View Full Version : Made some stuff this week.

Tony Ennis
03-05-2011, 01:18 AM
I made 2 brass cleaning jags for black powder rifles, fitted a ramrod to my son's flintlock, made a ramrod and fitted it to my flintlock, and then made myself a brass powder measure.

03-05-2011, 01:32 AM
like to see pics if possible

03-05-2011, 04:57 AM
like to see pics if possible
I agree ..... No pics ..... It didn't happen :D

Tony Ennis
03-05-2011, 06:51 PM
Maybe a day late and a dollar short, but here we go.



The jags are .375" x about 2" long. They are made of 360 brass. The threads are separate parts. I tapped a hole and threaded in the threads from a donor bolt. The taper is 5 degrees. I still have some learning to do with regards to spacing the jaggy bits more evenly. For the application, they are fine. But it probably would not have been any harder to make them relatively perfect.

The powder measure was tricky. I chucked in the 4-jar. I spotted the hole, then drilled with successively larger bits... 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, and finally 7/16. The 3/8 bit first pulled the arbor out of the tailstock. Next time, it pulled the chuck off the arbor. Finally got it, but the drill seemed to advance 1/16 inch at a time. Very strange.

I just bought the 7/16" drill. It's the sharpest drill bit I have ever seen. My son and I both cut ourselves just picking it up. I didn't have any real trouble using it, however.

I removed the measure from the tailstock only to find it didn't hold enough powder. I rechucked and re-dialed it, and deepened the hole using a 3/8" bit. I didn't want to risk something going wrong and having the 7/16" drill eat the work.

Simple, but these are some of the first things I have made.

My son and I used these things at the range today. My new flintlock is shooting well. I'll sight it in soon.

03-05-2011, 07:20 PM
Drills for brass can be sharpened differently so that they don't hog in. I suspect this has been discussed here before. If not, some standard references--or some old timers--will have the the information.

03-05-2011, 08:36 PM
Just put a flat on the leading edge of each cutting edge. In other words, dull the sharp edge of the drill for brass.

Nice job Tony.

03-05-2011, 10:47 PM

Very nice job indeed! If it ever warms up around here, I need to make a couple too.

Now you need to single point the threads for extra credit.:D


Tony Ennis
03-05-2011, 11:27 PM
single point the threads for extra credit

Well I opened the purse strings this week and bought a set of change gears off ebay. Until they arrive, I can only cut 13TPI and 18TPI threads. I don't think cutting 32 TPI threads will be a problem, if I make some manner of follower. I would probably not make the threads integral to the jags in any event.

dull the sharp edge of the drill for brass.

I had heard this. I have to admit I was amused when I bought the new drill bit, specifically for a brass project, and found it to be insanely sharp. I couldn't bring myself to dull it :/ not that I really know how to do it right. Yet.

03-05-2011, 11:31 PM
nice job. I try to use wrap jags for all my cleaning. now I will try making my own.

03-05-2011, 11:45 PM

Two things you might try on a job like that.

First is what Carld said about breaking the cutting edge on the drill bit. You don't need much. A honing stone run parallel to the drill bit to keep it from digging is good for drilling soft materials like brass, plastics and other soft materials.

Second is that unless your lathe lacks the power to drill 7/16 holes in brass, you shoud try skipping the sneak up drills and go right to the 7/16 drill. You will get a lot less digging in.


Tony Ennis
03-06-2011, 12:04 PM
you shoud try skipping the sneak up drills and go right to the 7/16 drill

Now yer talkin'. My lathe can probably do it - it's got a VFD-enriched 1/2 HP motor.

I try to use wrap jags for all my cleaning. now I will try making my own.

Bear in mind, a new brass jag from Dixie Gunworks is $2. I only made mine because it looked like fun. That being said, the club gunmaker prefers jags with 6 or 7 steps over the common 2-step commercial ones.

I recommend you start with a brass rod of the appropriate diameter. I only had 1/2" brass rod. Had I had 3/8" rod on-hand it would have halved my materials cost. We're talking $3 here, but it burns my soul... I'm so cheap, lol.

I made a mistake on the the 2nd jag, but I was able to correct. I drilled and tapped the hole for the threaded rod, and then tried to put a live center in it. After tapping I don't think the hole was truly concentric any more - the hole really isn't a circle any more. Next time I'll make a proper 'countersunk' hole for the live center then tap it last.

Now a real machining question. I don't have any sort of mechanism to tell me how far the carriage is from any fixed point. So if I need to move a certain amount, I use the compound set at 90*. But for the jags, I had the compound at 5* for the taper and 30* for the jaggy bits. I ended up moving the carriage precise amounts by finding lame but consistent measuring points. In my case, using my dial caliper and though I were measuring the depth of a hole, I measured from the face of chuck jaw #1 to the back side of my triangular carbide insert! How do real machinists do this?

03-06-2011, 03:24 PM
If you're lucky, your lathe has a trav-a-dial, so you can read carriage travel in thousandths of an inch.. or even spiffier, a digital readout. If one is not so fortunate, an inexpensive 2" travel dial indicator on a mag base, or a cheap pair of digital calipers on a mag base will do the trick. Absent even these, a good scale and a pointer w/ a magnet on the ways will allow one to do this sort of work w/o difficulty.

My old Atlas forced me to the scale trick... the YMZ has a nice trav-a-dial; I've gotten spoiled.

- Bart