Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Mauser Sporter Project Part 3

If you missed parts one and two click on the links below

Part One
Part Two 

When we left off, we needed to finish fitting the butt plate, then begin working over the stock, preparing it for the oil finish

Using a straight edge to check for high spots

Before going too far, I needed to drill the holes for the sling swivels

 Next I steam out the dents, the stock had been in storage for a while and had a few small dents. A wet rag and a hobby iron works to raise them

Then I sand the stock, starting with 150 grit, working my way up to 400 grit

Then I raise the grain with the same wet towel I steamed the dents out with. After the wood dries the fibers will lift up, I knock them back down by gently sanding with 400 grit, being careful to not remove any more wood, just knock the fibers down

We'll be using Minwax Antique Oil Finish

The first coat of oil goes on and I noticed a bunch of sanding marks, I will let it sit for 24 hours, then sand them out and start the first coat over again

Here it is after the second coat, the wood is getting a little darker and the grain is popping

Stay tuned for part 4

Friday, July 10, 2020

Firearm Factory of the Month: Dan Wesson Arms

The story of the Dan Wesson Arms could start with his great grandfather Daniel B. Wesson. In 1857, after selling their first company to one of their investors, Oliver Winchester (a story for another day), Mr. Wesson along with Horace Smith started another company to build revolvers (Samuel Colt's original patent had expired).

Smith & Wesson remained in the control of the Wesson Family for nearly 100 years (Horace Smith sold his shares to the Wessons in 1874).
Fast forward to 1966, multi-national conglomerate Bangor Punta (named after Bangor, Maine and the Punta Allegre Sugar Co.) purchased controlling interest in S&W. Dan Wesson had been working in the family business for his entire life and now was facing retirement.

Enter Karl Lewis, a successful gun designer who was then working for High Standard. 
Lewis had worked for Browning and Colt. While at Colt he designed the Trooper revolver.
Lewis had a design for a "modular" revolver that he had been working on. At one point he proposed it to his then employer Browning, they weren't interested.

After meeting Lewis and seeing his design(s), Dan Wesson was excited about possibly going back into the gun business.
Although Wesson was not excited about the looks of the gun, he did like many aspects of it. He asked Lewis to make the gun a little more aesthetically pleasing, a little more traditional...
Below is a picture of his prototype and a production Dan Wesson revolver above it.

Some more prototypes:

In 1966 Karl Lewis received a patent for his reworked modular barrel design, although this was not the final design that went into production, note the toggle link and leaf spring on the hammer, the production guns used coil springs.

In 1968 Dan Wesson Arms was incorporated. Dan rented an old school building in Monson, Massachusetts (about a 1/2 hour drive from Smith & Wesson's Springfield facility).

Pictures of the old South Main Street School house are hard to come by, the one below is from the Dan Wesson Forum

By 1969 Dan was showing production samples at any and every gun show or event he could attend. He tirelessly worked to get the word out about his new revolver.
The original production revolvers came in .357 Magnum. Model numbers were W8, W9, W11 & W12.

The new revolvers featured a barrel nut that not only allowed the owner to swap barrels, but also provide precise barrel cylinder gap, which was one of the keys to the guns renowned accuracy.
Despite the gun being accurate, tough as nails and well built, sales did not go as good as they hoped. 

Dan Wesson II and Dan Wesson III at the School House Factory

In 1971 the model numbers were revised, named the model 14 (fixed sight model) and model 15 (adjustable sight model).

In 1978 Dan Wesson passed away at the age of 62. The company was now in the hands of Dan's son Seth. Seth ran the company for a time before walking away, leaving the company for other endeavors. 

It was during this time that DW Arms created the large frame revolver chambered in .44 Magnum, it was named the model 44.

He was drawn back in 1990 when the company was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

With the company back in the hands of the Wesson Family, it was renamed Wesson Firearms. In January of 1992, the production was moved to Palmer, MA., about 4.5 miles away.

The old school house was eventually torn down. 

All that is left is an empty lot at 293 Main Street in Monson, MA. The School house sat on the green patch of grass in the middle of the picture, facing Main Street (MA 32)

It took a couple of years but by 1993 the Dan Wesson revolvers were back in production.


The new facility in Palmer, MA was lager and in better condition. It was in one of the buildings below at the Maple Tree Industrial Center on Wilbraham Road in Palmer.

Sadly the new start was short lived, by 1995 Wesson Firearms had closed its doors.
In mid 1996 Bob Serva and his New York Industrial Corporation bought what was left of Wesson Firearms. In 1998 he moved the operations to Norwich, NY. During the time from 1998 to 2000, very few revolvers were produced. Bob began to focus on his passion, the 1911 pistol. Either trying to save the business or use the Wesson name to build a new 1911 pistol based business, the 1911 became the focus of Wesson Firearms.
In 2005 Wesson Firearms was purchased by CZ USA. In 2014, due to popular demand, CZ announced the return of the Dan Wesson revolver. Although it would only be the stainless (model 715).

The revolvers and pistols are made at the Norwich, NY facility at 65 Borden Ave.

Special Thanks to the Dan Wesson Forum for the time-line below
  • 1916 - Daniel B. Wesson was born on April 22, 1916, he was the great grandson of one of the founders of Smith & Wesson
  • 1948 – Dan Wesson established his own tool and die company named D.B. Wesson Inc.
  • 1966 – Dan resigns from S&W after an unsuccessful attempt to buy enough shares to stop the Bangor Punta Corp from taking over.
  • 1968 – Dan becomes bored with semi-retirement and forms D.B. Wesson Arms as a subsidiary of D.B. Wesson Inc and starts building revolvers with two employees.
  • 1969 – The first revolver from D.B. Wesson Arms is displayed at the NSGA Show in Houston.
  • 1970 – The first model 11 and 12’s ship on August 13, 1970.
  • 1971 – Models 11 and 12 were replaced by models 14 and 15.  The external nut was replaced with the internal nut.
  • 1973 – In April of 1973 due to issues with the short hammer throw, an improved longer hammer throw begins to be phased in. 
  • 1973/74 – Introduction of model 14-1 and 15-1 – The company started implementing changes that would be -1 guns shortly after implementing the change in hammer throw (or simultaneously).
  • 1975 – Introduction of models 14-2 and 15-2. The straight barrel shroud was introduced with these models.
  • 1978 – Dan Wesson passes away on 11/24/1978
  • 1979 – The model 22 (22LR) was introduced.
  • 1979 – The model 44 is displayed at the NSGH Show in Denver, CO.
  • 1980 – The model 44 starts shipping in December of 1980.  The Power Control barrel and shroud was introduced.  The Power Control was said to be available on both the 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum with the 357 having 6 holes in the barrel and the 44 having 8.  (I have not never seen a Power Control 357).
  • 1983 – The current lineup of revolvers were offered in Stainless.  (Models 22, 44, 14-2, 15-2)
  • 1983 – The model 40 was introduced.
  • 1983 – The model 41 was introduced.
  • 1983 - Seth Wesson leaves Dan Wesson Arms
  • 1986 – The model 32 was introduced.
  • 1988 – The model 445 was introduced. The 445 and 414 were introduced at the same time however the 414 did not see production at the Monson plant.  Only 2 414 prototypes with the Monson marking is known to exists.
  • 1988 - Introduction of the Hunters Pac, which consisted of a VH9 assembly and a V8 shroud topped with 1.5-4 Burris Scope in a case.
  • 1990 – Mid 1990 saw the introduction of the 45 Colt.  
  • 1990 - Seth Wesson is approached by Ed Arventos (Vice President of Mfg) about purchasing Dan Wesson Firearms out of Chapter 11 
  • 1991 - On January 4, 1991, the company and all its assets were returned to family hands. The new company would be called Wesson Arms. They would vacate the old Monson School house and move to Palmer, MA.
  • 1992 - The "Lil' Dan" (model 738P) is unveiled at the SHOT Show in January 
  • 1993 - Wesson Firearms is back up and running in Palmer
  • 1993 - Fixed barrel guns are introduced in 357 & 44 Magnum
  • 1993 - The "Pinslammer 45" is shown at the 1993 SHOT Show. The revolver is built on the large frame with a 5" compensated barrel.
  • 1993/94 - The Gold Series was introduced
  • 1995 - Wesson Firearms ceases production
  • 1996 - New York International Corp, headed by Bob Serva, acquires all assets, patents and copyrights
  • 1997 - Dan Wesson revolvers return to limited production built in Norwich, NY on modern CNC equipment
  • 2005 - CZ USA buys Wesson Firearms
  • 2014 - CZ brings the Dan Wesson back from the dead with the reintroduction of the 715 stainless 357

Rare Gun Collection 
Dan Wesson Forum

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Mauser Sporter Project Part 2

If you missed part one, click here 

I checked the headspace before moving forward. I disassembled the bolt (removed the firing pin) and attempted to close it on my No-Go gauge. It would not close all the way. Then I inserted a new commercial cartridge (Federal) and the bolt closed as per normal.

Here I am test fitting the military surplus Mauser trigger guard/floor plate to the stock. It appears so more inletting will be needed to get it to fit flush 

I began removing material at the front screw area and cleaning up the inletting

There were several places that needed inletting

We now have the parts pretty close to flush with the stock

The trigger guard has a swept up part at the rear that matched the military stock.

I used a file to remove some metal so it would fit flush

I then put the action in the stock and tightened the screws down snug, the barrel was already free floated. I will remove just a bit more material, then maybe bed the barrel channel with bedding compound

The rear of the tang stuck up a bit

some quick strokes with the file brought it down flush

I plan on bedding the pillars, the front screw already has a built in pillar, for the rear I robbed this one from a Mauser military stock that I had laying around.

The next step was to measure and cut the butt stock. I clamped the stock to the bench on the top rail of the forend, making sure it was flat and level. I then measured the length of pull with the new recoil pad in place and marked the line with a square. This will put the butt stock square to the bore (or very close to it).

The gun will have a 13 3/4" length of pull.

I marked and drilled the first hole

Then the bottom hole, the yellow stuff is carnuba wax, it lubricates the threads of the screw

It might look like it is at a weird angle, but the recoil pad sits at 90 degrees to the bore axis

Mostly fitted, I will do the rest by hand

Stay tuned for Part 3

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Theme Guns 'Merica 2020

If there were ever a time when we needed more patriotism it is now.....we have Marxists tearing down statues of our beloved Founding Fathers and Military Heroes, defacing memorials to those that died for our Freedoms. They are burning, looting and harming other people in the hopes that we will bow to them and allow them to enslave us.....
You might think this is just hyperbole, but make no mistake, Socialism is slavery. When you do not own the product of your work, you are a slave. When you do not determine your trade, your wage or your fate, you are a slave. When someone else determines what your needs are (forget the wants), you are a slave.

Ronald Reagan talked about this enemy in his "Time for Choosing" Speech in 1964:
"We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those that had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers......This is the issue of this election: whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capitol can plan our lives better than we can plan them ourselves" 

We find ourselves asking the same question(s) asked Patrick Henry on March 23rd 1775. "Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it! Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure."

What Jefferson meant is that if too much time passes since blood was spilled in the name of liberty, people will forget the cost paid for that liberty and in forgetting they will not fight to preserve it or stop those who mean to take it.

The enemy of freedom is on our shores, they are among us. We must stop them, do what is necessary to remove the threat.

My sincerest hope is that people have not forgotten the price of freedom, because freedom is not free, it never has been.

Enjoy your Independence Day and please remember to fly Old Glory and take time to remember what this day stands for.

The work produced by the fine people at Shark Coast Tactical are included in virtually every Theme Gun post I have done, this one is no different.....also I have noticed there are a lot of shops in Florida doing quality Cerakote work....must be something in the water.

The work on this Glock and the AR below it was performed by the guys at Blackout Custom Cerakote in Melbourne Florida

The four following works of art come from the talented people at Valkyrie Combat in Las Vegas

The Desert Eagle below got the America treatment thanks to Tango Arms of Simi Valley CA

Savage Customs is a name you will hear a lot when the discussion of Cerakote guns comes up, they have quite the portfolio....

Viktor's Legacy is legendary, see their website here 

Outlaw Custom Guns is responsible for this 1911

Arky Armory & Cerakote in Springdale Arkansas did the work on this custom Glock

Miami Gunsmith produced another quality job.....see their website here 

 The flag treatment on this Glock is a littel different, it has a wavy 3-D look to it, Coastal Cerakote in Bluffton South Carolina can do one for you as well

The Deagle below is from Battletech Armory in Edgewater Florida

Bloodline Coatings is responsible for this S&W and the Glock below it

Mad Custom Coatings is another NW entity producing high quality work like the subdued AR below

Merica Gun Coatings painted the pistol below

Rocky Mountain Tactical Coatings did the work on the Beretta Storm below