View Full Version : A Winter Project
11-11-2009, 07:54 PM
I set up at the local gun show this weekend to get rid of a few odds and ends and look for fodder for a winter project.
I ended up trading for an action kit a friend of mine makes, I have been looking at it for a while, and we each had something the other guy wanted.
The action is a falling block, similar to the Falling Block Works actions, but with some refinements. Karl makes two sizes, large and small. I got the small action with either a 218 Bee or 32-20 in mind. This action has a 3/4" barrel shank, the large is slightly larger, mainly in thickness with a 1" barrel shank.
The kit is quite complete with pins, screws and springs and most lathe work done, threaded for barrel, etc. The breech block mortise is broached and the breech block is fitted, some final stoning required. It is squared up and surface ground on critical surfaces. It can be finished with a drill press and hand tools.
Karl loaned me his cut away demo action for inspiration and to give an idea of how it all goes together.
11-11-2009, 08:15 PM
I genuinely love single shots, especially the falling block style. My favorite rifle is a Wickliffe in 22 Hornet, built in Wickliffe, Ohio, the company lasted only 4 years, 1976 to 1980. I have threatend to copy the action, but it looks to be a very difficult task.
Yours will be a fun winter project.
Keep us posted.
I vote for the 218 Bee :)
11-11-2009, 08:16 PM
NICE!! That looks like a lot of fun. I'm guessing any of the smaller rimmed cartridges will work?
Nice looking action what is your friend's contact imfo.
11-11-2009, 09:25 PM
I am leaning toward the 218 Bee myself. I'm aiming for a light sporter. The Wickliffe is an interesting action, I believe there is someone working at bringing it back, there has been some discussion off and on on the ASSRA forum concerning it.
The action will handle rimmed cartridges up to about the 38 caliber, maybe light 44's but that would be stretching it. The larger action will handle anything sensible.
11-11-2009, 09:58 PM
Looks a whole lot like the patent drawings that Browning filed what became the Winchester Hi-Wall. How about the .222 Rimmed cartridge---made in Australia in it? Yes, please, what is your friends contact info and the price of the kit?
11-11-2009, 10:23 PM
A friend had one of the small Martini actions re done into a 218 Mashburn Bee Improved. I really liked it. I will throw out a suggestion and one that has been bad mouthed by the shooting press. The 256 Winchester. Very similar to the old 25/20 but it can be made from the 357 mag brass. Never popular but a good round. I have two of the little Marlin lever actions in that caliber. They are very handy truck guns and adequate for the ferrell hogs that are taking over this country (Central Texas). Another good prospect would be the 22 Rem Jet it is also made from the 357 mag. These require purchase of RCBS forming dies but the 357 makes a good strong case and is cheaper to buy if you shoot much.
11-11-2009, 10:35 PM
Nice kit looks like a great winter project.I would like to try one if I ever get caught up on some of my other projects.
11-11-2009, 10:56 PM
Those are all good suggestions. The cartridges based on the 357 Magnum & 357 Maximum are good choices. I am kind of favoring the 218 Bee, I don't have a small 22 CF but do have a 25-20WCF & a couple of 32-20's and I have plenty of 32-20 brass. You can size it down and I do have 218 dies.
I have a couple of lever guns I have rebarreled in 219 Zipper which is very close to the 222 rimmed. It might handle the Zipper, but I think it would be pushing it.
It does resemble the Browning somewhat. It is a nice, compact well thought out design.
11-12-2009, 01:46 AM
I too would like contact info for those actions, please. PM me if you like.
11-12-2009, 07:50 AM
PM's with contact information have been sent.
11-12-2009, 09:35 AM
When in my younger days Groundhog hunting took up my spare time I had a Ruger Hawkeye pistol(single shot) with scope which I really liked.The "Jet" was a miserable round for various reasons but especially for the noise it made which hurt my ears even with good plugs or muffs.My vote is for the .256 and would like to work up one as shown.
11-12-2009, 01:51 PM
I would like the contact info also. As far as caliber, I would make it a takedown, first barrel would be 32-20, second would be .22K-Hornet or .256 Maximum.
11-12-2009, 01:56 PM
I'd like contact information as well please. I'd like to get a large action. I'd also like to email/talk to the designer; would it handle 45-70 or maybe even 50-70 type cartridges?
11-12-2009, 02:52 PM
Nice looking kit.
I have a hankering to build a gun (one of those things that you should do before you die...) but I suspect that its non trivial for us here in blighty...
Might almost make you move to the US ;)
Maybe Ill look into it further
11-12-2009, 06:36 PM
Nice looking action. A BEE or Hornet would be a good choice. No need to improve ether as they do fine. If you want more range and noise get a bigger cartridge and action.
I have had quite a lot of success and satisfaction from the Hornet. If you are not shooting very lite bullets less than 35 grs. I would suggest a 1 in 12 or faster twist. I have had very good luck using 1 in 10. Green Mountain barrels has a 1 in 9 that I am going to use for my next Hornet. What you might loose in speed you make up in rotational energy. http://www.gmriflebarrel.com/productdetail.aspx?id=324057
One other thing most people do not know is the use of small pistol primers in these little cartridges. Rifle primers start the bullet down the barrel before the powder is burning properly. I was surprised when I tried this, cut group size in half. Not many Hornets shoot under ½ inch at 100yds Most of my loads in the Hornet are less than 45,000 psi. One ground squirrel load 12 grs of 1680 under a 50 gr SX Hornady is probably closer to 55,000 psi. No problem with cases or primers and in the coastal winds it shoots great. Tears a Columbian ground squirrel apart at 150 yds.
11-12-2009, 07:57 PM
Add me to the list of people requesting contact info.
I'm looking to build a 357 SS for accuracy and pressure testing with a strain gage and custom chamber. Originally was planning to use a Contender action, and may still go that route. It's a pain to make a Contender barrel, though, and factory Contender 357 barrels have horrible chambers.
11-12-2009, 08:03 PM
Bob; I had heard of the small pistol primers, but had not had them explained that way. It makes sense.
I have been wearing out the Green Mountain website. I will have to give them a call as I would really like a tapered octagon barrel on this. They have a 22 magnum with a 1 in 14 twist, but they don't give bore dimensions. They are somewhat flexible I have heard and might be willing to make a special if delivery is not a problem. Most twist rates I see are in the 1 in 12 or 1 in 14, 1 in 9 sounds awfully fast, but you have more experience than I do. I will be looking at the usual Hornet/Bee 40-55 grain bullets probably, maybe some cast at lower velocities.
11-12-2009, 08:17 PM
can you send me contact info as well?
11-12-2009, 11:00 PM
The 22mag bbls probably have a .222 groove diameter rather than the more normal .224 Some of the early 22 CF had .222 and .223 diameter bbls and the last time I checked you could still buy .223 bullets. The Jet bullets made by Hornady were .222 Another solution is to use cast lead bullets which actually works pretty good. Shooting the oversized bullets in the Jet is the source of some of its bad press. Not having a large field of choice in bullets is not a big thing as long as there is one good one there. One of my friends used to buy some bulk bullets for the 218 Bee. They were cheap but you could not ask for anything to shoot any better in hunting rifles. They were the more modern .224 diameter
11-12-2009, 11:46 PM
This is the first target shot with a scaled down FM2 that I built in the late 80’s. If you look closely shots 1-3 show copper on the edges of the holes. I have had barrels that had not enough twist, but never one with too much. With to slow a twist you will see bullets hitting the target slightly sideways. In extreme they land sideways. Most of the reason for 1 in 14 even 1 in 16 came from the 30’s where .22 rim fire barrels were used. Then in the 40’s - 50’s it was decided that too much twist slowed bullets down and even 15 fpm reduction was bad. To stabilize .224 bullets in 1 in 14 you need about 3,000 fps or more. The guys using the 1 in 9 at long range matches have found 1 in 7 is not bad. Of course they are using a longer bullet. I have found that 1 in 10 stabilizes 50 gr bullet well at about 2,500 fps. As a test set targets at 50-100-150-200-300 yds and shoot groups if you have a longer range set targets further. Check how the bullets cut the paper , straight on or slightly egg shape. When they are egg shape the next target will be worse and accuracy will have failed.
11-13-2009, 12:15 AM
I'm gone for the weekend and have some cogitation to do.
Bob, and anybody else looking for barrel blanks, Montana rifleman has a list of specials at $49.95, an excellent price for very good barrels. It has been out for several days, I don't know what is left.
11-18-2009, 11:49 PM
Thanks for the heads up on Montana Rifle barrel sale. Have used their barrels before and been very happy with the results. I bought three and maybe next spring I can tell you first hand how a 1 in 9 works for Hornet using Cast and jacketed bullets.
11-19-2009, 09:53 AM
Good luck with the project Bob, keep us posted.
The MR sale is an exceptionally good buy for quality barrel blanks.
11-22-2009, 09:32 AM
Back in the late 70s or early 80s, I bought a Ruger #3 SS carbine in 22 Hornet. It was a nice little rifle, but I got tired of having to trim Hornet cases every other sizing or so. I'd seen a neighbor's K-Hornet years before while still in high school, and had thought that someday, I was going to have one built. The #3 presented the perfect opportunity, so off to the 'smith's shop it went.
This was before the day of affordable chronographs, so I have no idea whether the K-Hornet lived up to some of the claims made for improved velocities. But more importantly to me, the K-Hornet cases could be fired many times before I needed to trim them again. Besides, it's such a cute little bugger...rifle cranks often need no more motivation than this to have work done on their favorite rig.
If I were going to build myself a 218 Bee today, I'd go with an improved version with less case body taper and a 30 or 40* shoulder, for the same reason I went with the K-Hornet. Less case body taper means less backthrust against the breechface, which could be a consideration in a falling block single shot.
I've owned a couple of Winchester 1885 SS highwalls - one a beautiful custom rifle built around an original action with a heavy Douglas octaganal bbl. in 40-65 with English walnut buttstock & forearm, Montana Vintage Arms tang rear & globe front sights. It was purpose built for black powder cartridge rifle silhouette match shooting. The 2nd one I still have, and is an all-original sporter in 32-40. Hindsight always being 20-20, I sure wish I'd have picked up a few more of these fine old single shots back in the 60s when they were often overlooked by collectors in favor of Winchester's lever rifles.
Best of luck with your fine winter project - please post pictures as you go. I'd also like to have contact info on the action kits.
11-22-2009, 10:20 AM
In the small capacity cases like the hornet / bee it is easy to load too hot. A lot of early loads were actually very high pressure 60,000 or more. You will get case flow at those pressures. I use Hornet / Bee for short range relatively quite shooting . Ground squirrels at 130 -175 yds. The long neck in the Hornet /Bee is very good for cast bullets. Same with 30-30. As I said in earlier post if you want more power and noise get a bigger cartridge and action. The blown out sharp shoulder cases are very good for what they were designed for and I used a Bee with sharp shoulder of my own design in 1958.
11-22-2009, 09:43 PM
I got a little time this week to work on the action. It is together and functional. It needs shaping and finishing on the outside and final fitting and smoothing up internally.
Assembly was pretty straightforward with few problems. There were no drawings or dimensions and the sectioned action was a help in assembly.
The breechblock was fitted in short order by judicious stoning and is smooth and tight. It did require grinding and fitting of the hammer and link to get proper and smooth operation and filing of the trigger and half cock to fit them, but nothing not anticipated.
The original action design had a spring loaded extractor for rimless cases. At some time this was done away with. The castings were a mix of old and new, the frame was for the rimless and the lever and extractor were for a center hung extractor. I made a new offset extractor to replace the straight one. Otherwise everything fit as you would expect.
By contrast, two years ago, I got a Hi-wall casting kit from Frontier Armory, it is a Rodney Storie casting set. It is a good kit, but required significantly more time to fit and assemble. I am sure that I spent more time just in fitting the breechblock than I have involved in this action. I ended up making two breechblocks for the Hi-wall in addition to the original casting before i got a fit that I was satisfied with.
I have pretty much decided on 218 Bee. I will stick to the original case as I will probably not do a great deal of shooting, and it offers enough accuracy and options to the reloader to cover my needs.
11-22-2009, 11:58 PM
Nice looking action.
Would like contact information.
11-23-2009, 01:50 AM
Nice work Jim,
I will call your buddy in the future. I want to build one. I am up to my arse in gunwork here so I don't know when I will get around to it.
Say...is that action large enough to handle the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser round? Roughly the size of a .308 case head?
That would make a nice bench gun with a full straight profile barrel about 26" long and a 6.5-24x44 scope.
11-23-2009, 04:20 PM
It is probably too small for that size cartridge, barrel shank is 3/4"-16TPI. The larger action is approximately the same size in profile but is thicker and will handle larger calibers.
11-25-2009, 04:33 PM
It is probably too small for that size cartridge, barrel shank is 3/4"-16TPI. The larger action is approximately the same size in profile but is thicker and will handle larger calibers.
Perfect. I will look to get the larger of the two then.
I don't know if you have worked with the 6.5x55 much...but it is a wonderful round. Moderate recoil and exceptional long range potential particularly with quality handloading techniques.
There are some really nice .264 boat tails available
11-26-2009, 01:16 PM
I too would like to pass on my complements on a job well done!
Which is my shameless segway to: :D
I also would like Contact Information Please. :rolleyes:
Take Care and Be Well,
11-26-2009, 07:15 PM
Would you please provide me with the contact information?
12-03-2009, 04:21 AM
I would like contact info for the kit, too, please. Thanks
12-03-2009, 11:24 PM
Ive been meaning to ask for contact info since i saw this post a week ago. great looking kit.built myself a 1911 last winter and now i need a rifle i can put my name on. thanks,mike
12-04-2009, 09:32 AM
Been following this thread with much interest but assume the action maker is overloaded by requests so will try to make muzzle loader with a striker instead of a hammer similar to one described in NRA gunsmithing guide.1040 should be Ok for the action or is there something better?
12-04-2009, 11:31 AM
1040 would be fine. It could be used soft, heat treated normally, or color case hardened. Soft would mar more easily but would be strong enough for black powder, heat treated to 35Rc or so would resist dents or scratches better but would not look as good as CCH. If you go with CCH any low-medium carbon steel would work fine. 8620 would be ideal for CCH but might be harder to find in the size you would need at a reasonable cost.
01-05-2010, 09:12 AM
sent pm for contact info...thanks
01-06-2010, 11:23 PM
If he wants to sell the actions, why is the contact info confidential????
01-07-2010, 08:07 AM
The information is not confidential, if you want it, contact me. I am not comfortable with putting another person's contact info out on the internet.
01-07-2010, 09:28 PM
I would like the contact info also.
01-13-2010, 12:12 PM
Another humble request for contact info.
01-14-2010, 04:02 PM
Unfortunately, Karl is out of castings at this time and does not know if or when he might have more available.
06-22-2011, 12:42 AM
I would also like the contact info and have no problem waiting for him to make more actions. reply to reedth at shaw.ca tom
06-22-2011, 09:45 AM
These actions are no longer available. They were very similar to the Falling Block Works actions, and, AFAIK, they are still available. They are a very good action at a reasonable price. The last contact information I have for FBW is;
Falling Block Works Inc.
PO Box 303
Rapid City MI 49676
I have finally gotten my "winter project" near completion. I hit a snag getting the stock made which delayed it one winter, but such is often the case with these projects. This is a final assembly photo before sending it off to be blued;
06-22-2011, 10:07 PM
06-23-2011, 01:09 AM
09-05-2011, 11:46 AM
Hey Jim, did you ever get your action back from being blued? If so do you have any pictures of it completed? Also, did you do the stock work yourself? Thanks in advance for any info.
09-17-2011, 08:51 PM
I finally got me, the rifle and the camera in the same place at one time. I got it back from the bluer's several weeks ago and did the final assembly.
A few details, the action is a variation of the small FBW action, caliber 218 Bee. 24" Montana Rifleman barrel, Unertl Hawk 4X scope. The stock blank was furnished by a friend and roughed by Paul Shuttleworth at CPA.
I have been to the range once with it, and am in the process of breaking the barrel in and working up some loads. Like any project, it took much longer than anticipated. The biggest hangup was in getting the stock blank roughed. The first stock maker dawdled too long and by the time I got it back from him, to Paul and back to me, most of last summer was gone. Other projects got in the way before I could get back to it.
It was a good project and looks promising at this point.
I have a low wall action on my desk now, maybe in another year or two, i'll have that to show.
09-18-2011, 01:02 PM
Jim, the gun looks great. Thanks for sharing the finished pics. I look forward to seeing some pics of some targets after you get a load worked up for it.
09-19-2011, 03:56 PM
I've followed this post with a lot of interest and not a little envy.
It is a beautiful rifle JC.
09-19-2011, 04:06 PM
I like the browned receiver - sets off the rest of the piece quite nicely.
09-19-2011, 09:34 PM
Thanks guys. The receiver color is actually a plum rather than brown. It was not planned, but is one of the vagaries of dip bluing. It is probably a result of something in the casting alloy. I am not real happy with it, and might be looking to have it redone by someone with more experience in hot bluing. The rest of the job turned out nicely.