Monday, December 29, 2014

Updates / Year in Review

As I write this my blog is topping 100,000 onto one million!

My 1st full year of blogging has come to a close, so I thought I would post a review of my year with links for those of you who may have missed some of my posts.

In January  we covered:
In February:
In March:
 In April:
In May:
In June:
In July:
In August:
In September:
In October:
In November:
In December:

So what is next? We have a bunch of projects in the works for 2015 including:
  • Finishing the restoration of the Colt New Service
  • Removing the barrel from a revolver
  • Cleaning up a Marlin model 800 hunting rifle
  • More Ruger Vaquero mods
  • Another round of experimenting with Rust Bluing
  • Bringing a Colt Trooper back to life (after a house fire)
  • Restoring a Ruger old model 357 Blackhawk
  • A Remington model 1903-A3 restoration
  • Refinishing a stock for a Marlin model 81DL
  • bluing on top of existing blue
  • Another Affordable Shotgun Project
  • Experimenting with stock checkering
  • repairing a timing issue
  • Restoration of a Stevens/Springfield model 83 .22 rifle
  • Some Cheap/improvised gun mods
  • Camo painting 101
  • Smoothing the grip frame of a Walther PPK/S
  • Restoring a Browning BAR Hi-Power Rifle
  • Refinishing a Ruger Single Six
  • A Savage model 93 rifle build
  • We'll review several cheap gun fixes & upgrades

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Forgotten Colt

They say that guns only have two enemies: Politicians and Rust. Rust is the result of neglect. This post is about a gun that was forgotten. Left in a leather holster on the shelf of a closet somewhere. Luckily it was remembered before nature had ravaged the finish too badly.

My Neighbor brought me a couple of guns to clean up so that he could sell them. Both were in good shape, but it was obvious the owner did not properly store them.
One of the guns was this Colt Detective Special. 

My job was to document the condition of the gun, the build date, estimate is value and prepare it for sale.

This one is a third series Detective Special, which was the 1st of these guns to feature the ejector rod shroud.

It has a serial number of C587XX which puts its birth year in 1973, the 1st year of the third series.
I plan on dis-assembling the gun, give it a thorough cleaning, oil the internal parts, polish the hammer sides, re-assemble the gun then give the exterior a good coat or two of wax. Here is what it looked like when he brought the gun to me.

The dis-assembly of most revolvers starts with the grip panels.
We can already see the evidence of neglect, more evidence when I removed the crane/cylinder assembly
 Above you can see what the internal mechanism of an early 70's Detective Special looks like, you can see spots of rust developing
Once the gun was stripped down I "douched" with Hoppes #9 and scrubbed it with an old toothbrush

Next I put the 1st coat of Carnuba Wax on the exterior surfaces
The hammer sides and the face of the cylinder latch were left "in the white" by Colt, this made them extra vulnerable to the rust demons
The answer is sand paper, I started with 220, then 320 and finally 600 grit sand paper
Looking much better now
Time to reassemble the gun, I lube the internals with a light coat of gun grease and gun oil
A good gunsmith will leave no evidence that he took a gun apart, be sure to use the proper size, hollow ground screwdriver or else you'll bugger them up. 
The screw looks buggered here, but it is just oil, see the picture of the finished gun.
During the final coat of wax and before installing the grip panels I wax the interior of the grips. This will help re-moisturize the wood which will preserve them and help prevent rust on the metal underneath. The one on the right has been waxed, the one of the left has not, you can see how the wood is soaking up the wax
A final coat of wax, then wipe the gun down with a soft flannel cloth and we are done

In case you are wondering, I did inquire about purchasing this gun, but the owner decided to keep it after he saw how nice it looked. I just hope he doesn't stuff it in the holster and put it in a sock drawer and forget about it again......

As with many of my posts I like to show you fine examples of the gun under discussion (3rd gen Detective Specials)

Colt Build Dates
The Snub Nose

Friday, December 19, 2014

Interesting Gun Mods

I decided to round up some different gun modifications that people might find interesting. Some of the these I have implemented, others I would like to try out.

I thought this was pretty cool. This Sub-2000 owner modified his fore stock on his carbine to hold a spare magazine and a flashlight, this could work for other guns as well....

You could also get this factory spare magazine mount from Kel-Tec

There are a few Glock floor plate options out there, my two favorite are the Magpul Speed plate, a smaller version of their Ranger plate that fits AR magazines. On the shorter grip frames this can also act as a finger rest.
The second one is the Fab Defense picatinny floor plate, it allows you to invert your magazine and turn it into a forward grip. This was what I installed on my Sub 2000 carbine (I used the 10 rounder that came with the gun, 17 rounds would've made the gun a bit too nose heavy)
This is mucho illegal on a pistol without proper federal paperwork
 They also make them for the Beretta M92, CZs and CZ clones...I may have to pick one of these up for my Beretta Cx4 Storm Carbine
Wild West Guns in Alaska is famous for their custom Marlin Guide Guns. They turn the model 1895 into a take down model and add special features like the large lever loop. They call this the "Co-Pilot".

Bird's Head grips are normally found only on Single Actions and 19th century pocket pistols, here is a modified Ruger double Action .44 Magnum Redhawk with a bird's head.
Conversely the "Fitz Special" modification to the trigger guard was only done on double action Colt revolvers, yet here we see it on a Single Action

MFI Battle Star Galactica Barrel Shroud for Beretta CX4 Storm (9mm), I installed one of these on my CX4 Storm, see it here

This has become popular, having the end of your barrel, recoil spring plug or barrel bushing engraved with a clever slogan for the goblin who will be staring down the business end of your pistol

This one comes from Kinetic Concepts Tactical, adding plastic windows to your Ruger BX-25 10-22 Magazines. They even added numbers so you can see just how many boolits are left inside.

While on the subject of 10-22's, how about a 10-22 Charger converted into a Pirate Pistol?

How about modifying your factory 10-22 birch stock instead of buying a custom one?

Robar can provide a factory looking beavertail for your Glock pistol, also check out the rear sight:
This Glock mod is not so permanent, from Fab Defense/MAKO is the Tactic Skin slide cover for Glock pistols

using the same concept is the Recover from Recover Tactical. It allows you to cover the frame, add a picatinney rail as well as a grip.

Originally just for the 1911, they now make them for the Beretta M9/ model 92

Universal Bayonet mounts have been around for awhile, but they were mostly for rifles, now Remington shotgun owners can mount a bayonet to their 870 combat shotgun.

This one, performed on a Ruger Single Six, was done by a friend of mine (and fellow gunsmith) Tactical Assault. He cut a recess into the backstrap and added a pin for a lanyard.

Adding grip tape, skate board tape or some other such material to your .22 varmint gun....a good idea...I might have to do something like this on Project Night Prowler

Kinetic Concepts Tactical
Hipshot on Rimfire Central
Bowen Classic Arms 
Fab Defense
The Smith Shop 
Major Pandemic
S&J Hardware
Recover Tactical
Modern Rifleman