drops it.  I can live with that, but I'd rather -- and will -- have the JMB original.  The grips are Pachmayr wrappers, and yes I know how utterly trailer-park that makes me.  Don't care. I've always liked the way they feel, and in the immortal words of Charles Parlier, "This is muh working' pistol, not muh lookin' pistol." )


*There are others keeping my fingers busy with chores other than typing, but here's no plan to retire the TMR until authoritarian forces are entirely routed, and I don't expect that to happen for a very long time, months anyway, perhaps even a few years.

Aug 15, 2014

Fresh gun porn

So far, so good.

She's at that awkward stage. Too loose to require heavy percussion cycling, too tight to function without severe muscle. Technically, this is what we pistol smiths refer to as the period during which we  root around for our white polishing compound and gird ourselves for several hundred manual cycles.

Note absence of Dremel. Note presence of brass hammer. It makes a guy feel just like P.O. Ackley. (The tactical scissors are for cutting strips of the abrasive cloth.)

Aug 13, 2014

Walter does not dream of Windex and Pledge

A cheery note from the Caspian folks is disrupting my plans.  Some family is visiting this weekend, and I vowed to tidy the place in their honor. But the commanderish slide is en route, scheduled to arrive here at Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant,  in about 40 hours.

I feel a distraction coming on, and if any of  my people are looking for housekeeping lapses, I'm afraid they may find them. It seems more urgent to sort through the parts one more time, calibrate the mike, ensure enough 400-grit emery and jewelers rouge are on hand. And so forth.

Commanders are just so studly. All a sophisticated Boomer needed in his glory days was the short 1911 for everyday wear along with a PPk  for strictly formal occasions.  (The Walther rode nicely in our cummerbunds.)  Bring on the Symbionize Liberation Army. Bring on Goldfinger.

The pleasure will be in the build. No matter how well armed, I am unlikely to be summoned to Double-0h-Seven evil-doers. It is enough to know that if I were, I would be equipped to shoot them through in a stylish, yet classic,  fashion.

Pocketa pocketa pocketa.

Jun 18, 2014

Another junk post -- Winchester 97 junk

Poor man that I am, when someone offers me a Winchester 97 for $25,  I'll find a way.  Maybe borrow a bicycle and go can collecting along the highway.

She's seen here somewhere between before and after. The masking tape that held her wood together is gone, along with some of its gummy residue.  Some of the patina is missing.  But she's still jammed open and will probably stay that way. I hate tearing down Model 97s.

If I got enough of the gunk from the oil-soaked chip and butt stock wrist,  I'll epoxy them back together, reattach  the wood, steel-wool the rest of the tape crap off, and offer her up as a "parts" gun or decorator. If the glue won't hold, I'll push her as one of the few Model 97 three-piece takedowns in existence. Or maybe a rawhide wrap. Add a few brass tacks and she becomes a genuine Injun gun.

It's something to do in my dedicated gun-tinkering time while I'm waiting for the Commander slide. If the nice folks at Caspian meet their promised schedule, it's due in three weeks.


Sure I know the old Corn Shucker's provenance, all the way from the night Private Alvin C. Blatnik (ret.) of Strawberry Point, Iowa, won her from Teddy Roosevelt in a five-card stud session at the 10th annual Rough Riders reunion.  But you guys wouldn't be interested.

May 2, 2014

Gratuitous Parts Porn

This project should have been done in February, but you know how it is. One book leads to another and pretty soon you're left with an inside job when the weather and the cluttered state of your estate logically require outside time.

But it's nagging me. A little voice in my head keeps saying "you ain't got no commanderish pistol yet so you ain't s---."

"But-but-but, I got MOST of a commander..."

"Don't pee down my gun barrel and tell me it's Hoppes No. 9."  (The head voice is  sometimes a bit vulgar.)

So. Caspian has my plastic numbers and the Brown Truck of Glee will appear in due course bearing an in-the-white slide.


A guy serious about 1911s never passes up a good deal on parts,  or practically any deal at all. Most of what you see represents four or five  years of loophole finds, and there are enough little steelies to outfit the AMT 4 1/4-inch frame and most of the new slide.

I think this one will come in around 350 - 400 Federal Reserve Cartoons. It is no special bargain but a reasonable enough value if my tinkering skills haven't deteriorated too badly.

It will be built loose, not quite as wobbly as the GI version, but close and -- if I don't get too tired of wearing out 400-grit emery --  smoother. Its planned destiny is  belt-riding, sure to go bang every time but not expected to snuff candles at 50 yards every time.

Finish? Likely Mr. Brownell's spray and bake stuff;. Color? Undetermined but probably GI gray unless I decide to impress everyone with my cool tacticality.Then camo.

Mar 10, 2014

The Belgian Countess

She could have worn white to the ceremony, and the snickering old gossips in the back pews would have been wrong.

Fulfillment ensued.

Replacing the lanky older model .


The original 6-incher had been abused by excessive dry-firing and possibly too many shorts without careful chamber cleaning. Some finicky work put her back in shooting shape, but she never had my full trust. I ran the internet for replacement barrels and found none.

But Saturday, at the Wells (Minnesota) school-house loophole, there she reposed at a price about one-third what I would have expected. I haven't stopped grinning since.

Aug 4, 2013

Open Carry

Being an After-Action Report on the Sioux City loophole where, uncharacteristically, I open carried.

I carried it in a wrong holster, a fine old piece of Bianchi basket-stamped leather built for and home to a Ruger RST4. The pony barrel  stuck out a couple of inches, and the high sight made drawing a two-handed comedy. I was no candidate for a Badass-of-the-Show award.

It was the only handy sheath that came close to accommodating the Colt. I used it because we planned to be there for a couple of hours, and I needed both hands free to coon-finger vendor guns while seeking what I really wanted.

(Maybe I was also dreaming of tangible sympathy, the kindness of stangers.  Some Christian soul would notice the empty magazine well, empathize with my anguish, and offer me one for a song, of which I have two available,  Kumbayah and Wabash Cannon Ball.)  

Finding a proper 1st Series Match Target clipazine was the objective. Finding one that would simply work was the fallback aim.  Any of you who have performed the drill (Hey, you gotta magazine to fit my old {name-that-gun}?)  know it's crucial to have the gun at hand. The vendor's word, even if he's dead honest and dead sure, is not to be taken literally.

The Colt search was fruitless, but I nodded reverently toward the final resting place of John M. Browning for his decision to make the same bullet holder fit both High Standard HDs and his pre-war Colts. A hobby dealer had one and one-half of them.  Mister Complete fed eight fast ones faultlessly upon testing last evening. Miss Half needs a follower -- already roughed out from a scrap of steel -- and a spring.

Back to the open-carry theme. Unless I'm in the field it always make me feel a little silly,  as though I'm trying to announce that my junk is more impressive than yours.

But not as silly as one portly young fellow should have felt as he strode the aisles with camo leg holster, leather combatish shooting vest, and a tactical quick-open stabber clipped to a pocket of his black cargo pants.  The empty holster marred the image. We figured he had spent all his money on tactical accessories and was still saving up for an actual pistol.

May 24, 2013

Grand Opening...

...although he has been returning classics from the dead for quite a while. (This is the man you've seen me refer to as "Genius Jeff," and there is not much hyperbole in that.)

Apr 8, 2013

Dry-fire your way to misery

It's a coincidence on a par with His Ineptness uttering two coherent sentences on the same day.  Two bunged-up firing chambers on two pretty .22s purchased at the same loophole? Impossible.

Both the Challenger and the Speedmaster went shooting with us Saturday. The pistol worked only as an awkward single shot. A round would chamber but not extract. The rifle wouldn't chamber a round at all. In firearms, looks usually don't lie, and these two were stunners for ~1960s production, moderately used, carefully cleaned and maintained.

And dry-fired by click-happy mad men. Each carried a disabling burr at the firing pin strike point. The good news is that both Browning and Remington made barrel removal easy.  A few cautious strokes with a fine rat tail file and a finish polish of 220 emery smoothed things up.

I knew the Challenger fired dependably despite the slight indentation left by the uncushioned firing pin, but I was worried about the  Remington, unnecessarily as it turned out.

Lesson emphasized: We click our .22s at our peril.


Fortunately we took lots more iron with us, so the afternoon was in no sense lost. The grandson got a plenitude of coaching as he broke in his new 10-22, but he seemed to enjoy it anyway.


And after a hard day of creating noise and smoke, what could be more relaxing than a nice ride over the lakes and the spring countryside in J & K's new 182?

Mar 23, 2013

Saturday Suckage: Remington 31 Surgery?

It would be elective because:

Not  all that bad. She is what it is, used, moderately well cared for over most of her 65 years, tight and working fine. However:

This can be explained. The owner wanted a selection of chokes. This Lyman add-on was popular in the 1940s when this 31 left Ilion.
This defies logic and even a pretty good imaginative stab. Dropped on a spinning stone? An angle grinder gone postal? Pure malice? 

So, despite her classic status, her collectiblity is long gone, victim of  accessorizing mutilation and some unspeakable workshop atrocity. 

 Does she go on the rack as simply a spare for a hunter who arrives empty-handed? No, not necessary. She would be about a fourth spare, and I don't know that many people likely to come for shooting and forget to bring a gun. (Ammo-free visitation is quite another matter.)

Take her to another loophole and try again to get  something like 150 Federal Reserve Cartoons?  It didn't work last weekend. In fact, I don't think anyone even fondled her. Economics: She commanded a bride price  of either $85 or $60, depending on how my CPA decides to allocate the $25 profit from a J.C. Higgins bolt action 12 gauge which accompanied her. So I'm not in over my financial head on this one, The decision is aesthetic, not monetary.

A makeover is possible. Chop her down to the legal limit, smear some JB on the gouge, smooth everything out with files and emery, then bring her to tactical glory with some of that nice black spray 'n' bake stuff from Brownells.

I suppose that would be okay. At least she'd look acceptably tactical if I decided to pose in my GI combat pants, M1951 field jacket, and the beret, if I can find it. I could put it on the internet and be cool.

But it seems like a cruel fate for a dowager who, however time-ravaged, still retains the grace of, errr, well, say, Princess Grace in her time. 

Sometimes a guy just doesn't know what the Hell to do.



Nov 20, 2012

As a public service...

...I post the following because the internet is desperately short of cute kitty pictures.

I think this is the sole survivor of a litter thrown by a now-missing black mama in my wildflower/weed patch. It took up residence in the bilge of the long-drydocked pocket cruiser where my daughter found and fed it a few days ago. I continue to subsidize its nutritional needs. Since last night it's been rooted where you see it, near the commandant's quarters deck.

New Dog Libby hissy-fits but is willing, upon command, to stop trying to turn it into lunch.

I'm no cat man, but a good hard-working outside, repeat outside, feline would have some pest control advantages around here so I'll continue the St. Francis routine.


And just so no one thinks I've gone completely softheaded and barmy, I still concentrate on more important stuff than cats.

It's another rebuilt 1903 Springfield, someone else's good work from many years ago in the excellent .257 Roberts. it's too seldom shot around here, but Grandson and I blew the cobwebs from the barrel Saturday. Great fun, and it will be worked a little harder in the future.

Lyman. Real men don't have no truck with tilliescopes and laserites.

(Actually, I'm kind of proud of the bench. It's a retired oak entertainment unit banished from the living room when the flat screen electric teevee set arrived. An hour with the saws and drills turned it into a good rifle cleaning and tinkering stand.)

Sep 6, 2012

Shooting up the cow pasture

The new Remington 760 got its first workout as a Camp J resident yesterday.

As a matter of biology, I report that even a middlin' load of 125 grains at something like 2900 feet per second makes a guy wish for more padding than one layer of tee-shirt cotton; a .30-06 round from a seven and one-half-pound rifle is tolerable, but it gets your attention. (For comparison, a Garand weighs about ten pounds.)

We fired at 80 yards in K's pasture from an improvised shooting bench -- a log dressed with a Vietnam poncho liner and a horse blanket if you demand precise descriptions -- and produced groups just shy of respectable.  That is, a bit over two inches up to a lamentable four-plus.  Allow what you will for unfamiliarity and  a stiff and fluky crosswind.

Observations: The trigger is fair at best, gritty, creepy, and a bit heavy, even for a "hunting" rifle.  Working the action requires an authoritative attitude. If you wimp it, the extractor won't snap over the rim, and you'll lose your trophy terrorist because your rifle is out of battery. To be fair, it's a virtually new rifle, and more rounds might smooth things.

The early Redfield 3x9 reminds me of the difference between excellent optics and the mediocre Oriental crap on most of the scoped rifles around here. Suddenly, your right eye is 20 years old again. On the other hand, I wish it had click stops. I also wish the right-to-left adjustment actually moved the groups left.  Oh well, I'll view that as a challenge to my problem-solving skills.

Overall, it's an attractive woman of the kind you take to good restaurants. But you're reluctant to propose marriage.

I think I'll put it on the table at our small local show this weekend, just to see what it's worth as trading stock.The asking price will be exhorbitant as a sop to the  deeply held conviction that  it is always wrong to sell a gun.  

Jul 17, 2012

I think Lyle on the Joe Huffman site would be the last to advise a shooter or reloader to depend on intuition. And also the last to advise against ignoring those vague feelings. He paid attention to his own "something feels a little wrong"  hunch and avoided a blown Model 94, maybe worse.

It's worth a careful read, especially if you shoot reloads.

Apr 26, 2012

Vintage Gun Porn in Progress

You would never do such a thing to a U.S. Springfield Model of 1903 today. Once upon a time, though, the gun world was tripping over them. In the 50s they traded for $20 or so, and every would-be gun smith in the country "sporterized" at least one.

In its original 1941 form it would have been a classic relic of a wild time in American history, the year we knew we would certainly have to fight Nazis and Fascists. And maybe Japanese.

It was the year when our recruits outnumbered our rifles. We turned to the private arms industry. This example, in the 3,1xx xxx range, was built by Remington on machinery from Rock Island Arsenal which had been in cosmoline for more than 20 years. It was still a 1903 in every important respect -- machined steel, walnut, no short cuts. Over the next two years the 03s evolved into the 1903A3 -- around serial number 3,300,000.

The barreled action came to me a number of years ago, already kitchen-tabled beyond restoration. Over the years I've ground, polished, and rebarreled  with an unissued 1944 High Standard tube. (Shortened to  22 inches.)

The auction-bargain stock is by Bishop, a utilitarian model, laughingly sold as "semi-inletted."  Indeed, by a distracted high school dropout swinging an Estwing.

But all yields to work, sharp chisels, and judicious use of Accraglas. You don't forget the evening the action slipped snugly into place and, at last, stayed right where it was as you tightened the stock screws.

Perhaps the walnut was not too utilitarian. A certain amount of figure appeared as the heavily oversized stock was trimmed, and it demanded an old-time finish. I used a few coats of warm and thinned linseed oil, rubbed in with the hands, then let it dry for a long time, days or weeks. I finished with plain old Johnson paste wax, as many coats as I have patience for. This one has about a dozen. When it gets smudgy a wipedown restores the subdued glow. When it gets thin it's time for another coat or two.

The pictures fail to do justice to last week's bluing work by a genius named Jeff.

It's not quite done. I'm unhappy with the aftermarket safety and will replace it. I haven't chosen the sighting system.  The Redfield peep would be in keeping with her heritage, but, then, so would the Weaver K4. We'll see.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Mar 17, 2012

Bad bangs

If you pull the trigger and the bang does not sound quite right, you might want to open your action and take a peek.


Mainly, you're looking for a hole through the barrel, confirming the round you just fired made it all the way out. Apparently one didn't when two young snow goose hunters went into action near here this week. The injured fellow lucked out with just minor injuries. 

... (The victim)  was hunting with 19-year-old  (buddy) ... (who) had taken a shot but the shell in his gun didn't fire properly. (Buddy) reloaded and when he fired again, the barrel exploded. Authorities believe the barrel was blocked by the misfiring of the first shell.

It can happen with any ammunition, of course, but reloads are the usual suspects. (I'm particularly sensitive to this because my buddy had a close call shooting unknown reloads in his 1911 a few years back.  And I had provided the mystery rounds. I was shooting them myself. Very, very dumb even though I had reason to trust the guy who sold them to me.) 


I borrowed the picture from a good Shotgun World thread.

Mar 12, 2012

Wells Loophole AAR

My local gang of loopholers totalled six, spread out over three generations.  The youngest came home with a tactical pocket knife and a nicely carved sling shot, featuring a bear's head fashioned from a nub where the forks joined.  The poor kid had to listen to the grandpas tease him about taking them to school for show and tell like we used to do.

Perhaps a stainless steel object which could have been -- but wasn't -- fitted with a shoulder thingy that goes up might have found its way into a certain vehicle.  (My, don't we get weasel wordy in these days when we suspect the gendarmery trolls the internet,  tirelessly alert for words suggesting badthink among the proles.)

Anyway, us older proles settled for non-bangables. In the trove is an early-1940s book co-written by Melvin Johnson (yep, that Johnson). It's a detailed guide to ammunition of the world as it existed before John F. Kennedy was (allegedly) suspected of balling a German spy and sent off to wreck PT boats in the Solomons. The book went to a comrade, and I am jealous...

...Jealous but content, satisfied with seeing old acquaintances, having a few laughs, and scoring exactly $10 worth parts which solved a cursing, hair-pulling problem.  I recently wrote a bit  here about scoping that Mossberg/Varberger .30-06. I'd have sworn I had the correct parts on hand, so I screwed them on. Lovely except for the bolt making minute contact with the scope. Teeth gnashed, and I was frustrated enough to consider dragging out the angle grinder and butchering the offending 1/16th inch from the bolt handle. Or, Hell, maybe the scope. I had a tot of Tullamore  Dew instead.

That rare, correct judgement was rewarded in Wells. A dealer's junk box yielded a ring and base set which looked right, and was. That helped pass an internet-free day yesterday, and I happily report the Mossy is now reliably scoped and  bore-sighted. Just in time for spring gopher season. Always use enough gun.

Mar 2, 2012

Air solution

Some fellows manage to run a house and even a hobby gun-tinkering shop without compressed air. This is sad. Forget people on food stamps; an airless man is the truly deprived soul.

Couple of months ago I became one. The 10-or-12 year-old Campbell-Hausfield blew up.  It was my own fault. A consumer-grade machine  -- the happy-homeowner model -- it  still  would have lasted years longer  if I were more religious about turning it off  when I left the shop. A slow leak in the system kept it needlessly cycling on and off, at least trebling the wear.

I recently hauled a new one home.  It's also assuredly non-professional, with an  advertised output smaller than the old one, about five cfpm  at 90 psi. That's enough for most of the work around here, but too wussy if I decide to use air-hog tools -- sanders, etc. The situation is improved by adding an extra tank to the system.

Aha! Opportunity knocks.

I've never had a convenient air outlet in the gun/reloading shack. But now the old C-H tank will be mounted in or adjacent to the room and fed by the new magic air densifier thourgh permanent piping to its on-board tank.  A whip hose will be handy to the bench.  One result: tidier gun innards.  Another: About 35 gallons of  total storage capacity, just in case I want to sand-blast this or that.

Well, that's probably already more than you want to know about me and my air. So I'll sign off now.

Oh wait, you have a question? ...

Well, yes, hot compressed air is sometimes useful, but I'll be damned if I can think up a way to pipe Al Sharpton into the system

Feb 13, 2012

Gun room Monday

It's shaping up to be a .30-06 kind of day.  Thank the windy snow. It makes a warm gun room seem like a logical place to while away a  few late-winter hours,  fooling with rifles that shoot the only really necessary center-fire caliber.

I'll just wipe down the knockabout Stevens 110. The long-neglected 1903 makeover will advance with a bit of final polishing and fitting the Redfield peep so it will be ready for Jeff's bluing tanks.

Then on to the no-longer-a-mystery gun, the 1979 or 1980 Western Auto Revelation, a Mossy RM7 which followed me home from Minnesota a few weeks ago posing as an obscure Marlin turnbolt.  (The mystery story, complete with gun porn,  is here.)

It's already been fitted with a set of QDs and a nice cow-derived sling, leaving only the scope installation to be done and ready for my next grizzly hunt or TEOTWAWKI, which ever comes first.

There's a small quandary here. The Camp J arsenal has about four loose scopes on hand, and one of them is a NIB Revelation 4x32 from Rising Sun, Inc., a vintage piece which would give me a matched set, Revelation rifle, Revelation optics. Blecch, too cute, like mother-daughter matching pinafores. Besides,  it could well be a piece of crap.

Then there's the stainless Simmons 4 x 32 from the Chinese paddies. Naah. A two-tone  gun?  Who wants to present himself as a gangsta mall ninja?  Besides, the Simmons is almost assuredly a piece of crap. (Customary whine about the days when the Simmons marque meant something omitted.)

Leaving  two possibles: A new Tasco 3x9x40 and a clean old Weaver K4. Decisions decisions. The Weaver is the tougher and more patriotic choice, of course, but I'll  probably mount the variable. At 600 yards, nine power could be just what a fellow needs to distinguish between a turbaned terrorist and an odoriferous but otherwise harmless hippie in a do-rag.

Sep 12, 2011

Slam fire

Blessings on thee, Mr. Browning. This morning I'm grateful for your most elegant shotgun, the Ithaca 37, particularly the one which took up residence in the Camp J arms vault yesterday afternoon.  The 37 is alleged to have the fewest moving parts of any pump shotgun.

The old girl suffers from a mild case of patina, and her walnut benefited from severe scrubbing and a couple of coats of brown MinWax. While her debutante glow is irretrievable history, she still pleases me in the wake of her cleanup -- something like a dowager who never missed her day at the gym, beginning about the time of the Tet offensive.

I've owned a couple-three of these things but never  tried the slam-fire function which made her desirable to certain police forces. It will be a way of getting rid of a  handful of loose 12-gauge orphans  in a delightfully  noisy manner.


The adoption fee was quite reasonable. The lady who brought her around "just wanted the thing out of my closet."  The perfectly functional  Stevens 84D came mostly as lagniappe.  (Bonus knowledge, new to me: Remington .22 rifle magazines  from the middle of the 20th Century work fine in  at least some of the same-era Stevens.)


The same source will be bringing around a SW 27, about unfired, in the factory wooden box. Pant. Drool.