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1st Time Gunsmith

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  • 1st Time Gunsmith

    First of all, thanks everyone! I've learned a lot by lurking here since I picked up a little lathe and a mini-mill last year.

    A friend of mine picked up an old pump action .22 that he wants to cut down into a carbine, and I have a couple of questions. Are there any tricks to crowning the barrel afer It's cut down to size? I plan to use a freshly sharpened bit for my finish cut, but I still wonder about deburring it without screwing it up. The other thing I need to do is cut a new dovetail for the front sight. This should, of course, end up on the top of the barrel after everything is put back together. I figure that in this case I can just use the existing dovetail for reference (if I can remember to do that before I cut it off), but how would you go about this if you didn't have that option? And last. What is THE first gunsmith book to get.

    Thanks again,

    Rick

  • #2
    First you should be familiar with the laws about cutting down rifle barrels be sure it is not too short. I believe 16.25" is the minimum. This measurement includes the chamber.
    Next go to www.brownells.com, there one can find preground barrel crowning lathe tools. To do this one will need a steady rest. One can do this without a steady rest or even without a lathe by using a piloted barrel crowning tool also avaiable from the afore mentioned Brownells.

    Please remember to be safe when operating machine tools. Safety glasses, hearing protection if needed, etc.

    First book, there are so many. The Gunsmith Machinist by Steve Acker may be a good place to start. Available from the store here at the HSM website. There also many books avaiable from Brownells.

    Good luck and check back with your results.

    ------------------
    Paul G.
    Paul G.

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    • #3
      I have used a larger-than-bore round head brass screw, grinding compound, and electric drill to debur the barrel. The dovetail can be filed in after the barrel is in place.

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      • #4
        Brownell's. Get their catalog. See what books they advertise. Their "Gunsmith Kinks" books have an amazing collection of information, too.
        ----------
        Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
        Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
        Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
        There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
        Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
        Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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        • #5
          What Gerryrig said. First book? Mine was "Gunsmithing" by Roy Dunlap. Thick book--covers a lot to territory.

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          • #6
            Amen to Dunlap's "Gunsmithing". Mine's an original printing that I picked up 15 years ago at an estate sale. My second was Ralph Walker's "Hobby Gunsmithing". Got it 10 years ago, the same way. Got a blackpowder gunsmithing book somewhere too. Can't remember where, though.
            Dunlap's "Gunsmithing" is available in reprint from AGI as item # BK001 for $34.95 which is a helluva good price for a book that thick and packed with so much good information. It's less than I paid for my 1950 printing, too. Course, I think I'll get a copy of it and keep my original put up since it's an antique.
            Go to www.americangunsmith.com
            There you'll find the book.

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            • #7
              rickv: I will second the advise on proper legal barrel length. First you have to know the BATF way to measure the barrel length. If I remember correctly one measurers it thusly "With the bolt closed and the firing pin retracted insert a rod into the bore until the rod contacts the face of the bolt. Mark the rod at the face of the barrel then remove the rod and measure from the end of the rod to the mark. On a rifle it must be no shorter than 16" to be legal on a shotgun it is 18" ALWAYS ADD 1/4" for luck. If you cut the barrel to 16" and then for some reason you have to true up the muzzle end you will be SCREWED! The BATF will not be amused. They don't have a sense of humor where the law is so clear or at any other time for that matter. Another measurement to be aware of is the overall length of the rifle/shotgun. It must be no shorter than 26" and again there is a BATF way to measure that length. "With the buttstock touching the floor and the barrel parallel with the wall the end of the barrel must be at least 26" from the floor plus 1/4" to be safe. Again the BATF allows no mistakes so it would be a good idea to get a copy of the laws from them as they might consider what you are doing as illeagle gunsmithing.
              Good luck.
              WALT WARREN

              [This message has been edited by 1erful (edited 02-20-2003).]

              [This message has been edited by 1erful (edited 02-20-2003).]

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              • #8
                Walt is absolutely right!! Don't take any chances. Remember Ruby Ridge and what happened to the Weaver family.

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                • #9
                  Jaymo, Do you know if Mr. Walker is still living or not? He used to have his business in or near Selma, Alabama (I think).

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                  • #10
                    So, stupid questions: Why would the BATF be concerned with gun length? Why not just make it shorter and call it a pistol if you want? It's shooting the same .22 shell that a pistol does. Do home made guns need to be registered? Is this true in every state?

                    Thanks,
                    Erik

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                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone for all the info. 18 inches is the barrel length I decided on. Any shorter than that and there just isn't enough barrel left beyond the magazine tube to look right. At least now I know how you are supposed to measure.

                      Gerryrig, I love the brass screw lap! Great idea. Any recomendations on what grit compound I should get for this? I've got an old jar of valve lapping compound around here somewhere, would that be about right?

                      I've borrowed a Brownell's. ...Gee wouldn't that be nice...ooooh, look at that...and the Kinks books are on sale!
                      Just look for me in the poor house.

                      Thanks again, I'll keep you posted.

                      Rick

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                      • #12
                        Erik---for goodness' sake don't make a pistol out of a rifle!!!! BATF will classify it as a "Machine Gun" and you'll be in a heap of trouble. Didn't you read my last post about Ruby Ridge and Randy Weaver? Shortening a shotgun barrel too much is what got him in trouble and his wife murdered by a sniper.

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                        • #13
                          <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ErikT:
                          Why would the BATF be concerned with gun length? </font>
                          There really is no logical answer to that question. Just another arbitrary law for bureaucrats to enforce I guess. But make no mistake about it, they do take their work seriously.

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                          • #14
                            In fact Erik, I believe the BATF has been asked that question and didn't have an answer.

                            It seems that when Thompson Center came out with their carbines, BATF took them to court because it was possible for someone to put a pistol barrel on the carbine and so make an illegal gun. TC argued, among other things, that while it was possible to do do so,why in the world WOULD anyone do it. What would be the advantage? It seems like TC came through it all right (except for the lawyers fees). If anyone remembers this better than I do feel free to straighten me out. I believe I read about it in American Rifleman.

                            But make no mistake. If you actually make an illegal gun, no matter how, they will jump on you with both feet!


                            Rick

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                            • #15
                              I believe the ATFE says once a rifle always a rifle. If it was manufactured as a rifle then shorted to under legal length then it has to be registered as a Shortbarreled Rifle or an Other Assault Weapon(must meet the criteria).

                              Thanks
                              Paul

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